Chapter 7: 006. Imperial Prince is Busting Heads -2
The complexions of the villagers instantly paled.
They were probably stunned silly after witnessing the Holy Emperor’s grandson grandly blaspheme their Goddess. If high-ranking church officials were nearby, then I’d have nothing to defend myself with when they either collapse from pure unbridled shock or try to arrest me for blasphemy.
I could hear someone among the villagers whisper, “Could it be that the Imperial Prince brought this plague upon us?”
It wouldn’t be all that surprising to see the villagers think that a calamity befell on them as punishment for the Holy Emperor’s grandson committing blasphemy.
I could only dry cough and look towards the front. The zombie horde was coming.
Specialty: Biting, clawing.
+ Currently in an ‘instinctively ravenous’ state]
My Mind’s Eye returned a truly sloppy information window.
However, it was enough. As implied, these creatures were slaves to their primal instincts, capable of only biting and clawing with their hands. The men from the village should be more than enough to deal with the lot.
But… the only problem right now was that they were in a terrified state. They began faltering back while voicing their dissatisfaction to me,
“Your highness, this is impossible! How do you expect us to fight them? We’re not a Priest like you!”
I kinda understood their position. If not for my profession of being a Necromancer, I’d be sh*tting my pants by now too. For the time being, I ignored them and silently glared at the zombies. This prompted one of the scared villagers to shout out,
“I… I can’t do this! We might survive if we run away now! If I take my daughter inside the monastery and run, we might…?!”
The man stopped yapping suddenly, his eyes growing larger. That was because he noticed one particular female zombie staggering around in the middle of the horde.
The man formed an expression of despair. Tears flooded down his cheeks as he began to wail.
I observed the woman in the midst of the zombies; half of her face had been ripped off. She looked pretty gruesome, what with various parts of her body riddled with bite wounds.
Although unfortunate, the woman was no longer his wife. No, she was just another walking dead now.
I ignored the sobbing man and placed the shovel on my shoulder. While doing my best to look unperturbed, I raised my voice, “Wow, that’s a lot of zombies, alright. Leaving them alone like this will cause a serious issue later. Killing them quickly and ending this calamity right now is for the best, really.”
I forced the corners of my lips to arc up, but man, acting wasn’t easy at all. Even I was feeling a bit tense right now. We weren’t talking about one or two zombies here, but several hundreds.
Getting bitten wouldn’t simply end with a bit of pain either. You’d really die if a whole bunch of them started biting you.
I began inhaling deep breaths in order to settle down my nerves. But then…
“I can’t do this!! I just can’t!!” The sobbing man loudly shouted at me, “I know it’s impossible for you lot, too!”
He then yelled at the rest of the villagers as if to lodge a protest. Pointing at the zombie horde emerging from the forest, he continued on, “They were our family members! Our friends, our neighbors! How do you expect me to kill them?!”
I scanned the villagers. Unrest was rising up among them. This was quite problematic. Not only were they falling into a bout of pure fear, they were even losing the courage to wield their weapons as well.
I quickly opened my mouth, “They’re already dead. Nothing will change if you ignore reality.”
The man was startled by my words, and began to glare at me. His tearful eyes were now filled with murderous hate.
“What a headache this is,” said I, before walking up to the man. I lightly patted him on the shoulder and did my best to sound as gentle as I could be. “Fine… since you don’t want to fight, you’ll run away instead? Do what you want. I won’t stop you.”
Once the man heard my permission, he shifted his gaze back to his zombified wife, and then he started backpedaling once more.
“However, you better stay sharp so that your zombie wife doesn’t hurt your little girl.”
Those words stopped the man dead in his tracks.
I glanced at him and continued on. “I’ll say this again. That thing over there is no longer alive.”
I pointed at the zombified woman, and the man turned around to look at his former wife once more.
“She looks pretty gruesome on the outside, right? Well, too bad, she looks even worse inside. What do you think is happening to her, really?”
You see, the [Mind’s Eye] skill didn’t only tell me the target’s ‘specialty’.
“Her corpse is rotting away while her soul has become a wandering specter that’s howling out from suffering right now.”
Maybe it was due to the effects of the Necromancer profession, I was also able to see the soul of the departed as well. Distorted souls overlapping the hundreds of zombies were screaming out in pain.
This was one of the reasons why I made graves and performed purification ceremonies. Without the ceremony, these souls would never be saved and just continue to scream every single day.
“She… she’s suffering?”
The man’s eyes trembled.
I nodded my head, “Obviously. She’s become an undead that harms other people, who in their right mind would be happy about that?”
“If you let her be like this, she’s destined to wander around forever as a spectre, never to be saved. Her corpse will rot and only her skeletons will remain. She’d remain as an undead for a very long time with no one to save her.” I picked up the discarded farming tool and pushed it back to him. “If that’s the case, how about you lessen her suffering? Your wife probably wants to close her eyes in her husband’s presence. Wouldn’t you say so?”
The man was no longer looking at me. He silently stared at his zombified wife, his hands gripping the farming tool tighter and tighter.
Tears fell as his expression crumpled even further.
This was the face of a man in agony. However, his eyes had stopped wavering and his gaze towards his dead wife had transformed into a glare.
He must’ve made up his mind now.
I patted him on the back. “The dead should remain dead, while the living should go on and live.” I then glanced at the rest of the villagers. “I don’t care if you decide to run away. However, you better discard the notion that doing so will guarantee your survival. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill zombies. They’re smart enough to block all the exits, don’t forget. You think you’ll be able to evade such zombies? Nope, it’s utterly impossible.”
Most of those who escaped elsewhere other than the monastery had already turned into zombies. Which meant that trying to escape from here now wouldn’t get you very far.
“In that case, there’s only one way out of this.” I raised my shovel and pointed at the zombies. My eyes swept over them as I spoke up. “We round them up and smack them dead one more time. This is the only way to protect your family, friends, and loved ones–and to save those wandering souls.”
I ended my speech with a bit of a smirk and the men began gritting their teeth. Even though they were still trembling in fear, no one was backing away now. This was a satisfactory result.
“I guess you all came to a decision then.” I stabbed the shovel on the ground, grasped its handle with both hands, and while shrugging my shoulders, I addressed the villagers, “Let’s end this as quickly as possible. Our job is simple. Kill the zombies and give them a proper burial. Don’t you worry about getting bitten though. I’ll bleed in my heart for you. And as an added service, I’ll provide you with holy water too.”
Was it because I sounded sarcastic? The villagers began cussing me out.
“He’s not even a human! How can he act this way?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. What can I do when this is the real me? However, just who am I? Aren’t I the Imperial Family’s mangnani!!”
“Just because it’s not your family…”
“Ahaha… you should be grateful that I’m willing to step up for you. If it were someone else, not only would he have run away by now, he’d also have chased you all out from the monastery too!”
I warmed up my muscles. Getting a move on while their minds were made up was the smartest thing to do. Who knew when their fighting spirit would start wilting due to the already-present sense of agitation?
“Let’s end this quickly.” I grasped the shovel with both of my hands. “The dead probably wish to rest quietly too.”
“Don’t get killed though. You’ll only increase my workload.”
Charlotte grew up in a happy family.
She was renowned for her honest and hardworking ways in this small village that was located far north in the Land of the Dead Spirits.
In the mornings, she would help her mother out by preparing breakfast and drawing water from the river. In the afternoons, she’d help her father by entering the forest to cut some firewood.
That very fateful day began the same as every other day.
She finished helping her mother prepare breakfast and went to the river outside the village to get some water. While struggling a little with what she was carrying, she returned to her house.
It was then, a rather familiar noise entered her ear.
-Blergh…. Uwahk…. Blergh…..
Charlotte was startled by the sound and quickly shifted her gaze to the side.
The next-door uncle was clutching his stomach while vomiting out everything in his tummy. His wife was beside him, gently patting his back with a concerned expression on her face.
A sour, stinging stench strong enough to make Charlotte instinctively block her nose wafted about. The girl formed a worried expression of her own.
‘Tom ahjussi is also sick.’
The autumn and winter seasons were the time of plagues. Even Charlotte’s father was struck down by the illness himself and was suffering in pain right now.
-Don’t worry my girl. I’ll be fine after a week or so from an illness like this.
Charlotte trusted her father’s words. In all honesty, she too had contracted a plague last year and had to go through a tough time, hadn’t she? However, look at her right now, wasn’t she still alive and well?
This was nothing more than a trial for one to overcome so that they could enjoy another year in health.
While feeling worried, Charlotte tried to talk to her neighbours.
The neighbour ahjumma flinched at Charlotte’s greeting. She even formed a scowl on her face. Without saying a word, she shot back a wary glare and went back inside the house along with her husband.
Charlotte felt just a little bit lonesome then.
She’d always smile and share greetings with her neighbours, but during the plague seasons, everyone would become as unfriendly as one could get. But then again, they were probably worried about the plague infecting someone else. Even if they were already suffering from it.
After thinking of this, Charlotte tried to enter her home in a hurry.
She lowered her head and found a rodent busy biting at her leather shoe. She frowned a little and kicked the vermin away.
The creature was flung towards a storehouse nearby. This was when she discovered dozens of glowing eyes in the gap of the storehouse’s open doorway.
Just as Charlotte formed a stunned expression, the rodent that she kicked screeched out loudly.
The howl was so monstrous that such a little body couldn’t have possibly produced it.
She was frightened by the screech so loud that it rang in her eardrums. She even dropped the metal bucket she was carrying. Reflexively, she turned around and ran.
Dozens of rodents chased after her.
She hurriedly dashed inside her home and shut the door behind her, locking it firmly in the process.
Slam! Boom! Bang!
The rodents slammed their bodies against the door.
– Mom! Dad!
Charlotte’s face was pale from fright. She quickly backed away from the door. Even then, she continued to call out to her parents with a frightened voice.
Unfortunately, they didn’t reply to her call.
What did return, though, was a horrifying scream.
Charlotte was shocked by what she heard and hurriedly ran into the kitchen. Almost immediately, her whole figure froze up.
Her mom, who was holding a kitchen knife and should’ve been preparing the family’s breakfast, she… her neck was being ripped apart by her father’s teeth.
Her Mom weakly muttered out to Charlotte as tears fell from her eyes.
-R… run… away…
The girl stood in her spot, her entire figure quivering without pause, and yet, she still resolutely shook her head.
-I-I’ll ask someone for help!
Charlotte looked at the front door. Rodents were still pounding away on it. This meant she couldn’t go out that way. She quickly approached the nearest window. Through the shut window, she shouted out as loudly as she could at the neighboring houses.
-Help us! Mom, she… My dad…!
She saw people peek out from each of the houses. However, it was only for a short while. They closed their curtains and ignored her.
-Wuu… Ohhh… Uh?
It was then that she heard a bizarre grunt coming from behind her. Flinching ever so slightly, Charlotte slowly turned around to look.
Her dad was unsteadily standing there.
His mouth, which was ripping into her mom’s throat only a second ago, was now dripping with blood. His now-dead eyes were staring straight at Charlotte.
Her zombified father pounced on her.
She couldn’t remember what happened properly after that.
In the faint, fragmented bits of memories flitting in and out of her mind, she was running into the kitchen to pick up the knife. That’s where she confronted her now zombified mother.
Charlotte wielded the knife, and when she finally came to, both her father and mother lay dead, filled with stab wounds.
She stood there, dazedly staring at the two unmoving corpses.
-Bleeergh… I, I need medicine…
-What, what’s this?! So many rats…?!
The screams of the villagers reverberated outside the window.
Charlotte turned her head towards the front door. The vermins had gnawed through it to create a hole. Once the door broke, the pack of rats, with their crimson teeth, pounced on her.
Charlotte opened her eyes and shot up from the bedding. Cold sweat rolled down her face as she quickly scanned her surroundings. Her hands reflexively flailed about in the empty air.
Somewhat embarrassingly, no rodents were pouncing on her.
Charlotte panted heavily, her complexion deeply pale.
Where was this?
Her shifting gaze took in the sights of the monastery’s interior.
…And then, the aunties and old ladies were taken slightly aback after seeing her wake up and came closer.
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