Book 7, Chapter 73: Infiltration (10)

Divine Throne of Primordial Blood

“We’re finally home!” Filo let out a long sigh from atop his horse.

After a tumultuous journey, the merchants had finally reached Scorched Cliff City, allowing Filo to relax a little.

Every trip that they took outside put them in a significant amount of danger.

Of course, the outcome of successfully completing this gamble was worth celebrating.

After the cargo was delivered to Scorched Cliff City, the merchant group would definitely rake in a big haul.

Disaster and happiness are truly interrelated, Filo thought to himself with a sigh.

He turned around to find the female cavalry rider chatting happily with his Young Miss, Sicilia.

He spurred his horse on over. “Madame Isabella, we have arrived at Scorched Cliff City. It’s all thanks to your help.”

“There’s no need to be polite. We’re happy to accompany you,” Isabella replied with a smile.

Her appearance was already quite distinct, as she was dressed in a full suit of armor. When she smiled, almost everyone around her was immediately mesmerized.

Everyone gazed at Isabella in a daze, thinking to themselves that the person who married this woman would be incredibly lucky.

Perhaps only the bandits who followed Isabella wouldn’t dare to think of such things.

After all, any woman who could stand firm and retain command of a group of bloodthirsty bandits did so not through a pleasant smile and a beautiful appearance, but rather an iron fist and bloody hands.

Isabella might have been a young, naive girl at the very beginning, but after becoming a bandit captain, she had been forced to change herself to survive.

She would either die, or she would succeed.

And since Isabella had succeeded, she had become the true leader of the bandits and fully transformed herself in the process .

The young, naive girl that she had once been was long gone.

But the more Isabella became separated from her innocent past self, the more she wanted to present a pure and righteous side to others.

“Why don’t you come to our family’s residence and stay there a while?” Sicilia asked, extending an invitation to Isabella.

“I’m okay with that, but why does something about this city feel a bit strange?”

Even though the city entrance was wide open for anyone to come in through, the main gate was extremely desolate, and almost no one was walking along the streets. Actually, this was the case for the entire city, as far as the eye could see.

Filo muttered to himself, “This is indeed a little strange. Where did they all go? Scorched Cliff City is usually not like this.”

“Let’s take a walk through the city. If anything is up, we will know then,” Isabella replied as she spurred her horse into a trot and entered the city.

There should have been soldiers standing guard on the city walls, but not a single individual was present to halt them. The caravan entered the city with no issue. But the further they walked, the stranger it felt. There were a few beggars sitting by the side of the road in tattered clothing, but their gazes were blank, as if they were dead. It was impossible to get a response from them.

“What the hell happened here?” Filo said with a frown.

Sicila replied, “I feel like we’re in a ghost town.”

Filo felt his heart tremble. “Let’s hurry back to the trading company.”

The caravan took off at a rapid pace towards their trading company.

Soon after, they arrived at the Ride Kite Trading Company, which was similarly devoid of human presence. There was only a single shop assistant standing guard near the entrance.

“Adam, what the hell is going on here?” Filo asked as he dismounted his horse.

“You’ve finally returned, Sir Filo.” A ray of hope appeared in Adam’s lifeless eyes.

“Hurry up and tell me what happened! Where is everyone? Why is Scorched Cliff City so empty?” Filo fired off a string of questions.

“It was a curse! A terrifying curse!” Adam replied, still terror stricken.

Filo soon learned that, not long before their arrival, a curse had suddenly swept through the city.

This curse’s effects were terrifying. Anyone struck by it would immediately begin to sweat blood until they died. The worst part was that the curse was incredibly contagious, and it rapidly spread from an afflicted person to others.

This was why a majority of the city’s now ex-residents had run away. Now, the city had been essentially abandoned, and the only people who had remained were the ones that had no way of escaping with their own power.

“How could this be? Is there no way to counteract this curse? What about the Church?” Filo asked loudly.

Adam gently shook his head in response.

Against a curse of this level, the Church could only do enough to protect themselves.

They were capable of preventing individuals from being infected, but once they were infected, even the clergymen were powerless. According to them, this curse permeated infected individuals to the bone, and it was incredibly difficult to extricate.

Filo swayed unsteadily on his feet from the shock of the news.

Sicilia cried out, “What about my father? How is he?”

“The Patriarch is safe. He was able to escape from Scorched Cliff City in time. But his wife......”

Adam fell silent, but Sicilia knew what had been left unsaid. Her vision suddenly darkened as she collapsed onto the ground.

“Young Miss.” A few of the guards stepped forwards to steady her.

“Mother......” Sicilia mumbled as she began to weep.

“Can you do anything besides cry when trouble comes your way? That won’t do you any good,” a cold voice said at that moment.

Isabella had jumped off of her horse and was walking in their direction.

A corpse laid in her path, and it probably belonged to someone who had died not too long ago.

Isabella kicked the dead individual aside with her clean armored boots, sending red flicks of blood spraying into the air.

“Be careful! Don’t get infected!” Adam cried out.

Isabella pretended not to hear. “So it’s the Erythema Curse.”

“Erythema Curse?” Everyone was stunned. “What is that?”

“A vicious, poisonous curse that was developed by an Arcanist. Its characteristics include the ability to spread rapidly to cover large areas, and its killing power is extremely strong. Since it leaves a vibrant red rash on its victims, the curse has become known as the Erythema Curse,” Isabella explained.

“Who? Who would create such an evil thing?” Sicilia cried out angrily.

Isabella shot her a strange glance. “I already told you that it was an Arcanist. They might have done it for strength, riches, or perhaps for something else entirely. Who knows?”

Filo reacted quite quickly. “Miss Isabella, have you seen this curse before?”

“How else would I know its name?” Isabella immediately replied. “This curse wreaked some havoc in the western regions of this land in the past.”

“I never heard about that.”

“Everyone who did died.”

“Is there any way to nullify the effects of the curse?” Filo hurriedly asked.

“Nullify it?” Isabella tilted her head, as if deep in thought, and then replied, “We need to find the source. This curse’s power always comes from a source. If we can find it and destroy it, then the curse will be nullified.”

“Then where is the source?”

“We’ll have to carefully search for it,” Isabella replied as she scanned her surroundings. “We should first find some people who have been afflicted with the curse but who haven’t died yet. They will be able to sense the location of the source, and only they are capable of doing this.”

“So that’s how it is,” Filo muttered to himself. However, he stayed put, and he gazed intently at Isabella, a meaningful gaze flashing across his face.

“What is it?” Isabella asked.

Filo replied, “I just think that this is quite the coincidence. You appeared earlier right when we were in dire straits, and now you’re also here immediately after the curse’s outbreak in Scorched Cliff City.”

Isabella frowned. “Are you accusing me of something?”

Filo hurriedly replied, “How could I? I’m just worried for you. After all, the Erythema Curse is extremely powerful. What if......”

Isabella glanced at Filo with compassion in her eyes. “The Erythema Curse is indeed powerful, but if we destroy its source before those afflicted by the curse die, then they will fully recover. Not only that, but they will also develop an immunity to the curse itself.”

“Is that how it is?” Filo was taken aback. “Then you......”

Isabella coldly said, “I already told you that there was an outbreak in the western regions. We passed by there on our way here.”

Adam yelled, “I knew it! You must have been responsible for bringing the Erythema Curse here!”

Isabella coldly replied, “We are immune to the disease, not carriers of it. Also, when have you ever heard of a curse that spreads before those carrying it even arrive?”

That last statement dispelled any of Filo’s remaining suspicions.

It was an indisputable fact that Isabella had been with them before the curse had afflicted this city.

Isabella continued, saying, “I will give you one last opportunity. If you waste any more time, then we will take our leave.”

“I’m on it!” Adam shouted as he leapt to his feet. He knew that this city’s last hope rested with these people now.

Not long after, Isabella gathered a large group of cursed victims together to address them all.

These cursed individuals were all near death’s door.

Now, however, someone had come to them, offering them hope. It was only natural that they would do everything in their power to comply, as they would do whatever was needed to survive.

Isabella began teaching them how to sense the subtle call of the curse’s source.

This sensation was extremely hard to describe, but it soon became very apparent whether or not an individual could sense it.

Usually, only about one in a thousand individuals could sense the source.

Thankfully, there were enough curse victims in Scorched Cliff City that there were a handful of people with the appropriate sensitivity.

“Over there, over there! I can feel it. There’s something calling to me from over there,” a youth cried out excitedly.

“Yes, over there!” the other humans added on.

After a thorough search, they tracked down the source to a civilian home in the eastern quadrant of the city.

The source was an altar, upon which a strange tree grew.

The curse was being dispersed through the tree.

Under Isabella’s instruction, they quickly destroyed the altar, and then began to purify the strange tree.

When the source of the curse was purged, the dark atmosphere brooding over the city seemed to lift, and the aura of death began to fade.

Those who had just been waiting for the Erythema Curse to kill them all began to miraculously recover.

Based on what Isabella had said, there was no longer any need for them to fear this kind of curse ever again, as they had now developed an immunity towards it.

The survivors were simultaneously elated and sorrowful.

This was probably the swiftest and most disastrous calamity that had ever visited Scorched Cliff City. In the brief span of forty-eight hours, the residents of the city had been taken on an emotional rollercoaster. As a result, they gained a renewed appreciation for the sanctity of life, and they were full of gratitude towards Isabella and her band of warriors.

But if the mastermind wasn’t dealt with, then the situation would never be fully resolved.

“We just received word that the Erythema Curse has spread to Halcyon Earth Forest,” Filo whispered to Isabella that night during a celebration.

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