In the end, what’s meant to happen will happen.
By the time I got to the outskirts of the village, I understood what he meant by “a lot”. No wonder he didn’t dare to elaborate…the devils were back, this time as a zombie horde.
Previously, No.5 had brought back a skeleton army on his way back to “report”. These were probably the vanguard of the devil zombie horde who made use of the fact that he was skiving to sneak up on him. Without any unnecessary flesh to weigh them down, they were naturally much faster than the devil zombies behind.
At that time, the other devils who were with him had gone missing as a result of his momentary nap. Given that such a long time has passed without any one of them returning to us, it either meant that they survived for a month alone or were already dead…one whole month…most likely they were dead, the chances of survival in this land is a one in a million…
In the midst of chasing No.5, the devil zombies must’ve split up, this was why they were now gathered here in multiple groups of 100 or so zombies. Their slow speed was the reason why it took us resting here for 10 days before they finally managed to catch up to us.
These devil zombies had only existed for at most 2 months in this land of the dead. As such, their flesh was still in a half-decayed, half decomposed state. Essentially, their flesh was still in the midst of being processed by nature.
Compared to the fully decomposed zombies, they were much more disgusting with their missing bits and pieces of flesh, and exposed innards. Any remaining portions of whole skin left on these zombies mostly retained their former appearance but they had a tinge of dark green about them.
It was probably because it had only been a short time since they’ve become a corpse.
As I surveyed the other parts of the village, I found the same pockets of devil zombies wandering around the village outskirts which means we’ve been surrounded.
The enemies had vast numbers but thankfully, they were extremely slow. Furthermore, they were pretty spread out as noted before. All of these were opportunities ready to be exploited, which was exactly what I boldly planned to do.
“They are pretty dispersed at the moment so we can take them down individually.”
During those 10 days of rest, I was busy crafting more equipment for the devils. By now, the number of guardsmen had increased from 40 to 60 while the shieldbearers’ team and sabre wielders’ team had each expanded to 30.
As for No.3 and Big 4, since they had each lost their left hands, their spiked maces were no longer suitable for them and so I made a couple of long bone swords for them.
“Everyone listen up! From now on, each group will be made up of 20 guardsmen, 10 shieldbearers, 10 Mo sabre wielders and 50 reserves. The first group will be led by One-eye who will eradicate that zombie group right in front of us. As for anything further away, that’s for a later time. Nine-finger will lead another group to sweep the northern areas, Big 4 will handle the west.”
With only one front left unassigned, No.3 was itching to receive his orders, “Master, what about the south?”
“I’ll leave the south to you, while there’s no more elites left for you to command, I’ll aid you from the side with bone walls. The south is less populated and doesn’t seem to have any special undead so 250 large imps should be enough. Just try your best to stall them.”
Up till now, the reserves were still armed with the bone clubs from the blood sea. Without any advanced weaponry aiding them, killing the undead would naturally be much slower. As such, my plan for them was to rotate the refined weaponry between the tired devils and the fresher reserves. This way we can fully utilize our weapons.
Of course, all these was predicated on the fact that the horde was still dispersed around the village. With a few kilometers separating the different groups, we should be able to kill off each group before the other groups were able to reinforce them.
“Don’t get caught up in the lust for battle. Our goal is to minimize our casualties and also all the loot must be surrendered to me, do you understand?”
“Alright, move out.”
While One-eye and the others were out killing, I got No.5 to stay behind to supervise the equipment swapping.
As planned, I sealed off the southern passages to the chapel with my bone walls but still feeling a little uncertain, I decided to station 50 more reserves to help No.3 guard the south. Their orders: kill any undead who approached the walls.
With this urban setting around them, they should be able to handle even larger groups by either circling around them or stalling them with the complicated terrain.
Setting up these bone walls had exhausted most of my mana but at least the preparatory work was now finished. I turned to No.3 and said : “No.3, the rest is up to you.”
No.3 briefly acknowledged the order before gathering his troops at the base of the wall.
With everything organized, I returned once more to the cellar in order to visit Mo Ci. However, just as I was halfway down the stairs, I heard the pained cries of Mo Ci echoing up the stairway.
I picked up speed as I practically sprinted down the rest of the stairway, my heart pounding both from the exertion and from worry. As I reached the base of the stairway, the twisted face of Mo Ci greeted me. Her face had scrounged up from the pain and her eyes had nearly rolled over to the back.
“What’s the matter Mo Ci?” I immediately rushed in to check on her condition. Even now, the guilt from causing her to get captured still weighed heavily on my heart. Seeing suffer in such a manner, sent daggers through my heart.
As Mo Ci noticed my approaching figure, her distorted face twisted even more as she forced out a reply: “Master…it’s so…so…painful…”
“Where does it hurt?”
“You’re about to give birth?!” *thump* My heart jumped at her reply. That’s impossible…even if I assumed that she was pregnant since the day she got captured…that would at most be slightly over a month. How could she give birth so quickly? Devils aren’t those chickens and ducks you see on the farm; not laying eggs won’t get them killed.
If it’s human, they would take close to 10 months to give birth…wait…devils aren’t humans so their length of pregnancy might be much shorter.
To a pregnancy novice like me who didn’t even know how much nutrition a pregnant devil needs, knowing how long their pregnancy would last was definitely out of the question.
“Does anyone have experience delivering a baby?” In my panicked state, I forgot that all my subordinates were essentially newborns themselves. They probably didn’t even know what pregnancy meant or perhaps even what sex meant…
“We…we don’t…we don’t have any…”
Her two attendants immediately shook their heads, expressing their lack of experience.
Damn it! Without a midwife, who’s going to deliver this baby? Without a B-scan, how am I going to determine the position of the baby? What if the baby comes out legs first with its head stuck inside…what do I do then…will it suffocate to death?
“Master…it’s alright…it’s…it’s a devil’s…egg…”
Ironically, Mo Ci seems to be the calmest among all the devils here. Seeing my anxiety, she forced out that reply in order to allay my fears…why does it seem like I’m the one giving birth instead…
“Oh, is that so…”Phew, if it’s an egg, there’s nothing much to worry about.
However, that relief didn’t last long before the anxious screams of No.5 echoed down the stairway once more. “Master, we have a problem! Those undead seemed to have gone into a frenzy; their speed has increased tremendously. One-eye can’t hold out for much longer…”
“What!?” This entire string of surprises today had truly caught me off guard. Surprise after surprise came without giving me any chance to catch my breath. Without even bothering about the imp gasping for air in front of me, I immediately sprinted up the stairways after leaving behind a short message.
“Mo Ci, just focus on your pregnancy, I’ll go have a quick look.”
“Master…wait for me…don’t run that fast…I…I can’t run anymore…” The little potato stared pitifully at my disappearing back and sighed, the resignation in it clear for all to hear, “Sigh, I just got here too…Master, wait for me…I’m really out of energy…”
As I stepped out onto the surface, what greeted me was the sight of a bunch of half broken bone walls.
The devil zombies’ brains were too simple to process the complex task of making a turn and so they decided to simply bash their way through the walls. Because the bone walls weren’t constructed with too much mana to begin with, this mindless tactic actually worked out for them.
Furthermore, the primitive weaponry of the reserves meant that they weren’t able to cleanly kill off the undead and ended up getting gradually pushed back.
As for the other battle fronts, Nine-finger’s forces had almost retreated back to the chapel. One-eye and No.4 weren’t in much better shape either; they were barely holding off the undead at the village entrances.
Truth be told, these devil zombies weren’t that strong by themselves but they vastly outnumbered us. Furthermore, they seemed to have inexplicably entered a frenzied state. Did they get high on drugs or something?
With their greater than usual combat strength and speed, my devils were pushed to the brink of collapse.
The only silver lining in this cloud was that the devil zombies didn’t manage to coerce much undead into joining them. Other than a smattering of some skeleton archers, all they had were skeleton warriors. There weren’t any monsters like those skeletal horsemen or mages.
“Everyone, get back here! Form up at the chapel!”
One-eye and Big 4 slowly retreated, fighting off the undead as they did so. As for Nine-finger, he was basically at the doorstep of the chapel and only needed to retreat a few steps before reaching our form up point.
By my estimations, these devil zombies were only at the level of zero to one-star. Given their refined weaponry, most of my elites were almost at the level of two-star. Whether it was the bone swords or Mo sabres, they shouldn’t have any problem slicing off their heads.
There were too little skeleton archers to threaten my army so One-eye and Big 4’s retreat didn’t end up costing much. With the three of them back at the chapel, I took a quick head count. All in all, our losses were pretty low. We lost slightly over ten large imps. Thankfully, their equipment were retrieved.
The biggest problem facing us now was No.3’s team. The reserves were only armed with bone clubs which were clearly lacking for this level of battle.
As I took count of the remaining reserves, the total number came out at 154…
Just this one front alone lost significantly more troops than the other three combined. However, given their equipment, I guess this was an acceptable result.
With the devils all recalled, it was now time to settle the loot. As batch after batch of soul flames was brought before me, I voraciously absorbed them, my mouth extended as wide as I could manage.
Surprisingly, the Grimoire of the Dead didn’t act up but instead, obediently laid at my side. It probably knew how dire our current situation was and that now was not the time to snatch away my food.
As the over three hundred souls rushed into my body, that sensation of being filled up to the brim struck me once more. What followed was that familiar, mesmerizing fragrance which filled the tiny chapel, causing the devils present to tremble slightly.
Some of the more fatigued large imps seemed to have recovered some of their strength just by sniffing my scent. In fact, they seemed to have gotten stronger and faster than before.
As the fragrance grew stronger by the second, the devils began to enter an aggressive frenzy of sorts. The Mo sabre wielders violently swung their long sabres around, taking a few heads along with each swing. The normally defensive shieldbearers began to charge into the zombies, sending anything they collided with, flying. Each charge knocked down at least three to four zombies.
As for the guardsmen, it was if they were on *** drugs. Their offensive power had reached the level of the Mo sabres as they split a zombie in half with every swing of their sword. No longer did they bother with targeting the heads as each of their ferocious swings pretty much guaranteed a kill.
The reserves had gotten a significant boost as well. As their blunt clubs crashed into the heads of the zombies, the sheer impact sent waves rippling through their skulls, disrupting the soul flames within and stunning the zombies as a result. The zombies basically had no chance to counterattack.
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.