Emperor Has Returned - Chapter 87
Emperor has Returned Chapter 87
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The spear had been accurately aimed at Juan’s chest, but Juan had managed to cut the spear in half with a swing of his dagger.
With wide eyes, Jeden looked at the spear that was protruding out from his chest while making no sound.
“What the fu….”
Jeden’s hand dawdled in the air, attempting to grasp at the spear.
Jeden turned his head to look at the front of the carriage. Nobody was there.
“Don’t let him pull out the spear!”
As Swallen began shouting, the spear disappeared as it was pulled out from the back.
From the hole left in his chest, blood sprayed out like a fountain, drenching everything inside the carriage The carriage shook.
Frightened, the horses began to gallop forward taking the carriage with them.
The two horses diverted left and right leaving the carriage to collide straight into a tree. A loud sound of wreckage echoed in the forest. The carriage was broken into pieces.
Jeden’s corpse slammed into the tree before crumbling onto the ground. Juan meanwhile, barely managed to get out in time.
He prepared his body for the next attack but there were no more enemies left.
Beside the destroyed carriage, Orell squirmed on the ground while coughing out blood. Seeing Juan draw out his dagger and approach, he pointed at Jeden’s corpse and let out a whimper.
“That……bastard…..and the horseman………killed……..my friends……”
“You’re saying they were in disguise right?”
Juan knew from the state of his wound that there was no hope left for him. He cut Orell’s neck in a swift motion to end his misery.
After confirming Orell’s silence, he checked his surroundings. The coachman was nowhere to be seen.
Swallen was on top of the tree that the carriage crashed into.
Like an elf, she’d nimbly got out of harm’s way, but her face was pale.
“When did you notice that they were evil?”
“Before we’d even arrived here. One of the presences I’ve been keeping track moved fast ahead of us. He likely killed all of the baldy’s companions and was waiting for us to arrive.”
“Leaving two left to…….. You’re right. It would seem natural to wait if there was a shortage in numbers. But if you already knew, why get on the carriage?”
“I was going to kill one, and leave the other for information, but he disappeared unnoticeably. Next time, I won’t be showing any mercy. Anyways, back then why did you tell me not to pull out the spear?”
Swallen was still up on the tree, looking down at Juan. She spoke.
“Because, the bastards in the forest are sensitive to the smell of blood.”
Juan turned his head. From all around him, he heard the sound of movement.
The first thing he felt was a sense of oddness.
While he could hear the sounds of beings closing in from the forest, he could not sense their presence. It was because the energy inside them was similar to the mana that flowed through the forest.
But not to the extent that it was exactly the same. Narrowing down his focus, Juan could sense the minor differences.
Making an inhumane sound, a group of mercenaries showed themselves. Impoverished with shaggy beards, the whole lot gave off a dirty impression.
Juan saw purple light coming from their deeply darkened eyes.
“It looks as if that coachman was intending to leave us to them from the start.”
The coachman’s presence was hard to find, due to the arrival of the mercenaries.
They numbered well over 50, and all seemed to be silver ranked, with one or so gold. Comparing them to a soldier, they were somewhere between an expertly trained soldier and a centurion.
One decided to run at Juan while swinging his giant axe. Juan slipped back before kicking a stone at his opponent’s face.
The mercenary just moved out of the way from getting struck. Juan was left amused by this.
‘Hmm….they’re different from an undead.’
While their minds were lost and their sense of violence heighted, their survival instinct and training were still there. If he’d treat them the same as an undead, he was going to get embarrassed.
“The more I cut down, the scent of blood will attract more of them here, 10,000 leaves. Let just leave before we are greeted by beings beyond what I’d call human.”
Swallen readied an arrow on her bow but it didn’t look as if she was going to let it loose anytime soon. Acting more cautiously, as more zombies would flock if further blood was split.
But Juan didn’t move from the spot.
“What are you doing? Get ready to flee…….”
“Go ahead without me. I need to catch that coachman.”
The moment Juan stopped talking, he flew off. Where Juan whizzed past, two mercenaries’ necks were left gushing out blood
Swallen’s face turned white after seeing blood scatter everywhere.
“What….what have you done……..!”
Aroused from the blood, the zombie mercenaries closed in with excitement. Dozens of weapons were swung directly at Juan but none managed to hit the mark.
In fact, swings were landing on each other and a couple were falling to the ground from it. The blood spilling increased which made them aroused even more.
The mercenaries let out an eerie shriek as they swung their weapons more violently.
All pandemonium broke loose.
Swallen couldn’t help but stiffen up in the face of the amount of blood that was being split on the ground.
Juan was expertly evading all attacks but the amount of mercenaries were increasing by the minute.
It was hard to believe the amount of mercenaries that were appearing from the forest.
‘This…… this is beyond what I expected. Even taking into account that it’s near the main road…….’
Only then Swallen realised something.
That the coachman had planned this ahead.
After killing Orell and his friends, he had spilled blood nearby. Using the mercenaries from the red forest, he was planning to kill Juan.
“10,000 leaves! It’s a trap!”
It was already too late. Swallen fired an arrow from her bow at a mercenary that was running at Juan from behind.
Juan grinned as he replied.
Then, from amongst the mercenaries, someone that was hiding in the shadows revealed himself and suddenly pierced Juan in the back. It happened all so fast that there was no time to evade.
“Finally showing yourself.”
The assassin noticed something late.
That Juan was looking back at him with a grin. The assassin realised Juan’s cape hadn’t been pierced but instead swallowed his dagger like liquid before enveloping itself over the blade.
Startled, the assassin tried to let go of his dagger, but the cape, no the darkness had already swallowed up to his hand.
“I had been waiting.”
The assassin’s arm was severed from his body as something moved swiftly across him.
His arm disappeared into the darkness of Juan’s black cape.
The assassin attempted to flee away but Juan quickly kicked at his legs.
Having lost his arm, the assassin lost balance and fell like a sack of potatoes.
“Same patterns of attack. Sneaking up in surprise or attacking from behind. You’re not worthy enough for me to even use my knife. Death by Nigrato’s shadow is more fitting for someone like you.”
The mercenary rushed at Juan.
“I no longer have any need of you.”
As Juan flapped his cape wide, the darkness instantly spreaded over the surroundings.
It was a new skill he’d gotten from the fusion of Nigrato’s essence and Grunvalde’s cape.
At suddenly being enveloped in darkness, the mercenaries flinched and stopped moving.
Juan nodded at seeing this response. As he’d expected.
‘Their alive so they react to a change of senses.’
If they were undeads, darkness would have not mattered. However, these beings were alive so they were dependent on the ability to see and hear.
A few attempted to lit flame torches but this made them sitting ducks for Swallen.
“Take them out.”
Juan said as he looked up at Swallen. Though she grumbled in response, her bow was already grabbed from her back.
After a minute, Juan recollected the darkness. Only thing left on the ground was corpses.
After cleaning up around him, Juan approached the man that had tried to assassinate him. Just as he thought, it was the coachman that had driven the carriage for him and Swallen.
His arms cut, the coachman’s face was pale from losing too much blood.
Juan placed his hand over his wound. The area sizzled and the smell of burning flesh rose as the coachman’s body recoiled.
“So, what are you? And where are you from?”
Juan began his questing after burning his arms to stop the bleeding. The coachman only could only flinch from the pain that beheld on him. Juan seized his chin and lifted it up.
“I do not torture people. If you aren’t going to speak, I will end your life. My curiosity isn’t strong enough for me to show you any mercy.”
The coachman turned to look up at Juan then smirked. Then at Juan, he opened his mouth as if he was mocking him.
There was nothing. His tongue had already been cut. He made sure he wouldn’t reveal anything.
“Thanks for your answer.”
Juan replied curtly and squeezed his hand hard. With a breaking sound, his neck was crushed. Juan flung the lifeless corpse aside.
Swallen, who had been looking on, spoke up.
“Look underneath his chin.”
Juan lifted his chin. There lied a narrow scar.
“Looks like a member of the assassin faction.”
“Yeah. There’s no formal name. They’re just called that. The biggest group in the empire, known for their services through contracts. I’ve heard members change their appearance by inserting a particular medicine into that scar on their chin. They don’t usually get involved in those with a bounty but I guess 10,000 is too much to turn down. You don’t get bounties with rewards that big.”
“So I’ll be seeing more of these kinds then I guess……”
“10,000 leaves is a large sum. Anyways you’ll need to be wary. The Assassin faction doesn’t stop doing everything in their power to kill those with names on their list. Congratulations, you now know who 1 of the 5, that are chasing you.”
Though he found out unexpectedly, he had now one less to find out about. It was hard to locate presences from inside the forest because of its complex mana flow.
Plus, if they were willing to sacrifice their own companions to use as bait, then they weren’t going to be easy getting rid of.
‘But at least I can’t be killed instantly from a surprise attack.’
If he hadn’t been watching the coachman from the start, he may have had to begin fighting with a scar. Additionally, he had to be wary of Paladins as well.
Juan’s head was in conflict. He was more than happy to take on those who were challenging him head on but he found it annoying that they were dragging him down.
‘I need a chance to get rid of them at once.’
Juan stood up and looked up at the tree that Swallen was at.
“What, you not going? I thought we’d get there in the evening even if we start our walk now.”
“Uh, yeah. Lets go.”
Juan felt a slight change in the tone of her voice. A bit of timidness told him that she’d felt a newfound something from watching him take out the mercenaries all at once.
“So you still think you can take my head after getting to Drugal?”
She was unsure whether he was asking if she had anything she was hiding from him at Drugal.
Swallen forced a laugh.
“If I’m being honest, I don’t feel too confident. It seems like a losing battle.”
“If it’s heads you want, there’s plenty here.”
Juan lightly kicked the nearby head of a mercenary rolling on the ground.
“Didn’t you say Drugal’s lord buys corpses of mercenaries found in the forest?”
“He doesn’t give out much. It’s just a side mission. Clearing out more mercenaries in the woods does make it safer for other mercenaries to arrive in Drugal. But if you’re looking for a proper reward for your troubles, then……….”
Juan heard the sound of a branch snapping and mass leaves fall from its trees.
Swallen blankly lifted her head.
Something appeared in their sights that was tall enough to look at Swallen from the same height.
A giant naked man with eyes in purple light. In his mouth was the bottom half of a mercenary that looked to have been long dead.
“Then……..you’d need to catch someone like Jull, at least.”
Swallen’s words finished its sentence lifelessly. Rather than look down at the two, Jull dropped the mercenary body from its mouth. His chest swelled up.
A sound of a deafening roar shook the entire forest.