“Your Imperial Majesty, the scouts have returned.”
Altonius replied with “Mmh” and urged the knight to report with his gaze.
“No undead were seen up ahead.”
“Yes, let’s not delay.”
“Mmh, let’s depart.”
The knights replied to Altonius all at once. Just like Altonius, the knights would like to refrain from being turned undead by the Salbuveirs.
Altonius’ party resumed advancing through the secret passage. The path was narrow and their footsteps echoed around. The echoes of their footsteps were awfully loud, but that was a trivial thing at the moment.
Two knights holding torches were in front, three knights and Altonius behind them, followed by another seven knights in the rear. Altonius was dissatisfied with the number of Fildmerk Empire followers accompanying him, but this was another driving force in his anger towards the Salbuveirs.
(I will definitely revive the Fildermerk Empire. You filthy undead… I will let you realize that letting away this Emperor was your biggest mistake ever.)
Strictly speaking, because Altonius yielded the throne over to Etra, his current position is that of the former Emperor. However, deep inside Altonius’ mind, he holds onto the thought of being the Emperor.
His abdication to Etra was just out of convenience, so he thought he could take back the throne at any time.
People with a normal train of thought would realize that this is something that has to be realized legally, ethically, and with others’ permission, but Altonius did not think so. You could say that this was the proof of Altonius mental state deteriorating.
The pitiful party, including the former Emperor who had begun to fall ill, was unaware that they had already been captured.
“One, two… four, twelve… no thirteen, huh.”
Kulm announced the number of people they were hunting while running. They were able to grasp the number of people vaguely when they entered, but after closing the distance, that number has become clear.
“We will catch up in about five minutes.”
It was Emilia’s maid Amis who replied to her briefly.
“I believe everyone understands but you absolutely cannot kill Altonius. We have to make him suffer more than we did.”
Everyone responded to Kulm.
“Brother, are we taking them by surprise then? Or do we just plunge into them right away?”
Kulm replied to Emilia with a grin on his face.
“Of course, we are plunging straight in. Altonius will most likely order the knights to defend while he escapes on his own.”
It’s safe to say that Kulm’s expectations were malicious. But everyone knew that the malice was in the right place in this case. It was Altonius who ran away from his family and people he should have protected. There’s no way he would hesitate to abandon his remaining knights to escape.
“However, I believe that each knight escorting the scum Altonius is most likely quite capable.”
Emilia nodded to Helen.
“Yes, indeed. They are surely capable people, but it’s not like they can stop us.”
Helen and Amis replied cheerfully to Emilia. That’s because Emilia’s words were a statement of trust.
“There they are…”
One of the retainers uttered as the group finally came in sight. The Salbuveir party’s expression turned serious as each formed weapons out of the miasma.
“Altonius! Stop right there!”
Kulm shouted as he rushed towards Altonius’ group. Hearing Kulm, the shoulders of Altonius’ party jolted. The expression of those who turned around was all the same. It goes without saying that their faces were filled with fear.
“Hiiii! Everybody! Defend me!!”
The knights unsheathed their swords, and everyone except the torch holders halted to face the pursuers.
The armor of the knights rattled as their bodies quivered while they took a stance.
“You cursed Salbuveirs. We won’t let you pass here!!”
Ten knights faced the Salbuveir party.
It was more appropriate to call the knights’ war cry, screaming rather than shouting, but it seemed to have a moderate effect in distracting the fear. Otherwise, the knights would drop on the spot.
(Hou… far from sinking down to the floor, they came out in the front, huh.)
Kulm was surprised by the actions of the knights. There were some despairing people among the knights, but they were certainly trying to oppose the Salbuveir party.
The retainers responded briefly to Kulm’s simple orders.
The knights screamed madly but the retainers plunged into them without a care. The knight looked shocked while holding his sword but the next moment, his shocked expression turned into pained one.
The sword created from miasma was plunged into his abdomen.
The knight whose abdomen was stabbed grasped the retainer’s sword. He tried to stop the sword from pushing deeper, but it was impossible for him to stop the sword. The retainer then pushed the sword downwards, cutting off the knight’s fingers as well as causing his guts to spill out from his torn abdomen.
“Gaaaaahhh!! My fingeeeers!! Waaaaaagrghh!!”
The knight tried to hold his spilling guts in place desperately. The indifferent retainer then grabbed the face of the knight who tried to stop his guts from spilling out and mercilessly cut his throat.
The knight fell to the ground, dyeing the floor with his blood.
“I’m not dying in a place like this!!”
The knights continued to resist the Salbuveirs without losing their will to fight even if their arms got cut off. Because of that, it took about three minutes to eliminate all ten knights. In these three minutes, the distance between Kulm’s group and Altonius had opened.
You could say that the resistance the knights put up was not in vain. Should time and circumstances permit, they would be celebrated as heroes who protected their master with their lives, but of course, in the world ruled by the Salbuveirs, nothing honorable as this was not going to happen to them.
“Haah, haah, haah!!”
Altonius ran so desperately his heart almost stopped.
(Just a little bit more!!)
He shouted in his mind. Altonius knew the exit was just around the corner.
(I can run away!)
When Altonius saw the light outside, a smile floated on his face. This passage had a mechanism to bury the pursuers alive if necessary. He naturally understood that this wouldn’t be enough to kill the Salbuveirs.
Altonius began to laugh out loud as he left the passage. Just imagining the frustrated faces of the Salbuveirs made him joyous.
His face froze up once he jumped out of the exit. That’s because there was someone waiting for him.
“You took your time, Altonius.”
The head of the Salbuveir clan Ortho, and his wife Elsapia waited for Altonius with soft smiles on their faces.