The current mayor of Thermax and the attorney general had already departed, so we gave up on trying to capture them.
However, Luca and Thermax soldiers would soon siege Duke Cyrus’s carriage, which contained his assets.
The torturers kept their lips sealed at first, but quickly became desperate to avoid meeting me and spilled out their secrets.
Seriously though, you couldn’t even tell who the torturer was anymore, and Luca and the others were now sending me hurtful looks. Give me a break.
In any case, we managed to get the torturers to explain that Duke Cyrus had ordered them to torture me and to have me hand over my rights unconditionally.
The evacuation towards Amgazem was proceeding without a hitch, and we left only 1000 people in Thermax. Then, the next morning rolled around.
Like Sutherland, Thermax was surrounded by castle walls and a moat, and 1000 soldiers lay waiting above the walls. Personally, I had wanted to evacuate everyone in order to prevent my magic from being seen.
The morning sun peaked above the mountain range and bathed the land in its faint light as countless undead appeared, blanketing the land.
“T-they’re all undead?” said a trembling soldier.
They were quite impressive, what with the clouds of dust they were kicking up and the constant tremor of their stomps.
“Let me warn you: I won’t say I’ll definitely win, so I don’t mind if you evacuate now,” I said.
“No, please let us stay here!!” the soldiers replied, refusing my convenient (to me) proposal.
“I’ve been telling everyone here that you’ve somehow beaten the Hero,” said an annoying old man. “Also about how your magic is even more powerful than Sieg the Sage.”
I glared at him.
“Your Excellency, the prime minister, wouldn’t it be better for you to evacuate this dangerous location?”
“I’ll evacuate once I see the battle with my own eyes,” he said. “But don’t forget that Viscount Amgazem is part of the expeditionary force, so he shouldn’t oppose us since we have a secret letter from the emperor. Whether I’m there or not is a trivial matter.”
The current emperor, currently standing head-to-head against the court nobles, enjoyed extreme popularity among the expeditionary force members. That being said…….
“That’s not the problem here,” I objected. “Well, that might be the problem, but in any case, it’s dangerous here so—”
“So you won’t tell even me? But knowing your personality, you’d pull your ace out of your sleeve without a moment’s hesitation if it truly turned dangerous,” cackled the prime minister.
Sieg or someone had probably spilled a bit about my teleportation power, even though I explained to that geezer over and over to keep it a secret.
“Grey-dono, I eagerly await to see your rumored miraculous powers!” said the deputy mayor, Zirken Midrun, whose eyes glittered with curiosity.
Hey, you geezer. What the hell did you tell these guys?
“The enemy has begun moving!” Luca suddenly shouted, and everyone tensed up and stared at the undead army.
They marched up to the castle gate and stopped several meters in front. Then, the army split in half and a man wearing blue armor stepped out.
The prime minister stared in shock for a moment, but his face soon warped into a devil-like face.
“So that’s General Lamperts……” Luca said in a husky voice.
Lamperts Brauser—while part of the empire’s army, he ran counter to the orders of his superior, a court noble, and continued to stay an ally for the commoners. He was a true hero, not even worth comparing to that false one.
“Grey, that’s Lamperts, the man who gave up his life for our people. I beg of you, free him from that spell,” the prime minister pleaded. From the painful look on his face, Lamperts might have been the only authority in the army, in which the court nobles ran rampant about.
“I plan to,” I curtly replied.
Using《Wind Manipulation》, I descended in front of the castle gate, when Lamperts broke off from the undead army and began walking towards me. Then, the undead stopped uncannily.
I, too, began walking towards Lamperts.
Now, we were a mere dozen of meters apart, and I could clearly make out his figure.
He wore a blue armor that covered all four limbs and his torso, and he wielded a rusty longsword in his right hand. He looked majestic and you could clearly tell he had survived many fierce battles.
And if not for his pallid face devoid of any consciousness, you wouldn’t have guessed he was actually dead.
“The general of the army, Lamperts Brauser, right?”
As I had expected, his dark pupils just stared at me, neither confirming nor denying my question.
By why, then, was Lamperts here alone? Why did the armored undead stop their advance? Yes, the armored undead merely looked on from afar without even budging. It was like they were an actual army that followed the commands of their superior, Lamperts.
“You’re trying to do something unnecessary,” I chided myself.
The undead were deceased. No, even if they were alive, they were my enemies, so I would just exterminate them normally.
“I request that we fight one-on-one, Grey Millard,” Lamperts shouted his laughably selfish request.
Normally, I valued the destination over the journey, especially against mindless undead. They were nothing more than test subjects, and I hated this farce that strayed so far away from my methods.
For some reason, however, I felt the need to defeat this man completely and utterly.
Lamperts began by raising his longsword and roaring at the sky like a beast. He then turned back to face me and dashed forward. I adjusted my balance and prepared for battle.
Like turbulent waves in the ocean, Lamperts endlessly attacked. I was amazed at how refined each and every strike was. If our physical prowesses were equal, I might have struggled quite a bit.
I dodged the longsword encased in a raging wind that was swung at my neck and closed the distance, striking Lamperts’s abdomen with my left palm.
He immediately crumpled and lowered his face, which I then struck with my right palm.
The dull feeling of bones breaking reverberated into my palm as Lamperts flew into the ground, creating several fissures.
Without a moment’s delay, I brought my right foot down onto his torso.
My stomp formed a crater, but I heeded that fact no mind and continued to stomp down.
“It’s my victory,” I declared, but he continued to look up at me with his lifeless eyes as he cracked a smile.
“Thank……you. I leave my subordinates……to you,” muttered Lamperts, the light now leaving his eyes.
I began to open my mouth, when Lamperts’s body began eroding away.
Suddenly, the large army of undead knights charged forwards towards the castle walls. A light shone out of Lamperts’s eroding body right before it completely disappeared, as if reminding me of his final request.
“I accept your request,” I sighed and teleported onto the castle walls.
“Wha?” one soldier muttered in disbelief.
“Wasn’t he just over there!?” another added.
In contrast to the flustered Thermax soldiers, the prime minister bowed deeply before me and said, “Grey Millard, I thank you for putting my friend to sleep.”
“It’s still a bit early for that.”
I faced my palm towards the undead knights that were still rushing forwards and creating tremors in the process.
This was Lamperts’s request, as well as a promise, and I fulfilled any promises that I made.
I’ll send them to hell as a parting gift and use my strongest spell as a sign of courtesy.
But in order to do so, I’d have to use my previously unused tactical legend-rank magic. The tactical legend-rank magic would turn any land barren, no matter how much I held back, something I was sure of after using one in the『Ancient Forest』.
Moreover, this spell was the strongest of the four legend-rank I knew. According to its description in the grimoire, it could be classified as a God-rank magic on its might alone, but it had the demerit of being remarkably difficult to control. I failed to grasp the right timing of when to use it, but here was an open plain without a single soul in sight. Truly a fitting tribute to the undead knights.
I closed one eye and began chanting.
“【Crimson Meteors】” I called out after the long chant, when a beam of light shone through far away clouds. The beam instantly evaporated both the undead who still continued their charge and even the ground.
Then, more beams poured out like the start of a rain shower and began bathing the ground in its crimson colors.
The beams of light, several meters in radius, evaporated the undead knights while continuing to multiply even further.
“Amazing! Is that crimson light frying those undead in an instant!?” Luca exclaimed, excitedly pointing her finger at the evaporating undead.
“Yes, it’s wonderful. Grey-dono, what kind of magic is that?” the deputy mayor of Thermax, Zirken Midrun, asked in excitement. However, I didn’t have the time to answer him.
I had a bad feeling. I mean, who wouldn’t? My magic wasn’t light magic—it should have rained down meteors.
With all my might, I layered dozens of my most powerful protection magic, the super-rank spell, 【Aegis】.
Countless blue membranes completely covered Thermax’s walls in a dome. As long as the meteors didn’t directly strike the shield, it would probably hold. So probably……
“O-oi, what’s that……?” One soldier pointed at the sky and stared with his mouth agape, and as if his sweat glands had gone haywire, sweat poured down his face like a waterfall.
No wonder. A giant meteor covered in a red ball of flame peeked out of the clouds where he was pointing.
“Ua…….” The soldier finally realized the crimson beans were just the appetizer. One after another, the soldiers lost strength in their legs and collapsed onto the cold stone floor on top of the castle walls.
An incomprehensible number of flaming meteorites appeared out of the clouds, already having covered the entire sky.
Then, the innumerable meteorites scorched the ground with a blazing heat.
“That……Is that—!” the prime minister despaired, and soon the meteors began falling.
The meteors crashed into the ground, dyeing everything white.
They created concentric shockwaves complete with a blazing hot heat wave which combined, instantly evaporated the undead and blew their remains away.
After just a single meteor, over half the undead had disappeared, and several layers of 【Aegis】had shattered. A cold chill ran down my spine.
“This isn’t funny!!” I shouted and began using everything I had left to desperately continue stacking on layers of 【Aegis】. Then, hell finally arose, and the rest of the meteors all came crashing down at once.
I continued to pile layer on top of layer of 【Aegis】with my life on the line.
It was merely a couple of minutes. With only two layers of 【Aegis】left, the aftershocks finally subsided, and I wiped the sweat off my face.
Seriously. I almost shot myself in the foot there. If I had used that for the battle in front of Sutherland, the aftershocks would have sent everyone happily marching over to the doors of hell.
A giant crater was laid out before me, its end nowhere in sight. Those monstrous meteors annihilated not just the undead, but the entire ground.
Clean up’s looking like it’ll be quite the effort; it’ll probably take several months to reverse the damage. Well, I’m the one who messed it up. I’ll take responsibility until it’s all cleaned up.
I scanned my surroundings, but almost everyone had passed out at just the sight of the scenery, and the ones who had retained their consciousness were just a moment before losing it.
“Grey, are you really human?” the prime minister asked in a hackneyed manner.
“There’s no way I could be anything else,” I shrugged.
“No, there’s no way a human could wield this power—this absolutely absurd power. Which means you must be a spirit or a mythical beast? No! No! Definitely not! No matter how high rank a spirit or mythical beast, there’s no way they could produce this power!! Which means—”
The prime minister forged on ahead with his mumblings, completely ignoring my reply.
Officer Luca, on the other hand, remained captivated by this insane scenery and plopped onto the ground. Even deputy mayor Zirken was kneeling on the floor with bubbles frothing from his mouth.
In any case, not even a single trace of the undead was left. The streets of Thermax were safe. I guess I can say the battle was a success for now.
“Thermax should be fine now. Please start with the cleanup, prime minister,” I said.
“As you say.”
I tilted my head at his weirdly nuanced statement before teleporting in front of Sutherland’s north gate.