Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 44: The Holy Beast?

Once the hateful sun vanished behind the horizon and left the world in darkness, they left the depths of their lair.

They had been the guardian of the temple and servants of the gods in a time immemorial. Their realm had been great and their influence reached far across the continent. They had sacrificed their lives and the vitality of their domain to seal and age-old evil below the foundation of their deity.

Here they had found their final resting place as honorable heroes of their people. In luxurious crypts they had been entombed for their great deed. Their people had to leave their now inhospitable lands afterwards. For millennia they had rested in the peaceful embrace of death, until a new power found its way into the old halls of the already forgotten temple.

”Rise! ”, it had told them and breathed new power in their mummified remnants. And thus, they rose again. Despite their new master, their task had never changed. Protect the temple, keep the Seal shut.

The power grew the temple. More floors and more layers spread, more traps and more forces. And the room of the seal kept sinking deeper, and the guard followed to protect it. Unknowing beasts and adventurers came and their corpses changed to become the guardians towards the surface.

Intruders came. They were weak in the beginning, but knew what they were doing. And even if they died, they would come back stronger and better prepared. The guardians were slain too, but the cruel new master resurrected them again and again, to fulfill their duty.

They could not let those ignorant heathens lay hand on the depths of the temple. They might break the seal, making their sacrifice worthless.

The intruders grew in strength and the seal grew weak with age. More of the true guardians swept to the upper floors to hold the ground. It was all for naught in the end.

A group of intruders unlike any that had come before easily destroyed their ranks and broke through into the core of the ruins. impossible to be reasoned with, the intruders and the master fought and in their stupid squabble damaged the old seal. Their biggest worries had come true. The ancient seal that had grown vulnerable from age and the lack of their deities ’ power finally gave in.

The terrifying power of the old evil seeped out of the cracks and took root in the foolish minds of the adversaries. Following this the evil spread throughout the dungeon and took hold of those that had once defeated it, making them it´s servant.

”More! ”, it demanded. It´s highest goal was to spread and they could only oblige and watch in horror as their bodies turned. New strength flooded their bodies as dried and old bones were soaked in a power as dark as ink. Trapped in their own bodies they could only watch themselves be subservient to their old enemy. Every time their body killed; their victim would also turn into a corrupted servant. None of them vanished and came back later like it had been before.

From then on, every night they were compelled to leave the dungeon and wander through the ruins of their once glorious home, searching for more beings to corrupt.

They started with the base and camps of the intruders, who had caused all this. One of their holy beasts had fought valiantly and tried to lower the numbers of infected, but died in the hands of the people that once worshiped it. Later came another group of intruders. They were stronger than the ordinary ones, but still fell under their overwhelming numbers and the holy beast that had joined their ranks.

Tonight, smelled like fresh life. Somebody had wandered into these old ruins and unknowingly had disturbed it´s stale air. Melancholy grasped his heart at the thought, that his mindless body would again slaughter an innocent soul, to add among their ranks.

The strongest scent came from the old base of the intruders, so him and the others rushed there like bloodhounds in absolute silence. Were the newcomers staying there? Why was there a hint of themselves among the newcomer ’s odor?

Tschink! klink klink… he slowed down.

Every step suddenly made the noise of metal hitting stone. Some of those beside him lost their balance and fell which cause even more tinkling. He lowered his gaze to his foot that had been pierced by a sharp iron tip. Looking around, the familiar ground and fallen comrades were riddled with caltrops. They did minor damage to them, but still disrupted the movement and slowed them down.

”Who had…? ”, looking around further, the ground was littered with wooden scraps. They all sniffed and followed the human scent into an alley a little further away. They looked up in unison.

Up there on one of the highest walls still standing in the vicinity stood a human figure, with the two moons as a backdrop. Even though it was not the sun, the moonlight of the two moons was bright enough to force them to avert their eyes.

Up here on the wall stood Seth, ready to stall for time until the sun would rise again.

The crowd he saw below him was actually quite terrifying! Not much more than dried leathery skin tightly wrapped around undead bones. It reminded him of air-dried mummies he had seen pictures of on the internet and TV.

Their eyes glowed in a red sheen and their teeth were sharpened to tips. They wore no weapons as their fingernails had grown to vicious claws. Ancient rags saved Seth an unpleasant view by barely covering their most important parts. Other than that, the description of the guild master was right. Their bodies were pitch-black, so dark that details vanished in the twilight and shadows below the moons.

Their level was too high for Seth´s ! There was no way he could get rid of this horde. It came all down to buying time! Their reaction when looking at the moon reinforced his confidence in their strategy.

Thunk!

A flaming arrow hit the eye of one of the squinting mummies. It stood there for a moment before falling to the ground, screaming, and writhing in pain. The ones around it scattered away to evade the brightly burning flame. It´s health bar appeared, but it did not take much damage from the arrow.

A small flame lit up the silhouette on and the wall, he heard the sound of an arrow being released and lost sight in his right eye. Normally this would have been nothing. Their bodies had become hardened and sturdy when the corruption seeped in and they were unable to feel pain!

Then why? Why did the light of this fire burn his skin? Why did it feel as if the fire that entered his empty skull had pierced into his soul? Just what was this…pain?

The first reason he had taken the high ground. It was easy to hit targets bound to the ground!

Second reason, they would have a hard time getting up he-

Suddenly several mummies nimbly like ninjas wall-jumped between the facades on both sides of the alley to get up to him. Some lost grip thanks to the caltrops stuck in their hands and feet. Seth managed to shoot two down, who fell to the ground twitching and crying in pain like the first one.

But finally, one reached him!

Only to suddenly be hit by a fairy-sized projectile. The force made the mummy instantly vanish from Seth´s field of view as it shot off into the distance.

Second reason, they would have a hard time getting up here.

Watching the effect of the fire, convinced Seth that it was even more effective than anticipated. Despite not doing much damage, it had a great crowd control effect!

Being hindered in climbing, the creatures finally felt bothered by the caltrops stuck in their appendages. They tried pulling them out, while dodging the flaming arrows and the searing light that came with them. But the rough barbs Seth had forged on the tips of the caltrops gave them a hard time and ripping them out with force even caused some permanent damage which severely affected their movement.

Seth sneered as he started to specifically aim for the impeded enemies.

Fin was not relaxing during this time! She took it upon herself to intercept any mummies attempting to climb the walls. The opponent ’s levels were in the later 30s, but showed a lot higher stats than the level suggested. It fit the descriptions in the log. Fin had no problem intercepting them, as long as she was not entangled into a fight with these monsters.

It took a while for the undead to back off from Seth´s wall. Even so the fire and arrows did not much damage, they inherently feared the light and pain they brought. A pain they had never known.

On the wall, Seth still had one and half a stack of arrows left. Arrows were a pain to make, so he had stocked up on regular ones in Starta. It was when he took a small breather, a dark projectile suddenly shot past Seth´s cheek and almost made him fall off his wall in surprise!

Another managed to hit him in the side and he crouched down on the wall, coughing blood. It felt like a gut punch that crushed his internal organs. His health instantly plummeted to the lower 800s!

”Who..? ”, he muttered. Among the crowd that had taken some distance from the alley littered with burning arrows, new opponents had appeared! Compared to the almost naked guardians, they wore wide and flowing robes riddled with holes and dirt.

A caster class! Like an affirmation another volley of black projectiles were fired at him! They were not very fast, but almost invisible in the night. The injured Seth was barely able to evade them by the skin of his teeth. It was a harmonic song that alleviated his suffering. Fin the battle priest had finally come to his aid.

The leaving pain, left a gap to be filled with wrath. What they can, Seth could do too! But better!

He pulled out another secret weapon and in the next moment a spiked ball of flames came down among the crowds of dried-up corpses!

It was actually just a piece of wood from the guild branch he had studded with spikes and set on fire. Similar to the caltrops, the spiked wood stuck to the undead, when Seth hit them correctly. And even if he did not, they would become flaming caltrops among the horde of undead and force them to scatter!

Seth knew from the log that he had no chance to fight these things in an open battle, so he had thought up a number of simple ways to spread fire and chaos among them.

Watching the scrambling undead of which some had tuned into torches after being hit by the flaming caltrops made Seth unwittingly laugh.

So, what if they were super strong and super high level!? They will all burn! Burn!

< Ding! Title: Arsonist has ranked up to Arsonist lv.2. "You take pleasure in the despair of your victims burning in the flames!! >

The abrupt system notification interrupted his little power trip. Instead of reveling in the glory of his strategies working, Seth restarted firing arrows aiming for the priests.

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