༺ Nazrea, City of the Dead (2) 





  The brutal massacre at Hotel Kanna left behind a bunch of corpses.


  “Ugh… What’s going on?”


  “Jaeger, … Look at these corpses.”


  “What do you… uahk!?”


  Belatedly, the clueless students also noticed the change that had occurred to the headless and chestless corpses.


  They had rotten flesh that was too wrinkled to be considered human and was giving off the dismal aura of death.
The priests and sisters explained the situation to the students that had yet to fully understand what was going on.


  “Ever since the incident 300 years ago, this city has been repeatedly going through the same time period.”


  “It has a normal everyday life during the day, but turns into a land of the dead when it turns into night.”


  That was what made it an unrestorable piece of land.


  After 7 pm, this city would become the City of the Dead for 12 hours.
During the time of its fall, there had been 1.2 million undeads inside Nazrea.


  There were no knights, mages, religious groups, or countries that could cleanse 1.2 million undeads in half a day.


  “What about during the day? Why don’t they do it during the day for example…?”


  “You probably saw how normal the city looked.
And this city has everything you would expect from a normal city, including defense troops, and the knights and mages of that time.”


  In other words, doing anything suspicious during the day could make you get attacked by the people of the city.


  “Of course, there have been multiple attempts to cleanse the city.
Until now, there have been 30 large-scale attempts at removing the undeads from this city.”


  However, they all failed.
This city that regressed back to how it looked on that night was the proof.


  “I will now announce the details of the group event.”


  Kang Ryun’s voice echoed amidst the undead corpses and gathered the eyes of all the students.


  “The teams will be as follows, and each of the teams must collect ‘Moonstones’.
You have time until the 3rd morning from now, and you may give up in the middle if you wish to.”


  『Purple Hawk Academy』


  Group 1: Kang Yuhua, Xin Zhou, Watanabe Jun, Ji Wunyoung

  Group 2: Choi Sukmin, Han Jin, Jin Hua, Zhuge Sua

  Group 3: Jin Harang, Lee Hyundo, Jung Sukgwon, Kim Jongin

  Group 4: Ramlee the Crocodile, Ok Changhwan, Tang Jinsuk, Sukiyama Zenjiro


  『Merkarva Academy』


  Group A: Marie Dunareff, Isabelle Kirmin, Russel Crombell, Eristina Rockwell

  Group B: Reina Adel, Aira Crow, Reune Zellweger, Clark Arius

  Group C: Yuel, Maximus Decimus Meridius, Zuccabar, Tigris Juelium

  Group D: Korin Lork, Alicia Arden, Jaeger Hinzpeter, Lark Buhgman


  After hearing the group allocations, the students were forced out of the hotel with a bit of explanation and a bag with necessities.


  Nazrea, the City of the Dead.


  They were isolated in the middle of 1.2 million undeads.




  The night began.


  Cries of the corpses echoed like a song as the paradise of those who deceived death gleamed under the moonlight.
The sun set behind the walls and the moon rose up, and the sound of a bell marking the start of the disaster 300 years ago rang all across the city.


  The name of that haunted wail was Nazrea.


  The fallen city spread the power of corrupt resurrection and raised its corpses. 


  A large ritual that began with the super-blue-blood moon… the Immortal Legion rose up from the darkness, taunting the living ones to try to survive if they could.
Surviving through this night would mean the victory of those alive, but any other potential outcome would result in their defeat in the form of death.


  The 1.2 million undeads poured their hostility and envy at the 32 living souls.
The warhorns marking the start of that hopeless battle were replaced by the squeaking noise of dry bones.




  “Uahhk…! Zombies! There are fucking ghouls as well!”


There’s a skeleton in front of you!”


  “W, what! What’s wrong with these numbers? This is ridiculous!”


  Skeletons were limping their way forward; ghouls were walking while shedding off their rotten flesh, while evil spirits were gathering for them with gleaming blue eyes.


  Facing demonic beasts and demonic spirits like these was nothing new as a guardian.
They were fairly used to it but the sheer number of them was absurd. 


  Magic was still a study of phenomena, and there had to be a logical process and explanation before coming to an outcome.
However, this city was like a cauldron of pure evil that contradicted the law of nature.
Without any regard for the law of conservation of mass, the undeads were endlessly pouring out.


  “Haak…! Haak! H, how does this even make sense?”


  Lark Buhgman.
He had only just been promoted to Grade 4, but he had more high-quality experience under his belt than others of his grade.
He had the precious experience of going against the irrationally powerful Unique Grade enemy, Marie Dunareff, but this time, it was even worse.


  “S, Soul Warrior!”


  He activated the secret skill that he gained from the hidden grimoire of Merkarva’s Great Library.
After quickly creating a phantom knight that could run at a similar speed to all the other knights of the group, Lark made it get down on all fours and rode on top of it.


  Even though Korin couldn’t perceive spirits due to his special circumstances, he could guess what was going on after seeing his friend floating in the air.


  “Lark! Do you see that bell tower over there?”


  “Y, yeah!”


  “We have to break through! Cast your strongest-output spell and get ready to run!”


  “O, okay!”


  Lark started casting while riding on the ghost ‘horse’, and the undeads immediately pounced at them without giving them the time to get ready.


Accumulate your energy without consuming them! Alicia, I leave the right side to you!”


  The three knights started dealing with the undeads that were hoarding in from every direction, but more and more undeads were gathering at a fearsome speed.


  From alleyways, buildings, and roads… Some of them were even jumping down from the windows of a second floor of a building.
There were an unimaginable number of them.


Korin! Don’t we need Mr.
Lark’s help for these monsters?!”


  “Our first goal is to get to the bell tower! We’ll just have one side to defend then!”


  Following Korin’s plan, Lark was ignoring all the undeads and was casting the strongest spell he could currently use.


  “We’re breaking through! Run straight away!”


  Like a leopard, the spearman twisted his upper body.
Anyone who knew him knew what he was going to do next.


  – Kwangg!


  The spear left his hand in the middle of the air and traveled at the speed of sound.
With a sonic boom that erupted the nearby air, it struck the undeads blocking the road like a lightning bolt.


  The spear carried a bunch of Korin Lork’s aura and created a white galaxy that shredded through the undeads.


  “Lark! Go now!”


  That was when Lark’s ghost horse kicked off the ground.


  Although all the undeads blocking the road had been caught up in the attack of that raging spear, some of them were still moving like remains and tried to use their arms to interfere with their charge.
That was where Lark Bughman added the finishing touch.


  “Blow them away!”


  The spell he used was the Burning Skull of Kane.
It created a large scorching skull in front of his phantom horse that crunched through all the weakened undeads in front of it and raced across.


  Lark’s talent at magic wasn’t the best but he relied on the power of fire attribute because it was strong against undeads, and it turned out to be very effective.


  “I will be at the leaaadd…!”


  He shouted with a voice that was closer to a scream than a roar, as the ghost horse under him kicked off the ground and marched forward with its four legs.


  A cavalry charge and its destructiveness was not something half-molten undeads could compete against.


  – Trot trot!


  – Crunch! Kajik!


  After the scorching skull went by, the melted ghouls and burning zombies tried their best to block the phantom knight, but they flew into the air from the collision and their guts came out after being cut by the swords.


  “Afterrrrrr! Meeeeeee…!”


  Lark shouted with an extremely uplifted voice which his three friends played along with.


  “You’re so cool, Sir Lark!”


  “You are very cool!”


  “That’s amazing, buddy!”


  The three knights ran behind the phantom horseman.
Running through the cleared passage, they immediately arrived at the entrance of the bell tower.


  “Open the gates…!”


  The four people threw their bodies into the building without stopping themselves.


  “Close them!”


  Korin’s plan was to block the gates to physically stop the undeads from entering the building.
Of course, there were some undeads with ridiculous strength so it was just a measure to buy time but he was going to use that time to think and come up with the next plan.


  – Kwarurung!


  The chasing skeletons and zombies wriggled, pushed and knocked on the closed gates but the steel doors were very tough.
It would probably buy a lot of time.




  35 minutes after the start of the group event, Korin Lork’s Group D finally had the chance to rest and think.




  “They must be crazy.”


  Since the festival was a competition to find the best guardian out of groups of superhumans, they did tend to do some dangerous things despite us still being underage, but I definitely wasn’t expecting them to make us gather Moonstones in this city after leaving us to our own devices.


We finally have some time to breathe.
Why do we even have to do this?”


  “Is this really okay? What are they going to do if they get casualties from a test like this?”


  I replied to Alicia’s question.


  “…We still do have our HP measuring devices, so they’ll probably force-summon us if it gets dangerous.”


  “Anyway, what even is this Moonstone thing?” asked Jaeger.
“Do you know anything about it, Korin?”


  “It’s a stone that contains the mana of the moon.
It is a fairly rare stone that’s probably about Grade 2.
Good ones might be Grade 1 as well.”


  “Hukk! That must be super expensive then.
Can you even find that in this city?”


  “Usually you can only find that at the depths of Lake Caldera, which was created by a volcanic eruption but… there will be a bunch of them in this city.”




  “After all, the mana from the moon gets replenished every night in this place.”


  Jaeger and Alicia flickered their eyes with expectation while going, ‘Ohhh~’.
It was very obvious what they were thinking so Lark put a stop to their expectations.


  “You can’t even take out the Moonstones you find in this city.”


  “What? They’re worth nothing then!”


  “Of course you idiot.
The rules inside Nazrea are different from the ones outside.”


  Like how you couldn’t intervene in the works of the city from outside, the ones inside also lost meaning as soon as they left the city premises.


  That was the conclusion made by the Tower of Mages and the religion before the religious revolution, back when they were researching about Nazrea, the City of Undeads.


  “Hah… there’s no easy way to earn money I guess.”


  “So how do we get those Moonstones?” asked Alicia.


According to what I read in a book, the undeads tend to swallow those Moonstones, and apparently, they glow with a green fluorescent light after swallowing one.”


  “Ah! I think I saw a few of them on the way!”


  By the way, it was possible to get bigger and higher-quality Moonstones by killing stronger undeads.
Normally, quality wasn’t important since they couldn’t even be taken out of the city, but higher quality would probably equal higher marks in this group event.


  “Let’s look around for now.
Jaeger and Alicia can stay and protect the 1st floor.
I will head to the top with Lark.”


  “Ugh… to the top?”


  It might be exhausting for the scholastic mage to do something boorish like climbing the stairs, but there was no other way around it.


  Lark started panting mid-way so I pulled him along as we walked all the way up the bell tower.
After going up to the top floor of the bell tower where we could see a large bronze bell by looking up, Lark gasped with a pale face upon glancing around the surroundings.


  “Uahh… We’re completely surrounded.”


  All the streets and plazas near the bell tower were full of undeads that showed off their mighty numbers, which befit their name as the Immortal Legion.
Even this was only a small number of them considering the zombie waves that would be happening at Nazrea.


  “You don’t have to be scared.
All these are just Grade 4 and Grade 5 monsters.
The real dangerous ones are at the center of the city.”


  We were at the outskirts of the stage called Nazrea, which had a difficulty rating of about D or E. 


  This City of Undeads had a system where you had to progress deeper in after receiving the quest from the Grim Reaper and because of that, the stronger undeads did not show up in the low-level areas.


  “But like… how do we even leave? Are we staying here until morning?”


  “Of course not.
We’ll come last if we do that.
All you need to do is find the brightest Moonstone Undead from here, and use ‘Fly’ on us.”


  “…It won’t even last 30 seconds.”


  Lark said with a concerned look on his face, commenting that it would definitely last less than 30 seconds if he were to use it on all 4 of us.


  “30 seconds is enough.
That will buy us enough time to land after we jump down.”


  “…That’s true but…”


  I could only hope that there may be no one in our group that was scared of high places.


  “Anyway, what do you mean by brightest Moonstone Undead?”


  “The brightest guy with the biggest Moonstone would be one of the elite monsters.
We will go kill it.”


  “Ugh… Isn’t that just asking for trouble? I guess it’ll be fine with Alicia and you though.”


  “Leave the battle to us.”


  “Let me look around with a telescope spell…”


  – Geek!


  It was then.


  The sound of something screeching against the pavement reached us from all the way down.
Hearing that, we turned to the source of the sound and looked at the group of undeads near the entrance of the city.




  Large… wasn’t even enough to describe the sheer size of that thing.
An enormous giant was walking towards us while dragging a ridiculously huge 5-meter-long greatsword behind it.


  The giant was at least 4 to 5 times larger than me or Jaeger.
Its face had crumbled down as if it had been scorched by flames and it was barely keeping one of its eyes open.


  “K, Korin.


  “Revenant… Titan…”


  That was one of the stage bosses at the center of Nazrea.
W, what was that guy doing here?


  “Damn it! We have to run away right now!”


  The doors would be broken in the blink of an eye before that monster.
It was a lot earlier than scheduled, but we had to move away from the bell tower as quickly as possible with Lark’s fly!




  That was when Lark turned his gaze towards the sky after noticing a ‘change’.
Before he could even react, the ‘bell’ brought itself back on its own accord and…


  “Holy fuck!!!”


  – Kwang!


  And it blew away Lark.




  The bell flicked Lark away.
I noticed what it was after seeing the bronze bell move by itself as if it had free will.


  “A geist?!”


  It was a spirit that possessed objects.
After possessing the bell, the ghost flicked Lark off of the top floor.




  Lark was completely flung off the platform and was falling to the ground.
Before I could even go save him, Lark’s emergency summon device went off.


  Light gathered in the air before swallowing Lark’s body and making it vanish from sight.
He was probably sent to Hotel Kanna already. 


  And what did that mean? It meant that Lark had been disqualified from this group event.
We had to go through the group event as a 3-man party without Lark and…


  “What a way to start things off…!”


  I threw my body to the stairs, away from the bell that tried to swing itself again.


  A geist? That guy’s not supposed to be here either right!


  “Jaegerrrr! Aliciaaa…!”




  “Run up right now! It’s a Revenant Titannnn…!”


  “What do you…”


  In that instant, my instincts warned me of the upcoming danger.
It felt like something was digging through the air and as expected, my senses were right on the mark.


  – Kwaaang!


  Breaking through the gates, something flew in.


  “Uooooht?! W, what is this?!”


  “A, a greatsword?!”


  It seemed that the Revenant Titan just threw its greatsword at the gates!


  “Hurry up and come!”


  The two quickly started climbing up the stairs in a hurry.
As soon as they came up to the stairs, skeletons, zombies, and ghouls started hoarding in through the broken gates.


  “W, what are you doing, Korin! Why are you coming down when you’re telling us to go up?”


  “There’s a geist blocking the way at the top!”

  “W, whatt? What about Mr.


  I made a cross shape with my arms, after which the two refrained from asking any more questions.


  “W, what do we do? There are undeads coming from beneath and we can’t go up either!”


  Jaeger shouted with a pale look on his face.
If it was just Alicia and me, there was the option of destroying the geist possessing the bell to jump down from the top of the bell tower. 


  However, the issue was Jaeger.
Unlike us who were skilled at aura manipulation, he wasn’t at the level to jump down from a place that high.


  Besides, there was no guarantee that we would be able to escape from the bunch of undeads that were surrounding the bell tower even if we somehow landed on the ground.


  “Alicia! Stop the zombies from coming up! Jaeger and I will destroy the bell tower!”


  “What do you mean?!”


  “You’ve cut trees before, right? Same logic! We will destroy one side of the tower and make it fall!”


  “Off to a crazy start, aren’t we!”


  Despite saying that, Jaeger did not raise an objection and made use of his specialty and erupted all the energy he had built up thus far.


  “Blow them away…!”


  Jaeger’s empowered mace crushed a portion of the bell tower with one swing.


  – Kwaang!


  Even after his attack, the bell tower remained firm.
Jaeger’s attack had created a large hole on one of the walls of the building but that was it.


  “We will destroy the other parts ourselves! Mace the walls away!”




  The bell tower was very tough but it slowly started to sway after receiving several monstrous strikes from us knights. 


  It was then.
Alicia was slicing through the undeads that were climbing up the stairs but that was when the Revenant Titan swung its 5-meter-long greatsword at her.




  Alicia jumped back in fright.
The greatsword of the Revenant Titan ended up missing its target and instead, it completely crushed through the walls of the bell tower. 


  In other words, it drove the decisive blow onto the wavering bell tower.




  Jaeger lamented as the bell tower then started to lean to one side with a deafening roar. 




  We started running across the inner walls in the direction it was falling.


  – Kwaruru…!


  After losing its foundational support, the bell tower leaned to one side and continued to fall down. 


  – Kwarurung!!


  The fallen bell tower landed after crumbling on top of the buildings of the city.


  – Kuang!


  From the midst of the fallen bricks, we swam our way through and somehow made our way outside.


  “Hahaha… Cough! Cough! I’m going through all these weird things after I started hanging out with you!” Jaeger said with a laugh.


  “Such a nice friend to have.


  “Is that called… Cough! A nice friend?!”


  Although we ended up being covered in dust, we forged a way through those undeads.
While running through the passage created by the fallen bell tower, we burst out into laughter after seeing each other’s miserable states.


  “Anyway, that was a terrible first day! Lark got disqualified way too early, and we got marked by the wrong guy.
Let’s just run for now until the day breaks!”


  “Okay then…! It should work out one way or…!”


  – Grab!


  Jaeger stopped in the middle of his speech.
Wondering what that was about, I turned around and… noticed that Jaeger was flying in the air after being snatched by an enormous undead bat.




  “…Abyss Shrieker?”




  The screaming noise shrieked across the night sky.


That’s almost everyone isn’t it?”


  We would have ourselves the 3 big bosses of Nazrea with just the addition of the Wight King!


Look at that.”


  Alicia tapped my shoulder before pointing at the other end of the passage of the fallen bell tower.


Of course you were gonna show up as well.”


  An undead horseman wearing a bony imperial crown was glaring at us while sitting on its skeleton horse.


  Revenant Titan,


  Abyss Shrieker…


  And lastly, the Wight King.


  The 3 big bosses of Nazrea had all gathered in one place.


Korin… I think we are doomed.”


  “This is indeed quite the problem.”


  In front was the Wight King; behind was the Revenant Titan and above us was the Abyss Shrieker.
If this was in the game, the devs would definitely get flamed for having a trash balancing team.


  Right when I was pondering whether we should give up and just get summoned back to Hotel Kanna or not, a ray of light struck down from the sky through that volatile situation.


  A spear traveled all the way down into the ground while leaving behind a powerful silver line of aura that connected the earth with the heaven.
That light was incomparably radiant compared to my own.


  “This spear…?”


  A thick cloud of dust was created around us due to that javelin toss.
Rather than an attack directed at us, it was there to create a layer of dust.


  “This way!”


  Alicia and I caught sight of the fluttering silver hair and… we desperately ran towards that source of light. 








  After running away from the dead for who knows how long, we arrived at the inside of a building that was clearly far from the low-level stages of the city.
There, we finally had the time to take a rest.


  “Haak… Haak…! Korin-ssi.
Are you okay?”


  “I’m fine.
What about you?”


  “I’m fine too.
I am worried about Mr.
Jaeger but…”


  Jaeger had probably been summoned back already.
What was more important to me was the person who saved us.


  “Thank you for helping us but that spear just then…”


  “I would have to ask the same question.
How come you are learning ‘my’ spear, child?”


  Her clear and graceful voice was something I was very used to.
Startled, I quickly turned towards her.


  The woman who saved us was wearing a long robe.
Her blue eyes were as clear as pure water while her hair looked like they were weaved with silver.
She was a beautiful lady who seemed very mature despite only revealing parts of her body.


  “Honestly, it was quite a surprise.
You are the first child to garner so much attention from the Grim Reaper.”


  Her feet treading across the floor were silent.
It was a silent way of walking that tended to become a habit for martial experts through their long years at training to hide their presence.


  That skill which she must have built up through arduous and repetitive training of fundamental skills without cutting corners was something that I was very familiar with.


  “Why, are you…”


  Why are you here?


  “Hmm… I see.”


  Leaning her body forward, she observed me for a while.
After some time, the corners of her eyes that were gazing up at me slanted to the sides and she… caressed my hair with a gesture that had long become a memory.


  “You must be my disciple from a distant future.”


  Erin Danua.


  My master from 300 years ago was right before my eyes.

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