Chapter 142: Ominous Clouds and Changes
“For menial labor, household chores, construction, and even dangerous mining jobs, there’s nothing that it can’t do! What can be more suitable and trustworthy than an indefatigable zombie worker as your assistant? Not only do they not need rest, they also don’t need a wage! It only costs ten gold coins for one, and you only need to pay two gold coins every year to charge up the Power of Death in it. You will benefit your entire life with this purchase!”
“Don’t listen to the nonsense of that fellow, zombies easily become smelly! It might still be acceptable in winter, but when spring and summer come, that stench will stink you to death! Hey, uncle. Why don’t you take a look at my mummy maid? Not only will it never rot, its insides are filled with top-notch fragrant spices that give you an aromatic scent even when you hug it to sleep at night. You should know that only those of noble standing can be mummified after their death. This cutie of mine used to be a noble princess before her departure.”
“He is just spouting bullshit! Do you think that he would dare to dig the graves of royalty given his appearance? That is most probably just a normal female villager with fat thighs.”
“...A Goblin princess should still be considered a princess. Furthermore, she is the princess of a massive tribe with a population exceeding three hundred!”
Even when the battle between these two Necromancers quickly elevated from a verbal one to a physical one, not a single customer had the intention of patronizing their stall. Instead, they chose the Skeleton Worker not too far away. That’s because Skeleton Workers are cheap and hygienic. Furthermore, even when the Power of Death dissipated in them, they could be treated as a clothes hanger or be fed to the dogs.
“Undead War Mounts for sale! It knows not of weariness and is eternally loyal!”
“You have to think of your weight before riding on a Skeleton Horse which falls apart easily. I have a Skeleton Beast that can be used to pull carriages! Feel free to choose among a variety of them!”
This was Diffindor’s 7th Market as well as the newly-established Undead Worker Trading Center. Necromancers had finally found their livelihood aside from slaughter in here.
When the news of the Sinless City spread across the entire continent, the most delighted group was probably the Necromancers.
In this cruel world, the weak never fared well. Most people already had an instinctive desire to pursue strength, even if the strength was taboo. However, it could give them better lives, and at the very least, they wouldn’t die ludicrously by being caught up in a fight. No matter what, it was a risk worth taking.
By training step by step, not every single existence who practiced the depraved demonic arts would become demented. But the Holy Church didn’t consider what the Undead, “whose existence is a sin,” had done. They persisted in cleansing every single Undead. Necromancers who were capable of creating them were absolute heretics they had to destroy.
Some of them were coincidentally compatible with Necromancy; some of them fortuitously happened to inherit it. Even so, it mattered not. When their true identities were revealed, they were still outlawed in the same way as heretics and villains. Such prejudice made every single Necromancer go all-out to conceal their existence. If they were revealed, they might even resort to silencing the witnesses directly. In another sense, it caused them to fall into a deeper nightmare.
In the eyes of the world, it was impossible for Necromancers to be the cheerful neighbor boy whose face was full of acne. Necromancers must have a gloomy face and savagery must be reflected in their eyes as they planned their vile schemes to destroy the world in the demented Xiluo Empire. The truth was that it was a misunderstanding.
Xiluo was a country for the deceased. Their nobles and fief lords were all Undead. On the other hand, no matter how bizarre Necromancers were to the eyes of the world, they were still living beings, and in a certain sense, living beings were equivalent to slaves in Xiluo. This made the identities of the living Necromancers in Xiluo awkward.
Unless they were willing to give up on their physical body and convert into a Lich or if they possessed incredible talent that allowed them to become an apprentice of a Lich, their lives would most likely be difficult there. At the very least, their sustenance, accommodation, and numerous other living conditions were not what they deserved. If a bloodthirsty member of the Blood Tribe was enticed by the scent of their blood; a bellicose Death Knight found a sudden urge to use them as his practice target; or perhaps their Lich mentor wanted to use them as his new experimental subject… Actually, as long as they did not reveal their own magic, most Necromancers were able to blend into the crowd. Furthermore, they were still able to use their own abilities to better their living conditions.
All along, Necromancers and Warlocks were the favored mercenaries of the nobles. After all, they were figures who were unable to come to the surface and they struck quickly and ruthlessly. Even if some secret were leaked to them accidentally, they were unlikely to spread it.
As such, the reputation of the Necromancers worsened. It didn’t help that Necromancers required corpses to improve their skills. They could only murder others personally or rob graves. This gave rise to numerous bizarre city sightings and ghost stories.
As such, the graves of every city were under the surveillance of a watchman dispatched by the Church of Holy Light. It was natural to leave some traces behind in the midst of robbing corpses as well.
Even if they reached Silver-rank or Gold-rank by sheer luck, allowing them to earn big bucks with their strength by serving as mercenaries, if they were to accidentally slip up, they would still be exposed. Even a beggar by the roadside might report you in the blink of an eye for the sake of ten silver coins.
The moment a Necromancer was exposed, no matter how many good deeds one did in the past, the Church of Holy Light would instantly send their forces over to surround the Necromancer. Even if one escaped from their encirclement, due to the worldwide arrest warrant, one could only wander around the world aimlessly to avoid pursuit. Less than ten percent of these people were lucky enough to escape to a rural countryside village or Xiluo Empire.
When Wumianzhe’s declaration resounded across the entire world, these hidden Necromancers were taken aback. Uncontrollable, frenzied joy followed.
“Undead do not represent evil? Perhaps I’ll be able to live with dignity from now on. Maybe I might even be respected and revered!”
As such, half a month after the declaration was made, numerous disguised Necromancers entered the city before disappearing abruptly. There were even more of them who chose to sneak into the city by scaling the city walls.
These days, there were always people trying to fly across the wall. Some of them were of the Blood Tribes. Some of them were Gargoyles. Most of the time, a person would be hanging beneath them. Their appearances made the city guards wary as well as hesitant about whether they should shoot them down or not.
Did they really have to shoot them down? However, something was obviously wrong. Soon, the guards understood what was going on, but why did those people avoid the city gates?
Most of those who flew in, upon landing, would find themselves surrounded by Knights.
“Are you a Necromancer?”
“No, I’m just a fanatic of extreme sports. Today, I saw a passing Gargoyle and wanted to experience the sensation of flying in midair. Thus, I grabbed its legs and happened to fly in here.”
Even a fool wouldn’t fall for these kinds of crappy lies. However, the ones speaking them never got sick of it.
The Knight Order in charge of defending Diffindor eventually succumbed to these slippery Necromancers. As a result, they pasted a notice on the city gates.
“Gate 7 of the city’s west side will be specially allocated for the usage of Necromancers. It will only take half an hour for the numerous administrative paperwork and identification verification. Furthermore, it comes with three job recommendations. Necromancers who enter the city through any others means will be fined 300 gold coins upon revelation, and stripped of their job permit for two months.
Note: Please station your Gargoyles and all Undead beings of middle-scale and larger outside the city. Alternatively, you can pay a fee at Gate 7 for it to be kept there. Of course, you have the freedom to infringe the rules written above. However, Diffindor’s airspace is guarded by Bone Dragon Rider Lord Timier. You can try to play cat and mouse with him, but if he and his mount strike too heavily against you, your remains may become a popular auction item for your peers the next day. Presently, Skeleton Mages and Undead Sorcerers are expensive commodities in the city.”
This was already utmost sincerity on our part. At the very least, we didn’t hunt them down and instead, we expressed kind intentions to them.
After someone led the way and confirmed the passage was safe, even my Undead Knights were surprised by the number of Necromancers entering.
After entering the city, while rejoicing over finding so many comrades, a new problem appeared.
Just when they were treading into a new life, they found themselves jobless.
The newly established Diffindor Life Medical School (School of Necromancy) needed many lecturers and teachers, but that was for the elites. Most of the Necromancers were self-taught and their standards were only slightly better than apprentices. Rather than teaching others, they wanted to find a teacher to guide them along.
“Doing what we did previously? Do you mean an assassin or a mercenary?” There were quite a few bloodthirsty ones among the Necromancers, so they naturally thought of resorting to how they made a living in the past.
I had to admit that there was no lower limit to the foolishness of the humans. They actually dared to commit such severe crimes in the Sinless City, a phenomenon created by the God of Law. When their corpses were hanged on flagpoles to be dried, it served as a warning to the others, and explained the Judgement Spell and Sinless City.
Even so, the mass unemployment would eventually lead to social instability. As a result, I had already made preparations for it in advance.
The first solution was joining the army. After all, Necromancers were powerful weapons in war. This was where their expertise lay. My army had many years of experience and were well-versed in effectively utilizing Necromancers in battle. However, there were also weaker Necromancers who were unwilling to step onto the battlefield. This was another area that I had to look into.
“Bringing in all kinds of magic into our daily lives? Converting the products of Necromancy into tools for the convenience of daily living?”
This subject seemed to be an absurd and impossible one, but it was by no means a new one. Many human kingdoms had already started to use magic lamps, and magic kettles were a daily necessity for nobles. The numerous products of alchemy also came from the crystallization of the wisdom of the magic civilization. Since it was already proven probable with other magic and alchemy, why should it be impossible for Necromancy? In reality, Necromancy was all-encompassing, though the materials required for it were slightly unique.
The main job of the summoned Undead was serving the Necromancer who summoned them. It was within my expectations that a labor market would be started. Of course, there were technical difficulties to it as well.
The instincts of Low-tier Undead had determined them unintelligent and bloodthirsty. Unless the Necromancers kept a close watch on them, no one could guarantee that these brainless Undead would not go out of control. However, an invention had changed all that.
“Sloth Sword Seal—Death is the sweetest slumber. However, it is a pity that it isn’t time for you leave work yet. So make good use of your time and continue living an exciting life.”
The Sloth Sword Seal was a sword seal that represented all products of Necromancy. Its use wasn’t any different from the other Elemental Sword Seals. It was activated through Olivia’s Magic Box. Through the sword seal, one could manipulate the Power of Death. However, based on the current level of research, it could only allow its user to control a few Low-tier Undead.
I left certain concepts and theories to Olivia and company for them to develop into sword seals. Soon enough, a new Olivia’s Magic Box customized for Undead usage was created. Its only use was allowing one to control a Low-tier Undead through contracts. Thus, when ordinary humans wielded this black magic core, they were able to control their Low-tier Undead through it and get them to work for them.
As a result, the Undead labor market became a reality. Skeletons did household chores, zombies mined minerals, and mummies served as maids. Only the people’s imagination stopped them; anything could be realized.
Of course, there was limit to everything. The “genius” who thought of the concept of a cute and disgusting Abomination by complementing it with a sexy maid costume had been stripped of his job permit for three months due to excessive complaints about how the product blinded people’s sight.
On the other hand, phantom carriage rental, the Gargoyle Express, and the Zombies VS Plants series became the talk of the town, as predicted. With technology nearing perfection perhaps an entirely new magic civilization would be born.
Maybe these little things seemed like nothing, but they had huge repercussions on the future. The unknown had always brought fear to humans. However, when these beings were willing to be enslaved, the fear and sense of estrangement was hugely minimized. Eventually, when these became acceptable to the world, Necromancers would be able to enjoy normal lives.
“Sometimes, the era treads somewhere unfathomable to you. Perhaps even the inventor, Prince Roland, did not expect that this obscure and unaccepted invention would be the impetus to effect change on the world.”
However, some things would never change. For example, the unpredictable minds of sentient beings and the seeds of resentment.
Looking at the headless corpse, Reyne sighed.
The two corpses were extremely young. One of them was a Silver-rank DemiElf Hunter whereas the other was a rookie Necromancer who had managed to sneak in. When she was patrolling the city walls, they, disguised as passersby, suddenly assaulted her. However, in the next instant, her guards had already decapitated them.
“Master Fayde, Teacher Ferdinand, and Teacher Sina, thank you for protecting me. You all have worked hard.”
“There’s no need to thank us. This was Prince Roland’s order.”
Before leaving, I had the two Sword Saints and Great Mage protect Reyne. Back then, Reyne thought I was overreacting. But facts had proved my judgement correct. This was already the seventh assassination attempt this month, and it was clear that this was only the start.
“The younger the seedling, the easier it is crushed. Even if we put aside your identity as the descendant of the Mist, just by the fact that you are the knot tying East Mist Communal Country and me together, you are absolutely important and irreplaceable to the country in its current state. If something happened to you, everything would fall apart. If I were the enemy of East Mist, assassinating you would be the best way for the country to fall into disarray.”
“We should have no enemies in the Northern Lands, right?”
Back then, I only chuckled, not pointing anything out. At this moment, Reyne remembered her indifference back then and could only lament her ignorance and immaturity.
“Send them over to the 7th Market and submit a report of the Soul Interrogations to me, even though it is highly likely that they were sent by that kingdom once more. Seriously, the Beastmen are going to be invading the Northern Lands next year. Instead of diverting their attention towards assassinating me, they should be reorganizing their army and making preparations for battle.”
No enemies? They were probably all enemies. On a state level, as long as there were conflict of interests, it was impossible for two countries to have an amicable relationship. No one would want to have a powerful neighbor, even if the country repeatedly claimed that they would not invade the other countries. How would it be possible for them to entrust their safety in the words of others? Furthermore, these countries also had ambitions of their own, and the newly rising East Mist was an eyesore for their plans.
I, who was at Sharal, also met with similar experiences.
“One, two, three, four, five. Five top-notch assassins, not to mention a Saint-rank hidden in the shadows. They sure do view me highly.”
Beside me, Amelia shook her staff with a furious expression.
“Yet another group trying to assassinate you. This is the thirteenth time this week! I have almost been reduced to a free bodyguard for you. Compensate me!”
“Hmph, I have no money for you! My life isn’t for your taking either!”
Winter often came earlier for the highlands. When most of the countries of the Northern Lands were preparing for the invasion of the Beastmen next year when spring came, the lands of the Beastmen were already shrouded in ice and snow.
However, as usual, the Beastmen had no intention of shrinking their area of activity to prepare to tide through the winter. On the contrary, the Wolf Knights and Lightning Roc Knights were traversing across the highlands to hunt down hidden human spies.
The closer one got to the base camp of the Beastmen, the more frequent these patrols passed by. Such abnormal behavior attracted the attention of the various countries, but even after they paid a heavy price to infiltrate the Beastmen’s camp and listen in on their discussions, all they got was that the Beastmen were preparing resources for war.
In reality, that was only a smoke screen.
There were only two conventional, narrow paths down the highlands where the Beastmen resided, and both paths were blocked by the fortress cities of two different countries.
The entrance leading to the various human countries of the Northern Lands was a barren and remote land called Erole Highlands. At this very moment, smoke was billowing ceaselessly from the innumerable tents established on that plot of land, indicating the presence of the Beastman army.
The Chieftains were currently gathered at the highest peak of Erole Highlands. At this moment, news that made their tribesmen thrilled was currently spreading amid the tents.
“Let’s toast to the glory of the War God! By next week, our Beastman army will be able to begin its invasion. Finally, we can settle our old scores. This time, let’s catch the humans off guard! Activate Plan Thunderbird!”