René and her accompanying Liches lurked in an alley.
Overhead, a battle was being waged between the undead air force and the airborne cavalry.
The light of holy magic flashed intermittently, but they were able to hold out for the time being because they had distributed their protective charms with emphasis on the airborne undead, since they could not be replaced.
“There are enough of them now. What have the leaders reported?”
“As expected, users of holy magic are not on the front lines. Except for those who are riding in the airborne cavalry, they seem to be protecting themselves in the rear and are concentrating on «Consecration» and healing. It seems that the damage inflicted by the assassination squad has been effective.”
Alastair, who was in the main camp, said over the call mark.
He was gathering reports from the ghouls in command of the front lines and confirming the formation of the knights.
“So it looks like the magicians are in charge of front-line reinforcement buffs and recovery?”
“Yes. It still needs attention, but perhaps the danger is much lower. What is the condition like inside the walls?”
“It’s deceptively quiet. They seem to be waiting in a few places. There are a lot of them in the castle, but it’s impossible to get close to them by stealth. We will probably be detected… Let’s attack from the top of the wall as planned. They’re all holding to the south, so we’ll hit the south gate. It’s closer to the castle. Have the cavalrymen draw the sky priests away so they don’t have time to focus on the ground.”
“I don’t mind if they know, but I don’t want them to notice us until we break through the … gate. If there is a first magician in a position to notice us, kill him, even if it costs a former knight.
René chuckled as she folded up the callmark that had served its purpose and handed it to a Lich, who was accompanying her.
“Come on…it’s show time.”
＊ ＊ ＊
No matter how many soldiers there were, there were only so many that could cling to the wall and attempt to infiltrate at one time.
Behind the undead soldiers clinging to the wall, a large number of undead were waiting.
They stood by at a distance far enough to be out of reach of the projectile cannons, and intermittently broke up into small units to attack.
However, most of the undead soldiers suddenly started moving toward the south gate all at once.
“W-what!? What are they doing!?”
A knight on the wall shouted.
It was as if a muddy black stream was flowing over the ground.
Even the undead, who had been camped on the north side, began to move toward the south gate, and anyone who had time to glance down the wall noticed it.
“Damn! They’re trying to break through in a single point!”
But only those in the rear were moving.
The fact that the undead were still clinging to them, trying to climb over the wall, was not going to change that.
There was nothing they could do even if they were aware of the situation.
In the midst of all this, there were knights running on the city walls.
Holding shields in both hands, the Knights of the Second Order were protecting their comrades from the attacks of the undead.
One for every few who were defending the southeast side.
They abandoned their positions simultaneously, as if the teeth of a comb were being pulled out, and began to run on the wall toward the south gate.
“Hey! Where are you going!?”
“We’re going to save the south gate!”
With that, they ran over the wall, where undead and knights mingled.
Around the city gate was a gate tower. It was built to look like an extension of the city walls to form a fortress.
The gate was made of alloy with a heavy wind-up door that dropped into a ditch and could not be breached so easily.
However, there was a mechanism in the gate tower to wind up the door, and if this was suppressed, the gate would open.
The battle for the south gate was gradually becoming more and more intense, like a fire that had been kindled and was gaining momentum.
Ladders were set up one after another, and arrows from the side guard towers shot down the undead who tried to climb up.
Even so, the number of undead gradually began to increase on top of the wall, and the pressure on the gate was intensifying.
In the midst of the melee, the knights who had left the line of fire arrived.
“We’re here to help!”
The knights who had packed the gate tower showed a relieved face when they saw the men of the Second Order coming through the horde of undead.
Naturally, they were reassured by the fact that their allies had rushed to their aid in anticipation of the enemy’s movements.
‘All of you, Second? All right, get in front and form a wall!”
“Let’s block the entrance!”
To reach the room with the winder, one had to go up a narrow staircase from the top of the city wall. If the Second Order blocked that path, it would be easy to prevent intrusion.
However, the Second Knights who rushed to the scene did not move as they were told.
“Wait! These guys are strange …”
A magician of the First Order tried to shout something while pointing his staff, but he was cut down in the process.
The Second Order member rushed to him.
By the time those around them tried to draw their swords, it was too late. The defenders of the gate tower were successively defeated one after another, assembled, and restrained thanks to unwavering coordination.
The knights of the Second Order appeared in the gate tower.
They were no longer alive.
During the battle, René had killed them without even those around them noticing and turned them into Revenants.
After that, they continued to act as knights with unsuspecting faces…, and just a few minutes ago, under the order of René, they started their operational activities as undead.
＊ ＊ ＊
“The south gate of the city wall, it’s been breached!”
The call mark in the Operations Control Room screamed and both Hilbert and Lawrence sat up.
The strategy of using the Second Knights as shields was working incredibly well. Even the battering rams had been stopped.
It was going well; it should have worked. Until just a few minutes ago.
There was information that the undead army had begun to move toward the south gate.
But if the gate was going to fall, it could not have been breached so quickly.
“What is the situation!?”
“It appears that knights of the Second Order appeared and took control of the gate tower! The gate has been hoisted up, and the undead soldiers who were gathering in the direction of the south gate are pouring into the city as it is! The barricade inside the gate … Impossible! They’ve been driven out!!”
“That ba*tard Bertil…!!”
Lawrence slammed his clenched fist on the desk and crushed it.
The call marks in line flew off. Lawrence grabbed only the ones that connected to the First Order’s squad leaders from among them, activated them all at once, and shouted.
“Enemy invasion from the south city gate! The First Knights standing by in the city center are to take on the invading enemy! But beware of those of the Second Order! There is a possibility that traitors are among them! Put them forward as shields!”
Sensing the enemy’s movement, the city’s forces had already gathered near the south gate.
The number of enemies that could enter through the narrow city gate at one time was limited. If they attacked to encircle it, there would still be a chance to push back…
“Falcons Squad, move to retake the gate tower! You don’t need instructions, just take care of the details! Is Bertil still at his post? … Gomez Squad, head to the side guard tower at the east city gate! Take the Second Knight Commander into custody and bring him in! If he resists, I don’t care if you have to cut off his arms!”
“Yes!” “Roget that!” “Got it!” “Understood!”
“… Hah… Hah…”
Lawrence was still clenching his fists and breathing heavily after the communication was disconnected, his excitement still evident.
The knights who were with him picked up the scattered call marks.
Hilbert wrinkled his brow and rubbed his fingers together.
“If we can’t prevent it here, we’ll have to abandon the city…”
The people looked hard at a king who could not protect his country. The king is not only a ruler, but also a “general” who controls all the armies in the country. The king cannot be disgraced by allowing an enemy army, especially the undead, the army of the Evil God, to overrun the royal capital.
Lawrence was frustrated. He hated himself for not being able to prevent the invasion, even though he was in command of the First Order.
Lawrence hated himself. He hated the Second Order and Bertil, which might have been the starting gateway for the enemy to invade. Above all, he hated René, the corrupt invader.
“Did Bertil betray us?”
“I don’t know. It is possible that individual knights betrayed us, or that they are being manipulated by magic. … Even if that were the case, it would be Bertil who gave them the opportunity to take advantage of us. It’s foolish to think that you can talk to that thing.”
“We don’t know who is betraying us. The walls will be defended only by the First Order.”
“Lawrence. When it comes to individual knights, even the First Order has no knowledge. How about the strength of the Second Order? Are you going to give up the whole thing?”
Hilbert’s words were half-accusatory, but Lawrence did not choose to abandon the Second Order solely out of personal feelings.
As he pondered, Lawrence considered the forces of the adversary that currently existed, the conditions for victory, and other factors, and worked out the means to be taken, like a puzzle.
“…If you want to suspect … everyone, you can suspect everyone. However, the riskier party, given the situation, is the Second Order. The First Order should be the first to defend the key points.”
“That’s a good point.”
“After that,… if we are outnumbered, we will retreat to the walls while delaying the battle. The Second Order members will be sent to the temple to receive «Consecration». Not on their weapons, but on their bodies.”
“What happens then?”
Lawrence hesitated for a moment before answering.
But he still thought it was necessary.
“It makes it harder to turn them undead when they die. Let them fight on their own, and let the Second Order reduce the number of undead by even one.”
Seeming to understand what Lawrence meant, Hilbert looked up to the heavens (or rather, to the ceiling) and sighed loudly.
“Are we to order them to throw themselves away?”
“The nation is in a state of crisis. Everyone should be willing to give up their lives at this point in time. There is no need to think of it as anything special.”
“…No choice, huh?”
Hilbert made a decision.
But that didn’t mean that he didn’t care about the lives of the members of the Second Order. Lawrence was even more in awe of Hilbert’s grave words, which showed his resolve as a king standing over the bodies of those who perished.