Chapter 80: The Hand of the Devil Approaching From the Shadow
A while after Rio left Liselotte’s mansion, a group of abominations appeared at the western gate of Almond.
Though they were called abominations, their appearance were close to humans, they even wore slightly dirty clothes.
But, their appearance couldn’t be taken as human.
Each one of them had a different appearance; there were ten of them in total
Their eyes unfocused with pure white eyeballs, their skin dyed in grey color, bat-like wings grew on their back, no matter how you looked at them they were obviously not human.
Almond, as a trading city, basically did not limit the people who go in and out.
There are soldiers stationed at the east and west gates, though the standby soldiers are alert, they won’t do constant inspections of the passersby.
Performing individual inspection when there are so many people is just too unreasonable, because the way people come and go as they like is connected to the increasing activity of the city.
By the way, even though there is an enclosing fence surrounding the city during its expansion even till now, if someone felt like it, one could climb over the fence easily.
That aside, the soldier who was keeping watch looked at the group of abominations appearing from inside the forest, they were shaken even while surrounding them from a distance.
Thereupon, near the group of grostesque creatures, suddenly a group of adventurers who just came back from hunting monsters passed nearby.
「Cih, no luck today. Even though we gathered a party with many people. Those monsters aren’t greedy at all. Aren’t those monster supposed to be numerous?」
「Ha~, it might be because of your breath, even goblins run away from it right?」
Even while insulting each other, there was a lively guffawing laughter resounding from them, there was no dangerous atmosphere drifting out from them.
This might be their usual exchange.
This instant was supposed to be followed by a continuing happy everyday live.
But, then they noticed the group of abominations standing around 10 meters from them, the adventurers were stunned and became completely stiff..
Their body’s trembled as they felt the beings glare with those pure white eyes.
「O, W-What the hell are you？」
Soon, an adventurer asked the group of beings.
The color of their skin, eyeballs and the wings on their back aside, because from their looks to their physique, they pretty much look like humans, they thought that the group might not be able to speak in human language.
But, the group of abominations kept silent which made them more and more frightened, they didn’t say anything, and just stared at the adventurers.
「M-Monster is it？」
「I have never seen this kind of monster you know」
Though they felt like monsters, the adventurers never encountered this kind of monster before.
While still being bewildered between drawing their swords to the group of grostesque beings who keep their silence, or addressing them.
「EH? A-AAAAH! 」
An adventurer in the back raised his voice and pointed at one of the abominations with a considerably good physique.
「You, C-Could it be……… Gene？」
Somehow, there was a man with a familiar visage amongst the abominations.
Though they can’t be differentiated if one didn’t see them closely due to their color of their skin, the man noticed due to their long years of being acquainted.
「…… No, that guy was supposed to be missing around one week ago right?」
The adventurers showed perplexed expressions.
The one who called Gene stared intently at the adventurer who called his name.
「Haha, what the hell, for you to put on such a strange costume, Gene. Are you becoming a street performer and stop being an adventurer」?
Laughing with a cramped smile, that one adventurer addressed to his acquaintance.
Though it’s strangely surreal for a costume, humans are beings who adapt to something against their common sense when encountering an event outside the norm.
Therefore, though a warning alarm resounding in that man’s head, he decided to trust the other party, his own acquaintance called Gene.
But, in that moment, the eyes of the individual called Gene shined in red color, the adventurer let out a questioning tone.
The next moment, the group of abominations started to make their move all at once.
With a speed granted from a strengthened physical ability that exceeds the limit of their muscles, they reached the adventurers in one breath.
After crossing over the distance in a flash, one of the monsters bashed the body of one adventurer with all its power.
With their weight put on their fist that way, a hole that let wind through opened on the body of the adventurer.
Then, it raised an eerie laugh.
That laugh is obviously not that of a human.
「EH? AH? fu」
The man who got his body pierced timidly lowered his line of sight.
What just happened couldn’t be understood by that man at that moment.
But then a smile dyed in despair floated on his face, as he was taught the reality—
Zaku, zaku, zaku, the individual was stabbing at that man’s belly as if stabbing with a sharpened nail.
「O-Obhu. A-AAA-AAAAAAAAAAA！ 」
The man screamed as he felt a lukewarm feeling wrapping his belly.
He was confused, his body trembled and his despair showing on his face, soon his body stopped moving, the man’s life was lost.
The adventurers were standing dumbfounded without uttering any words to the display of that bizzare murder drama.
「H-HOW DARE YOUUUU！」
And finally recognized an enemy in the beings in front of them.
Each one of them drew their sword, and charging toward those abomination.
But, the sword holding adventurer was easily repelled.
Their grey skin was as tough as steel, those men were equipped with cheap swords, so the blade didn’t go through the monster’s skin.
To give a proper blow, the adventurer would have to attack with every bit of their power in a single blow or, they might need to strengthen their physical abilities with magic.
But, those men couldn’t use body strengthening magic.
「W-WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU！」
Though the possibility of getting an answer is close to zero, the adventurers gathered together to attack again.
Thereupon, THAT displayed a grin-like smile.
The group of abominations ――、 their true identity was as expected, a monster.
The anomaly life-form which appeared more than 1000 years ago during the Demon-God war era.
Their ecosystem is unknown, they have a magic stone as their core, when exterminated by humans they just disappear without leaving anything, save for their magic stone, and then die.
Thus, even the adventurers that make a living by subjugating monsters, the true nature of this monster was unknown to them.
They were corpse eating demons――、a monster who was originally a human and feed on humans, a cursed existence who will be weakened unless they keep eating on humans――、The ghoul.
Their intelligence and ego are low, they’ll keep chasing and eating humans as if mad, that’s a ghoul.
After letting out a voice that invokes physiological disgust, the other ghouls also started to move all at once.
All of them approached the adventurers.
After the adventurers prepared their weapons in a confused state, they attacked the monsters without hesitation.
But, they couldn’t cut them.
Though their blade hit its target, their attack is nothing more than a half-hearted one.
The ghouls counterattack easily ripped through the adventurers.
The number of the adventurers was 20, the number of the ghoul was 10, their advantage in number couldn’t even be called an advantage.
A one-sided atrocity like a painting of hell unfolded.
And then, the sound of someone vomiting blood resounded for the second time, another one lost his life.
Scattering blood, the smell of blood filling the air, screams and roars in the surrounding.
The ghouls with their superhuman strength, which made one doubt they were human in the first place, trampled on the adventurers.
When one got hit by their hand protected by hard skin, it became a hammer-like weapon, when they stab with their hands which are equipped with sharp and long nails, they’ll become a spear-like weapon, with just grasping power, they’re already unmatched.
The ghouls completely overpowered the adventurer using their own body as a weapon.
The movement of the gatekeepers stalled because of the completely gruesome spectacle.
Some of them vomited from being unable to keep looking at the massacre.
Their thought couldn’t react to the situation.
The thing they felt was just goosebump inducing fear.
They were completely unable to fight in this condition.
Soon, after the adventurers were completely annihilated, the ghouls’ line of sight turned towards the gate of the city.
Instinctively, the premonition of death hit towards the soldiers and made them unintentionally scream loudly.
The ghouls were at a distance of around 100 meters from the gate of the city.
It was a distance that can be crossed in several seconds with their physical ability.
Though each of the soldier started to say something, it got clogged in their throat.
The image of fear and death kept replaying inside their head.
But, the ghouls were seemingly uninterested in the soldiers, they started to greedily devour the adventurers which they just killed.
――It’s as if to say, I can kill the likes of you anytime.
That’s completely a relationship between prey and predator.
As they feel nausea watching this spectacle.
This time, “rustle”, the tree of the forest near the ghouls made a rustling sound.
The thing that appeared from inside was, goblins.
No, it’s not just goblins.
Following after that, monsters appeared one by one.
Orcs, ogres, hell hounds, mad boars, bi-kongs, hunter snakes―― A swarm of monsters that was known to inhabit near human areas.
The total number couldn’t be measured by eye.
It might be possible that it’s gathered mostly the monsters who live in the vicinity.
「R-R-ReReReRe-REPORT THIS AT ONCE！ LANCE！ YOU GO AND REPORT THIS MATTER TO THE GUARDROOM！ 」
The commanding officer of the soldiers who were in that place finally screamed his order in a confused manner.
If they’re being raided by this monster troops, they can’t fight against them unless they’ve gathered every troops of Almond.
In addition, if they’re under the attack of those grey MONSTERS――
The annihilation of the city―― is the worst end that crossed their mind.
Though the soldiers were paralyzed due to fear, thanks to the Commanding Officer’s shout, they started to move again.
The fellow soldier who received that order quickly ran towards the direction of the city as if he had wings on his feet.
Different from the ghouls greedily devouring the corpses of the adventurers, the swarms of monsters started advancing toward Almond.
（Quickly make your preparation）
The commanding officer muttered in his mind as he saw the back of the departing newcomer.
He decided that this isn’t over yet, he can’t die.
If they failed to defend this place by one minute or one second, they’ll kill many monsters even just one more of them――
The soldiers, every one of them loved this city called Almond.
Though Liselotte’s governing this city, this city is far easier to live in comparing to other cities, a peaceful city is about to――
Is what they think even if it’s unreasonable, facing this kind of situation, the soldiers carry their mission and prepare to bet on their own lives.
「I’ll entrust the command of the ghouls to you. Alphonse-kun」
While looking from inside the forest a bit away from where the panicked soldiers were, Reis who wore a black robe happily said that.
「Because they’re precious individuals who clear the 1/3 ratio, please use them with care. Since it seems they’re also starving, the first step is to have a meal」
The one called Alphonse answered while breathing roughly.
Though his individual features resembled a ghoul, the color of his skin was black, in short, he’s different from the other ghouls.
It even is intelligent enough to understand the words of Reis.
「The other monsters are just a feint. It should be okay to let them move as they like. In addition, you may use 5 ghouls as a diversion by tossing them inside of the city. Once you lure out the defending troops, lead the remaining ghoul to kill the Prefectural Governor Liselotte. You understand right」
「YAH. DEFINITELY KILL. LISELOTTE, THAT DUKE, THAT WOMAN, THAT MAN」
Alphonse answered with a tone filled with ominous anger.
As for what his pure white eyeballs see, as if his lost reasoning is found.
The one who was aware of that was the person himself.
「Well, if you can’t even kill a woman who lives in this city with this war potential, you would be just an incompetent. Well then, that’s it from me since I have business elsewhere. Please hang in there as much as possible」
After saying that and turning on his heel, Reis slowly floated in the air.
After flying away from the ghoul who was once known as Alphonse, he headed towards the southwest from Almond.
「Ha~, as I though, even if their body is strengthened, a ghoul is a ghoul. Their low intellect is their defect. Well, though in his case, that point might have been hopeless from before the transformation」
After sighing, Reis is raised a complaint in a tired tone.
Just like that, when he squinted his eyes to look at the direction of the southwest.
「Now is the one that has been bugging me since a while ago that resides in that direction」
So he said.