Osmin came and visited me the next day.
"After discussing it with the local halflings we have decided to gift you Bloodfang Hill while you live in our small city. This hill was once the pride of us halflings. But you know we are small and weak, unlike you young devil lord," said Osmin.
"The hill has been infested with wolpertingers, us poor halflings do not have the heart to fight to cleanse the hill of the infestation. We value the lives of all our people. We could not sacrifice them to undertake such a task."
"But you young devil lord, are strong and fierce. Your prowess renowned across the lands. It should be a minor task for you to claim this hill."
I released my \u003cHollow Aura\u003e, after hearing the halfling go on and on. He was clearly trying to swindle me with a dangerous area. How could the halflings leave such a valuable hill unoccupied?
They had Barons here, after all. There must be something he is not telling me.
"Are you trying to send me to my death halfling?" I said.
"Never noble devil, this was the most valuable hill I could get. It took me much negotiation for the halflings to cede the rights to you! I fought for your injustice, sir!" said Osmin.
"Who are those halflings to send a noble devil like you an orphan? I reprimanded the elder responsible for the mishap. This is your due compensation!" said Osmin.
"Fine, you seemed to have worked hard for my sake, Osmin. I might have misjudged you," I said, removing my \u003cHollow Aura\u003e.
"Send me a report with the information regarding this Bloodfang Hill. And a 20-year land lease for the property with the right of renewal," I said.
"As you wish young devil, this humble halfling will quickly get out of your way," said Osmin.
Osmin quickly scurried away after discarding the death trap hill.
He must think I was born yesterday. You are trying to send me to my death. But this young devil lord does need to practice his combat.
One of my objectives for traveling is to grow stronger. How can I grow stronger sitting around all day? Reclaiming that hill will be good training.
The next day Osmin sent a messenger with the deed and information regarding the wolpertinger.
These things were a disaster to deal with. They could fly, they had enhanced agility, they had great hearing, they moved quickly, they could burrow, and they had poison fangs. They also did not die of old age, so the infestation must have festered many powerful wolpertingers.
They were also immune to poison and resistant to many Dao attacks. The only good thing was they rarely made it to the Viscount level. Being such powerful Barons came at a cost. They however were one of the worst pests that could inhabit an area.
The wolpertingers were contained to Bloodfang hill by the efforts of the local halflings, though they could not eliminate the infestation it was easy to prevent them from spreading elsewhere.
I would have my hands full with this. I grabbed my trusty resentment weapon, Lokkar, and headed out to investigate the hill.
Surrounded by a sturdy fence, Bloodfang Hill stretched far and wide. From the first sighting, you would not think this land was infested. Wolpertings liked to burrow, so they had burrowed through the many fields that compromised the hill.
There was even a farmhouse with much wear and tear on the hill. A remnant from the time this was a prospering settlement. Now it was abandoned.
I used my \u003cSoul Eyes\u003e and surveyed the grounds.
The hill was packed full of wolpertingers! So many wolpertingers, this would be a headache. They were grouped in packs as well. It would be hard to spot one alone. Luckily I had \u003cSoul Eyes\u003e so the ground lay bare before me.
I found one that seemed to be at the Esquire realm digging near the fence and fished it out. The thing squirmed in my hands. It had the body of a rabbit, the fangs of a snake, the wings of a pheasant, and the horns of an elk.
I stared at it and channeled Fire essence through my \u003cSoul Eyes\u003e.
"Feel my fire in your soul."
\u003cSoul Burn\u003e was a new battle skill that I had developed. Since releasing my \u003cSoul Eyes\u003e from their prison, I found them very useful. By channeling essence through them, I could use soul attacks. \u003cSoul Burn\u003e was the first soul attack I had experimented with.
The wolpertinger's soul was cooked, extra crispy. This was a waste of excellent soul material. I put the wolpertinger in my storage bag and headed back to my shop. I needed to study this corpse to understand these pests better.
Dealing with the Esquire beast was simple for me as a Baron, but Baron beasts would be much harder to deal with. Even burning this Esquire's soul proved challenging. These things were highly resistant to almost everything.
They were nigh unkillable in the same realm. It would have also been impossible to even fish out one alone had I not had \u003cSoul Eyes\u003e. I see now why these pests have occupied this hill for such a long time.
"Apprentice, how has your progress been?" I said.
"Master! I am learning well," said Alura.
Alura had warmed up to me after staying here a few days, at least she didn't think I would eat her anymore. She was now cleaned up and looked adorable. This young lord has the cutest disciple ever!
"That's good the shop will be in your hands in the coming weeks. Your master is attempting to clean up Bloodfang Hill. So I will be busy." I said.
"Master! How could you go there?" Alura said.
"What do you know about Bloodfang Hill?" I said.
"All young halflings are taught never to enter that area at night. Anyone who enters it never returns. It's said to be haunted!" Alura said.
"Haunted, it's just wolpertinger," I said as I pulled out the fried wolpertinger.
"No master, it is haunted as well! Wolpertingers are a nuisance, but the reason everyone avoids it is it's haunted." Alura said.
"It seems this won't be as simple as I thought," I said.
Ghosts are tricky to deal with. But this young lord practices Soul devilry. What are ghosts but disembodied souls?
"Meow, you are wrong!" said the cat.
"What do you have to say cat?" I said.
"Meow, give me that crispy wolpertinger and I'll talk," said the greedy cat.
I handed over the wolpertinger to the cat, however, he just started stuffing his face.
Sybil rolled her eyes.
"Listen! Ghosts are related to souls, however, they are more complicated than that," said Sybil.
"Listen, just as Curse Dao is related to Soul Dao. Ghost has its own Dao!"
[Quest Issued: 'Investigate the Ghost in Bloodfang Hill Tonight']
"Codex do you want my life? Why would I go investigate a ghost at night?" I said.
"Meow, you need to learn the Ghost Dao eventually, what better way to start than investigating a haunted hill!" said the cat as he ate up the wolpertinger.