Chapter 108 “The Illusory Scorching Sun”
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Duncan was now beginning to understand why the world would be so afraid of the Vanished. Because, in a sense, this “mobile natural disaster” that was him and the ship really was like a plague.
In a dark and chaotic space, Duncan quietly stared at the dancing flames in his hands, feeling the power contained in the fire that remained extremely docile to him.
Fire is the most special existence in the world – it’s not only a carrier of light and warmth but also a guarantee for the development of mortal civilization amid crises. The gods’ blessing on the poor souls living in this challenging world.
And like in most fields involving the supernatural, “fire” occupies a unique position and role. In this case, his ghost flames seem to faintly carry something exceptionally dangerous… a characteristic even the transcendents of this world couldn’t defend against.
From the currently known information alone, the ghost fire has the property of polluting and distorting supernatural items, could also be used to occupy the shell of the dead, and could hide in the souls of the living. Even the power of saints cannot completely remove it – as long as the right time is right, the flame will burn in the soul and establish a secret passage to the Vanished
This was equivalent to a plague that’s almost imperceptible and incapable of being eradicated. At least for now, the power of the so-called “saints” has little effect in the face of this flame.
Duncan exhaled softly.
Now he doesn’t know when this weak connection between himself and Vanna would come in handy, but at least for now, it seems that with just the right “medium” and some kind of “opportunity”, he could directly see and hear the situation around the saint. This was something he deduced after peeping from the mirror inside the lady’s room, a scum and perverted move, but who’s looking?
As for what exactly would be the appropriate “medium” and “opportunity”… The former could temporarily determine that “mirrors” and “flames” are suitable carriers of projection. (or in the “professional term” of the transcendents, they’re called “ritual props”)
“… Instead, it may connect them with the Vanished…” Duncan recalls the words he heard when the connection suddenly became established.
“The word “Vanished…”
Duncan had limited knowledge of the transcendent’s world, but when it came to names, it always held a special place in all the stories. And as it so happens, the name Duncan Abnomar and the “Vanished” had power in this world.
There was no need for further speculation. He’s got the answer he wanted. The carrier was Vanna, and the activation key was the ship’s name Vanished. So long as there’s a mirror or flame when the criteria are met, he would instantly get strengthened feedback from the inquisitor and one-sidedly peep at the lady.
The thoughts in his heart gradually calmed down, and Duncan also withdrew his gaze from the “stars” in the distance.
He had no friction with the Storm Church or the young lady inquisitor; therefore, he did not intend to use this connection to harm the other party or do nefarious acts. However, if this connection could bring him some valuable information every so often… then it’s not a bad thing either.
The dark and chaotic space and the sparkling light faded like flowing water, and Duncan opened his eyes again to find that he had “returned” to his bedroom.
The golden mask, modeled after the sun, remains quietly there on the table with Ai napping next to it.
He did send the bird to chat with the bored goat head earlier, but it appears the latter didn’t like the company and sent her back.
After a slight hesitation, Duncan reached out and picked up the sun mask.
Although he had some hiccups and unexpected encounters along the way, but things are now finally back on track. It’s time he studied this sun relic.
He first flipped the mask back and forth several times to confirm the details of the shape and the specific material used. While examining the item, he suddenly noticed that a corner of the mask seemed to be chipped.
The broken part faintly reveals a dark color.
Duncan frowned, and in the next second, the pigeon that was still napping on the table before suddenly jerked open its eyes. With a flap of her wings and a loud chirp: “Copper-plated! Copper plating on metal!”
As soon as Duncan heard the words from this dove’s mouth, the chipped part on the mask instantly became more of an eye-sore. Quickly picking the spot with his nail to study it further, he finally came to a conclusion that left his face defeated.
It really is goddamn copper plated on iron! This thing is not even gold-plated!
The proof was the green spots in some areas. The mask has been rusting after spending time against the salty air.
“Isn’t this a scam?!” The psychological gap between fortune to misfortune made Duncan lose his cool and mutter in disgust. He felt frustrated at the value of this mask. Whatever plan he had of reselling the sacred relic afterward just went out the window. “Can they even do this? Isn’t a sacred relic of a cult supposed to be precious and important? Even if it is a mass-produced one, but still….”
Ai rolled her eyes at Duncan’s muttering, fluttered her wings and shouted, “Are you daft? How can you be so shameless?”
Duncan took a long moment to arrive at an understanding of what the bird meant this time. She’s clearly referring to the antique shop where it’s filled with nothing but fakes.
“You shut up….” The ghost captain mopes and deflates.
After that, he stopped paying attention to the bird next to him and instead focused on the golden mask. Once confirmed the item was nothing but a worthless mass-produced thing of modern factories, he intended to go all out in his following tests.
A cluster of faint green flames rose up at the fingertip, covering the surface of the mask-like flowing water once he touched it. Then gradually, the ethereal green flame penetrated and seeped into the iron relic.
Mass-produced holy relics are still holy relics. Even if the real material of this thing was iron and copper, the runes inscribed inside it aren’t. Since the sun priests could use this thing to communicate with their “god”, it means that he too could analyze the secrets according to the properties of a supernatural item.
Duncan has considerable experience in the field of transcendent objects, and his main experience was setting fire to Alice’s coffin box—the most recent test proved to be most effective.
Feeling the flames gradually invading the mask inside, Duncan also concentrated his mind and begun to perceive the information that this item might contain.
This was a mass-produced thing, and its “characteristics” would certainly not be comparable to Alice’s puppet coffin. Nevertheless, Duncan believes it wouldn’t be long before he understood its function and secrets. Perhaps even reverse engineer the product and usurp it for his own use.
With this thought, he spied deep into the mask for the truth. But in the next second, things quickly spiraled beyond his expectations!
A thunderous explosion suddenly rocked his mind as if his intervention blew open a passage. As he pushed open the door, vast overflows of searing pictures poured outwards, causing him to wince in pain at the feeling.
It might be just a second, maybe even shorter, but eventually, flashes about a fiery fireball appeared. It hung in the dark space alone, dead and unmoving like a corpse that’s been forgotten for eons.
This was a real burning sun constantly releasing a huge gravitational force of a stellar body.
In the astonishing heat and tearing gravity, Duncan faced the scorching star. He did not burn under its might because what he saw was nothing more than a phantom of the past, a bygone era that’s no longer relevant or dangerous to the present world.
Duncan stared at this round burning orb in amazement until it eventually spun to the other side. Then, he saw it, the grotesque truth of this star.
On the back of the sun, there are billions of dark, pale fleshly tentacles curled up and withered together. They made up the outline of a pupil that was partly closed in the manner of the deceased. Whatever living creature this false star was, it’s obviously been dead for an unknown amount of time.
“Usurper of the flame… Extinguish me… Please…” A faint, ethereal, even hallucinatory voice sounded in Duncan’s ears.