Grandson of the Holy Emperor is a Necromancer - Chapter 87
Chapter 87: 050. Imperial Prince is Hunting Santa -2 (Part One)
Harman and I climbed aboard a carriage after two weeks of preparation came to an end. And on the tenth day of travel to Humite…
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The inside of the carriage made clunking noises due to the uneven road surfaces.
Harman pushed forward a document in my direction. “It’s your new identity, your highness. With the aid of the feudal lord Jenald, we were able to give you the false identity of his adopted son. Also, here. It seems that his highness Luan wished for you to have a quiet but enjoyable time in our destination.”
He produced another document and handed it over to me.
“This is a transfer document to the Humite Academy. Since you have a student’s identity, the Black Order shouldn’t suspect you immediately. In fact, spending some time as a student while fulfilling your duties can perhaps be…”
“Man, my big brother did something unnecessary, didn’t he? Forget about being a student or whatever, it’ll be over as soon as I discover where those stinkers are hiding at, you know?”
I clicked my tongue.
What I wanted was the right to freely access the library. Oh, and also those tomes related to Necromancy under the management of the library’s overseers.
Harman opened the window pane of the carriage.
It was getting pretty deep into the night. If we didn’t have lanterns attached to our carriage, it would’ve been next to impossible to discern anything in our vicinity.
Even through the darkness of the night, I could see lights from a city coming from below the hill in the far-off distance.
“We should arrive at our destination later tonight, your highness. But do you really not require any escorts?”
Currently, our carriage didn’t have any escorts or even simple guards. I asked Luan to make it so that I could move around freely within Humite.
“It doesn’t matter. You already know I’m capable of anyways.”
Harman knew full well what I could do. And he seemed to know how to keep secrets, seeing as he hasn’t blabbed anything to anyone yet. However, I was still kind of confused about him not reporting the truth to the Holy Emperor, though.
“Also, it’ll be more convenient for me without any eyewitnesses around, too.”
“But your highness, your safety…”
“Well, let me ask you this then. Between Ronia’s Vampire Count and the Black Order, which one of the two do you think is stronger?”
“…Even if the Black Order members attack in droves, they wouldn’t be able to leave a scratch on that Vampire Count.”
“Well, it’s all good in that case, right?”
While replying like that, I read the contents of the documents.
The emperor himself personally provided me with the necessary intel this time around; information related to the incidents and various crimes the Black Order was responsible for. Such as, mercilessly devastating villages, committing murders, and even abducting children too.
However, all these incidents could be considered small scale on the level of a ‘village’.
They didn’t have the resources or the talents of the Vampires to infiltrate the imperial palace, nor did they possess enough strength to rock a region like how the lycanthropes had done.
Meaning… they were nothing more than small fries.
Man, it’s really surprising to learn that such small-time crooks were aiming for my life.
However, they were going to be ‘useful’ in their own way. They possessed considerable wealth of ‘magical knowledge’; seeing as their own lifespan had to be put up as collateral, they literally risked their own lives to research and refine their magic. This naturally indicated that they should be in possession of many valuable books and items related to their research.
“Yes, your highness.”
“Since I’m dealing with bad people here, it’s okay to do whatever I want, right?”
The Holy Emperor personally granted me the authority of a ‘Heresy Inquisitor’. Because it was his imperial command, no one would be able to hinder me unless three or more archbishops agreed to do so.
As the Black Order bastards were the villains in this case, it’d be left completely up to me whether I choose to roast them alive or chop them up into tiny little bits.
“…Your highness. Your current expression resembles his majesty a little too much.”
Harman sitting on my opposite side in the carriage was making a fed-up face. I flinched and hurriedly touched my lips. Since when did I start making creepy grins like this one?
“There’s no bloody way I resemble my grandfather.”
“Actually, you’re a perfect copy of his majesty.”
“…” I smacked my lips unhappily before continuing on, “By the way, what’s this?”
I pushed forward one of the documents containing information.
Harman took it over, browsed it, and then responded. “Ah, it’s the Red Devil.”
“Well, you know that tale, don’t you? The one about the Red Devil coming to abduct children who are being naughty.”
“Is that like a fairytale or something?”
“The Red Devil actually exists, your highness. From what I hear, it has a rotund body, overgrown beard, and wears red clothing. While carrying a red pouch slung on its back, it darts across the rooftops.”
Hang on, isn’t that basically a description of Santa?
Santa Claus is abducting kids?
Doesn’t that sound somewhat like an idea for a horror movie?
“Wow, this world can be so weird. Christmas is Halloween while Santa shows up in the middle of Spring too.”
“The truth is, that thing is nothing more than a familiar employed by the Black Order.”
According to Harman, the creature was ‘manufactured’ by combining all sorts of zombies. It sat one step above a ghoul in the evolution ladder, and apparently it also even possessed a considerable skillset.
Harman continued on. “The creature is unexpectedly strong, your highness.”
“But what if you fight it one on one?”
“It’ll be my victory, of course.” Harman proudly sat up taller in his seat. “The issue at hand is with how to locate the Red Devils. They truly excel at erasing their presence. Even the most skilled Paladin would easily miss them unless the bastards are standing right before his face.”
Was that why the Black Order guys resorted to using the Red Devil?
The ones I was about to confront were Necromancers. A sub-type of Magicians who were famed for being invalids that locked themselves away in some dank corner of a room somewhere. There was no way they would be willing to personally dirty their hands.
Did that mean I wouldn’t be able to latch onto their scents?
I wonder. Maybe that’d be a tall order for me too…
If we were talking about the undead, then sure, I could sniff out the stench of their demonic energy, but since we were dealing with living people here, I had to use [Mind’s Eye] to confirm their statuses.
For instance, I wouldn’t have discovered Morgana’s real identity if it weren’t for this convenient skill.
In that case, I might need some kind of a ‘bait’.
“A bait, is it…?”
That’s right, I needed something to tempt those invalids hiding inside the dark corner to show themselves somehow.
All of the abducted children so far were aged between ten to sixteen. But I couldn’t just use a child as bait even if that’s what the Black Order bastards were looking to kidnap.
I abruptly began blinking my eyes in the next moment.
Wait a minute, how old am I this year again?
Didn’t I, like, turn sixteen this year?
In that case…
“You know, just in case…”
“Let me ask you this. What do you think will happen if a sixteen-year-old boy is standing around alone with no guards or people nearby?”
Harman’s brows rose up high at my question.
“As a kidnapper, wouldn’t you be interested in that?”
I began snickering away.
Our carriage only managed to reach the city of Humite during late evening. This place didn’t even have any surrounding outer walls to speak of.
We climbed out of the carriage and began walking on the city avenues to get the feeling of enjoying a simple trip.
The hours were late, but a normal city street should still be filled with footsteps that belonged to either travellers, adventurers, or both. There should be lots of bright lights coming from everywhere too. However, right now, not even a hint of their presence could be seen and it was also eerily quiet.
Actually, I could spot several soldiers on patrol a lot more often instead.
It was understandable, though – because of the Red Devil’s appearance, people simply avoided wandering around in the streets at night.
Perhaps due to Harman’s outfit, the patrolling soldiers only chatted to us briefly before letting us pass.
While walking down the city’s street, I casted my gaze over to a large public notice stuck to a wall nearby.
[Beware of the Red Devil! If something happens to your child, alert the garrison immediately.]
A drawing of a red ‘thing’ was accompanied by the warning notice.
The space next to the notice was dominated by scribbled queries asking about the whereabouts of the missing children, as well as the illustrations of what the kids looked like, which were most likely placed there by the desperate parents themselves.
I was getting the sense of people suffering from genuine terror while staring at all these posters.
I could only lick my lips for now. While feeling rueful from what I just saw, I shifted my eyes away from the missing children posters and at the image of the Red Devil.
No matter how I look at it, that thing… was a damn ‘Santa Claus’. Look at that body, that beard, even the pouch slung over its back, the whole nine yards!
It was then, the tip of my nose stung. My gaze automatically shifted towards the direction of the offending stench.
There was something running across the rooftops while casting its long shadow from the cold moonlight.