The shrill voice came from the area around the central tower. Although it was a bit far, and it was getting dark, I could immediately tell where the voice came from because the undead fled from the source, creating an open area.
Unlike most of the undead that were dressed in rags, this small group of elites was equipped with old but decent equipment. There were about a dozen of them, definitely less than twenty, and with their iron rods and whips, they drove the undead away.
“Those must be the prison guards then?” [Ryouma]
“Yes. A mere shadow of their former selves.” [Schieber]
Though there were only a few of them, their position and disposition while alive seemed to have influenced them. They were aggressive toward the prisoners, and they tormented them. Though the undead prisoners showed some intent to resist, their circumstances while alive also seemed to have affected them, and they just fled despite their numbers.
The numbers where overwhelmingly in their favor, yet they were being one-sidedly driven away. The difference in equipment and the circumstances while they were alive played a part in that, but…
“The prison guards seem to move much better compared to the other undead.” [Ryouma]
“I believe those are Ghouls and Skeleton Warriors.” [Remilie]
Those are higher variants of zombies and skeletons respectively. Ghouls have improved mobility as their bodies are closer to human corpses than zombies, and skeleton warriors are also more dangerous as their bodies move more like humans, not to mention that they also used weapons.
Moreover, unlike the other undead, there was something dark wrapped around their body. They were still a long way away, yet the bad feeling that they gave off was even stronger than the other undead. That dark thing was probably miasma dense enough to be visible to the naked eye.
And as though to confirm that, Remilie-san’s face was grim.
“Are they that much of a problem?” [Ryouma]
“Less a problem, more a hassle… Miasma is like poison, so it’s dangerous to approach, and light magic also isn’t as effective since miasma and light cancel out each other. Their combat abilities aren’t that much different from your usual evolution. They’re a bit more violent sure, but they were worse than humans before, and after evolution, they’re just on the level of your average human, so it’s not a big deal.” [Remilie]
“We were expecting for these to be around anyway, so nothing has changed. Let’s take them down right away.” [Schieber]
Since those prison guards showed up, the other undead have been restless, and the atmosphere has become unfit for a meal. I doubt we’ll be able to expect the same efficacy from my as long as they’re around, so just as Schieber-san said, we ought to do away with them as soon as possible.
Or so I was thinking, but then a question came to mind. Can’t my spell affect those guards too?
“Let me try this first.” [Ryouma]
I added more ingredients into the cups, while the fire burned brightly as it received more fuel, and I sent my thoughts and prayers to the undead through the smoke. I could tell that the smoke slimes didn’t want to get too close either, so I didn’t force them and just got them to get as close as they could.
As the smoke gathered into a single direction, it passed through the prisoners and flowed down the stairs like a river flowing, and before long, the feet of the undead could no longer be seen. When the smoke reached the prison guards, they reacted, but…
“It doesn’t seem to have any effect on them. I might have just pissed them off.” [Ryouma]
…That shrill voice from earlier resounded again, and they even pointed their weapons at us. They ignored the prisoners they’ve been obsessing over until just awhile ago and tried to wade through the crowd, but there was just too much traffic. The prisoners also seemed to be resisting to some extent, so it will take them awhile before they could reach us.
“Looks like your spell doesn’t work on all undead.” [Reinbach]
“Seems like it… As for why, it might be because of ‘the difference of the cause of death’ or ‘the difference in aggression’. This spell is a memorial service of sort, so it doesn’t match up with the image of forcing it onto someone. The other party has to accept it on their own or it won’t work…” [Ryouma]
“So it’s not effective on undead trapped in their desire to torment and hurt others, huh.” [Sebasu]
Well, at the very least, it doesn’t work on them as it does on the undead prisoners. It’s a failure, sure, but it’s still good data.
But you know, what if I changed the goal of the spell? It’s normal to change how you fight according to your opponent. I came up with the spell to soothe the souls of the starving and thirsty undead, so it should also be possible to come up with a spell that works for the sort of undead that the prison guards were.
“If appealing to their hunger and thirst as is done during memorial services won’t work, then… What if I try to rid them of the miasma covering them?” [Ryouma]
The smoke contains ingredients that have sterilizing and antiseptic properties. It’s because of those properties that smoked food last longer. Many fumigants are also used for disinfection and insecticidal purposes. Smoke could also get in through the lungs or seep in through the eyes.
And just as soap is said to have been born through the ashes of burnt meat, ash too has disinfectant properties and can remove filth. Burning and heating are also methods of disinfection and sterilization, and it goes without saying that when fire burns, light is produced.
So this time, I’m going to keep in mind the insecticidal, fungicidal, and disinfectant properties of fire and smoke, and I won’t be visualizing a ‘memorial service’ but an ‘exorcism rite’. My prayer is for them to be freed from the miasma and for the undead to be weakened. As I added the Sake Lees, which got a good reaction from the prisoners, into the cup, I offered a prayer to exorcise and purify the undead.
A shrill voice resounded again, but this time, it sounded like a scream.
“…It worked. Well, I won’t be surprised anymore.” [Reinbach]
“I thought you might be able to pull it off when you started muttering to yourself… But to think you’d come up with a spell to erase miasma next…” [Remilie]
“I visualized the smoke driving away the bugs and the ashes cleaning the filth. What exactly happened?” [Ryouma]
“Well, for the meantime, the miasma is growing thinner. If you keep this up, they won’t be a problem even if they get close. Their movements have also gotten duller, probably because the smoke got into their eyes. It’s not just the prison guards too. The surrounding undead have also been affected.” [Remilie]
The spell uses the smoke as a medium, so it has a wide area of effect, but because of that, it doesn’t discriminate between undead. I’m sorry you all got caught up in this, but please bear with it for a moment.
“In any case, it’s made fighting the undead that much easier. If it’s like this, then even I’ll be enough. I’ll intercept them before they can reach our base, so Ryouma, you just keep that up.” [Schieber]
“Alright. I’ll move the smoke away from that area so as to not get in your way.” [Ryouma]
Schieber-san nodded and stepped forward. The prison guards had gotten close enough, so the battle immediately began.