Reidan, which faced the empire, could be called the gateway to the Overgeared Kingdom. The Overgeared Kingdom had never allowed the empire to advance into Reidan. The elite forces armed with Grid’s mass-produced set and the top rankers blocked the empire.
It was why the imperial army had been stuck in the desert for a month. The imperial army was exhausted from fighting every day in the desolate and hot desert and was tired enough to think that the spires of Reidan Castle in the distance was actually a mirage.
It happened one day when the imperial army’s morale was low.
“The enemy in front has retreated!”
Good news came to them. The desert—it was an unfamiliar terrain for the imperial soldiers. It was news that the Overgeared Kingdom’s troops fighting here had moved back.
“Now we can break through the desert without interference!”
“Start a rapid march to Reidan Castle!”
In the imperial army’s main barracks, the nobles were excited by the good news, but the commander—Marquis Fulbas—ignored their cries. He sought advice from his staff, “The desert is a very favorable terrain for the Overgeared members who are familiar with the desert. Why did they discard the desert and move back? Will there be traps?”
“There will naturally be traps.”
“There is a high probability that they will lead us to terrain with many giant worms.”
“Every oasis will release poison.”
“There is also a need to be careful of ambushes using the curved slope.”
“Nevertheless, we must traverse the desert. If we don’t cross the desert, we won’t be able to reach Reidan.”
“If we march with sufficient care, we won’t suffer much damage from the traps.”
The opinions of the staff members all coincided. They knew there were traps, yet they had no choice but to march.
“We must advance as quickly as possible. I’m sure the reason why the Overgeared army moved back is that they’re tired.”
“That’s right. Now is the right time for red energy.”
They had to take risks in order to win the opportunity. The staff members insisted, and Marquis Fulbas nodded. The imperial army was less tired because reinforcements kept arriving, but the Overgeared army was different. Their numbers were limited, and they couldn’t help being tired from the ongoing battle. The time had come to glimpse victory.
“Send a command to march with full force.”
After all, they had a great army of 250,000. Thousands of troops had been consumed in the lasting war, but the size of the imperial army had grown. Before them, Reidan’s 80,000 troops were no different from a candle in front of the wind.
The leaders engaged in propaganda through the barracks, and the empire’s momentum rose to the sky. They literally stepped foot in the desert. It was hot sand that their feet sank into. The Overgeared army that had been camped there just yesterday was gone.
The imperial army marched in without a hitch. They continued to move forward, keeping the high spires of Reidan Castle in their vision. Of course, the march wasn’t easy. Giant worms popped up all over the desert and destroyed the formation of the imperial army, eating hundreds of soldiers. Due to the poisoning of every oasis, they couldn’t get an independent supply of water and were forced to wait for the supply unit. The marching rate gradually slowed down.
“I resent the Rebecca Church.” Marquis Fulbas clicked his tongue.
Why had the empire sponsored and respected the Rebecca Church for hundreds of years? They felt deep respect for the supreme goddess, Rebecca, but they also coveted the divine power of the Rebecca Church. The divine power of the Rebecca priests who ‘cleansed’ curses and ‘healed’ wounds was the greatest strength in wartime. Look at this war. The casualties would be greatly diminished with the presence of priests.
However, the Rebecca Church had denied the request for support by using the pretext of the war with the Yatan Church. It was a natural attitude for Pope Damian, the man who was seated beside Overgeared King Grid.
‘Pascal’s failure influenced this...’
It was regrettable. The worst mistake the empire had made was not taking over the Rebecca Church. His Majesty the Emperor was too comfortable. The death of Empress Aria and the betrayal of Piaro robbed the emperor’s willpower and weakened the empire.
“There is something strange.”
Marquis Fulbas, who was marching at the head of the army, stopped in place. The expressions of his deputy and staff didn’t look good.
“All contact has been lost from the scouts.”
Night had come. The hot sand of the desert cooled down. They had to speed up the march before the night got darker. Then why did he get an ominous feeling at this timing?
“Give the whole army a break and send new scouts.”
100 horsemen were swiftly selected by the deputy and rode away. They had an obligation to identify and report in advance the hazards of the main route. Yet a report didn’t come back. The newly dispatched 100 people also disappeared like ghosts.
“Prepare for battle!”
Marquis Fulbas read the situation as strange, and the 250,000 soldiers took their formations. During the cold desert night, the muscles of the soldiers contracted as their tension was heightened. Their nerves were sharpened as they gripped their weapons.
However, the desert was calm. The enemy’s approach wasn’t detected at all. There weren’t even the cries of beasts.
The more tightly pulled the thread was, the sooner it would break. As time passed and nothing happened, the tension of the soldiers dispersed. At this moment, there was an explosion from the center of the formation. “...?!”
The earth shook, and the sand of the desert vibrated. The surprised Marquis Fulbas and the imperial forces turned their eyes toward the source. Then they were dumbfounded.
“A young child?”
It was a 13-year-old child. The beautiful boy rose from the ground and looked at the crowd with arrogant eyes that weren’t suitable for his age.
“Prey has arrived after a long time.”
Marquis Fulbas witnessed the teeth protruding from the smiling boy’s mouth and was astonished. With transcendent beauty, long pointy teeth, and eyes that looked at humans like they were cattle… this boy wasn’t a human.
Vampires were a species that had been expelled from hell. The empire knew that their home was underneath Reidan’s desert, but the vampire species had been cursed strongly by God Yatan. It was the Curse of Idleness. They didn’t wake up easily from their sleep. There were few cases in history of them rising aboveground. So, why was a vampire boy in the desert? How had he overcome the Curse of Idleness and come up from below the ground?
Marquis Fulbas was filled with an ominous feeling and the leaders of each unit quickly commanded the soldiers. The heavy armored infantry raised their shields and surrounded the vampire boy, while bows and spears aimed at the boy. There was only one vampire. Even a true blood vampire was just an ant in front of the 250,000 imperial troops.
“Kill him! Punish the demonkin who don’t know themselves and go stepping on human land!”
The leaders remained calm, and the courage of the soldiers increased by a hundredfold. They had no fear as they fired their bows and stabbed their spears. Hundreds of infantry rushed with their weapons. The vampire was destined to be stabbed to death like skewered meat. Even so, the boy didn’t feel any fear. He just gave a smile that was full of ridicule. No, it was closer to a laugh. “Piggish bastards.”
Magic power exploded from the boy. It was a bloody magic power that cleared the darkness of the night. Stretching over the desert to the extent of swallowing it, the bloody magic power corroded all the arrows and spears before rushing at the imperial army.
The soldiers’ screams echoed. The massive bloody magic power ripped at the armor and flesh of the imperial soldiers, absorbed all their blood, and then expanded further.
“W-What?!” The faces of the dying soldiers were like mummies and the leaders paled. Filled with terror, the soldiers who had trained for many years died without swinging their weapons.
Some of the nobles shouted, “T-That isn’t a true blood...!”
What? It wasn’t a true blood vampire but the strongest warrior directly created by Shizo Beriache...?
The people felt it didn’t fit the description and were taken aback. A direct descendant... A long time ago, Marie Rose was described as the greatest disaster of humanity in the empire.
“Don’t tell me...!” Cries of shock burst out everywhere.
“W-Who are you?” Marquis Fulbas gave a small roar as he asked the question.
“Me?” The vampire boy swept away his silver hair and replied, “An earl.”
There were fewer than 10 vampires who could be classified, and they were the direct descendants. Yes, the boy in front of them was in the same class as Marie Rose. He was a disaster of humanity. How had this monster overcome the Curse of Idleness?
...And why did he appear at this time to interrupt their march? Marquis Fulbas’ body trembled as he was filled with all sorts of doubts, confusion and anger.
“An earl of the Overgeared Kingdom, Noll.”
The vampire boy introduced himself, and Marquis Fulbas and the imperial army couldn’t close their mouths. An earl of the Overgeared Kingdom...? It was difficult to interpret. The turmoil started to worsen.
Then an absurd report was heard.
“2nd Cavalry Captain Dellua was killed!”
“1st Chariot Captain Collina has was killed!”
“Three chief staff members of the 2nd army were killed!”
The emergence of the direct vampire sent the imperial army into turmoil, and Shay’s group didn’t miss this gap. They had been lurking within the imperial soldiers for 10 days and finally assassinated the chief staff members. It was an assassination with a tremendously high difficulty.
How hard was it to stay undetected for 10 days? They really did everything and suffered from major crises many times. Shay’s group felt like they were going to pull their hairs out from trying to memorize the troop deployment plan. Every day was full of tension and pain.
“Still, we did it in the end.”
“Phew, that’s right. It has been a while since I’ve felt such a rewarding assassination.”
“My skill experience has gone up tremendously.”
Shay’s group was still disguised as imperial soldiers. They were glad to return to their original positions, only to feel emptiness. It was because of Grid that they were suffering like this. They swore at Grid every time they suffered a crisis. Then they disliked their actions because they thought it extended Grid’s lifespan by 20 years.
“Viscount Dellua and Count Collina were assassinated!”
Due to the extreme chaos, the empire’s leaders couldn’t properly handle the soldiers. The news that the nobles were assassinated spread like flames and agitated the soldiers.
“Eh?” Shay’s group was also perplexed. It was because they didn’t kill Viscount Dellua and Count Collina. In the first place, they were targets that Shay’s group couldn’t assassinate with their abilities.
“...Is it Faker?”
“It can’t be anyone other than Faker.”
“Look. The best monster of the Overgeared Guild was Faker, not Grid. If Faker were the enemy of the Overgeared Guild, wouldn’t Grid have been assassinated several times?”
Shay’s group reached a point when they thought they had done well by accepting Grid’s commission. After all, what if they had refused Grid’s request and received the kill order? They really would quit the game.
In Reinhardt’s smithy, Grid used the Legendary Blacksmith’s Creation skill after a long time. Beside him were the blacksmiths of the East Continent and Panmir. He intended to get their advice when creating a new item.
[What item do you want to create?]
That’s right. Grid planned to create the largest siege weapon, mass-produce them, and then deploy them throughout the kingdom. He was determined to win the war with the empire unconditionally. The experience of making the Cannon Aiming at the Battlefield in the National Competition was a great help.