70. Chapter 70 – Broken
When Walm woke up, nothing had particularly changed in reality but the number of monsters under his eyes, which was increasing rapidly.
“Hah, haha, is this the reality?”
Walm admitted that there were no living humans in Dandurg Castle. Nothing would change that fact.
Therefore, rotating dull thoughts hard and forcing the gears in mind to move, was the only option.
Walm understood that the military organization that gave him orders had collapsed, which also meant that he had to think for himself about what to do now.
After racking his brain and forcing his mind to recover to some extent, Walm decided to return to his hometown.
He collected the equipment he had taken off and pushed the preserved food seized from the supply storage into his mouth.
Preserved foods made from wheat, dried grapes, and oil deprived Walm of saliva and water. He then poured water into his mouth, but this time his stomach screamed.
“Urg, ogh, uck…”
Working hard to prevent gastric fluid from flowing out, the sour taste that spread through his mouth was the worst taste he had tasted in a while. Walm, enduring the urge to drink, left the room.
Walm ridiculed his own appearance of searching for halberds, short swords, armor, and coins from the corpse. After all, it wasn’t so much different from the monsters fishing for corpse meat.
After collecting supplies, Walm climbed to the roof of the castle tower while putting them inside his magic bag.
The mountains were carved, the valleys were destroyed, and even the rivers were scraped off, creating a huge road. There was no doubt that this was the work of the Flame Emperor Dragon. At the same time, following the road, would lead him back to his homeland.
Encountering a large number of monsters along the way? That would have been a hesitant option, but it was a trivial matter for Walm today. It was more painful for him when he had nothing to do, after all when killing each other, there was no need to think about other extra things.
Even if he were to be killed, a lonely Highserk soldier wouldn’t be seen by anyone. It was a really easy ending to understand, a good ending for Walm, a defeated soldier.
Anyway, Walm climbed down from the temporary wall, which he couldn’t and failed to protect, and looked back.
The old castle was stained red and threatened to crumble due to the repeated onslaught. As if it indicated the end of the Highserk empire.
Unlike the castle, there weren’t many monsters in the street. The monsters invited into the densely populated areas were scattered there, and just after slashing dozens of them every hour or two, there were none left.
Ironically, the passage created by the Flame Emperor Dragon during its invasion shortened Walm’s travel time. The mountains and trees that were to be detoured were equally overrun, the valleys burned down, and even the rivers dried up. Truly, it was a walking natural disaster that even changed the terrain.
After half a day of walking, Walm arrived at a small village, but the village had been swallowed up by the outbreak, leaving only small remnants of human activity.
All the houses had collapsed, the foundations were barely there, and there were no bodies or traces of blood, let alone people. Countless footprints of monsters testified that the city had been overrun by monsters.
In the next city, the buildings had been left to scale, but monsters and human corpses could be seen even from a great distance. It seemed that the garrison and the volunteers were the centers of resistance, but in the end the fall was inevitable.
“Even Kanoa is no good?”
Avoiding the collapsed city, which wasn’t his destination, Walm continued his way home.
Unlike the previous battlefields, the barriers on the border of the homeland that deviated from the path of the Flame Emperor Dragon resisted fiercely, and the walls and empty trenches were filled with monster corpses.
One soldier who had a business with an Orthrus embraced each other as if they were making a deal. The two-head bit the arm and throat, and the soldier pierced the two-headed wolf’s chest with a longsword.
The collapsed fortified tower lay in ruins, along with the corpse of a cyclops, and the limbs of humans and monsters lay sadly all over places. Walm would have ended up like that if he hadn’t been lucky.
Anyway, Walm crossed the border from the collapsed wall.
Both the barracks and the command post were overrun. The soldiers collapsed as if they had melted into the walls of the collapsed barracks, and in the command post lay a large number of monster corpses, and in the center lay a general with a large sword and a mangled body, apparently killed in battle.
After that, Walm continued to search for a checking station. There were monsters that liked corpse meat, but in the end only new corpse of monsters were presented.
Walm built a bed on the half-destroyed observatory tower after eliminating the surrounding monsters. He tied the cloak to the tower’s arrow shield or pillar to block the outside air and prevent the light from getting through.
At Dandurg Castle, he had borrowed several cloaks. Some of them were a little dirty with blood, but they were suitable for the current Walm.
No matter how much you lost your appetite, if you didn’t get food in your stomach, your body strength and mana would dwindle.
After taking out the small pot, Walm used fire magic to boil the water he poured in and filled it with beans, crushed dried fish, and salt.
The protest of the stomach intensified with pain. Walm slurped the soup and chewed the fluffy black bread, not caring about the taste.
After the stomach was satiated, Walm suppressed the nausea and tried to let go of consciousness. The twin moons began to fall from the sky in his repeatedly opened and closed eyes and were finally driven away by the sun. Walm left his resting place after cleaning up his bed.
Running at a speed that could be called a forced march, killing all the monsters that came near as if they were bugs, but it never able to clear his muddy heart.
The corpses of refugees piled up on the main road. A soldier lying on the ground was feasted by countless birds, and the eyes of an infant staring into space were squeezed out.
Didn’t have the energy to drive them away and enough hands to mourn, Walm advanced his foot silently.
Walm, who didn’t even have time to take care of his weapons, picked up the abandoned weapon and threw it away shortly after, again and again. If the spear broke, he would wield a sword, and if the sword broke, he would wield a war hammer.
As the sun set, Walm climbed a large tree and spent the third night since he left the Dandurg.
There was only a short road to go home. On a road that was still vivid in his memory, Walm ran until he was out of breath. At the same time, his childhood memories came flooding back into his head.
The forest where he frolicked with his brother and immature brats in the neighborhood until the sun went down. The country road he had crossed many times. The rocks and trees he had marked. And finally, the village. Walm felt that it was a short yet a long way.
Seeing the village, the taste of the sweet and sour raspberry he ate with his brother came to mind.
Quickly, Walm ran through the entrance of the village. The unrepaired fence was still the same as when Walm left the village.
Walm opened his mouth as he dived through the gates of his nostalgic home.
The family welcomed the return.
Tears flowed inexorably from Walm’s eyes.
“Sorry, for being late.”
Walm didn’t say he had the best family in the world. Still, they were the family he lived with until he was drafted.
Although it wasn’t a wealthy house, on the day the draft was decided, the treats Walm had never eaten since he was born in this world were lined up on the table.
He stuffed them in his stomach until he was no longer hungry, and drank so much alcohol with his father and brothers that he couldn’t remember vividly. Thinking about it now, he realized that he had never talked to them so much before that day. Perhaps it was also because Walm, who had inherited the memories of the previous life, felt somewhere far away.
Might be too late, but Walm regretted it. As his brother had advised him, he should have prioritized more time with his parents.
Now the parents could only turn their empty eyes on, their son, Walm, and reach out for a hug. With half-open mouths, they dragged their torn bodies and came toward Walm.
“I’ve, become stronger. I won’t lose to those soldiers and monsters. I’ve repelled a dragon species and even the “Three Heroes” of Craist… But, my comrades, my family…… those I don’t want to lose, I couldn’t protect them. Not a single one.”
Walm accepted the hug.
Their skin was terribly cold. And slowly, the oral cavity with bloody vomit, filled his field of vision.
“Sorry, I’m sorry, my beloved mom and dad.”
A longsword was thrust into the lower jaw, giving the family a second death.
Walm crawled out of the house and spat out the contents of his stomach.
“uh, gahh, ahh, ah, achk, a…”
The kind neighbor, the strong-willed childhood friend, and the nervous village mayor welcomed Walm’s return.
Even the kind old man who had taught Walm, who was about to be overwhelmed by anxiety before the draft, about the battlefield’s knowledge and his experiences, had also joined the circle.
The entire village had turned into an undead den.
Out of breath, but the sobbing didn’t stop. It couldn’t be.
Walm clung to the ground with his hand. Sand oozed through the gaps between his fingers. Tears wetted his eyes and distorted his vision. Couldn’t bear the muddy scene, he looked up at the sky. Contrary to what he had in mind, the sky was clear and cloudless. Just to say that the sky didn’t overlook the ugliness of stupid humanity――
“garrhh, ah, aaaaAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!”
Walm roared and mana enveloped his body, spreading blue flames over the village with maximum firepower. His relatives and neighbors were all equally engulfed by the blue flames. The fire turned the houses and the whole village into a living hell.
“What do you mean a “knight”? What do you mean a “demon fire user”? You’re just a stupid useless person who can’t save anyONE!!!”
Walm continued to sob as he spat out the blue fire.
For those he couldn’t protect.
For those who were in the space between the world and the Netherworld.
Walm continued to spit out the blue flames so that they wouldn’t be lost.
Walm didn’t know how long he had walked or how many days had passed. When he realized it, he found himself there.
A hill overlooking the most populous capital, the heart of the Highserk Empire.
On the hill, beloved by successive Emperors and the “War God” Gerard, were some Highserk soldiers who had somehow managed to get here but had gotten lost their way. Walm joined them without speaking to anyone. At this point, his tear ducts were definitely dead.
No words were needed for those who gathered on the hill. Everyone was staring at the capital with the same feelings. The defeated soldiers who had lost their place, that was the identity of those who had gathered on the hill.
The country couldn’t be abandoned, but neither could it be protected, nor could it die completely either.
The capital was swallowed by monsters, and the great buildings that Highserk citizens had built, their history, were burned down. The wall, which seemed to be impregnable, had collapsed due to an attack of non-human forces.
Once again the transplanted eyes grew hot and a sharp pain flashed through them. But nothing changed in his eyesight.
People were extinct, fields were full of monsters, and the country was destroyed.
Sacrifice for the ideal. Peace through oppression of other countries. It was a history repeating itself.
Good and evil changed depending on the point of view, but since the situation had become like this, Walm no longer knew what he was fighting for.
Just that, today’s tragedy shouldn’t be wasted, and the lesson learned from this bloody event should mature the world. With the eyes that had become muddy, that was the only thing Walm wished for.
TN: Alright, this is the end of arc 1 (Which is the end of LN vol 2). The next arc has more chapters than this first arc. From here on, I’ll update slowly.
Also just some info, the author seems to like “鬼” (Oni, or can be roughly tl-ed as Demon). For example
Ogre in this series, it used the word 大鬼, (Dai Oni, roughly tl-ed as Great Demon).
Walm’s skill is 鬼火 (Onibi) -> Demon Fire
Walm’s mask, it looked like a mixture of 鬼 (Oni) and skeleton -> Demon Mask
Walm’s eyes -> Demon eyes
So, in short, my prediction, Walm will somehow turned into 鬼 (Oni, or Demon). Or somewhat Demon-like.
Really, I don’t know the truth of my prediction yet, since I stopped reading (around ch 80 or 90) after I started tl-ing this.
Lastly, I’ve never been a person who’s so active at Social Media, but well, I made a discord (first time btw), so for you who want to join, this is the link. if I think it’s too troublesome, I might delete it…
TN: Join my discord channel if you want.