Grandson of the Holy Emperor is a Necromancer - Chapter 68
Chapter 68: 040. Imperial Prince is Heading Out to Enjoy a Festival -3 (Part Two)
Although it was late in the evening, we were already fairly close to Hilda fiefdom anyways, meaning it was unnatural for the carriages to stop so abruptly like this.
While tilting my head, I opened the carriage’s door. “What’s going on?”
One of the Crimson Cross members nearby responded promptly. “It’s nothing to worry, your highness. Please go back to bed and let us handle it.”
I peeked my head out further and took a look at the path ahead of us.
“I don’t know what kind of touring troupe you folks are, but it doesn’t matter now! Give up all your belongings and we’ll let you go!”
What I saw was a muscle-bound man boasting rather abundant beard. He was accompanied by a large contingent of men reeking with obvious signs of desperate poverty. With suspicious grins in their faces, they were blocking the road.
Their hands were gripping woodcutting axes, kitchen knives, and other shoddy make-shift weapons.
The burly beard man roared out, “Give us all your money and women, and maybe we’ll let you pass! Looks like you’re either a troupe of pierrots or performers, so surely there must be some beauties amongst you lot! Isn’t that right, fellas?”
Wow, isn’t this one of those clichéd developments that often appears in fantasy novels? A protagonist on an adventure, bandits that try to rob him, and then the protagonist mercilessly slaughters said bandits.
Now that I got to experience that very development I only ever read about in books before, I couldn’t help but feel rather stoked by it.
Well, this was also a part of a fun travelogue, wasn’t it?
My excited tone of voice elicited slow head shakes from the Crimson Cross members.
The one who answered me by the door continued on. “Your highness. They must’ve stopped us in the hopes of robbing us blind since they have numbers on their side. And judging from how that man talks, they have no idea who we are.”
“Man, they sure do have some guts. In my eyes, our little group looks like a collection of psychos, and yet they wish to attack us?”
Our group consisted of people wearing creepy bird beak masks and crimson robes, plus they were carrying scary weapons like scythes, greatswords, and maces. If I was in their shoes, I would have found a suspicious group like this one waaaay too ominous and just let them pass by without doing anything.
“They seem to have mistaken us for a troupe of pierrots or street performers, your highness. Well, a festival is scheduled to take place in Hilda fiefdom in a month after all. What are your commands?”
“Teach them just enough so that they won’t harm other travellers, then let them be on their way.”
“In that case, we should cut off their tendons.”
Now that’s properly savage.
Still… letting them go would inevitably result in other travellers getting attacked by these same people. So yeah, it’d be better to subjugate them now and ensure that other unfortunate folks weren’t unduly inconvenienced by this bunch.
The members of the Crimson Cross began approaching the bandits.
I could only send my sympathetic prayers in the hapless bandits’ direction. “I pray that you all behave better in your next lives.”
Just as I was about to close the carriage door shut, my gaze shifted over to the surrounding forest. An unmistakable acrid stench of blood wafted in. At the same time, I noticed rapidly moving shadows.
Eyes glowing blood-red, and fangs as sharp as blades that belonged to these shadows, began appearing one by one between the gaps of trees.
My expression hardened immediately after locking my gaze with those eyes.
“Everyone, battle stations!” I roared out reflexively. “Ignore the bandits, now!”
The Order of the Crimson Cross members immediately turned their heads to me.
I shouted out once more, “Maintain formation! Protect the carriages!”
Without asking a single question, and not even a hint of hesitation, they answered my call and carried out my commands to the letter. After quickly surrounding the carriages in a protective cordon, they lowered their postures and began urgently scanning our surroundings.
“Monsters are coming. Get ready!”
I shouted out while exiting from the carriage myself. Then, I quickly summoned my musket rifle and breathed into the loading chamber.
Meanwhile, I continued surveying the forest all around us.
The red glowing eyes, a whole lot of them… were beginning to move forward.
It seemed that the Crimson Cross members had finally noticed those things too.
“The demonic beasts of the forest are here!”
From the sounds of it, they must’ve known the identities of the monsters hidden in the forest.
“What are you all doing? Why don’t you put on your performance later, and…”
The axe-wielding bandit leader smirked foolishly and began approaching us. But it was right at that moment when a shadow suddenly leaped out from the trees and pounced on him.
Sharp fangs gleamed coldly under the moonlight.
I saw a torso with gaping holes of rotting flesh and black fur that grew in unkempt patches. It was a monster with the appearance of a half-man and half-beast.
The monster bit down on the bandit leader’s throat. The poor man’s neck got ripped apart as blood sprayed in all directions.
It didn’t stop there; the monster then grabbed the leader’s body with its two hands before tearing it into several pieces, then threw them away.
Bits of torn flesh and intestines scattered everywhere in a rain of blood.
Howls of beastly nature reverberated out from the forest.
The complexions of the bandits grew incredibly pale in an instant. They screamed in panic and tried to run away. Too bad though, the undead beasts targeted them first and began hunting the bandits down.
They bit, tore, and ripped their victims apart.
This was one hell of a merciless and cruel sight to behold.
One of the Crimson Cross members cried out, “They’re lycanthropes!”
“What the hell? Wait a minute, are you talking about werewolves from horror movies?”
What this crimson robe-wearing guy said didn’t make much sense to me. These things looked different from the werewolves I saw in movies, after all. Their appearances just seemed too unnatural to be called wolf-men, at least that’s what I thought.
It wasn’t the case of a human turning into a beast, but more like a beast which was forcibly trying to morph into a humanoid shape.
“Thankfully, they seemed to be nothing more than blood-creations.”
“We’ll be more than enough to deal with them, your highness.”
“Those damn bandits. They just increased our workload, didn’t they?”
The bandits who were killed off by the lycans began standing back up. They were now zombies, their eyes glowing in an eerie crimson hue.
The lycans and the zombies were glaring at the Crimson Cross and me.
It was then, the door to the other carriage flung open and Archbishop Raphael Astoria walked outside.
“You lycans, half-man and half-beast undeads!” He scanned his surroundings before quickly slamming his wooden crosier hard on the ground. “Allow me to grant you all an eternal respite!”
I finally figured things out after listening to him.
So… was this the reason why Raphael and his granddaughter were headed to Hilda’s territory up in the northwest?
Raphael raised his crosier up and closed his eyes before offering a prayer.
Upon seeing this, the Crimson Cross members quickly tightened their cordon even further.
Unlike the zombies, the lycans were scanning our group as if they wanted to observe us first. Then, perhaps after judging Raphael to be the most dangerous one among us, they began dashing towards him.
I raised the musket rifle and took aim, but before I could fire, a crossbow bolt flew in from another direction and cleanly penetrated through a lycan’s shoulder.
The undead monster flinched nastily and hurriedly turned its head towards a hill nearby.
People kitted out in green robes and balaclavas were riding on horses and rushing towards our direction. They expertly reloaded their crossbows even as they rode on horseback. The blades attached to lengthy spears carried by these people were pointed at the zombies.
After the bolts penetrated through the zombified bandits, the horses’ hooves ruthlessly trampled down on them.
The eyes of those carrying the spears seemed to flash sharply as they threw their weapons forward.
Numerous lycans swiftly retreated while swinging their claws powerfully, knocking away or breaking the incoming spears.
They howled out in that unique-to-beasts manner before quickly returning back inside the forest.
“Do not give them chase! The forest is their territory!”
A maiden riding on a horse at the front of this new group shouted out, then she pulled on the reins of her mount to stop right before our eyes.
The spear-wielding maiden was still in her early to mid twenties.
She scanned the Crimson Cross members and then locked her gaze on the archbishop. “It’s been a long time, your eminence.”
She bowed her head like a proper knight before turning her head in my direction. While furrowing her brows, she dismounted from the horse.
She lowered herself a little to match my eyeline and then proceeded to scan my face from this and that angle.
“It’s been a while, little brother. However, you certainly have changed a lot, didn’t you? I’ve already heard it from his majesty but to think that your whole atmosphere has changed to this extent in only half a year…”
I checked her attributes right away.
I confirmed that she had aspects of a wise ruler, incredible talent in pretty much everything, and on top of that, excellent martial prowess as well.
“No, wait. Even if it’s been a while, you supposedly have lost your memories, have you not? In that case, I must introduce myself properly then.”
A princess knight oozing the confidence and pride of a male knight – she was none other than…
“I’m Hilda! And I welcome you to my fiefdom, my dear little brother.”
…Hilda Olfolse, the fourth child of the Crown Prince and the granddaughter of the Holy Emperor.
She also happened to be my older sister too.
< 040. Imperial Prince is Heading Out to Enjoy a Festival -3 (Part One and Two) > Fin.
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