Chapter 3 002. Imperial Prince is a Gravekeeper -1 (Part Two)
Chapter 3: 002. Imperial Prince is a Gravekeeper -1 (Part Two)
They were wearing masks, and with some difficulty, lugging around a corpse. I was so preoccupied with what I was doing that I failed to notice them approaching me.
The divinity-filled zombie wiggled about and reacted to my words.
It willingly entered the pit on the ground and comfortably laid down. As an added bonus, it even began dragging in the surrounding earth to bury itself. I took care of the remaining soil scattered about.
I grunted heavily as I closed up the ground and carefully hardened it.
While feeling satisfied, I sneaked a glance at the farmers approaching me.
“Huh? Weren’t you with someone just now, sir?”
I shook my head to deny what he said.
It’d be wiser to keep the villagers in the dark about the undead.
Could you even imagine the kind of reactions it would cause if the Holy Emperor’s grandson was seen hanging around the zombies?
– The Holy Emperor’s seventh grandson has grown disheartened by his fate and signed a contract with the devil!
I somehow managed to ‘miraculously’ survive the suicide attempt, but now I was controlling zombies? A heresy inquisitor might really get dispatched here immediately.
It’d be rather difficult trying to convince the Priests of the Holy Emperor’s kingdom, when they only believed in what they wanted to believe.
“So, uh, Sir Imperial Prince-nim. Uhm…”
As for me, I was referred to as either the Imperial Prince or the Seventh Prince. Originally, I should’ve been referred to as the ‘Imperial Grandson (皇孫)’. But the thing was, the Holy Emperor’s son, ‘my’ father, who was the first in line for the throne, had already ascended to the seat. But then he promptly went missing afterward.
So, my current title was apparently the ‘Imperial Prince’.
“W-we greet Your Highness, the Imperial Prince-nim.”
There was no way that a couple of villagers from the sticks would know anything about decorum or etiquette. The two farmers belatedly bowed their heads a little as their greeting.
For some reason, they seemed to be minding my mood too.
The original owner of this body must’ve thrown an almighty tantrum after such greetings were offered in his way. Probably.
I actually preferred these simpler greetings though. Besides that, I also had no clue as to what the established decorum or etiquette was myself, so I was in no position to demand that from these two.
I pointed at the corpse they brought in with my chin and spoke to the farmers, “What is that now?”
Feeling a bit fatigued, I stabbed the shovel on the ground and leaned against it.
The farmers quickly explained the story behind the dead body.
“You see, sir, my neighbour Beron died from the plague.”
“Euh-euhk, it was so terrible. I’m worried about us getting infected by the plague ourselves and die later.”
“You didn’t cremate the body?” I said in pure dissatisfaction, causing the farmers to stare at each other.
They then replied with awkward expressions.
“Well, that… You know, it’s a bit… Even though we weren’t that close, we still said good mornings to each other everyday, so we figured that he should at least get a decent burial, you see… We heard that a simple purification ceremony is enough to let us bury him as an intact corpse.”
“W-we got tasked with this job recently, so we don’t know much about the finer details on what we should do, sir. How should we even cremate…”
I glared at them with eyes filled with dissatisfaction as I raised myself up.
It’d be fine to cremate the body and bring only the ashes, but these villagers seemed to be rather disinclined to harm the corpses. Perhaps it was due to the affection they felt towards one another when the dead body was still alive or something.
Obviously, the number of things I had to do would increase because of this, but oh well.
I raised my shovel up high, and then I glared at the farmers.
The farmers flinched in surprise and backtracked in a hurry.
One farmer was panicking, while…
“I told you his old habit is still there! He didn’t change after his suic…!!”
…The other farmer was shouting loudly, his complexion ashen-white.
They probably thought that my shovel was aimed at them.
It was then.
The corpse wrapped tightly in fabric suddenly writhed and began moving. It extended its hand out and grabbed one of the farmers.
Its cheeks were torn open and its mouth was split wide as if its jaw wanted to fall off.
Just before the damn thing could take a bite out of the farmer’s neck, my shovel sliced down. The edges of the farming tool slammed into the animated corpse’s head.
The farmers got the shock of their lives and ended up falling on their asses.
I lightly dusted my hand and spoke, “I keep telling you people.”
Raising the shovel again, I performed the kill-confirm strike. A rather bone-chilling noise issued out.
“If you don’t cremate the corpse, it’ll turn into a zombie in three-four days.”
This world was rather unique in that way.
I wasn’t sure about a bustling city, but the thing was, when a person died near ‘negative spots’, such as somewhere out in the remote rural areas, some gloomy forest, or even in the middle of a battlefield, there was a one out of ten chance he or she would be revived as a zombie.
It was like the standard rule of this world or some such.
And the ones tasked with dealing such zombies among the villagers were called ‘hunters’, ‘gravekeepers’, or the Priests.
The ‘negative spot’ found in the surrounding vicinity of the ‘Land of the Dead Spirits’ was especially strong. However, this was also probably because this was the final resting ground of the Necromancer King, the one who turned the continent into an ocean of death in the past.
Thanks to that, anyone who died in this place had about a 50% chance of turning into an undead. The villagers already knew about this, and yet their dumb beliefs meant they were reluctant to cremate the dead with their own hands.
Their reasoning was quite simple–a superstition about getting cursed themselves.
I wiped the sweat off my forehead and then drank some water out of the leather waterskin attached to my hips. “Whatever. Thanks for your hard work. You may go now.”
I waved my hand dismissively.
The two farmers swallowed nervously as they stood back up. They then studied each other’s moods before quietly opening their mouths. “Excuse me… Sir Imperial Prince?”
I stared at them as I drank some more water.
“I-Imperial Prince-nim, sir, you… You’re a Priest in a way, yes?”
“I don’t know crap about being a Priest or not, but I’m the grandson of the Holy Emperor, sure. I’m just the grandson of a man who enjoys the authority of an emperor and a pope at the same time.”
Well, that’s what I was on the outside… Ah, I forgot about the divinity inside me.
“I-in that case, is it possible for you to bless us so that we don’t get infected by the plague?”
I looked at them with a less-than-impressed glare.
What the hell were they on about? There’s no way you wouldn’t get infected by the plague with something like that. Do you think that it’s some sort of vaccination?
Besides, I didn’t even possess such skills either. I wasn’t even a Priest, but a damn Necromancer, so why the hell…
I shook my head as a response to their request, but the farmers didn’t give up so easily.
“E-even if it’s just a simple baptism…”
They held hands and begged, their expressions serious and earnest.
The plague doing the rounds in this area lately must’ve been pretty grave. But then again, that had to be since corpses were frequently being brought into the graveyard. The appeal that the villagers sent to a nearby feudal lord must’ve fallen on deaf ears.
At this rate, it wouldn’t be strange to see a whole village disappear.
“What do you mean by baptism? I’ve never done anything like that before.”
“P-please don’t be like that.”
These farmers seemed to be under the assumption that I wasn’t helping them out because I couldn’t be bothered about their fate. They rummaged through their pockets and fished out a handful of coins before presenting me with those.
“This isn’t much, but please…”
Indeed, it was literally a pocket change that a little kid might carry around. I alternated my gaze between the two farmers, and they looked back at me with pleading faces.
I spat out a lengthy groan. “…If that can put your minds at ease.”
Even though I said that, I still didn’t know how to perform a baptism or whatever. I mean, when would I have ever had the chance to do something like that?
I tried to recall what I saw in passing from TV in my previous life.
I poured a little bit of water from the waterskin at the two farmers. After drawing a sloppy cross in the air, I mumbled out. “Uh, so. Uhm, amen?”
Even if it was just for show, I thought it’d be discourteous not to do it.
Originally, one would have to spray around holy water and recite the holy scripture, but as I didn’t know how to do that, I decided to just gloss over the finer details.
When the farmers saw how sloppy I was, they sighed under their breaths. But still, they gathered their hands and offered their prayers.
“We pray that Gaia’s blessing will be with us.”
It was exactly then.
[You have blessed your target.]
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