Chapter 28 017. Imperial Prince is Really Toiling Away -2 (Part Two)
Chapter 28: 017. Imperial Prince is Really Toiling Away -2 (Part Two)
‘It might be better to report this to His Majesty right away.’
The current peace was just too unnervingly ominous for his liking.
Something was wrong. Even though he wished for this peace to be a good omen, if it was exactly the opposite of that then he couldn’t sit back and do nothing about it.
While thinking like this, Harman called out to the convicts. “It’s lunch time. Everyone, return to the fortress.”
They stopped shoveling, the expressions on their faces changing as if their messiah had arrived. With their shoulders hunched forward, they began shuffling towards the Ronia fortress to escape from the cold.
A sudden noise startled a convict, he then quickly took a look behind him. After tilting his head, he suddenly realized that his colleague, who was walking behind him, had disappeared somewhere.
The convict continued to tilt his head this way and that while peering deeper into the blizzard. The falling snow was more like a thick fog at this point, almost completely obscuring his view. Eventually he spotted a distinct humanoid shape within it.
The convict thought that it was his colleague and shouted out. “Oiii! Hurry up! I’m dying of cold here. And starving too. Let’s go and get something to…”
The humanoid shape finally revealed itself. It was a humanoid type monster boasting a physique at least two meters tall.
Various bits of its body were missing, or were simply rotting away. Its face had melted away while its back was hunched forward. Its long arms extended down to its knees, and there were unnaturally long claws at their ends.
The monster looked at the convict and formed a horrifying grin with its melted face.
The poor man’s complexion paled in an instant.
The sudden scream caused Harman to quickly turn his head. Other convicts also looked in the direction of the sound.
The two-meter-tall humanoid monster had penetrated through the convict by then. Claws resembling scythes easily punctured straight through the man, lifting his body up. The undead proceeded to bite and tear off the man’s neck, right before its rotting eyes shifted around to look at the other convicts in the vicinity.
“I-it’s a ghoul!!”
The sudden intrusion of the undead drove the convicts into panicked confusion. They began running away at full tilt.
But then, many more ghouls began popping out from the thick layer of snow beneath their feet. The convicts were stunned beyond comprehension by the sudden appearance of these monsters and they began stumbling back instead.
Claws were swung and convicts died in droves. Monsters pounced on them, pushed them down, and bit them to death.
The once pure-white snow was quickly dyed in the crimson hue.
The source of the current calamity was allowing the convicts to go outside the fortress walls to clear out the snow.
“Everyone, evacuate! If you wish to live, run!”
Even though the situation was critical, Harmon remained calm. He unsheathed his sword, closed his eyes, and quietly murmured to himself, “Oh, the God of War Heim. Grant this servant your power.”
He opened his eyes to find a ghoul’s claws arriving right before his nose. Harman lowered his waist and dodged the attack, before deftly swinging his sword to sever the monster’s wrist.
The ghoul tilted its head while looking at the severed wrist. Right after doing so, it looked back at Harman. But by then, his sword had already cut its head off.
The headless undead monster collapsed on the ground.
Harman quickly shifted his gaze away.
More ghouls were rising up from beneath the snow covering the land. And from beyond the blizzard, others ghouls were rushing forward as well.
They ran on all fours, and with preternatural agility, began hunting down the convicts one by one.
There were too many of them for him to fight back.
Harman quickly turned around and made his escape too.
He dashed towards the fortress as fast as he could. Even then, he didn’t forget to inject divinity into his entire body while murmuring out, “Oh, the God of War Heim. Grant your blessing to this unfortunate poor lamb…”
He spoke the words of exaltation of the god he worshipped – and as if to prove that his god was answering his prayers, the divinity within him circulated even more vigorously. His legs moved much quicker than any other convicts around him.
However, numerous ghouls suddenly rose up before him. These monsters that were hiding within the snow roared out and pounced on Harmon.
He gritted his teeth.
‘How were they hiding all this time?’
Snow had been cleared out yesterday as well. But no one discovered anything.
‘Did they infiltrate during dawn?’
If so, did they really suppress their instincts even when living humans were walking around on top of them?
The undead not submitting to their instincts? How could such a thing even be possible?!
Harman twisted his torso and dodged a ghoul’s claws, cut it down with his blade, then continued dashing forward.
Soon, he could clearly see Ronia’s straight walls. Soldiers were urgently moving in the gap of the open gate.
Arrows fired by the soldiers struck the ghouls down accurately. Their arms and legs were pierced, and their bodies and eyes were stabbed through.
Unfortunately, an undead with an intact head didn’t know the meaning of fatigue. It would simply rush forward towards its prey without stopping.
“Close the gates!”
Harman’s roar prompted one of the knights to command the convicts. “Shut the gates, now!!”
However, the convicts struggled against the pulley controlling the outer gates. They loudly cried out, their complexions pale.
“The chains, they’re all frozen up…!”
Their flustered voices even reached Harmon’s ears.
‘Damn it. I repeatedly told them not to be negligent with the maintenance, didn’t I?!’
One of the knights quickly unsheathed his sword. “Step aside!”
He shoved the convicts away and swung his blade down at the pulley holding the gates open. The chains snapped and the heavy gates rapidly closed shut.
With nary a hair’s breadth, Harmon slipped past the closing gates and entered the fortress. The ghouls chasing after him were squashed to death by the gates’ weight.
Blood and flesh splattered everywhere, and the convicts stepped back in pure shock. Meanwhile, screams resounded out from beyond the shut gates.
“Prop the gates!” Harman roared out towards other soldiers. “Get into formation! Knights, command the convicts, no, the soldiers!”
His bellow prompted the knights to cry out loudly as well.
“All personnel, get in line!”
“Form the ranks!”
“Go up to the walls! Hurry…!!”
The convicts quickly heeded the knights’ orders. While sloppily wielding shields and spears, they hurriedly ran up to the top of the outer walls.
Harman too quickly checked the status of his equipment as he climbed up to the top in measured steps. He was wondering why things were so quiet, and now, here they were. Soon, it’d be the 25th of December.
The day the Necromancer King Amon drew his last breath on the Land of the Dead Spirits was almost upon them. Soon, around two, maybe three thousand undead would…
Harman’s expression hardened the moment he arrived on top of the fortress walls. He could hear the uneasy mutterings of the soldiers near his position.
Two, three thousand?
No way in hell! This was more like…
Even Harmon fell into a state of chaotic confusion.
Every year, he’d travel to this place to combat the undead menace.
His enemies were the walking dead. They knew no fear and simply lost themselves to their primal instincts. Not only did they lack the proper equipment to siege this place, they also didn’t know anything about battle tactics or military strategies.
That’s why things hadn’t been that dangerous during the previous years, but…
…But it wasn’t the same story anymore.
His eyes were now taking in the sight of an ‘army’ of undead.
Boom… Boom… Boom…!
Booming beats of a war drum resounded out.
More and more undead began revealing themselves from beyond the whipping snowstorm.
A tottering zombie was beating on a drum made out of leather and bones. And surrounding it were weaponless zombie hordes flailing about while marching forward.
Beyond them were creaking skeletons, outfitted with crude equipment, glaring at the living with their hollow eye sockets. There were roaring ghouls running around at high speeds among their ranks too.
– Kuweehck, kuehk, kueeek!
There were also four-meter-tall zombie ogres among them.
This combination wasn’t any different from before. However, their actions certainly were.
They weren’t acting compulsively at all. The ones that suffered from eternal starvation, as well as hatred towards the living, had now formed proper ‘ranks’ and were on ‘standby’, perhaps waiting for ‘orders’ from their commander.
And this army was well over twenty thousand strong. An army that, although shoddily put together, also possessed siege weapons!
Harmon clamped his mouth shut tightly and scanned the field with his trembling eyes.
Naked slave zombies were laboriously carrying a sedan chair as the snowstorm continued to rage on. And on top of this chair sat a bizarre creature commanding this army.
– Oh, ye living ones, hear me, fear me!
It wasn’t just Harman, but the other knights and the subjects of the Ronia fiefdom as well as the convicts, that felt the demonic energy-laden Spirit Speech, ‘Undead’s Echo’, reverberate within their heads.
It could drown out one’s heart and awaken the emotion of fear.
The complexions of the soldiers and citizens grew pale in an instant.
– Be envious of death, and long to be freed by it!
Harman glared at the creature roaring out those words, at the ‘overweight monster’ sitting on top of the sedan chair carried by the tottering zombies.
It had a huge frame at least three meters tall, its body wide and flabby. It had the ‘triple chins’, with noble’s clothing stained with blood draped around its rotund figure.
Around its thick neck, he could see a bone necklace. And as if to imitate real nobles, its white hair was all rolled up.
The monster that was seemingly combined with a human and a swine used a shield placed before the chair as a serving plate. This creature treated a corpse lying on it like a slab of steak by cutting it up and devouring it.
– We are the judges of this world!
Harman knew what this monstrosity was. That thing was an undead too. However, it wasn’t just any undead, but one that existed as the final evolved form for all undead.
– And I’m the messiah that will save this world through death itself!
A zombie would evolve to a ghoul, while a skeleton would become either a warrior or an archer.
– We are…
The final evolved form of a zombie was…
– The inheritor of the God of Death, Yudai’s will!
– This great me, the Count, shall save you all from the despair of living!
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