145. Chapter 145
The Labyrinth City, where usually teeming with people day and night, was now overflowed with death. Only a few people were prepared for the death that came without warning.
Walm, who slashed down the undead devouring the living from behind with his halberd and returned them back to the Netherworld, gazed at the crowd of the dead.
Citizen corpses and ghouls were mixed in a wave of death. Among them, the troublesome ones were those wearing old, moldy armor. And such a troublesome ghoul noticed Walm and approached him with a slow movement, at first. The ghoul, holding a sword, speeded up on the way.
Walm ducked the blade swung at his head, and as he shifted his stance, he slammed his halberd into the side of the ghoul’s head without hesitation. Obviously, the fragile skull was no match for the iron.
The undead that approached right afterward, tried to pierce Walm with an uneven cutting-edges weapon, but such an attack was no problem for him. The attack flew through the sky without touching him, and instead, he thrust the spearhead of his halberd from under the chin of the leaning ghoul. Once the attack reached the brain of the deceased, Walm twisted the handle of the halberd with his wrist and stirred the contents. Then, he pulled the halberd out and shook off the filth that clung to it.
Undead desiring the living were drawn to Walm like humans to a bonfire in the middle of a cold camping night, thirsting for his flesh. Each time he casually swung his halberd, another head and sometimes limbs too were scattered.
Walm continued to expose the hatred swirling within him to the undead. It just never calmed down.
The undead that had blocked the road were now pilled up on the roadside. With this, Walm had purified one street, but still, the sounds of battle didn’t stop. It was as if the city itself was violated and screaming in pain.
“You, are you… a human?”
In a city that had become the city of the dead, such words were thrown at Walm.
In this turmoil, anyone wearing a demon mask, would be suspected of not being human.
It was a man who spoke to Walm. Judging by the man’s dirty armor, he seemed to be a guard who kept order in the city.
Starting with the soldier who exchanged a few words, adventurers and citizens with weapons appeared before Walm’s eyes. A motley group of armed huddles tried to force helpless citizens into large taverns and protect them.
The vicinity of the entrance was colored by the traces of the attack and defense. The rubble of the shattered door was replaced by a makeshift wall of stacks of tables, chairs, and immobile corpses. Through the broken window, one could see the inside of the store. Everyone from elderly people to babies was gathered there.
“These guys suddenly overflowed from the city. The dead citizens turned into them, no matter how many times, there’s just no end.”
Said the soldier with shame.
Was the soldier ashamed of the fact that the soldiers, who were supposed to protect the people and property and eliminate foreign enemies, were gathering with some citizens?
In any case, Walm had also failed to save his benefactor. He had no right to blame the soldier.
Walm told the soldier whose face was pale with fatigue and tension.
“With this number. You must have fought well. The guild is gathering a large force. There, it’s safer than here.”
“I’m sorry, and thanks for everything. What about you?”
“I’ve something to do. Do you know the exact path to the slums?”
“If it’s that much, it’s a cheap order.”
After getting detailed directions from the soldier, Walm ran again. The monsters that stood in his way were buried by his halberd. To reach the slums outside the city walls, he had to pass through the gate, which also served as a checkpoint.
Slowly, Walm’s nostrils caught a thick smell of death, thicker than ever. As for the mask, it started to make a fuss, swaying with excitement.
The gate beyond the street was shrouded in death. The scars of fierce battles remained in the area, but the victors weren’t human.
The undead wandered around, blocking the entrance. Although they were in a large number, there was a sense of incongruity. Those who still had some of their pre-war abilities were certainly a threat, but the defenses near the city gates shouldn’t be so weak. A garrison of adequate size should have been placed at the entrance to the city, which also served as a checkpoint.
Yet, it fell in a short period of time.
Looking closely, in addition to the traces of the explosion of the human bomb, there were traces of killing marks that in no way came from an undead.
Walm had a grin smile on his face. He remembered a messenger who rushed into the hall and reported about an armed force of unknown affiliation.
The role of the undead was to increase the military strength of this unknown power and to increase chaos by feeding on ordinary citizens. Armed forces in small numbers were common in irregular warfare, and the checkpoints that controlled the entrance and exit of the city had to be important targets for them.
At this point, Walm had several options, but the method he chose was extremely simple.
A brute force from the front. To crush the surging undead from the front.
Walm stopped counting after several dozen. He scorched decaying ghouls with his blue flames and shook off his halberd to clean it of brain fluid.
Today, Walm was in the best physical condition. It had been a long time since he had felt this way. The only possible reason was when he put the crimson grass into his mouth, he must have swallowed a small amount. His eyes were far from healed, but for the time being, they were good enough for him to go all out.
More undead came at Walm. He took a large step to bring the halberd around his back. An attack infused with mana cut through three approaching undead at once. He trampled the undead, still trying to get to living flesh after having only the torso, with the sole of his shoe.
A battle axe approached from the front. A sharp attack that no one would expect from a rotten body.
Walm clenched his elbows, thrust his halberd into the ground, and caught the battle axe with the axe blade of his halberd. He then leaped to the ghoul trying to remove the axe blade that had bitten into the handle of the battle axe, grabbed the ghoul by the throat, and prepared his mana. Soon enough, blue flames leaked from the ghoul’s mouth and esophagus. The undead, who should feel no pain, tried to break free, but immediately returned to the Netherworld.
Slashing, striking, tearing, and crushing. Walm repeated this over and over until there were only a few undead left in the way.
The moment the spearhead of the halberd plunged into the eyehole of an undead, Walm heard the sound of strings spanning. Quickly, he tilted his body, leaning forward, to the side and jumped away.
The arrow pierced the stone pavement. Walm recognized it. No way he could forget it.
Walm shouted at the arrow feathers and arrow shafts he tasted in the Labyrinth.
“Fausto, is it you guys?!!”
Walm, who had determined the firing point, speeded up with wind magic and leaped onto the roof of a private house where the archer was hiding. As he whirled up the roofing material and approached, a second arrow came flying toward him. The aim was very precise. Quickly he lowered his head and parried the arrow aimed at his throat with his helmet. With a high-pitched sound, the arrow deviated in a direction where there was nothing.
Getting close, Walm thrust his halberd. The spearhead didn’t catch the archer’s body, but only broke the thrown bow. The archer jumped back and drew a short sword.
Walm tried to pursue the archer immediately, but he felt a faint presence from the side and slowed his speed by stepping on the roof with the whole sole of his shoe.
It was a spear approaching from the side. Walm’s muddy eyes were indeed in good condition today. He intercepted the spear with the lower end of his halberd and changed direction over his head.
Walm wanted to land an attack, but in the failed surprise attack, the archer quickly made a gap, and now there was a distance between them. It seemed the archer wanted to play a wait-and-see game.
In the stalemate, more people came.
No need to confirm who they all were. For Walm once had a deadly battle with them.
Right, Fausto and his friends reappeared in front of Walm.
“It would be a problem if the number of ghouls is reduced further.”
Said Fausto with a flat tone of voice.
When Walm heard this, his emotions exploded.
“So, it’s you, FAUSTOOOO!!”
“Walm, what’s wrong with you wearing such a strange mask? Did the Trimagitack die at the ceremony?”
“Shut up, what do you all want, hah?!!”
“Everything is for revenge. It’s a rematch for us, who lost everything in the Unification War.”
The astonishing statement caused Walm’s passion to flare up.
A deliberate conversation. Even in the midst of the exchange of words, Fausto’s entourage waited for an opportunity to attack and showed movements to the side.
“Are you trying to call this a war?! Getting unrelated people involved like this…”
“Is there anyone who has nothing to do with war in a war? This is our homeland. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and people mourned, suffered, screamed, and died in despair during the Unification War. Our people, land… their gravestones are carelessly trampled as if it never happened. Who can stand it?!!”
Fausto, with his canine teeth exposed, changed his facial expression for the first time.
Walm had lost his country. He lost his comrades with his unit at the frontline and killed many when he got swallowed in his emotions. He understood that some of his actions could be considered senseless and meaningless. Still, a hundred years from now. Involving people who weren’t among those involved to satisfy anger was simply incomprehensible to him.
“Sure there may be circumstances that can’t be compromised, but this kind of act is worse than shit. You guys are 100 years too late!”
“Yeah, it’s too late. Still, the peaceful Archipelago and the opportunistic Forest Alliance will tremble in fear. They will be blown away. Our allies, haven’t forgotten the old pact of a century ago.”
“The Republic, huh?”
Walm heard about the bloody history of the city from Roggo, a guild employee. Speaking of the alliance of the country that once ruled the Labyrinth City, there was only one, the Republic of Maylis, one of the three big countries.
“Well, in any case, if Belgana falls, the times, our times will move again.”
“Ridiculous. Do you really think the city will fall with that number?”
Although the number might be different for a while, in the end, they would be suppressed by the rebuilt garrison. Even Walm could easily imagine this.
“You’re in no position to laugh at me. You who have lost your country, Highserk, aren’t much different. Show your true feelings, Walm! Don’t you have any hatred for those who burned your country and buried your people?!”
As the same defeated soldier, Fausto threw such words at Walm.
Had it not been for the encounter and the battle in the Labyrinth City, there might have been some sympathy. But Fausto wounded the comrade-in-arms he had made in the Labyrinth, and killed his benefactor. It was already an irreconcilable relationship.
“Are you kidding me? A hundred years have passed, you think that still stands as a reason to involve unrelated people?”
“Even though it’s been a hundred years, we’re still alive. We’re alive. The war isn’t over yet. Until one of us dies, it’s not over!!”
“You guys are ghosts trapped in the war. You lost the people and the country you were supposed to protect, yet you still think you’re soldiers? You’re all just a bunch of crazy slaughterers.”
“Yeah, that’s right. A century, waiting for revenge that long can drive you crazy. Walm, have you ever had the desire to burn the enemies who killed your friends and family? When you know that your enemies are in the city and you can kill them all, can you stay back quietly?”
“You’re talking about something wild. What, trying to show how good an instructor you are or something, hah?!”
Fausto scoffed at the enraged Walm.
“No room for words, huh? What’s the difference? Aren’t we the same? Just defeated soldiers.”
“I don’t have noble ideals, but at least, I’m not as negative as you guys are. I did what I could… Enough, don’t think that you’ll die in peace!!“
“If that’s what you want. Come! I’ll send you to DEATH!!”
The clash of words was over. And this, was the signal for the beginning of a real battle of iron and blood.
TN: Join my discord channel if you want.