—The next day.
Fortunately, nothing really happened, and we could simply continue our journey after climbing down the tree.
What would we do if the incident was something even Eleris couldn’t handle?
Of course, we could just escape using the scroll, and Eleris could use Teleportation.
We continued south, believing in our own countermeasures. If we kept up our pace, we would be able to reach Als Point by the next day, and if we managed to get back safely to St. Point, after taking a look at the situation over there, our mission would be over.
After a light meal, we diligently walked ahead. Judging by the previous day’s situation, there didn’t seem to be any zombies present, but we had no other choice but to be concerned about our safety. We climbed on top of a rocky protrusion of a cliff and rested on its flat surface.
As it was placed on top of a mountain, we could see far in every direction.
However, no matter where we looked, it was just mountains upon mountains, so we couldn’t really see anything suspicious at all.
“It feels creepy.”
I could feel an unidentifiable eerie feeling tickling at the back of my head. It would have been better if something actually showed up, but nothing like that happened, so it felt even stranger.
* * *
—The next day.
We set off early in the morning. If we started walking only after the sun rose, we would arrive at Als Point after sunset, so we decided to set off very early, take a look, and then go back during the night.
“Let’s be very careful and rush back if we find out that Als Point is threatened by something serious.”
Ellen felt just that nervous to the point where she would say those kinds of things, even though nothing had happened yet.
With the awareness that we would be heading straight to the heart of all those incidents, we kept on walking, except for a few short breaks in between.
It seemed to be around five in the afternoon.
“That’s… Als Point.”
As we crossed over another hill, we found Als Point located at the foot of said hill. We stopped for a moment, not approaching it immediately. We had to first understand the situation of Als Point.
“There doesn’t seem to be any problem with it when looking at it from the outside…”
At Ellen’s words, I also tried to enhance my eyesight a bit, but I couldn’t find anything other than that Als Point seemed rather gloomy and that I couldn’t see anyone walking around.
“I’ll use a Telescope spell.”
Eleris used a low-ranking spell to view the situation more clearly from a distance.
After casting for some time, Eleris stared intently at Als Point.
“It’s a little different… From what happened in Klitz Point. There aren’t any zombies. None at all…”
Eleris murmured blankly.
“It seems more like the corpses have been eaten… I can see leftovers everywhere… Bone fragments and such…”
Remnants that seemed to hint at all the corpses having been eaten. That’s what one would see if one were to zoom in on the Point.
“What ate them?”
“…I think zombies did this.”
Hints of Zombies having eaten people could be seen. However, as time had passed, there were only remains left.
“Although it rained quite heavily recently, we should still see some footprints if anyone came or went since then, but there are none.”
It had rained when we went to annihilate those bandits.
At that time, any traces, footprints included, were completely washed away. However, there were no footprints or other traces of anyone coming or going ever since then.
“It seems like Als Point has been abandoned for a while already. If zombies appeared here as well, they would be all over the place.” “There was no reason for them to return to Als Point, as no one was left alive. They only attack the living… Right?”
If zombies had appeared there before, they had long left Als Point. The Point had been devoid of anything for quite some time already.
If one wanted to return from the front lines, namely Als Point one, two, and three, one had to pass through Als Point. Ellen seemed to have organized her thoughts and spoke quite curtly.
“So no one came back from the other three Points ahead…”
“…I guess so.”
The other three Points might have been wiped out already.
None of us could deny that it was quite likely.
“Let’s go check for now.”
There didn’t seem to be anything strange about the place at first, so we decided to get a closer look at Als Point.
* * *
Just seeing a village completely devoid of any person gave one a creepy and eerie feeling.
However, if one were to see blood all over the buildings of that village, it would instill fear in anyone who saw it.
There were bits of bones all over the place as well.
Als Point was the waypoint to the three frontline bases ahead; hence it was three times the size of St. Point and Klitz Point. However, there wasn’t a single soul in that huge Point.
We searched Als Point’s vicinity with tension in our hearts. We didn’t see any survivors or zombies, but we didn’t know what might come out to attack us.
Acting separately could be dangerous, so we went through each building together.
There were bloodstains and bone fragments scattered everywhere. The bones were already completely dry; they didn’t even emit the usual rotting smell, perhaps because the maggots had already gotten to them.
“Did they really get attacked by zombies?”
Looking at the pieces of the bones that had been eaten clean, Eleris expressed her doubts, her expression very serious.
“No. I don’t think so.”
Ellen shook her head, however. She looked at the bloodstains smeared on the wall.
“If zombies had attacked them to the point of destruction, there should have been more bones. However, while there are some pieces of bone scattered around that seemed to have been eaten clean by zombies, we can’t really say that these were all the people of Als Point.”
There were clear signs of predation, but their number was just too small.
“Perhaps they weren’t eaten while they were alive, but after they died.”
Ellen picked up one of the dry pieces of white bone.
“Because decapitated corpses probably can’t turn into zombies.”
The bones seemed to have been cut through with a blade or something as sharp.
“The people in Als Point were slaughtered by someone or a group holding weapons, and after the massacre took place, zombies came and cleaned up the place.”
They didn’t devour living people but corpses that couldn’t turn into zombies.
That was the conclusion Ellen seemed to have reached.
* * *
Traces of sword cuts could be found on some of the bone fragments.
I didn’t know who the culprit was, but it could be concluded that they had very sharp blades with them—they had to be sharp enough to kill people in a single stroke.
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And such weapons were by no means common.
Creating something with that sharpness wasn’t possible with common smithing, after all.
We carefully searched through the Point again.
“Let’s go to the Adventurers Guild.” Ellen headed to the Adventurers Guild in Als Point as if she knew exactly where to go.
There were traces of blood everywhere in the Adventurers Guild building.
There was a reason why Ellen had gone there.
“We need to find the Adventurers Guild’s log. Most of what went on at Als Point should be recorded there.”
There seemed to be a high chance that we would gain a major clue. Ellen already knew what to look for.
While searching through the Adventurers Guild’s building, she found a huge book in the manager’s office.
“I think this is the manager’s log.”
“Let’s take a look.”
Ellen opened the log.
The last recorded date in the log seemed to be Tuesday, July 21st.
For us, it was Friday, August 7th.
So the incident in Als Point had taken place three years prior.
Tuesday, July 21st, Year 323 of the Imperial Calendar.
-I shouldn’t have sent people to that tomb.
Snoton will kill us all.
That was the last entry. What tomb?
Was the tomb the reason for everything?
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And that name, Snoton…
Ellen turned the pages, looking for the first mention of the tomb.
Thursday, July 2nd, Year 323 of the Imperial Calendar.
-Three adventurers, Rank Snoton, B-Rank Paijin, and B-Rank Lyzer, reported finding unusual structures about two days east of Als Point. According to their sketch, it is presumed to be a tomb due to its enclosed nature. Since they are a party with high integrity, there is only a low possibility that the information provided is false.
As the information has already spread, it seems like a large-scale expedition team is being formed to properly research the place.
Adventurers of Als Point had discovered a tomb more than a month prior and set up an expedition team to search it. They didn’t know what dangers might await them, hence why they put together a team.
Sunday, July 12th, Year 323 of the Imperial Calendar.
-An expedition consisting of A to C Rank adventurers, who left to investigate the tomb to the east of Als Point, returned.
According to their reports, it was composed of three tombs, and there were no dangerous Demons or other threats in them.
They returned with a large amount of jewelry and precious metals. It was a considerable haul.
There were also some items that seemed to be enchanted among them. Detailed results will be available after the appraisal.
In such cases, conflicts with bloody ends might crop up among them to gain even a little more, and such a situation must be prevented by all means.
As a special note, they said that they found a sword in one of the three tomb’s coffins.
It seems that Snoton, the leader of the expedition team, had decided to keep it as his loot.
No one seemed to have objected to that.
‘A sword found in a tomb’s coffin.’
‘Maybe the adventurers touched something they shouldn’t have.’
I felt a certain sense of unease.
Tuesday, July 14th, Year 323 of the Imperial Calendar. -Fortunately, the expedition team members divided the loot among themselves without fighting. Their reward was enormous, so there seemed to be enough for everyone, leaving no reason for them to fight.
We could identify a total of two magic artifacts: There was a pair of earrings and a bracelet, which were taken by the other two.
Snoton’s sword was also believed to be a magical artifact. However, the man himself said that it didn’t need to be appraised.
Wednesday, July 16th, Year 323 of the Imperial Calendar.
-Last night, I had a nightmare.
Curiously, all the people in Als Point had nightmares. The content was different and completely incomprehensible, but how is it possible that everyone was plagued by night terrors at the exact same time?
Thursday, July 17th, Year 323 of the Imperial Calendar.
-Zombies suddenly rose from the burial site next to the Point and killed three people. Action was taken immediately, but why did this happen?
I keep getting this ominous feeling.
Friday, July 18th, Year 323 of the Imperial Calendar.
-Snoton is acting strange. I was told that he would sleep while holding that sword he brought from the tomb. He became less talkative, and it seems like he doesn’t eat anything. It’s as if he became a completely different person. Snoton’s comrades have reported that the sword must contain some ominous magic.
Will investigate that matter tomorrow.
Saturday, July 19th, Year 323 of the Imperial Calendar.
-Snoton didn’t give any reaction to my suggestion that the sword might be a product of black magic.
He only smiled strangely and said strange things. No, what left his mouth didn’t even sound like words.
It was more than certain that Snoton was under some kind of curse. When we tried to take the sword away by force, he killed three guild members, even his two old comrades who were with him, and ran away.
I became increasingly afraid to get to the bottom of this.
Snoton’s sword was definitely cursed. A search party has been created to track down Snoton.
Sunday, July 20th, Year 323 of the Imperial Calendar.
-The search party organized to subdue Snoton was slaughtered by him as soon as they left the Point.
After killing the search party, Snoton disappeared again.
Snoton was known to be outstanding, but he shouldn’t have been that skillful.
Everyone was thrown into confusion.
There were those who said that they wanted to escape the Point and those who said that they’ll get killed by Snoton if they did, creating chaos.
That tomb is the root of all this.
Having grasped everything, we looked at each other. That gave us a rough idea of their situation.
—The adventurers touched something they shouldn’t have touched.
They left the tomb with a cursed sword. A crazy adventurer named Snoton, who claimed ownership of this sword, was actually the culprit of the incident. He caused carnage at every turn, spreading the curse of turning the dead into zombies around him. The curse seemed to have gradually spread on its own.
“It could be the type of sword that brainwashes its owner.”
Eleris spoke with a firm expression on her face, guessing that the problem was caused by that sword. Ellen put the log into her backpack.
“Let’s return. Our mission is over.”
Our mission was to figure out what happened at Als Point, and we could prove that with that log.
With that, our mission was over. We weren’t supposed to solve the problem but simply find out the truth behind it.
Now that we knew the identity of the person who ended up destroying Als Point, we could leave the rest to someone else.
—A cursed sword, and an adventurer who went crazy because of its curse.
This should be judged as a catastrophe brought about by someone touching something they should have left undisturbed.
We left the Adventurers’ Guild and proceeded to head outside of Als Point. The area had to be dangerous, so we planned to leave the vicinity of Als point as fast as possible without even resting.
“…Of course, it has to turn out like this again.”
Someone was standing at the entrance of Als Point, the place we had passed before.
It was a man with sparse, gray hair, empty eyes, and gray skin.
He was simply standing there holding a certain sword.
It seemed like he was trying to stop us from leaving.
—Snoton, the culprit behind Als Point’s destruction. It was more than obvious that it was him. The man didn’t come closer, but he didn’t move away either. He was simply blocking our way out.
“…It doesn’t look like he’s alive.”
Those were Eleris’ words.
That man clearly seemed to have neither will nor ego. It was enough to look into that guy’s eyes to see that.
The owner was already dead, and that body was only driven by the curse of that sword.
He wasn’t the only one around.
“…Zombies as well?”
At the other entrance of Als Point, zombies were appearing one after the other.
We had fallen into another dangerous situation. Snoton, who was under an unknown curse, was in front of us, and behind us was a horde of zombies.
If we got surrounded by the zombies, it would be over for us. At Klitz Point, we were only able to break through them by killing them one by one, but if they were to attack as a group, we wouldn’t be able to stop them.
There weren’t that many Zombies yet.
“…We have to get past him.”
Although we didn’t really know who he was, that cursed man was marking the entrance.
If we weren’t able to get out of there, we’d die. Ellen didn’t seem to consider using the Teleportation scroll yet.
She seemed to think that Relya would end up dying if we left her. She never said that the trump card she held would help her get out of a situation like that.
“I don’t know what that trump card you were talking about is, but can it stop those zombies?”
Eleris nodded her head with a hard expression at Ellen’s question.
“…Use it. But if it gets dangerous, you have to escape. Don’t care about us.”
It seemed that Eleris had decided not to stop Ellen from her risky plan.
Ellen, after she summoned Lament, looked at me.
“Let’s fight together.”
We had one opponent.
His combat power was unpredictable, but he’d have to face us two-on-one.