Lufry, the third class knight, squinted at the dense, overgrown woods.
“So, it wasn’t a trap…”
“I was certain it’d be an ambush.”
“The barrier is down. It simply means we have someone helping us.”
Remarked Senri indifferently and folded the letter she held in her hands, which she then carefully placed in her pocket.
The letter was an invitation. An invitation to Lord Horus’ stronghold from an unknown sender.
It is only natural that Lufry found it suspicious. However, any residual suspicions were cleared the moment we got here.
‘Mislead & Dispel’ is a formidable magic equation.
It does not respond to physical attacks and there is no equal to its defensive ability. As long as it was in effect, even if Senri marched into the woods with a thousand people, or even if the place of aim was just a hundred meters away, they would not be able to reach it.
There was only one way to get through the barrier.
And that is to follow the lead of someone who knew the way. In the presence of a guide, the barrier loses its effect. It was its only weakness and at the same time the reason behind its strength.
The trick does not work unless at least one of the guides is outside of the barrier.
However, the person is an ally of the necromancer. They had to have known that they would be pursued as well.
They must be somewhere around the barrier, but it is next to impossible to find a single person in a short span of time.
I had thought that there was no other way but to destroy the barrier along with the woods. Senri had asked Neville for a week, not only to search for a guide but also to prepare herself to destroy the woods.
However, there was no need to unnecessarily increase the number of casualties.
The letter that had been addressed to Senri was a simple map, but it certainly fulfilled its role as a guide.
It was clear that the barrier in the woods allowed Senri and the others to pass.
Which meant that they had an ally in the necromancer’s lair.
They had a supporter. The simple fact gave Senri the strength to press forward.
Senri Silvis was calm and relaxed at the face of a battle against a second class necromancer.
She had… no fear.
They were all armed to the teeth. The white cloak that reduced the effects of any physical and magical attacks and the light silver armor that protected their vitals. An amulet that shielded them from curses and prevented contamination to their soul. They stood glaring at the woods, carrying well maintained weapons that glinted in the sunlight.
One of the Death Knights, Thelma, a blonde female knight whose weapon of choice was a bow, quickly pulled out an arrow, and in a flash, sent it flying towards the target.
The arrowhead made of silver that the undead are susceptible to, found its target in a dark owl that sat atop a tree and pierced its head.
“Stay on your toes. The opponent commands an army of undead.”
“Hah. Senri, since when did you start worrying about others? We’ll be sure to back you up, so go and freely swing your sword around as usual.”
Senri nodded in response, and as usual, she gathered the power of blessing to use it more efficiently.
The power surged through her dainty body and she drew the silver holy sword from its sheath.
Positive energy capable of dispelling darkness bursts forth and the surrounding area is filled with light. The Death Knights begin their charge towards Horus Carmon’s stronghold.
☠ ☠ ☠
The battle begins. Between Darkness & Light, Life & Death, Positive & Negative energy.
I suppose it is because I am an undead, I could sense an enormous amount of light energy approaching us from far away even though I was inside the mansion.
It was nothing like what I felt when I first met them.
The situation is different now. The Death Knights are coming to kill the Lord and myself.
However, my body did not tremble in fear. I am resolute. Surely, no matter what I have to sacrifice and how much I have to suffer, I will survive.
The Lord… was the only problem.
Even after sensing the tremendous amount of light, there was nary a semblance of fear on the Lord’s face.
I am not sure if that was because of the madness in him or because even in the face of such overwhelming power, he felt there was still a chance of victory.
That was my only cause for concern.
The Lord, who I am magically bound to as a servant… must die.
As long as he lives, I am not even allowed the luxury of having the freedom to survive by leading a life on the run.
The Lord threw open the gates of the mansion and raised the short staff he held and exclaimed.
“… Aahh, Oh Great Personification of Death, Imprisoned soul, Crawl out of the depths of hell, answering my call for Death, Come forth and lay waste to all things living. ‘Corpse Parade’.”
Before I realized it, there were countless undead monsters gathered in the spacious courtyard of the mansion.
There were wolves, bears, monkeys, crows. Amongst which were monsters I had hunted that the Lord had transformed into undead.
Roux, who followed after, looked at the scene and her eyes almost popped out of her head and she looked breathless.
She was trembling but her eyes were fixed upon the Flesh Wild in the courtyard.
The trees rustled eerily. Although it was still daylight, it somehow felt as if the night had come.
The body of one of the night wolves in waiting creaked audibly, and its already brawny body expanded even further. Its fangs grew double in size and its eyes shone blood red.
The transformation lasted a few minutes. I stepped back in spite of myself.
The Lord waved his staff as if he was conducting a symphony and the monsters howled as if in concert.
An army of the dead. The term popped into my mind.
I had wondered about how the Lord intended to fight against the Death Knights with the current undead under his command.
The answer was… enhancement. A necromancer can not only resurrect corpses but also enhance their attributes!
The resurrected undead looked completely different now.
Bigger, stronger, more ferocious and looked more cursed. The power I sensed emanating from them was no match to how they were a moment ago.
Maybe their bodies had been imbued with too much power, blood and flesh chipped off them, and scattered around leaving a smell of rot in the air. Under the pouring light, dark monsters bared their fangs with intense bloodlust as if they were ready to devour the sun itself.
There was no cue. The beasts storm towards the woods in unison. They easily jump over the fence and vanish into the dark, dense woods.
Leaving behind the Skeleton Knights enhanced by the Lord and the same old me.
“That should serve to buy us some time. It takes time to prepare the trap.”
“I’m not going to be enhanced?”
Tremendous power. As long as it does not make me lose my mind, I would like to be enhanced by all means. The Lord turned a cold eye toward me.
“… Those are expendables. Too much power destroys the flesh. I can’t have the vessel of the King of the Undead be destroyed.”
I see. Turns out it was not all that easy as it seemed.
Well, if it was that easy then I am certain that the Lord would have done it a long time ago.
However, there are still a lot of things to learn from him.
Necromancers are an unlawful existence. Although it is meaningless to think about the future given the current situation, it is going to be extremely hard to gather detailed information about necromancers from anyone else other than the Lord.
It… really is a shame.
“They underestimate me. Kekeke. I’ll show them. I have all the necessary ingredients. I’m grateful to Huck. Ahh, if we succeed in driving these people away and I meet with him again, I’ll turn him into a magnificent undead!!!”
The Lord screamed. The still, grotesquely transformed Skeleton Knights all waited upon the Lord’s orders.
By ingredients, I suppose he means the giant fang from Huck. I did not manage to find out what it belonged to, but considering the confidence it has instilled in the Lord, it must be from some great monster.
I do not want to get involved any further.
I called out to the Lord who was getting excited all by himself.
“Lord! I need those items before battle. I wish to borrow the dark amulet, the sunscreen cloak and the machete.
“… Hm… mmm…”
“No one else is going to use it anyway right? I need… it in order to fight.”
It was a gamble.
I needed the shadow amulet in particular. It is capable of fooling even the Death Knights. I dare say it is rather valuable.
It is something absolutely necessary in order to lead a peaceful life on the run.
The Lord looked suspicious just for a moment, but soon clicked his tongue and replied.
“… Very well. It’s in the desk drawer in the laboratory. End, return to my side once you get it. That is an order. I’ll be in the hall.”
“Yeah. I got it. Thanks.”
I smiled, conveyed my gratitude and took off towards the laboratory alone.
☠ ☠ ☠
It has been a little under a year since I got this new life. I dashed through the familiar mansion at full speed.
I suppose all the undead were summoned by the Lord. I could not find a single one of the Skeleton Knights that usually patrolled the mansion.
The laboratory was not locked. I had never entered it alone before.
I need to hurry. Time is of the essence.
It was chaos inside the Lord’s laboratory. Unknown potions, books, spare tables and strange skeletons. If I had been able to sneak in alone before, there were many things I would have liked to have taken a closer look at. However, now I ignore everything else and retrieve the intended objects from the Lord’s desk.
The shadow amulet and the black cloak. Lastly, the familiar machete. I stopped short after taking it in my hand.
The cloak protected me from the sun, the shadow amulet concealed my negative energy, and the machete… what about it?
I was not allowed to carry the machete during my visits into town.
It easily cuts through bone and no matter how many times it is wielded, the blade is never damaged in the least, it is clear that it is no ordinary machete.
By any chance, …could it be cursed?
I have used it several times before, so I am sure it has had no bad effects on my body. However, the Death Knights are capable of sensing negative energy.
I hesitated but for a moment.
I did not intend to fight in the first place, so I do not need a weapon. I shall not be greedy.
I still have an ace up my sleeve. Depending on when it is used, the results could be outstanding.
I have long since been trying to estimate the right time to reveal it. The reason I did not reveal my cards when the Lord was first attacked was because I was fortunate enough to not need to use it just then.
The ace up my sleeve.
Which is… my name from my previous life.
It is imperative that necromancers name their human undead.
They use the name to bind the human, and form a contract with the spirit. That being the reason why the Lord gave me, someone who was supposed to be a blank slate, the name ‘End’.
However, I remember my name from before.
Amongst the orders I received from the Lord, there were ones I was and was not forced to obey.
I came to realize that a few days after I was resurrected.
In my previous life, I was addressed by a different name for well over a decade and I, who can vividly recall the memories from back then, I am not ‘End’.
Ever since the epiphany, I have intentionally obeyed every single order from the Lord.
Even though I am not bound by name, I am still an undead who was brought to life by the Lord. If he were to give me an order that did not include the name ‘End’ in it, then I might easily end up spilling my true name.
I have been hiding my identity, waiting for the perfect opportunity to betray the Lord some day.
And, that time has come.
I was the one who wrote the letter to Senri.
Using the pen and paper I bartered off Roux. It was… a gamble.
There was the possibility that negotiations with Roux would fail, or that she might have a change of heart halfway through. Since I cannot exactly personally deliver the letter to Senri, there was the possibility that the letter might not even reach her. And even if it did reach her, she might not make a move.
However, my gamble came through. The letter did reach Senri and she did lead her fellow knights to woods in order to kill the Lord.
There was not enough time for the Lord to complete his ritual for the birth of the King of the undead.
I had made two miscalculations. First, I did not consider that Senri would not bring the first class knight with her and second, not thinking that the Lord had a lot more aces up his sleeve.
The battle is not yet over. I gambled everything on Senri.
If Senri were to lose here, I imagine I would be shackled to the Lord once again, never to be set free.
However, all I can do now is pray.
I donned on the protective cloak and put on the shadow amulet.
I took a habitual deep breath in, and started off in the direction exactly opposite to that of the hall I was asked to return to.
Silavin: This chapter was twice the length of the usual chapter. Depending on the translator, we might delay next week’s chapter.