His attacks were swift and heavy, and without a hesitation. A swarm of the armed Skeletons collapsed in the blink of an eye.
There was no need for Senri to help. End walking in front of her was already strong enough. His unenthusiastic appearance was evidence that he had changed a lot ever since they had first met.
After experiencing many hard fights and victories, End had obtained confidence and the power worthy of that confidence. The current End had enough power to make Senri, a 2nd class knight, struggle a little (he would never get that opportunity though, of course). It was a deeply emotional fact for Senri, who knew End from the time when he was wary of all directions.
End said with a serious tone.
“Just what in the world are these guys after…”
But, he had fluffy ears and charming small round eyes. He didn’t have a tail, but human words coming from a dog’s head far surpassed the realm of uniqueness and instead felt uneasy.
End was strong. He was strong, but he was also funny. Even if he said something serious while in his transformed form, she wouldn’t be able to keep being on her toes.
But this was most likely End’s way of communicating. Everybody in the Order of Death Knights was serious, so this was a bit unfamiliar for Senri, but as long as it didn’t go too far, something like this was fine too.
End… your tongue is out.
Unaware of Senri’s thoughts, End nonchalantly continued advancing through the castle.
Even if he was a lower rank, it was still amazing that a vampire was able to hold back his fighting instincts so much. This would be considered impossible according to the know-how accumulated by the Order of Death Knights.
Recently he had started to ask for blood more often, but it wasn’t like he was trying to drink blood by force, so it was proof that he had let his guard down. He also never directed his killing intent towards her.
End… Your ears are twitching. They’re almost like real dog’s.
As she kept looking, Senri felt like she was going to lose focus.
If her old comrades were shown her current state, they might have felt so exasperated that they would stop chasing after her.
The vampire in front of her was so unfettered, that even she ended up thinking about such stupid things.
Darkness is the ally of all undead. My physical abilities and five senses are far superior to those of ordinary humans, but even when I was a Fleshman I could see through the dark. Even the Skeletons guarding the mansion could also calmly walk through complete darkness. For abominable creatures like us, night is like daytime.
From the looks of it, Skeletons had been invading from all sides. The castle was full of them.
We were told that the castle was used for sightseeing so those shouldn’t have been here since the beginning. Skeletons were all moving in groups together and each group was heading towards the same place.
“There’s a dungeon. A part of the wall there collapsed during the recent earthquake.”
Senri said while walking calmly through the complete darkness despite being a human.
She’s probably keeping track of the surrounding situation with senses other than vision. It wouldn’t be funny if the Death Knight, who’s supposed to confront the darkness, was rendered immobile by that same darkness.
I didn’t know the internal structure of the castle, but we arrived at the appropriate looking place by following the sounds and the smell.
There were no signs of a strong enemy, so I cut the Skeletons that were at the place before me with a hatchet and descended the stone stairs.
The dungeon probably hadn’t been used for a long time, it smelled of mold. There weren’t many rooms, but the iron bars were stronger than expected and the rust was also within acceptable levels.
As I was scrutinizing it, Senri told me.
“Looks like ‘Dessend’ is maintaining it for the purpose of sightseeing.”
“… Humans sure are tough.”
However, if the town is the one maintaining this place, they should have noticed the effects of the earthquake fast enough. I can’t imagine something like Skeletons gathering up being left out――
We found the collapsed wall quickly. It was the 3rd prison wall. The rubble had been cleared to the side and beyond the gaping hole lay the staircase continuing down to the basement.
I can hear the small echoing sounds of a sword fight. I can also smell a faint scent of blood but it’s probably from scratch.
Senri purifies the vanguard of the Skeleton party that comes up behind us with a single blow from her silver blade. Then, advances forward and gets rid of the 5 attacking Skeletons in the blink of an eye. Her movements are fluent like art, but I notice that she’s a little impatient.
If I were alone, I would wait and see what happened, but it can’t be helped.
I stop Senri from trying to go to the front and take the lead. There’s a narrow passage in the basement of the dungeon. Its width is about 2 meters and its ceiling is low and very oppressive. There seems to be a vent, so the air shouldn’t be a problem. There seems to be a hole here, perhaps for drainage.
Is this a secret passage? But not only was it blocked by a stone wall, there didn’t seem to be any gimmicks at the entrance either. I don’t know what kind of battles have been fought in this castle, but this might have been an escape route in case of emergency.
I frown and look for the information about surroundings through the sense of smell and the flow of the wind.
True darkness. Perhaps they have the lights on, air is mixed with the smell of fire.
The tunnel seems to branch off a lot, almost like the labyrinth that appears in fairy tales. But if I follow this smell and sound, it shouldn’t be hard to reach my destination.
Then, I feel some discomfort. Vampires have resistance towards all types of attacks. But that only means that they can endure them, it’s not like their senses are numbed.
This is… something is here. They’re not strong, but something is definitely here. It’s hard to describe ―― but I feel like I’m being pulled a little.
Senri, who was following me, didn’t say anything. Looks like it didn’t get caught by the detection ability of Death Knights.
Maybe it’s something that only the undead can feel.
The continuous sound of the battle was an indication that a considerable number of Skeletons had already invaded.
But the human side was dominating the fight. They were breathing roughly and I could smell some blood, but the hard sound of something hitting the ground was the sound of Skeletons falling.
Negotiations with the Skeletons failed, but a human should be willing to hear me out. They won’t necessarily be on my side, but it doesn’t seem like they use blessing like Senri. (I mean, if they could use blessing, they wouldn’t be struggling against Skeletons.) So, they shouldn’t be Death Knights. If I help them out, they might at least hear me out. I want to investigate the reason for this discomfort I’m feeling, but that can wait.
I might’ve been suspected if I were alone, but since I’m with Senri, who’s wrapped in pure energy, it’s unlikely for them to suspect me for being a vampire.
It’s a bit of a pity, but I turn my head back. Beastmen exist, after all. They are members that have heads of beasts. They rarely descend to human villages and they’re not very friendly with humans, so I can’t exactly appear with the head of a dog in front of somebody who I’m trying to talk to.
I can feel Senri sighing with relief. After I put on the sunglasses I’m quite fond of, I tell Senri with trust.
“Senri, I’m leaving my back to you.”
A violent sound of something hard hitting against each other echoes through the narrow underground passage.
A pile of human bones, casually piled up on the ground, is reflecting the hazy light of a candle. Inside the narrow passage, five men are confronting the Skeletons that have rushed in, blocking the way.
Skeletons aren’t human though they originate from human bones. Even veteran mercenaries wouldn’t feel good seeing the ruins of what were once humans.
However, if a dozen of them appear at the same time, that’s a different matter, you won’t have the luxury to feel aversion or fear.
The men were mercenaries. They were neither vampire hunters, nor Death Knights. They were jacks-of-all-trade hired for fighting.
One of them, Deck, who was dressed in a somewhat dirty outfit, complained while swinging a mace.
“I didn’t hear about so many of them appearing!”
“Stop bitching and kill them properly! They’re not that strong, don’t forget to crush their heads!”
Lazar, who had technically settled into a leader-like position within this mercenary group, warned.
Skeletons inherit the qualities from when they were alive. Skeletons, who had rushed in, could hardly be called powerful even as a flattery. The fact that none of the 5 men that had accepted this job got seriously injured was the biggest evidence of that.
The attacking Skeletons were many in number, but the pathway was narrow, so they could deal with several of them at the same time. Their opponents were undead who did not experience fatigue. However, thanks to the environment, the humans could take turns fighting. Unless they really messed up, they wouldn’t have to worry about dying.
Hunting undead at the old castle is a delicious job known to every mercenary visiting ‘Dessend’.