Duke Pendragon - Chapter 24

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Lich, a shaman that controlled dead monsters like skeletons as their summons . A lich was a sorcerer who sealed their own soul in exchange for immortality, and they were labeled as ‘evil’ by the empire even though the empire was generally tolerant of various fields of magic .

There were no reasons for a magician who sacrificed their own soul to serve others . Except for extremely rare cases where the lich was forced into their half-dead state, almost all liches used any means or methods to achieve their goals .

Therefore, the empire always sent armies to regions that liches were active in to completely eradicate them . The demonic army was considered disposable by the empire, so they were usually the ones sent to deal with the liches . This also meant that Raven had faced off against a lich twice before .

‘Seeing as there are only skeletons, it’s not an overly strong one . They must be controlling the skeletons from somewhere nearby…’

Powerful liches could control zombies, ghouls, or even dark spirits and ghosts to do their bidding . Raven knew from the absence of the powerful summons that the lich this time around was relatively weak .

“Hmm?”

A strange red light flashed from a section of a giant rock that was shaped like a fan .

‘Over there!’

“Killian! Take command over the soldiers!”

“Yes!”

“Giddy up!”

Raven moved to the side of the wall of shields created by the soldiers and rushed towards the skeletons with Widow’s Scream and a scimitar in each of his hands .

Boom! Whack! 

Every time the two swords left behind a trail of light, bone fragments flew up into the air along with the sounds of wailing ghosts . Bone javelins flew at him from here and there, but Raven evaded them with his near-perfect horse riding or by deflecting them with his weapons .

A few javelins managed to strike him, but they couldn’t get through the White Dragon Armor .

Thud! Crack!

However, Raven still felt the shock being transmitted when he was hit by the javelins .

“Keuk!”

Raven gritted his teeth and continued to swing his swords while riding his horse . He could see an orc warrior going berserk among an army of skeletons near the source of the red light .

It was clear at first glance that the enormous orc was Karuta . A small mound of bones had already piled up around him .

“Kuahhhhhh!”

Every time Karuta swung his club, three or four skeletons broke apart . However, the number of skeletons was overwhelming, and over ten skeletons attacked Karuta’s limbs and back at the same time .

Thump!

A bone sword and several javelins pierced through Karuta’s body .

“Kuu…”

But Karuta growled like a beast and pulled out the various weapons that were embedded in his body . His muscles, which were several times harder and thicker than humans, wriggled, unable to contain the overwhelming force . Having seen blood, Karuta’s eyes turned even ominously red with thick bloodlust and madness .

Gwaahh!

With a wild roar, Karuta rushed towards the dozens of skeletons .

Raven cried out aloud .

“Karuta!”

In the midst of smashing the skeletons in frenzy, Karuta heard the voice and turned his head around . Raven dismounted the horse and sprinted towards Karuta after striking the horse’s ass to make it run away .

“The lich is up there!”

Raven broke the skulls of two skeleton warriors with the scimitar after pointing Widow’s Scream towards the giant rock . Karuta glanced towards the cliff that Raven pointed at and shouted, continuously smashing the skeletons that approached him .

“Come!”

“Eyyyyaaaaaaah!”

Raven ran to where Karuta was standing, knocking down the skeletons .

He jumped off the ground with force . Raven’s feet touched the palm of Karuta’s large hands .

“Kuaaaaaah!”

With a mighty roar, Karuta’s bulging arm, which was swelling with dark red muscles, contracted before shooting forward, throwing Raven far into the sky .

Woosh!

Raven’s body was flung towards the sky, instantly lifting him 10 meters above the ground . Raven’s red cape spread out like wings under the dazzling White Dragon Armor .

However, it seemed his momentum was insufficient to reach the top of the cliff .

“Heeup!”

Raven pushed the scimitar as hard as he could towards the cliff .

Clang!

The curved blade slid into a crack in the rocks . Then, he kicked off the cliff walls with his feet, using the blade to hold him in place . Raven’s body flipped backward which drove his body up the cliff, and he pulled out the blade at the same instant .

With a series of acrobatic moves, Raven stepped onto the top of the cliff .

“……”

Raven narrowed his eyes while looking around the rocky mountain . A figure wearing a torn, old red robe stood about thirty steps from Raven . The hood was pressed deeply, and nothing could be seen underneath except a bluish glow emanating from the darkness .

“Lich…”

Kiaaaak!

As if responding to Raven’s words, a scream came from inside of the dark, formless hood and the Lich raised its staff . The staff drew a bizarre curve, and an unmatched dark red glow radiated from its tip .

“Hmm?”

Raven felt a chill run down his back, and he immediately raised both of his weapons in a cross-shape .

Rustle!

The dark glow that overflowed from the staff quickly took form . Simultaneously, Widow’s Scream quivered lightly, and a faint light was emitted from the jewel encrusted in the sword .

“What the…!”

Raven was momentarily dazed at Widow’s Scream, then quickly fixed gaze on the lich . Against the backdrop of the night sky above the Lich’s shoulders, two translucent shadows swayed in the air, taking on the shape of a dark red scythe .

They were wraiths, the cursed ghost of death .

“Huh!”

Raven let out an astonished gasp when he saw the creatures that he had only heard stories about . However, his shock wasn’t entirely due to the presence of wraiths . Rather, he was shocked because he could ‘see’ the wraiths .

Unlike skeletons, zombies, and ghouls, which were created from the flesh of creatures that were once alive, wraiths were spiritual creatures . They were invisible to the humans’ naked eye .

That was what made wraiths so terrifying . They attacked from the shadows, and one couldn’t see where or how they attacked .

If one was struck by the giant scythe, the ‘death’ of the wraith was transferred to the person and they died .

That’s why in the past, when subjugating a lich, magicians or shamans always accompanied the demonic army . They were able to see spiritual creatures like wraiths or dark spirits .

The same reason applied to the presence of Soldrake and Alan Pendragon on the Plains of Robstein . Dragons had the power to see through everything, whether they be spirits or other creatures of the immaterial plane .

Kieeeeeeeeh!

The two wraiths let out shrieks and hovered in the air . Raven narrowed his eyes .

They were not attacking him immediately, which probably meant that they were ignorant of Raven’s ability to see them . Raven stole a glance at the two wraiths before fixing his gaze on the lich .

He was sure . The lich didn’t know that the wraiths were visible to Raven .

“Ёп Фчыђ Гж Џӟ… . ”

The lich muttered in an incomprehensible language, and the end of its staff lit up with a black light .

“… . !”

Raven went on full alert . He knew too well what that black light was . The black glow at the tip of the staff quickly turned into several shapes, and Raven spurred his feet and jumped towards the lich at full speed .

Boom!

The black spheres that originated from the staff rose high above the sky and fell vertically towards Raven, following behind his movements .

Bang! Boooom!

Every time a black sphere made contact with the ground, black flames rose high above the ground . At the same time, the wraiths that were silently hovering in the air made their moves and rushed towards Raven with big scythes raised .

“Is that so!”

Avoiding the falling orb with quick steps, Raven drew a large arc with Widow’s Scream .

Slash!

Widow’s Scream passed through the wraiths, and the silvery light that surrounded the blade exploded .

Woooosh!

Kiiiiieeeeeeeek!

The wraiths were swallowed by the silver glow and screamed in pain .

But Raven didn’t give the wraiths a second glance and pushed his sword straight through towards the lich . The tip of a light-soaked sword pushed deep into the lich’s hood .

A dull sensation was passed along Raven’s arm .

At that moment .

Clang!

Accompanied by the sound of breaking glass, a light burst from inside the lich’s hood .

Kuaaaaaah!

A scream burst from the shapeless face of the lich and echoed throughout the night sky .

Fwoosh!

The moment the echo disappeared, the robe that the lich was wearing crumpled without any strength and caught on the blade of Widow’s Scream . It was as if the being inside the robe vaporized into thin air .

Raven slowly lowered his weapon with surprised eyes .

Thump .

“What the hell…?”

Raven shook his hand as he watched the robes slid off of the blade and fell to the floor .

Then, a small beam of light flickered from the placid robe . The light flickered dangerously, then quickly flew towards a crack in between the rocks and the cliffs, before ultimately disappearing into a faraway cliff .

Raven followed the light with a cold gaze until it disappeared, then moved to the edge of the cliff that he was standing on . The entire quarry came into Raven’s view .

The skeletons, which had been swarming the quarry like a swarm of bees, had completely stopped all movements and stood still in their place . The soldiers and the orc warriors were looking around with confused expressions .

The wind from the mountains came down and blew through the entire quarry .

An amazing sight unfolded .

Swaaash!

Thousands of skeletons collapsed and turned into white powder .

It was a spectacular sight to see the bone powder being swept up by the wind to form a huge river of light, reflecting the moonlight in the dark night sky . Both orcs and humans watched the sight with wonder .

The pure white powder soon disappeared as if seeping into the night .

“… . . ”

The gazes that were blankly staring at the sky slowly gathered towards one place .

A warrior atop a cliff, wearing pure white armor and holding two swords with his cloak fluttering in the wind . The soldiers shook in excitement before bursting out onto a shout of triumph .

“Ohhhhhhhhhhh!”

“We won! Long live Alan Pendragon!”

“Hurray to Pendragon . Pendragon forever!”

The shout soon turned into an applause .

“Kuwaaaaaaaah!”

Even the orcs screamed in excitement from the battle .

The night of the crisis was over .

***

“Kuhem! I don’t like this feeling…”

Karuta snorted while looking at the area between two sharp cliffs .

“Koowoo . Kratul thinks the same . There isn’t even a goblin dung’s worth of life energy coming from that place . ”

“Kieee…”

Kazzal couldn’t even make a comment and trembled while hiding behind another person .

Raven calmly inspected the cave between the cliffs . Orcs and goblins, who had much greater instinct than humans, were acting like this . That was proof enough of how dangerous the place was .

But Raven clearly saw .

The beam of light from the defeated lich had disappeared into the darkness of this particular cave . Moreover, the path to the mausoleum and Soldrake was supposed to be located near this area .

‘I’m certain . This is the path to the mausoleum . ’

There was an uneasy feeling, but Raven was certain that the cave in front of him was the only way forward .

“We are going to go through there . It seems to be the only path that leads to Soldrake . Ready the warriors . ”

“Kuhem… Well, we’ve come this far anyway, to go back would be to stain shit on the honor of the orcs . ”

Karuta licked his lips and shrugged his shoulders .

Raven lightly nodded at Karuta’s words and turned his body to head towards where the soldiers were waiting . Over twenty soldiers had suffered various injuries from yesterday’s battle .

Kratul had given emergency treatment, but it seemed difficult to continue forwards while taking care of the injured .

“Kazzal, you stay back here and look for my horse . Take care of it . You know the consequences if I come back and don’t see my horse, right?”

“I find it! I take care of it!”

Raven nodded at Kazzal’s enthusiastic response .

“The wounded and ten guards will stay behind and wait here . Sir Killian, pick out ten troops to stay behind . ”

“Yes . ”

The injured soldiers showed hesitation at Raven’s words and looked around at each other . Then, a soldier with bandages on one arm cautiously spoke up .

“We will go with you, Your Grace . ”

“…What?”

Raven frowned and turned his head towards the soldier . The young soldier flinched but spoke up louder while banging on his chest with his uninjured arm .

“We are the soldiers of Pendragon . Even in death, we will accompany Your Grace . ”

“I am able to walk too! Let me go with you as well!”

“I don’t know about hand-to-hand combat, but I can shoot a crossbow! Take me with you!”

The wounded soldiers started to cry out one by one .

“……”

Raven glanced at the soldiers with cold eyes . However, unlike his outer appearance, Raven was in a state of shock .

He couldn’t understand . The fiends of the demonic army always utilized whatever means possible to get out of a battle . They struggled to live for one more day and valued their lives above all else .

So why were these soldiers intentionally choosing a path that might lead to their demise?

“Your life is precious . Live so that you can get what you desire and protect what you value . ”

Raven intentionally hardened his face further and spoke in a frigid voice . The soldier who had been the first one to speak responded to Raven .

“What we desire, and what we want to protect is all in Pendragon . ”

The young soldiers face was covered with rough patches of beard from being unable to shave the past few days . However, unlike his shabby appearance, his eyes were filled with firm determination .

“……”

Raven’s eyes quivered as he met the soldiers’ eyes .

Raven realized that these men were just like him .

To live, and to live for the glory of the family, to redeem their families from the unfortunate situations they were in .

They were just like Raven Valt, who took every step in order to restore his family to greatness .

Their eyes displayed keenness, an urge to move forward to achieve their goals . Injured or uninjured, all the soldiers showed the same determination . Raven turned his eyes to the young soldier once more .

“You, what is your name?”

“McKidd . Ridley McKidd, Your Grace . ”

Raven gave a slight nod then straightened his back . He spoke to the soldiers in a voice that was neither loud nor quiet, making emphasis on every word .

“There is no law that states you have to die in Pendragon land because you were born in it . I, Alan Pendragon, promise you this . I will show you the world . I will reclaim the mausoleum and when I raise the banner of Pendragon high above everything else in front of the world, I will have all of you here with me, standing at the vanguard . ”

“……!”

The eyes of the soldiers trembled .

Thud! Thud!

Someone started to rhythmically pound on the chest area of the hard, metal, plate armor . Then, the soldier beside him joined in .

One by one, the soldiers joined in on the monotonic symphony .

The orcs also looked at each other, then followed Karuta as he joined in the chorus by smashing his wooden club into the ground .

Thud!!! Thud!!! Thud!!! Thud!!! Thud!!!

A louder roar resonated throughout the entire valley, causing the ground of the quarry to shake .

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