It is said that there is no end to human curiosity.
The more a man learns, the more he realizes how little he knows.
Why does water decrease when boiled?
Where does water vapor go?
What are clouds made of?
Why does rain fall?
Why do some areas get rain and some do not?
Can the weather be controlled?
Should a man learn the answer to a question, he will seek the answer to ten more. If he finds the answer to ten, then he shall seek the answer to a hundred more.
Therefore, there is no end.
Already, man’s curiosity was an impulse that might as well be labeled as lust.
Yet even then…
Those with brakes will learn simply the answer to the question they ask.
Those with brakes shall learn and be content.
Occasionally, however, there appears in the world a man without such brakes.
Scholar, researcher, seeker, explorer, a great man, a madman, an eccentric.
There are many words with which to describe such a man.
Though such words may not necessarily be a compliment.
Yet even then, such men were still among the norm.
For the time given to man was simply too short to pursue such things.
And it was not enough to live off of such pursuits alone.
Thus, all those whose brakes have broken eventually lament the lack of time, and─────’they cease to be human’.
Magic. Alchemy. Heresy. Dark Arts. Aberration. Heterodoxy. Monster.
In a world dominated by such things, there were many ways to accomplish any one of those things.
Of course, these were not methods praised by the populace.
If anything, they were seen as taboos by those considered normal.
But for these men, who would dare choose such means, there would be no hesitation to pursue their curiosities merely for some law or ethics.
Others would feel pity or be offended when they see such actions, saying…
──How could you do something so cruel just for that!?
And the person-in-question would nonchalantly reply…
──Everything is for the sake of my research. Know and be grateful that no sacrifice was wasted.
And ‘he’ would say…
“Yes, yes, I understand. You’ve done well. Now, let me reward you for your useless effort.”
Since when has ‘that’ been there.
In the mountains that served as the border of Resto and Kulash.
A figure was floating on the small rocky valleys, some ways away from the mountain path that travelers would use.
But this figure that slowly floated toward Resto did not have the appearance of a human.
Anyone who saw him would likely feel sick.
For the moonlight pouring down on the valleys illuminated him as he made his way.
The monster beasts living in the mountains were wary of him.
And about 10 beasts jumped out from their shade to surround him.
They had black fur that blended into the night and four legs.
All of their fur stood on end as they bared their fangs and groaned.
These were nocturnal large-type monster beasts known as Night Dog.
They moved in packs and looked similar to wolves but were actually timid and avoided the scent of humans.
“…Were you mutts drawn by my scent?”
There seemed to be a mouth somewhere on that figure, for a heavy voice that seemed to resound from the depths of the earth spoke.
These beasts surrounding him was proof that this figure was not human.
There was clear displeasure in the figure’s voice. But that was only a given.
For as someone who knew these Night Dogs’ way of life, it was too easy to understand why they would surround him.
“They say cowards are generally smarter, but… In the end, a mutt is a mutt.”
The figure raised his hand, and the whiteness of it was revealed under the moonlight.
Immediately, the night dogs grew excited, and there were even some among them who panted and drooled.
These timid dogs would rarely hunt creatures bigger than themselves even when in a pack.
Because of that they have evolved to function on little sustenance.
They could consume their prey with no waste, and bones were a staple diet of theirs.
That is to say… That the hand that reached out just now was made of nothing but bones.
“Hmph, how dare you look at me like that.”
When the figure removed the shadow that covered him, what he had shed was a jet-black robe.
From its fine texture, ill-fit this place, and embroidery, woven with such complex magic it stupefied anyone learned of magic, one could not help but doubt if it once belonged to a court mage of some great nation.
But what was even more surprising was that it was a skeleton that such a grand robe covered.
“I can’t believe you can’t even differentiate between a corpse and an undying lich lord that stands at the pinnacle of immortals.”
He glared at the dogs with quiet anger, but there was only darkness in his black eye sockets.
He spoke with displeasure, but he had no tongue and no flesh in his mouth.
The night dogs indeed found such a creature queer, but at the same time, it reflected on their eyes as a treasure trove.
Unfortunately, this pack has not eaten recently and so chose to trust their nose and leaped at him, not knowing that doing so would lead to their demise.
“However────those nose of yours do seem like they would prove useful.”
The mouth made only of teeth rattled as the Undead King laughed.
He drew a magic formation with the tips of his bony fingers, then flicked it toward the pack.
When it hit one of them, a cloud of purple fumes was unleashed in an explosion-like fashion, and it devoured the entire pack.
Such fumes were clearly harmful to living creatures, yet the figure casually walked through it unaffected.
He approached one of the night dogs and patted it on the head with his bony hand.
“Fu fu, that’s a good boy.”
Then the night dog let out an adoring squeal as its flesh melted away.
A stench of decay spread in the process and stained the earth, but unfortunately, there was no one here to care.
The night dogs remained standing on their four legs, and though some of their decayed flesh remained on them, they have already been turned into skeletal dogs.
Then, as if to show their reverence, they lined up and bowed their heads.
Meanwhile, the purple fumes gradually moved downwind.
The monster beasts that picked up on that foul smell rushed to escape, but the purple fumes attacked them and transformed them into something that wasn’t even a corpse.
Such demonic fumes crawled down the slope of the mountain.
The screams of the monster beasts echoed in the air, then before long───everything ended.
All that remained were the bare white bones.
But while the bones of the original body were still intact, they ignored their own structure and moved.
Already, they were neither monster beasts nor living creatures but an army of undead monster beasts, and they gathered around the Undead King.
“Fu fu fu…”
He was elated at his new soldiers, but only a little.
As though he remembered something, his shook his arms in anger, then clenched his hand and punched a nearby large rock.
His bony fist was without a shred of muscle, and yet like a joke, the rock shattered into pieces while his fist remained unharmed.
“It’s not enough… No matter how many of these low-class monster beasts I gather, and even if I destroy the city over there, it won’t be enough to win against those people from the church! Damn you, you accursed saint!!”
An angry light lit up from the depths of his empty eye sockets as he glared beyond the mountain range.
The Lich Lord’s objective lay neither in these mountains or in the Kingdom of Resto.
The plan had been to steal an ancient magical tool hidden in the royal castle of Kulash.
Although he couldn’t teleport into a place he has never visited before, he shouldn’t have had any problems moving in the dark.
Or at least that should have been the case until Saint Cynthia of Rimoa Church interfered.