146. Allies (6)
“Necromancers, stop casting Spirit Magic!”
The Necromancers watched Belve as he gripped his staff and lifted it up.
“Gather magic power and use offensive magic on top of the wall!”
The Necromancers tilted their heads and looked at each other in confusion.
“But, if we do that…”
“…the Undead will disappear.”
Their strongest suit was Spirit Magic. If they used offensive magic, not only would their Magic Power be depleted, but the Undead would also be destroyed, causing the meat shield of the Revolutionary Army to disappear.
“It doesn’t matter; we have Holy Water! If they have faith in God, the followers will hold their ground. Besides, without offensive magic, there is no way to claim the gate. This is an order! Are you planning on defying the order from the priest chosen by God!?”
Urged by Belve, the Necromancers stopped supporting the Undead. Without Magic Power, the Undead broke down and were reduced to dust.
The Revolutionary Army was dumbfounded by the spectacle.
“W-what!? The Undead…!?”
“T-the Undead are gone! It’s time! Kill them!”
On the other hand, the soldiers of the Holy Kingdom were rejuvenated. They roared and aimed their bows at the revolutionary army. The next instant, a new wave of arrows, stones, and boulders rained down on the Revolutionary Army.
“We can’t fall back now!”
The Revolutionary Army mustered up their courage and climbed the ladder once more. On the other side, the hundreds of Necromancers hoisted their staves and began to chant, offering their Magic Power and vitality to cast a powerful spell.
The Kingdom’s soldiers on the wall faltered. They could see a massive fireball before their eyes.
“Where are we going to run-!”
The soldiers of the Holy Kingdom were in a panic. Just as they tried to flee from the impending doom, the massive ball of fire struck the wall. Raging flames scattered in every direction, burning them all. Not even their bones were left behind. Those surrounding them either caught fire or were severely burned as they made their escape.
“What are those magicians doing? Their allies… Uwack!”
The Revolutionary Army below the wall also got caught in the flames. However, the number of soldiers around the outer gate had indeed fallen. Seeing this, Belve shouted.
“It’s time! Climb the wall and claim the gate!”
The Revolutionary Army turned to the wall, which looked hot with all the flames. It was obvious that their flesh would burn if they touched it.
Seeing them falter, Belve hollered at the top of his lungs, “God is with you all! Holy Water will heal you! Don’t you wish to be acknowledged by God!? Or are you planning on losing to the corrupted priests and running for your lives again!”
The Revolutionary Army gritted their teeth. They couldn’t retreat from here. A new nation was right around the corner. If they ran now…only hell awaited them.
“There’s the Holy Water! Some small burns, it’s better than being burned at the stake by those filthy priests!”
The Revolutionary Army started climbing the ladder. Although their faces and fingers were seared by the intense heat spilling out from the wall, they simply clenched their teeth. To them, the loathing and rage they had suppressed until now were greater than this pain.
“T-those crazy bastards!”
The soldiers of the Holy Kingdom couldn’t approach the wall since none of them had the guts like their enemies. The obsessive resentment of the Revolutionary Army only became something to fear for the soldiers.
“Are those bastards…really crazy!?”
“This is why those pagan bastards…!”
The soldiers looked at each other. The next instant, as if having a collective mind, they shouted with fear-struck faces.
“Look, they’re not in their right minds! They’re all jumping in to die! How can we win against them!? You said that the higher-ups have shut the chapel’s door and won’t leave! Are we supposed to just sit here and wait for our deaths!?”
The commander frowned at the soldier’s outcry.
“You are all walking the path of heresy. We are the holy soldiers of God…!”
“Soldiers of God, my ass! Then who are they? Undead yet, they have Holy Water that heals their wounds right up! Are we really soldiers of God? Blessing? Grace? The way I see it…” The soldier pointed toward the Revolutionary Army. “They look more like the soldiers of God!”
“…There’s only execution for traitors.”
Having made up his mind, the commander gritted his teeth. He pulled out his sword and raised it high up to execute the rebellious soldier. However, right then, a spear was plunged into his back.
The soldiers of the Holy Kingdom stared at the spear-holder.
“…For the revolution!”
“For the Messenger of God, Lily Golt!”
“Follow the Devil of Lania!”
A citizen, former meat shield, gripped his spear with madness in his eyes. The remaining soldiers watched the citizens as they stood frozen stiff in their spots. At the moment, the citizens were not aiming their weapons toward the Revolutionary Army, but them.
“Let there be the glory of God…!”
“Topple the corrupted Holy Kingdom!”
The citizens swarmed the soldiers. It was carnage. The buildings in the downtown area were set ablaze while the citizens attacked the soldiers. The Revolutionary Army outside the wall grew brighter at the uprising.
“Rebellion? Is it an uprising?”
“In any case, they’re on our side!”
“Ey! Open the door! If you want independence, let us in!”
The citizens ran toward the gate upon hearing the Revolutionary Army.
“Open the gate!”
Having killed the Holy Kingdom’s soldiers and claimed the gate, the citizens began opening the gate with all their might. The sight made Belve burst into laughter.
“Haha! Look! This is our strength that has been blessed by God! To think that the almighty capital of the Holy Kingdom would fall so easily!”
Belve swaggered into the city, followed by the Necromancers.
The soldiers of the Holy Kingdom eventually gave up fighting and fled.
“It’s our victory!”
“We are winning!”
“Get Pope Salem!”
The yells of the Revolutionary army, drunk on victory, rang out as Belve and his followers headed to the chapel. The battle was at its climax. The sound of cries, clashing of weapons, and screams mixed into a cacophony, and a burnt stench wafted everywhere. At the base of the Revolutionary army, Tom’s crow within its birdcage opened its eyes.
Its golden eyes looked around, tilting its head when Belve was nowhere to be seen.
‘Did…something happen? That Belve bastard, he broke my orders.’
Tom, who could hear sounds through the crow, let out a groan. The crow opened its mouth and chipped at the birdcage. The birdcage broke, allowing the crow to leave the tent and fly into the sky.
It saw a battlefield. The sky was dyed black with smoke from the piles of burning ash, and the area around the wall was littered with corpses and blood. The crow grew curious after observing the scene.
[He’s subjugating it? The capital of the Holy Kingdom…?]
With merely the Revolutionary army…?
The crow’s eyes turned toward the inside of the capital and looked at the city. It could see the soldiers of the Holy Kingdom scattered about, but their numbers were tiny. For a capital’s defenders, the number and quality were too poor.
Regardless of the fact that they were a group of Necromancers and that they had the Holy Water, subjugating the capital with their numbers alone was impossible. However, seeing that the gate was open and they had claimed the city felt like the Holy Empire was welcoming them with open arms. Tom, feeling increasingly confused, sent the crow to Belve.
“We can soon subjugate the chapel! It is our victory! Everyone, follow me!”
Belve, high on the stench of blood and cries of victory, led the revolutionary army in an excited state. The Undead army and the Necromancers followed behind him. When he arrived at the massive gate and walls, then to the area where the chapel stood, he opened his two arms wide.
“The chapel is right in front of our eyes! Open the castle door and break those bastards!”
[…You look happy with yourself.]
“Of course! I’ll finally be acknowledged by the Devil of Lania with…”
Belve turned around in surprise. Seeing a single crow sitting on the floor, his face grew pale. He quickly dropped to the floor and lowered his head. He tried his best to lower his head to match the height of the crow’s head. The Necromancers and the Revolutionary Army quickly fell down to the floor as well in surprise.
“L-Lord Devil of Lania…!”
The crow looked at Belve and narrowed its eyes.
[You’ve disobeyed me…and now you’ve done this, Belve!]
“Ah, t-that is…all because I wanted to be acknowledged by you…all due to my excessive loyalty…”
[You are my puppet, but the puppet has now cut his strings and began to move on his own? It’s very disconcerting to me.]
“N-no… That is…!”
Belve trembled. An unknown feeling of disappointment dyed his heart. He was victorious. He had moved with his life on the line for the God he believed in, but the other party was still displeased. Belve wasn’t happy with the outcome and gritted his teeth.
“L-look! I am winning!”
[This is a trap. Do you really believe the bastards that have ruled the continent for thousands of years would be this weak? To think you weren’t even aware of that must mean you’re quite incompetent.]
Belve tilted his head in surprise.
“It…is a trap?”
[Yes, the bastards must have something up their sleeves, or they wouldn’t have left the capital this defenseless.]
“T-that is not the case! It was through my own ingenuity and the strength of the followers that we have subjugated them! All that is left is to take the chapel, and we can take the head of that loathsome Pope…! I offer his head to the Devil of Lania! To show my loyalty…no! My faith…”
It was at that moment. The chapel gate abruptly opened, and soldiers with seamless white armor marched out. The ground gave away with each of their steps, and their eyes seared beneath their helmets as they glared at the Revolutionary Army.
“Aah, this…there’s a lot of fun toys here!”
“We can kill them all, right?”
“Aren’t they here to kill the Pope? Of course!”
“Leave some alive. We have to torture them and have some fun.”
The Holy Knights, numbering around 200, loosened their bodies as they walked, mocking the Revolutionary Army at the same time.
The Order of Evilesse Holy Knights. The group of Hero-grade monsters that had their strength and longevity extended to the extreme through human sacrifice. As they had been grown in secret until now, Belve was shocked, laying slumped on the ground.
[I see. So they are the Pope’s trap?]
“Hah, Haha! Mere Holy Knights! The Necromancers are setting a perimeter right now! 50,000—no, with the revolting citizens, we have around 70,000 men! What is there to fear in this already concluded battle!?”
Belve was oozing with confidence. Regardless of how strong the group might be, he believed there was no way that they could withstand tens of thousands of men.
[Each of them is Hero-grade. And not some average rank either.]
“…H-hero-grade?” Belve twitched and stumbled through his words. “E-even still, against a large army…!”
The crow’s gaze turned skywards. His golden eyes burned with rage as he glared at somebody.
[…That evil bastard has revealed himself.]
Belve’s eyes turned.
“Aah, to think so many have fallen!”
The Evilesse Knights parted to both sides to make way for a palanquin made of white lumber, a figure sitting upon the throne with a crown on his head. It was Pope Salem Gattschuranche.
The slaves lifted the palanquin as Salem turned to the excited Revolutionary Army. He then shook his head regrettably.
“Aah, God will be sad! How tragic is it to see his loving followers go on the wrong path?”
Salem’s eyes turned down. He spoke while gazing at the Evilesse Holy Knights.
“Holy Knights of God! Save these poor lambs that have cast aside their God…!”
The Evilesse Holy Knights simultaneously gripped their weapons.
“By order of the Pope, we shall perform the rite of purification-!”
“What is that right of purification!?”
“Burn the body and purify the soul-!”
“Yes! That’s right! That’s it!”
Salem burst into laughter as the Order of Evilesse Holy Knights played along to his rhythm, the joyous laughter filling the plaza.
After settling down, he pointed toward the Revolutionary Army.
“Trash that has been abandoned by God! Trash! Trash! Trash! Trash! Trash! All trash! Please burn all the trash!!”
The crow’s eyes narrowed as it transmitted Tom’s words.
[Put out all the men immediately. All of them…! Retreat. Save as many lives as possible.]
“Retreat..? What do you…?” Belve shook his head in response. “We subjugated them just now! And the Pope is right before my eyes! He’s the key to toppling the Holy Empire! But… but…!”
[Are you defying my order?]
Belve gripped his staff in response to Tom’s heavy-handed attitude.
“You…are still not acknowledging me. I have tried my best, but…! You…! Ugh! I shall earn that acknowledgment! I shall take the Pope’s head and be acknowledged by you!”
Belve glared at Salem. The Pope’s pointing finger, mocking laughter, and arrogant attitude made the revolutionary lose all sense of rationality.
“Kill that bastard right now!”
“You dare mock us? I’ll tear your corpse to shreds!”
Belve found his opportunity when the Revolutionary Army became enraged.
“The Divine Beast, the Eye of God, is before us. If we kill the Pope with him here, it will be as though we are showing him justice! Followers! Let’s show God our strength! Charge, and capture Pope Salem!”
The Revolutionary Army raised their weapons and charged. The Undead, in front of them, poured out hostility as they also rushed ahead. Thousands of Undead and tens of thousands of men rushed toward a single man, Salem.
One of the Evilesse Holy Knights tilted his head and turned to Salem.
“There are too many bugs. If they were simple bugs, we’d be able to clean them up, but seeing that there is a Magician among them…”
“Then what do you wish for me to do about that?”
The Evilesse Holy Knight said with a laughing tone and exaggerated gesture as he lowered his head to Salem.
“As the Messenger of God, please show us a miracle, Your Highness.”
Salem seemed to be pleased by the Evilesse Knight’s actions. He clenched his neck.
“I see! A miracle! I shall show you the miraculous power that has awoken recently!”
Salem rose from his seat while the Evilesse Holy Knights took a step back. Tom, observing through the crow’s eyes, also felt curious.
[He’s…planning on doing something.]
Once the Holy Knights retreated behind the Pope, the Revolutionary Army roared.
“He’s right in front of us!”
They charged with all their might. The ground shook under their boots, and the dust covered the entire area like a fog. Their bloodied swords, spears, and arrows were aimed at Salem, fueling their bodies with pent-up rage.
“Let there be God’s blessing…” Salem drew in his breath. Holy Power gathered in his neck and mouth.
“Turn the Pope into a beehive!”
The Revolutionary Army nocked their arrows and let them loose. Thousands of arrows made a curve in the air and headed toward the Pope. Salem, who had drawn in his breath, smiled with his eyes. Then, he opened his mouth. Everything was blown away.
Tom, watching through the crow’s eyes in the office of the Demon Lord’s palace, jumped from his seat. The crow was destroyed. The moment Salem opened his mouth, the crow made up of Magic Power had vanished with the light.
‘What was that just now?’
Tom couldn’t understand the situation in his panicked state. The crow had definitely been quite a distance away, yet it had been destroyed without a trace the moment Salem opened his mouth.
‘…Salem, that bastard, seems to have gotten his hands on some annoying power.’
Tom groaned and sat in his office chair.
Belve blinked. His head was buzzing, and his mind was scattered from the loud ringing in his ears. He made out that he had suddenly fallen on the ground before slowly raising his body up. His legs lost their strength and wavered.
He spun his eyes around to check the surroundings. Thick dust blurred his vision. He discovered he alone was not on his knees. Instead, the whole Revolutionary Army was trying to recover their wits and footing.
They opened their mouths and made some noises as they gripped their ears, blood leaking out from in between their fingers. Their eardrums had burst in the earlier explosion. Someone must have become terrified by the lack of sound and the dust covering his vision as he was shouting something.
Belve rubbed his forehead, shaking his head with all his might. His ears must have been restored to some extent, as sound gradually returned. It was small, but the slowly increasing noise of equipment, screams, and psychotic laughter could be heard.
“Hah…Hah…Hahaha! Kill them!”
“Die! You heretics!”
“Let there be the blessing of Pope Salem…!”
Belve finally regained his senses. The dust obstructing his vision gradually settled and disappeared. Once the view became clear, he was stunned. Slaughter. At the moment, the white-armored Evilesse Knights were massacring the Revolutionary Army. They decapitated with their swords, bludgeoned their bodies into meat paste, or held them down with their spears while popping their heads with their hands.
The gruesome scene sent a shiver down Belve’s spine.
“W-what happened? Why…? Why are we losing? Undead…?”
His gaze turned to the ground; it was covered with bone dust. Belve finally recalled a bit of what had occurred moments ago. The instant Salem opened his mouth, a massive shockwave had overwhelmed the Revolutionary Army. The arrows flying to kill Salem turned back around toward the Revolutionary Army, while those that had charged too close to him, in an attempt to kill him, exploded. The Undead were just destroyed without a trace.
Also… Belve touched his own chest with the hand that held his staff.
“…Magic Power… was destroyed?”
Even if there was some remaining, it only existed in a minuscule amount. To use the Magic Power for casting spells, it would take three to four days of recovering.
“H-holy water has no effect!”
Belve turned to the Revolutionary Army in surprise. Each of the Revolutionary soldiers was spraying their bodies with the Holy Water, but their wounds were not healing.
“G-god’s miracle…has v-vanished.”
“What…!? Why isn’t there any effect? This is just water!?”
The Revolutionary Army retreated in fear, and the Evilesse Holy Knights swung their weapons at them without mercy.
Belve gripped his hand in disbelief.
“H-how did this…! The Blessing from the Devil of Lania was destroyed…?”
Magic and Holy Power had both been destroyed. That too with the power of just one, Pope Salem Gattschurache…! Belve turned his head, staring at Salem and his truly strange, almighty power.
“Cough! Cough! M-my throat is sore, but I could heal this much with some sacrifice! In any case, this is funny! Hahaha! Look! The trash is dying off! They’re being purified! It’s so much fun! Look at them crying out to save them! Hahahaha! Stomp all the bugs and purify them!”
Amid this one-sided slaughter, Salem burst into laughter, finding the death of his own subjects hilarious. Belve was disgusted by the sight, and he dropped the staff in his hand.
‘…That is not the appearance of the Pope known as the Messenger of God. That is not a Priest! That is someone who has turned his back to god and fallen through corruption…!’
“Bastard, you are not the Pope.” An Evilesse Holy Knight raised his sword behind Belve. “Are you the devil?”
And split his body in two at the end of his sentence.
— Ω —