༺ Nazrea, City of the Dead (1) ༻
The safeness from demonic beasts achieved thanks to the existence of the guardian academy gathered people, and all that money brought prosperity to the city.
At the center of that city was the finest and best hotel. Hotel Mamilla had both a high status and an exceptional customer service that befitted its title as the best hotel in the city, and their suite room cost hundreds of coins for a single night.
Even though Bishop Renault Lusignan was sitting on a top-quality leather couch with a high-class wine that was over 80 years old in that room, his voice was filled with fury.
“Do you even hear yourself!!”
Thud! He smashed on the side table, which made the wine fall to its side. It was a premium wine that cost several gold coins but that meant nothing to him right now.
“My apologies. We weren’t expecting mounted bandits to come to the platform…”
The bishop unhesitatingly threw his wine glass which shattered on the forehead of the man giving his report.
The scarlet wine dripped from the man’s forehead but he remained still without moving a single inch.
“Useless. Aren’t you the captain of the honorable Chargers of the Cross that follows the will of god? How could you not even deal with something so simple?”
Chargers of the Cross.
They were religiously fanatical secret troops that destroyed the Old Faith’s enemies while hiding in the darkness. Each of their skills was well below those of the Templar Knights, but these guys had no name or identity and were thus incredibly good ‘consumables’.
“Those things belong to the pagans from the east. Find them at any cost. If you can’t, then find replacements at the very least!”
Renault gave the most natural order but also added another sentence in case it didn’t work out.
“Tell those black-haired guys and Kang Ryun, to tell us about the path and schedule of their carriages from their Academy!”
“…What do you…?”
“You fool! We have to buy time! Disguise your men as mounted bandits and steal the items from Purple Hawk, and we will have more justification even if we have to delay the plan!”
“I, I understand.”
As soon as the captain disappeared, Bishop Renault turned to the scenery of the city that he could see through the large window.
There was nothing he liked about it; both the current situation as well as the prosperity of this city that turned away from the will of the god were detestable.
However, what Renault Lusignan knew was that gods did exist in this land. The time was nigh for them to at last show themselves and display their might.
“Everything for the Advent of Paradise.”
After all, he had personally seen ‘god’.
Details about the group event were announced.
16 people from Purple Hawk Academy were divided into Teams 1, 2, 3, and 4.
And 16 from Merkarva Academy were divided into Teams A, B, C, and D.
The following 32 students of the two academies were announced, along with the location of the event.
Alicia, who seemingly woke up too early in preparation for the group event schedule, asked with a yawn.
“Where is Nazrea City?”
Near the center of the El Rath Kingdom was a dead city called Nazrea. It was such a big thing that it always had several guardians in it.
Marie, who appeared to know about the background history of that city, opened her mouth.
“Wow. Isn’t this the one that’s well-known for being a city of undeads?”
“A, a city of undeads?”
Marie took out a pamphlet from her protective robe which she prepared for the group event.
“Nazrea was a big city that used to prosper 300 years ago. But it fell from its former grace.”
“Uh… that’s tragic. Why did that happen?”
“A black mage summoned undead into the city, by using a large-scale black magic called Immortal Legion.”
“A b, black mage?”
Immortal Legion. It was a grand spell that raised as many undeads as possible inside the magic circle as long as there was enough mana to support it.
“W, well that’s an ominous event.”
“The problem is that the spell still exists 300 years later in the form of a special barrier,” I added.
“Yes. Nazrea is still called the City of Undeads because there is an unending number of undeads roaming around the city.”
“How is that possible when it’s from 300 years ago?”
“If it’s done at a miraculous timing in alignment with a special astrological shift, it is.”
Being a mage, Marie seemed knowledgeable about the undead-phenomenon of Nazrea, and continued on with her explanation.
“300 years, 3 months, and 24 days ago, there was a super-blue-blood-moon. It was an extremely unique lunar eclipse where a super moon, a blue moon, and a blood moon all happened at the same time.”
Super moon, a phenomenon that made the moon appear bigger than usual;
Blue moon, which came every 2~3 years like a leap year;
And blood moon which made the moon appear crimson due to the instability of the atmosphere.
All of that happened on that rare day, which was a rare occurrence that might not even come once every few centuries, and caused a supernatural phenomenon.
“When that happens, a unique wave of mana comes down to the earth. Any grand spells that are formed using this mana can forever be under the protection of the moon.”
“Umm… so that means?”
“It means the city called Nazrea now has an everlasting spell that infinitely revives those undeads.”
Alicia had a questioning look on her face, as if she couldn’t understand why we would leave such a dangerous place alone.
“It’s impossible to cleanse Nazrea. Their numbers are already a problem, but cleansing the city in one day… or rather half a day is impossible even if the kingdom sent all their soldiers for it.”
“What do you mean, Senior Marie?”
“Nnn… You’ll see once you get there! I’ve been there once last year as well, you see!”
In any case, after realizing that it was a dangerous place, Alicia raised a different question.
“…So why would we have the group event at such a dangerous location?”
“It’s not that dangerous as long as you stay away from the center of the city. We’ll probably stick to the outer areas of the city that have low-grade undeads.”
But no one could say for sure whether this trip would be safe or not.
These days, even though the city was often used as training sites for priests and a venue for the group event of students, Nazrea was still a demonic field.
After all, in that place was a Grim Reaper.
The houses started a smooth flight and before long, I could see white clouds outside the window.
Four monster carriers including a Hresvelgr were carrying the students and professors while flying across the sky.
Alicia was dozing off to sleep while going through a pamphlet about Nazrea but Marie was nowhere to be seen. She was probably steaming potatoes in the kitchen or something.
The individual and doubles events were probably still taking place at the Academy right now. People like Marie and I, who were also participating in the group event, had our turns before others.
This group event made me think quite a bit.
‘Originally, it was supposed to be about stealing an egg from a semi-dragon.’
The future changed.
The original Nazrea was just a location that the player happened to visit during the main scenario. It was closer to a side quest than a main one, and had definitely not been used as a stage for the festival.
『Senior Professor Kang Ryun has changed the location of the group event.』
It was quite dumbfounding when I heard that from Professor Josephine.
All the details of the festival were decided by the representative of the visiting Academy. That was the convention added to avoid the hosting Academy from having too big of a home-ground advantage.
The details were generally decided as soon as the visitors arrived at the hosting Academy, and it was rare for things to change after the decision was already made.
It was probably because of the Old Faith’s carriages being robbed a week ago.
‘Trying to buy time, huh.’
Since all the important articles that were supposed to form the Eight Gates Sealing Formation: Evil Extermination were stolen, they were probably trying to buy time until they could either regain them or find replacements.
The special items, that were supposed to have been smuggled into the city away from the eyes of the guards, had been stolen so they were bound to be lost.
『Apparently the items that were being brought by Purple Hawk had been stolen by mounted bandits. Was that you?』
As for this, I could definitely say that it wasn’t me. The ones I stole were from the Old Faith that was trying to smuggle in the articles and not Purple Hawk.
In other words, that meant that Bishop Renault and Kang Ryun pretended like their other carriages had also been stolen in order to buy time. That was probably their excuse for changing the content of the group event.
‘That pig. His brain works quite fast.’
His name was in my death note as well. He was a stereotypical religious villain, but was a tough nut to crack because of his social position, influence, and proactiveness.
Besides, most of the higher-ups of the Old Faith including him were fundamentalists that dreamed of the ‘Advent of Paradise’.
In ❰Heroic Legends of Arhan❱, one of the factions that were always removed regardless of the ending was the Old Faith that had their sanctum in Xeruem. That was just how horribly useless those people were.
‘The Grim Reaper is a problem though…’
『Grim Reaper of Nazrea』
It was a powerful existence that also appeared in the main scenario. Rather than a demonic beast or a demonic spirit, it was closer to being an elemental and a spirit.
If everything went according to the scenario, the player would be meeting this angel of death.
The guider of souls that ended up having to stay behind because of the Immortal Legion incident of Nazrea 300 years ago.
There was a very high chance of it appearing in front of us.
– Flap! Flap!
That was when the sound of the wings changed. It seemed that the monster carriers were preparing to descend by lowering their speed.
“Ugh… I just finished boiling my potatoes though!”
Marie complained while waking up Alicia, who was dozing off to sleep. Meanwhile, I woke up Lark and Jaeger who were sleeping in a corner of the room.
Before long, the buildings were softly placed back down on the ground and 16 of our students each left the rooms with our belongings.
There were people waiting for us already.
“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen from Merkarva Academy. I am Priest Flamel, who will be one of the guides for your exploration of Nazrea. Please enter the carriage over there.”
On the landing zone where our monster carriers just landed, I could see other monster carriers that were eating their fill. It appeared that Purple Hawk had already arrived and had already set off for the entrance of Nazrea City.
Alicia was just about to enter the horse carriage but soon realized that it was too small for everyone to fit in.
“Isn’t the carriage a bit small?”
“Unfortunately, that was all we could manage because it was a very sudden visit. We couldn’t prepare a big-enough carriage so I would like to ask you to use horses if you can… Is there anyone that knows how to ride a horse?”
The priests also seemed troubled by the short notice they received. There was nothing that could be done about it.
“I know how to ride one.”
“Ah, I know as well!”
Marie and I knew how to ride horses.
As for Marie, it was natural because she had a farm of horses, and I also learned horse-riding while going to several places in the last iteration.
“Marie. Can I get on your back?”
“Nn. Hold onto my waist, Isabelle!”
Isabelle got on behind Marie who was skilfully maneuvering the horse while I also picked a random horse to get on.
I turned to the students that weren’t on the carriage.
“Jaeger. What do you wanna do?”
“You want me to ride behind a stinky guy? Ehew~ please don’t. That’s not how we do things and you know it.”
“…As expected of my buddy.”
Nodding my head, I displayed my whole-hearted agreement with his opinion.
“Alicia. Do you know how to ride horses?”
“Uhh… N, not really.”
“…Aren’t you the daughter of a swordsmanship family?”
Wasn’t horse-riding a must in the Arden family?
“Do you want me to ride on a horrible animal that kills people with its hind legs? How could you say such a thing as a human?”
What was she even talking about? She straight-up denied the most traditional method of transport that had existed throughout the history of humanity.
“Just get on my back if you don’t know how to ride one.”
“U, uhht… N, no thank you. I can use the carriage…”
When I drove the horse next to her, who was slowly taking a step back, she went ‘Hieek!’ in fright.
“My arm hurts. Hurry up and get on.”
I had to carry a guy behind my back if not Alicia, and I didn’t want to do that. Why would I let a sweaty guy hold onto my waist when I had better options?
After getting on the horse, she immediately started shivering and displayed her urge to quickly get off the horse.
“Marie? What’s wrong?”
“I should’ve said I didn’t know how to ride horses…”
I decided to depart before Alicia changed her mind.
“Go, Chi Tu1TLN: Chi Tu (Red Hare): A famous horse from three kingdoms rode by Lu Bu and Guan Yu. Known to travel 1,000 li a day without getting exhausted.!”
“Mr. Korin? Ugyaaahtt?!”
– Trot! Trot!
Chi Tu, the Red Hare, raced forward at a rapid speed. That sudden march was a bit cruel for newbies, and Alicia quickly wrapped her arms around me to avoid falling off the horse.
“M, Mr. Korin! Wait! Wait!”
“Huhahaha! This is what it means to say ‘Korin among men and Chi Tu among steeds’!”2The original saying is ‘Lu Bu among men, and Chi Tu among steeds’: Lu Bu was known to be the strongest man during that time, whereas Chi Tu was the best horse.
The excitement from riding a horse for the first time in a while allowed us to arrive in the blink of an eye. Even though wyverns were too expensive… a horse or two should be fine right?
Now that I was earning a hefty sum of money, it seemed that the god of impulse buying had descended into my body.
“Huehk… M, Mr. Korin! M, my eyes are spinning. I feel super dizzy!”
“Come on… if you run seriously, you’re faster than a horse, you know that right?”
“I, I can’t walk.”
“Ehew… get on my back then.”
In the end, I had to carry Alicia on my back before heading to the Nazrea encampment.
A sister with the sign of a different-patterned cross welcomed us when we arrived at the entrance of the city. She was from the New Faith just like Hua Ran.
“Welcome. You are the first to arrive from Merkarva.”
Because of our full-speed dash, we were the only students from Merkarva that arrived at the encampment so far. Marie was the type to ride her horse leisurely so she would probably arrive at the same time as the carriage.
“Do we get our explanation straight away?”
“No. I believe you’d be tired from the flight, so please rest at the accommodation first. Please follow me.”
There were several priests and clerics waiting at the entrance that seemed to be the guides of the city. Out of them, we followed the sister called Lina.
Alicia widened her eyes immediately after entering the city.
Nazrea, the City of Undeads.
For it to be considered a city full of the undying, it looked way too ‘normal’.
“L, looks quite normal to me?”
From the old gates heading into the city to the fruit stands, bakeries, and sprinting children… The city had an old yet normal look to it.
“Hello there! Would you like some hot, steaming bread? It’s straight out of the oven!”
Alicia was tempted by the baker who seemed way too normal to be considered a denizen of a dead city.
“Sniff… It smells delicious. Mr. Korin, should we get one?”
Sister Lina stopped Alicia from taking out her coin purse.
“Uhh… yes. Umm… you’re short on time right? I’m sorry.”
“That’s not it. You cannot have any food in this place. Did you not check the things you need to be careful of before coming inside?”
“H, huh? S, sorry.”
“Listen to the sister. We’re heading to the hotel first.”
Since I knew about the reason why we shouldn’t have any food in this place, I persuaded Alicia and continued heading to the hotel. The one we arrived at was a 3-story building that was quite close to the entrance of the city, Hotel Kanna.
“Welcome! We’re getting a lot of guests today!”
The hotel owner welcomed us in. Clerics and professors were sitting on the first floor but the students were nowhere to be seen.
“Please head up to the 2nd floor. You must come down by 6:40 pm.”
Without giving us any explanation, they moved us to the 3rd floor of the hotel. On the wooden key that we received, which was too ancient to even be used outside, was our designated room number.
“Please stay quiet. It would be even better if you take some sleep.”
‘It’s the middle of the day though?’ Alicia asked but the sister simply shushed her by placing her finger on her lips.
“Ugh… I have no idea what’s going on.”
“Be quiet. We’ll explain later. You should get some sleep for now.”
“Now’s not the time to stand out just yet. You have to take into account that ‘we’ are not the only ones in this place.”
After seemingly realizing that I wasn’t going to answer any of her questions, she quietly laid herself on the bed after unpacking her belongings.
We, who had been awake from 20 minutes ago, headed down to the lobby of Hotel Kanna just in time.
I could see other students that were also leaving their rooms at the same time as us. Among them was the student council president of Purple Hawk Academy, Kang Yuhua.
Everyone quickly walked down the stairs as if they were itching to begin. Professor Haman gestured to us once we arrived at the lobby.
“Come here and sit.”
Alicia and I sat down at the same table as Professor Haman. Around us, the guests of the hotel were bustling with noise while enjoying their meals and booze.
“Umm… Mr. Korin? This is a lot different from what I was expecting.”
“It’s because you fell asleep while reading your pamphlet.”
The Merkarva students arrived one by one. Soon, we had all our 16 students including Marie, Isabelle, Jaeger, and Lark.
Senior Professor Kang Ryun, the one who came up with the details of this group event, gazed around to confirm our numbers.
“Everyone’s here, it seems.”
32 participants of the group event, along with 8 professors and 20 clerics.
Even though quite a large number of us were inside the lobby, this place was still bustling with noise from a bunch of other guests.
Professor Kang Ryun said as most of the students started to turn tense. There were a few students like Alicia and Jaeger who weren’t aware of what was going on, but everyone was ‘prohibited’ from asking questions so none of them were opening their mouths.
The hotel was still noisy. Guests were indulging in their meals and booze while the workers were hurriedly serving their food. On the side, the owner of the hotel was picking out his best wines.
“6:59 and 30 seconds.”
It was such a normal scenery that might happen anywhere else on the continent – so peaceful that it was even fascinating.
“6:59 and 50 seconds.”
Along with a rustle, several people took out their maces. They were the clerics.
“5… 4… 3… 2…”
“What is going…”
As soon as he said that, all the students including myself and the clerics took out our weapons.
“Kill everyone you see!”
My silver spear immediately pierced through the temple of the guest that was indulging in his meat on the next table, and an ice lance shot by Marie blew away the head of the hotel owner.
“W, what are you guys doing…!”
While the ignorant students were lost as to what was going on, more than 50 of our armed forces started massacring everyone inside the hotel.
The massacre at Hotel Kanna ended in less than a minute.
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- 1TLN: Chi Tu (Red Hare): A famous horse from three kingdoms rode by Lu Bu and Guan Yu. Known to travel 1,000 li a day without getting exhausted.
- 2The original saying is ‘Lu Bu among men, and Chi Tu among steeds’: Lu Bu was known to be the strongest man during that time, whereas Chi Tu was the best horse.