“What’s their combat strength?”
“About the same as a large imp, Master.”
“Their heads. Unless you destroy their heads, they’ll keep on attacking. Even if you destroy their limbs, they will try to use their teeth to bite you…” No.3 seemed to have thought of something as he said this; his face had an unnatural expression on it.
“It’s just a matter of focusing on their head.” Big 1 waved his bone club around in a show of bravado. “No matter what, this lordship will protect Master!”
Whether it was their defensive or offensive power, these zombies were at least a tier stronger than the skeletons we fought. Furthermore, they were a relentless army, they would not stop until their heads were destroyed. They did not sleep, eat or fear anything. They might even be infected with corpse poisons. Other than their sluggishness, they had no obvious weaknesses.
They were the perfect foot soldier for an army.
I quickly ordered a retreat.
Our side had only 33 large imps including me, Big 1 and No.3. On the other hand, the zombies numbered 50. We were clearly outnumbered in this fight. Fighting now would only incur unnecessary deaths.
With our superior speed, we quickly shook off the zombie army.
“Let’s check out the other areas.” I still remembered the strange look on No.3’s face when I asked about the zombies, so I pressed him further on this matter while we walked. “While I was unconscious, did you encounter any special zombies?”
“They are really hardy and strong. Furthermore, the only way to kill them is by destroying their heads.” The expression on his face as he talked about the zombies was not one of fear, but rather of vexation. Meeting such a difficult opponent troubled him. “Their claws and teeth were all poisoned, and had caused problems for our injured devils.”
“In what way?”
“Their limbs would start to feel weak, their bodies would feel hot, and they would cough up black blood…it would take a long time to recover from this poison.” My question seemed to have expended No.3’s vocabulary as he struggled to find the words to describe the symptoms. The answer I got was pretty vague.
“Did anyone turn into a zombie?”
“Yes.” Big 1 interrupted at this point: “The dead would come back to life and bite us.”
“The living were unaffected?”
“They weren’t affected.” Big 1 and No.3 simultaneously replied.
This was pretty similar to the zombies I’ve seen in movies, manga or novels from Earth. They had the ability to create more zombies by infection, and only a small amount were immune to this ability.
I had two theories that could explain why this world’s zombies could only inflict [weakness, fever, and coughing black blood] instead of directly infecting the devils.
First: The zombie poison simply did not have that ability to directly infect people.
Second: Devils were resistant to the zombie poison. If this was the case, humans would probably turn into zombies upon being bitten. Dying was not required.
We picked a random direction and continued our exploration…
This was the fifth day since I woke up in this new world. I had gotten up early and walked out of my cave only to find that disgusting corpse mountain in front of me once more…truth be told, I’m still a normal human at heart. What should’ve been a productive and happy day was instantly ruined by that mountain of corpses…
However, this couldn’t be helped. Devils needed to eat to evolve. Given the choice of having such an easy source of food available, most would choose not to complain about the corpse mountain. After all, who didn’t enjoy being able to feed without having to fight for it? Besides, my subordinates growing stronger benefited me as well so I just let it be.
“No.3, Big 1, our goal today is to head back to yesterday’s zombie field and investigate it.” I ordered the two devils standing guard outside my cave.
“Don’t forget to bring more imps with you. Around 200 large imps should do.”
After 30 minutes of traveling, we reached the ancient battlefield. It was still as desolate as ever; with a bunch of weapons and bones scattered about. From a distance, it seemed to be devoid of life. However, this was merely an illusion, as someone who had visited this place yesterday I can attest to that.
The zombies were still there, but their numbers had grown to 60 since yesterday.
Honestly, I still don’t know where these undead came from. It had only been a day and the undead count had risen.
Among the large imp zombies and human soldier zombies, was a slightly unique fellow.
It was a heavily armored zombie that carried a huge sword. If it wasn’t for the crack in its helm revealing the signature blackish green mouth and teeth of a zombie, I would’ve mistaken him for your run of the mill human heavy infantry.
He seemed to be at a two-star level, but that shouldn’t be a problem as long as his speed was as slow as the other zombies. If we couldn’t win, we could simply retreat.
“Maintain as much distance as possible and use your weapons to attack them. Make sure not to get injured. Also, avoid that particular zombie.”
The large imps charged into battle with a roar. With our numbers, each battle were mostly stacked battles of three versus one. The large imps diligently obeyed my orders of avoiding that heavy infantry zombie by retreating immediately on sight. Whenever they saw it move towards them, they would abandon their current battle and prioritized retreating.
As such, the battle proceeded as expected. Given our superior speed and numbers, the zombies were swiftly cleaned up by our clubs. Outside of a few careless imps who got scratched, there were no casualties.
Finally, there was only that lonely heavy infantry zombie left. I turned to No.3 and Big 1 and said: “He looks pretty lonely over there, we should pay him a visit.”
I opened the battle with my darkness arrow, but it didn’t have any effect. As the mass of dark energy collided with the zombie’s head, the helmet it wore faithfully carried out its duties rendering the arrow harmless. While the arrow got blocked, the helmet had suffered some damage as a result. Several fragments fell off its metallic surface as the arrow collided into it. A few more arrows should be enough to destroy that helmet.
No.3 and Big 1 acted as my vanguard as they charged forward to engage it. With each of them taking a side, they sandwiched the heavy infantry zombie.
“Cripple his legs!”
I threw out that order right as they were about to attack. Being battle-hardened veterans, they immediately knew what I wanted. After dodging a swing of that zombie’s huge sword, the two imps stepped to its back and with a swing of their clubs, simultaneously struck at the zombie’s legs.
The zombie was still standing while the bone clubs laid there snapped in half.
I forgot…they were called zombies because of their stiffness. If they were that easy to cripple, they would’ve been called skeletons instead of zombies. Not to mention, this zombie might be a two-star monster!
A huge sword sliced through the air in a wide arc as the zombie spun around to counterattack. With its two meter long blade, it would’ve hit both of them if it weren’t for them smartly retreating after seeing their attack fail.
I took advantage of him turning around to cast another skill at him. The arrow soared through the air and collided with the back of its helmet. However, unlike the first arrow, the helmet was only dented by this attack and not chipped. This helmet seems a lot more sturdier than I expected.
Should I send in the rest of my subordinates since the other zombies were all dead?
The zombie’s huge sword impacted onto the ground once more as Big 1 skillfully dodged its swing. That miss had horribly scarred the earth at the point where it hit…perhaps I should leave the normal large imps out of this. There’s no need to feed him kills.
My nether flames were unusable, and at this rate my mana would run out before I defeated him. I need a better plan…perhaps I should use my flame whip.
His sword was still stuck in the ground, and from the looks of it, would require some time to remove. No.3 and Big 1 made use of this time to rearm themselves with a bone club from their subordinates.
The flame on my right hand extended into a whip as I finished casting the skill. Once it had reached the desired length, I swung at the zombie. In a mere moment, the whip reached the zombie. As if it had read my mind, the whip automatically wrapped around the zombie.
The flames of my whip roared as the metallic armor on the zombie was rapidly heated to a bright red hue. Black smoke rose from underneath the armor as the flesh beneath began to cook.
The flames were clearly its weakness. The zombie desperately struggled against the whip’s binding in bid to escape from the scorching flames, but ultimately failed as the whip tightened up even further.
This skill was a continuous drain on my mana and could be cancelled at will. It took a darkness arrow’s worth of mana to activate it, and every 10 seconds it expended a similar amount of mana as well.
This meant that given my previous two arrows, I had another 70 seconds worth of mana in me.
It was said that undead hated the light, but in actuality, they hated the heat it brought. Except for some unique cases, fire was a fatal weakness of all undead, including zombies.
This led to my flame whip having a better than expected result. The heavy infantry zombie could only struggle helplessly as the whip continuously burnt its armor. Furthermore, as time passed the heat increased, causing the damage to increase along with it. After 50 seconds of burning, the metallic armor could no longer withstand the heat and broke apart…
The disgusting smell of its burnt flesh wafted through the air along with the black smoke. All the devils who smelt this covered their noses in disgust. It was a foul stench that one would never wish to encounter again.
I had fainted after killing that head imp so I did not have any impression of eating that imp’s soul. As such, I had no concrete comparison to judge if the heavy infantry zombie’s soul was truly a two-star soul. After that tough battle, No.3 harvested the souls and presented them to me as usual. From a glance, I could immediately see the difference in strength between that zombie’s soul and the others.
Thanks to these souls, my mana was instantly replenished and had even received an increase equivalent to one more darkness arrow.
Eating souls could increase one’s maximum mana?
I should hunt more souls to test this out.
And so, the day continued uneventfully. By the end, we had a bountiful harvest of 500 undead souls. They were a mix of skeletons and zombies. However, we never encountered a second soul like that heavy infantry zombie’s. It was probably a rare occurrence.
As we made our way to base, I had no idea of the surprise awaiting us there…
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.