Chapter 37: 024. Merry Christmas! -3
“I-I beg your pardon, but… my lord, Viscount Jenald! I-I can’t fight like this! As you can see, my leg hasn’t fully healed yet!”
The eldest son of Count Hedron, Heis, pleaded with the feudal lord while limping on his perfectly-fine leg.
“L-look! My leg is still like this! And yet, you want me to partake in the forthcoming battle?”
“I’ve been reliably informed that Sir Heis has trained in the ways of the sword back in the Academy. Right now, we need every able hand we can find. Please, lend us your strength.”
Feudal lord Jenald made his reply and ignored the boy altogether from then on.
However, Heis didn’t give up and chased after him. “B-but…!”
Just before the boy could carry on with his words, Jenald suddenly grabbed him by the collars. “You’re here due to your transgressions, Sir Heis, and as such, you must serve your time! This is the reason why the Sacrificial Castle stands h…”
It was then.
A streak of crimson light sliced past the outer walls. Both Jenald and Heis flinched in surprise and quickly turned their heads to look.
A huge hole had opened up. The wall began ballooning up around this hole before spectacularly blowing up.
Debris of stone and wood rained down everywhere. The soldiers nearby were flung away into the air like ragdolls.
Jenald couldn’t immediately recover from the aftermath of the explosion and shook his head ungainly. A disorienting buzz continued to ring inside his ears. He forced himself to look in the same location again, and his brows shot up greatly soon afterwards.
The outer wall had… collapsed.
The nightmarish howls of the undead could clearly be heard coming from the other side of the wall.
“Ah… Ahhh! I-I can’t hear anything! Lord Jenald! I can’t… I can’t hear anything! P-please, save, save me…!”
Heis clung onto Jenald’s pants, but the latter simply ignored the boy and staggered back up to his feet. He then muttered to himself while looking at the outer wall, “…M-must, stop…”
The soldiers and convicts got up with the same difficulty as him as well. They were shaking the cobwebs off their heads, still oblivious to what’s going on.
Their feudal lord, Jenald, managed to roar out these words. Only then did they realise the current situation. Their gazes hurriedly shifted towards the destroyed outer wall.
The ground was vibrating. Hordes of undead were rushing out from the thick fog. And not with their usual slow, lumbering steps either – they were running madly in order to devour the living.
The complexions of the soldiers and convicts paled instantly.
As soon as they regained their bearings, they fell back into panic again.
All of them were screaming. They either held their heads or trembled from sheer fear. Some who even began running away.
None of them were thinking of ‘fighting back’.
This ‘fear’ quickly spread among the ranks of the convicts. Even the trained soldiers and knights were trembling right now.
The fog containing demonic energy seeped in through the destroyed wall. And from the sky, the red moon cast its eerie glow down below.
The atmosphere morphed into one perfectly suited to instil ‘fear’ in the hearts of ‘men’.
“What are you all doing?! Stop… Stop them!”
Jenald shouted out, but there were no soldiers who heeded him. Instead, they simply stood frozen in place and dazedly stared at the horde of the incoming undead.
The feudal lord gritted his teeth and unsheathed his sword. At this rate, the walking dead would fully invade into the fortress. This would mean the death of his citizens.
“Dammit, dammit…! Oh, dear Goddess of Love and Mercy, Gaia! Please grant us your protection!”
Even though Jenald didn’t know how to wield divinity, he did learn how to use Mana a really long time ago.
He offered his prayer towards the Goddess and invigorated the sleeping Mana within his body. He took a deep breath and approached the destroyed outer wall all by himself.
“…This kinda reminds me of a tower defence game.”
Viscount Jenald flinched in surprise from the sudden words and stopped walking. What a clear and pristine voice that was.
The ‘Spirit Speech’ which contained a low amount of divinity spread around and entered the ears of the surrounding soldiers and convicts. Their gazes were focused in one spot.
A Priest donning a beak mask while wearing a robe walked out from the darkness. With a shovel leaning against his shoulder, he glared at the incoming undead.
The distance between the wall and the voracious undead horde was now down to only 200 metres.
“Maybe it’ll be easier for us to defend one spot rather than moving about here and there.”
Their opponents were the undead after all. They were wild beasts that didn’t know how to use their heads. Such beings were heavily ruled by their primal instincts, causing them to blindly pounce on any living beings nearby.
When fighting against such creatures, it’d be most effective to bury them all at once in one area.
The beak mask-wearing Priest pointed his shovel at the rushing undead. There were only about 100 metres left now.
“Oh, dear Gaia. Grant me the strength to protect these poor lambs…”
His shovel suddenly began glowing brightly.
The distance had now shrunk down to 50 metres.
“[Swamp of Death].”
A single droplet of water formed on the ends of the shovel’s blade.
That droplet then began falling towards the ground below.
The hordes of undead leapt up.
They now crossed into the other side of the outer walls.
Just as the droplet touched the ground and issued a clear ringing sound…
Every single undead who leapt up turned into ashes and were exterminated. Even the darkness dyeing the surroundings in the black hue disappeared too.
The feudal lord Jenald, Heis, the convicts, the soldiers, and Harman who belatedly arrived on the scene, all clamped their mouths shut.
The fog containing demonic energy dissipated. In its place, clear and pure water began wetting the ground. A shallow ‘lake’ soon formed there with the droplet as its centre.
Every single undead entering the wall fell down as soon as they stepped foot inside this lake. Their bodies enhanced by demonic energy convulsed violently before completely melting down.
The monsters howled and flailed about in agony.
Despite the lake only reaching up to their ankles, they still all ungainly thrashed about as if they had fallen into a bottomless ocean.
Viscount Jenald stared at the lake that extended past his own feet. He could sense an aura of holiness from the water. His initially chaotic head was now slowly growing calmer. He even felt his body getting lighter and stronger too.
He gasped and began thinking. ‘…This, this is exactly the same as the blessing bestowed by the Imperial Prince!’
“Oh dear Gaia…”
Jenald quickly shifted his gaze back to the Priest donning the beak mask, no, the Seventh Imperial Prince.
“Grant your divine protection to those who wish to fight beside you…”
The boy prince turned around and swung his shovel this time.
“[Plague of Debilitation].”
The moment those words left his lips, white particles of light rushed out from the bodies of the convicts and soldiers.
Jenald’s jaw dropped after witnessing this spectacle.
The Imperial Prince was performing a wide-area blessing without any hesitation whatsoever. This was a miracle that regular Priests could never dream of performing.
‘Just how much divinity does he have…?’
Just as Jenald thought of this, the Imperial Prince faltered slightly. He propped the shovel on the ground and managed to retain his balance. He then raised the mask ever so slightly and grabbed a bottle out of nowhere to drink what was contained within.
‘I see… did he exhaust all of his energy just now?’
Viscount Jenald tightly clenched his fist. He was deeply moved by the fact that his highness, the Imperial Prince, had personally stepped up to protect his citizens.
“I-it’s the… Saint-nim.”
Jenald flinched slightly from surprise yet again and shifted his gaze to his side. That’s where he found Heis, previously shivering in fear, mutter to himself in a daze.
“I-it’s really the Saint-nim…”
Jenald turned his head back.
This time, the voices came from the convicts and soldiers.
“The Saint-nim that defeated the Vampire…?”
“He’s the one who gave me the holy water.”
The silent whispers soon grew louder and became noisy clamours.
With this, everyone recovered their wits. The ‘terror’ and ‘fear’ they experienced just now had disappeared.
Jenald’s heart pounded away. He knew that now was the time. He needed to do something when everyone’s ‘fear’ had gone away.
But how…? And do what exactly?
“He…” Jenald finally opened his mouth, “The Saint, he… will be with us.”
His voice was small. No one could hear him.
He gritted his teeth, and then shouted loudly enough for the veins in his throats to bulge up, “The Saint-nim will-!!!”
Heis, the convicts, and the soldiers all flinched in surprise before looking at their feudal lord, Jenald.
“…He will be with us!!”
The eyes of soldiers and convicts grew larger and larger.
“The Saint who received the blessing of Goddess Gaia will fight with us! He is the grandson of the Great Hero, His Majesty the Holy Emperor Kelt Olfolse! The Seventh Imperial Prince will fight for our sake!”
Jenald roared out as he pointed his sword at the collapsed outer wall, at the undead falling over after stepping into the lake, and at those stepping over the melting corpses below only to melt down themselves.
He was pointing at the army of undead that was gradually inching closer to them.
“Let us fight with the Saint, and exterminate the undead!”
He then ran forward.
“For the glory of His Majesty, and for the glory of Gaia–!!”
All the soldiers and convicts quickly unsheathed and pulled out their weapons after witnessing their feudal lord personally rush into the fray.
Heis was initially confused by this development, but then, he too became drunk in the atmosphere and yanked out his sword.
Every single one of the soldiers and convicts rushed towards the undead.
The two sides collided and blood splattered everywhere.
While witnessing this spectacle, the Imperial Prince scowled deeply within the mask. He was trying to conceal his identity here, and yet that fool of a feudal lord had to go and grandly advertise it to everyone else! This somewhat pissed him off.
“Are you alright, your highness?”
Meanwhile, Harman approached the prince, clearly worried about him.
“…I spent way too much divinity.”
After seeing the prince chug down the holy water, Harman could only smile bitterly. He then summoned some soldiers and ordered them to escort the prince away.
While swords and spears sliced, diced, and stabbed into the surging horde of the undead, arrows and crossbow bolts rained down from either side of the destroyed wall. Oil was poured down and lit to burn away the creatures down below.
The undead who continued rushing in without any thoughts were quickly killed off.
“Saint-nim is with us!!”
“The bloodline of the Great Hero, Kelt Olfolse, is helping us!”
“His highness has stepped up as the vanguard!”
Their fighting spirit was soaring higher.
Whether it was a soldier or a convict, they all had fully broken free from the shackles of fear.
(TL: Back to 1st person POV.)
“Well, that’s amazing, alright.”
I was sitting on a chair located not too far from the destroyed outer wall to watch the ongoing battle.
I heard from somewhere that people were animals of the ‘mood of the moment’. Apparently, we would feel ‘fear’ because of the pressure emanating from the surroundings, or start feeling ‘rapture’ after being ‘incited’.
And right now, it kind of felt just like that.
“Inciting them is all good and well, but…”
– Let Gaia’s blessing be with us…!
– His Highness the Imperial Prince is with us!
– The Holy Emperor’s grandson, Allen Olfolse, has become the Saint and he will save us!
…Why do you all keep mentioning my name?! And who the eff is a Saint? What’s all this nonsense about saving you and the whatnot?
It seemed that the folks of this world were rather unstoppable when it came to interpreting things their own way.
I couldn’t help but click my tongue.
Basically, they lost their reasoning once more right after escaping from the clutches of fear. Could it be that divinity had a similar effect to psychedelics?
“Well, thanks to this, I can’t even summon my undead now.”
Yup, with the things as they were, I couldn’t summon my undead. But then again, I didn’t really need to make a move of my own now, so it might be as good a result for me in the end.
Loud footsteps could be heard from the distance.
I turned my attention towards the outer walls.
“It’s a zombie ogre!”
A four metre-tall giant, an ogre, made its entrance. A tottering monster with rotting flesh stepped across the lake filled with divinity. It then swung the mace held in its hand.
With each of its swings, four or five soldiers and convicts flew away while screaming, only to crash back down on the ground.
I winced and closed my eyes briefly after witnessing this sight. Getting struck by something like that meant you wouldn’t have enough time to feel pain, as you’d be pretty much dead right away.
The soldiers thrust their spears forward. However, the monster’s hide couldn’t be pierced with only such strikes. However, a figure leapt up towards the monster during the opening.
“Oh, the God of War, Heim…!”
The Paladin, Harman, draped his divinity over his sword, and as his eyes flickered coldly, he cleanly cut the ogre’s head off.
The severed head flew up before crashing back down to earth.
I spat out an exclamation after witnessing that sight, “Wow! So damn strong!”
Harman alone quite easily got rid of a zombie ogre that dozens of Dead Spirit Soldiers couldn’t win against.
With how things were going, I figured that I didn’t need to step up here anymore. The [Blessing] should persist on for a good while. Even if it did come to an end, these soldiers who were behaving as if they were drunk on the effects of psychedelics wouldn’t lose their fighting spirit any time soon.
It seemed like I didn’t have to summon any of my own undead to defend this pl…
– You lowly living things that defile this world! Pay for your sins with your lives!
I reflexively covered up my nose. A truly disgusting stench stung my nostrils.
I turned my head towards the outer walls.
There was a muscular three metre-tall monster walking in an unsteady gait, all the while sporting the white rolled-up hairstyle of medieval nobles and wearing blood-stained formal clothing.
It was the Vampire Count.
The hulking monster’s eyes burned in rage as it swung around its hands emitting crimson light.
A powerful explosion threw off dozens of soldiers in the air before they helplessly hit the ground. They must’ve died instantly as none of them moved afterwards.
It only lasted for a short while, though; the fallen soldiers suddenly convulsed and then stood back up as zombies to pounce on the living soldiers and convicts.
What the hell? Hang on… is that guy really the Vampire I sniped a couple of days ago?
That fat body was now filled with rippling muscles. As far as my memories go, it couldn’t even stand on its own two feet earlier and had to get dragged away by the other zombies. Yet now, it’s standing tall on its own no problem?
The bastard was swinging its demonic energy-laden hands everywhere to subjugate the living soldiers.
“You damn Vampire…!”
Harman roared out and rushed towards the Vampire Count. However, the monster simply deflected the swung sword with its hand glowing in crimson light.
– Where is that bastard?! Where’s the Priest who inflicted upon me this unforgivable shame earlier?!
The Vampire Count was furiously scanning the battlefield.
I naturally shrank back from that sight.
What the hell?! That guy’s looking for me?
– I said, where’s the damn Priest who humiliated me earlier?!
…Yup, it’s 100% me.
Holy cow. You’re supposed to be a Vampire ‘Count’, and yet, what a small-minded guy you are. Searching for me just because I landed a hit on you once…
I mean, what I did couldn’t be that bad, right…?
“…Well, I guess it was pretty bad.”
I inwardly clicked my tongue.
Meanwhile, the Vampire Count swung its hands again, flinging dozens more soldiers away before flinching grandly and stared straight in my direction.
– I sense a disgusting stench!
…Holy sh*t. Do I smell that bad?
I quickly took a look at myself. Only then did I realise that the particles of divinity were still drifting off of me, perhaps because I had been activating [Blessing] for a while now.
Son of a…!
I shot up from the chair.
The Vampire Count smirked and ran in my direction while shoving aside the soldiers in the way.
– You bastard! I shall personally devour you alive!
I quickly summoned the musket rifle.
I wasn’t planning on fighting the Vampire Count head-on. Doing that would be a certain death, after all.
“Doesn’t mean I’m gonna let you kill me, though.”
This was my struggle for survival.
I raised the rifle and took aim at the Vampire.
< 024. Merry Christmas! -3 > Fin.