150. Chapter 150 – Rebirth
The Borgia family, which captured Belgana, the Labyrinth City, in the Unification War, destroyed the castle that was the symbol of the former ruler. Moats and earthworks were removed, and walls and most of the defensive facilities were moved to the new headquarters of the Borgia family. At the end of the destruction of the castle, only warehouses and barracks were left, no vestiges of power.
Though, the old royal castle, which was once the castle of the Gundor family, still functioned as a reserve command center and gathering place for troops.
Had the Borgia Family continued to use the castle without relocating, they might have noticed the large space that was quietly dormant underground. The room converted into a warehouse and the entrance hidden under the stone slabs of the floor hadn’t been noticed by the officials of the Archipelago until today.
Contrary to the diminutive entrance, the passage leading underground was deep, and at the bottom was a large space of a natural cavity. Now, in the center of it stood King Eisenbagh van Gundor, who was called “Old Man” by his minions.
Without participating in the battle, information from spies lurking in various places was transmitted through the installed communication magic tool.
The attack was systematically suppressed by Belgana’s garrisons and the adventurers of the Archipelago, who had recovered from the chaos. The base in the Suderin district fell with the death of Giesel, a descendant of a citizen of the Labyrinth City, before falling into the hands of the Borgia family. Fausto, a vassal since the time of the Unification War, had also died, but after his death, he let out the demon that dwelled within him.
“Even after dying once, you are still going to fulfill your role, huh?”
Gundor ordered Fausto and his subordinates to buy time. Their mission was to control the gate closest to the old royal castle, hold off the reinforcements as long as possible, and delay the counterattack. And they did their job admirably.
“We, will go first. We will be waiting for you in the underworld first.”
Said a vassal with whom Gundor was working together.
Although the undead had been released throughout the city and the key points raided, the Labyrinth City alone had a force stationed there worthy of a small country. In an organized counterattack, the undead would be annihilated by the difference in quality and quantity of personnel. In fact, such a thing happened once in the Unification War.
“Even though, I have lost my country and most of the people, you all have served me well for a century. I too, will soon follow. After I unleash the result of our efforts.”
The vassals who had been working under Gundor for 100 years ran up the stairs to join the battle on the ground. Out there, constant battles were raging on.
Sensing this, Gundor thought that it sure still took him a long time to proceed with the plan, even after reaching this place.
“Soon everything will be over. No, I would end it.”
When people were driven into an inferior position, they would rely on clever schemes and cling to anything. The old Gundor was one of them.
As the history of defeat showed, the quick fix didn’t work when it was needed. Time and patience were needed.
“A hundred years to move this guy. A hundred years too late.”
Gundor was able to prolong his life by using diluted crimson grass and necromancy, just like the demonized unit. That said, his body, which couldn’t consume the crimson grass completely, would surely erode, and this could be seen by looking at his current appearance. In this long life of his, he even lost consciousness to madness, causing him to crush every soldier of the Archipelago he encountered. And this happened more than once or twice.
“Still, I made it in time this time.”
Gundor crushed the bound and preserved corpses that he had been accumulating for a long time. The skeletal frame in front of him, he filled with the material carried by the magic bag. During the long reign of the Gundor Family, dating back to before the Unification War, the sacrifices of countless warriors and relatives brought back from the Labyrinth, were enough to do what he was about to do.
The hustle and bustle was closing in. Its true identity was the sound of battle between Belgana’s and Gundor’s forces. The soldiers were already trying to recapture the old royal castle.
At the entrance to the underground, the vassals use themselves as shields to buy time.
One of the threats right now was the mercenary, who was a remnant of the ruined northern country. He was truly troublesome. At the Carorolaia Mine, he annihilated the mercenary group made up of the descendants of the people under Gundor, reducing the total number of valuable undead in the city. He even killed Fausto, Giesel, and Giusto. Still, Gundor’s long-cherished wish was about to be fulfilled.
“It’s time, for the finishing touches.”
Gundor threw the torch into a groove carved into the floor.
When the black water-filled ditch ignited, flames spread through the darkness, revealing patterns of hexagrams and bizarre letters.
“Giesel, that brat, really prepared the stage perfectly huh…… He too, couldn’t make it, huh? Well now, the preparations for the main show are finished. The performer and the audience are already waiting. I’m sure, the people of the Archipelago will like it.”
Gundor pulled out a dagger and thrust it into his chest, which was as thin as a dead tree. With all his might, he cut open his sternum and ribs and thrust his right hand into his chest. He pushed aside the shattered bones, grabbed and held his beating heart, and pulled it out without hesitation.
Quickly, Gundor lifted the object. Having lost his heart, Gundor’s flesh began to melt, and he wrapped himself and his skin in what was once human.
After the head became nothing but bone, the eyes glowed suspiciously. “Lich,” that was the figure into which the gifted necromancer had transformed after a century of study, after having acquired a crimson grass in the past.
Gundor, who was transforming into an undead, holding up his still beating heart, wailed in a voice that sounded like glass rubbing together.
“All of my body, shall be the offering!! Show the world your majestic figure and let them know your power!! FILL THIS ABOMINABLE BELGANA WITH DEEEAATTHH!!!”
The pattern flickered as if to answer. The thing, which had no substance and was all bone, began to move, pumping up the mana flowing through the Dragon Vein. Soon it opened its jaws and crushed Gundor the Lich. Seeking more life, it broke through the narrow underground cavity and exposed its body to the sun. Awakened from the Netherworld, it roared high into the sky to signal its rebirth.
Having inherited the command, Trio put his heart and soul into fulfilling his duty. One by one, he removed pieces imitating enemies from the map with details of the city.
The command post set up in the main castle resumed its command function and no the gathered forces were sweeping the enemy out of the city.
The Ghost Knight that appeared at the city gate claimed many victims, but it was killed mainly by the group sent by the Forest Alliance. The main force of the enemy was now only in the vicinity of the former royal castle, which was used by the Gundor family in the past.
Reinforcements were also arriving from the surrounding areas. No one in the command post said anything, but many were there already. The biggest concern was the Republic of Maylis, which was hiding behind the ghosts of the previous era. Under the pretext of pre-planned exercises, they sent troops near the border. That they did so at the same time as the turmoil was too much of a coincidence, however. Though, the army was silent.
Were they comfortable fanning the flames of revenge in the remnants of their old alliance, but they didn’t want to misjudge the city’s defenses and therefore remain immobile? For Trio, there was no conclusion to this question.
“Trio-sama, there is news from the former Royal Castle of Gundor. It seems that most of the facilities have been successfully recaptured.”
Rushing to the command post, the generals and soldiers let out exclamatory voices.
Trio was about to agree, but he caught something from the correspondent’s words.
“You said “most”? But where is the leftover place?”
“It’s the reserve warehouse. They stubbornly kept resisting there.”
Trio searched his memory for clues.
The outer walls of the warehouse were thick to prevent theft, and the stone walls were enough to reflect some magic. The entrance was limited, and it wasn’t a bad place for defense.
Still, for a place to be used for defense, the castle tower, the flanking tower, and the corners of the walls should be better. Reinforcements from the Republic would also be more satisfied with it. So why the warehouse? Even Trio wondered.
“Due to the destruction of the castle, the former royal castle itself no longer exists. The warehouse has been used since the time of the capture. Are they going to end their lives in a place where their history remains?……. Those who have been hiding for a century?”
Trio was feeling uneasy.
The soldiers on the scene were doing their best. No matter how much he shouted over the communication magic tool, the result wouldn’t change. He understood that.
While leaving the information in the corner of his mind, Trio’s consciousness shifted to confirm the damage and aftermath.
Shortly, another report followed.
“We took control of the warehouse, but found a passage to the underground. Some of the dead soldiers are blocking the passage, and it’s currently unknown where it leads to.”
“Is it one of the passages where the undead have appeared?”
Undead emerged in the city from underground bunkers and corridors that were probably built during the Unification War. It wouldn’t be surprising if one of them remained on the site of the former royal castle.
“The remnants of the remnants, are so troublesome. Never let them escape!”
Trio strengthened his voice and ordered his soldiers. After all, such strong resistance could mean that it was quite possible that the mastermind was escaping from underground.
While waiting for the result of the pursuit, Trio noticed that the water inside a cup was shaking slightly. Far from subsiding, the ripples were getting stronger.
“Wha-What is it?”
Amid the turmoil of the soldiers, Trio connected the tremors with the remnants who were in the underground.
“They didn’t run away. Those bastards, what were they doing underground?”
Trio asked himself this question, but he quickly covered his ears as a roar shook the castle at the same time. The glass of the lattice windows was shattered as if by an explosion.
Swiftly, the soldiers gathered to protect Trio.
“I’m okay. Rather than that, the sound just now is――”
Trio, looking far away from the window, was speechless. Even when he was told about the death of his family, his arms trembled as he endured. Now the primordial fear of human beings swelled up within him.
Squeezing his voice, Trio said the name of what was in his field of vision.
“Un… Undead Dragon.”
A dragon species, that could be called a living natural disaster, among them, this one also called the Lord of the Great Labyrinth.
The Undead Dragon that had never interacted with this world, had descended into the Labyrinth City.
“Bastard, is this your aim, HAAAHHH?!”
With a careless step, the house collapsed and the tail mowed down the soldier. Suddenly, the Undead Dragon raised its neck, aimed somewhere at the city, and opened its jaws to expose its uneven fangs. The atmosphere and ground were permeated with ominous mana that slowly condensed. The people gathered at the command post could only watch this happen while holding their breath.
In a city where hundreds of thousands of people lived their lives, “Dragon Breath” was released.
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