Translated by: SaltyTank
Edited by: crimsonwolf8439
Here’s another chapter, enjoy!
Claudius’ body sunk further down the magma as time passed. By the tenth year, his body was completely submerged. After twenty years, he was in between the newly formed magma chamber and the main magma chamber of the volcano. Another five years was all it took for Claudius to sink all the way down into the main chamber.
As for the Myceloids, ten or so of them died from the attack of the unknown creatures, which were actually Hook Horrors from the Underdark, but the others managed to escape and sealed the entrance. Although the Myceloids had high defence, their ability to fight was pathetic as their occupations were not combat-oriented. The Hook Horrors greedily tore their prey apart, only to find out that the metallic mushrooms were inedible. The bright environment was also unsuitable for the creatures from the Underdark, thus the Hook Horrors swiftly returned to their own territory, but that was something the Myceloids did not know.
It had been years since mankind last step foot on Hell Island. There were neither ancient ruins nor mazes on the island, and the dragon lair had been destroyed a long time ago. The lava which condensed on the island’s surface contained plenty of minerals and metals, but it was not valuable enough that people would risk their lives to traverse the dangerous sea and make their way through the thick forest brimming with poisonous insects. The risk was great not only because the journey was tough, but also due to the fact that the volcano erupted on a daily basis. As for the island’s owner, ‘The Crimson Disaster’, its legend was still being passed down across the continent, but most of them lacked the most important part — the ending. There were minstrels who turned Claudius into the main antagonist of a song which spoke of brave warriors who slew the evil dragon though.
Hell Island had also underwent significant changes throughout the past two decades or so. The ground level had been raised due to the regular eruptions, and the island had expanded as a result as well. The cross-shaped island was now hundred-kilometre-wide, and the distinctive cross shape was now only barely visible when looked from above. Apart from the 2000-metre-tall volcano in the centre, the island was now covered in a wide range of tropical plants with the distribution of species depending on the altitude. The four gigantic sea monsters still remained in their respective lairs and fought each other from time to time, completely ignoring the fact that they were all Umberlee’s underlings.
The magma chamber also grew large as the volcano grew taller, which was also one of the contributing factors to the heightened ground level. There were numerous geysers and hot springs across the island, and a handful of air vents which spewed sulphurous air from time to time as well.
Now that the island was full of vegetation due to the frequent rain, it was inevitable that insects would thrive in such a terrain. They were poisonous creatures, but they were not the most dangerous threat on the island. Excluding the four sea monsters, the most life threatening trap on the island was the seams on the ground. These seams were often covered up by plants and thus were hard to spot, and a drop was all one needed to meet their demise, be it falling into a hundred-metre deep pit, a pool of magma or even into the Underdark.
The smoke from the eruptions formed an everlasting pillar which reached the skies and could be seen even from Saint Cruz Island. Speaking of which, Saint Cruz Island also experienced huge changes. There were several more villages now after cutting down a part of the rainforest. The new area provided farmland for the new villagers, and the farmers were now farming crops like potatoes and wheat on the new fields. The population size had increased to ten thousand, which also meant that the demand for food and housing had risen. Bakeries and houses were built to meet the rising demand, turning Saint Cruz Island into a lively place.
On the contrary, nothing much changed for the Udaeus. They were still the same soldiers as decades ago and their looks remained mostly unchanged as well. That was only natural as Udaeus, a species created from dragon’s teeth, had a much longer lifespan than humans. There were new faces in the Udaeus barracks — the newcomers were half-human-half-Udaeus born from the Udaeus who mingled with humans. Although their skins were pale white like their fathers, the dim crimson tattoo was not passed on to them. They were all prodigies at war despite not being as powerful as their previous generation. While their combat abilities were below the original Udaeus, they had an advantage over their fathers — the ability to learn. Obtained from their mothers’ genes, the half-Udaeus were talented in learning non-combat skills such as blacksmithing and leatherworks. They also had a long life, although not as long as the original Udaeus. Typical half-Udaeus could live up to 300 years, with around 200 years of their life at their prime stage. It was regretful that their mothers were all rather old now; typical humans who were not priests or warriors would be considered rather lucky to reach 80 years of age. The half-Udaeus would certainly be witnessing their own mothers’ funerals if they did not die in battle, which was a depressing thing.
The rate of birth for cross-breeding between humans and Udaeus was by no means low. Typical human women could give birth for a maximum of around five or six times in their lives, while the number would be reduced to two or three if it was between a Udaeus and human. The first generation of Udaeus were all male, but that was not the case for the subsequent generation; about half of the half-Udaeus were females. They were not as strong as their fellow brothers in battle, but their offspring would probably be stronger than them if they were to marry another half-Udaeus. With that said, they would never be as strong as the first generation. The pure-bred Udaeus were creatures born from Claudius’ teeth, granting them the ability to grow stronger over time like dragons.
The Udaeus were now capable of constructing galleys — to be precise, the Udaeus forced the residents on the island to construct them. The residents were unable to reproduce the pirates’ galleons, but they somehow improved on their own cruising technology and created ships which were larger and had better control on its movement through the use of sails and oars. The Udaeus also held their promise of not oppressing the residents, only requesting a reasonable level of tax. They even implemented tax-free periods for farmers who farmed the new fields obtained from chopping down the forest. Their children, the half-Udaeus, also led a simple life which they tended the fields and fed themselves, not snatching away the hard work of the human farmers. With their physical abilities, they were actually a lot better than the human farmers.
On the seas, however, they were not as benevolent. Along with their fathers, the half-Udaeus roamed the seas as pirates. They chased the merchant ships with their agile galleys and requested a ‘protection fee’ for passing through the region. Those who complied would be left alone, while those who did not would get completely robbed.
The pirates who used to control the area were not as fortunate — the Udaeus navy eliminated them all, sending them back to their goddess Umberlee’s embrace. Even though the pirates had Umberlee priests and Dark Warriors among them, they were no match for the Udaeus who were granted magic resistance by their creator, Claudius. The Udaeus also had enhanced physical capabilities which allowed them to swim quickly and hold their breath for lengthened periods of time. Even if their ships were sunk, they would rarely drown to death, but that was not a concern at all. Although the Udaeus ships were not equipped with expensive magic cannons, their main weapons were rapid-fire crossbows and suspension bridges. The suspension bridges were especially feared by the pirates as their fates were sealed the moment the bridges latched onto their ship — all that remained was a one-sided massacre. The galleons which had high decks were safe from this strategy, but they were expensive and only a few rich pirate captains could afford it in the region.
After they controlled the surrounding seas, the Udaeus moved on to their next plan. Several years ago, they began approaching Hell Island in an attempt to land on it — they could sense that their master was inside the volcano, right in the centre of the island.