47 Escaping tragedy
"I had to leave the mana imprint intact as there should not be a link between this incident and the controlled area. In the future, this style can be used again, yet for such weak targets, raising suspicion is not desirable. Taking out the older generation would not negatively affect the upcoming fight; the data will remain pure. At worst they will assume the new faces to be the cause of this incident and attack with more vigor. However, taking out the children would make them rally, blowing the matter out of proportion. Also, I need the new generation to grow more, maturing for the best result; harvesting now will not lead to enough force"
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As the range of John's control was multiplied, it took a considerable amount of time for the team to arrive at the outskirt of the green humanoid's community. They observed the wooden and stone infrastructures from afar, their eyes turning red from the desire to pillage. Pleasantly surprised from this unexpected find they knew their loots from this area would be plenty if they attacked small batches by surprise. However, they immediately remembered their circumstances, what good would the loots do when they did not have the opportunity to sell them?
Thus, after some discussion, they decided to avoid detection, going further inside was a better choice. At the worst case, they would come back to raise hell if going forward was not an option. Coming to this conclusion without any assistance from John, made him very glad to have changed their fundamental rout of reasoning, rather than intervening at every small turn for corrections. One was akin to building a tower one floor at the time with weak foundations, while other method calculated the proper order of each matter; the first kind would fall with small earthquakes, yet the other could stand even the test of time.
John deduced: "It is the best-case scenario now, leaving the immediate reward for the possibility of gaining more in the future. In truth they fear of repercussions after their slaughtering session at the same time I changed their minds to be greedier, it has made this weak-willed bunch very brave. They took the challenge of climbing this place of doom for gains. However, since the human heart cannot be ultimately predicted, I had other plans in place as well, but fortunately, the seed is sprouting quite well. The worst state would have been if they attacked, got injured and persisted on carrying their bounty. I did not want to meddle in at this point, due to the sensitive condition of the collected data, but being disappointed in their foresight would be a justified reaction"
Unbeknown to them, the five had just barely escaped a fate much worse than death. What use is a defiant specimen for a man of science?
It would be very normal for John to use such ineffective subjects in a more crude manner, experimenting on them to find the mysteries of the soul. The degenerated partial soul of the wizard around Link's neck was the possible outcome of such creatures. In reality, the spirit was treated with a more gentle touch, due to a lack of lab rats in such a delicate test. However, if more subjects were attained, the treatment would be undoubtfully harsher, since he could lose a few without suffering a loss.
Souls were enigmatic and strange, feeling the extreme emotions such as; blinding love, pure hatred, extreme suffering, and mortifying fears. Between the options negative emotions were easier to produce and control, gaining faster and more potent results. Thus, John utilized underhanded phycological torture to incite such feelings, observing every small change in the aura, energy flow, and power level.
Such cruel experimentation led to more accurate results, clearing many doubts, but the cost of them was terrifyingly high. However, that did not concern John as he simply saw the targets as his guinea pigs.
The team silently waited in the darkness observing the community for some time, until they could see the activity die down inside. Then under the extreme caution and some magical spells to reinforce their cover they passed over the bored guards. Leaving their potential gains behind for a later time; they had to come back from the same way thus it was natural to encounter goblins again.
John was not worried about any investigation being carried out about the fall of elders; as goblins were inherently superstitious. As he had spent quality time inside goblin hosts and read their minds, he knew their uncivilized train of thoughts. They barely cared for anything but food or hierarchy, which was understandable since they were very weak. The weak did not have the luxury of being profound, survival was first and foremost.
Once they had safely passed the danger zone, everyone sighed a breath of relief; since they would not have a good ending if caught. The way to win over a large crowd was to separate them, picking them off slowly gorilla style; as experienced adventurers, they all knew that. So, being caught with their pants down would be highly disadvantageous and fatal.
Sometime later they were surprised to find another community slightly bigger than the first one. What they failed to notice was easily grasped by John, the average strength of this village was slightly higher. This feat seemed very logical to him, the strong occupied better positions, the closer to the mana core they were, the more energy would they get and safer the environment would be, similar to prime real estate.
It was very possible that the higher echelon of societies knew of the existence of the others yet did not migrate since their power would put them in a lower place; what lord willingly bends the knee in submission.
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John concluded: "The stats are slightly higher in this circle, and the previous one was abler than the villages I saw in the restricted area. It can be concluded that the ones who undergo evolution migrate towards higher ground. With this fact in mind, one can understand, in order to keep the flow and harmony of this dungeon, variants of one specimen are not enough. So, there should be other kinds of monsters, from entirely different breeds, yet we have yet to encounter a single one of such sorts. It can only mean that there are various paths that lead to the top, making this more of a maze than anything; I need to be more careful in navigating"
"The further we go inside, the smaller the circle of kinds will be, yet they will possess superior bloodline and force. Similar to a prism, the top only has space for a few beings, who are severely corrupted by the mana of the system, their souls should be restricted beyond redemption at that point. Thus, they should not be used as vessels unless I have cracked the code in turning mana directly into nourishment. However, the purer it gets, harder it will be to digest it, I suspect the heart of the mainframe to be an entirely separate matter. Since the smallest radiation has such vigor the actual origin must be almost solid and undigestible by mortals. Therefore, it can be derived that the master has formed this place to slowly devour the source by recycling it, while simultaneously forming an army of mighty slaves" John deduced this from simple observations.
He found this hypothesis to have a good probability, as the evidence pointed towards an ambitious ruthless mastermind. However, John also found traces of higher beings outside this limited space, so how would it be possible to transcend mortality without any opposition?
John theorized: "It should be incredibly dangerous for any mortal to eye the throne of deities. I do not believe them to be gods, but bigger fishes in the pond; who needed the approval of smaller fishes to gain more resources. However, they would not allow new entry, unless a backer is found. It seems that this conspiracy is more organized than found on the first glance. More information is needed to find the reason for these events, but this does not currently concern me, rather a long-term plan needs to be placed at a later date"
While John was pondering these matters the unfortunate bunch encountered two goblins who seemed to be arguing over something. The humanoid beasts immediately stopped, looking at the humans in front of them, eyes turning malicious and hostile. One of them opened a wide mouth, filled with broken yellow teeth, trying to scream for help.