I carefully explore the underground labyrinth with the Lord’s support.
According to him, magical circles are delicate and very dangerous rituals.
Magic has always been something that only those with talents could use, but a magic circle is something those talented spellcasters use to cause large-scale phenomena they wouldn’t be able to exercise normally.
The array, assembled with multiple magic letters, is a lump of magic and a melting pot of powers.
This ritual magic, which is prone to going out of control in ways sometimes unpredictable even to its caster due to the interference from the outside, was thus abolished long ago.
Including the fact that the Evil-warding Steel, the metal which absorbs the blessing and is pretty much not produced nowadays, was used lavishly, it’s certain that this underground labyrinth was built quite a long time ago.
‘Look, End. It is put together in a way so that the power of death from the upper layer gathers here.’
The Lord’s words are flowing. As it turns out, the walls that I can only see as a labyrinth, look different to him. I’ve lightly thought about this before too, but the Lord might’ve been a much more powerful spellcaster than I gave him the credit for.
If I had lost and Horus Carmon had become the King of the Dead, there’s a chance that the world might have acquired another terrifying enemy.
Shouldn’t the Order of Death Knights be thankful to me and let me join them? I’ll do my job well, you know? I’ll be a real hard worker. Necromancers don’t really have the feeling of camaraderie.
I follow the Lord’s instructions and damage the walls and the floor in order. Senri, who followed me while repelling the assailants from the darkness, said something cruel.
“End, are you perhaps… just winging it?”
“I’m not. Has there ever been a time when I did things without a reason?”
Senri fell silent with a sorry expression.
The Lord isn’t my ally, but a part of him is being absorbed by me. The fact that I was able to use Necromancy, even if only partially, is the proof of that.
He wouldn’t take the initiative to do something that would lead to my death. I still need to be alert towards him, but it should be okay to trust him for now.
He can’t defeat me even now when I’m most likely weakened by Sable’s curse that’s eating into me. I have the… upper hand.
Following the Lord’s instructions, I hit a part of the floor with the machete.
When I look at it like this, it really feels like the whirling power of death moves a little with each strike.
Still, they really did a good job creating an underground labyrinth this wide.
Creating something this big underground means using a completely different kind of labor compared to building the castle above. I can’t imagine that they’d manage something with magic.
‘They used Skeletons. Those are tireless faithful servants. That is also what I used to do.’
The Lord says earnestly. Listening to that, Necromancy is pretty outstanding, if you don’t think about the ethical parts of it.
Only the sound of me damaging the pathway is resonating. Senri is giving me free reign for now, but it’s scary that there’s no end to this.
‘Fool! This is a delicate spell. Destroying it would be one thing, but dispelling it requires taking specific steps. This was something that couldn’t be dispelled before!’
“It’ll take a bit more time.”
I want to hurry up and go home… Anyway, I’m surprised that you can dispel the magic circle made by the King of the Dead.
The Lord answered my misgivings with exasperation.
‘It’s an old-fashioned magic circle. It stopped being used because it had a defect. The techniques have also advanced, I can’t call myself the one who transcended death if I can’t dispel something of this level.’
I dismantle the magic circle while silently confirming it with the Lord.
I don’t have much knowledge yet, but vampires also seem to have great aptitude for being mages. That’s most likely the reason why the Lord chose the Fleshman for the start of evolution into the King of the Undead.
Vampires have mana. They have a body resistant to magic. And ―― they also seem to have unique eyes.
When Lesser Vampires evolve into vampires, they acquire many abilities. But the evolution doesn’t stop at that.
Even higher ranked vampires, who live for many years and accumulate the power of death, acquire magic eyes.
The eyes of the Lesser vampires are incomparable to that, but even my eyes can see the flow of the power of the dead and mana.
I don’t really get it, but this seems to be the power that all mages desperately long for.
Perhaps if I study more and gain more power, I might be able to live without having to fight with people?
People abhor the undead because they are the threats to the humans above all else. I, who possess human consciousness, might be able to change that.
If it’s true, I don’t want to do anything annoying, but if it’s for the sake of living peacefully with Senri, there might be room for consideration.
Thinking about things like that and distracting the pain, I destroy one more place. The Lord, who’s floating in the air, says.
‘Three more places left. The chain that confines the power will be cut and the pooled power of death will naturally disappear. A part of it might flow into you too.’
I see… so that’s why he cooperated. On the contrary, it makes sense.
The power of death is also the source of my power. Having more power wouldn’t be a problem. I’ll gladly accept. If my power gets stronger, this pain might stop too ――
Would we be able to return to the town right before dawn?
Just as I started thinking about something easy going like that, my instincts sensed danger.
My sensory function is sensitive. As an undead, I half-reflexively look for the living beings.
Usually I would have noticed it way faster. The reason why it happened so late is definitely because of the pain.
I forcibly move my hurting leg and jump back. I hug Senri, who’s behind me, and roll on the ground.
And a ray of light ――一 passes right above me.
“Shit! It was evaded.”
It had a density incomparable to the light that Senri used to release, but it was undoubtedly made up of blessing.
The familiar voice made pain run through my head. My undead instincts were warning me about the appearance of the my natural enemy,
Shit, there’s only three more places left. Just why did they have to choose this timing!
The emitted voice was almost thug-like. But I already knew that this voice possessed a tremendous power.
It’s been a while since I became an undead, but they were the only ones who left me as just a head.
The amethyst–colored eyes of Senri in my embrace are looking at me. There is no agitation in her expression.
However, since we’ve been together for so long, I can see her confusion very well.
The grim reapers descended in the dark.
Wrapped in the same faint light as Senri, their bodies glowed even in the underground labyrinth where the negative power whirled.
A thin man with a sword and a man with sharp eyes and a mace.
“It’s been a while, Senri.”
Senri called his name. I evade the light mercilessly fired by the second person while still holding Senri.
The bullet of light pierces through the underground labyrinth. There is not a scratch left on the stone walls and the floor but that’s probably because this attack wasn’t accompanied by a material force.
Light exists to erase the power of death. It’s a technique meant to efficiently exorcize me.
It most likely wouldn’t be able to scratch Senri even if it hit her.
“Tsk… so it’s as I thought… shit! So you were still together. You goddamn vampire!”
The other man who fired light. His eyes were blazing with killing intent and anger.
I’ve never forgotten him. There’s no way I’d ever forget him. The man who almost killed me once.
I rebuke my body, that’s trembling in fear. I slowly get up while holding Senri.
In between my movements, I force my mind, that had turned dull from pain, run at high speed. Meanwhile, the Lord is looking down on us.
Why are they here? Where did they follow us from? What’s their objective? How many of the enemies are here?
No, before all that, is that man, the man who tried to kill me from long distance, the hero of the light, Epée the ‘Destroyer’ here?
It’s just two people. There’s no other presence. The enormous amount of energy coming from that man stands out. There are only these two – in the basement.
It’s okay, I can move. If I lose, I’ll lose Senri. I can’t afford to lose.
Things are different from back then.
Right now, I’m―― a monster. I speak. I do my utmost to not relay my agitation. The words spilling from my mouth were coldly somber.
“Long time no see, Lufry ―― and Neville. Sorry but we’re in the middle of something… we’re busy… can you go back?”
Think. About the way to get away from this situation. The conditions.
I absolutely didn’t want to meet them. Senri’s spirit is that of a Death Knight even now. She’s strong but delicate. If they meet, she’ll definitely start to waver.
But I also can’t exactly kill Senri’s former comrades. The only thing I’m going to sever – is their connection.
I force myself to smile. Then, Lufry tilted his right hand upwards with a stern expression.
There was no sound or any signs. I was inadvertently dumbfounded.
Countless bullets of light appeared in front of Lufry.
Their numbers ―― amounted to a few hundred. If it’s going to be evaded, might as well make it the amount that can’t be evaded. Is that what he thought?
I feel like I can understand the Lord’s feelings a bit.
“Let me guess ―― you guys must be muscle-brains?”
Dell, who I fought together with in a fight against Rainel, was more intelligent! Is everybody in Epée’s troops like this?!
As I let out a dry voice, bullets of light hailed down on me like a rainstorm.