~ Chapter 27: An unexpected turn of events ~
The enemy we were facing was the unstoppable horde of the undead. Rotting zombies, skeleton warriors, Dullahans, Liches, undead beasts and other monsters, the whole lot of them were pouring out of the dungeon and marching towards Pertiko village. It was a real army off undead. The only thing missing from it was a general of sorts, but maybe that one was the Necromancer staying deep inside the dungeon.
The ones defending the village were the paladins and my group of four, consisting of a human, a dragon knight, a dragon necromancer, and a dragon thief… well, former thief.
While the paladins were glaring at the undead and holding their shields up, ready to face their own fates. Victory was the goal, defeat was not an option. Meanwhile, on our side, Kleo was glaring at the paladin who snitched on her; Seryanna was relaxing in my arms on the horse; and Kataryna was yawning while swaying her tail left and right like a bored cat.
“Am I the only one worrying about the army in front of us?” I asked with an awkward smile as I looked towards the rotting undead.
“You worry too much. This army isn’t as powerful as you think it is. Their power levels are below our, or well… mine, yours, Kleo, and Kataryna’s.” Seryanna said as she gave me a kiss on the cheek.
“Even so, should we be so relaxed?” I asked curiously as I tightened my arms around her waist.
“Although we arrived here more than an hour ago, the undead had yet to make a move. Until we know what they are planning, charging up against them would be simply foolish.” explained Seryanna.
“Sooo, we aren’t strong enough to defeat them?” I asked, and the idea of all of us being weaker than those undead monstrosities frightened me.
“No chance! I alone am enough to wipe out all of those monsters!” Kataryna snorted.
“True.” the redhead confirmed.
“Then what do you think they are doing right now?” I asked as I looked towards the army of zombies.
“Waiting…” Kleo said squinting her eyes at the battlefield.
“An order from their master.”
I let out a sigh and looked back at the village.
When Great Paladin Baltros let out that battle call and all of us rolled out towards the other side of the village, I was expecting to encounter countless enemies. When we arrived here, there was only one zombie that stumbled on its own feet and fell on the ground. Paladin Iolaus stepped forward and smashed its head with the hilt of the sword, then it vanished in puff of black smoke, leaving behind only some dust and an iron nugget.
I was actually expecting to see coins and maybe a weapon, but apparently monsters created by dungeons usually turned into Magic Dust and if you were lucky, some sort of mineral in the form of a nugget. There were items too, but those could be found deep in the dungeon in special rooms filled with traps. Those were usually created as bait for adventurers.
“What happens if you die inside a Dungeon?” I asked.
“Your gear is taken away, your body is reduced to mineral nuggets, and your Magic Energy is absorbed by the Dungeon. If it used real monsters that breed, then your body will be turned into food for them.” Seryanna explained.
“I see, but if you attack with Magic Energy, won’t the Dungeon absorb it?” I asked.
“Only residual Magic Energy, which represents about 5 to 10% of all the energy you put into your attack.”
“Are Dungeons living things?” I asked, wondering if it was similar to those in games or maybe in certain novels I used to read.
“No, they are the creation of a species with Neutral standing towards all intelligent species in general. Many consider them to be geniuses of both Magic and Technology, and since they provide us with Dungeons, we don’t dare to either attack or provoke them. Kingdoms usually bargain or trade various basic goods with them in exchange for their creations.”
“It sounds to me like they are at a loss…” I said and scratched my head.
From the way I saw it, if they were more technologically advanced, then they could have just conquered the species with inferior technology. If they didn’t do that already, then it was most likely due to certain factors and conditions. Or, they were actually a peaceful species that didn’t wish to meddle in the business of others.
“We don’t know actually… Their continent is surrounded by an impregnable barrier, and so far… no one was able to enter as far as we know. Regarding their military and economic power, everything is a big mystery to us.” she shrugged.
“Interesting.” I said rubbing my chin.
What I wondered about was whether or not someone from Earth was dropped there as well like I was on the Dragon Continent. Unfortunately, there was no way to test it out and even if I could, I had no idea if they were going to be a friend or a foe.
After about another quarter of an hour or so, the undead army finally started to move. The first row of zombies advanced towards the village at a silent pace. If not for our keen eyesight, we wouldn’t have noticed them until it was already too late.
“They’re coming!” shouted Great Paladin Baltros.
Seeing the movement, our group also changed from a relaxed stance to a more serious one. Even Kataryna, who was yawning non-stop until a moment ago. As for Seryanna, she pulled out of my embrace and unsheathed her sword. I followed suit and stood by her side, looking at the fearsome army approaching us.
“Just remember, Alkelios. If you want to kill them, either destroy their skulls or shatter the crystals in their hearts. This rule applies to every undead monster spawned by a Dungeon.” Seryanna reminded me one more time about what I had to do in order to defeat my opponents.
“But, I only have a sword, wouldn’t a mace or some other type of blunt force weapon be more suitable?” I asked.
“Not needed. Your sword is enchanted, and your strength far surpasses that of those Paladins over there. Just remember my words, and you’ll be fine. Besides, we’re also going to be there for you.” she showed me a gentle smile.
About five minutes later, the two forces clashed. The Paladins were the first to attack. Wielding their swords and maces, they aimed them at their opponents and finished them off without mercy. One by one, the zombies turned into a pile of dust and a metal nugget.
In front us, another line of zombies marched forward. The entire army was approaching, however, all of these undead weren’t human undead, they were all awakened dragon undead. Some had tails, others wings, there were some who even showed the usual anthropomorphic characteristics, meaning a beast-like head.
This fact frightened me a bit, so before I attacked, I decided to try something.
“[Identificus Processus Juridicus].” I whispered as I focused on one of the zombies.
[Monster Name]: Zombie Undead
“Huh?” I blinked surprised.
These monsters are weak! Very weak! I shouted in my mind and closed the window.
With my confidence restored, I marched forward together with Seryanna and chose my first target. Upon locking onto him, I decided to try one of my skills.
“[Ten Strikes Attack].” I whispered to myself and then allowed the magic to flow through my body.
The moment I activated the spell, I moved forward and quickly executed ten, super fast slash attacks. The zombie in front of me was chopped up into pieces and even the ground suffered a bit of damage.
“WOW!” I said surprised.
In that moment, a zombie attacked me, but [Block] activated, and I managed to avoid getting my armor damaged. From the looks of things, it appeared as though the skills from [Super Chihuahua Style] were separated into Active and Passive ones, just like in a video game.
Well, it was good. I didn’t need to shout out the skill’s name every time I want to use it. Maybe in the future, I would even learn how to do it without calling out its name. It would be embarrassing if I end up with a super weird spell. The thought of it made me shudder, and I was 100% sure this was just that God-like’s idea of a fun thing to watch.
Yeah, the legends would be like… And so, the mighty warrior Alkelios, wielding his trusted blade The Shredder of Life and shouted towards the skies: Lightning Chicken! And thus, a mighty Phoenix of unimaginable power came forth! I thought.
Just hearing it in my mind sounded like a line from a very bad or maybe just weird comedy show. I shuddered.
While I was finishing off the zombies with simple attacks, Seryanna and Kataryna were pretty much doing the same thing. The only difference was that the latter was just flicking their foreheads. The poor bastards didn’t stand a chance against a dragon who achieved Awakened Breakthrough.
Thus, I took the opportunity to look at what the Paladins were doing.
“Stay in line, men! Don’t fall back! Heal those close to you and keep them off your back!” shouted Great Paladin Baltros.
They were actually struggling against this sort of foe. These easy to kill zombies I could literally just punch to turn them into a pile of dust were a foe against which these tough-looking dragons had to use tactics against? Even more so, heal those who got injured by them?
Are they really that weak? I thought as I looked at them.
Turning my gaze towards a nearby zombie, I decided to try Kataryna’s attack and just gave him a flick on the forehead with all of my strength. The moment my finger connected, the zombie was sent backwards, crashing into a couple of other zombies, and I could swear I heard a sonic boom just then.
“Hah… Is it possible that I’m just insanely strong compared to them?” I tilted my head to the left.
Well, with this being the case, I rubbed my hands together and decided to try out some spells before I ended up bored out of my mind. Thus, I first used the most basic of basic spells… the [Fireball].
Aiming my palm at an incoming zombie and skeleton warrior pair, I released the magic. A ball of fire the size of a basketball formed in front of my palm and was then shot out at a speed of 100 km/h or so. It made contact and exploded, sending flames to nearby zombies and catching them on fire, while the two undead I targeted initially were turned instantly into a pile of dust. This attack in my hands was seriously powerful, but unexpectedly, it felt very weak compared to what Seryanna used back in the Seculiar Forest when she saved me from that black wolf.
Continuing on, I tried [Earth Arrow], it created a stone spear that was shot at what I was pointing my finger at. Unfortunately, I was very bad at aiming and ended up missing completely even at the third try. I gave up on it, and tried [Air Barrier]. This one formed a shield of air around me.
To test this spell, I approached a zombie and let him hit me. I was a bit nervous at first and prayed to the gods that I wouldn’t die. If I died, I was certain Kleo would resurrect me so that Seryanna could kill me for dying while fighting against a weak opponent like a zombie.
Thankfully, the barrier did its job and stopped the zombie’s assault, but I could feel that with each strike, my Magic Energy pool was going down. After cutting the head of the zombie, I released the spell and continued to defeat them with simple sword slashes aimed at their heads or torso. It was a one-shot kill for me.
Still, even if we could grind these stupid monsters with ease, there were still a lot of them. Worst of all, they didn’t give me as much XP as actual monsters did. It was about a tenth of that actually. Either that, or I was used to attacking high level monsters. In any case, I barely heard the ding of a level up from time to time.
After a while, the Paladins were seriously getting tired, and Kataryna was bored out of her mind. To be honest, even I felt a bit bored by this, and we only managed to exterminate about half of the army. The Dullahans weren’t as fearsome as I initially thought either. Seryanna cut one in half horse and all. I used them as target practice for [Earth Arrow], and Kataryna slapped them into the ground.
The only one who wasn’t actively beating the magic out of the undead was Kleo. I haven’t seen her cast a single spell since this battle started, and most of the time, she used a short sword to defeat them. Seryanna did well to protect her most of the time, but as a result of this, Kleo’s kill rate was at one or two zombies every ten or twenty of ours.
It could have been because a necromancer’s spells weren’t as effective against undead as they would have been against living beings. It was to be expected, that was why they sent Paladins here to defeat them and not simple Adventurers or Mages.
At the very least, as long as she was within 100 meters of me, she gained the 10% of all my buffed stats as a buff through [Dragon Tamer]. My friend list also acted as a party list, and we sort of shared the XP, or as the dragons put it: Life Force and Magic Energy Absorption. So, there was no need to worry about her not getting more powerful as a result of us killing more than her.
“Another zombie battalion is coming from the other side of the village!” a guard from the village shouted as he ran towards us, but kept his distance from the horde of zombies.
“By the gods!” Great Paladin Baltros said.
“I’ll go!” shouted Kleo unexpectedly and ran towards that place.
“Ah, wait! Kleo!” Seryanna shouted.
The black-scaled dragoness didn’t listen and continued to run.
“What’s she doing?” I asked.
“I think she wants to prove she’s not part of this attack. Even if she’s a necromancer, raising undead is one of her self-imposed taboos.” explained Seryanna.
“Paladin Iolaus be careful out there!” shouted Great Paladin Baltros.
Turning my head, I saw the volunteer who ran after Kleo.
“That guy…” I muttered.
I had a really bad feeling about this.
“I’m going too!” I announced.
“Be careful!” called out Seryanna.
“Don’t worry! If anything happens, I’ll come back running to hug you! Ah, before I go… I wish that all of you will finish this battle without any losses or serious injuries!” I said and then left.
“Thank you, take care!” said Seryanna.
“Be safe!” said Kataryna.
Kleo was the first to arrive at the scene, where more than 300 undead zombies and skeleton warrior approached the village. Behind the unit was a Dullahan who issued the orders.
This is… this is a Pincer Vancouver… I stopped and rebooted my brain. Pincer Maneuver… Why did I say Vancouver? Isn’t that like a city or region in the states? I sighed and shook my head.
However, before this battalion of merciless monsters stood only one woman, a dragoness with black scales and wearing Gothic Lolita type clothes. She was glaring at them and focusing on her magic, which began to seep out of her body in the form of a black gas, but I could tell it was also very powerful.
“Fiends of the Underworld, ghouls of darkness, and spirits of the Abyss! Hear my calls and come forth from the shadows around me! Answer my commands and submit to my will, fiends of darkness!” she shouted and then a large amount of Magic Energy was poured into the ground, but nothing happened at first sight. “I order you to slay all of these undead fools who stand before me!”
“As you command.” a dark, frightening voice echoed all around us.
It gave me the heebie-jeebies.
“I knew it… She’s in league with the lot of them!” accused Iolaus, who was standing not that far away from me.
“She’s not, you idiot. She’s fighting against them.” I rolled my eyes.
After Kleo gave the command, the battalion of undead faced an invisible attack. From their shadows, dark, shadowy hands came out and crushed their heads one after another. Because they were so slow, they couldn’t counter them in any way or manner, but if it was me or Seryanna, we could have jumped out of the way or blocked the attack.
The undead fell one after another, and from this display of magic and power, I understood that Kleo was not to be underestimated. That incredible Magic Energy pool of hers was there for a reason despite the apparently low level she possessed.
The battle lasted for only a minute and then the Dullahan was slain as well.
“It’s… It’s done.” Kleo muttered as she fell on her knees.
The magic she used was dispelled and the village was safe on this side.
Seeing an opportunity in her weakness, Iolaus rushed towards her with his sword ready to strike. Kleo was out of magic and weak. If she was to be attacked by him now, she would die. I couldn’t let this idiot kill her, so I ran after him.
I was faster and stronger than him, so naturally, I was there before he was able to attack her. Grabbing his hand, I stopped him, yet Kleo turned around and saw his hate-filled glare.
“Why?” the dragoness asked with a sad look on her face and tears swelling up in her eyes.
Seeing this shocked me.
Why is she making that face? I thought.
Before I had the chance to say something else, I saw a light from under me and felt my feet stuck to something. We were all standing under a magic circle.
“Ah crud… I wish we’ll all survive and come out of this uninjured.” I said and then the light intensified.
We vanished from the battlefield.
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