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Chapter 131: Igthrath the Great

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Author: TypeAxiom Original Source: Scribble Hub

Whatever was happening back there, Camilla hoped it wasn’t bad. Although the zombies weren’t particularly dangerous to her, they were numerous. Sighing, Camilla fought through the crowd, being sure to do a thorough job of dismantling her enemies.

Her black sword speckled with rust-like red glowed dimly gold as she hacked and slashed. She cut each zombie at least twice, once through the upper torso at the chest and once further down at the waist.

She didn’t have to go that far for the skeletons at that underground facility.

Despite being physically weaker than skeletons, the zombies were also a bit more durable in some respects, namely that they were a bit more difficult to kill in one shot. A skeleton has the center of their being exposed, but holy magic had to go through some flesh before ultimately killing a zombie.

It was so annoying. She much preferred battling skeletons when she was on another level compared to her enemies. If only she knew large scaled magic…

Each swing of her sword cleaved through zombies quite cleanly, barely stopping at the bones of their spine. Powdered, long-dried blood flew into the air as the zombies’ bodies split apart. Camilla wrinkled her nose.

She instinctively hated that powder, much more disgusted than she had been when she was a human. It was her instincts as a vampire at play again. Like any other vampire, she preferred fresh blood of high quality, usually from strong and visually appealing prey. Kagriss was obviously one she would like to take her meals from, but Lucienne also made a decent substitute.

Compared to…this. Old, dried blood. It was all Camilla could do to keep from throwing up. Before the red dust could land on her, Camilla threw up a shield of blood mana, sending the dried blood flying away from her.

The most unpleasant part of this battle, if it could even be called that, was how disgusting the blood. The other was the length.

Splitting a zombie in half from head to groin before slashing horizontally to quarter them, Camilla jumped into a tree to survey the bloodbath. Of the almost two hundred zombies that swarmed her, around a hundred was left.

She had killed a lot less than she thought…

Worse still, some of those that Camilla thought she obliterated completely was still alive and kicking, sometimes literally. If she left those alone, then given the dense undead mana released from this battle some of them will regenerate and terrorize the living again.

Camilla spat. “So annoying!” She didn’t have time to waste on these small fries, but if she let them go, then they won’t be small fries anymore.

Sorry, Kagriss. It looks like it’ll be a bit longer…

Heaving a frustrated sigh again, she brandished her sword again, igniting the holy power she imbued on the blade again. Closing her eyes, she began to scatter minute amounts of undead mana along the weapon and mixed it with the existing holy mana.

Of course, the two kinds of mana exploded in that fearsome chaotic power, only unlike before, it was limited to a tiny layer over the blade and cushioned by the holy imbuement to prevent it from ruining the sword. She didn’t want to have to repair it again when she might need it soon after this battle.

Giving the sword a few swings and seeing that the effect was exactly as she practiced, Camilla smiled grimly at the same time as her mind began to numb from the concentration it took to maintain that process. She winced and jumped down into the middle of the zombie horde again.

If she was a bull in a porcelain shop before, then she was the embodiment of the reaper, cleaving away the unlife possessed by these pitiful zombies.

Even when Camilla sensed a second zombie horde coming from the east that soon joined the first against her, she didn’t stop her blade dance. Even if she was playing into the enemy hands by staying here and not going back, it was still the better of the two bad choices.

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Being read like that felt gross, but there was nothing she could do but channel her frustration into her destructive tendencies as limbs went flying. This time, zombies stop getting up.

As Camilla fought against the zombie horde, Kagriss tried to come up with a plan against the new, incoming enemies.

“If I had to guess, there’s at least one skull lich among them. The other two are either two warriors of either type, or one lich.” Kagriss took a deep breath, something Camilla seemed to do whenever she had to make a difficult decision. This qualified, right? “Whatever they happen to be, can I leave the skull lich to you?”

Elyss dug her claws into the ground. “I couldn’t ask for anything better!”

Although she knew that a maniac like Elyss would agree, a bit of the worry in Kagriss’s heart dropped away. “Alright. Don’t overdo it though. I’ll do my best to help you, but it might be difficult. As for the other two, I’ll handle it with Lucienne.”

She quickly went over the plans she had in mind. There were two total—one in case it was two skull warriors and one in case there was one zombie lich. Zombie warriors were unlikely considering the mana readings Elyss got.

One scenario that Kagriss didn’t consider was that both the remaining two undead were zombie liches. That was the best case scenario where Lucienne can simply break through and kill them with Kagriss’s help. Spellcasters needed at least one warrior frontline to delay the enemies’ advance.

Their plans finalized, they set off toward the mana signatures, hoping to take the battle away from the village to minimize casualties.

In the end, the two remaining undead other than the skull lich was a zombie lich as well as a skull warrior.

Although the types of their enemies were within Kagriss’s expectations, she still blinked when she saw it—the skull warrior. She had never seen a skull warrior like that before. It looked completely different from the ones back at the fortress.

Instead of wearing standardized heavy armor made in Undead Forge at the center of the fortress, this skeleton warrior wore nothing, or was it more accurate to say that it was its own armor?

Thick plates of bone shielding grew from the skeleton itself while its eyes glowed eerily dark purple. Instead of using any particular weapon, the bone plating on the back of its hands were simply enlarged to act like shields and lengthened with serrated edges like short swords. Just floundering its arms in front of itself would inflict massive, tearing wounds.

All that already made them formidable, but the skull warrior’s massive stature at well over three meters dwarfed any normal human.

Lucienne stiffened beside her, not that Kagriss could blame her. Compared to Camilla, Lucienne was still too inexperienced.

Thankfully, the zombie lich looked relatively normal with its plain robes and its stick of a staff. Behind the two, lording over zombie lich, was the skull lich, every bit as awe-inspiring as Kagriss remembered. A crown of bony spikes adorned its head, canines jutted out of its front teeth. Rather than using a staff as Gulthra of Amaranthine Point did, its bony fingers clutched a blood-red orb that seemed to breath as its color brightened and dimmed.

Kagriss did not recognize it.

She doesn’t claim to know every skull lich at the fortress, but she could at least recognize most of them on sight. This lich wasn’t one of them. Biting her lips, she considered her options, but before she could give any meaningful command, Elyss sprang forward without warning with her claws outstretched at the three figures standing in the trees.

A thundering roar rang through the trees. Any normal person would’ve been stunned by the sheer volume, but the undeads were unfazed.

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“Wait, Elyss, come back!”

But Kagriss was way too late. Like she asked, Elyss targeted the skull lich, trying to smash it into the ground so she could tear into it, but before she could even reach the lich, the massive skull warrior stepped in front and crossed its arms.

Bending its knees slightly, it managed to completely absorb the force of Elyss’s pounce with just a little skid backwards, digging deep furrows in the ground. Elyss’s eyes widened. Before she could recover and jump back, the skull warrior slashed with the blade on its arm.

Blood spurted from her muzzle.

Snarling, Elyss retreated and jumped back, landing next to Kagriss, while the skull warrior silently lowered its arms.

“Are you okay?” Kagriss asked, looking at the bleeding wound on Elyss’s face. She wasn’t a healer, but there was so much blood that it looked back. Not only that, she had forgotten how large a skull warrior could be. Now she remembered.

It made Elyss look like a normal sized lion.

Before Elyss could reply, Lucienne rushed forward and placed her hand near the wound, emitting a dim golden light. Although the site was still bloody, Elyss didn’t look as agitated anymore. The lion nodded at the former templar in gratitude before turning her golden eyes back to the trio of undead, a low rumble from her throat.

All the while, the skull lich was still. At Elyss’s growl, it finally shifted, its eyes glowing a bit brighter, putting Kagriss on edge.

It lifted its chin to look down at Lucienne.

“A mere lich dares oppose me?”

Kagriss glared at it, pushing down her discomfort from being stared at. “Weren’t you the one that escaped when I challenged you?” Actually, she doubted it, but…

Sure enough, the skull lich burst out into an echoing laughter. “Hilarious! Hilarious that you think I would run away from you? No, it’s all him,” he said, gesturing at the zombie lich that stood in front of him. “This one is one of my subordinates, Gradun, and the other one I brought is Nogna, my pride. And I am, of course, the great Igthrath!”

“I’ve never heard of you,” Kagriss retorted.

This skull lich’s ego was really getting on her nerves. Few deserved such pride and this lich wasn’t one of them. “Now!” The words barely left her mouth when she held up her palm and a sphere of black formed and shot forward in the span of less than a second.

It flew toward Igthrath who simply stood there without moving. Neither did Nogna make a move to defend his master. But at a thought, the speeding sphere suddenly moved, turning and smashing into the zombie lich’s head, knocking it over.

Already, Elyss and Lucienne rushed forward. Like before, Elyss’s target was the skull lich Igthrath, leaping forward.

Like before, Nogna stepped toward and raised his shields, ready to recreate the scene from before. This time, he won’t miss. But before he could even stabilize his stance, a shining golden light smashed into one of his legs. At the moment of impact, a large golden ram rivaling even him in size materialized and tossed its head, destroying the skull warrior’s balance.

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“Holy Charge!”

Without the warrior in the way, Elyss managed to reach the skull lich, but in the end she was still a step too late as Igthrath jumped back.

“Hoho…a mana beast? Do you understand me? I’m very interested in your kind! Let me study you!”

In response, Elyss just roared. In her wide open mouth, seemingly powered by the earthshaking roar that made the ground vibrate, a small golden ball appeared. Immediately, the skull life began to create a shield in front of him, just as Elyss released the holy spell.

Although it was small and spherical relative to Elyss’s size, the little pellet of holy mana was still the size of a fist for a normal man. So fast that it looked more like a beam of light, the pellet of holy mana crashed into the skull lich’s shield and broke through it.

Unfortunately, it veered off, missing the skull lich just slightly and smashed through the trees behind it. It burnt a hole through the foliage with its passage.

The skull lich looked behind it at the effects of the spell. “I see…I seem to have underestimated you. I’m now more interested than ever at—”

“WHERE ARE YOU LOOKING?!” Elyss roared, making the skull lich wince.

Before the skull lich could turn around, a huge shadow appeared over him. An instant later, a huge lion crashed down on top of it. Raw mana poured through the lion’s limbs, strengthening skin, muscle, and bone. From sheer weight and force, the landing of the lion pushed the skull lich to the ground, snapping bones.

As Igthrath laid pinned to the ground, he watched as a mouth opened above him and a bright golden light appeared within, spinning and growing.

But even if his bony face could show expression, it would not be fear. It would be a grin completely free of worry.

“Watch out!” Kagriss shouted.

As a spellcaster, she prided herself in having a good grasp on the situation and flow of the battlefield. Although she was currently up against a zombie lich, something of the same tier and type as herself, she still had the attention to spare to keep an eye on everything.

Her battle with the lich had been mostly silent compared to Igthrath’s flamboyance against Elyss. Although the lich was angry at her for getting mocked by Igthrath, Kagriss simply ignored him to focus on what was important—her own battle and the situation of the battlefield.

Both paid off in the end with her crudely reinforcing her leg and kicking the lich in the chest. Although liches were physically weak compared to warriors, they were still several times stronger than normal humans. The lich went flying into a tree trunk and before he could recover, Kagriss sent five black spears at him to pin him to the tree.

Taking a breather, she looked around again, just in time to see the strange-looking skull warrior stab at Lucienne with his katar-like blades. Although normal sized on him, it was comparable to the massive sword that Camilla carried.

Despite Lucienne dodging back, the skull warrior managed to stab her in the stomach and left her for dead, instead almost obsessively and almost mindlessly turning back toward his master: Igthrath, pinned beneath Elyss.

“Lucienne!” Kagriss shouted. The former templar knelt down, blood pouring from the hole pierced in her armor and seeping out between the individual plates. But despite her worry, she didn’t have time to dwell. Another might join Lucienne soon. “Elyss! Watch out!”

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Camilla, where are you?

She cried a silent plea in her heart as another black spear formed in her hands. But it won’t make it in time. Even if it did, her spears cast that quickly didn’t do enough damage to deter the skull warrior who so single-mindedly focused on saving his master, and she could only watch as the skull warrior lumbered toward the lion.

The scene flashed before her eyes—the giant katar blades digging deep into Elyss’s body and slashing it open; blood gushing out onto the floor; Elyss collapsing in a pool of red…

She couldn’t look away, but what she feared never happened as something gold flashed in the corner of her eyes and streaked like a comet toward the skull warrior.

Elyss stomped her hind leg against the ground, a dark-brown spire rising up behind her, slamming right into the skull warrior.

Igthrath’s eyes glowed. “No!”

“Thought you got me, didn’t you?” Elyss snarled straight into his mind as the holy spell charged into her mouth let loose, blasting into his head. A golden shockwave blasted through the air.

But it wasn’t over.

Kagriss snapped back to reality and looked at the now empty spot where Lucienne had knelt.

Not a drop of blood was to be seen. Instead of falling unconscious, the former templar had slammed the huge skull warrior into the spire that Elyss summoned using a Holy Charge. The warrior bounced off the stone and fell to the ground. When he tried to get up, Lucienne bashed his arm with her shield.

She looked perfectly fine and only the hole that remained in her armor and the red visible through it told Kagriss that she hadn’t imagined the whole thing.

Relief flooded through Kagriss. Even if Lucienne and Elyss weren’t as close to her as Camilla was, they were two of the few living things that connected with her. But although she blinked away her tears, she didn’t forget her place.

The dark spear that she had been gathering continued to grow way past its original intended size. It grew longer and longer until it was almost a meter in length before she threw it. The spear arced through the air and sped downwards, piercing straight through the armor of the undead.

A second spell followed the first and chains wrapped around the spear and the ends sank into the ground. Yet more links bundled up the skull warrior. Not satisfied with one seal, Kagriss repeated her cast a second time until the warrior looked like a cocoon of black chains.

Leaving Nogna the skull warrior to Kagriss, Lucienne sprinted past her and slammed into the lich pinned to the tree. Although it had almost succeeded in escaping, Lucienne’s quick arrival put an end to that and a head fell to the ground, rolling around as if still alive.

Lucienne quickly incinerated it with a blast of holy mana. Before the lich could begin regenerating and healing himself, Lucienne burned the neck stump with holy flames and did the same to every limb on the lich’s body.

Meanwhile, bones flew through the air under Elyss’s terrible claws until Igthrath was just a ribcage dressed in the tatters of formerly luxurious black robes.

Kagriss looked around at the battlefield. A skull lich disabled. A zombie lich disabled. A skull warrior under multiple layers of bindings. They won; it was too close, but they won.

“We won!” Kagriss shouted, throwing up her hands and falling on her back onto the ground as Camilla rushed over just in time to see it happen, speechless.

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