Thank you so much for the Ko-Fi support Jackie (◍•ᴗ•◍)❤
“I don’t mean to be rude, but you probably won’t understand. In the Imperial dungeon, commoners often die under unfair circumstances. Because there are so many people in the Empire, crime is endless, and the number of prisoners keeps growing. If you kill commoners they don’t come back…….”
In a society where class is power, it was often the case that the moment an inferior fell out of favor with the superior, they were dragged to prison. This was especially true with commoners.
No matter how large the dungeon that traps them is, the space is limited and the eyes of surveillance are also limited. As a result, commoners, who would not be able to speak out even if the death penalty was imposed, were sent to death row.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for the Captain who found us right before we were executed.”
“… Sir Orpheus?”
“Yes. Thanks to the captain, we were released and acquitted. And with the help of the Captain, I was able to start training and take the knighthood exam.”
Enka finished her troubled story and stood up.
“That’s why Tainy and I hate the Imperial Knights so much.”
Vivian remembered the day when Dinus, the commander of the Imperial Knights, visited her the other day. That day, Enka frowned as soon as she saw Dinus, and at the training ground, Tainy swore at Dinus.
“We owe our lives to our leader, so we will follow him no matter what happens.”
Vivian seemed to understand their comradeship now. As much as Roger loved them, they loved him. As much as Roger believed in them, they believed in him. A comradeship bound by both sides, not just one. And the belief that it would not be shaken no matter what comes.
In Vivian’s mind, the image of the Knights of Eckhart was changing from a ferocious and uncaring bunch to a group with a strong bond towards one another.
The break of the peaceful peace was sudden and unexpected.
Who would have known cracks would appear in the middle of the night.
Vivian woke up groggily from her sleep and ran outside, wearing a shawl with a dreary spirit.
When she reached the wall she had climbed every day, she saw the Knights of Eckhart already ready to fight. Some of them were aiming their bows down the wall with hardened faces. And between them, Roger could be seen, looking down.
Ben, who was standing at the far end of wall, found her and dragged her aside. Vivian nodded her head in silence.
“When did the crack appear?”
“Just now. The scouts found it.”
“How was everyone so fast…”
Vivian was shorter than the knights. Vivian looked at some knights who were almost three feet taller than her with a surprised look. Ben shrugged his shoulders.
“We were just here because we hadn’t slept.”
With his answer, Vivian felt very pathetic. With the leisure she’d had for the past few days, she wondered if the West was a relaxed land, unlike reports. She slept peacefully with a time bomb that could explode unexpectedly. It was an attitude that was too complacent.
Vivian shook her head to quickly dispel the rest of her sleep. Ben glanced at Vivian and pointed to the side.
“Come with me to the Captain. Having two commanders together will make it easier to strategize.”
Vivian’s eyes widened at the word ‘Commander’. She remembered the image of him ignoring her at the Imperial Palace and humiliating her.
Reading her bewildered expression, Ben rubbed the back of his neck. Averting his eyes was an acknowledgment of her skills and embarrassment of his past mistakes.
In fact, when he heard that Vivian came here and killed all the beasts right away, though Ben did not show any signs of it, he was quite surprised. He said Roger helped, but his role was marginal. Also, while watching her diligently work on the Western Survey, he realized that she wasn’t just tagging along for achievements or fame.
At that moment, a strange scratching sound echoed in the distance. It was a sound that filled the barren western land with gloom. Vivian realized that it was not the time for her to be caught up in small emotions, and immediately approached Roger.
As Vivian approached, Roger’s gaze passed over her once. But he couldn’t afford to stare for as long as usual. He immediately raised his hand and pointed somewhere. Vivian turned her gaze to it. There was something rising like lava from the crack that Chen once pointed to. It was just a black hole as if assimilated into the darkness surrounding the land.
It wasn’t Roger who answered Vivian’s question, but Chen who was standing next to him. Chen’s face was red as if it was burning, holding the torch to illuminate their dark surroundings.
“Isn’t the beast supposed to come out?”
“That’s because cracks just appeared. Now soon…….”
Before Chen could finish speaking, a strong earthquake struck the ground. The earthquake was so great that the dust that had accumulated on the walls of the city was shaken out.
Before long, the bubbling black hole squirmed, and something was poured out of it. A head with horns, long fingernails and toenails that were pointed and bloody, and a strange sound came from their lips.
She’d heard of a beast coming out of a crack a while ago. However, there was a big difference between imagining it and seeing it in reality.
There was no end to the terrible beasts that popped out of the strangely glistening cracks. Compared to the size of the rift that was about two heads big, it was able to spit out beasts several dozen times larger than that. The parched land suddenly turned into a den of demons.
“Sir! What should we do?”
One of the knight archers asked. Quite a few knights drew their swords at this question. Roger raised his hand and stopped them from running forward.
It was then. Beasts that croaked like frogs rushed towards the wall in hoards. Their speed was different from the ones they saw in the middle of the day. It didn’t matter when one collided with the wall, but when the number was in the dozens, the walls were not without damage.
Thump thump. The vibration of the earth trembled endlessly through the walls.
“Chen! They weren’t this aggressive last time!”
Vivian barely stopped herself from falling over from the vibrations while she shouted at Chen.
“It was daytime then! The beasts react to the darkness and become more violent at night!”
Even though it made sense, Vivian was stunned that day and night could be so different. She did not have time to think. As her thoughts flowed slowly, the number of beasts crashing into the wall increased exponentially.
The beasts looked up at the knights standing ready on the wall and opened their mouths. The flickering torches glistened on their sharp teeth.
“I must go down.”
After examining the old wall, Vivian made up her mind. Even in the dark, her bright eyes could make out the demonic beasts’ forms.
“They see us up here and react.”
Roger looked at Vivian with a stiff expression.
“Are you saying we’re hiding behind the walls?”
It seems that he interpreted her words that way. Vivian shook her head and pointed to the base of the wall.
“No matter how strong a wall is, if you keep pushing it like this, it will get damaged. If the wall collapses, the situation will be out of control. So we must get down from the wall and fight them. You said last time that you can use magic to reinforce your sword, right?”
Roger realized what Vivian was trying to say and looked bewildered. He never thought she would choose all-out war. Soon Roger came to his senses and said:
“My Lady, stay here.”
“You want me to stay here alone?”
Vivian snorted her as if the idea were preposterous, turned her body around to deal with the demon. Roger grabbed her arm with a wrinkle in his forehead.
“We aren’t taking a leisurely stroll here! Lady’s abilities are better suited for rear support, and shouldn’t the rift be sealed before we deal with the beasts?”
Roger exclaimed, frustrated.
Vivian didn’t want to do what he said. The situation that was unfolding in front of them was deathly serious. The number of demons increased as if each were splitting in two. All the knights began to jump down to exterminate the beasts, Vivian and Roger were left alone on the wall.
His words were certainly true. Like the knights, Vivian could demonstrate her abilities without having to see the beasts up close, and it was also true that the first priority was to look at the cracks.
However, there were many potential variables. Vivian needed a lot of concentration in order to use her spiritual ability. So she couldn’t be distracted. In other words, it was impossible for her to investigate the cracks while dealing with the beasts. She could only focus on one or the other.
For that reason, what if Vivian’s support was a little delayed and his knights got hurt? Furthermore, what if it lead to a death?
Vivian hated being told to be idle as much as she hated hearing that she was weak. None of the Knights, who were just starting to fight, wanted to be pushed into that serious situation.
But Roger did not back down easily. His straw-colored eyes were firm, as if he had no intention of backing down. Vivian clenched her fist. She was in a hurry. The moment she realized that time was passing, she had no time to hesitate.
At the end of her answer, the other half of the knights jumped down in a hurry. Perhaps the theory of the beasts seeing and reacting to them was correct, as the croaking of the demonic beasts rushing towards the fortress wall had subsided a little.
After a moment, knights on horseback, led by Roger, appeared from below. After opening the castle gate, it seemed that the demonic flood could flow into the fortress, so they escaped via a side road. The swords they drew from their scabbards were reflecting the moonlight and gleaming dazzlingly.
Vivian calmed her mind to focus. The moment her eyes, which were assimilated to the darkness, began to look down, the earth began to react.
Vivian pulled tree trunks above ground to stop the beasts from flocking to the knights. She used her power to firmly plant the roots of the trunks in place. She didn’t know how long the fierce battle would last, so she was thinking of saving her strength for now.
The newly grown green stems wrapped around the beasts like chains. Since stems are weaker than roots, it was unable to drag them around like last time, and it was effective only in holding them.