Laura reflexively came to a stop after hearing a strange noise from the bottom of the stairs.
Huh…? What’s that noise…?
Her body frozen from tension, she intently stared at the staircase.
The unpleasant stench of something rotting clung to her nose.
What appeared on the stair landing was—
the half-rotten corpse of a human clad in tattered rags. It wasn’t just one, either—there were multiple.
Laura’s mind went blank from the all too sudden turn of events.
But this was the academy.
But this was the royal capital.
Why is something so nonsensical standing right there?
Before she could stop and think rationally, shock and sheer revulsion stirred Laura’s body forward, and she broke out into a frantic sprint.
…W-Was that… a zombie…? But why?
Zombies were corpse monsters fueled by either magic or the possession of a low-level spirit.
Something that shouldn’t have ever been here was now here.
Laura quickly glanced behind her. The zombies, which had just climbed the staircase from before, were pursuing her.
The undead intrinsically chased the living. They must’ve been reacting to the vitality emitting from Laura’s body.
…It’ll be fine… Zombies are sluggish, so if I just manage to outpace them…
But things wouldn’t go so smoothly for her.
Looking back ahead, Laura realized there was something there. It was a walking assemblage of bones—the back of a Skeleton.
The Skeleton noticed Laura and turned around.
Its hollow eye-sockets stared at Laura. With stiff, clumsy movements, it attempted to swoop down on her.
However, Laura had already stopped panicking.
She pulled out the small wand at her waist and fired a white arrow in one swift motion.
It hit the Skeleton squarely in the head in brilliant fashion. Staggered by the force, it tumbled to the ground, making a shrill noise in the process.
Laura slipped past it and ran.
…It’ll be fine! Even I can pull this off!
Relieved, Laura kept up the pace and made haste.
I can get through this—
is what Laura thought, but the situation was more complex than she had believed.
“…Huh?” Laura unconsciously let out a voice and came to a stop.
That’s because, from the staircase on the other end side—she saw someone unexpected.
It was the female student that Laura had become quite close with.
They had started talking more frequently ever since Laura grew distant from Albert. Talking with her was becoming part of her daily routine.
So why was she, of all people, standing there in the dead of the night, amidst all the droves of undead?
Liz paid no heed to Laura as she briskly made her way up to the next floor.
Laura reflexively shouted, “Liz!”
Then, she turned her face to Laura.
There was still some distance between them, so Laura couldn’t tell for sure, but—
Her usual, cheerful, and animated facial expression was nowhere to be seen. Both her eyes and mouth were devoid of any emotion.
She was looking right at Laura, yet at the same time, it felt like she wasn’t.
…W-What’s wrong with her…?
Laura hadn’t expected Liz to be like this at all, which plunged her into turmoil.
She must’ve lost interest in Laura, as Liz turned back to the stairs and proceeded to make her way up.
Something’s up with her, thought Laura. That thought became her driving force, preventing her from abandoning Liz.
Laura dashed to the staircase Liz was just at.
However, following her proved to be no simple task. A horde of Zombies appeared from thin air, as if they had been following behind Liz all this time.
The Zombie horde approached Laura.
If she didn’t repel them, she wouldn’t be able to chase after Liz.
“Don’t get in the way! Spirit Barrett!”
Laura had already mastered the spell that Firvus taught a little while ago.
She fired Spirit Barrett in rapid succession. The magic bullets split apart and bombarded the zombies one by one.
…Was she running away from these Zombies…? reckoned Laura.
Then again, Laura felt like that didn’t explain her strange behavior.
She mowed down the Zombies and hurried up the stairs where Liz disappeared to.
Laura made her way to the floor above and looked down the hallway.
…Maybe she’s on this floor…
That’s when it happened.
The sound of metal echoed in her ears.
There was no trace of Liz in the hallway, but instead, Laura saw something else. That something was a knight clad in metal armor from the top of its head to its toes.
No, that wasn’t right.
Precisely speaking, it was from the collarbone down to its toes.
That’s because there was nothing above its collarbone.
An undead knight with no head—
At that moment, Laura felt a chill go down her spine.
Dullahans were high-level undead; they were in a completely different league to Skeletons and Zombies and the like.
…No way… There are even Dullahans here…!
The Dullahan seemed to have no weapons on it, only armor. Nevertheless, its brute strength alone could tear Laura apart like paper.
Laura pointed her wand at the Dullahan. “Magic Arrow!”
A white arrow flew at the Dullahan; however, the moment it hit the Dullahan’s armor, it simply shattered into pieces, fading away like the sparks of a firework.
It’s no use! Nothing’s effective against it!
A split second later, Laura turned her back to the Dullahan and ran up the stairs to reach the next floor.
Clank, clank, clank!
The Dullahan quickened its pace and chased after Laura. Its footwork was much better than a Zombie’s.
Slowly but surely, it closed in on Laura.
It’s close—It’s on the verge of catching up with me!
After running up to the highest floor, she used her momentum and plunged into a nearby classroom.
She shut the door and activated a spell immediately after. “Hard Rock!”
Her spell fastened the door shut, solidifying it.
The Dullahan, which had been hot on her tail, rammed its body against the door in an attempt to break in.
The door was holding on—but it was only a matter of time before it caved in.
Panicked, Laura cast Hard Rock on the windows and other doors connected to the hallway.
With her fingers crossed, she lit a light near a window facing the outside.
In the midst of all this turmoil, the radiance of Lighting by a window could only mean one thing. Someone might notice her distress signal.
Hoping for the best, Laura held her quivering hands together.
The white arrows flew from my hand, making quick work of the Zombies.
But it would take more than that for this to end.
Upon exiting the dorm and stepping outside, I saw scores of Zombies and Skeletons roaming around the academy grounds.
“This doesn’t look very good…”
“Though it’s just a bunch of small fry.” Firvus responded in a fed-up voice as he blasted away the undead with his magic. “…These aren’t your run-of-the-mill undead…”
“Yeah. They’re vanishing after we defeat them, right?”
That’s true. Just as Firvus said, the undead became motionless after getting hit by our magic, then faded away like smoke.
“I’m not too well-versed in necromantic magic, but I heard there’s a way to create undead using only mana, without the use of corpses.” Firvus blew away an undead with his magic. “Well, I’m just glad we don’t have to clean up all these corpses.
I took a look around us and saw instructors here and there fighting with their magic.
“Where did they all come from?”
“…There should be a magic circle somewhere that’s summoning or generating them. Although they’re all low-level undead, there’s the sheer number of them—we’ve got a pretty skilled spellcaster on our hands. Ah, for crying out loud! This is such a pain in the ass!” yelled Firvus, defeating a Skeleton in the process.
Just then, a small-statured someone suddenly jumped in front of us and yelled, “Albert! Mr. Firvus!”
It was none other than Flin.
She was panting and breathing heavily. She must’ve been in a pretty big hurry.
“A little while ago, I went to the girls dormitory, but Laura wasn’t there.”
Flin nodded in response to me. “That’s right. The thing is… before everything went downhill, I spotted Laura studying at the library,” Flin continued in a grave tone, “…she might’ve gotten wrapped up in all the chaos…”
“That can’t be—”
I looked toward the school building. If she got wrapped up in the chaos and was slow to get away, then fled upstairs—
My eyes spontaneously shifted upwards.
Then, I noticed something.
“Flin, Mr. Firvus. There’s a light on that building over there.”
Spurred on by my voice, the two looked over at where I indicated.
There was a light source by the classroom window. It was the light of the spell Lighting.
That must’ve been a distress signal. The person was asking for help.
“At the very least, there’s someone there. Let’s move.”
Firvus began walking.
To make matters worse, there was a good chance that that someone was Laura.
We need to hurry!
I broke into a sprint.
I’ll be posting again later, see you guys then.