༺༺ Dawn of the Dead? ༻
‘After all of that action, it’s no wonder my waist hurts.’
Upon waking up, I saw Euphemia curled up like a shrimp.
Since Louerg is a frozen hell, this must be a habit developed to fend off the cold.
Reaching my hand to Euphemia’s navel, I gently caressed it.
Then reflexively Euphemia put her hands around her bosom as if to guard them.
This simple act has been deeply engraved in her unconscious mind.
Fine rays of moonlight permeated through the windows as the moon became free from the interrupting clouds.
Under her thin nightgown, countless proofs of our passionate session presented themselves.
The moment I saw this, I couldn’t help but smirk.
It was like seeing a collector’s item branded by its only owner.
After stroking her hair to my heart’s content, I got up from the bed, grabbed a lamp, and went out to the balcony.
Then, after lighting the lamp, I looked at the starry sky while immersed in my thoughts.
Sometimes, when I have some free time, I like to speculate on what this undefined special ability is, but up till now, I’ve yet to reach a concrete conclusion.
‘At the moment…….’
But I believe there’s a high possibility that this ability has something to do with the Underworld.
Looking at the ring on my left hand – my Altar, I injected a little mana into it, connecting myself with the Underworld.
Then an ornamental black gate materialized in front of me.
Beyond this gate lies the access to the first and second floors of the underworld.
Each being that dwells beyond the first floor of the Underworld has a name–more like an honorific title.
No, it would be fitting to call it an alias.
Because the residents of the first floor of the Underworld didn’t have names.
Therefore, when making a deal with the residents of the first floor of the underworld, it is possible to manipulate your odds and find the resident you want.
When one of these creatures is given a name, they can ascend to the second floor of the Underworld.
The scenery of the underworld, a place full of darkness, is briefly illuminated as the nameplate on top of the gate shifts into various patterns.
This is proof that a randomized search is happening on the second floor of the underworld.
Cutting the connection to my mana, I forcefully closed the gate.
Ferzen never made a deal with the habitants of the second floor of the Underworld, so perhaps this special ability of his……
‘I thought it would be something obvious, but it wasn’t.’
Once a deal is established, one cannot change its contents. You either accept the deal or reject it.
‘Isn’t this ability a little too elusive……?’
On one hand, having this ability means that the Main Character’s potential would be greater, which I sincerely hope is not true, but I wouldn’t doubt it.
Ferzen is, after all, the villain who robbed the main heroine, so he would be the main driving force behind the protagonist’s struggle.
But could this ability be something triggered by those cliche situations like – “is he dead?”.
Even if this world was fictional.
For something, so cliche like this to act as a trigger……
No, this wouldn’t happen.
I must have spent quite a while here since the sun was already driving away the darkness of the nightfall.
Yesterday, when I inquired about the corpses that would be handed to my students, the administrative committee informed me that they should arrive around lunchtime today. Therefore, I had to be there to inspect them.
* * * * *
A beautiful woman was sitting in front of a large mirror.
The First Imperial Princess Elizabeth, who was having her maids attend to her hair, slowly read the documents related to the Imperial Academy’s plans for the first half of the year.
‘it’s too calm.’
Something’s not right.
Of course, since she had a blessing bestowed by the God of Wisdom, she could predict the outcome of certain circumstances — Although her blessing is rather fraudulent……
However, even without her blessing, she could predict that it would be unlikely for all the Academy’s goals for this semester to proceed smoothly.
Because there existed a lot of aristocrats who were trying to keep the growing influence and power of the Imperial Family in check, and the Elmark Empire would gleefully help those fools.
There was no better target to tarnish the Imperial prestige than the Imperial Academy.
Since the Imperial Academy holds multiple aristocratic children ‘hostage.’
However, since the Academy is such an obvious target, securing the place was also pretty easy.
“Your hair is done, Your Highness, the First Imperial Princess. Your beauty is unmatched, my lady.”
“Sigh, when you hear the exact same line every day, it loses its impact, you know?”
After her hair was done, another maid brought her jewelry box and opened it for her.
“Dispose of all those jewelry…..If any of you want it, just take it.”
These maids, who had been serving Elizabeth since she was a little girl, were startled by her sudden change of taste.
“I’m not in the mood for wearing those things anymore…… and in the future, don’t accept any jewelry this artisan presents.”
“As you wish, Your Highness, I shall dispose of these and be back soon.”
Elizabeth’s eyebrows twitched at the words of her maid.
Her jewelry box was full.
Hey…..They really don’t want anything from there?
The maids serving the Imperial Family, different from most aristocratic maids, were commoners.
Because of this, they probably didn’t know the value of these jewels.
“Well…..Just do it…..”
After she said those words, Elizabeth walked away without looking back.
As Ferzen’s harsh words continued to echo in her mind.
* * * * *
“You’ve worked hard.”
“You flatter me, My Lord!”
“What about the form?”
“Here, My Lord.”
Grabbing the form, I looked at the 14 coffins transferred to the basement of Education Building A.
All 14 corpses belong to men and women who were mercenaries.
In the midterm exams, the students will have to apply the autonomous control technique on these corpses and then hunt down monsters living in the forest of Kellum, not far from the Capital.
And in the form I’m currently holding, the details in regards to this were listed.
“Have they been properly processed?”
I need to be careful with any poisoning entrenched in those corpses.
It’s not easily noticeable and could slowly poison a warlock and eventually kill him.
In fact, in the past, many Warlocks were assassinated by this.
Of course, since the Imperial Family provided those corpses, the probability of being poisoned is low……
“Hm… Just in case, we should stock up on Elanya.”
“Elanya, My lord?”
Be it the toxin of a dangerous animal, insect, or from a bizarre herb.
If we leave the coffins open in an enclosed space, the toxin stimulated by Elanya will dissipate with time.
Since those corpses will be handed to the students next week, there shouldn’t be any problems.
As part of my inspection, I will open each coffin and inspect the corpses to see if there are any irregularities.
I first had to confirm the corpse’s basic info, such as where they were born, where they lived, their age and name, and their job. But even then, this information isn’t that valuable.
Because human memory is not absolute and can be easily tempered.
For example, if the memory is distorted by making you believe that there are three mothers, the feedback that the realization rate increases compared to the scenario where the corpse originally had one mother.
Tampering with a corpse’s identity is as simple as that. Therefore, the key to receiving feedback is to know specific personal facts or secrets of the corpse.
And since in this world Warlock is a legitimate magical profession, the commerce of corpses is rather common. And because of this, many mercenaries sign a document selling their corpses if they die during a quest, and that money would be transferred to their family or acquaintances.
And when that happens, the Warlock would have to fill in the blanks……
This can be pretty challenging for some.
Since your comprehension directly affects the performance, most Warlocks only purchase corpses that have detailed information.
In the first coffin lies a young man’s corpse, and while I prepared my mana to control him, I read his information.
「I’ve always wondered what my pee would taste like, so I took a sip off my own pee once. 」
After reading this, I frowned.
Since most people are illiterate, the receptionist in the Mercenary Guild would write this.
Since this is a kind of confession, things like ‘I stole money from my parents when I was a child’ appear often……
So from time to time, some nonsense like this is bound to appear.
‘This guy’s skin is thicker than a diamond.’
To actually think that this guy had the balls to say this to the receptionist in the middle of the guild’s hall…..
「 A month after I started working as a mercenary, my party member raped me when we were on a mission. After I heard that bastard died, I went to his homeland where he was buried, dug his tomb, pulled his corpse, and began tearing his corpse to pieces with my knife.」
I felt dizzy.
Since only mercenaries from rank C and higher can sell their bodies……
This person must have gone through several experiences in his life.
‘This should be enough…….’
Since I’ve received enough feedback, I took control of the corpse.
Because this person had such a twisted life, it would be quite tricky to temper with this body, so I move on to the next one.
When I finished examining the sixth corpse, I massaged my temples.
‘I should just use that…….’
Ferzen’s psychometry talent allows him to glimpse the corpses’ core memories.
Since the Imperial Family had handled these corpses, the court’s Warlock had already checked them. I’m just doing the last check-up just in case……
But this conventional method is just too painful for me.
In the case of the fourth corpse, he had twin sisters, and he slept with one and got her pregnant.
He probably started to work as a mercenary for her.
His child should have already been born right now.
The only problem is…..
It’s deeply annoying that he only got one of the sisters pregnant.
There were a lot of little facts like this on the corpses’ information that continued to trigger my OCD. So I put my hand on the head of the seventh corpse in a way that Alphonse couldn’t see me.
But my talent isn’t working.
No, it’s not that it isn’t working, this corpse……
I couldn’t read any of his core memories.
I tried to use it again just to be sure, but it didn’t work.
Could there be some condition for my talent not working on this corpse?
At least in Ferzen’s memories, this never happened, so I tried to use it on the 8th corpse.
But I could use my talent on this one.
Something was wrong…… from all the 14 corpses here, I couldn’t use my talent on 5 of them.
“Did you notice anything unusual?”
“Sir?…… Everything is fine.”
Besides me, who else could have noticed that something strange was going on?
After reading my mana and connecting with the corpse, I could control it.
As stated in the form, every time one understands the past of the corpse, one receives some sort of feedback that would increase their comprehension.
My talent that could only be activated through a corpse does not work on them.
What could this mean?
…… That these ‘corpses’ are not really dead.
This was a natural conclusion.
A contradictory and absurd conclusion.
‘Actually……I always had this question.’
If someone drowned and was in a state of cardiac arrest.
Could I control this body in this interval where the person could be considered ‘dead,’ even if he can be brought back by performing a simple CPR?
I still don’t know the answer.
Because until now, I couldn’t really test it.
But now, the answer is in front of my eyes.
Here I have five corpses in which I can’t use my talent but can control.
Yes, I know.
It’s an absurd possibility.
These five corpses……
This can only mean that somehow they are in a state of stasis.
Considering the level of civilization in this world, this should be impossible.
Didn’t Sherlock Holmes say that?
“I shall conduct one last check-up.”
“Ah, and come to think of it, there’s no need to buy Elanya.”
“Ah?….As you wish, professor…….”
Perhaps because he was nervous, Alphonse nodded his head vigorously and left the basement of the education center.
With the thunderous sound of the door closing, I was now alone.
No, I wasn’t alone.
Because there remained five ‘rats’ pretending to be dead with me.
TL Note: didja galls missed mommy?
Mommy missed u 2!!!!!!!
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