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Chapter 481: The Thing in the Suitcase

Chapter 481: The Thing in the Suitcase
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Anthony Reid clutched the items salvaged from General Philip's lifeless form, wrapping them in a torn cloak. He avoided direct contact, a cautious move as he moved forward.

"Found these…" he began to explain, but Lumian swiftly cut him off.

Clear and rapid, Lumian outlined their plan, "We're heading to the outskirts of the city enveloped by the gray fog. Want to come with us?"

Anthony Reid's eyelids twitched. "Okay."

He knew going solo could mean a swift demise, especially if the terrifying roar echoed again.

Lumian wasn't in a hurry to inquire about General Philip's belongings. Gripping Jenna and Anthony, he signaled Franca to hold onto his collar.

A dark light emanated from the black mark on his shoulder as the quartet disappeared, seemingly teleporting to the periphery of the majestic yet crumbling city, just before the thin gray fog.

What they saw was where they arrived.

Lumian attempted to step into the gray fog, but the seal on his chest remained dormant.

Franca and the others could traverse it without his guidance.

Resembling a hungry bear, Olson fixed his gaze on Gardner Martin's head, devoid of its helmet. His brownish-red eyes flickered with a sinister light, pinpointing Martin's vulnerability.

In mere seconds, Olson identified Martin's weakest spot.

Even if he couldn't deal a fatal blow, inflicting damage to the party again meant a high chance that the Pride Armor would betray its wearer and kill him!

Silently, Olson reached into his pocket, retrieving a yellow bullet held between his thumb and index finger.

A crimson, nearly white fireball rapidly condensed in his palm, leading to a controlled explosion.

The violent shockwave propelled the bullet towards the back of Gardner Martin's head with a thunderous boom.

Gardner Martin staggered, narrowly avoiding the bullet.

Nearly simultaneously, the surroundings were bathed in the bright and holy Sunrise Gleam.

Black smoke billowed from Olson's body as if a long-dead zombie had been exposed to the sunlight created by the Purifiers.

Instinctively, Olson's eyes closed against the intense light.

Meanwhile, Gardner Martin, no longer feeble, donned his helmet with a cold expression and sharp eyes.

He ignited, transforming into a blazing white spear of flames, piercing Supervisor Olson's forehead with a whoosh.

Despite Olson's formidable resistance to scorching flames, his skull suffered charring from the impact. As the flames dissipated, Gardner Martin's figure detached from the burning spear. Clenching his silver-armored fist, he swung it at Olson's head from midair.

As the flames dissipated, Gardner Martin's figure detached from the burning spear. Clenching his silver-armored fist, he swung it at Olson's head from midair.

Olson's neck snapped, and his head flew up, dragging along a bloody spine.

Gardner Martin's skull-crushing punch missed, and he landed on the ground once again.

However, a heavy and sharp broadsword of light materialized in his other hand at some point, ready for the next phase of the battle.

Gardner Martin thrust the broadsword into the blackened soil, unleashing a terrifying storm. Countless light fragments filled the air, creating chaos in the vicinity.

The Pride Armor swiftly condensed the Sword of Dawn again, the Hurricane of Light forming with a much shorter interval than an ordinary Sequence 6 Dawn Paladin. Only a minute or two had passed since Gardner Martin last wielded this formidable power.

Olson, reduced to just his head with a brownish-red beard, showed focus in his eyes and attempted to merge with a burning-white spear for a hasty retreat.

However, the storm arrived, its light engulfing him completely.

As the Hurricane of Light subsided, Olson's body displayed severe damage, riddled with cracks, some piercing through his chest and tearing internal organs. His severed head, carried by a bloody spine, bore the marks of destruction—eyes and nose obliterated, skull cracked, and blackened brain exposed.

Gardner Martin, poised and composed, conjured ten to twenty crimson fireballs.

They darted toward Olson's nearly unconscious head, triggering a resounding explosion that shattered the head into fragments and liquid, splattering on the ground.

With a chuckle, Gardner Martin raised his visor, surveying Olson's headless corpse and the scattered skull. He remarked, "I've always found you a little odd. This was a good opportunity to test you. I didn't expect you to really attack me. That's good too. Not only have I eliminated a hidden danger, but I've also counteracted the traitorous curse of the Pride Armor."

Deliberately appearing fine while exposing some problems through the details was meant to bait Olson—simple acts of vulnerability could easily raise the other party's vigilance and suspicion.

With a sigh, Gardner approached the battered suitcase that had fallen to the ground and lifted it, on the verge of shattering.

He had long been curious about its contents, as Olson had always evaded the question. Now, Gardner could finally open it himself.

Gardner Martin unlatched the suitcase and opened it in front of him.

Inside was a head.

The features were unmistakable—deep facial features, brownish-red eyes, slightly disheveled black hair, a few silver strands at the temples, and well-defined facial features. The head which wasn't considered thin was stained with blood.

It was Gardner Martin!

It was Gardner Martin's own head!

Once Lumian and his companions traversed the outermost gray fog, the transition from morning to evening seemed to unfold before them. Darkness enveloped their vision, concealing the black asymmetrical buildings and houses that appeared as if splattered with blood. Everything silently melded into the obscurity.

As they advanced, the looming, half-collapsed palace drew nearer. The city bore the brunt of colossal damage, as if a giant had delivered a devastating blow, unleashing shockwaves that wreaked havoc on the surroundings.

Details eluded Lumian's scrutiny. The lack of sufficient light and the considerable distance obscured the exact nature of the scene. Various houses obstructed their view, and only the excessively tall palace and surrounding structures, despite their partial collapse, allowed them a glimpse of the peripheral city.

"Let's find a nearby hiding spot," Franca suggested, her gaze scanning the area. She had no intention of venturing deeper into Fourth Epoch Trier.

The quartet found themselves on a narrow street, where the houses on both sides were so close that occupants could almost shake hands by extending their arms.

The structures, resembling victims of a violent earthquake, teetered but refused to collapse, adorned with ghastly cracks.

Jenna's attention fixated on a relatively intact house. Iron-black in color, it featured an arched window on the left and a square on the right. Dark-red graffiti adorned one side, while the other remained clean. Not a single weed grew between the rocks.

Apart from the two obvious pots, the house exhibited various asymmetrical details, with centipede-like cracks mainly concentrated on the lower left side.

"Should we go there?" Jenna inquired.

Lumian shook his head.

"The more intact, the higher the likelihood of abnormalities. The current state of Fourth Epoch Trier's citizens is unknown.

"Let's find a completely collapsed building to hide behind. At least, everything inside should be buried."

"Agreed," Franca concurred with Lumian's decision.

In Fourth Epoch Trier, she couldn't fully perform Magic Mirror Divination.

Lumian and his team swiftly reached the center of the dimly lit street. In a setting that could plunge into darkness at any given moment, they strategically maneuvered around the ruins of a dark-red building, seeking cover.

It wasn't until now that Anthony Reid seized an opportunity to extract the Arrow of the Bloodthirsty from his chest, returning it to Jenna.

With the dark-stained black cloak spread on the ground, he showcased his findings.

There were three items in total:

The first, a blackened ulna punctuated by dark-red holes, resembling a rough bone flute that had been kept in storage for ages.

The second, a small wooden box painted in dark hues. Compact enough to fit into a concealed pocket, it featured large holes on both sides veiled by swaying, leather-like "curtains."

Lastly, a collection of gold, silver, and copper coins.

Anthony Reid gestured toward the "bone flute" and explained, "This formed from the convergence of light spots on Philip's ulna. It seems something formless has settled on it."

Conspirer or Reaper Beyonder characteristic combined with his ulna and the power of the Deceased boon? Lumian nodded indiscernibly.

Philip hadn't had a chance to retaliate before, leaving him uncertain about the general's Sequence—a Sequence 6 Conspirer or a Sequence 5 Reaper. What was clear, however, was the general's affiliation with the Hunter pathway. This deduction was based on the creation of numerous crimson Fire Ravens, almost white in hue. Moreover, the general wasn't just a Sequence 7.

If it were the latter, Lumian would have been pleased to obtain the main ingredient for his advancement. The issue lay in the mixture of the power with an evil god's boon, rendering it unsuitable for direct use in potion concoction.

"What settled on it is the corruption of an evil god. It was a wise choice not to touch it directly," Lumian informed Anthony.

Within the underground seal, the power of an evil god's boon couldn't return to its source.

"This was found on Philip's body…" Anthony pointed at the dark wooden box. Before he could finish speaking, another frenzied and violent roar echoed from afar.

This time, the four of them, having entered the gray fog, only experienced a slight dizziness and remained unaffected.


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