Army of skeletons wielding rusted swords, shields, clubs, and spears were swarming the streets. Their numbers exceeded several hundreds with just a cursory glance. Sungchul recalled a scene from his extermination campaign against the Followers of Calamity.
‘It’s no ordinary Necromancer.’
Sungchul dragged a cart over to the entrance of the inn where Largo was staying and blocked the way before heading towards the undead army. Demonic Weapon Cassandra finally made its appearance. This tool that made easy work of large quantities of weaker enemies swallowed up the skeleton army without restraint. Hundreds of skeletal soldiers were vaporized.
Sungchul looked around his surroundings. Vibrant fireworks were still being set off from the Floating Palace to distract those watching. Midst the explosions that continued to explode without end, Sungchul could hear faint sounds of screaming. It wasn’t over yet.
Sungchul commanded the Soul Gem.
Sungchul’s body lifted up sharply. There were airships of the Defensive Fleet placed at various places within Section 8, but Sungchul paid them no mind. He could see the endless procession of the army of the dead from the sky. Skeletons reaching several thousands… no, tens of thousands had swarmed the main road of Section 8 and was heading toward the door leading to Section 7.
‘Just where did they manage to gather so many corpses?’
There was a place he suspected. Sungchul immediately soared through the skies and headed toward the headquarters of Roxanne’s gang. Sungchul’s suspicions weren’t wrong. An army of countless skeletons were walking out of the catacomb entrance.
Fal Garaz made its appearance. Sungchul smashed every skeleton that blocked his path to open the way. The undead that had been concentrated to the point where one wouldn’t even be able to get a step inside could be better described as a wall than an army, but even that wall couldn’t withstand Sungchul. He dismantled the wall of skeletons and went on to the deep section of the Catacomb. He saw that people he recognized were lying dead.
It was the corpse of Roxanne. She had been killed after being brought to a horrific state that was hard to look at. Her decapitated head had been attached to the body of Airfruit who was lying dead next to her. What was most surprising was that she had yet to fully die. Her head that was sewn onto the top of Airfruit’s body was muttering something with the strange sound of air leaking through her throat.
“U…ugh… K…kill me…”
Not only was she pitifully killed and her body violated, She had also been raised again as an undead in order to bring her further pain after death. Sungchul’s blood grew cold at how evil and spiteful of this method. He had heard there were some psychos among those that practices Necromancy, but he had yet to see anyone use a method this evil.
‘Just what kind of a person would do this…’
Sungchul expressed the proper respect toward Roxanne and smashed her head. He also gave rest to Airfruit’s body that was now flopping about without its head. Airfruit’s head was also soon discovered. It was beside a jewel glowing with a dark light skewered onto a spear with his eyes wide open.
Sungchul approached the jewel and soon discovered its identity. Orb of Vengeful Spirits. Powerful practitioners of Necromancy used their magic with the orb to raise massive amounts of corpses by using it like a bowl to gather essence of death. Every one of the Necromancers that Sungchul had killed used an Orb of Vengeful Spirits to create their army of corpses at places like a public graveyard. Even at this moment, order of the world was being disrupted as the dead, drawn by the magical power of the orb, was being drawn here from the afterlife. Sungchul shattered the orb and smashed the skeletons which were in the process of waking up.
‘Just who did this?’
Sungchul decided that whoever it was wouldn’t be forgiven, but first, he had to find this enemy. This Necromancer who was raising corpses even at this moment, that is.
Arquebus was getting a migraine from this emergency situation that was degenerating uncontrollably. He had believed this was an opportunity for a promotion and favors when he heard that Sarasa on the wanted list had appeared within Section 8. If he could have caught one of the leaders of the Cult of Extinction known as the Masked Saintess, it would massively reduce the influence of the Cult of Extinction which was a thorn in the Emperor’s side, but his hopes had turned into a nightmare due to an unexpected monster. An unknown assailant calling himself Angelo Rooks appeared before the hand-picked dragon knights that had been dispatched to capture Sarasa Xero and decapitated them all. The survivors claimed that the identity of this assailant was the Phantom Executor that had terrorized the Imperial City recently.
Arquebus who had instantly lost his trusted hand-picked men tried to call for reinforcement right away, but instead an army of skeletons in the tens of thousands appeared before them. The onlookers who noticed the army of skeletons crawling out of manholes that were periodically installed in the streets believed it was a surprise show that the Emperor and thought it was quite something to see. However, the area turned into pandemonium when the skeletons began to assault the spectators without warning.
The fireworks were still going off at the Floating Palace, but Section 8 had turned into hell on earth, and the biggest problem was that all of this wasn’t the end of it. According to the supervisor of the imperial sewer system, countless amounts of skeletons were in the process of moving through the sewers to enter the other sections. The urgently delivered messages revealed that they had passed through Section 7 and were beginning to appear in Section 6. Arquebus asked the supervisor to securely seal the line to Section 7, but he replied that he would focus his private forces toward Section 7.
“Shit! That gloomy bastard!”
The Supervisor of the sewer system was not beneath him in rank. This mysterious man that was known as the right-hand man of Aquiroa had the authority to refuse the orders of Arquebus who was commander of the defenses, so his anger had to be directed elsewhere.
Arquebus stared blankly toward the ground for a while before he turned toward the young woman standing beside him and began to shout with profanity.
“A small commotion? Hm? I thought you said it was a small commotion!”
The arrow of his criticism landed firmly onto Ahmuge, and she had nothing to say. She had warned him, but even she couldn’t imagine that the situation would have devolved to this degree. Ahmuge who had always been calm couldn’t keep her eyes from trembling at this moment.
‘How can this be? Records of the End definitely said disturbance caused by the few members of the insurgents was small.’
Forgotten was not the only Soul Contract she brought back when she returned from the past. She also brought back a record of the future in order to provide enough benefits of her coming from the future. That record is the Soul Contract: Records of the End. It was only Rare grade, but within it, it contained every piece of history leading to the advent of Calamity when Ahmuge returned to the past. From the dry chronicles that recorded only the broad parts of history to the accounting book of a common merchant selling his wares in the corner of a market.
Sujin was able to stand out to the eyes of those in power as she was not only able to simply predict the future, but possessed the ability to foresee the shifts in the market, or the causes leading up to the deaths of famous figures. Of course, there were some predictions that went wry, but there was no one could deny the entirety of the records she brought with her and as those that had their hands on the flow of time would say, time was like a choir of all those living. There might be some disharmony here and there, but in the end, everything would come back to the the it was meant to be. However, this time even Sujin was surprised. The Record Heading Toward the End recorded this incident as such:
[ On the eve of the year the Devil King died and Colossi appeared to stomp upon half of the continent, a grand festival is held in La Grange at the end of the year. Assassins from the east try to ruin the party, but it doesn’t last long and the festival continues on.]
It wasn’t an important incident so there weren’t many who commented on it, but the situation unfolding in the city at the present had devolved to the scale that it would cause more than a bit of doubt in the entire record that she brought with her.
‘At this rate, I would not only lose the trust of this person, but breed mistrust within all of the people in power.’
This was the first crisis to befall her who had been waiting patiently for her opportunity to strike.
“How are you going to take responsibility for this?”
Arquebus was whining like a child, and Ahmuge looked down toward the streets being overwhelmed with skeletons. The instigator that had risen the corpses was hiding somewhere in the streets, and if she managed to kill him now, the festival wouldn’t have to end.
Ahmuge painfully bit down on her lip and glared back toward Arquebus before speaking.
“Just wait a bit. I’ll take the neck of the Necromancer.”
As soon as she said her piece, she threw her body over the airship. Her illusory afterimages flickered with the light of the fireworks before fading completely. Soon, everything was in darkness.
There was a man and a woman looking down on the entirety of Section 8 from a bell tower. They were the ones who had truly ruined the greatest celebration in La Grange. This pair who was wrought from the Calamity of the east looked indifferent to catastrophe unfolding below them as though it was nothing.
“Ah, what a waste. I should have taken the head of that undead bitch. If only there weren’t those interlopers.”
Angelo cleaned his bloody blade with a rag as he spoke. Beside him was a young female mage who was humming to herself with her legs hanging over the edge.
“Hm, but aren’t they a bit useful? They are warriors of Superhuman grade after all.”
Angelo watched them and smirked. Each of the corpses missing their heads were the bodyguards that had been protecting Sarasa. Had their skills not been outstanding, Sarasa would have long since perished.
“Still not satisfied?”
The main culprit who had raised the corpses spoke without much emotion. Even at this moment as the corpses that she raised were causing a massacre below her, she appeared calm without a bit of agitation. There was a reason why this was so. As the Black List had described the incomparably dangerous child prodigy of Necromancy:
[ The child Necromancy, Phoebe Canvas, from the Free City of Favian appears like an ordinary woman on the outside. Those who know nothing about her would marvel at her prodigious ability at Necromancy, but be warned. This woman who might appear normal has no human sentiments. ]
Inevitably, practicing Necromancy requires the practitioner to become callous to the life and death of the victim and their corpse. Phoebe possessed the greatest potential in this sense. It was because she lacked the capacity to feel a particular emotion. Empathy. The ability to put herself in another’s shoes. There was a word to describe people like Phoebe in Sungchul’s world: Psychopath. She came down from the bell tower and continued to direct the headless corpses before looking back up toward the other person listed on the Black List, Angelo.
“When are you going to be satisfied?”
Angelo smiled at her question.
“When this bloody festival ends.”
He looked up toward the sky. Vibrant fireworks continued to pour down from the Floating Palace that looked down upon the entire city.
At the same time, Sungchul continued to smash the army of skeletons in pursuit of the Necromancer.
‘Damned bastards. Just where are they?’
He had faced countless Necromancers, but this one was different. He didn’t leave any trace. Any bastard that would boldly perform such crazy acts would normally leave behind discreet hints to draw interest, but this one didn’t have any indication of such things. The army of skeletons raised by the Orb of Vengeful Spirits only seemed to move with the grudge the dead had for the living. As they had no other emotion other than vengeance, their combat prowess was poor, their movements were no better than a puppet on strings, and they only lasted upwards of 30 minutes maximum. But their terrifying numbers made up for their shortcomings. More importantly, the army of skeletons were purposely made to wander where people were most congested. In this way, their short duration didn’t pose as a problem. Just leaving them inevitably caused harm.
Sungchul continued to pulverize the skeletons while extensively searching the location that he suspected the Necromancer to be, and in the middle of his search, he discovered someone fighting in front of him. It was a female warrior wearing simple, but proper gear. There was a symbol signifying her high rank within the Empire on the cloak around, and she was fighting a fresh corpse with blood still dripping off of it.
However, the movement of this corpse was strange. It was unmistakable that this corpse had been raised with proper care unlike the other skeletons.
‘Is the Necromancer in this area?’
She was someone that he would normally avoid, but the situation was what it was. Sungchul decided to help her. He pulled out Krombui and split the corpse with a single swing. The situation was resolved instantly with Sungchul’s involvement. The warrior pulled off her bandana and showed proper courtesy toward Sungchul.
“Arquebus must have changed his mind last minute. In any case, I am grateful. The Necromancer is just ahead.”
The woman must have mistook him for reinforcement sent by Arquebus, and as their eyes met, the female warrior shouted in surprise.
“E-Enemy of the World?!”
The identity of the female warrior was none other than Ahmuge. She felt her entire body freeze. She was not the only one in shock, but Sungchul suppressed his emotions and focused on the problem at hand.
“You seem to know the location of the Necromancer.”
They were too close, and Ahmuge knew she couldn’t escape. She felt sweat stream down her back as she nodded.
“Then come help me.”
Sungchul spoke calmly.