Chapter 31: 019. Imperial Prince is Really Toiling Away -4
The physical strength of a ghoul was said to be equivalent to four adult men. However, this soldier was able to easily defend against an attack from such a monster.
‘But… but how?’
The soldier shivered after sensing an aura permeate within his body.
He felt light. All of his wounds were healed too. And, in addition, he even felt much stronger than ever before. He sensed the divine aura emanate behind him and shifted his gaze towards it.
Right beside the feudal lord Jenald stood the ‘mangnani’ Imperial Prince. No one knew where he got it from, but he had stabbed a shovel down on the ground while emitting countless particles of bright light from his whole body.
The boy-prince then muttered with a fed-up expression, “…Please, please be nice to me at least this one time, please?”
His voice contained some hints of resentment, but the soldiers couldn’t figure out who those words were meant for.
However, they were sure of one thing. This incredibly powerful ‘Blessing’ had to be something their Imperial Prince brought to reality! This caused the soldiers to fall into a pit of confusion.
“B-but, how can the Imperial Prince use such magic?”
Wasn’t he an irredeemable trash and an inept ‘mangnani’?
These soldiers encountered many Priests come and visit the Sacrificial Castle for the past several decades. That even included some high-class Priests who possessed amazing abilities as well. But even then, not one of them was able to cast a ‘Blessing’ of this caliber and not only that, over such a wide area too!
‘…Besides all that, was the Blessing spell supposed to last this long?’
It wasn’t just one’s body that got blessed – swords, spears, shields, and even armors; every single one of them was enveloped in divinity.
It was a wide-area divinity magic, plus, it had enough power to imbue itself into inanimate objects too!
“W-what is the meaning of…??”
All of the soldiers carried disbelieving faces. Even then, they began recalling a certain tale they heard while growing up.
The Necromancer King, Amon. The king of the undead who led a massive army of several hundred thousands. And the Great Hero Kelt Olfolse, who defeated Amon 50 years ago.
The Imperial Prince behind them was the grandson of ‘Holy Emperor Kelt Olfolse’; a boy whose veins were flowing with the blood of the Great Hero.
This immense and beyond measurable divinity must’ve come from that noble bloodline.
“You lot, fight hard! I’ll be casting all the ‘Heal’ you can handle like a petrol station pump, alright?”
The soldiers weren’t sure what the prince was yapping on about. However, they still could feel the power flow within them.
A hero’s grandson was watching them from behind. The descendant of the great hero responsible for killing the Necromancer King Amon was now protecting them on this very land, the Land of the Dead Spirits.
At this very moment, confidence overflowed in them as if they had all become the fearless knights fighting alongside the great hero.
The soldiers all loudly bellowed on.
On the other hand, the undead were screeching out.
Soldiers tightly grasped their shields and lowered their postures.
Ghouls rushed in and zombies staggered quickly towards the human soldiers. Soon, the waves of undead collided with the wall of living. Shields were forced back.
“Don’t falter! Hold the line!!”
The supporters who were standing behind the first line shouted out. A soldier on the frontlines holding a shield gritted his teeth.
‘This isn’t a problem…!’
Indeed, nothing could stop him. Because…
…Because, they were no longer regular soldiers. His feet firmly planted on the ground faltered a little but he managed to withstand the assault. A ghoul pounced and swung its claws at the soldier to rip the shield away, and yet, he shoved the monster back instead.
The ghoul lost its balance, its arms flailing about ungainly in the air.
‘Oh my goddess! Did he just shove a ghoul back?’
The supporting soldier at the back was also stunned at what he just witnessed but still didn’t forget to quickly thrust out his spear.
The spear blade penetrated through the ghoul’s flesh with goosebump-inducing ease.
After the weapon was pulled out, a huge hole opened up in the ghoul, and ash began falling out from it. The monster howled in sheer pain, and while grabbing its wounded shoulder, quickly backed away before emitting a loud screech filled with wariness.
The soldiers who saw this sight all had their brows shot up high.
‘It can feel pain…?’
An undead felt pain?
The supporting soldier looked at his spear. Particles of gentle light were slowly leaking out from the weapon.
They were supposed to mere soldiers. Not knights, but measly grunts.
Obviously, they had never learned how to utilize Mana, nor were they taught to use divinity. Simply put, they were trained only to rely on their physical abilities. But now, they were wielding weapons draped in divinity, almost as if they had suddenly become Paladins.
“Hah! Haha! Hahaha!!”
The soldier involuntarily laughed out loudly.
‘What the heck is this… I-I can use divinity?’
The rest of the soldiers shifted their glares at the monsters. The zombies and ghouls that scared them before now looked weak and pathetic.
On the flip side, it felt as if they had really turned into the objects of their yearning, the mighty Paladins.
“We can do this…”
Indeed, they could.
“We can win!!”
Indeed, they could!
All of the soldiers roared out together. They didn’t even bother to remain in their formation anymore. The feeling of adrenaline and excitement made them rush out from their ranks.
With speeds they themselves could scarcely believe, the soldiers quickly arrived before the zombies and ghouls to swing their weapons. Numerous blades sliced past the flesh of the undead.
It was as if they were slicing tofu; their weapons cut down their enemies so easily.
As the undead’s flesh cracked apart, their body parts burned away from the divinity, becoming ashes while scattering away.
The soldiers grew beyond confident and straight into the realm of arrogance. It was no longer time for the undead to hunt the living, but the living soldiers to hunt down these infernal undead instead.
As a soldier thought like this, he sensed a certain presence behind him and quickly took a look behind.
His head flew away, a surprised expression forever etched on his face.
The other soldiers flinched and quickly shifted their gazes.
It was a monster with a height of 2.5 meters; in its right hand was a longsword, while in its left, its own head. An undead knight kitted out in full plate armor stood imposingly.
The soldiers discovered the presence of the dullahan and cried out in panic. Only then did they wake up from their temporary delusions and go straight back to reality.
It was then, someone stepped on a soldier’s shoulders and leaped up.
The bladed edge of the shovel gleamed under the light. The Imperial Prince swung his shovel with a sharp and focused glare in his eyes.
However, the dullahan easily smacked the shovel away.
“What the fu…?!”
The Imperial Prince was flung into the air.
Once Jenald witnessed this sight, he hurriedly shouted out, “P-protect his highness, now!!”
The soldiers quickly recovered their wits and caught the prince as he fell back to the ground.
“M-maintain formation!! All of you, wake the hell up!!”
Jenald’s loud orders brought the excited soldiers back to reality. They were just regular soldiers, not real Paladins who could display overwhelming martial prowess against undead monsters.
Once they realized this fact, fear quickly filled the soldiers up again and they urgently retreated.
The dullahan’s head in its own left hand suddenly exploded out in a bizarre howl. Its massive longsword was raised up high, before smashing down.
Two soldiers within the formation raised their shields and defended against the longsword together. As the heavy attack landed, the soldiers wobbled unsteadily.
The dullahan swung its sword once more, this time slicing upwards.
However, the monster’s second attack was defended as well but the shields ended up developing noticeable cracks. The soldiers who ably withstood the ghouls and their vicious attacks couldn’t endure the strike and were lifted up into the air, before crashing back down on their rear.
The formation was broken and a huge opening was created. The spear-carrying soldiers behind became deathly pale in an instant.
“S-stab that thing!”
With these words, the panicking soldiers grasped their spears tightly and thrust them forward. The weapons enhanced by divinity broke past the armor and pierced into the monster. The dullahan howled out in pain, but it didn’t stop swinging its sword in every which way.
“…Goddammit, that stinking little…!”
The Imperial Prince jumped back up to his feet and tried to rush forward. However, Jenald hurriedly held him back.
“No, your highness!! Our opponent is a dullahan! The headless knight! It’s in another realm compared to the ghouls!”
Jenald quickly shut his mouth up, because the boy prince frowned and then suddenly extracted something out of his inner pocket without saying anything else.
The feudal lord’s eyes widened after realising what the Imperial Prince had taken out.
Somehow, a long, stick-like weapon came out from the prince’s pocket. It was rather shocking to see something that shouldn’t fit the volume of the small pocket emerge so nonchalantly like that, but what shocked him even more was the type of the weapon itself.
It was… a rifle?
What was he doing with that decorative piece?
The ghostly glare in the dullahan’s eyes burned fiercely. When it swung its sword again, two soldiers were flung away helplessly. The formation broke down once more, which enabled the ghouls and zombies to go on the offensive again.
The dullahan raised its head and snickered derisively. Its dead eyes shifted around, until it spotted a small-framed boy among the humans.
Just as the monster realized that the child was pointing a long stick at itself…
A blinding flash of light exploded, and at the same time, the dullahan’s head exploded as well, only to scatter away as bits of ashes.
With its head gone, the dullahan went down on its knees and toppled weakly forward.
“Thought as much… shouldn’t have stepped forward…”
The Imperial Prince must’ve been feeling exhausted because, while still holding onto his musket rifle, he plopped down on the ground while tutting unhappily.
As he stood on top of the fortress wall, Harman swallowed his dry saliva.
It was well-known that the Positive Field repelled the demonic energy, while the Negative Field attracted it. As long as the sun blazed overhead, an undead couldn’t exhibit that much power.
‘Even that is disappearing.’
Harman looked up at the sky.
The violent snowstorm accompanying the black clouds was blocking the sunlight almost as if to devour the sun itself. He could sense a faint trace of demonic energy from them. These dark clouds were most likely a ‘fog’ created by the Vampire.
‘Not only that, the sun is about to set too.’
The battle that commenced in the morning showed no signs of ending any time soon as evening approached.
Boom…! Boom…! Boom…!
A zombie wobbled as it continued to beat the war drum. Every time the drum made out of human hide resounded out, zombies and skeletons screeched and howled out in rhythm.
One of the knights issued his command and the convicts quickly fired arrows and crossbow bolts.
The advancing zombies and skeletons were bombarded with countless arrows. The monsters raised shoddy shields up to protect their heads. Soon, the falling arrows penetrated their various body parts — arms, legs, even their torsos. Monsters faltered and fell, or even knelt down from the impact. However, that was about it.
The arrows and bolts couldn’t pierce past the shields. No, some of them did, but only went as far as going through the monsters’ arms. None were able to touch their heads.
Normally the undeads were not able to run, yet, they advanced with quick steps and reached Ronia’s outer walls. By using ladders made out of wood and bones, they began climbing up.
– Kkiiieek, kkieek!
The arrows and bolts were now aimed at the zombies and undead climbing up the ladders. The helms of the monsters were finally pierced as they tottered unsteadily before falling back down.
More undead blankly stood at the bottom, and waited for their turns while protecting their heads with shields.
They knew no such thing as fear. They didn’t feel any pain either.
No, they simply moved according to the orders given. If their heads weren’t accurately struck, these monsters would simply continue to climb up the walls.
This was the essence of an undying army. And that’s what made the undead such troublesome enemies.
Harman watched this scene unfold and spat out an expletive.
The other side was completely ignoring their own safety. As long as the heads filled with demonic energy weren’t destroyed, these undead monsters could move again and again.
So, the enemy was taking advantage of this situation by going for a drawn-out war of attrition.
‘No, wait. The real problem isn’t them.’
The catapults noisily shook about among the zombies. At the same time, something large flew in and fell inside the fortress.
Harman shifted his gaze over to the landing area. A large ‘ball’ made out of something destroyed a house and continued to roll forward on the ground. A short while later, it split apart and humanoid creatures scattered in all directions.
What flew in wasn’t some boulders used to destroy the walls and equipment, but it was a lump of rotting flesh. Zombies, in other words.
Harman looked at the far-off distance outside the fortress walls.
The four meter-tall giants, zombie ogres, continued moving. They scooped up the zombies swarming around them, and as if to create an onigiri, began shaping their fellow undead into a ball. Noises of bones and flesh being crushed from the ogre’s strength resounded out loudly. In some cases, zombies exploded while rotting blood dripped out too.
The zombie ogres then loaded the masses of flesh onto the catapults. After this was done, the creaky skeletons tugged and wounded back the pulleys… before letting go.
The pulleys turned and the catapults shot forward.
Once the soldiers witnessed this spectacle, they freaked out in despair.
“O-oh, my god…!”
A portion of the catapulted flesh crashed into the outer wall and crumbled down below. The ball of zombies bunched up together, split apart and scattered to the ground.
– Kk, kkiieeek…
After landing inside the fortress walls, these zombies started moving again despite their crushed limbs. They staggered back to their feet and dispersed in all directions.
Numerous soldiers desperately thrust their spears out and defended against the zombies climbing over the fortress walls.
There was a good possibility that the terrified regular citizens would get devoured without offering any resistance or be reborn as more undead.
“Use the ballistas and stop those things!”
The convicts quickly took aim with the ballistas installed on the outer walls. Huge bolts were loaded and quickly fired at the zombie ogres.
Some brushed past, while other shots landed accurately on the ogres’ bodies, but such a thing wasn’t threatening enough for the undead. The zombie ogres wobbled only for a little while, and then, simply ignored the bolts penetrating their bodies and continued scooping zombies up to load them onto the catapults.
Harman gritted his teeth at this sight.
With how things were, he couldn’t even claim to have locked the gates. Enemies were continuously streaming into the Ronia fortress’s interior, after all.
At this rate…
‘…We’ll be overrun!’
His glare shifted over to the Vampire Count once more. The corpulent monster was simply roaring in laughter atop its sedan chair.
‘We need to stop them, no matter what. At the very least, we need to stall for time until the Empire learns of the situation in this place… Until they send us reinforcements…!’
However, Harman still couldn’t think of a way.
A minimum of two weeks would be needed before the Theocratic Empire learns of this situation. By then, this fortress would have been completely overrun.
Just as he clenched his fists out of sheer frustration and rage, a certain girl brushed past his front.
Harman flinched and quickly looked at the girl with silver-white hair.
< 019. Imperial Prince is Really Toiling Away -4 > Fin.