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Shrrieeeeek!

Out of nowhere, a loud ear-piercing screech filled the room. This cry caused an almost instinctual level of fear when it emerged.

At the same time, the layers of frost on Seina's skin started to break away and converge toward the source of the cry.

In the blink of an eye, the cold energy transformed into the shape of a bird-like beast with sharp talons and three serpents that acted as tails.

Shrrieeeeek!

"What is that thing...?!" Jade exclaimed as her eyes widened in shock.

"I am not certain, but it seems to be the source of the cold energy plaguing master. Just where did such a terrible thing come from?" Sychia frowned.

Izroth inwardly furrowed his brows as he observed the bizarre phenomenon.

This was his first time seeing it in RML; however, based on its appearance and the circumstances, he reached a swift conclusion.

Back on the Sky Palace when Izroth was choosing his reward for completing the second team's selection, he came across a withered scroll. On that scroll, it mentioned special types of poisonous treasures that could only be found deep within the Wild Lands.

It also just so happened that one of the books Izroth read in Seina's crafting room went into great detail about this particular type of poison.

Of course, it was not surprising a high-ranking Apothecary had such a rare book. After all, there were many uses for poisons in a positive light when it came to pill crafting if one could find the proper method to safely process them.

'This is... Living Poison?'

Living Poison—just as its name suggested, it was a special type of poison that was alive and sentient.

In terms of existence, it was closer to that of a monster than poison; however, due to its unique nature, it was categorized as poison.

Unlike typical poisons, a Living Poison acted as a parasite that fed off its host. But, what was even more alarming was the fact that it could develop and evolve over time.

The Living Poison would adapt to its environment and completely consume its host. This ultimately destroyed the Living Poison itself since it needed its host in order to survive after it assimilated with them. However, the sole purpose of its existence was to terminate the life of the one it affected. This meant that even if it led to its demise, it would not hesitate to do what was necessary.

It was also capable of protecting its own existence when threatened, which is why it revealed itself after coming under the assault of the Hundred Death Poisoning Pill.

While it was most dangerous in this state, Izroth viewed this as a good sign.

'Since it revealed itself, it must mean that the Hundred Poisoning Pill is effective against it. But-'

Izroth placed his hand on the hilt of his blade.

'I should not take any chances.'

Just as Izroth was ready to unsheath his Sword of the Storm, a voice suddenly sounded in his head.

"Youngest, there is some trouble headed your way." The voice warned.

The voice belonged to the Son of Thunder, Astratis.

As for how he was able to communicate with Izroth over such a long distance, from the very beginning, Astratis used his ethos to remain linked to Izroth. This way, if Izroth was in trouble, he could rush over to his aid immediately.

Back in the Fourth Heart of the World, using this method was too risky due to how sensitive the pillars were to ethos; however, the Mortal Realm was different.

Since ethos could not be detected and felt in the same way as mana, it could easily fly under the radar of even the most mana-sensitive beings. This made it a near-perfect way of communication.

'Trouble? What is it?'

"I'm not sure. But judging by the atmosphere around them, I can tell that those guys are up to no good. I don't know if it'll help or not, but we overheard them arguing among themselves as to who would take the lead. I believe the two groups called themselves the Eight Heavens and Fifth Great Clan." Astratis replied.

'The Eight Heavens and Fifth Great Clan? Their appearance was inevitable. But, isn't this a bit too fast? Not to mention, it is too well timed.'

Izroth knew that news of what happened in the Secret Realm would reach those groups eventually. This much could not be avoided. However, the first to make their move should have been the Fifth Great Clan.

What did not add up was the presence of the Eight Heavens.

It was true that Zouren had not returned from the Secret Realm, but they should not have discovered this news so quickly. After all, Sychia eliminated Luxia's clone before Izroth took care of Zouren. Therefore, there should have been no way they knew of the following events that occurred.

However, what other reason would they have to visit the Thousand Blossoms Peak together with people from the Fifth Great Clan?

"I know you told us to lay low, but I don't like this one bit. Should we come and pick you up?" Astratis inquired.

Shrieeeek!

Izroth did not take his eyes off the Living Poison as he silently pondered for a moment.

'No. I will remain here to see things through until the end. For now, stay where you are. If there is any danger that I am unable to handle, I will call for you.'

"Hm... Alright. I know that you can take care of yourself, but be careful. We'll be keeping a close eye on things from down here." Astratis stated.

'Then, I'll be counting on the two of you.'

The next moment, Astratis closed the link between himself and Izroth. While the two could still reach each other at any time, their connection was temporarily halted.

'The chances of those from the Eight Heavens and Fifth Great Clan visiting the Thousand Blossoms Peak for something related to the Secret Realm is high. However, there is still the possibility their visit may be entirely unrelated to the matter. I will have to wait and see how things play out.'

If the two groups really did come to pick a fight with him, Izroth was not afraid. Though given the present circumstances, he believed it was more probable that they were here to get some answers from Sychia and the Order of a Thousand Blossoms.

'There's no use in thinking about it too much. For now, I will deal with what's in front of me.'

Without warning, a strong gale of icy wind scattered throughout the room.

"This chill...! It feels like it is piercing through my bones..! Was master suffering this much the entire time?" Sychia uttered to herself.

How could her master smile and make such peaceful expressions while enduring this type of torment every day?!

When she thought of this, Sychia became even more infuriated at the thought that someone may have poisoned her master.

Swoosh!

Out of nowhere, the Living Poison set its sights on Izroth and dived right towards him as it unleashed a mighty screech!

Since it was a parasitic-type existence, the Living Poison could not survive for long in its current form. After being forced out of Seina's body by the Hundred Poisoning Pill, it needed to find a new host to inhabit. And, since Izroth was the closest, it naturally chose him as its new target!

Shrieeeek!

〈System Alert: A new target has been found by the «Dark Abyssal Cauldron». Would you like to activate the skill «Beast Spirit Absorption»?〉

Izroth was a bit taken aback by the system alert. That's because Beast Spirit Absorption was something that should only be usable on dead monsters.

'Can it be that the system considers a developed Living Poison without a host the same as a dead monster?'

It was true that a Living Poison was closer to a monster than actual poison; however, Izroth did not think it would be possible to use Beast Spirit Absorption on it. But, since the system was so eager to give him such a great gift, how could he refuse?

'Activate it.'

The instant Izroth made his choice, the Dark Abyssal Cauldron not too far from him morphed its shape as it rushed to his side with haste!

〈System Alert: The item «Dark Abyssal Cauldron» has transformed into the «Dark Abyssal Armlet».〉

〈System Alert: The skill «Beast Spirit Absorption» has been activated!〉

Grrrraawrrrr!

The terrifying cry of a mythical beast rang throughout the crafting room as five purple serpents made of energy emerged from Izroth's Dark Abyssal Armlet.

Though these were no ordinary serpents. They were sea serpents. To be more precise, they resembled a smaller version of the Immortal Hydra's heads!

Faced with an overwhelming presence, an instinctual fear overtook the Living Poison, causing it to change its course. Instead of going for Izroth, it was now aiming for Sychia and Jade!

However, before it could reach the two, one of the purple sea serpents wrapped around its left talon. Soon after, the second sea serpent coiled around its neck as the other three also moved to bound the Living Poison's movements.

Shrieeeek!

The Living Poison cried out; however, it was too late.

Swoosh!

In the blink of an eye, the purple sea serpents retracted back into Izroth's Dark Abyssal Armlet, dragging the Living Poison in along with it!

〈System Alert: The spirit «Withering Frost Shade» has successfully been absorbed by the «Dark Abyssal Armlet». [Spirits Absorbed: 1/8]〉

The moment Izroth absorbed the Living Poison, he received another set of system alerts.

〈System Alert: 1/1 Find a way to cure the «Order of a Thousand Blossoms Holy Maiden, Seina» of their illness.〉

〈System Alert: Congratulations, you have completed the quest «A Hopeful Promise».〉