Chapter 121

It almost seemed like time had stopped on the battlefield. That was probably what all the humans felt as they watched the unrealistic scene of dozen after dozen of strong knights getting torn into pieces. 

“He is…!” Hans glared. It wasn’t someone he knew—after all, the figures coming out of the castle entrance wore robes that covered their faces from view. But Hans recognized their clothing. 

‘They are the group of guys who go around corrupting people! We saw them at the ancient ruins!’

They were part of the organization that Zich specifically targeted, and thus, by association, they were also Hans’ enemy. But Hans wasn’t certain. People often wore robes to hide their identities, and their similar appearance could have simply been a coincidence. Yet, Hans thought that there was a high chance that the robed figures were the same group of people he saw before.

The curse he heard at the ancient ruins rang in his ears.

‘Is this the nightmare that will arrive in this city?’

A person wearing a robe stood in front of the castle’s entrance.

Kuaaaaaah!

Kuaaaaaah!

From his sides, monsters flooded in. They didn’t attack the robed figures, and the robed figures watched the monsters with their arms crossed like they were generals of an invading army. 

“Ah, damn it!”

“Block them!”

A couple more knights rushed toward the castle walls, but the robed figures mercilessly killed them. Judging by their skills, the robed figures could’ve probably killed their enemies by simply slicing their heads off, but they never killed their opponents cleanly. 

The knights began to show hesitation in their movements. They were afraid of their opponents’ overwhelming power and skills. The monsters preyed on these weaknesses; and although the knights were stronger than them, the monsters were superior in numbers and rushed in like a tsunami.

“Don’t stand alone! Form a group and make a wall.” As the captain of the knights yelled out his order, knights and soldiers began to quickly gather together. But there were some who weren’t able to move on time.

“Ahh!”

“Save me!”

Surrounded by a crowd of monsters, the soldiers died first. Next were the knights. Although they endured longer than the soldiers, more monsters kept pouring out even after the knights killed a bunch of them. 

“Kuaah!”

“Ahh!”

Monsters rose back from the knights’ blows and attacked the knights from behind.

“Endure it! Make a formation and endure. Then, you will eventually see an opportunity! Don’t forget that we have civilians behind us!” the captain of the knights shouted; he showed strong determination to not let the monsters pass by him. But despite his desperate pleas, an ominous light of flames burst out from the city’s walls.

Shaaaaaa!

Paths made out of fire shot up from two places. It shocked everyone. The place where the flames shot up was where Violuwin’s second entrance stood.

‘There’s another enemy!’ Hans gritted his teeth.

“Senior!” Snoc went to Hans’ side. However, Hans’ eyes were fixed on the areas where the flames had burned.

“T-That is….!”

“It seems there are more of them.”

“It’s getting really serious!” Hans scanned the battlefield. Knights and soldiers were fighting with all they had. But of course, they were worried about the progress of the battle, and the army clearly looked demoralized. More soldiers began to collapse, and the number of knights who sacrificed themselves increased. And that wasn’t all.

Tut! Tut! Tut!

They heard light footsteps. The sound came from the city’s walls and was heading towards where Violuwin’s military troops and monsters were fighting. These footsteps didn’t belong to the monsters, but neither were they from Violuwin’s military troops. 

‘…That is!’ Hans’ scowl deepened when he saw that more people wearing the same black robes as the first group came storming through the city’s walls.

“They are new enemies! Be careful—ah!”

“Be careful of anyone wearing a robe! Their skills aren’t normal!”

The knights screamed. So far, the knights had been able to resist even when the monsters’ numbers were much greater than them because they were stronger than the monsters. But the new robed figures broke that balance since they were as strong as the knights or stronger. 

Although Violuwin wasn’t located in the kingdom’s frontiers and their army wasn’t the strongest, it still had a sizable army from the city’s wealth; the fact that the city was struggling proved that the robed figures had a considerable amount of skill. Violuwin’s frontlines continued to get pushed back. It looked like the city’s troops would crumble apart any moment now.

“Snoc!”

“Yes, senior!”

Hans and Snoc, who had been killing monsters from a distance, rushed towards the frontlines. One of the robed figures attacked a knight who was fighting monsters from both sides. The robed figure threw his sword at the knight, and the knight staggered to back away and fell on his bottom. Monsters rushed towards the fallen knight, and it looked like they would tear him into shreds when—

Sparkle!

A light shone, and the rushing monsters split into two pieces. The force of the monsters’ movements caused their ripped pieces to scatter to the ground. 

“…Huh?” the knight said stupidly after escaping looming death.

Thud!

Somebody landed next to him. With his holy, white sword, the man looked like a savior from the heavens.

“Are you all right?” Hans asked and the knight nodded his head blankly.

“Thank goodness. Can you get up…?!”

Claaaang!

Hans raised his sword and blocked an attack. The weight of the sword was intense. The attack had come from a robed figure standing to the side. Beneath his robe, the man’s eyes were murderous. The robed man in front of him was definitely strong. If Hans didn’t have Estellade, he would have been defeated for sure. However, what mattered was that Hans did have Estellade, the holy sword, in his hand.

“Haaat!” Hans made a big swing, and the robed man moved back with a wide movement. Hans’ opponent was hit by streams of light.

“Ugh!”

It all happened in a matter of seconds. Without much retaliation, the robed man’s body was ripped apart and he died. A knight looked at this sight dumbfoundedly.

“Hey.”

“Y-yes?” It was only when someone tapped the knight’s shoulders that he came back to his senses. 

Snoc picked up the sword he dropped and handed it back to him. “You have to stay focused. We need every person we can get in this situation.”

Koo!

The knight gripped his sword in a daze. After handing the knight his sword, Snoc followed Hans’ back and ran straight towards the monster. Lights flashed and the earth rose up. The light sharply slaughtered the monsters, and the earth crushed the monsters with overwhelming strength. Most of the attention in this battle shot towards Hans and Snoc. 

The robed figures couldn’t stand idly by and watch, so they began rushing towards Hans and Snoc. They released sharp attacks against them, and each of their attacks was life-threatening and dangerous. Moreover, monsters also targeted Hans and Snoc.

On the other hand, Hans and Snoc paid no attention to people’s gazes and went around the battlefield saving people whose lives were in danger and fought against monsters and the robed figures. Even while fighting against monsters and robed figures, people’s eyes kept moving towards them. 

One person held a bright sword of light and the other person stood on top of a high earth wall. Moreover, when people realized that those two were the ones who previously blocked the city gate, everyone had the same emotion in their hearts—

Hope.

In a time of despair, there was nothing more important than hope. In a way, those two were on their first paths of becoming the heroes that they had always dreamed about. The knights, soldiers, the citizens of Violuwin, and even their opponents all looked at Hans and Snoc. The robed figure who first destroyed the city gate also had his eyes on them. 

*     *    *

In a secret chamber where Estellade used to be, a light flashed. Two figures dropped onto the floor.

It was Zich and Lyla.

They looked around their surroundings and then looked at the ‘tree branch-like sword’ in Zich’s hand.

Lyla said, “We really managed to come back.”

“That’s what I told you. I thought we would return to the same place.”

“Are you telling me that you performed high-level magic like teleportation just by trusting your senses?”

“It’s not magic. I can’t use it like teleportation magic. I can only go to the place where we previously were because this sword and that place have a special connection.”

“How did you know that?”

“By instinct.”

Lyla looked at the sword in Zich’s hand. The sword had called them to a location and sent them back to their original spot. Although Zich was now the owner of the sword, even he didn’t really know what it was. However, it was clear that there was something very special about this sword.

Hans and Snoc were nowhere to be found. It seemed as if they had gone back to the lodging as Zich had told them to. Zich looked up. He could only see the low ceiling of the ruins, but he could sense what was happening above.

“What are you doing?”

“There seems to be something going on inside the city. A battle is happening, and the size of it is huge. It seems as if some people attacked the whole city.” Zich took his eyes off the ceiling and continued, “At this point, I won’t even call it a battle but a war.”

It was a surprising development. Before Zich got forcefully teleported to where the sword in his hand was, he couldn’t sense the paths in front of him because the energy from the ancient ruins had disturbed his sensing abilities. However, now, he could sense the ancient ruins and even the entire city of Violuwin. 

This time, Zich looked around the room. A lot of things had changed since they left.

‘There are more corpses.’

Judging by their clothes, they looked like they were on the same side as the people that chased after Lyla. It seemed as if their opponents had reinforcements.

‘Did Hans and Snoc kill them?’

However, considering the strength of the robed figures and the number of corpses on the ground, Zich thought it was very unlikely that Hans and Snoc managed to beat them. On the other hand, all the corpses on the ground had robes on, and Hans and Snoc's bodies were not on the ground. Then Zich’s gaze turned towards where Estellade used to be. Estellade was also gone.

A possibility crossed Zich’s mind. Zich began sensing the whole city and searched for a specific person. And then he found the person he was looking for.

‘Is this for real?’

Surprisingly, Zich’s prediction was right.

“Hey, let’s quickly get out…” In order to witness this surprising development firsthand, Zich was about to tell Lyla to hurry up. However, he sensed that something was off with Lyla. Her face was completely pale. “What happened? Did something happen?”

“It’s because of me.” She answered incomprehensibly and added, “They came to find me. In order to find me, they attacked the whole city.”

“…Then, are the people attacking the whole city right now on the same side as the corpses in front of us? Are you saying that those guys started a war in a city just to find you?”

Lyla nodded. It was hard to believe that a group would start a war against a city just to catch one person. It sounded like a fairytale where a Demon Lord sent his whole army to kidnap a princess. That could be how crazy they were or…

‘That’s how much Lyla is important to them.’

Lyla’s pale-stricken face indicated that she really believed what she said. She moved her fingers around and fidgeted continuously.

 Zich put his new sword on his shoulder. “Hey, I’m just saying this in case.”

To Lyla who was trembling in guilt, Zich told her bluntly, “You should throw away any thoughts about how this is all your fault. No matter how you see it, those punks who attacked a whole city to just capture one person are the ones to blame. They are the trashy bastards, and you aren’t responsible for their shitty actions.”

Before Zich regressed, he had also attacked cities for ridiculous, trivial reasons. However, he never pushed the responsibility for his actions onto other people.

‘I’m the one who planned and attacked a city, so there are no reasons for me to blame another person.’

Of course, the only good thing about Zich’s thought process was that he didn’t shift the blame to another person. As someone who felt zero sense of guilt, Zich was also complete trash. On the other hand, Zich didn’t turn away his eyes from his own sins. Lyla looked at Zich with wide eyes, and Zich pointed his fingers towards the ceiling.

“Let’s first head up and check if those guys are really targeting you.”

“…Those guys up ahead are probably greater in strength and numbers than the guys who chased me here. They must have brought enough military force to start a war against a city. What are you planning to do?”

“That’s fine with me.” Zich grinned. “It would only be for a short time, but right now, I’m invincible.”

The weight of his sword on his shoulder felt extremely trustworthy.

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