Ximengi Continent’s southern part, the border area of Steinbeck Fief, Lawrence River
Clyde who had snuck into the supply center of Kruft Kingdom’s military camp observed the highest commanding officers, Prince Gruz and Princess Natalie. Although they were brother and sister, their characters were completely different.
Prince Gruz was a standard profligate son with poor martial skill who only knew how to enjoy his life. Compared to him, Princess Natalie was a lot simpler. Besides her confidant demeanor, there was no princess air around her. She seemed very easy to get along with. From their conversation, Clyde finally learned Kruft Kingdom’s objective.
This time, Kruft Kingdom had come to capture Witch Ista who was at Clyde’s side. In the past, Ista had not told anything about herself to him. Everything concerning her, Clyde had learned from other people. Although Witch Ista’s magical power was very high, she was not good at magic; instead, she was very talented in making magic items. She could make various kinds of powerful magic items. In fact, she had made the ten rings adorning her dainty hands all by herself.
Many empires wanted to force Ista to stay in their keeps and help them make magic items, but Ista didn’t want to have her freedom restricted, so she had fled all over until she had encountered Clyde’s party and finally settled down. It was unknown where the Kruft Kingdom had obtained news of Ista’s current whereabouts, but they clearly planned to capture Ista before all the other empires.
In addition to capturing Witch Ista, Kruft Kingdom’s army also wanted to explore Needham Plain. Over a hundred years ago, it had once been an important economic trade hub of Adrian Empire. During the outbreak of the undead calamity, there had been no time to transfer the vast wealth, so a lot of treasure remained. Basically, all the nations in the vicinity knew of this matter but were unwilling to go through the requisite dangers and set foot on the undead infested region. They all wished to wait for the others to solve most of the problems first.
The Kruft Kingdom wanted to take advantage of this time when Adrian Empire was weakened to attack, but a large military expenditure was needed to launch a war, so they chose Needham Plain as their target to first gather some funds. Using his status as the eldest prince, Prince Gruz cleverly chose the less dangerous mission of capturing Witch Ista. As for the very dangerous mission of exploring Needham Plain where the entire army was likely to be wiped out, it was pushed to Princess Natalie.
Unexpectedly, Princess Natalie had no complaints. After urging Prince Gruz to become a bit more cautious, she prepared to lead her group and set out. As for Clyde, he hesitated for a while and surreptitiously used the magic communication ring to send a secret message to Lucifer in Stanley City. He wanted her to summon her familiars and prepare to welcome Prince Gruz. As for himself, he decided to follow the troops of Princess Natalie and explore Needham Plain.
An evil smile appeared on Lucifer’s face upon receiving the secret message. At that time, Princess Saras just happened to turn away from Lucifer, so she didn’t notice that evil smile. Lucifer then bit her right index finger and flicked her hand at the window. Several ruby blood drops flew outside the window.
The entire Stanley City was instantly shrouded in a bloody mist. The sky also became blood-red and countless pairs of red demonic eyes appeared within the dark before rushing towards the place where Kruft Kingdom’s army was stationed. As common fodder-level familiars, they were mainly bats and demonic wolves, but they were more than enough to deal with the average human army.
“Lucifer, what happened to your hand! Is it serious?”
“Nothing, Big Sister Saras. It’s just a small cut. Busy yourself with other matters! This injury will be fine after a short while.”
Princess Saras looked outside the window with lingering fear. She wasn’t stupid and had realized that Lucifer had summoned over ten thousand familiars. Without the suppression of light priests, even these low-leveled Bloodkin familiars could easily slaughter a city of Human Race. However, this was not something Princess Saras cared about. By the time she had learned that Clyde and others weren’t ordinary Human Race, she had already boarded the pirate ship.
Kruft Kingdom’s army was divided into two groups. Princess Natalie took only several hundred people, leaving most of the troops under Prince Gruz’s control. He didn’t send out many to scout and made them stay in the military camp in preparation to capture Witch Ista. Clyde mixed in with Princess Natalie’s expeditionary army and sneered, glancing at Kruft Kingdom’s military camp. He had just exchanged information with his younger sister Lucifer and knew that over ten thousand Bloodkin familiars were rushing over. At that time, Prince Gruz’s army of over four thousand people would not be enough to even make a dent in a swarm like that.
Regardless of what other people said, Clyde was still unwilling to see Princess Natalie fall. After joining the expeditionary army, Clyde calmly approached Princess Natalie’s side. Princess Natalie, however, did not seem to particularly pay attention to details. She didn’t even notice an unfamiliar soldier arriving just behind her. Then again, with her berserker swordswoman profession, she didn’t fear the sneak attacks of assassins. It was understandable why she was not so alert!
Needham Plain was next to Steinbeck Fief. Unlike the eternal lying waste, Steinbeck Fief, it was once the most flourishing trade zone of Adrian Empire with various kinds of buildings everywhere. Although it appeared old and shabby now, anyone could determine how flourishing it had been over a hundred years ago, but most was already in ruins.
Now, these buildings were empty. When the undead calamity had taken place, undead creatures had chased after all living beings, forcing them to flee far away from this region. From the messy scenery littering the streets, one could vaguely see the tragic events that had occurred here. Although people had run away, they had left behind their properties. The treasuries of many shops were still intact. Those gold coins of over a hundred years ago could still be used.
“Everybody, pay attention! If you see undead, retreat as fast as possible! Don’t fight with them; we have come here to look for money and goods, not to deal with those undead.”
After Princess Natalie spoke of the important matters needing attention, the soldiers dispersed into smaller groups to look for money and goods. It was impossible to act in concert because if too many living people gathered, they would easily attract the attention of undead. With this separation, if someone was in danger, the commotion would alert others and allow them to quickly escape. An undead’s movement speed was a lot slower than a living person’s, so one should be able to escape if one decisively ran away.
Princess Natalie didn’t have any guards around her, but her combat power was higher than all the soldiers here. She didn’t need any bodyguards. Clyde, however, didn’t care about other people. He just followed after Princess Natalie under the guise of an ordinary soldier. This time, Natalie noticed a soldier following after her.
“Eh, you can also go and keep yourself busy! No need to protect me.”
“Princess Natalie, I… I am a new recruit. I don’t have much experience. I hope to follow you and learn.”
“New recruit? Then, follow me closely. The place I want to go is comparatively deeper. If we encounter any danger, you don’t need to worry about me. It’s fine to escape by yourself.”