Chapter 10: 008. Imperial Prince is Hunting a Witch -1 (Part Two)
– Imperi… -nim!
– Pri… Resc…
Villagers had no time to react at all.
Their voices grew increasingly distant.
My vision grew darker. A huge wolf was biting into my shoulder, its eyes glaring at me. With the awful stench of a rotting corpse and disgustingly thick demonic energy added on top, too.
…Goddammit, it was a zombie wolf.
“Let me go!!”
I held the shovel shorter and stabbed it into the creature’s neck.
Because my posture was all wrong and also with my bitten shoulder, I couldn’t muster enough power behind the strike. My attack didn’t even inflict a small nick in the monster’s thick hide.
Getting dragged any deeper would be too dangerous for me.
By being isolated inside the cave all by myself, it would mean I’d become surrounded by zombies and get devoured for sure.
I focused divinity on my hands, and then activated the skill [Horrifying Curse]. I felt the divinity immediately drain out of my body.
As the sense of dizziness filled my head up, I could hear a faint voice.
[You have granted a blessing.]
Now wasn’t the time to mind my anemia or whatever. The blades of the shovel glowed softly. My digging tool was now imbued with the reverse effect of the [Horrifying Curse], [Blessing].
“You stinking son of a b*tch!!”
The shovel carrying the aura of divine blessing stabbed into the zombie wolf’s neck.
Forget about the smell of burning flesh, the dang thing actually melted away.
The sensation of a heated metal chopstick melting down plastic got transmitted through my fingertips. The shovel dug in even deeper. However, the zombie wolf still didn’t let me go.
“You stubborn son of…!”
I pulled the shovel out and stabbed the damn wolf again.
I finally managed to extricate myself out from the damn thing’s maws after its neck completely melted away and its body collapsed into a heap.
I rolled ungainly on the floor several times. The pile of bones and rotting corpses acted as cushions to soften my landing.
While pressing my head on the ground, I screamed out, “Uwaaaahk!! This f*cking hurts!! This… Son of a b*tch…!”
Seriously man, the pain was no damn joke.
My trembling hand reached up to my wounded shoulder. I flinched when my fingers touched the gouged-out flesh. Almost as if I got burned by something, intense heat rose up from the wound.
I couldn’t tell whether I was screaming out or grunting from the pain when I muttered to myself, “Why do I have to go through this sh*t anyway?!”
I held my shoulder and injected divinity into the wound.
This was the basic healing skill that most Priests possessed. I also added the skill [Horrifying Curse] on top, too. No, maybe I should just rename it to [Blessing] instead.
I felt the divinity drain out of my body, and in turn, the wound healed at a visible rate.
The demonic energy permeating within my muscles caused a negative reaction and my skin ruptured, but that only lasted for a short while. Broken bones realigned as new flesh grew to replace the old one.
“That freaking hurt.”
This adverse reaction between divinity and demonic energy–healing the undead’s bite wound would always be accompanied by horrible pain.
Only after the wound was completely healed without a scar did I breathe a sigh of relief.
“…No, hang on. I shouldn’t be relaxing right now.”
Maybe I should blame the instinctive fear I felt for the sudden bout of talking-to-myself syndrome. I scanned my surroundings, but my vision remained dark. I couldn’t see anything properly at all.
But that too lasted for only a short while as well. I quickly got to confirm the locations of the creatures shuffling towards me thanks to [Mind’s Eye].
Yup, it was a horde of zombies.
Zombies, halfway to becoming skeletons after most of their flesh had rotted away, were currently staggering and shuffling towards me, their jaws falling open as if they discovered a tasty treat in front of them.
I was already pretty fatigued, but now I had to fight them too?
Ahh, the Goddess of love and mercy, Gaia!
“…Please, please just spare me once, will ya?”
I begged the silent Goddess as my hands grasped the shovel tighter.
The whole cave was filled with a disgusting stench.
Rotting corpses and discarded bones were literally rolling around on the ground. As an added bonus, I could even sometimes see the walking dead snack on them.
Zombies that were busy feasting on the discarded bones and flesh discovered me and stood up from their spots. They staggered while coming in closer.
Thankfully, there were no fleet-footed zombified animals among their midst like the one from before.
“Man, I might go crazy at this rate.”
As it turned out, I got dragged pretty deep inside the cave. This meant that I shouldn’t wait for the villagers to come and rescue me.
I raised the shovel up before stabbing it down on the ground.
[The Divine Puddle has been summoned.]
With the shovel as the center, a holy water-filled puddle gushed up from the ground. It rapidly spread all around me in a diameter of around 5 meters.
The approaching zombies stepped into the puddle and began to unsteadily totter about before falling face-first to the ground. They then slowly melted away.
Unfortunately, another zombie stepped on top of the fallen zombies and got closer. Using their fallen ‘comrades’ as footholds, these damn things slowly shuffled towards me.
What a bunch of tenacious evil creatures; mere slaves to their instinctive desire to devour the living despite knowing that they would also perish in the process. This was why I felt so spooked too.
I quickly swung the shovel at the ones coming in closer towards me.
Along with a dull crack, a zombie’s head shattered, its rotting brain matter scattering about.
I knew that this was simply me buying time and nothing more. I needed to completely, utterly destroy them, and do it over a wide area too.
“The [Plague of Debilitation].”
I took a deep breath before muttering these words out. After raising the shovel up, I stabbed it back on the ground and closed my eyes. A large Rune letter suddenly appeared on the ground beneath the zombies, and then, particles emitting bright light exploded upwards.
[You have carried out a wide-area blessing.]
The light particles that rose up from the ground came in contact with the zombies, causing their rotting flesh to burn away. One by one, the undead turned into ashes and dispersed away.
One, two, seven, ten…
Nice! It’s working! At this rate…!
Too bad, just as the hopes of survival formed in my heart…
…My bright expression turned gloomy in an instant.
I raised my head up.
The damn thing was at least three meters tall.
It had shaggy fur covering its thick hide, alongside large arms and a humongous torso. A bipedal creature that possessed hook-like claws now stood before my very eyes.
I muttered to myself, utterly dazed by this sight, “…A goddamn zombie bear?”
Yup, it was indeed a zombified bear.
I didn’t know which species of bear it was, but…
[Name: King of Gluttony
Speciality: Biting, crushing, smashing, scooping out internal organs
+ Currently strengthened through Necromancy.]
…This guy wasn’t something I could handle at the moment.
A pretty vicious creature had turned into a zombie, it seemed.
“Yup, I’m losing my mind here.”
Every time the zombie bear took a step forward, I in turn also took a step backward. Even though the light particles from the wide-area blessing touched its body, the damn monster had no problem moving its body.
It then crushed the melting zombies underfoot and stepped into the puddle of holy water. Its fur did somewhat melt, but due to its thick hide, the effect was minimal, to say the least.
This guy was on a whole other level altogether compared to the zombies I had been dealing with so far.
Should I run now? However, if I showed my back against it, I got the feeling that it’d suddenly pounce on me with a frightening turn of speed.
The scarier creatures other than humanoid zombies were the undead predators. Why? Because they possessed faster movements than regular humans, that’s why.
If I tried to run towards the sloping exit of the cave, my back would be ripped apart in no time at all. And I’d probably get killed in an instant.
I gritted my teeth while my hands held the shovel even tighter.
“A man can die once, but for a second time?!”
Dying once from electrocution was already more than enough for a lifetime. I definitely didn’t want to die again after being crushed by a damn zombie.
I extended my hands as I gathered more divinity.
“The [Resurrection of the Dead].”
As soon as my words came to an end, the divinity quickly spread around the cave’s interior, causing the corpses found within to writhe.
Undead zombies slowly stood up while emitting white light particles, their breaths filled with divine aura.
– Oh, ohhhh!!
And then, the cave was rocked not by the bone-chilling howls of the undead, but pure and clean hymn-like singing instead.
< 008. Imperial Prince is Hunting a Witch -1 (Part One and Two) > Fin.