A night passed after getting rid of the horde of undeads. And when morning came, I once again made way for Cormi Village, battling the undead as I went along. As I got closer to the village, the atmosphere became gloomy like that in the previous labyrinth. It doesn’t have the same feeling of magic power being gathered, but it felt peculiarly stagnated.
After walking for a bit more, the walls of Cormi Village finally entered my sight. But instead of entering right away, I used the dark magic, Hide, and hid my presence. Then I climbed up a nearby large tree, and took a peek at the other side of the wall.
“Didn’t know Cormi Village would be so big. From what I can see, it’s square shaped, and each side is about 400 meters long. There are plenty of villages bigger than this outside the Great Forest of Shurus, but it’s still massive compared to the camps.”
This village should’ve been built sturdily, but after becoming an abandoned village, even its sturdily built gate has fallen. And although it should’ve only had one entrance, because the walls have also crumbled in some areas, anyone can now freely enter the village.
Weeds could be seen growing uninhibited past the village walls where undead jostled about freely. While above them, in the sky, were fraids of wraiths floating about as they pleased.
“…Horrible… To think it was actually because of the village that there were so many undead in the area.” [Ryouma]
After observing for a bit, I came to understand that the skeletons, the zombies, and other human-shaped undead would create traps, and then hunt preys which they would then bring to their village. It’s still morning, so they’re only hunting from time to time, but once night hits, they’ll probably start hunting vigorously.
The hunted preys are gathered in the centermost plaza-like area where it is then distributed, and then eaten. It wouldn’t have been strange for the undead to just eat as they caught, but for whatever reason, they’re gathering their food in one place first before eating.
And because they’re gathering their preys and leaving it in the village, undead would sometimes be born out of the pile of corpses. It’s not really all that strange for the corpses to turn undead though, considering the state of all those corpses.
“And because of that the numbers ended up that many; what a pain…” [Ryouma]
No matter how you look at it, that’s a lot of undead. There’s about 700 of them, and that’s only from what I can see right now. There should still be zombiefied small beasts that are hiding in the weeds, or in the fallen walls or in the shadows of other undead. And on top of their numbers, the undead that go out to hunt are also stronger than the ghouls as they are wearing armors and swords.
But if I were to honestly say it, I think it’s a doable fight. Only, their numbers are too great, so I’m worried I might run out of magic power and stamina in the heat of battle. Should I just whittle them down then? Or should I after all try to kill them all in one gulp?
After some time of strategizing, I finally decided to fight the undead during the afternoon when they won’t be able to show their full abilities. And in the case where I am unable to defeat them in one day, I will retreat, and hide within my Dimension Home until the night passes. Upon which, I will then resume my attack.
Aside from the fact that I have something to do in the village, it also doesn’t seem like it’ll be possible for me to avoid fighting the undead. So in that case, I might as well reduce their numbers here, and ensure a smooth retrieval of my inheritance.
And besides… no one in this world wishes for someone to turn undead after passing away. There are also people who considers turning undead after death to be a humiliation, so defeating the undead here can be thought of as a form of memorial service. And considering how it’s highly probable that the human-type undead here are the former residents of this village, it’s all the more reason that I can’t just leave them here like this.
Fortunately, I have the slimes to rely on, and I also have Remiri-san’s light magic to aid me. On top of that, I’ve also prepared a number of unique and improved anti-undead magic. And although I’d normally be anxious of running out of magic power because of the power and scope of my magic, I don’t have to defeat all of the undead in one day this time, so that’s not an issue either.
There are no humans who live in this sort of environment either, so…
“I guess I’ll throw ‘em a barrage of magic the whole day then.” [Ryouma]
As I muttered that to myself, I began the operation.
First, I jumped down the tree, then I closed in to the gate in one breath. There, I fired off two shots of Light Shot at the five undead that were keeping watch at the village gate. The undead keeping watch were all human-type, so they all vanished upon contact with Light Shot.
“’Holy Space’ ‘Light Shot’” [Ryouma]
I casted Holy Space by the gate, and then fired off a shot of Light Shot to restrain the undead that noticed me.
Being surrounded would be problematic, so to avoid that I casted that Holy Space to block the gate. Of course, I could still be surrounded if the undead exited the village from somewhere else, but I’ll just think about that when the time comes. For now, it’s enough that I’ve made it harder for them to surround me.
“Then once the undead have clumped up nicely… ‘Holy Flame Carpet’ !!” [Ryouma]
As I chanted that, a great, bright flame appeared from my hands. It turned into a ball of flame, and it shot toward the undead before me. The raptors that were above the ball of flame’s course, lost their lower bodies. And when the ball of flame hit the ground, the flames spread, and a great number of undead were burnt away. But the flames did not cease there as it caught onto the weeds, spreading the flame, and burning even more undead.
This magic is something I came up with after combining the intermediate flame magic I learned from Rheinbach-sama, ‘Flame Carpet’, and the spell, ‘Exorcism’ that was directly transmitted to me by Remiri-sama, on the way back home from the Town of Departed Spirits.
Flame Carpet is a kind of magic that spreads a thin layer of flame-attribute magic power to attack one’s foe. The flame birthed is a result of magic power, so it can be used even in rocky places with no flammable objects. But in a place like this one where flammable objects like weeds are growing abound, the effect is intensified.
I can easily visualize this spell by imagining the picture of spilled alcohol being lit up. Then on top of that image, I would imagine the light from the flames to have the effect of Exorcism, making this spell the first of my anti-undead area magic attacks. The downside to this spell is that it’s difficult to control, so one cast will consume up to 40,000 magic power, but its strength is unquestionable. And right now, that effect can be seen as all the undead within an area of 60m from the gate has been annihilated. Even the wraiths floating in the sky have been reduced to some extent.
It was already hard to combine two spells with differing attributes into one, but combining light magic with another attribute was especially difficult. I think I’ll investigate why after this. Oh, incidentally, I used the food of the grave slimes and the undead that they have stored in them as test subjects when I was making this spell.
“’Dimension Home’” [Ryouma]
I brought out some light slimes and grave slimes from the Dimension Home. Then as the grave slimes gathered the undead, I took a look at the situation.
I was anxious about the fire spreading due to the sparks, but it seems there weren’t any problems. That’s probably because the humidity here in the Great Forest of Shurus is high. As for the fire spreading inside the village… I don’t really mind. That aside, the fire catching onto the weeds here and burning it was a huge boon. Because now I can see the small undead easily.
When I saw undead coming again, I fired off my magic.
“’Flash Grenade’” [Ryouma]
As I chanted that, I fired off a ball of light toward the sky. Then I closed my eyes and covered them with one of my hands. In the next instant, the ball of light exploded, releasing magic power and light. The momentary light shot off by that ball dyed my closed sight in red.
The magic I had used just now might look no different from a normal Light Ball, but it’s actually a successfully improved version of the Light Shot. If I were to put it in simple words, it’s a bomb of light.
It explodes with light-attribute magic power, so it’s potent against undead. It may have a wide area of effect, but it’s magic power consumption is only half that of the Holy Flame Carpet, putting it at a consumption of 20,000 magic power points. Its downsides are that its effect can be weakened by hiding beneath the shade of a shelter and that the light emitted is too strong, so if you look straight into it, you’ll be blinded temporarily. One day, I plan to combine this spell with the wind magic, ‘Sound Boom’, to create the magic, Stun Grenade, but I’ll put that off for later.
Going back to the topic…
The Flash Grenade seems to have worked well as the undead, especially the fraids of wraiths in the sky, have had their numbers greatly reduced. I actually didn’t really know how effective the spell would be when I closed my eyes, but it looks like it worked well. I should probably think of a way to make a pair of sunglasses when I get back. I mean it’s not exactly a good thing to close one’s eyes during battle… as necessary as it may be.
As I was thinking that to myself, it suddenly hit me.
Wait a moment…? I was being cautious because their numbers were great, but now that I’m fighting them, it’s actually easier than I thought… There are undead, but they’re not attacking me that hard. Rather… they’re not really resisting much.
“…Could it be that they’re just many, but are actually really weak?” [Ryouma]
I took a look at them again, and I noticed that their movements individually were actually worse than the undead in the Town of Departed Spirits. On top of that, there weren’t any higher classes among them.
Somehow it feels like I got too fired up, and ended up striking against the air… I wasted my magic power…
After thinking that, I brought out the king scavenger slimes and the grave slimes, and had them proactively hunt the undead.
The result was just as I expected. The undead in the village were weak enough that it was enough for me to leave them to the slimes. I was using the undead in the Town of Departed Spirits as a standard, but it would appear that the undead there are far stronger than the ones here. It’s probably because the magic power there is thick that the undead there are so strong.
And although the intellizombies here are quite numerous, the memories they possess is a far cry from back when they were alive. They were probably brawny warriors back when they were still alive as they can still use short swords after turning into zombies and skeletons, but… they’re not much of a threat. Even the strong ones among them are only about as strong as ghouls at most.
And then there are even undead that won’t do anything unless you lured them out, and would just sit somewhere as if they were in their house. Surprisingly, those types were actually much more resistant to Attract Ghosts than the undead walking outside. I guess they’re much closer to wandering ghosts or bound ghosts than they are to magical beasts.
When I realized that, I shook off the thought of fighting them, and I decided to treat this purely as a form of memorial service to them. I decided to defeat all the undead here while praying for their happiness in the next world. Originally, I was thinking of defeating the undead here first, but I changed my mind. I’ll go ahead and get my inheritance first. After all, even if I got surrounded, it wouldn’t matter as the slimes are around, so I might as well deal with them later. I also want to spend more time for their memorial service, so finishing my business first will be best.
I walked toward the direction of my grandparent’s house. I do want to take a break, but if I’m going to be taking a break then I might as well take a break in my grandparent’s house instead of the public plaza.
Like this I walked toward my grandparent’s house while praying for the welfare of the undead in their next lives.
I had my slimes encircle me as we passed by a path overgrown with grass. We also passed over some bent spiked-fences. The fences were stretched around inside the village, so they must have been put up to stop magical beasts that have already invaded the village.
But in one side of the fences was a large building with traces of divisions and, although already mostly ruined, was a small house with many divisions. The spiked-fences were also there in the divisions of the small house, so I guess they weren’t put up just to stop invading magical beasts.
After a bit more of walking, I finally arrived to the western edge of the village. My grandparent’s house was situated somewhat separate from the other houses.
“So this is the house of the Sage and the Martial God… Although it’s not all bad, it doesn’t look like the house two amazing people would live in.” [Ryouma]
It might look somewhat big from the outside, but in the end, it’s a plain, square-shaped house with five chimneys.
Its walls are made out of rock, while its roof and windows are made out of wood. Overall, it looks like a house that was carved out of a rock. Chances are my grandparents used earth magic to create this house. Similar to the other areas of the village, this house has also been overgrown with weed. There are even vines twined around its walls.
The house looked worn-out, but when I touched it, its walls were surprisingly rigid, not moving one bit. It’s been left all alone for so long, yet it still feels safe.
I entered the building while keeping wary of the undead.
When I entered, the floors creaked. The floors were also made out of wood, so its deterioration wasn’t something unexpected.
“It’s probably a good idea not to be too rough here considering the state of the flooring…” [Ryouma]
As I muttered that to myself, I searched the house. For the meantime, it looks like there’re no undead here.
There was nothing at all in the building. Places that would normally be expected to have something were completely empty. It was as if a robber had gone in and ransacked the whole place. At most, the only things that I could find were broken objects.
“The closet should at least have clothes, so I guess the people here took it away after my grandparents died. Did they take even the beds too? They thoroughly emptied the place, didn’t they?” [Ryouma]
I muttered that to myself, reporting the situation out loud, as I walked through the house until I finally reached my goal.
“It’s here.” [Ryouma]
It was one of the rooms of the building. Inside, broken medicine cabinets and desks could be seen, along with three hearths with differing sizes lined up. It was my grandparent’s laboratory. This is the room where my grandmother, the sage, concocts medicine. Out of the five chimneys that could be seen from outside, three of them are connected to the hearths here. The remaining two are connected to the kitchen and the smithy that my grandfather uses.
I walked toward the middle hearth, the biggest of the group, and I took down the cauldron that was big enough for a plump man to fit into easily. I then scraped out the ashes and cinders that have piled up to reveal the bottom of the hearth.
When I did so, a circular outline with two ditches over its flat surface entered my sight. This is the entrance to the hidden area where my inheritance is.
As I inched into the hearth, I stuck out my hands into the two ditches, curving my fingers inside. Then reinforcing my body with qi gong, I pulled it up open.
The interior of the hearth’s bottommost area made a scraping sound as I pulled that circular outline up. And after I had brought it up all the way up my thighs, I was finally able to completely pull out that cylindrical stone flooring. When I left that outside the hearth, and took a look down the now open floor, what I saw was a wide passage underground.
It was dark, so I shot a Light Ball down.
“About 3 meters until the bottom, huh? The surrounding area down there seems to be completely made out of stone with dents here and there, so… there should be more than enough space for my hands and feet for me to climb down.” [Ryouma]
I threw a burning cloth down the passage, and I watched it burn until it completely burned up. After confirming that there’s air down the hole, I used wind magic to provide ventilation for myself, and then I climbed down it.
Gayn only gave me information up to this passage here, so I don’t know what to expect once I get down. He did however mention there being no traps, but…. just in case, I better proceed with caution.
When I reached the bottom of the hole, what greeted me was a normal passageway. I walked through the passage while lighting up the path with light magic. After a few seconds passed, I stumbled onto a wide room.
Inside were bookshelves packed with books, casks spilling with weapons, and boxes and pouches whose contents were unidentifiable from a glance. Then between me and all those things stood a stone table. On top of it was an object that resembled a thin book.
When I grabbed that object, and took a peek at it, I quickly found out that it wasn’t a book, but several letters all bundled up together. The first half of the letters spoke of the basic details surrounding the village, as well as the reason why they lived here.
My grandparents were widely renowned as great warriors and magicians, causing nobles and merchants from all over to pester them to work for them. They received all sorts of requests from legal to illegal, and my grandparents eventually grew sick of it.
Fed up with the ceaseless pestering of the nobles and merchants, they finally decided to run away. They searched for a place where they could easily get medicinal ingredients that at the same time could not be easily accessed by other people. And so, they decided to enter the Great Forest of Shurus where they later reached this village.
This village was originally created by the country to be used in the expedition to reach the center of the forest and in the securing of additional resources. Because of that it was different from the other camps, and was not only used for resting. The country brought many armor and weapon craftsmen, doctors, and servants, making them all work hard in a large-scale construction to create a powerful base that would become the cornerstone in the expedition to the centermost area of the forest.
However, due to the many powerful magical beasts such as the undead snake living in the center, the plan was setback. The many adventurers and slaves that came with those adventurers, however, remained.
Owing likely due to the harsh environment, most of the people in the village were either craftsmen or servants. Then in order to make back the money wasted when the plan failed, the country sold away a part of the slaves along with the facilities and magic barriers to the adventurers.
After that, this village was officially used not as a village but as a stopping point for adventurers to collect herbs and medicines. The management was mostly done by the adventurers themselves in order to suit their own conveniences. Eventually, since even the people living in the village stopped needing to pay tax, the village was given autonomy.
After some time, powerful, but wicked adventurers started to gather. Each one had their own reasons, but regardless, people that sought refuge from the public eye started to gather. Many months and years passed, and the village eventually created its own laws and social classes.
A person’s standing was decided mainly by his strength. Matters such as lineage mattered not. But of course, that didn’t mean that a person could do as he pleased just because he was strong and managed to become the village chief. But if one could contribute much to the defense of the village or to the revenue of the village, then one would be guaranteed an uninhibited life in the village.
That also goes to mean that the weak cannot survive in the village unless protected by the strong. Due to this, the weak have no choice but to submit to the strong, and do all their bidding. When my grandparents saw that, they felt pity for the people with low statuses, and they started thinking of a way to better their lives.
But the village chief then has always been in a position close to the top of the hierarchy, and he considered the treatment of the lower classes normal. He didn’t think there to be anything strange with the way the villagers treated their lesser men.
The village chief and my grandparents could not come to a resolution, so the village chief said this: if you’re unsatisfied, then go and make a lot of money. If you do, I’ll consider doing something about the way the lesser people are treated. My grandparents agreed to that, and so my grandmother began her research on medicine, and she started treating the sick villagers, while my grandfather supported her.
Frankly speaking, I thought my grandparents lived a harsh life, but according to them, it wasn’t harsh at all.
According to the letter, my grandparents were stronger than anyone else in the village. And it reads here: “Money is easy to make. Just go to the center area of the Great Forest of Shurus, and collect some herbs. Then for the testing, well… there were plenty of subjects.”
There probably wasn’t a place more suited to my grandparents as this place here. Not only is it possible to hide away from the public here, but it’s also easy to get medicinal ingredients.
“…They made medicines and even took care of the people. They must have been nice people… although they do seem to be a bit different from normal people though.” [Ryouma]
That’s about it for the first half of the letter. The rest talks about their will.
Reading the letter, it reads: to the person who is reading this now –– …well, to make things short, they’re saying that they will be giving me everything that is in this room.
The things in this room are all near the end of their life span, so they can’t really be used anymore. But the money here along with the other things are all things that they acquired in their adventures together as husband and wife. These things all have sentimental value to them, so they hid it here, and did not want the village chief to find it. For some reason though, they could not dispose it.
They hoped that someone who was not affiliated with the village would find these things. Several lines in the letter also mention that the magic tool inside the box here in the room is something that they found in some ruins.
“Teagle-san, thank you. I will carry on your legacy. Melia-san, as well, thank you. I will be sure to continue the research that you have left. May you two find peace in your sleep.” [Ryouma]
I spoke those words after I finished reading the letter. Then I faced toward the letter and the inheritance, and I offered a silent prayer.
After which, I then took all of the inheritance in the room, and I stored them all within my Dimension Home. I’ll check the contents later.