|Author: The Sole Survivor||Original Source: SFACG|
|Translator: CatatoPatch||English Source: Re:Library|
Overwhelming. A word that couldn’t even begin to describe the scene of my Assassins charging into the Undead horde. Wherever they went, a sizable chunk would be knocked out of the Undead vanguard. Even shredding paper was probably harder than the fight they faced right now.
Nicole and Neneth were naturally a part of this effort as well. By the time the rest of us arrived on scene, the thousand-strong vanguard of the Undead was basically exterminated, and it merely took us a minute to reach the village entrance as well…
It went without saying that those Assassins, each either at Seven-star or Eight-star, were unbeatable amongst an army of lower-starred Undead. However, no matter how strong they were, they would eventually tire in the face of unending numbers. Even so, something still struck me as odd: why did they send this vanguard out to die?
But that wasn’t an important matter right now. Regardless if they had something planned or were just merely stupid, what I had to do now remained the same. We had to strengthen our forces, and failing that, I would have to pull out my trump card… At that, I subconsciously fingered the Gem of Authority hanging around my neck.
“I want those Soul Flames harvested right now while the Undead are still regrouping for a second attack.” Having arrived on scene, I began commanding the Assassins, divvying out their duties in an orderly fashion. “I want that area guarded too. Send a few. If there’s any movement, I want to be informed right away.”
Amongst the Assassins here, there were several who carried with them Soulstones. Upon hearing my command, they immediately handed over the Soul Flames they had gathered mid-battle. Six Assassins separated themselves from the squad and left in the direction I pointed at to act as scouts.
To be perfectly honest, I was still a little puzzled as to why the enemy did not just swarm us with their entire army right away. Especially now that I was at the frontlines, I could clearly see the sheer sea of Undead gathered around us. That Assassin who brought us the news merely said that they numbered more than ten thousand, but taking into account that they had the whole village encircled, that estimate was too conversative. They had to at least be a hundred thousand strong…
Despite that, this was still a winnable battle. As long as they were all below Four-stars, our victory assured, albeit with some casualties. That was something I did not wish to see, and exactly why I had to think of another plan quickly.
The current situation was not looking favourable for us and that made me uneasy. But I couldn’t just abandon Nicole here either. I couldn’t kidnap her as well, else she would hate me. Furthermore, based on how the first wave was sent in haphazardly, their commander seemed to be toying with us. Perhaps he thought he held an absolute advantage thanks to his numbers? Regardless, it was time for him to get a rude awakening.
“Jezsere, come over here for a second, I need you to create a summoning array.”
There were a multitude of summoning arrays that could be employed, but all that mattered was that it ultimately linked with the world in question. As for the materials required as an offering, blood, corpses, heads, etc. were all acceptable when summoning Devils. Rather easy-going, I must say.
The first wave of fodder were all Undead, meaning there was no blood to speak of. There were also no substitutes nearby so Jezsere decided to take a gamble by commanding the Assassins to gather the skulls of those Undead as offerings instead.
In actuality, our resident timid girl was a very talented Occultist; but she was timid. Yet if the summoning did not require her touching those gory bits, creating a summoning array was an easy task for her.
As the outer circle of the summoning array took shape from the skulls of the Undead, Neneth did not react much to it. Even Nicole, a rising star amongst the Demon Hunters, did not recognise what the array was for at first. However, the moment she saw the inner drawings of the circle, she began to suspect something.
“What are you all up to?”
Faced with her questioning, I knew there was no hiding the fact at this point. “We are drawing a summoning array to summon Devils.”
“Summon Devils?!” Her eyes went wide and her hands immediately grabbed her sword. Seeing that, Zurnalin and Regine both prepared to attack as well.
“Everyone, calm down. Right now we are all stuck on the same boat. If there are any issues, let’s settle them with words instead.” Still in the dark about what was happening, Jill anxiously stepped out to try and soothe the tensions. “We need to be level-headed and work together now if we want to make it out of this battle alive.”
Nicole’s lips twitched a little but she kept quiet in the end. But that did not stop her from glaring daggers in my direction, clearly demanding an explanation from me.
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“Actually… I’m an Occultist.”
As I said that, I stared right into the depths of her eyes. I desperately wanted to tell her the truth but her stance towards creatures of darkness had me hesitating. If I were to say that I was Mo Ke now, she would definitely doubt me, then swing her sword right in my face. After all, my experiences had been anything but logical at this point, anyone with a semblance of sanity would never believe such absurdity. Too bad it actually happened to me…
“Devil…” Nicole instinctively drew out her sword but stowed it halfway.
Phew… seems like she trusts me a little at least… that was the whole point of staying behind and openly telling her in the first place.
Striking while the iron was hot, I continued to explain while she still hadn’t had time to sort out her thoughts. “The enemy is too many, our only chance now is to summon more reinforcements. I… I know a Devil Overlord, I can borrow a large amount of lower-starred Devil fodder, but I will need some offerings… Regardless, overcoming this battle takes precedence!”
“…” Nicole was silent once more, most likely pondering whether or not I should be trusted.
“Sister Mo Na is a good person, Sister Nicole!” Amidst Nicole’s mullings, Neneth finally broke her silence and made her opinion known. Not a second too late as well… good job, Neneth! All that feeding I did wasn’t for naught!
Yet Neneth vaguely siding with me only made Nicole furrow her brows deeper. Was she perhaps suspecting that I had somehow enthralled Neneth?
“You said you wanted to protect the villagers, that’s why I stayed behind to help you. But you’ve seen those forces for yourself as well, with just our numbers, there’s no way we can hold them off. What else are we to do but call for help? I’m an Occultist, that’s right, but I dare say that those I’ve killed all deserved to die! Also, you mentioned you wanted to find your younger brother? If you die now, what happens to your younger brother?”
I saw her eyes waver at that point, and I knew that now was the time to strike the final nail in the coffin. “Your younger brother has been missing for so many years, have you ever considered how he must have suffered?! An immature, talentless boy surviving in a harsh world? Perhaps the reason you haven’t found him is because he is now a slave. Perhaps someone has turned him into a cripple and is forcing him to beg on the streets… If that’s true, the only one who can save him from this fate is you!”
As I passionately rattled on about the potential misfortunes of this hypothetical boy, I subconsciously started to shake her by her shoulders. The longer I went on, the more conflicted she looked. At the very end, there was a very real murderous intent oozing from her entire being. She shoved my hands away and turned away from the summoning array entirely.
“You’re right. Right now, what’s more important is to protect the villagers and live.” Having said that, she paused for a second before softly saying, “thank you for staying behind.”
“You’re welcome…” Her tsundere expression right now was a feast for the eyes, but as she said, now’s not the time for such frivolities. That summoning array had to be completed, and soon.
Yet just as we were in the midst of finishing it, someone, whom I had never expected to appear, suddenly stepped out from the horde of Undead. He wore the typical black and red suit of a Vampire and had a handsome but sickly pale face. More importantly, that face belonged to the same Vampire who we had taken out to roast in the sunlight just a few days ago!
“Surprised to see me?” Umbra asked us mockingly as he led a couple of transformed Lycans to face us. He arrogantly smiled in our direction and said, “I’m afraid I will have to apologise for not dying.”
“You… why aren’t you dead?!” Neneth yelled while pointing at the handsome Vampire. “Did you resurrect yourself? Impossible! Neneth was sure she saw Sister Nicole pour a vial of pure holy water on you…”
“Gee, I wonder why too… hahaha… Well, that’s because the one you killed was just a stand-in for me.”
A substitute, huh… blast. Why do all the villains have to be so smart… or maybe we were just too naive?
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What we need now is some time. But someone who is able to stall for time and is able to negotiate… that would have to be Jill, wouldn’t it?
I threw a glance at Jill, after which she took a few steps forward. “So you’re here for revenge then?”
“Revenge? I’m not that bored yet.” The Vampire swept his blood-red eyes over Jill then onto the Assassins working frantically to arrange the summoning array. “Let me try and guess what you’re doing right now… Don’t tell me… are you trying to summon Devils?”
Curses… how does he know? Now that he has seen through our plan, if he were to attack us, the entire plan would have to be delayed indefinitely. I need to do something quick.
Jill understood the urgency of the summoning array as well. Putting aside whether or not we could summon enough helpers to match the Undead, at the very least the summoning array would alleviate the situation we faced. Yet before Jill could even say anything further, the Vampire said something that was borderline inane.
“Go on then. I’ll allow you all to continue setting up that array. I promise I won’t interfere.” True to his word, the Vampire did not dispatch his minions to harass us. Instead, he confidently watched us from the sidelines, arms folded around his chest.
Maybe… he’s not as smart I thought?