Chapter 2: 002. Imperial Prince is a Gravekeeper -1 (Part One)
Even though this was during the middle of the day, greyish, chilly fog was blanketing everything the eyes could see.
I gripped the shovel real tight and slammed it hard against the ground.
Sweat trickled down as I panted heavily. My whole body felt heavy like a soaked sponge.
I glanced at my side towards the wagon filled with corpses. I was currently burying them underground. Anyone unfamiliar with this sight might think that they ran into a horrifying scene of mass murder. Regrettably, though, that wasn’t the case.
“Yup, being a gravekeeper is no picnic at all.”
Indeed, I was working as a Gravekeeper.
Chilly atmosphere enveloped the entire graveyard.
I shifted my gaze towards a derelict monastery on the verge of collapsing.
In this northern region covered by snow 365 days a year, the Land of the Dead Spirits where rotting corpses and various undeads rampaged about, I was spending my days as the exiled Imperial Prince.
If you asked who possessed the absolute authority in this Continent, then people would most likely point at just one man.
He was the king of humanity. An existence that even the lofty emperors had to be respectful and mindful of.
He, in a nutshell, was the Holy Emperor, also referred to as God’s emissary.
Anyone who inherited the Holy Emperor’s bloodline would be treated as a person blessed with a noble lineage. Too bad my situation was somewhat different from that.
“Banishment is it?”
I clicked my tongue as I stared at the side of the graveyard.
The weather might have been chilly, but flies still buzzed around the corpses atop the wagon, with maggots crawling all over said corpses as their companions.
I hoisted the shovel on my shoulder, a bitter grin etched on my lips.
“Why did it have to be this particular body, though?”
I wasn’t sure whether this was a reincarnation or a possession, but what mattered here was the fact that the owner of this body had been banished to this place, the Land of the Dead Spirits.
He was then given the job of a gravekeeper here.
The reason was pretty simple–he was a complete trash, a maggot no one wanted to be associated with.
Honestly speaking, this body’s original memories didn’t exist anymore. However, I would still hear some stories about this body’s past on occasion.
For example, while walking around the imperial palace, he felt quite bored, and so, he summoned a servant only to kick and slap the living hell out of the poor person.
Another one includes him spotting a servant girl walking around and sexually assaulting her, or he’d mercilessly beat up a tutor coming to teach him just because he got bored again.
Sure, a portion of aristocrats would also do something like this, it also means that such a simple reason couldn’t have warranted a banishment for the Imperial Prince and become a gravekeeper here.
The actual reason why he got banished to not just a regular frontier region, but to a very dangerous one at that, even becoming a gravekeeper was…
…[Blasphemy], that’s what.
The libido of the Holy Emperor’s grandson had awakened and he tried to rape a certain esteemed daughter of a noble, one who came to the Theocratic Empire to train to become a lady-in-waiting.
During the deed itself, he was discovered by an archbishop who came to pay his respects to the Holy Emperor. Now normally…
– Tsk, tsk. That mangnani is causing yet another incident.
…That’s where the matter should’ve ended along with the Archbishop stopping the youth.
However, the problem was that the lady-in-training happened to be the granddaughter of the same archbishop who discovered the deed midway.
The granddaughter he sent to the Imperial Palace to learn refinement and etiquette was about to be raped, and he got to personally witness that sorry sight.
Of course, the archbishop flipped his lid.
Unsurprisingly, the incident of the archbishop using his crosier to beat the living daylights out of the Imperial Grandson at the time occurred.
Both of them were summoned before the Holy Emperor right away.
One could say that the next-most powerful person besides the cardinal was the archbishop, but such a thing wouldn’t matter after beating up the Holy Emperor’s grandson. However, as the grandson was also guilty in this case, both were punished with two months of house arrest.
Things seemed to have calmed down with the case now closed, but then…
– He dared to hit me?
The immature boy of 15 years old sneaked into the archbishop’s quarters and proceeded to burn his holy scriptures. He broke the cross and then painted the wall with large letters that read – “A lowly bastard who sleeps with Goddess Gaia!”
Despite him living in a theocratic system, and on top of that, he was even the Holy Emperor’s grandson, and yet he dared to blaspheme! What a crazy and reckless fool he was.
Thanks to that, the Holy Emperor’s pent-up rage exploded and he promptly banished his grandson to the Land of the Dead Spirits up north.
The Imperial Grandson’s authority and status were stripped away from him, and he was even ordered to perform services to the village there.
– Mourn for the dead and improve yourself that way.
This was probably what the Holy Emperor was thinking at the time.
While in post-banishment, the influence the boy possessed as the potential successor of the Holy Emperor vanished too. He didn’t even have any escorts anymore.
It was easy to guess what the Emperor’s intentions were. He wouldn’t give a damn even if the boy got kidnapped by another country, or his life was endangered by something else in this dangerous land.
Basically, the Holy Emperor had abandoned the boy.
“Even then, suicide is just not on, dude.”
The grandson, while full of dissatisfaction, headed to a nearby village and went on a rampage. He acted like an arse and not even a day later, Paladins came to visit him.
The Imperial Grandson got subdued in an instant. He was then imprisoned inside the monastery with nothing but prayers and water as his nourishment. After that day, the boy became truly enraged.
– This is unfair. Too unfair. How dare those lowly things…!
This whole thing must’ve been completely unacceptable when viewed from the perspective of an once-lofty Imperial Grandson.
Then again, he got banished to some backwoods to lug around corpses and shovel the ground. He probably couldn’t see a better future anymore.
Was that the reason why he did it?
By the time ‘I’ gained consciousness, I was already flailing about in a noose around my neck after he hanged himself.
Indeed, the Holy Emperor’s dumb grandson complained about his sad fate and tried to kill himself.
“Well, it doesn’t matter now, does it?”
That was all in the past now. It wasn’t something I should particularly worry about anyway. This body had now become mine and my second life had begun.
However, it would have been nice to live the life of a gold spoon in the Imperial Palace… but well, living as a gravekeeper wasn’t so bad either. Actually, this suited my personality better.
Maybe because of the profession ‘Necromancer’ that I chose in the game I was playing for my part-time work in the previous life, I didn’t really feel any repulsion when handling all these corpses.
Hell, I was even okay with all the dreary, gloomy fog and the still silence, as well as the lingering stench wafting around here.
“I sincerely pray that I’m not some loon who loves to spend time with dead bodies…”
I muttered to myself as I glanced at the corpses.
There was something really odd about me, though. For sure, a Necromancer was a magician-type profession that used demonic energy to rule over death. But now, it felt like the characteristics of this particular profession had been altered somewhat.
I glanced around the vicinity. After confirming that no one was around, I cautiously touched one of the corpses.
Suddenly, the body that was ready-to-be-buried emitted white light, and sure enough, it began standing back up on its feet while creaking like a wooden doll.
Rotting flesh, empty eye sockets, and even the unmistakable stagger. This was, without a doubt, a zombie. Yes, it was definitely a zombie, but…
I frowned deeply while looking at such a creature.
“…Why do you possess divinity though?”
Forget about the aura of death, this zombie was overflowing with the aura of life instead.
It was a zombie overflowing with ‘divinity’.
The Necromancy skills I possessed were [Resurrection of the Dead], [Dead Spirit Soldier], [Plague of Debilitation], [Swamp of Death], and [Horrifying Curse]. As for my sundry passive skills, I also boasted the [Mind’s Eye] and [Translation], etc.
I possessed a couple of other skills, but it seemed that I couldn’t use them yet. I wasn’t able to remember them at all.
However, they sometimes flitted in and out of my mind, so I merely thought that it depended on my proficiency with my current skills in order to activate them.
“In the case of my Necromancy skills, they display effects closely related to all things life-related.”
For instance, if I summoned zombies or skeletons, the ones appearing would be filled with divinity and not the normal demonic energy. The ‘Plague’ and the ‘Curse’ skills actually granted blessings, all the while the ‘Swamp of Death’ actually summoned a pit filled with holy water.
All these skills that foretold one’s death had now been altered to ones that bestowed life. The reason for that must be…
“It’s probably this body’s fault.”
I took a closer look at my current body. Rather than demonic energy, it was brimming with divinity instead.
Even though he was a complete asshole and possessed not a shred of faith in his bones, he was still blessed with a sizable amount of divinity because he was the grandson of the Holy Emperor.
I wasn’t sure what the levels of other Priests were like around these parts, but this body’s divinity was probably about average in his age group.
“Sir Imperial Prince-nim… Your highness…!”
A voice called out to me from beyond the foggy footpath. I looked back to discover two men, both seemingly farmers, fumbling about while making their way out of the forest’s narrow path.