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218 Resident Evil: Otherworld Edition

 Xi Wei was naturally paying attention to what unraveled in the Trinia Forests.

At first, he thought that the Players had once again found another monster from some desolate corner and didn't pay much attention. After all, the devil's powers had fallen considerably after a thousand years being kept behind a seal, though a supernatural being it may be. It would only be equally matched with the young Barren Giant the Players encountered before, let alone the Marsh Drake of the Seira Marshes.

Moreover, the Players had changed now. No longer their past helpless selves back when they encountered the Barren Giant, they had gone through so many battles, leveling and item strengthening that it would take just fifty of them to slay that Barren Giant.

Therefore, from Xi Wei's perspective, even though there were less than a hundred Players rushing to Trinia to join the fight against the devil, their victory was assured as long as they didn't allow it to escape.

And yet, something unexpected happened on top of that which was assured.

"Screw me, what is this supposed to be? Resident Evil: Otherworld Edition?"

Xi Wei's ball form frowned as he trained his Divine Eye down on the mortal realm, feeling that the situation has turned awry.

In fact, he knew that something wasn't right immediately when the devil was slain, but wasn't sent to his divine kingdom as an offering per the Rule he had established.

And after drawing the records from his divinity, he noticed that the devil's corpse had indeed triggered the effect of offering, but it was forced to a stop because it violated a greater rule.

And the contravening rule is 'brood or apostles belonging to another living deity cannot be sacrificed as offerings'.

That was a rule agreed upon by several gods in the last divine war, and was of far higher priority than the System that Xi Wei himself made.

The rule was agreed over unknown reasons-but according to the blurred records pulled from the Aquatic Lord's broken divinity, it was likely because the Rule which dictated that gods were unable to cross the World Barrier before the Third Divine War had yet to be established. As such, powerful demigods, divine broods, and apostles were all over the place.

Mortal believers therefore could never resist them, while divine creatures would strut about without restraint, destroying the mortals' homes.

That was when a wise theologian thought of a solution.

He began implementing major changes on ritual offerings to the gods as needed, shifting a majority of ritual conditions to the preparation of the ritual itself.

That way, the offering rituals that once was a gesture of devotion to the gods became a trap that severely consumes manpower and resources!

When all of that was done, once those strutting adversaries were lured to the ritual grounds, they could directly offer them to their gods!

Moreover, that theologian was not all stingy about his knowledge and ritual altering. He taught it to his apprentices, and sent them forth across the continent to teach those rituals to other mortal races in other regions.

Hence, the mortals relied on that one method to destroy opposing divine brood and their apostles in a brief hundred years, returning peace to the whole world.

That being said, the gods certainly did not like that. Moreover, there were some believers of certain formerly weak gods who would trap powerful broods as powerful as the present-day Seven Divine Fathers, and offer them to their god's divine kingdom.

And up above, that god would have just barely finished taking down one brood with all his dragon-slaying strength, only to turn and find that his believers had already sent forth another ridiculously apostle as offering...

Tsk. I quit! Believe in whatever other god you want!

Either way, for the personal benefit and the honor of the gods, the supreme deities of that time took the lead, with many gods joining together in ensuring that the Rule of prohibiting a living deity's brood and apostles form being used as offering.

But that was digressing.

Either way, the corpse of the devil couldn't be sent to Xi Wei's divine kingdom as a sacrifice because its body seemed to still hold some divine power. The Rule hence judged that it was the brood of a still-living god, ultimately failing the sacrificial ritual.

"The power to raising the dead... could it be the Prince of Darkness? Nope, doesn't feel the same."

Xi Wei carefully sensed Nightcry's condition through the Players fighting it.

"The Prince of Darkness controls the authority of Death, and that is very close to the foundation of this world's Rules. On the other hand, this thing is like an unseasoned rack of lamb: no soul, just a zombie."

***

If Xi Wei could generally feel the Nightcry's condition, the Players could observe the creature more clearly than Xi Wei.

The Players infected by zombie blight, died and became zombies themselves only mutated physically-their souls showed no change at all, and were sent into isolation in Xi Wei's Black Hut as per Game Rules.

The only difference was that the zombified Players now did not have the resurrection period because their corpse had mutated.

Not even the Clerics could resurrect then now, although items like the Resurrection Ankh that revived them directly at the Lifestone would still work normally.

"So the Players were just a little confused by the sudden situation just now."

Having paid close attention to the situation down at the mortal realm, Xi Wei was pleased that the Players quickly composed themselves after the initial panic. "While the zombified Players would still possess their physical strength, their greatest advantage of resurrection and skills are gone, and they are now much weaker than Players of the same level."

And that was certainly true: after the earlier pandemonium, the Players soon discovered that their comrades weren't really zombified thanks to the Game Forums, that they were merely sealed into the Black Hut and would be revived three days later.

"It's not enough to start an event, but I could assign quests to the Players who have joined the battle."

The remaining Players were motivated after learning that the resurrection mechanism was still in effect, and could fight normally. Then, further spurred on by their quest, the Players erupted into a frenzy and even more so when they realized that the zombies were too weak after trading blows.

According to the quest hint shown in the System, everything would be alright if they get rid of the Nightcry corpse which was the carrier of the zombie blight, and they could have a feast of grilled meat by the evening.

After all, the zombie blight was in itself a deviant divine power-creatures infected and killed by it would be altered into a brood of that divine power. Likewise, if they got rid of that brood, the deviant divine power would vanish without infinite resurrection.

But compared to the optimistic Players, Xi Wei was thinking much further ahead.

"That divine power... though it definitely wasn't the Prince of Darkness, it must still be a god connected to the undead. The divine power has mutated considerably, and its true purpose now is to rapidly spread to turn all existence into their own brood... but what could the culprit actually want?"

Xi Wei examined the zombie corpses of his Players, his ball form frowning deeper. "Zombies like this would never supply divine energy like normal beings do for normal gods, and wouldn't having them in their brood only hold them back? And yet they specifically chose a devil sealed in the Trinia Forest... what deeper meaning could there be?"

Suddenly, Xi Wei shivered at that very thought.

What if there was no deeper meaning?

What if the devil was simply a chess piece chosen by the culprit?

If that proved to be the case, what would become of the world?