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Chapter 132: Blame

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Author: TypeAxiom Original Source: Scribble Hub

Although Camilla was a bit shocked that Kagriss was suddenly acting so carefree, she just chalked it up to another example of Kagriss being weird, like when she did the oddly creepy smiles. Besides, Kagriss had more than one side to her and the stoic, lady-like face she presented was always going to be a temporary thing as she transitioned from an emotionless lich to a person that could laugh and cry like any other living thing.

This too, was just another step of the journey for Kagriss.

A smile rose to her lips and she strode over to Kagriss, leaning over her while hiding her undead aura. Kagriss didn’t even notice her arrival until a shadow loomed over her to block out the light from the bright blue skies.

She stiffened and almost sprang up, bumping into Camilla, before Camilla pushed her back down with a laugh. “Yeah, you won. Congratulations! But aren’t you a bit too carefree? If I’m not wrong, that’s a skull warrior and skull lich back there, right?” She pointed.

Kagriss blushed. “Yeah, it is.”

She suddenly turned sullen. Unable to bear how she suddenly fouled Kagriss’s move, Camilla patted her shoulder as if to tell her to not take it to heart and offered her a hand. She pulled her up without so much as a grunt. “Sorry I couldn’t be back earlier…there were a lot of zombies.”

“What happened to them?” Kagriss scowled a little as she put out her senses.

Not that she was going to find anything as Camilla made sure she annihilated every piece of moving dead flesh that wasn’t hers at that slaughter. She grinned. “It was a huge waste of my mana.”

Kagriss’s shoulders dropped in relief before she focused back on the matter at hand, looking over at their new captives. Elyss was still tearing apart the skull warrior, but the other two undead were well secured, having been defanged in various ways before.

Now, both liches were right next to each other, without arms and legs, with only their heads intact on their neck. Kagriss hadn’t stopped them from regenerating since she still needed to interrogate them. The skull lich, Igthrath was still pinned to the ground and wrapped in obsidian chains. Meanwhile, Lucienne just chopped the entire tree that the zombie lich had been on down and carried the section of the tree trunk that the lich was attached to over to Igthrath.

For proud and mighty liches, especially Igthrath, being captured like this must be the pinnacle of humiliation.

Not that Camilla cared as she circled them, giving them a once over. Her gaze lingered on the bleached bones of the skull lich. They were so thick and solid-looking. And even having been de-legged and laid flat on the floor, the skull lich was as long as she was tall.

A sudden rage welled up in Camilla. There was also that skull lich she let get away at the fortress she still needed to take revenge on for Fleur’s sake. This skull lich was just unlucky.

However, through her anger, she nonetheless retained her sanity.

She couldn’t kill this lich. She had questions to ask.

What was a skull lich doing in a place like this? As far as she knew, there wasn’t a desecration site nearby. While there wasn’t a rule that undead must stay near such places that are rich in undead mana, being at those sites made it easier for undead to grow stronger, as well as providing ample energy to create subordinates.

“Hmmm…” Camilla rubbed her chin as she circled the two captive liches one more time. By now, Igthrath had gotten over the shock of his own defeat and was struggling against his restraints. The black chains of mana clanked against each other as he thrashed.

“Release me! Or you’ll regret it! This great Igthrath will never forgive you!” he howled. A cold wind accompanied his voice, chilling the souls of those nearby that are too weak to resist it. Unfortunately for him, everyone present was more than strong enough to be unaffected.

Camilla stared down at him with a gaze filled with disgust. “Great Igthrath? Look around and then at yourself. Look what kind of situation you’re in. Do you really think you have the luxury spouting drivel like this?”

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She was about to leave but then she remembered the second wave of zombies that came to stall her. It had been much stronger than the first.

It was that horde that kept her in place when Kagriss’s desperate cry reached her through their bond. No matter how much Camilla wanted to break away and come help her, she couldn’t and the decision almost tore her heart apart.

“It was you, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, it was me!” Igthrath shouted. “It’s always me!”

Camilla momentarily became speechless. How did Igthrath even know what she was talking about? What was he even talking about? The sheer confusion she felt at his words drained the last of her foul mood and she turned away, unwilling to spend another second with this idiot of a lich when she had other options.

“Ey, hey hey hey! Don’t ignore me! I’m not done yet! You—”

Shouts rang out behind her, but before Igthrath could go on for much longer, chains sprang up from the ground and wedged itself in his open mouth, courtesy of Kagriss.

“Who gave you permission to speak when not spoken to?” Kagriss emitted an icy aura as she stood before the lich.

Had the lich been any other kind of creature, perhaps he would’ve been silenced, but he was a skeleton. A skeleton needed no vocal cords nor mouth to speak. He broke out into laughter at Kagriss’s words despite the chains in his mouth. “Ha! That’s rich! Two fleshy zombies dare speak to me like this? Just you wait!”

“Silence.” Instead of piling on more chains, Kagriss simply created a barrier that blocked sound. Silence finally returned.

Although the lich sounded deranged, his sheer persistence sent shivers down Camilla’s spine. What if the lich wasn’t boasting? But no matter how much she racked her brain, she couldn’t figure out how this skull lich expected to get out of this.

From what she knew of skull liches, this one shouldn’t have any more tricks up his sleeve. Perhaps if he was a lord-class lich, but he wasn’t.

While she mulled over what should be done and what precautions to take about Igthrath, Camilla finally arrived where Elyss was standing guard over her prey—the skull warrior Nogna.

The more she examined his appearance, the more her shock grew, although outsiders wouldn’t be able to tell considering her control over her own expressions.

Camilla had never seen something like this before. And based on the way Elyss was so nonchalantly batting around a certain skull warrior’s skull like a toy, she had no idea just how abnormal this thing was.


“Something you want?” The lion didn’t bother stopping her play when she answered.

Even if Elyss acknowledged her as master, it was always with reluctance. If it wasn’t for Elyss’s desire for a strict hierarchy, one that she constantly tried to usurp and stand at the top in, Camilla wouldn’t have bothered enforcing a master-servant relationship.

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“Did you find anything strange about this?” she asked.

Elyss’s ear twitched as she tossed up the skull in the air and caught it between her paws. After a moment, she shook her huge head. “Other than the weird bone armor, not really. Why?”

Camilla didn’t know what she was expecting. Even though Elyss had once been the guardian beast of the Order, she hadn’t had the chance to fight many undead. She was the last person to ask about abnormalities.

A better person would be Kagriss.

“Never mind. Can you do me a favor and destroy it? Although I’m curious about just what secrets lay within, none of us are the best at research. Waste of effort to keep it alive and under control.”

“Oh? Really? I can break it?” Elyss turned her huge eyes squarely on Camilla, searching her face for any sign of sarcasm or falsehood.

“Yeah, go ahead.”

“Don’t mind if I do!” Elyss roared. She tossed away the ball—skull—that she was playing with and reared up on her hind legs before slamming both forepaws down on the ground. The ground rumbled and two huge slabs of rock rose up on both sides of the skull warrior lying prone.

With a huge crash, the two slabs slammed together with incredible force. A crack shattered the air and a voice that Camilla did not miss reached her. “No! Stop!”

It was Igthrath.

Camilla looked away from the soon-to-be-destroyed skull warrior and turned her eyes on the skull lich who had lost his composure for the first time. The skull lich thrashed against his restrained, having broken through the soundproof barrier that Kagriss had created.

Before Kagriss could create another one, Camilla stopped her and walked over, peering down at the skull lich.

“Stop? Why?”

“Y-you’ll regret it if you don’t!” Igthrath shouted.

Camilla laughed. “Regret it how?” she asked. It was a pointless question, considering that she had already guessed the answer. From the way Kagriss looked at her, hiding her smile, it seemed that Kagriss got it too.

It was simple—the lich was probably banking on using the skull warrior to get free.

“Just so you know, I don’t really care about whatever you’re up to. If we killed you, won’t we have stopped your plans anyways?” she asked. “There’s no reason to keep that pile of bones alive to study, right?”

Igthrath’s eyes glowed so brightly that they were almost like twin lanterns trapped in his skull. Camilla had never seen a skull lich this emotional. She idly wondered if this lich would still be considered Pure…

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“Stop! Don’t!”

“Can you do anything else besides repeating yourself? It’s so annoying!” Lucienne suddenly popped up behind them and glared at the skull lich. “You’re pathetic!”

The skull lich seethed at her words and ranted some more but everyone ignored him.



A wide grin spread over Camilla’s face. This skull lich was too dangerous to keep around, but the zombie lich was weak enough to hold indefinitely. If the zombie lich submitted, then there was no reason to keep this skull lich around. Besides, like Lucienne said, this skull lich was just so annoying.

Seeing the expression on her face, the skull lich fell silent. But it was way too late. None of his captors held a single drop of goodwill toward him.

“Any volunteers?”

“Oh, me!” “I’ll do it.” Lucienne and Kagriss answered at the same time. Well, Kagriss was a bit slower but Camilla turned a blind eye to that.

“You can both do it.”

Lucienne clenched her fist in a little cheer while Kagriss remained silent and skill.

The skull lich was nowhere near as restrained in his emotions as he shook his head. “What are you going to do? Stop! Wait, I’ll tell you everything! What do you want to know?!” he shouted. A loud crack and a pulse of holy mana interrupted him.

Everyone turned to see the dust settle after two massive slabs of rock slammed together after much resistance. Elyss’s mouth was still open and she looked awkwardly back when she felt so many pairs of eyes on her. She closed it, hiding her impressive teeth.

“W-what is it?!” Her tail lashed and she released her magic. Cut away from their source of power, the stone slabs cracked apart and turned to dust, leaving behind bone that had been ground to dust behind to mix in with the remains of the rock that crushed it.


“Can you please be quiet!” Lucienne snapped, swinging her sword at him and chipping his skull.

Her words did nothing to stop the skull lich’s howl. Filled with anger, disappointment, frustration, it should’ve made the souls of anyone nearby tremble, but Camilla just smiled at his cry. It was obvious from this reaction that the strange skull warrior was something extremely important to this lich.

Although she wasn’t here for the fight, just the warrior’s nonstandard appearance was enough for her to come to some conclusions. It wouldn’t be strange for this Igthrath character to have been experimenting on modifying undead and for this skull warrior to be the product.

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Even if the product and inventor were both destroyed, there was always their notes, and that zombie lich had already agreed to lead them to their base.

“Whatever you want to say, it’s too late now. You’re too dangerous to keep around,” Camilla said. She nodded at Lucienne and Kagriss. The two prepared to deal the final blow, gathering mana.

Seeing no mercy in sight, the skull lich began to panic. “Stoooop! I’m Igthrath—!”

Lucienne hovered the point of her sword over the skull lich’s chest and looked over at Kagriss. Her sword was already glowing in a shell of golden mana that trembled, about to explode any minute. Only Kagriss was left.

“If you kill me, if you kill me—”

Barely a second later, Kagriss completed her cast. A sphere of black mana gathered in front of her outstretched palm, the other hand bracing. One hand supplied the mana and the other controlled the spell. Cast with both of her hands for maximum speed, efficiency, and power, the finishing spell was completely.

The two of them nodded and unleashed their magic.

“—the Compact will—”

“Huh? Wait!” Camilla shouted, but it was too late. By the time she heard the skull lich’s words, there was nothing left but an empty pile of bones. Her outstretched hand reached toward nothing. Both Kagriss and Lucienne stiffen in their last pose.

As they were about to apologize, Camilla forestalled them.

“No, don’t apologize. It couldn’t be helped. Should’ve spoken up sooner, right?”

“Y-yeah!” Lucienne said. It seemed like she was more trying to reassure herself.

They peeked at Kagriss, the one who didn’t answer, trying to gauge her reaction. Camilla bit her lips, hoping Kagriss didn’t take this little accident too hard. When it came to things related to herself, Kagriss always became a little exaggerated.

On the contrary, Kagriss didn’t even seem to care. “This is about the “compact” he mentioned, right? Couldn’t we just ask him about it?” She pointed at the zombie lich.

After a moment, Camilla realized that Kagriss was right and rubbed her hair awkwardly. “I guess…in that case, it’s no hurry then. Did you ever finish questioning the two holy mages?”

“We didn’t. These three interrupted us,” Kagriss said.

“And thankfully they did!”

Camilla smacked Elyss’s side as she stalked up to join them. “You’re just happy you got to have a fight. Are you ever not looking for one?”

“Won’t ever turn down one, for sure.”

“Muscle brain!”

Elyss didn’t care and smugly sat down to wash herself, occasionally sniffing the captured zombie lich. The lich shifted away from her and Elyss snorted and ignored him. Lifting him up by the chains with one hand and dragging him behind her, Camilla headed back to the village with the other three.

They came back to something they didn’t expect. The villagers, previously hidden in their houses during the battle, had come out to play. Numbering around hundred, they had gathered in a square at the center of the village.

The gathering had begun shortly after Kagriss left, quite a while ago, lasting all the way until now.

A tall platform occupied the center to allow a speaker to stand more prominently, and indeed a burly man with a bushy mustache and beard stood on it, shouting down at the gathering.

“These witches brought this disaster upon us! How dare they repay our generosity with evil?” he cried.

“Hear hear! If only they never came here, would this have happened?” someone shouted from the crowd.

“Indeed. Look at the damage they caused! Those monsters trampled over what few crops we had and scared away our prey!” the bearded man at the center cried.

“Our walls! How many days taking how many men will we need to repair them?!”

A call and a reply, sometimes several, over and over again riled the villagers up in a frenzy as they shifted all blame over to the pair of mages.

First came a handful of vegetable peels, good only for compost. Then came a fruit core, then a rotten fruit.

At first, it was just for appearances for the villagers to let out their frustrations, but eventually one of the thrown objects found their mark, hitting Ariel on the head. Immediately, Sariel shielded her younger sister behind her and the next fruit core hit her instead. But it wasn’t the villagers in one direction that threw things at them. Some had even gone back into their houses to look for things to throw.

In the end, Sariel created a small barrier around them and they huddled under the meager cover.

“I’m sorry! We didn’t mean to bring them here!” she shouted. “Leave my sister alone!”

The man on the platform harrumphed. “So you admit to bringing the undead down upon us? Why are you using magic against us?” he shouted. He looked around at the villagers. “See, the threat they pose on us! Even though you use holy magic!”

“These witches are evil! Harbingers of disaster! How should we deal with these two vermins?”

At that, the gathered villagers began their discussion with those around them.

After a moment, the man on the platform raised his voice. His eyes flashed, full of greed. “I vote we exile them! Cast them from our village, never to return!”

The effect of a leading voice could not be discounted and almost immediately came the murmurs of agreement. Before the village could reach a consensus, though, another voice that had been mixed into the ground rose up.

“I disagree! We should kill them and eliminate the threat here and now. If they truly are the ‘threat’ you think they pose, then shouldn’t we kill them? Exiling will merely allow them to bring harm to our neighbors. How can we allow that?”

The reactions of the crowd changed again, shifting toward the new voice’s point of view. Even if one person didn’t want to kill, it was different when they were part of a group.

The sisters’ faces whitened. They fled from the zombies here to seek refuge, but were they going to die here? Tears gathered at their eyes and Sariel hugged her younger sister tightly. But in their frenzied madness, none of the villagers could spare the sisters a look of pity.

The expression of the man on the platform turned ugly.

“No! We are not murderers! We must exile them?”

“And bring disaster down on others? You are a cruel one! There’s only two clear options. Either they are the harbingers of ruin you say they are and we eliminate them now, or they are not and we have wronged them!”

The man’s face turned red. “Of course we haven’t wrong them. In that case, we kill them!” He gnashed his teeth.

“Kill them! Kill them!”

But no one acted, unwilling to be the first to stain their hands with blood, until suddenly a sharp piece of rock mixed in with the thrown cores and peels, bouncing loudly on the ground.

“Stone them!” someone shouted.

At that moment, the atmosphere changed, turning murderous. The rocks began to be picked up and thrown and they formed a steady hail of dust and stone toward the girls who hugged each other and protected their head.

Of course, that wasn’t the actual stoning. Stoning needed more preparation. This was just the venting before the act.

The bearded man on the platform gritted his teeth, scanning the crowd for the person who had disagreed with him, but he found nothing. Finally, he gave up and stomped down the platform.

A thin golden barrier rose up again to shield the sisters from the flying rocks, but it didn’t last long against the constant barrage. The jagged edges of some of them made little tears where they caught and others left bruises.

It was painful, but not lethal.

The pair of mages huddled together, helpless. Even if they ran away, they’d just be thrown back by the crowd. All they had was magic, but it wasn’t enough.


“Ari…don’t be scared…it’ll be okay!” That was the only thing Sariel could say. At the very least, she hoped that she could protect her sister from harm until their hope came back.

She didn’t know when they were going to come back, but she still remembered how the undead, the great lion, and the holy warrior said they would come back when they were done with the undead they were going to fight.

Sariel closed her eyes, both in a prayer to the Five Gods and against a rock that flew at her face. Something cut into her cheek and she shuddered from the pain. Her grip on Ariel grew tighter. “Please…”

“Sari, who are you talking to?” Ariel whispered.

No sooner did she ask that did a deep roar ripped through the air, shaking the ground and sending tremors through the bodies of those gathered. The stream of rocks being thrown stopped as the villagers stopped what they were doing. They turned, just as a magnificent golden lion as large as a small house stalked toward the gathering.

Hesitantly turning around, Sarial and Ariel gave a little gasp.

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