That strange Afternoon Town has infiltrated the Afternoon Town in reality? Derrick vaguely understood what the Chief was saying as he had a rough guess as to why this had happened.
He suspected that when Mr. Fool pulled him out of the strange Afternoon Town, "He" had broken an intricate balance, causing the powers to seep out.
This also explained why Demon Hunter Colin Iliad didn't vanish immediately when he repeated the attempt.
Just as Derrick was wondering what kind of changes this would bring, the chief of the six-member council, Colin, had taken out a luminescent powder from a pouch on his belt, and he scattered it in the air.
The powder suddenly blasted apart, spewing silver light upwards. It made it appear extremely obvious in such a dark environment.
Derrick, Haim, and Joshua knew very well what this signal meant. It meant not to run about haphazardly. Stay in your area, be wary against any incoming enemies, and await rescue!
Without a doubt, this was a signal to all the other exploration teams scattered across Afternoon Town.
Colin consecutively released the signal thrice in the span of two lightning bolts. Then, he turned and said to Derrick and company, "We shall meet up with the rest by combing outwards.
"Be careful along the way."
"Yes, Chief!" Derrick had already forgotten the grievance from before, only wishing that he could help his partners as soon as possible.
Following Colin's instructions, he took the left flank of the small team. On the other side was the red-gloved Joshua who held an iron-black sword. Lining the back was the relatively stronger Dawn Paladin, Haim. And right in front was the Dawn Paladin who was about three steps away.
As lightning flashed at relatively fast intervals, the gloomy Afternoon Town would go from being bright to darkness. The candlelight from each window showed a wavering flame that burned in silence and calmness.
Derrick was no longer the fledgling he once was. Although he was nervous, his palm didn't sweat while holding the Axe of Hurricane. He skillfully moved his gaze around, wary against any monster that might leap out from the buildings on both sides.
After a flash of lightning, the world was thrown back into darkness. The bits of candlelight in Afternoon Town seemed to await travelers that needed lodging.
As for the animal hide lantern in Haim's hand, its light scattered outward, but it failed to produce much light in a radius around him. It wasn't as effective as Derrick's night vision.
The only usage was that it appeared to dispel the rich darkness around them.
At that moment, Derrick suddenly felt a chill down his neck, but there wasn't any cold winds!
He didn't turn his head subconsciously. Instead, he took one step diagonally, half-turned his body, and glanced through the corner of his eye.
He saw the nearly 2.3-meter-tall Haim looking at him with a gloomy expression. He cleaved down with the broadsword in his hand!
Derrick somersaulted to dodge the strike as he seemed to still hear the echoing sound of the intense wind.
Following that, he heard the Chief's voice.
"Haim attacked me!" Derrick rolled towards Colin's direction and stood up.
"Me?" Haim held the animal hide lantern in one hand and his broadsword in the other, asking with a look of puzzlement.
Colin glanced at Derrick.
"I didn't discover any abnormality on his part."
As he spoke, the Demon Hunter's eyes produced two dark green symbols.
He surveyed the area and said, "The attacker transformed its appearance to Haim's?"
Before he finished his sentence, the silver sword that was clenched tightly in his right hand stabbed backward!
Amidst the dull clashing sounds, a figure appeared in the dark environment. He had grizzled and disheveled hair, with deep wrinkles. He had weathered but profound blue eyes and he held a silver sword with light gray oil slathered over it—looking identical to Demon Hunter Colin. The only difference was his gloomy expression and dark skin.
Bam! Bam! Bam!
Two silver swords clashed in midair, sending sparks flying.
Meanwhile, Colin Iliad shouted with a deep voice, "Light!"
Light? Derrick instinctively raised his hands and pressed them to his mouth and nose.
At that instant, he discovered three figures dashing out from the surrounding darkness. One of them was the tall and muscular Haim, another the red-gloved Joshua, and the last one was a tall person with a child-like appearance—Derrick himself!
Derrick wasn't thrown into a fluster. He acted in accordance with the Chief's instructions and released lustrous brilliance from his body.
The three figures seemed horrified of this as they raised their palms to cover their faces while attempting to escape to the sides.
However, their speeds were in no way comparable to the speed of light.
The lustrous brilliances illuminated the surroundings, enveloping the three figures within.
They opened their mouths and let out silent screams, but they soon dimmed and vanished.
As the light surged outwards, the two Demon Hunters were consumed by the light. The actions of one of them immediately turned stiff and was impeded before losing its color and turning completely black.
The silver sword with light grayish oil slathered on it penetrated the monster, but it seemed to stab into air, failing to cause any actual damage.
At this moment, the black monster suddenly immolated itself, cracking into distorted shadows as they corroded the light and flames, inch by inch.
Colin retracted his silver sword and turned his head to Derrick and company.
"The monsters this time are our shadows.
"Their weakness is the brightness of light!"
As he spoke, the Chief's body produced a bright and holy light of dawn, illuminating the entire street as though it was day.
This was a Beyonder power a Dawn Paladin would receive from the Warrior pathway. The reason why he didn't use it from the beginning was because the effects were obvious, and he had no idea what kind of accident it might bring. Now, he was already aware of the weaknesses of these monsters in Afternoon Town!
The light of dawn produced by the Chief was like a domain. Haim gave up his plans on using a similar Beyonder power. He continued holding up his animal hide lantern, and he followed behind Colin Iliad with Derrick and Joshua as they turned into another street.
Before long, the quartet arrived at a half-collapsed cathedral.
The cathedral originally had a tower, and its entirety was made up of classical stone columns and masonry. They were heavy and dark.
Passing through the door that even a giant would find wide, Derrick followed the Chief and came to the prayer hall. They saw the deity's statue destroyed, but the candle on the altar had been lit by some unknown entity.
In front of the altar, a figure donning a spartan white robe was prostrated there, praying so softly that no one could hear him.
"He's not one of us." Haim, who also had night vision, was the first to discover the abnormality thanks to his height.
This means that it's not a monster that was transformed from our teammates' shadows… Derrick helped Haim express the context between the lines inwardly.
This meant an unknown, and an unknown often represented extreme danger!
"There should've been an exploration team here." Colin converged the range of his light of dawn to prevent himself from provoking the white-robed figure.
Haim, Joshua, and Derrick suddenly fell silent. Under such a situation, the absence of the exploration team's immediate appearance basically meant an undesirable outcome.
Their minds raced as two men dressed in tight black clothes walked out from the right side of the hall. They were the two members of the exploration team at the cathedral.
"Chief, those shadows… Those shadows are problematic! Laroya was swallowed by his own shadow!" One of the teammates swiftly made his way to Colin and immediately said in agitation and fear.
Has someone already been sacrificed… While Derrick's heart sank, he saw the light of dawn expand, enveloping the two teammates within.
The two of them suddenly wore ferocious expressions as their bodies rapidly darkened. Just two seconds later, they completed vanished like shadows that had been illuminated.
Smack! Smack! Smack!
White bones and globs of bloody flesh fell from their bodies, smashing to the ground.
Light slowly effused out of these mangled carcasses.
Colin retracted his gaze as he said, without an expression, "Go to the side of the ecclesiastic and hear what it's reciting."
Derrick and company nodded in silence as they set off towards the collapsed statue.
About ten steps later, they discerned the white-robed figure's appearance from diagonally across. He was a crying middle-aged man with deep features.
This ecclesiastic's face was nearly plastered to the ground as he muttered to himself, "Omnipotent Lord, I repent. … tempted Sasrir. The Kings often came to the palace belonging to the dusk to conspire.
"It was unknown when the people in this town changed. They set up secret altars and held strange rituals, doing things you forbade.
"It was already too late by the time I discovered all of this. Degeneration, bloodshed, darkness, rot, murders, corruption, and shadows had already drowned this piece of land.
"A huge calamity will begin here!"
These words kept repeating like a prophet describing the inevitable future with a heavy voice.
A huge calamity would begin here? The abandonment from the Lord that created everything of this land, is this where it began? Also, who tempted Dark Angel Sasrir? This ecclesiastic should've stated who. It's because after he said the words "I repent," there should've been a name, but it was blank… He had originally said it, but the name vanished by itself? Who wiped it away? This ecclesiastic should've been from that strange Afternoon Town. After the balance was broken, he appeared here. Otherwise, he should've been discovered on the previous exploration… Many thoughts flashed through his mind in a short span of time.
At that moment, he saw the Chief take a stride, walking to the side of the ecclesiastic in white.
Klein woke up from his dream as the midday sunlight shone at his eyes from outside the window.
He rolled out of bed, and he unhurriedly arrived at the pirate's dining hall.
When Frank Lee saw his arrival, he immediately waved at him.
"Gehrman, I discovered something new!"
F**k, what now… Klein immediately felt his heart in his mouth.
"A new invention of yours?"
"No, it isn't. Frank shook his head in excitement. "I was planning on studying the fish in these waters. They will likely be able to dream! Just as I tried fishing, I ended up getting this strange item."