I meekly obey the Lord and follow him out of the mansion. I am lost for words as I blankly look in awe at the scenery that unfolded in front of my eyes.
I had spent most of my life bedridden.
The reason being a strange debilitating illness that inflicted headache, stomachache, and never-ending pain all over my body. Nobody knew the cause. There was no known cure. No great doctors or sorcerers were capable of healing me.
People weren’t sure I would live past the age of ten, when I stopped being able to stand up on my own. For several years after, my world revolved around what limited scenery the window had to offer.
I am ignorant of the ways of the world. Most of my knowledge consists of what I learned from books and it has actually been more than ten years since I’ve been able to go outdoors.
However, even I can acknowledge that this area, where the mansion is located, is something extraordinary.
The mansion was surrounded by dense, pitch black, eerie woods. Since it was night time, the sky was dark and a huge silver moon shone bright.
The mansion was surrounded by metal fencing that was pinned down to the ground by what looked like long stakes.
The only way in appeared to be a solid gate that was firmly shut.
I stood affixed while the Lord stopped and raised his hand ever so slightly. That looked to be some sort of a signal as soft footsteps started to approach us.
I don’t turn around but try to look through the corner of my eye. I almost end up exclaiming in surprise at what appeared before us but somehow manage to hold back.
We were approached by three, furry wolves. They were about half my size, and it would take some serious effort to be able to get on to them.
The wolves split up and drew closer to the Lord. They let out a low growl and stopped in front of him.
My gut told me that these wolves were — corpses. Well, I suppose I should have known that considering the Lord.
The wolves were swift with sharp fangs and talons but their eyes looked clouded.
Well the Lord being a Necromancer, I wouldn’t be too surprised at him being able to bring back to life beings other than humans.
I knew … I can’t escape from here. Even if I somehow managed to get out of the cellar I won’t be able to flee this place.
If I try to escape from here with no clear plan in mind, I will definitely be caught. For the past few years I haven’t even been able to walk around, let alone run. And seeing as how both I and the wolves were revived from the dead I feel the chances of me outrunning them are extremely low.
The Lord removes a key from his breast pocket and proceeds to open the door. He said curtly,
“Come, End. Show me your strength.”
Show him … my strength? I possess … no such thing.
The machete that I was given still lies heavily on my hand. If I wasn’t a corpse , my arms would be too sore to hold up by now.
My silent protests didn’t reach him. I had no freedom of choice. As the Lord went past the door, I followed helplessly.
The woods I stepped into for the first time looked even more eerie in the dark.
The rustling wind, the insect and animal sounds, everything sounded scary. The Lord pressed on regardless, down the path that cannot rightly be referred to as one.
Seeing him walk down with wolves under his command on both sides, he bore the air of a King. Well, I wonder if he is a King actually.
The King of the Undead with an army of evil undead under his command. Then I, who meekly followed him, am merely just one of those pawns.
The woods looked untouched by men. I desperately follow the Lord down the path with ill-footing. Due to the dense foliage and thicket everywhere, my vision was limited and if I lost sight of him, I could be left stranded in the woods.
A non-human body that didn’t understand the concept of fatigue was a blessing.
I wonder where the Lord is headed and about the purpose of this outing.
After some time had passed, I caught sight of something out of the corner of my eye … a glint through the thicket. The wolves growl softly.
The Lord let out a weary voice.
“Finally… here it is …”
The thicket moved with a rustle and something dark slowly grew in size.
The creature that showed itself was a wolf that looked a size bigger than the wolves under the Lord’s command. I suppose they belong to the same species. The salivating, jet black wolf looked at us with a pair of blazing eyes.
My body stiffened. It was a given since it was my first time seeing a wild wolf.
The wolf may not be much of an opponent to the Lord, but it is to me who wasn’t even able to move his body properly up until a while ago.
The dark wolf does not come lunging at us right away, but starts to slowly circle around, with its eyes fixed on us.
However, the Lord doesn’t seem to pay any mind to it and looked deep in thought.
“… There’s too many … It may be futile, against these numbers.”
Hearing that finally made me realize that we were surrounded.
From every direction, several pairs of eyes were fixed on us. Jet black fur that dissolved into the darkness. They looked light-footed and their movements nimble.
It was a pack of wolves. I had forgotten. Wolves tend to move in groups.
If I wasn’t a corpse, I’m afraid I would’ve passed out under the stress. However, I am one, so I slowly glanced around, letting no shock register on my face. I counted sixteen pairs of glinting eyes, meaning there were eight wolves. That is more than twice the number of wolves the Lord commanded.
The Lord had a look of displeasure on his face and not one of fear. The wolves slowly started to close the distance between us.
Upon witnessing that, the Lord simply snapped his fingers.
That was all the Mage, Horus Carmon did. Three wolves that were guarding the Lord leaped forward.
I felt like I was in a dream. The wolf to the right, that had been guarding us, dealt a heavy blow to the wild wolf that had gotten closest to us. The wolf to the left bit into another wild wolf and tore off its neck.
I stood still with eyes wide open at the gruesome scene.
The wild wolves may be more in number, but the Lord’s wolves were certainly stronger. That was apparent even to me who had never even gotten into a fight his whole life.
Firstly, the Lord’s wolves may be smaller in size, but they appeared to be physically stronger even to an inexperienced eye. The wild wolves were lithe and nimble, but the wolves under the Lord’s command were swift like the wind.
Secondly, they attacked without hesitation. With disregard to their own well-being, they leaped straight towards the opponent and bit into them. It felt like I was watching a well-tuned piece of machinery at work.
Lastly, their movements never slowed down. They didn’t flinch or falter even when they tore into the wolves and bit into their limbs and neck.
In the end, they stopped only after five of those wild wolves had been killed, and the remaining three had fled deep into the woods.
After which the wolves returned back to the Lord’s side as though nothing had happened. However, it did not feel like it was out of loyalty.
I simply stood dumbfounded at his strength and how horrifying it all was.
Necromancers. They are considered to be the most vile among the Mages who exist in this world.
I don’t know much about them, but I do know that they commit the blasphemy of manipulating the souls and the remains of dead beings. Necromancy is a forbidden magic in this world and it’s existence is akin to a myth or a fairy-tale, always portrayed as practised by the mad villain of an opera.
I knew of it but had no understanding of it. Coming face to face with the strength of that magic made me realize the reason it was abhorred.
It was …. too sacrilegious. I don’t have anything against those wolves but anyone who witnesses that bloodbath would be led to the conclusion that they were “evil”.
And I, who was resurrected by said evil practice … must be evil as well.
Would I be able to win … against this man, who openly defies the world order by desecrating the dead?
No, I must win. If I don’t, very soon I’m sure I would be subjected to the same pathetic fate as those wolves.
The Lord who had been inspecting the remains of the dead wild wolves his subordinates had killed, muttered,
“Hmph… It’s true that I don’t have enough night wolves but… I suppose I’ll leave these be. Let’s go.”
Although I heard him whisper ‘finally’ when those wolves appeared, it looks like they were not the end goal….
But I suppose if the wolves were the reason for our venture into the woods, my presence wouldn’t really be necessary. He did give me the machete but there has still been no order.
I wasn’t even ordered to be his shield nor was I asked to clear a path through the woods. I was simply asked to follow.
Once more through the woods we went. I didn’t feel the presence of any other humans in the woods. After all, I suppose humans wouldn’t really venture into the woods at night, where they could be attacked by such huge wolves. It doesn’t look like these woods lie close to town either.
I spotted many animals pop up as we kept walking. Plus, they all showed hostility towards humans and were prone to attack on provocation. Perhaps, these are what they call monsters.
At first, we came across wolves, twice my size that the Lord referred to as night wolves. Then, there were monkeys that held something like a club in their hands. Foxes enveloped in blue flames and moss green boars. Had I encountered them alone, I’m afraid I would have been an easy kill. The Lord’s wolves effortlessly scattered the various scary beasts like they were nothing.
Damn. These woods are more dangerous than I had first thought.
Even if I somehow managed to evade the Lord and his wolves and jumped over the fence, I still wouldn’t be able to escape here.
However, I began to notice a few things as I followed behind the Lord.
This body doesn’t feel fatigue or absolutely any pain. The path was uneven and my arms and feet caught a lot of branches along the way, but it didn’t hurt anywhere. I don’t feel any weariness either.
The woods seemed huge, but humans can’t be living that far from here. The Lord may be an excellent Mage but I doubt even he could use magic to build the whole mansion by himself. He must need food supplies as well. It wouldn’t be too out of the realm to assume that humans had access to the mansion.
As I desperately tried to keep up with him, sorting my thoughts along the way, the Lord came to a stop for the second time. Was it another beast again?
The leaves rustled and something big jumped out from behind the thicket.
It was a bear. Maybe it was still a cub, as it was only half my size but with its long limbs and huge claws, it looked plenty menacing.
All the animals so far had appeared to move in groups but this one was alone. I’m sure the wolves would have no problem dealing with it.
But the Lord had other plans for me. He said,
“ Just one monster, I see… End, fight”.
It took a minute to sink in.
Well, from what little I know of necromancers, I supposed I should have expected it would come to this. Undead are nothing but weapons to a necromancer.
But I had unconsciously ruled out that possibility.
I am weak. I had never even gotten into fights, let alone fight a beast. I have never trained my body. I don’t know how to fight!
I look at the machete in my hand. It’s not possible. The opponent may be small, but it is still a bear. I wasn’t put through any sort of training. A human with no redeeming feature like me can’t possibly win against a bear that has been blessed by nature.
I could see that the bear was raring to attack. It showed no signs of backing away despite being faced with wolves drenched in blood.
I do have a machete with me but the bear has claws. I might have a body that feels no pain, but I doubt I’ll be able to move around if it tore me to bits. It’s impossible. Totally impossible.
The lord looks at me being indecisive and not holding up the machete. His order sends shocks through my brain. He says,
“ What is it? This is an order. ‘Fight with all your might, and kill it’”.
My feet move forward, kicking through the earth. The realization came too late, when I was already right in front of the bear.
My body moved on its own. With no regard for my fears or indecision, at that moment, I was but a helpless spectator.
The hand holding the machete raised it over my head and upon approaching the bear, it was swung down towards it. The bear raised its limbs at the machete that came out of nowhere.
The blade sunk its teeth, deep into the bear’s left foot. I could feel it pass through the flesh and hit the bone. The bear growls and springs at me headlong.
I feel the impact through my whole body. I hear the sound of something split open. I had never heard that kind of fatal sound before. However, I could feel no pain and my hands still held the machete.
My head moves. Before I could let out a scream, it bends over and bites into the bear’s ear.
The reek of the malodorous beast pierces through my mind and onto my teeth. The sensation of the hard flesh and the fur, hit me with intense nausea.
My teeth shattered and my chin let out a horrible creak. The bear swings its head to shake me off. A part of its ear that had been bitten off, falls down from my mouth.
I stop caring about the nausea and the odor.
At that moment, I was… a ‘monster’ that anybody would turn away from.
My left arm moved quickly, and lunged at the right eye of the bear that had pulled back a step. I momentarily feel my fingers pierce through something soft before it attacks my lunging arm with its left forelimb.
Snap, I heard the bones break. The broken bones stuck out of my left arm. The fingers that I had put all my strength into were broken as well. However, there was no apparent pain and the fingers that heeded the Lord’s command showed no signs of stopping.
The bear was indeed strong. Much stronger than someone like me. Try as I might, someone wimpy like me would never be able to win.
Nevertheless, the Lord’s order was much stronger than the bear.
Even beasts that easily attack humans still feel pain, but I don’t. My left arm forcibly removes the machete that had sunk halfway into the bear. Blood spurts everywhere, and the bear lets out a loud growl that is better described as a shriek.
Maybe my spine had broken because everything started to spin. However, my body pays no mind to it, raises the machete over my head, aims for the bear’s neck and swings down as the Lord’s order comes to completion.