"You're just in time. I've given Karen a tranquilising potion, and she should be starting on the road to recovery. Bring them all back to Pirates' Cove!" Leylin stowed a test tube into a box where things were carefully separated.
"We're going back? Then what about you?" Isabel asked in surprise.
"This place is very interesting, I'm getting ready for some extended research. There needs to be someone overseeing things at Pirates' Cove..." There was a fanatical expression in Leylin's eyes. Most wizards liked to research all sorts of strange things, which was why Isabel was not the least bit suspicious.
Still, the danger she'd experienced before had made her rather anxious, "But things are too dangerous here..."
"Don't worry, wizards always make preparations for this. I'll also need you to send me some magic materials and daily essentials periodically."
Whether it was because of the confidence in his tone or his successful rescue of her yesterday that moved her, Isabel finally agreed/
"Fine... You have to be careful. Perhaps I could stay here?"
"No. Nobody besides you has complete control of the Scarlet Tiger. This period is very crucial..." Leylin told her seriously.
After spending a lot more time persuading her, Leylin finally let his cousin take most of the pirates and leave. Watching the ships sailing away in the distance, he could not help but sigh.
'Now, this Nightmare Island shall be mine...' He nodded, arriving at edges of what was now called Nightmare Forest. There were already a few pirates in wait.
"My lord, command us as you will." While they looked exceptionally ferocious, they could only withdraw all their fierceness in front of Leylin. They even had pleasing smiles, looking more harmless than little rabbits.
There was no way around this. Leylin's reputation had scared them out of their wits. This was their true leader, so how would they dare be careless now?
"Mm. Build me a house here, I'll be staying for a while." Leylin casually pointed at an empty area.
"No problem, you'll see a villa soon. Iron hook Calon is very honoured to serve you!" The pirate at the front bowed respectfully, and after Leylin nodded he brandished the whip at his waist, "Heard that? My lord wishes for a villa to be built here. Start work immediately!"
*Pak! Pak!* It had to be said that the pirates who were now foremen were rather good talents. With their fiendish threats, the rest of the native slaves soon understood what they wanted and began to clear the base and start cutting down wood.
"Mm, not bad!" Leylin nodded in praise. After gaining his approval, Calon raised his head with more pride, as if he had obtained some incomparable honour.
'Based on the memories of the native chief, the nightmarish phenomenon only appears during the full moon of every month. It is otherwise a normal forest...' Leylin then looked towards the forest. The dark red fog had long since dissipated, and there was even a layer of white mist at the surface of the greenery. Nothing looked special about it.
'I only get tens of hours for research every month. That's just too short. Looks like I'll have to stay here for a long time...' Leylin thought, and he sighed.
If those who'd comprehended laws in the Magus World knew of his thoughts, they would definitely go green in envy. A chance to study dreamforce and obtain the legacy of the Nightmare Wizard was something they would scramble for even if it would take them tens of thousands of years.
Leylin's regret only stayed for a moment. He then began his intense research.
Ruins from Magi were even more dangerous than the World of Gods' wizard ruins. They were filled with unknown variables, and with an existence dealing with dreamforce, there was now a higher difficulty in his exploration.
"Even the most surface layer of dreamforce contamination has created a legendary monster. Deeper down, it definitely gets more dangerous... Thankfully, I've already obtained firsthand information, so I'm not without direction..." Leylin glanced at the tremendous Nightmare Forest, a zealous look in his eyes.
Spring left and autumn arrived. In the blink of an eye, a year had passed.
The island that Leylin had named Nightmare Island now looked completely different. The native tribe had completely disappeared, having been killed or sold as slaves.
There was now a two-storey villa next to the forest. The garden at its front had blooming golden tulips, and violet wisteria climbed all over the fence. A faint aroma lingered in the air.
By the flowerbed, Leylin now held a white watering can as he leisurely took care of the plants in his garden. The soil around the roots of his flowers quickly grew damp as they greedily absorbed the water. Sparkling droplets of water remained dazzling on the petals and stems.
'Time passes so quickly. People at home and my cousin are very dissatisfied with how long I've stayed here...' After finishing the work at hand, Leylin picked up a white towel and wiped his hands. He then sat on a rattan chair amongst the flowers as he began to admire the fruits of his labour.
However, the A.I. Chip's light didn't dim from within his eyes. It continued to conduct precise simulations, performing analysis and calculations.
"With all these years of study, there's finally results..." Leylin saw the map that the A.I. Chip projected. On the translucent viewport, Nightmare Island was now separated into three layers. Nightmare Forest was only on the first.
'The ancient Nightmare Wizard's inheritance has sunk underground. The forest here is a structure formed from some vaporised dreamforce that's similar to a secret lock?' Leylin looked grim.
The legacy of such a terrifying existence of laws was something even his main body had to approach cautiously. With his strength as a clone, every step had to be taken prudently, or he could just die too easily.
"Thankfully, with the information I had before on Dreamscape, as well as the mutations to dreamforce in the World of Gods, finding a few methods to break through the lock is still simple...
"However, what's important now is to increase my strength..." Leylin headed into the villa and entered a secret room. He saw the many strangely-shaped rock carvings, totems and the like, and looked deep in thought.
These sculptures and decorative figures all had a very boorish style, and were also extremely incredible. They were filled with primitive daydreams towards exemplary strength, but what was more similar was the power of faith on them. Golden rays shone brightly as they illuminated the room.
"Immature power of faith?" Leylin muttered to himself. All this was loot from the Scarlet TIgers' attacks on the native tribes. They were items that those natives worshipped, filled with primitive power of faith. There even valiant spirits and some sort of nature spirits in there as well, albeit sealed.
'While I avoided native tribes protected by the Ocean Goddess or nature spirits of legendary strength, the outer seas are boundless. There aren't many of those...'
Leylin wandered aimlessly to a piece of blood-red animal skin. On the dark brown surface of the flag was a double-headed wolf totem, drawn in bright colours. Varied and dense power of faith spread from it, and the strange wolf seemed ready to pounce out at any moment, but was held back by the strong seal.
'This one is halfway between a dark soul and a natural soul. It hasn't even obtained divinity, so how can it go against Isabel, a Dragon Warlock?' Leylin sensed the valiant spirit on the flag. It had already grown sharp teeth and pointy ears, and a wart began to bulge at its neck. Evidently, the soul of the ancestor of the natives was already turning into a double-headed wolf.
'A poor guy who's held by the power of faith...' Leylin watched the confused valiant spirit, eyes not showing any pity.
This valiant spirit must have been some kind of hero in the original tribe. He had been worshipped extensively after death, and the faith of the tribe had intertwined with their worship of him. Had he completely transformed, a new god would have been born one day.
Unfortunately, Leylin's path conflicted with his. In that case, what else was there to say?
'Thankfully, these faith totems did not transmute divine force, or I might not have been able to absorb them...' Leylin raised his right hand, a faint Targaryen figure emerging in his eyes as terrifying devouring power enveloped the animal-skin flag.
"Innate skill- Devour!"
*Whoosh!* It was like a long dragon drinking water as threads of golden light were pulled out of the flag with a formless force, disappearing into the dark hole. Immense power of faith, with souls and intense emotions mixed in, was devoured by the formless black hole, turning into the most pure origin force.
In the time of a few breaths, the dark golden lustre on the animal skin flag completely died down, and the wolf totem had now lost all life, turning into a dead item.
[Beep! Divine force absorbed, increased energy reserves by 3.8%. Total progress: 89.77%!] The A.I. Chip prompted.
"As expected of the offering of a small tribe. It's too little!" Leylin shook his head, looking dissatisfied. With a wave of his hands, the other statues and totems soared in the air.
The tremendous black hole devoured all these elementary sacrifices in an instant, turning them into the purest energy source. Afterwards, Leylin saw the numbers on the A.I. Chip's screen beginning to rise steadily.