My Necromancer Class
Chapter 224: Cradle

The forest was as quiet as ever, the only sounds coming from the clinking bones of the skeletons and the odd snapping of a twig.

Jay was still being carried on his throne above the forest floor and the plants below, each hiding different tics, insects and other parasites under their leaves, waiting to jump on a passerby to suck their blood or eat their flesh.

Most bugs and parasites lacked red blood and were therefore spared from the blood-vine bear - though they lacked creatures to feed on as well.

Jay looked at the boil with the little green things still in his arm.

Ironically these little invasive creatures had saved him. Thankfully, they were still in their dormant state, and so he let his thoughts drift elsewhere.

“My seal has healed... Forgiveness comes at a price?” Jay continued to think, looking thoughtful.

First he was assaulted by strange thoughts, and then a notification that disappeared as soon as he read it, followed by an incredible feeling of a drop of water refreshing his mind.

The whole experience itself almost didn't feel real; nevertheless, he went through it, analysing it systemically.

“Those thoughts even sounded like my own... having my own voice. The only difference is, they quickly became more and more evil, wanting me to do vile things.”

“... and before that I was passed out...”

“Hmm...”

“before I passed out, there was the glass smashing sound?”

The smashing glass sound was the one thing he remembered vividly in his euphoric experience, the only thing which stood out, as there was no one else around to even smash a glass.

Following that was him waking up afterwards and hearing the extra voices in his head.

“Waking up... that's right. Something jolted me awake, something powerful... or did I imagine it?”

“... hmm.” Jay scratched his chin for a moment.

“Sweeper, head back...” Jay was about to send a scout to investigate the booming noise, but decided he would need a more stealthy approach.

“Wait Sweeper stay here. Dark, head back to the loud noise and investigate. Don't be seen.”

While Dark may have not been more stealthier than Sweeper, it did have one advantage: a mind.

It was a harsh training method, but it would either be stealthy or learn how to be.

The small skeleton nodded and dashed off into the forest, easily vaulting over the large root systems weaving across the forest floor as it sprinted towards where the earth-shaking noise came from - though it did look back at Jay once last time as it left.

“Oh?” Jay smiled, “I think it wants to stay...” he shook his head, feeling a sort of bond with his assassin skeleton.

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Dark didn't know what 'investigate' meant, but it would have a look around for its master.

Jay simply planned to use the host skill to take a look while using Dark as his eyes, but for a moment he wondered if he could even look through the eyes of a skeleton with a mind.

“Hmm, it should work,” he thought, “but to make sure...”

Jay activated his [host] ability on his only other skeleton with a mind: Heavy.

Heavy was trudging along the side of Jay's throne nurturing its thick shield, periodically using it to swash away the odd plant which defiantly sprung up between the tapestry of ancient roots.

Jay decided it had a lot to carry already so he didn't make it help to lift his throne, and there were not many plants to cut out of the way here as everything was either covered by roots or shade, stopping or stunting the growth of many of the forest floor plants.

As Jay used the skill, everything went black again, and then the world returned again in black and white. Jay didn't try to do anything, and Heavy kept trudging on - not realising its master was looking through its eyes.

Jay felt strange as he was both using the host skill, and was also not controlling the skeleton. It was like breathing - your body will breath on your own but you can control it too.

Apparently Heavy didn't even realise Jay was in its head. Until Jay tried to move.

When he did control its body it was like normal, however, when he turned around and gazed at his body, something was different about him.

Something that only made him as intrigued as he was confused.

He stopped while staring at himself on the throne.

In a world of black and white, Jay had colour: a single colour. The only colour.

An aura of deep green light radiated around his body. He was like a glowing star in a galaxy of grey. He was the shining light of the skeletons.

A green light, but still.

Ending the skill, he woke up in his body again.

Next, he tested, using the host skill on another skeleton without a mind and gazed at himself - though he appeared normal; black and white.

“Odd. Looks like only the ones with minds see me with a green aura.” he thought, returning to his body again.

He stared at Heavy for a moment, who quickly went back to marching.

“How very odd.” he quietly said.

Jay shifted in his throne and gazed back at the strange bubble of flesh on his arm.

“I'll need to remove this soon...” he thought, “but I think for tonight we will just keep moving.”

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The forest was much cooler than the desert, and was getting colder as the afternoon sun began to touch the clouds and turn the skies orange.

The thick forest canopy above had made it much darker than it should have been.

Jay took out the molodus coat and wrapped it around his shoulder, preparing for the long march through the night.

Before the sun completely disappeared, Jay decided to craft some spare sets of weapons for his minions, arming them to the teeth before they would encounter the next enemy on their journey.

It wasn't long before they were all armed again - all except for Dark who was investigating the explosion.

As Jay was carried along, it seemed there was some orange light up ahead.

Coming closer he found that it was simply the afternoon sun, shining past the thick canopy of leaves as there was a large circular clearing here.

“Dungeon entrance?” Jay wondered.

As came closer to the clearing, there were no trees around, and no roots dared to cross the circle. It was a ring of black soil with no grass, or weeds; no stones or rocks. Not even a footprint or a fallen leaf. No signs of life at all - only the black soil.

Jay thought it could be the blood-vine bears home. Or lair. Or feeding circle.

But for some reason he knew he was wrong.

“S-Stop!” his eyes bulged as he tried not to yell the orders, instead screaming them in his mind to the skeletons.

They stopped just before any of them set a foot inside.

The black soil circle somehow sent a wave of fear into his heart. The forest was silent as it was, but here there was an eerie silence. An ancient silence hung around the black circle.

Even the vast spindling tree roots wouldn't venture into it. It was like the trees knew something he didn't.

And now, as he sat on his throne at the edge of the circle, Jay felt like he was being watched.

Some of the forest cast a shadow over the black circle, but strangely, the shadow which fell onto the soil was as black as night.

No, darker still. Like an endless void trapping all light.

As Jay looked away, something was moving in the darkness of the shadow on the edge of his vision, but as soon as he looked back for it all he saw was darkness.

“Argh.” he gritted his teeth, trying to remain quiet.

A pain shot into Jays arm - the parasites didn't like whatever this was either. Jay trusted the parasites; they had a strange sense for danger too.

“I need to leave. Now.” he thought, gritting his teeth and ordering his skeletons at the same time.

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He quickly had the skeletons to turn around and move directly away from the black soil circle; he had them running now too.

The fear he felt was so intense; he felt like it would follow him forever, that nothing would be able to stop it from finding him - whatever 'it' was.

With an unknown primordial fear gripping Jay's heart, he even thought for a moment that he should head back to Losla and let the mage hunters catch him, but he quickly pushed the thought out of his head.

Jay couldn't help but look behind him as he was carried away. He took out deathwalker's sentry as well, yet it didn't sense anything.

He even controlled his breathing to try and sound quieter.

Something about whatever he had just found sent a fear deep into his heart. Like he had seen something which his eyes were not meant to see. It was a fear he didn't understand and couldn't explain.

“Maybe something intangible.” he thought, wrapping his mind with a coating of mana to try and protect it.

The skeletons seemed unaffected by it though - perhaps because they were immune to fear. All of them were as happy to carry Jay into the sacred black soil as they were to carry him away from it.

“We'll go around it... Far around.” he thought.

“Glad we didn't step foot into the soil. I feel like it would have been a violation. An offence of something ancient. Something vengeful”

He couldn't be sure of course - there was a chance it was just a strange circle of black soil, however, his intuition had began to scream at him, it like it was yelling 'DANGER!'.

Only after five minutes of having the skeletons rush him away did he now realise his heart was beating wildly.

“Hopefully I didn't offend something...” he thought, trying to get his heart back under control, “Hopefully it will let me go. Whatever it is.” he shivered for a moment.

Once he was back into the deeper shaded parts of the forest, he felt some relief as he could no longer see the orange glow of the sun in that perfectly circular clearing.

The fear also disspiated and his heart and breathing both went back to normal levels.

Jay backtracked north, then went far to the east before heading south again. He used the sun as his compass since it set in the west, so finding which way to go wasn't hard.

Jay believed he was getting closer to the edge of the blood-vine bears territory, so he decided to camp for the night.

“I bet the blood-vine bear stayed clear of that part of the forest too.” Jay thought, “And since 'it' didn't kill the blood-vine bear, perhaps it won't hunt me down and kill me.”

“Whatever 'it' was, or is...”

While he would have liked to continue travelling at night, he didn't want the skeletons carrying him into something like that black soil circle while he slept on his throne.

Eventually, he found a natural cradle of interweaving roots surrounded by three ancient trees, each of their trunks as wide as a carriage which formed natural walls on three sides.

Compared to camping anywhere else, it was only slightly more advantageous.

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Looking up into the tree tops, he wondered if anything dangerous could be lurking up there, but he still had not heard a sound, not even the chirps of birds coming into spring, so he assumed the blood-vine bear had picked these trees clean as well - both birds, snakes and sneaking threats in the tree tops had become water for its hungry blood vines.

“Hmm, this place looks as good as any.” he thought, but hesitated before stepping off his throne.

Jay suddenly grinned, “With no one around, I can finally camp the way a necromancer should...”

My Necromancer Class Chapter 224: Cradle
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