“Am I just imagining things or is this place strangely quiet?”
I am walking beside the wagon when Yuni suddenly asks me. I look around and find out that it really is strangely quiet. Just a while ago, there have been birds chirping. Now, not even a shadow can be seen.
I turn to Mary who is on the wagon, accompanying Alishia training. A wave of mana sweeps over us as [Search] magic is activated. Frank stops the wagon while being vigilant.
I raise my rifle and release the safety. I also activate the radar function of the bracelet but I can’t find anything. There is nothing nearby.
A while later Mary opens her eyes and shakes her head.
“There is nothing nearby. This place is empty. The way to the pass is also clear.”
“Let’s move forward. We will reach the mountain pass shortly. Everyone, be cautious.”
Frank urges the horse to pick up the pace. We move while keeping an eye of the surroundings. A faint bloody smell suddenly makes its way to our nose. As the smell gets thicker and thicker, we increase our vigilance more and more.
A while later we reach the pass. In a few hours we will be able to reach garrison in the middle of it. However, we stop right outside the pass.
Corpses litter the land around the entrance. There are broken weapons and blood stains everywhere.
The corpses are torn apart here and there. Some are missing their limbs. Others are missing a large part of their neck or abdomens like it was bitten out by some beasts. Overall, the sight is very gruesome.
“Get back. Yuni, don’t let Alishia come out. Call Mary for me.”
Even after experiencing the defense of her village, Yuni is still frightened and quickly moves inside the wagon. Frank anxiously turns the wagon around and once again disappears into the forest.
Mary comes out after a while. She sucks in cold breath after looking at the scene.
“Help me watch the surrounding. I am going to check out something.”
I walk slowly to one of the corpses. The rotting smell of the corpses in the middle of hot sun in a bit unbearable. Fortunately, it looks like they died not long ago.
The corpse’s eyes are wide open. The horror and despair in them are particularly visible. A part of its neck is bitten off. Some parts of its limb and torso are also violently torn.
Its left hand has been crushed along along with its wooden shield. Fragments of it are scattered around in various size. A sword is stabbed into the ground nearby with a few chips on it.
As I walk around, most of the corpses are in the same state. There are very few intact corpses. The few of them have blood all over their bodies.
“Something is very wrong here.”
Mary exclaims from the side. I look back to her and she continues.
“There is an abundance of dark, cold aura here. This feeling… should have been dark magic user’s work.”
“Really? What is dark magic?”
“Dark attribute is another one of special magic attribute. However, it is easier to find this type compared to holy type. Most of dark magic can immensely increase your strength by sacrificing something.”
“Then… Are you saying that they fought each other? They should have came from the same side, judging from their armor pattern.”
I look back at some corpses which should have been crushed by something very strong. Mary replies.
“I said most. I heard from my master that there is a branch of dark magic that can brainwash people.”
“Huh? Then, why did they die as well?”
“They need something to sacrifice to gain strength. In this case, I guess it is their life force.”
“I see. Can you search the pass for the garrison from here?”
“I will try.”
A strong invisible wave of mana passes through me towards the pass. While Mary searches the pass, I gather the corpses at one place. After a while, over twenty corpses are gathered beside the entrance of the pass.
“How is it?”
I ask Mary who is knitting her brows. She opens her eyes in confusion.
“I can’t get inside. The dark magic is too thick. I feel like walking through a swamp.”
“Hmm. We will head back first and check the pass tomorrow. Let’s bury them.”
Mary nods and waves her hand. Each time she waves down, a hole appears. I move the corpses into the holes one by one and make them a grave.
After we pay our respect, we head back to the wagon.
I look up to the moon high in the sky. Currently, the sky is clear thus I can see countless stars.
I throw some dry woods into the bonfire. As I stretch out my arms over the fire, the warmth spreads throughout my body. Crackling sounds from the bonfire liven up the quietness of the night.
Mary, Yuni and Alishia are sleeping inside the wagon, covered in blankets. Frank is sleeping near the bonfire. Their peaceful faces are nice to watch while being bored here.
As I am enjoying the warmth of the fire, my bracelet suddenly lit up with a red flash. I quickly grab my goggles and wear them on. Next I activate the map system.
Suddenly a bright light shines out from the direction of the pass, accompanied by a loud bang.
“That…. That’s from the perimeter wall!”
At this moment everyone has woken up from their slumber. Mary quickly grabs her robe and wears it. At the same time more banging sounds can be heard. I quickly check out the perimeter status.
“Not good. The power is dropping fast. Mary! We have to move fast! The rest of you, stay here!”
I grab my rifle from the side and run to the direction of the banging. I redirect a part of power from other wall towards the quickly collapsing wall. Mary runs up behind me.
A strong wave of mana passes through me towards the wall. I glance back to Mary and find out that she is taken aback.
“What’s the matter?”
“I can’t see through. A thick dark mana is blocking me out. Be careful.”
When we are talking, we arrive at the wall. I close my eyes on the bright flash that occur when the wall is hit. As I open my eyes, a strange scene is displayed.
“What… are they?”
The attackers emits a foul rotting smell. The dim light from the wall reveals their appearance. From their gruesome appearance, I can only think of the word “Zombie”.
“No way! They are undead!”
Mary screams out from my side. She quickly covers her mouth like she is enduring something. Her face is very pale.
“We got a big problem. Undead are hard to kill with normal bullet. Do you have holy bullets?”
“I got some.”
I quickly browse through the inventory. There is a box of sixty holy bullets and I take that out.
Holy Bullets. As the name suggests, they are bullets blessed with holy magic. The number of holy bullets are low. The same as other holy weapons because the number of holy magicians are very few.
It is highly recommended to use holy weapons instead of bullets as they can be used multiple times.
However, currently I don’t bring any holy weapon. Mary also can’t use any holy magic.
The bullets are quickly being inserted into an empty pistol mags. The bullets I brought along are small caliber bullets for sidearms and SMG. After filling in two mags, a loud glass breaking sound can be heard from the wall.
I glance at the wall. The perimeter wall is trying to close the gap but a few zombies have broken in. I redirect more power over from other walls.
Mary swiftly waves her hands around like she is dancing. She cast [Earth Spikes] continuously on the ground with each waves of her hands. Her gracefulness doesn’t match the fearsome magic she cast.
Spikes after spikes of earth impale the zombies and hang them high. The zombies struggle for a while before they strike the spikes with their unbelievable strength.
The strikes break the spikes into pieces. As soon as they fall to the ground, they get up and advance once more. None of the zombies was killed.
The wall is once again broken through. As more zombies walk in, there are now ten zombies inside the perimeter. I quickly fix in more holy bullets into more mags.
As Mary dances, more and more spikes stop the zombies on their tracks. Some of the zombies have been impaled so many times that they can’t stand anymore. They use any limb they have to crawl.
“It’s so hard to stop them.”
Mary complains in the midst of her dance. A spike suddenly pierces through the spine of one of the zombies. It drops to the ground, unable to exert any strength on its lower half. It proceeds to crawl with its arms.
Mary quickly imprison it into a pithole just like other crawling zombies to slow it down.
“I am ready. Where should I shoot?”
I attach a laser tech on my sidearm for increased accuracy. After locking in a new bullet into the chamber, I ask Mary.
“Go for the head! All commands from the dark magician will have to go through their brain. I will stop them in a few seconds.”
Mary slows down her [Earth Spike] and eventually stops. The zombies slowly advance forward into the dangerously close range of 1 meter from us.
There is a sudden drop of temperature around us. Snow starts to form out of the air and covers the ground. The rapidly dropping temperature causes the zombies to slow down to the point of nearly stopping.
As more and more snow drops, the zombie are being hindered by it. The crawling zombies has been stopped as their bodies slowly freeze up.
Mary stops her magic. The storm stops and reveals the nearly frozen zombies. I aim at them and fire when I am sure it will hit. I have to make every bullet counts.
A small explosion is heard when I shot at one of the zombies. When the bullet pierces its head, it goes rigid for a while. Hissing sounds can be heard from its head and dark color fog is seen pouring out from its orifices.
Soon it drops down powerlessly, never moving again.
“I will hold off the ones outside.”
Mary turns her attention to the wall.
Since I have redirected more power over, the wall is more resilient than ever. The zombies outside can no longer break large enough hole to enter. However, the power isn’t unlimited.
Mary takes in a deep breath. She calms herself down and then she takes out her staff from the storage.
The long staff would have been a hindrance earlier in our run here. Now that she takes it out, Mary points the tip of her staff at the wall.
Very quickly water starts to converge at the tip. After a while, it separates and forms into multiple water spears. Then it freezes up into ice spears.
Her magic is also noticeably stronger now. The ice spears start to rotate like a drill.
Following her murmurs, the ice spears drill into the crowd of zombies outside. Large holes appear on each zombie’s body. From the wounds, ice spreads out.
“Ho? That’s the same concept as Alice’s magic.”
I look at Mary while picking off the frozen zombies one by one.
“Yeah. To handle zombies, it is best to keep them in place before killing them. I thought to apply both killing and crowd control so Alice’s magic is a good inspiration.”
A while later there is no more zombies inside the wall. I watch Mary taking out the zombies outside while checking the status of the rest of the wall.