A Banquet for the Spirits of the Departed — Part 2
Editors: Joker, Speedphoenix
“Keep the formation intact!” Gamdia Roston roared an order to his subordinates as he kept his eye on the situation. “Don’t let a single one of the undead slip by!!”
“Sir! Yes sir!” The men that served under him reciprocated with equally vigorous shouts of their own. Each voice contained such a strong force of will that, combined, they almost came off as indomitable.
The soldiers-cum-guards were gathered in front of the governor’s manor and positioned such that their ranks came together to form a phalanx. Every last man and boy bore a greatshield with which they weathered the relentless undead assault. They remained almost entirely on the defensive, but their actions weren’t in vain. Their allies, the town’s mages and adventurers, worked to suppress the undead by rendering them incapable of any further movement as the guards continued to hold the line.
Adventurers and guards often failed to see eye to eye. The former group was a lot rougher around the edges, and thus, they were often apprehended and remonstrated by the city’s soldiers. Yet, they stood united and fought as one. Together, those with power worked to protect the evacuees that lacked it. Because they knew. They knew that there was little point to the strength that they worked so hard to obtain should they not use it to protect the city they called home. And thus, they endeavoured to eliminate the undead threat.
In command of the united forces was none other than Gamdia himself. Gamdia was a new face; he had only recently come to Alfyro. Many possessed far more knowledge of the city and its problems, but it was he that was appointed captain of the city’s guards. Many of his newfound subordinates began to doubt the city’s management, which had always been known for its love of meritocracy. However, he soon won them over by proving that he was not only honest and straightforward, but also skilled enough to justify his rank. His instructions were precise and the man himself was more than just a force to be reckoned with. In fact, he found himself acknowledged by not only the guards, but the rest of Alfyro’s citizens as well.
While Gamdia drew a lot of attention, he wasn’t the only notable fighter that had joined the fray. The city’s governor, Raylow Lurubia, had done exactly the same. His subordinates had desperately pleaded for him to retreat, but Raylow had ignored them and joined the ranks of the adventurers and soldiers fighting off the zombie hoard. He too was a part of the task force defending the shelter to which the citizens evacuated: his manor.
“Master Gamdia, how are we faring?” Raylow turned towards the commander as he felled yet another zombie.
“The undead offensive is gradually growing weaker. We should soon regain full control of the area.”
“Great. We should head towards the center of the city as the evacuation comes to a close. It looks to be in trouble.”
“…Are you sure you wish to join us?”
“Of course. I’m no stranger to the battlefield. I may no longer be much more than an ancient sack of bones, but even so, I can still wield a blade if my citizens’ lives are on the line,” said Raylow. “Besides…”
“The whole scenario has me seething in anger, and I’ve a need to vent it.”
Raylow’s remark caused Gamdia to grin. But as he had duties to attend to, the captain had no more time to converse. He bowed to excuse himself and immediately got back to issuing orders.
Likewise, the governor returned to aiding in the evacuation as he worked his mind and considered the scenario at hand. While the undead often sought out and attacked the living, they didn’t tend to spawn in large numbers in areas that humans inhabited. The amount of positive life force in the aforementioned areas was far too strong for them to naturally rise en masse. It was far more likely than not that the scenario at hand was artificial, that it had arisen from some sort of sinister plot or conspiracy.
And it was probably one thought up by an individual affiliated with the kingdom.
One key piece of information that Raylow had withheld from the young hero that had visited his manor was that Alfyro was a city that was well detested by its peers. Many of the nobles with longer lines labeled Raylow, who’d earned his nobility through his performance on the battlefield, as an upstart. They were quick to criticize him and often ostracized him from their circles.
The city’s success only made matters worse. Alfyro lay far from the capital, so far that many thought of it as a hicktown in the borderlands. All sorts of creatures nested near its boundaries, many of which were extremely powerful. The constant, looming threat led to a natural increase in the quality of Alfyro’s combatants. Both its adventurers and soldiers grew more powerful than those that resided in other lands. Dispatching these high quality troops in times of need had brought Raylow countless achievements, achievements that left his peers green with envy. Yet, this was only another layer in the cake.
The icing was the incident. The expedition. Unlike many of the other nobles, Raylow had been opposed to it from the start. Those that disagreed with him had sent their troops to the Wicked Forest, only to have every last bit of their investment completely obliterated while Alfyro’s forces remained perfectly intact.
Whoever organised the attack had all the potential motives in the world.
Of course, the other nobles weren’t the only threats. The demon lord was present as well, but the governor highly doubted that the undead had risen due to his actions. He wasn’t the type to bother conspiring in such a roundabout manner. Raylow imagined that, if the demon lord were to strike, then he would employ nothing but sheer violence. All he needed to do to burn Alfyro to the ground, should he desire it, was to go on a rampage.
Moreover, the incidents that plagued the city had began prior to the demon lord’s arrival. While he had no proof, Raylow was almost certain that the many mysterious cases were somehow connected to the undead assault.
“…Fine.” Alfyro’s lord muttered under his breath. “I too am a noble, albeit one of little importance. If you wish to challenge me, then I will not refuse.”
After confirming his resolve, Raylow took a deep breath and began to speak.
“Listen up, men! This is only one of the many crises that this city of ours has faced.” Raylow spoke in a loud voice that stemmed from deep within his core. It was heard not only by the soldiers and adventurers engaged in battle, but also the evacuees in the midst of seeking refuge. “We’ve been plagued with infamous bandits and attacked by armies of monsters! Yet, Alfyro has never once fallen! We have always succeeded in driving off those that wish to destroy us. And today is no different! Alfyro, our city, our home, shall not fall! Let us ready our arms, raise our voices, and purge our homes of the dead!”
Morale rose. Alfyro’s warriors cheered the moment the governor’s speech came to an end. Together, their voices formed a thunderous roar so loud that it shook the earth beneath them.
Seeing the way his city’s bravest reacted caused a slight but undeniably proud smile to form on Raylow’s face.
“Wow… This is looking preeeeetty bad.” I frowned as I looked down on the city from the sky above it.
It had pretty much descended into a state of utter chaos. Zombies like the one that Lefi and I had run into were appearing all over the town and attacking any humans unfortunate enough to cross their paths.
So many things were ablaze that the scene was almost as bright as it would be in the day.
The city was in the midst of a veritable zombie outbreak. Back on Earth, I had quite the liking for zombie movies. But the only reason I had been able to enjoy them was because they were works of fiction. Stories. False realities. Seeing the real thing didn’t invoke the excitement or interest that movies endeavoured to inspire in their viewers. Rather, the only emotion I felt was pure revulsion. Ew. That guy’s got his guts hanging out. That’s super gross. Please, stop.
Of course, it went without saying that the humans resisted. They didn’t just sit around and let themselves get wiped off the map. Armed groups that I assumed to be parties of adventurers fought back against the undead plague. My birds eye view led me to realize that the combatants were in fact quite numerous.
More importantly, they seemed to know what to do. Their actions were planned and methodical. They disabled them by cutting off their limbs before making them drink some sort of liquid. The strange fluid caused the undead to spasm as it entered them before eventually rendering them still. Yeah, I figured adventurers would probably be good at stuff like this.
Given the speed at which the undead were being exterminated, it seemed that the situation would soon resolve itself. And that was exactly what left me so confused. I don’t get it. Why would the wire-puller do something like this? What’s their goal?
According to Lefi, the disaster at hand was man-made, something caused by a necromancer. In other words, someone had intentionally attacked the city. But the way they did it could only be described as half assed.
The zombies seemed more like a distraction than anything. As an avid consumer of real time strategy games, I felt as if the current scenario was somewhat familiar. It’s almost like he’s setting up for a second wave, like he only sent this first wave to paralyze the chain of command so he could expose an opening and use it to take control of the city. But that can’t be right. This would be the perfect time for him to send in his second wave. But it’s not coming. I can’t see anything nearby, even from all the way up here.
Though he had caused the city to descend into a state of anarchy, the man responsible for this incident simply wasn’t following up. Does that mean that this is all just so he can buy time? But what for? What kind of crazy bullshit would need this large a distraction?
No matter how much I thought about it, I couldn’t get a clear picture of the whole story. I knew that I would be able to end the incident with ease if I managed to find the son of a bitch responsible for it, but he wasn’t showing up on my map. I couldn’t detect him with my Enemy Search skill either. Wait a second. Why the hell am I being so narrow minded?
I had assumed that the person responsible would be within the city. After all, it was only human nature to be curious about the results of one’s actions. However, further thought and observation led me to realize that the man wasn’t giving the zombies direct orders; he hadn’t assumed full manual control. Moreover, the fact that he didn’t plan on following up his initial attack with a second wave meant that he didn’t have to be lurking within the city’s bounds—he didn’t have to open any gates while someone wasn’t watching. Given the lack of constraints, it made much more sense for the perpetrator to be somewhere outside the city, somewhere he could overlook the chaos while staying out of danger.
Realizing that, I directed my gaze outside the city’s walls and began to scan for him. Found you!
My eyesight, which was top tier given the fact that my body was a demon lord’s, allowed me to spot a group of men not too far outside the city. They were situated atop a random nearby hill. To any other onlooker, the hill would’ve seemed like exactly that. The men were using a skill or spell similar to Stealth.
However, I was different. My Magic Eye allowed me to spot their human-shaped forms. Or rather, the mana flowing through them; I could see right through their petty little trick with minimal effort.
I was by no means obligated to help the city or its residents.
But I was pissed.
The bastards that had put this plan together had ruined my vacation. They’d taken the time that I was supposed to enjoy with Lefi and totally fucked it up. And there was no way I was letting them get away without a little “reimbursement.”
My reasons were nothing short of selfish, but that was just what it meant to be a demon lord. You brought this upon yourself you sons of bitches. You really should’ve waited until I was gone before you put your retarded little conspiracy into action.
I poised myself to launch off in their direction and crush them, but happened to catch sight of a familiar face right as I did.
“Is that…Nell? What the hell is she doing…?”
The hero was, for some odd reason, letting herself get swarmed by a countless number of zombies. She could’ve easily shaken them off and made her escape, but she wasn’t. Instead, she was holding her position and attempting to fight them off.
Evidently, retreating wasn’t the first thing on her agenda. It looks like she’s… protecting the church? Only after checking the map did I understand the purpose behind her actions.
Well… you know what? I might as well go help her. I had already located the asshole responsible, and there wasn’t any real need for me to deal with him immediately. I could spare a few minutes and hunt him down after. I don’t exactly want to see her die. And having her owe me one sounds like a pretty solid idea, so might as well.
Translator’s note: Chapters 1-32 (and 33 to wherever AH left off, those those have been done for a while) have now been translated by yours truly. If you read the asian hobbyist version, I highly recommend that you re-read. There were enough errors to completely distort just about everything important. They flat deleted lines that they couldn’t get google translate to parse properly, the whole thing was dry, and they made this series look like a joke. But that’s all fixed now. I hope. Note that if you’re on an aggregator site, then they might not have updated their stuff, but that’s not really any of my business.
Editor’s note (Joker): Hey, guys! Joker here. Looks like our Demon Lord buddy has found the fucknut who messed up his date with Lefi. Boy, I wouldn’t want to be him at all. Sadly, he decided to go help the hero rather than take his sweet revenge. And knowing these kinds of tropes, I bet that’ll allow the guy to get away. *sigh* I’d put money on it, but I don’t have any money to put. Only one of these today, so let’s get to the questions. Remember, this question was asked on Chapter 32.
Aurelious H asks: What’s your favorite novel? and also one that you would recommend the most
At the moment, I’d have to say my favorite novel is Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody. It’s got everything I like: Cute catgirl, OP protag who won’t let anything harm his kids, heartwarming scenes, and even some decent action shots every now and then. I’m caught up on both the officially translated LN, manga, and WN. As for one I would recommend the most, it would probably be Overlord. It’s just too good of a story.
Remember, that was from chapter 32. If you have a question you’d like me to answer, put it in the comments below with the hashtag #AskJoker and I’ll answer it next time. See y’all in the next chapter!