33. Chapter 33 – Muddy Eye
Walm felt something was wrong with his mouth. Then, the brain hurt intensely as if it was repeatedly hit by a war hammer. His limbs couldn’t be moved freely and his chest hurts when he exhaled.
“A, u… uhhu,uuff”
A feeling of suffocation and oppression wrapped Walm’s whole body. Thick earthy smell and foul smell stuck to the nose. When Walm moved his body, the darkness cleared up after a slight resistance.
Walm exhaled air from his lungs as if he had been longing for it. Lumps of soil and water came out. Walm took some time before he realized he was in the ground. Still, even after he had escaped from the ground, half of his field of vision was covered in darkness. And the other half was the night sky.
The scent that Walm had accustomed to smelling on the battlefield was stronger than usual. When he moved only his right eye and traced around, he saw the ruin of what once was and, many soldiers were messed up and tossed around.
Walm felt a dull pain like a vise tightening his head and a pain on his eyeball as if it was pierced by an ice pick. He saw his face in the reflection of the longsword blade he pulled out. There were no noticeable wounds, but one of his his black eyes was muddy, and discolored.
Nothing was reflected in the muddy eye. Walm realized that the stream of light came from the left.
Aaa, I guess it must have been because of that…
Strangely, Walm was convinced that it got burned by magic. He received an attack with excessive and dense mana. Luckily, it was only one of his eyes.
Walm checked the condition of his body. The head might be cracked. Curiously, the laceration had already started to regenerate. His left hand, all of the fingers were pointing in any direction as it pleased. Every time he breathed air, he suffered unbearable pain. He was for sure not in decent shape. After some time checking his body, Walm looked up to the sky again. It was a full moon. The shape of the moon, had changed from what he remembered.
“How many days, has passed, since that?”
Walm asked a question. But no answers, there was only death around him. On the hole caused by the magic attack, corpses were thrown in.
The corpses that couldn’t be thrown and the corpses buried half on the ground had begun to decay. Rats and maggots covered the surface of the body and devoured it.
All of them belong to the Highserk Empire army.
I guess they didn’t care much about the corpses of the enemy
Walm speculated that they had been poorly buried the corpse of the enemy army. The smell of holy water was barely there after all.
A large amount of earth and sand caused by the explosion hid Walm in the ground, thus avoiding damage from vermin and enemy soldiers.
“Ah, a, agh, Reinus, Tibird, Danfan…”
Walm mentioned several names. It was the three oldest members of the Duwei’s squad. He wasn’t particularly close with them, but it was a fact that he had been on the deadly battlefield and on the verge of death together for almost a year.
Far from companionship, but were loyal to their desires. It was the impression Walm had of the three. Still, it didn’t change the fact that his life had ever been saved by them.
A bright red alert was screaming in Walm’s brain.
Stop it. Don’t look any further
―― He saw bright red hair, a shattered bow, and a broken Squad Commander Duwei’s battle axe.
The empty stomach tightened, and stomach acid rose. The feeling around the mouth was the worst.
Unknowingly, Walm joined hands.
What to do from now?
The weakened Walm didn’t have much time to think.
All the flags illuminated by the moonlight belonged to the Four-Countries Alliance. Most of the layers had fallen, and the layer protected by Walm had changed into a huge graveyard.
It can’t be so quiet on the front line. I guess, it must have been a safe haven in the area completely crushed by the Alliance.
Walm could understand that the enemy’s main force was stuffing soldiers into the layer that was still protected by the Highserk Empire army.
How far is it? Is it all? Is the one left only the walls? What should I do? Should I continue to pretend to be a corpse and run away after seeing a gap? Or should I surrender?
When Walm looked down, he saw the empty eyes of his companions who he rarely talked to. There was a corpse that didn’t even retain the original shape of the face. It wasn’t the only one. Walm had been told by his brother that those who lost both eyes when they were still alive couldn’t reach the Hell gate, let alone the netherworld, and would wander for the rest of their lives in the darkness of the void. Walm didn’t know if the eyes were hollowed out before or after their death. The corpse had the hands tied behind, meaning they were killed after detention.
Perhaps it was some rampaging soldiers? Or it was intentional?
―― Soldiers who couldn’t hold their emotion and rampaging even after the enemies surrendered was also a common story in a war. Food, place, lookout. Walm, who had dealt with prisoners of war, had experienced how costly POWs were.
Highserk Empire was officially refraining from murdering POWs in order to worsen the sentiment of the occupied territories and secure a labor force. Walm had seen many times that even such Highserk Empire, the POWs were killed due to the lack of supplies for them and for calming some of the soldiers. Countless soldiers of the Four-Countries Alliance were killed or injured in the 3rd layer. Walm could imagine that the army, whose chain of command wasn’t unified, treated POWs differently, leading to the annihilation of POWs. Still, Walm couldn’t understand the need to take out the eyes of the corpse.
“It’s a war. It’s not that strange, but …”
Is it necessary to despise the enemies to that extent?
Everything is “Justified” in a war?
When such words came to mind, Walm showed his teeth and laughed loudly.
“HAHA, U, Hii, iick”
Even though I’ve killed humans too, yet, why do I still keep my belief and character?
Walm didn’t really know how many days had passed. Still, in his head, the squad members who had been joking until just a few hours ago came to mind.
“Aa, that’s right. Death always comes suddenly. It was the same before. Moreover, this is a war. It’s a war. You killed others. And you may be killed too.”
Walm tried to sort out the situation, but emotions hindered him.
At that time, Walm knew that the light was approaching him who was in a dark area.
“Oi, look, something is standing.”
“Is it undead again? Even after being killed, those Highserk soldiers, still give us trouble.”
“We’ve crushed the eyes and limbs of the ones around here. For sure, he can’t move well. Let’s go crush his head quickly.”
The conversation of the carefree Ferrius soldiers could be heard. Walm flickered with the idea of surrendering and begging his enemies, but he once again saw what was his comrade who had their limbs tied up and died.
“Surrender? F*ck it. Don’t joke with me. They’re the ones who tormented them.”
Even if you beg for life, they won’t give you an easy death.
“Should I cover myself with maggots and pretend as a corpse? Hah, not bad.”
It wasn’t a bad idea if only Walm could ignore the fact he was surrounded by over 10,000 soldiers in the middle of the enemy territory.
Duties, Responsibilities, Vengeance.
Prayer to the squad, Loyalty to the homeland, Hatred to the enemy.
『”What do you wish for with the muddy eye?”』
“Oi, isn’t he, muttering something?”
“He’s just moaning.”
“It’s dirty, but his eyes aren’t crushed. Maybe it’s the one they missed.”
“Huh, once we surround and hit him, the result will be the same.”
Words circulated in Walm’s head.
Walm came up with something.
He remembered that 《Demon Fire》 was also called as 《Fire of Hell Gate》.
If I ignite it on a grand scale, those guys won’t get lost, right?
With a hope that the companions would be able to reach the netherworld, Walm declared to his comrades who had no eyeballs.
“Even if you can’t see, you can still feel my 《Demon Fire》. I’ll specially make a bonfire. A grand bonfire.”
As Walm spun words for his comrades, the Ferrius soldiers finally realized that it wasn’t undead.
“It’s not undead. He’s still alive.”
“The battle was five days ago. He’s just a coward who survived by hiding as a corpse.”
“5 days in such a place…?”
Something hit the foot of Walm who was standing still. He lifted it up and muttered happily.
“Aren’t you so thoughtful? Wanna come along? It’s a grand bonfire from now on.”
The mask made a loud noise as if it agreed. Walm slowly wore the mask and exhaled. Perhaps because of the stimulus of breath or imagining the bonfire that was about to unfold, the mask trembled vigorously.
TN: For me, 『”What do you wish for with the muddy eye?”』even though it is Walm who muttered the words, I think its Takakura Raizou in Walm asking Walm.
TN: Join my discord channel if you want.