Experimental Log Of The Crazy Lich is a web novel created by Angry Squirrel.
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So you want to fight against the undead? Most people would find either a Holy Knight or a priest of Holy Light to a.s.sist them as they were, after all, mortal enemies with the undead. Many abilities and Divine Arts of these two job cla.s.ses were directly anti-undead in nature, and their specialized undead detection Divine Arts would prove very helpful.
“No undead shall ever escape the judgement of the Holy Light!” The Holy Light job cla.s.s members were forever confident in this saying of theirs.
Yet, in my opinion, their ability to detect the undead wasn’t as great as it seemed on the surface. It worked behind the principle of Holy Light’s natural undead magic resistance. They would release a minute amount of Holy Light into their surroundings and consequently hunt for instances of resistance.
First of all, since the power of Holy Light was limited, it couldn’t detect a significantly large radius. Even high-level Holy Knights would only be able to sense undead within a few kilometers of their position, so imagine low-level Holy Knights—they could only cover a radius equivalent to a house. And if they attempted to spot undead in a wide-open, flat area, then nothing was stopping the undead from discerning them back. The worst part of this Divine Art was that its basic principles helped ensure that the undead would find you the same moment you discovered them.
In fact, I knew of several old undead—each more than three hundred years old—with the ability to detect Holy Light job cla.s.s members, simply based on the density of Holy Light in the air: it worked the same way, but in reverse. Casually using undead detection magic in an area like this—where there were so many undead—would be akin to suicide.
The typical scouting job cla.s.ses, the rangers and thieves, were no good at detecting the undead. Rangers relied on divine arts that detected the presence of life, which made it useless on the undead for obvious reasons. Meanwhile, undead mages had plenty of anti-detection magic spells at their disposal, which would give thieves a really hard time. Most undead would detect their enemies with the help of their souls, rendering useless the thieves’ typical stealth techniques of concealing themselves under the cover of the night or shadows… Alright. By now, you must have realized the sheer ridiculousness of Ah Gen’s actions—he had actually believed that his not-even-stealth skills could fool a Blood Tribe n.o.ble!
However, just which job cla.s.s was the most suitable for dealing with the undead?
First, this job cla.s.s needed plenty of ways to detect the undead. The next most important thing was that this job cla.s.s had to be able to survive whilst fighting against the undead—if not, then it should at least have the ability to escape.
In that case, the final conclusion was evident. The most suitable job cla.s.s to give the undead trouble was… undead mage!
With a snap of my fingers I cast one of the most basic undead magic spells, Control Undead. The corpse zombies that had just been hunting me like a pack of wild dogs now had to heed my every command. All that remained of their original boss was a pile of shattered bones.
Once I eliminated the lich in charge of commanding them, these low-level corpse zombies lost any semblance of order, no different from rabid dogs that would attack anything and everything in sight. All I had to do was imprint my soul upon them and they instantly became my puppets.
I closed my eyes and mentally sensed for the presence of undead. Undead mages were far better at detected undead compared to Holy Knights—their natural talent allowed them to be far more effective anti-undead scouts. After all, without such an ability, how were undead mages supposed to find undead ingredients and corpses?
“There’s a small undead team about three kilometers forward. The team leader seems to be a death knight.”
I casually donned that unlucky lesser lich’s black cape after giving it a nice shake. It would seem that my prey were aplenty. I would be quite busy today…
I covered myself in an aura of undeath and disguised myself, adjusting the appearance of my power level. The final result was a flickering image of me amid a black mist. Any Holy Knight or undead mage who sensed me would think that I was a lesser lich who only recently became a high-level undead.
As for why I wasn’t disguising myself as a normal lich? I was here to hunt, not to be hunted. The weakest lich would be a Legend, and if such a lich manifested itself so close to the wood spirit and adventurer campgrounds, the wood spirits were certain to send a large force to eradicate it. And even though there were plenty of high-level undead under the Undead Lords, every lich would be a well-known powerful individual. Casually trying to disguise myself as some random lich made it highly likely that my disguise would be seen through. Nor could I use Rex’s ident.i.ty anymore, as he had long since been exposed.
Alright, then. By now, perhaps you readers have guessed what I intended to do… yep, an old favorite of mine, Undead Calamity!
“Oh my, here’s another small team led by a death knight. Where do you think you’re running off to!”
Since I was already here, how could I possibly be satisfied by merely doing some scouting? All these undead who were everywhere here were like free subordinates. Since I was soon going to have a big battle against the undead, why wouldn’t I accept all these free soldiers? Perhaps I could even take advantage of disguising myself as an undead and obtain some information.
Although it was fairly common for there to be internal struggles between undead while they were back in the Undead Planes, the Undead Lords were now in charge here. The undead with intelligence would no longer have any internal conflict. Still, infighting amongst low-level undead wouldn’t attract much attention. But intentionally wiping out the undead or reorganizing them en ma.s.se would attract too much attention.
“Remember, come meet up with me when I order you to do so.”
That was why I didn’t actually have my new minions follow me. I merely had the highest-level undead stay behind with my soul imprint and had them remain where they were. It was only that they would now listen to my orders and would return to me when I commanded it.
Of course, I would unhesitatingly accept any specially modified undead or powerful undead I see and exchange them for some low-level undead.
It was similar to a wooden s.h.i.+p that would continuously exchange its parts as it sailed. By the end, it may appear the same physically, but would it still be the original s.h.i.+p if all its parts had been exchanged out? Well, I had no need to ponder on such a philosophical question. At the very least, the undead under my command were rapidly becoming stronger as they evolved under me as well.
“…The prey this time is quite troublesome.”
The skeleton swordsman currently fighting against my undead had a faint green light on its bone swords. It appeared that its swords were poisonous. Not only that, its bones were a dull yellow, which indicated that it had apparently been strengthened by the earth element. It was apparent that this was a strengthened undead, but, judging from its lack of emotions, it wasn’t an intelligent undead.
The corpse zombies under my command were far too low-level. The skeleton swordsman easily sliced through them before rus.h.i.+ng towards me. Meanwhile, behind the skeleton warrior was a skeleton mage who wore a black cape identical to the one I pilfered. He was currently casting buff spells on his undead.
“A skeleton mage who’s an expert in undead modification? This skeleton’s bones have been earth elementalized, its bone sword has been enchanted with magic poison, and it’s been at minimum strengthened twice over. Not bad at all. Although it’s obviously the best choice to directly attack the enemy mage in a duel…”
The skeleton was now right before me, the flickering shadow of its burning soulfire in its eye sockets right in my eyes. It was so close I could even catch a whiff of decaying stench. Yet, my reaction was to shake my head and take a single step forward.
“It’s so foolish of you to have charged right towards me.”
With a simple piercing movement, I unsheathed my sword and stabbed straight through the skeleton warrior’s rib cage, into its backbone. I then twirled my sword around, breaking the skeleton’s bones apart.
Undead mages had an unparalleled understanding about a skeleton’s weaknesses. For these high-level skeleton warriors, they wouldn’t feel pain at all. Even if you smashed in a skeleton warrior’s skull, it would still be perfectly fine and continue attacking you. Even if you sliced off its right hand, its left hand would still pierce straight at you. However, their greatest weakness would always be where their bones were connected. As long as you destroyed the skeleton’s spine, it wouldn’t even be able to stand up anymore.
The rest was simpler. This skeleton mage was smart and immediately surrendered after seeing that his greatest weapon didn’t even last a single of my blows. He directly told me his task here and even signed the strictest soul contract with me.
And so, I took command over his skeleton warrior, fixed it up again, and made it into one of my personal guards. Then, I left some of the most seriously injured corpse zombies to the undead skeleton mage to fix for me. I left him there with his bitter expression.
This was only one such example of what I did today. By the time the sun started setting, ten-plus undead scouting and logistics teams had become my underlings. With all these new servants, I had eyes and ears over the entire Wendes Mountains the wood spirits’ campground was located in.
There was something strange as well.
“How weird. Why am I not feeling uncomfortable?”
Controlling undead had a cost a.s.sociated to it. In order to have low-level undead who were naturally bloodthirsty obey an undead mage’s orders, the undead mage would have to mark their soul imprints upon the undead. The more precise control you wanted over the undead, the more intricate a soul imprint was required, which also meant more of a cost for the undead mage. And, to control high-level undead, who would instinctively resist you, a long-term investment of both mana and concentration was required.
My mana level was currently the equivalent of any other Gold-ranked knight. This mana level was also roughly equivalent to the average mana of a high-level undead. With my mana pool, I would be exhausted by trying to control two high-level undead, which was why I instead signed soul contracts with them, the type where I could kill them any time I wanted, and if I died, they would die together with me. This would motivate them to work hard for me of their own volition without me having to control their every action.
Most undead armies worked the same way. Even an Undead Emperor would find it impossible to personally control each and every undead under his command, which was why large numbers of mid and high-level commanders would be necessary. The high-level undead commanders would establish master-subordinate relations.h.i.+ps or sign soul contracts with the mid-level ones, while the mid-level commanders would be directly responsible for controlling the undead.
Well, that was only the best theoretical way to organize an undead army, of course. Since mid-level commanders were rare, most undead armies simply used the pressure that high-level undead naturally emanated in order to force the lower-level undead to instinctively rush and attack. All the low-level undead basically acted on their own… Yep, perhaps this sounds familiar to you? It’s the legendary AI-controlled fighting: it’s just fighting with minions you can’t control. Just have them attack. If you win, celebrate, and if you lose, you lose.
Of course, there were also utterly opposite existences, such as Omar. Not only was he capable of personally controlling every single undead under his command, he would even be powered up by them rather than expending concentration and mana. This completely broke the common sense of undead mages.
Based on my current mana that was only at a Gold rank’s level, modifying the more than three hundred undead in these elite squadrons should have been quite difficult for me. To my surprise, I was still in good mental condition as if I still had plenty of energy left over to control even more undead. In fact, it did feel like I could control double this number without a problem.
“…Something seems odd here. Could it be that my body’s bloodline has a bonus for me when using undead magic? But my Will stat hasn’t changed a bit.”
That was the only conclusion I could come to as I looked at my personal undead magic Soul Imprint.
Concentration was an ability attached to one’s soul. In the System’s stats, the only number related to one’s soul was Will. Will was also the stat that changed the least throughout all of my reincarnations. Although it would slightly improve each time, I would also lose 1 point of Will for each death—it basically remained the same.
Will was the most crucial stat for those in divine job cla.s.ses. Only a resolute enough Will would allow for communication with the G.o.ds. It would permit them to accept divine favor and divine power without becoming overloaded. As for mages, Will was only useful against illusion type magics as Will helped strengthen one’s soul and resolution.
Perhaps a higher Will would also slightly increase one’s mana recovery rate, but n.o.body in normal circ.u.mstances would test that out by expending all of their mana. And perhaps a higher Will also allowed undead mages to simultaneously control more undead, but it was likely that the benefits were so miniscule that even undead mages themselves didn’t know about it.
If I didn’t know, I just had to ask. How was I supposed to progress without understanding my own body?
My bloodline counted as part of the Mountain Tribe royalty, and in a way, I was closely related to Ayer’s species as well as the immemorial great demons. As they were the earliest users of undead magic, they were indeed quite talented at it as well.
[Congratulations for discovering your own hidden racial talent: Whispers of Immemorial Demons. This ability gives you a natural affinity to undead magic, contract magic, and curse magic, and you will not suffer any forms of backlash from these magic types. System Notification: This ability is a hidden pa.s.sive ability of your bloodline. Its specific effects are currently una.n.a.lyzable. You will not know about any hidden racial talents until you discover them yourself.]
After obtaining this body, I had hardly had any time to research undead magic, which apparently meant I missed out on researching my own bloodline as well.
“It can even surpa.s.s the t.i.tans’ arbiter bloodline. Since my bloodline was a Double Diamond bloodline—similar to the immemorial dragons and t.i.tan giants—the secrets hidden within must be far greater than I had imagined. It would seem that I’ve overlooked a lot.”
In order for me to break through to the Legend rank, I would need to fix my three other Soul Imprints, and that would take a significant amount of time. Perhaps it’d be more efficient of me to use my time to focus on discovering my body’s potential instead. This new body of mine felt to me like it was bursting with undeveloped potential now that a growth period of two years had pa.s.sed.
“At any rate, I have plenty of willpower left over. Should I try creating something? For example, that lich Rex who had the ability to use both undead magic and ice magic. I just so happen to have many experimental ingredients on hand…”
My gaze was filled with nefarious intentions as it swept over my new subordinates. Suddenly, however, a raspy soul voice sounded in my ears—it belonged to that skeleton mage minion of mine.
“Ma—ma—master, a human just gave me a letter and told me to give it to the undead higherups. From the item he showed me to prove his ident.i.ty, he’s working for us, the undead!”
Before I could even be astonished, a familiar figure appeared behind me. He started inching towards me, lifting up his branches that had rotten cabbages and a carrot tied to it. And behind a large rock not far away were those garbage teammates of mine that specialized in making people angry. They were pus.h.i.+ng each other, apparently engrossed in a heated discussion.
“Go already! Aren’t you a priest? Hurry and cleanse that lesser lich!”
“…Cleansing the undead is for those Holy Light priests. I’m a G.o.ddess of Wealth priest, someone who specializes in making money. You’re asking the wrong person! How about you go first?”
“While I may be quite a skilled adventurer, I just took an arrow to the knee three minutes ago…”
A simple magic spell brought their conversation to me with the wind. Meanwhile, the “stealthy” barbarian non-combat thief was slowly but resolutely approaching me at a snail’s pace, one centimeter at a time…
“No, just look! All these undead around here are high-level undead. This guy is no typical undead as he can control so many irregular high-level undead at once. He might actually be a lich!”
Someone finally pointed out the important part, but that wasn’t the actual problem from the very beginning. None of them were pure novices, so of course they would recognize their opponent. However, powerful opponents meant extravagant rewards so they continued to try to convince each other to go out first and attract the enemy’s attention and firepower… Normally, this would be the job of a Holy Knight or some other warrior, but without me this team was made up of only backrow fighters.
I was about to stop listening in on them, unable to stand it anymore, when Betty suddenly exclaimed in surprise.
“d.a.m.n it, where’s Ah Gen?”
“The h.e.l.l?! He’s already over there! Don’t! Hurry and come back!”
Ah Gen’s distant teammates tried their very best to sign and gesture to the rash barbarian that he should return… so Ah Gen responded in a soft voice:
“Relax, this guy is sleeping!”
Alright. Where should I even begin my response to that? That he believed that undead actually needed to sleep? Or his “soft voice” that shook the entire forest? Even I was startled at how ear-piercing his rumbling voice was. But, more importantly, I was doing my utmost to hold in my laughter; otherwise, this would become even more difficult of a situation to deal with.
Let’s see—it’s been some time. Let me recall what I should say in such a situation…
“You living people! Since you have dared to enter our territory, you must be prepared to pay the toll… with your souls!”
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