At about the same time. A little commotion was taking place at the temple in the city.
The temple, a sacred and tranquil place of prayer, now resembled a field hospital.
Blankets were spread out in various places, and wounded knights were lying side by side on them. Holy magic was, after all, healing magic. It was a common occurrence for temples to serve as relief stations during battles.
Whether or not the temple would be a public authority in times of battle or war depended on the time and circumstances. The temple was, by its very nature, neutral in terms of politics. From that standpoint, there was no problem in this battle because the enemy were monsters.
The temple began rescue operations before the government asked them to do so. Since the situation was such that, it would be impossible to disobey the order anyway, the logic was that by initiating the action on its own, the temple would claim that it was only voluntary humanitarian aid and assert its own independence.
The area was filled with the cries of pain of the wounded, not with the phrases of prayers read from the scriptures. They were treated with the magic spell «Regeneration». Magic that instantly sealed wounds consumed a lot of magical power and should not be used when treating a large number of wounded people in a safe location.
In such a temple, there was a man who shouted out in a very energetic voice, and he was being pressed by the head of the temple.
“I don’t get ii! Just use the revival magic!”
“We are running out of catalysts for the barrier! We are currently scouring the city for catalysts that can be used for holy magic! We may have enough catalysts to create another barrier!”
“You want me to wait until then? That’s impossible! We must use the remaining catalyst to cast a revival spell immediately!”
“We can’t ignore our exhaustion!”
“Don’t be so naive!”
A man of about 30 years old in a gorgeous costume.
His name was Theo Colin Edfeldt. He was the third son of Marquis Edfeldt.
Theo pointed to one of the corpses brought into the temple.
It was Evan Jordas Raizen, a cavalryman who was sent from Noacurio as a reinforcement unit and was killed by the “Rose Princess of Hellrage” when he was kicked to the ground.
Theo had requested the temple head to resurrect Evan.
As the third son, Theo would not normally be able to inherit territory, and he must take care of his own affairs. Theo had hoped to be involved in national politics as a government official, but he was unable to do so and was still smoldering.
However, his life had recently changed drastically. Theo’s life was changed by the coup led by Hilbert, the king’s younger brother.
Marquis Edfeldt’s family was quick to follow Hilbert’s lead. Theo therefore had the opportunity to sell his influence to Hilbert.
Fortunately, the court was riddled with officials who had been deemed former royalists (some were physically decapitated, of course). Theo was promoted to an official position, and his experience as a student in Noacurio was also valuable, leading to his involvement in diplomacy.
Noacurio was quick to offer gifts (unnecessarily expensive) to the new diplomat, as well as opportunities for exchanges of information (a sophisticated occasion to gather the most beautiful women and discuss international affairs over a sumptuous meal).
Theo, incensed by the sincerity of the people of Noacurio, had his heart set on stabilizing and promoting good relations between the newly established government and Noacurio.
Whether Theo was capable of doing so was another story.
Many of the officials who had been working on the front lines had been fired, and the number of people who did not know their jobs or were not competent enough to do them had increased.
It would be some time before national political problems would emerge from this, but right then and there, Theo’s presence was already a big problem in the temple.
“He is the commander of the reinforcement force that gave his life for our country! What do you think will happen to relations between our two countries if we don’t do everything in our power to revive him!”
“This Ciel-Terra is on the verge of disappearing!!”
Even the temple head’s reluctance to revive him had its reasons.
Resurrection magic was very heavy in its consumption of magic power, and the success rate had to be increased by using catalysts for holy magic.
But both of these were necessary in order to re-establish the barrier. It was doubtful that the situation would allow for the consumption of so much magic to revive one person and allow for the use of catalysts.
“The barrier was of no use at all!”
The temple head was at a loss for words.
It was unknown if it would make any sense whatsoever the next time they put up a barrier against the undead.
An adventurer familiar with this kind of magic had given him some advice, saying that if he could set up a barrier just in time to draw the undead army into the city, but the temple head was not sure if this would really work, and the adventurer himself was not sure either.
After all, they were up against a monster that could single-handedly obliterate the barrier set up by about 30 people.
Seeing the temple head unable to finish his sentence, Theo snorted in triumph.
“Hmph, you finally get it. The Knights are fighting hard, so leave it to them! But first, revive him!”
“I understand, I understand!”
The temple head exclaimed in desperation.
In the past month or so, he had learned how troublesome it can be to defy the current administration. The temple was subjected to a strong clampdown for even the slightest reluctance to cooperate, and furthermore, whatever information was leaked, rioting citizens rushed in, throwing manure into the temple, breaking windows, and assaulting the priests.
From the beginning, the temple head was at an overwhelming disadvantage. If they could not be understood even after all this reasoning, they had no choice but to obey, considering it to be the will of the king.
The priests gathered around the corpse, which was in an unbearable state.
Holding a staff in one hand and a spellbook in the other, the priests chanted the spell. This was a “ritual” in which the burden of the magic was shared, and the power was further increased by combining power.
In this way, even advanced magic, which cannot be used by a single magician, can be performed.
The temple head sprinkled various medicinal herbs, unicorn horn powder, and other catalysts in time with the chanting. These turned into white flames that burned and drifted around the area like fireflies.
When the chanting was concluded, the temple head raised his golden staff, which was particularly gorgeous, high in the air.
At that moment, the inside of the temple became dimly lit and dark. In the pale darkness, white and pure light poured down, gathered, and flowed into Evan’s corpse.
The soaring holy energy formed a mass of light in which one could no longer see what was there.
When the light gradually faded and finally disappeared, all that remained was a pile of white-brown ash equal to the volume of a human body. The clothes and armor Evan had been wearing were emptily covered in the pile of ashes.
“…Failure it is…”
The temple head said as he groaned and squeezed out a forceful nod. Unable to bear the consumption of magic power, several priests fell to their knees. They were already physically and magically exhausted from treating the wounded.
Theo pulled out his sword, which was hanging from his waist, and suddenly slashed at the temple head.
Everyone who had been watching the proceedings around them gasped.
Theo was holding his sword with bloodshot eyes at the fallen temple head, who had been slashed in the shoulder.
” What are you doing! Did you just take advantage of me!?”
“Wait a minute! The success rate of revival is not high to begin with! It depends on the amount of catalyst, the condition of the corpse, the time passed since death, and the karma of the subject!”
Theo even slashed a priest who came in to intervene.
A female priestess carrying a water bucket screamed and ran away.
“This is a diplomatic matter! You have tarnished the glorious friendship that is about to be built between Noacurio and Ciel-Terra!! Look, it’s your fault! You feckless people! You have tarnished the relationship between our countries…”
Blood spurted out of Theo’s mouth as he tried to make a fuss.
Theo, with a sword’s tip growing out of his chest, slowly turned around.
It was the sword of the Fighter in charge of the temple’s defense, and it was piercing Theo from behind.
” … Ah, the Skeleton Assassin from earlier is still here.”
” I guess so. Oh no, I failed, I failed. He was hiding somewhere, I guess.”
The Fighter said jokingly and blandly, and his fellow adventurers joined in.
“Oh, you … treason … international affair … death penalty …”
Theo fell as the sword was withdrawn. The pool of blood on the stone floor gradually grew larger.
Theo never moved again.
“Old men, you want to survive, or not?”
The temple head was being treated for his injuries with the magic of the priests.
Looking down at him, the Fighter blurted out.
“This is no time to be wasting magic.”
“Even if you go to all that trouble to bring him back to life, … his beast was already taken, wasn’t it?”
“He was defeated so easily.”
The adventurers’ way of thinking was simple and rational.
Everything was ‘a matter of life and death’. If there was an obstacle to their survival, they would eliminate it, whether it was a monster attacking them or a troublesome nobleman. No matter what problems might arise later because of this, the first priority was to get out of the situation.
This was fundamentally different from the temple head, who was bound by his position, the people he was supposed to protect, and so on.
“So…? If anyone has a problem with what I did, come on over now. Anyone here?”
The Fighter who slayed Theo called out.
No one raised their voices.
Instead, there was a pause and a subdued round of applause.
The applause, which sounded like a thin wave, soon became a chain reaction and rose in volume.
The temple was filled with thunderous applause.
For the priests, of course, but also for the knights who were receiving treatment there, Theo’s actions, which consumed the priests’ magical power, were a hindrance.
“That’s right, old man.”
The temple head, who seemed to have no idea how to react, laughed dryly, his eyes black and white.
” But, well, it’s going to be a mess when the fight’s over, isn’t it?”
” Yes, we’ll get out of here as soon as possible.”
“… I will defend you to the utmost of my ability when the time comes.”
The temple head bowed his head.
At that moment, there was a shuddering sound, and the peaceful atmosphere was frozen.
“This is …”
“Looks like another round of attacks is on the way.”
The adventurers looked at each other and then at the city gate.
A battering ram had struck it.
“We’ll defend this place to the death. Leave the magic to us.”
The priests began rushing to the scene to heal the injured.
＊ ＊ ＊
“I knew what to expect, but it’s funny when it’s so blatant…”
René shrugged as she watched the attack in front of the city gate.
The battering ram meant to break through the gate had now stopped.
The reason being, the knights of the Second Order were lined up in front of the gate with their shields at the ready.
Of course, ordinary shields would be useless against the battering ram. They would be crushed to death along with their defenses.
Of course, ordinary shields would be useless against the battering ram. They would be crushed to death along with their defenses.
And the undead soldiers faithfully followed René’s instructions and stopped their attacks so as not to harm the Second Order.
The knights at the gate, who at first had been in a gloomy mood, were turning their heads with relief that the undead had really stopped attacking.
René was watching the somewhat dejected atmosphere of the staring contest from close by.
She had four Liches accompanying her, using magic to make them invisible and block out their presence. René didn’t do much of anything herself.
She used four precious Liches, but otherwise it would be impossible for her to use her own offensive magic while in a stealthy state.
“Now, on the wall, let’s go… «Fly».”
The accompanying Liches exerted their magic, and together they and René were lifted up.
The battle was also taking place on the walls.
Knights of the Second Order were deployed throughout and were at the front. When ladders were hung up, they pushed back, and when the undead climbed up, they became shields.
Earlier, the First and Second Knights had been deployed separately in platoons, so they could have shot arrows only at the First Knights’ location, but with such a mix of them, they couldn’t attack without carelessness.
Even after seeing this situation, René did not change her instructions to the undead soldiers.
The Knights of the Second Order were accurately interfering with them, but they were not directly attacking the undead soldiers. If that were the case, she would not be able to break her promise from her side.
At any rate, even in this situation, the human side was in a worse position than before.
“What are these guys!? They’re not of the same caliber as before!”
A cry of anguish rose up.
Among the undead fighting on the city walls, there were elite soldiers among them. They swiftly evaded the relentless and non-violent interference of the Second Order and attacked the enemy with their expert swordsmanship.
“Are these the soldiers of the Duke Gerald…!”
It seemed that they recognized them by the breastplates on their armor.
At first, they were sending ones “recruited” from Wesala, but then lifted the restriction on the use of undead farm soldiers and knights.
However, that was not the only reason for the poor performance of the human side.
” Hey, Guz! We don’t have enough on our side!”
“Shut up, I’m busy!”
“Oh, hey! Why don’t you two go stop them?”
“I got one down!”
“You’re making a mess!”
“We’re gonna have to do better than that. We can’t fight them!”
The knights were shouting at each other, raising their voices to keep up with the sounds of battle.
The First and Second Knights were not working very well together. It seemed as though they were irritated with each other. Without trust, they couldn’t work together.
There was a history of this, and above all, the Second Knights were a little distracted by the frantic First Knights. If they knew they were safe, they would relax no matter how hard they tried to remind themselves.
The difference in tension at such an unconscious level created a clear disparity in footing on the front lines of battle.
Although they could have pushed on and won, René decided to follow through as planned.
–Even the members of the Second Order aren’t exactly safe.
She had promised not to attack the Second Order with undead soldiers, but she didn’t give any thought to the part outside of her promise.
Maybe that was a blind spot.
Perhaps Bertil did not trust René that much and even properly assumed the possibility of being deceived.
But they must have not been aware of how René, as ruler of the undead, would deceive the humans.
Neither the current Knights, nor Lawrence, Bertil, or Hilbert had any experience in a proper war with the demons.
“…[Performance Deviation: Suppression]… «Necrobrand» x «Create Undead»
Assembled Spell… «Call of Thanatos»”