Chapter 64 Behind the curtains(4)
Translator: BaeBae Editor: BaeBae
The moment the Hugin knights slammed into the masses of undeads, the swarming herd flinched and shook.
The Hugin knights mercilessly, tore into the army of undeads. Bones were shattered into fragments before scattering into the air.
With this momentum, they continued to cut deeper into the army of undeads.
But it didn’t take long until their advancement slowed down. If their opponents were fellow normal beings then they may have fled from their frightening morale. But these were dead beings.
One Hugin knight fell after a spear drove into one of his legs. Moments after splitting with the main group, the knight was torn into pieces.
Their breathing started to get rough. Another knight disappeared. Then, someone’s sword broke. Then, another knight.
“May the emperor’s glory be with you.”
A knight grasped the ankle of an undead knight to slow it down as he fell. As the undead knight eventually caught back up, they saw the remaining hand of their fallen comrade around its ankle. Then, another knight died. And again……”
The Hugin knights started to slowly get dwindled away.
And not long after, a silence fell amongst the herd of white skulls.
Juan opened his eyes.
His body was hot and heavy. It had been a while since he’d felt this hot. It was a sign that his body wasn’t functioning right.
He tried lifting his hand but couldn’t feel a thing.
He could smell the scent of ash in the air. And as his sight started to slowly return, he realised that he was on the back of someone.
“You’re finally awake.”
“What happened? Where are the other knights? What of the undeads?”
“Do you not remember?”
“I wouldn’t have asked if I did.”
Dilmond continued to move with Juan on his back. After staying silent for a while, he finally opened his mouth.
“We were on the verge of extinction inside that herd of undead skeletons. The last ones left were you and me. Due to the wind, you were finding it even hard to move. I really thought that was it for us.”
“And then, someone stabbed you in the back. I didn’t even get to see who did. There were hundreds of knives around you. I really thought it was over for us until I saw these flames erupt wildly around you.”
Juan now vaguely remembered.
Giant flames soaring over his distant consciousness, and the burning army of undeads.
The sight of the flames spreading in the gale wind, sweeping aside the undeads was a scene close to hell.
And the last scenes he could remember were Dilmond grabbing and pulling his body away from the piles of corpses and ash.
As his eyesight started to return, Juan got a good look at Dilmond’s appearance.
His title of the white haired general was unfitting as his hair and body had been all but burnt.
Right now, Juan was looking at him from the back so he couldn’t even begin to imagine how overly worse his frontside would be.
Seeing the smoke rise from Dilmond’s body, Juan realised his own body temperature was still abnormally hot.
Juan purposely iginiteing himself in flames contributed to his current state. He slowly cooled himself down.
“So, it seems you remember.”
Juan then noticed how his body was covered in blood. It wasn’t his own.
Dilmond’s back was covered in blisters, scald and blood.
Injuries he received from Ethan and the undead and burned from carrying Juan to safety. Any normal knight wouldn’t have survived it.
“I told you to abandon anyone that falls behind…..”
“Don’t think that I did this out of good faith. I’m simply saving you for later when I can throw you and your flames down Nigrato’s throat. I found some new strength in me when I imagined the pain Nigrato would feel from that.”
“A rational decision then.”
“My first offering to the god of death will be a brat. Hah!”
“I’ll gladly accept it. Though it’ll only cause indigestion for him.”
Juan and Dilmond laughed in a low tone. It had been a while since Juan had felt this kind of feeling.
Compared to some of the beings that he had to fight in the past, this opponent wasn’t all that dangerous.
It was the same. Back then and now, Juan only found it genuinely entertaining when things got potentially fatal.
“Dilmond, how old are you?”
“Farel would laugh and clap at hearing his brat talk like this.”
Dilmond briefly stopped before continuing. He was chuckling.
“Maybe you’re right. But after that I would punch Farel kyung in the jaw. You know I am older than Farel kyung when he died. So technically I would be his senior. And plus, Farel kyung meagerly died to a Paladin, while I am about to die to the god of death. That’s enough to gloat, I dare say.”
Dilmond gave a hearty laugh. Juan laughed alongside him.
“Certainly an opponent that Farel would admire, Dilmond.”
“The emperor too.”
“Blasphemous. The emperor killed gods like these for fun.”
Dilmond turned and looked at Juan. Juan wasn’t smiling. He was staring back at Dilmond with stern serious eyes.
“The emperor will respect the courage you’ve shown and praise your achievement. I have no doubt.”
Dilmond replied in a dumbfounded tone, but it appeared that he didn’t dislike hearing it.”
Juan found himself happy and yet sad. It was the same in the past. Juan liked and respected all his friends and compatriots.
He loved them. He never doubted for once that they would have the same feelings. But…..
Just as Juan was about to tell a story, he realised Dilmond was looking towards a strange direction. He looked towards the area but didn’t see anything.
“What is it?”
“A call. Calling my name……Did you not hear it?”
Juan’s eyebrows bent. In these situations, hearing your name called when others couldn’t was a bad sign. Juan grabbed hold of Dilmond’s shoulder.
“It’s calling you? I don’t think it’s a good idea to follow.”
“No. It’s only calling out my name, that’s all. I’m well aware of allurements and the dangers around it. But……hmm. This voice helped me to save Annabelle earlier on. I think we should follow it for now, but run if we run into anything suspicious.”
It appeared Dilmond had his mind firm on this.
Then, something started to whisper in Juan’s ears as well. A weak voice that he found difficult to refuse.
It was Lars’s voice. Juan had now an educated guess at what this voice was. Lars’s voice was voiced through magic so it was easy to modulate.
Juan’s mind shook.
If Lars’s voice helped Dilmond save Anya, maybe there was hope that he was still alive.
But he didn’t know if it was actually a good thing that Lars’s was still alive when Nigrato was this close to returning.
Suddenly, Dilmond dropped to his knees. Juan quickly got off his back.
His breathing was rough. The evil aura was worsening his injuries. The closer they got, it was more difficult for Dilmond to endure.
“……….I wanted to do it with my own hands, but I guess I’ll have to ask you a favor. Leave a big hole in Nigrato’s throat for me will you?”
Dilmond weakly spoke as he waved at Juan to go on. Juan stared at him for a moment before nodding. He strided forwards, leaving Dilmond behind.
He wasn’t sure how long Dilmond could last while alone in a space where even a healthy person would quickly find their skin decaying and throat drying up.
After a few steps, Juan heard another voice. Not a voice amplified through magic but a scream.
The scream that floated through in the wind carried sounds of despair and gruesome. Beyond the darkness, Juan soon came across something bright red. He could feel an evil aura from within the cumulus cloud in front of him.
Juan immediately recognised what it was.
Lars was standing in the middle of darkness. A flaming sword was embedded in his chest.
Around the hilt of the sword, a burnt black hand was hanging on.
The scream appeared to be coming from somewhere inside Lars’s body. And it sounded as if it was coming from several people.
“Dilmond, can you se…..”
Juan who’d turned around stopped speaking. He had barely taken a few steps, but Dilmond was now nowhere to be seen. Nothing noticeable but a black stain on the ground from his bleeding. Juan fell into silence as he looked at the empty spot.
A voice could be heard from behind his back. Lars stood still like a statue, and quietly observed Juan from afar.
[The black haired boy.]
Sound of creaking was heard as Lars moved his body. The flaming sword made sharp sounds as it cut through the wind.
Everywhere Lars’s feet touched, ash followed.
[Where are the other Paladin knights? Why is it so dark? What am I…….my hand? What happened to me?]
Lars muttered in a confused voice. His shoulders were shaking. It appeared Ethan had been swallowed along with Lars.
It was hard for Juan to gauge Lars’s condition. If Ethan was still alive, Lars was too.
But how much of him was still there and what actions and steps Nigrato took were a mystery.
[Is this my sword…….in my chest? How could thi……]
As if something hit his neck on the side, Lars stumbled sideways along with a creaking sound.
His shivering head pointed and looked towards Juan. Nothing could be seen in his eye socket that was full of black smoke.
[Juan, no I mean. Your majesty. No, father.]
Although Juan muttered in a suffering tone, he knew it wasn’t Lars that he was talking to.
He figured Nigrato was going to return to this earth by absorbing the minds of those that were offered to him.
Nigrato who’d taken control over Lars’s body slowly approached Juan and stretched out his hand. He embraced Juan’s face in his arms before quietly mumbling.
Instantly, Nigrato began to squeeze Juan’s body in his arms, crushing him.
In the midst of slaying countless undeads and rescuing fleeing residents of Hiveden, Sina noticed a flame rise from the darkness.
Compared to the giant darkness, the flame was only a small spark, but to Sina it seemed dazzling bright.
Now it was the second time. Sina, who looked at the flame rise, started to feel the burn covering her left eye, hurt. It felt as if the pain she received on that fateful day was returning. Camille hastily came over and supported her from falling.
“Sina, what’s wrong? Weren’t you like this just before?”
“Its nothi, nothing……..”
“Sina, your eye……..”
At Camille’s word, Sina placed her hand on her left eye but quickly took her hand away due to it being extremely hot.
Sina’s burn on her left eye was shining in bright orange. Sina didn’t know what was happening to her.
But one thing was for sure. That the small fire that arose in the middle of the darkness was related to Juan.
“Kyung, if you’re in discomfort, stay back and guard Bishop Rieto.”
Right now, the usual energetic and mad Bishop was nowhere to be seen and instead a feeble weak old man was shivering in his place. Unable to abandon him, Camille had a few residents supporting his side, protecting him.
Sina shook her head.
“I’m alright now. Actually my body feels a whole lot lighter for some reason. We should quickly gather the re………”
Sina’s words stopped. Among the residents who were fleeing from the darkness, she saw a few that stood out. Sparks ignited from Camille’s eyes upon seeing them.
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