Generally, hunting undead isn’t profitable unless the enemy is a bigwig.
You can’t sell their meat or bones and the lower ranked undead don’t hold any treasure on them. It’s a job people won’t take the initiative to take unless they’re from the Order of Death Knights.
And, since only Death Knights can deal with those bigwig undeads who stock up treasure, mercenaries don’t get a turn.
However, it’s different if there’s a private client.
“We’re getting paid and there’s not much risk of dying so stop complaining.”
The client this time was ‘Dessend’ itself. The reward was guaranteed.
The only undead appearing were the lowest ranks like Skeletons, so it wasn’t a bad job, except for the fact that they had to be on duty at night. The truly wonderful thing above all was that they’d definitely get paid even if the undead didn’t appear.
The most important thing for mercenaries is their life and second most important thing is money.
This job has a lot of undead so the situation could get frightening sometimes and if they were careless, they could get injured, but this was a relatively easy job compared to what mercenaries, who were fighting on the front lines against Demon King’s army were doing.
“Still, just where in the world are these guys coming from?…”
“Who knows. I’ve not heard of a war happening nearby…”
Lazar obeyed the gravity and swung down his mace. Having crushed the Skeleton’s head along with its thin helm, he frowned at Deck’s question.
He wasn’t told about the situation. He was only told what he had to do.
‘The undead have started to sneak into the castle at night, so please get rid of them.’ That was it.
Lazar and the co were stationed at the end of the underground passage that was discovered 5 years ago.
This underground passage was already investigated by ‘Dessend’ and it was known that nothing was there. Lazar and his group thought that there was a reason why the undead were coming, so they investigated the place several times, but they couldn’t find anything. The underground passage turned many ways and it felt like first time visitors would get lost, but it wasn’t wide enough to be called a Labyrinth.
One of his comrades said with a bitter smile while fending off with his shield the spear that the Skeleton swung with great difficulty.
“They should’ve just asked the Order of Death Knights.”
“There’s no way the Order of Death Knights would bother with small flies like these. No…If they get the info, they might actually come. But in that case, our job would be gone. After all, they don’t take rewards.”
Lazar and the co were laidback mercenaries. They weren’t aiming to be heroes and they wouldn’t go to the front lines where they wouldn’t know if they’d live or die. Their skills were also at their limits, but it had to be said that they didn’t understand the battle at all, as they were using spears in this narrow passage. In addition, they were unwisely moving in a group and had to be careful to avoid hitting their allies. Therefore, they looked like they were having a very hard time moving.
Lazar was surprised when Skeletons started to appear one after another, but it looked like they would be able to finish the job with no problems today.
At dawn, he would have to go back to the town and rest for work again tomorrow night.
Exterminating the Undead in the basement of the castle every night might’ve been a hassle, but it wasn’t like the undead could appear endlessly. He didn’t know when this profitable job would disappear.
Still, they should’ve thought a bit more before making them charge in…
The moment he mechanically crushed the Skeleton before him while thinking of such things, one of his allies, who was keeping watch on what was beyond the hazy light of the candle while squinting, shouted.
“There’s an evolved one! It’s ‘the Black Bone’!
“?! Is it the commander?!”
A Skeleton, who was only protecting its important parts, appeared from the darkness. The only thing that differentiated it from the Skeletons they had defeated so far were its black bones. However, that was the proof that the creature before them was on another level from the ordinary Skeletons.
Lazar knew because he had researched the undead before taking the job.
Most of the Skeletons were small flies, but ‘Black Bone’ was different. Skeletons accumulated power and evolved by killing living creatures and taking in the bones of their kin, but the weak never reached that level. A naturally evolved individual would become a strong enemy.
His allies became obviously nervous. It was just a single enemy, but it was probably comparable to the dozens of Skeletons they had defeated until now.
The narrow passage limited the number of the enemies, but at the same time it meant that they couldn’t surround the enemy either.
Lazar had been told by the client that they could run away in case of an emergency, but he shouted. He had to, before everybody ran away.
“Let’s attack together! It’s just one enemy! Let’s finish it in one go before reinforcement comes!”
In response to his voice, his allies readied their weapons. In the hands of ‘Black Bone’ was a massive scimitar. If anybody got hit by it, they could easily lose an arm. Since its wielder was an evolved individual, they couldn’t hope for its strength to be weak.
Lazar’s decision to engage in combat didn’t come from courage. He had reserved his retreat route if push came to shove. He could leave the castle if he used a byway. But, if this Skeleton chased after him, he’d absolutely not be able to run away. On the contrary, he’d be killed without being able to do anything.
It was fine, he told himself. After all, the enemy was alone. And it had only evolved once. They had killed Skeletons until they were sick of it. Their opponent was just a stronger version of those and it wasn’t like it had any unique abilities like a vampire. They should’ve been able to defeat it.
He encouraged himself with baseless thoughts and lifted his barely silver-plated long mace.
A blood-red light was quietly shining in the middle of ‘Black Bone’s’ skull. The enemy’s face was expressionless. But its dark and cold killing intent was clearly transmitted.
Cold sweat slid down Lazar’s cheeks. He focused on each of its moves. Lazar wasn’t an undead. He only had one life. He wasn’t allowed even a single mistake.
Then, the black Skeleton soundlessly stepped in.
It was a simple swing. But that single slash had the speed of a whirlwind. Lazar intended to receive it. But by the time he came to himself, he had already retreated a long way back.
The blade passed a few centimeters before his eyes. A few strands of his bangs scattered and the air stroked his forehead.
He couldn’t do anything.
He didn’t even have enough time to feel death before the blade turned over. Time stretched. Skeletons were fragile. If his allies took the chance to attack it, they might have succeeded in drawing its attention. But his teammates didn’t move. No, they probably couldn’t move. Lazar might’ve also frozen stiff if he were in their position. That’s how powerful this attack was.
It was far too different from the Skeletons they had defeated until now.
This is bad. I’ll die. He was wearing armor, but cheap armor would mean nothing in front of a single slash like this.
He didn’t even have enough time for regrets. He could only open his eyes wide and stare at the raised blade.
―― And, a black line suddenly dashed in front of him.
A high-pitched sound shook the air and the skull that was looking at him disappeared from his front.
His thought process couldn’t keep up with what happened. He kept staring stunned at ‘Black Bone’ that had lost its head. Its arm, still holding the scimitar, crumbled down as if it had just remembered to do so.
“Alright… we made it just in time.”
A voice without a trace of nervousness called out to the frozen Lazar and the others.
A girl with glasses and beautiful silver hair, who was unsuitable for this place, appeared from behind where the black skeleton stood, along with a very suspicious man who was wearing sunglasses even though it was night.