Apart from our journey down to Als Point, we had to make a certain choice that day.
We could see Klitz Point from a distance as we slowly approached it.
“…What should we do?”
Neither Ellen nor Eleris could give me an answer to my question.
Last time we were there, it was raining and midnight, but that time the weather was quite nice, and we were able to reach the vicinity of Klitz Point just as the sun started to set.
Klitz Point, which was enveloped in a gloomy atmosphere unique to ghost towns, looked even worse than when I had seen it last.
We had to choose between sleeping in that dark and eerie place or just sleeping outside.
Sleeping outside was pretty dangerous.
We could rest relatively safely, protected by Klitz Point’s fence and houses. Of course, we had to put up with that creepy atmosphere and the smell of blood.
As safety was our top priority, I thought it would be better to stay at Klitz Point, even if it was somewhat uncomfortable.
“…Let’s go in for now. If we can endure the smell of blood, we’ll be able to rest there pretty safely.”
Ellen seemed to have judged as such after taking a look at it. I decided to rest inside the Point as well if the smell of the scattered corpses was somewhat tolerable.
Just thinking about it made me feel terrible again.
Just looking at the bodies before felt like a bitch, but as a few days had passed already, the corpses must have decomposed somewhat, and maggots must have started feasting on them. I didn’t have the confidence to take in that sight and stay sane.
There would even be the corpses of the ones we killed among them.
Eleris also looked very terrible as she was probably thinking about something similar to what I was.
… But weren’t vampires undead?
So wouldn’t that make Eleris a corpse as well?
…What was with that?
I only thought about it, but I felt like I was actually bad-mouthing Eleris.
I was thinking about something extremely rude.
After apologizing to Eleris in my heart, we entered Klitz Point.
Ellen suggested that we should sleep outside if the smell of the rotting corpses was too strong.
We couldn’t detect any scent of the rotten corpses Ellen was worried about, even after we entered Klitz Point.
However, that wasn’t the only reason why we were surprised.
“Where… did all the corpses go?”
The corpses that were supposed to be scattered all over Klitz Point were all gone.
* * *
The corpses of the people that originally resided in Klitz Point were all thrown into a hole by the bandits, so they were kind of buried in the ground.
We had dug a trap at the entrance of the inn and buried the bandits who fell into the pit alive.
However, those who tried to escape through the windows were stabbed or shot to death one after the other. We had no time to dispose of their corpses.
So the corpses of those bandits should have still been strewn about. However, all the corpses just seemed to have disappeared.
Ellen and I had eliminated the guards at the entrance of the Point and thrown them into the bushes; their corpses that were supposed to be still there were also missing.
Not only that…
“…I don’t think anyone buried them either.”
The pit in front of the inn, and the hole the bandits put the corpses in, seemed to have both been dug up.
Did what happened at Als Point really come up to Klitz Point?
Or was that a completely different case?
Anyway, something unusual seemed to have happened at Klitz Point again.
“Did something like a beast… Eat all of the corpses?”
Eleris carefully gave her opinion. A beast wouldn’t be able to eat so many corpses, and there would have been bones or scraps left over if that were the case.
“Does a beast exist that can devour all of the corpses aboveground, dig up pits, and also devour all of the buried corpses as well?”
At Eleris’s words, Ellen asked her that with a completely serious expression.
“Hmm… I wouldn’t say there isn’t one.”
I could see the possible suspects running through Eleris’s mind. Eleris seemed to know some monsters that were that gluttonous.
All the corpses had disappeared, and the situation was more than suspicious.
The area was obviously dangerous. Ellen was thinking deeply.
“I don’t know if sleeping outside or staying here would be more dangerous.”
It would be dangerous if we continued to act at night. Sleeping outside would leave us vulnerable to raids in a wide-open place.
However, it would also be dangerous to stay at Klitz Point, as we didn’t know what happened there.
We had to pick one risky situation between the two.
We were being forced to make a very uncomfortable choice.
“There’s also the method of staying up all night like last time, but…”
That method would consume too much of our stamina. In that situation where we couldn’t be sure if the southern route was completely safe, it would be a very bad idea to unnecessarily lose our stamina. That option couldn’t even be considered.
“Let’s rest here for now and check the situation. It would be impossible for us to hide if we slept outside. I think that would be a lot more dangerous.”
There were multiple buildings there in Klitz Point. If we hid inside one of them, no one would be able to clearly see us.
As the leader of the party, Ellen had made her decision. We didn’t feel any other discomfort other than the gloomy and eerie atmosphere emanating through the whole Point. As the corpses had suddenly disappeared, that meant there wasn’t any rotting smell either.
We settled in at another inn, not the one we burned down.
We decided to sleep in the dining room on the first floor rather than in a room from which we couldn’t escape quickly in case of something unexpected happening.
We picked the dining room as it was a wide enough area for us to act freely in case of an emergency, and we could clearly monitor the situation of most of the Point through the windows.
By lighting all the torches we could find in the Point, we could secure enough light sources to identify any possible threats in advance. However, another option would be to not use any light at all.
“Let’s not light up the area. We might get targeted.”
Ellen chose the latter. People had been massacred inside that inn as well, so the smell of blood rose up from the carpets and leather furniture.
However, it wasn’t unbearable. Enough time had passed, and the smell was pretty much gone.
There was a kitchen in the inn, so we could even cook inside, but we were in no position to worry about something like that in the tense situation we found ourselves in.
However, we still ate dinner, which consisted of preserved foods, including bread and ham, inside the inn. Some of the ingredients had already started to decay, so we didn’t touch them.
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“We don’t know what might happen, so we should eat as much as we can.”
Ellen seemed like she needed to refill her stamina, so she was devouring all the preserved foods we could find inside the inn because it wasn’t part of our provision.
I didn’t want to tell speak up about it in that situation, but didn’t she just want to eat a lot?
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“Let’s get some rest and leave early in the morning.”
“That’s a good idea.”
Eleris nodded, agreeing with Ellen.
We decided to sleep on one of the inn’s wide tables.
However, we would just take short rests. As we didn’t know what might await us, we decided to hold guard.
The first guard was Ellen, the second was me, and the third was Eleris. We would take turns sleeping for about two hours. Ellen decided that she would spend the most time as a guard among us.
“I can do it twice. You don’t have to push yourself.”
Eleris said that she would spend four hours as a guard in her stead. It seemed like she was worried. However, Ellen simply shook her head at that.
“No, Miss Relya, you need to preserve your strength the most among us.”
She seemed to be considerate towards her as she was a wizard. Of course, Eleris thanked her for that consideration, but she was still restless.
I’m fine! Really! Actually, I like the night a lot more because it’s cool!
It seemed like she was holding in what she actually wanted to say.
We would go to bed early and wake up at dawn when it was still dark. We all wanted to shorten our stay in Klitz Point as much as possible.
* * * How long had it been since I fell asleep on the table?
If one’s nerves were constantly on edge even after falling asleep, one could wake up so quickly as if one had never slept in the first place. Moonlight was seeping in from the window on the dark inn’s first floor.
Looking at Ellen’s expression, it seemed like nothing of note had happened.
“Good work. Sleep well.”
Ellen nodded and climbed onto the table, immediately laying down. She wouldn’t be able to sleep right away, but it would be better for her if she got some rest at least.
Ellen should be even jumpier than me when I tried to sleep. She might jump up if she heard the slightest rattling noise, so I sat down on a chair and moved to look through the windows around me with my arms crossed. I didn’t want to wander around and drive Ellen crazy.
Even though it was midsummer, the vicinity was so silent it almost felt chilling.
I had just realized how strong my nerves actually were, sleeping peacefully in a place where so many people had died.
If I came back safely from that place, I didn’t know if my skills would have improved, but I was 100% sure that my mentality would have grown a lot stronger.
I could see why Ellen wanted to gain some practical experience.
There was a limit to what one could achieve with training and practice alone. One could only improve further with practical experience.
I never wanted to experience killing someone.
However, both Ellen and I gained something out of it while also losing a certain something.
I didn’t think we could call it growth, but we had definitely changed, and we would never be able to go back to how we were.
Eleris was lying on her side on the table, looking at me. She probably never even fell asleep in the first place.
Just as Ellen and I were extremely nervous, Eleris must have been even more nervous. She might have been on edge, constantly preparing for any accident that might occur. Had Eleris ever slept decently since we started that journey?
Just as Ellen was mentally exhausted, Eleris probably felt the same. She didn’t show any signs of feeling burdened, though.
She just looked at me quietly in the dark and smiled.
No matter what happens, I’ll protect myself and Ellen.
So don’t worry.
That was what her smile seemed to convey.
My nerves, which had been pulled taut up until then, loosened a bit as I relaxed slightly.
Her smile blew away my stress and fatigue.
I was safe.
‘It’s alright. Your Highness should sleep. I’ll keep watch.’ Eleris responded to me only by mouthing what she wanted to say when I told her that it would be fine for her to sleep.
How did Eleris become so stubborn? I didn’t fall asleep when Eleris told me it would be fine if I did.
I just whiled away the time as I kept an eye on my surroundings. Eleris would most likely not wake up Ellen at all, even after her guard time was over. She would let her sleep.
How long had it been?
Eleris’s expression as she looked at me suddenly hardened.
‘You have to get ready.’
At these words, all my muscles hardened.
It seemed that something had been caught in the surveillance web Eleris had spread out.
I went straight to the window to check the moonlit Klitz Point. It was dark, so I couldn’t see really well.
I couldn’t use the night vision spell.
However, I could use self-suggestion to strengthen my eyesight. I wasn’t sure if I could give myself infrared vision, but I sure wanted to see a bit better than that.
It wasn’t the same as when I was under the night vision spell, but things definitely started to become a bit clearer.
Something was gathering around Klitz Point. There were a decent amount of them as well.
Both of them rose up at my shout.
Unidentified figures had been advancing in great numbers towards Klitz Point.
I couldn’t check properly, but it seemed like a group of people were walking towards the Point.
Both Ellen and Eleris stood up and armed themselves. The shapes I saw through the window could immediately be distinguished under the moonlight.
“What… are those…?”
Ellen was stunned for a moment at the absurd sight, and so was I.
Seeing that scene, Eleris muttered a single word.
Hordes of zombies were heading towards Klitz Point, no. To be precise, they were running towards the inn we were in.
“Rooms! Get into one of the rooms!”
Eleris urgently exclaimed.