Chapter 30 - Battle of The Black Castle
“The curse on the paladins in the town was removed!”
As soon as they entered the black castle they were greeted by about 50 vampires.
Their eyes were shining with bloodlust as they grabbed their flapping cloaks with their long nails and flew across the space inside the castle to close the distance between them and the paladins.
Some of them used magic to summon bats. The vampire bats could also deal a small amount of damage!
“Light, to defeat thy darkness! Holy Light!”
“Light, to defeat thy darkness! Holy Light!”
Alveron and the nearby priests used holy magic simultaneously.
“It’s too bright!”
The vampires clamored to cover their eyes as the bright light sprayed down on them. The vampires that had been airborne were dropping down.
Members of the clergy usually had magic to weaken the ability of the undead and creatures of the darkness.
Typical healing spells were powerful offensive magic against the undead and vampires.
Amidst the bright light show holy magic, the paladins brandished their swords gallantly.
Vampire blood sprayed everywhere.
It was pretty much a one-sided massacre.
Until now, none of the paladins or priests had died. They overwhelmed the 50 vampires with sheer numbers. They weren’t a very difficult opponent.
Backed by the priests’ holy magic, the paladins were able to attack the vampires. The paladins did not have much risk to their lives since the priests were constantly healing and dispelling curses.
Weed also took on one of the vampires.
“Sword Dance!” The Imperial Formless Sword Technique’s 4th form!
Weed danced around brandishing his sword flamboyantly.
He actually just moved around monotonously and struck the vital points of the enemy, but the skill created after images.
He went to attack and destroy while creating almost no openings that could be exploited by the vampires and while they were busy attacking in a wrong direction, he would close the gap.
You have leveled up!
Weed hadn’t taken care of a vampire for a long time so his level rose by one.
Prior to leveling up, his experience had been at 56%, but more than 226 experience points went to the 20% leech.
‘Ohh…it’s too good to boost up!’
It was unfair that he had had to give up the kills to the paladins until now. In the plains and village he had not hunted so that the paladins would get strong faster, but now he didn’t need to do so anymore.
Therefore Weed was hunting.
Whenever a vampire died, it dropped some items.
Item: Vampire Fangs:
Penetrates the enemy’s body to absorb blood. Though unusual, it can be used in alchemy to create items.
If used to create a weapon, then it can absorb the enemy’s vitality!
Item: Vampire Cloak:
A cloak worn by the nobility of the darkness. It was very appropriate for its owner. Flight is possible when transformed.
Bat transformation: In battle, it is possible to fly away.
When transformed, the defense from equipment does not apply.
+25 Appeal to woman
-25 All stats
And 3 gold and 25 silver.
Vampires were very rich monsters.
Weed looked around as he pocketed the items. The paladins had finished the battle and were waiting for him. The level of the paladins was much higher, so they caught the vampires quickly.
“Let us move to the first floor. Alveron, remove the curse from the statues.
The first floor had a total of 50 petrified paladins.
Alveron removed the curses while Weed and the paladins searched for others captives.
There were a few vampires in the nearby rooms, but they were not enough to stop the heavily armed paladins.
They searched the first floor without much resistance.
All of the rooms on the first floor.
There were also numerous other statutes, they appeared to be farmers and villagers.
“Alveron, remove the curse on them.”
Alveron’s holy magic freed each of them and they fell to the floor.
Of the many people, the bearded elder spoke up softly.
“Oh, are you our saviors?
“We are the residents of the Morata Province from when the forces of darkness invaded. We were here suffering, incapacitated. We have waited for our savior to come…”
“We have been waiting for a very long time for you to come. All of the villagers of Morata Province have been turned to stone, our families and our brethren. Savior, please have pity and help us! As a reward we will give you whatever we can!”
Quest: The Curse on the Province of Morata:
The True Blood Vampires occupying the territory have turned all the villagers into distasteful stone decorations. They spend their time in pain. Save the people of Morara!
To be able to cast, or have someone who can cast, Tier 2 Holy Magic to remove the curse.
Weed did not worry too much.
With plenty of clerics in the party to remove the curse from the statues in the city, the quest was triggered because Weed had brought Alveron to find the Crown of Fargo.
He already had one. He had been commissioned to defeat the vampires in the black castle anyways.
“We will make it our duty to see that they are saved.”
You have accepted the quest!
Weed and the paladins went up to the second floor.
Nearly 150 True Blood Vampires awaited their arrival.
Other than vampires, there were also minions with them, numbering nearly 100 in total, and altogether there were 250 enemies.
With the number of paladins they had rescued on the first floor added to their ranks, it became too simple.
“Let us fight against the evil horde!”
The paladins had received blessings and protection magic from the priests and were now raiding the vampires. The paladins were well organized, but soon after the fight began the vampires started their counterattack.
The magic clashed terribly.
Holy magic from the priests spread to fight the darkness being shot from the dark bows.
Weed did not engage in direct combat. With such a large clash of magic, it was possible to end up dead from a random attack.
“Alveron, don’t idle by, fight hard.”
“Use more power! Provide more support! Paladins with low health get in the back!”
Weed commanded the forces from the rear. The paladins were lined up against the dense number of vampires. They were the best defensive tankers that there could be, since the priest had layered protective magic on them. On the side, the priests were instructed to constantly support.
They attacked the remainder of the vampires.
Weed had separated the vampires into groups. Defending against the enemy attack and wiping out the weaker side. This approach was more convenient for the priests to prevent them from dying, taking advantage of their supportive role to also prevent the paladins from dying.
They would switch to the offensive for a reckless assault, then to the defensive when they were in danger, to give the priests time to heal as well as use holy magic to launch another offensive.
The densely packed paladins and priests were united in battle, fighting in the most optimal conditions.
“Let’s us attack!”
“The Commander ordered us to attack!”
For the paladins it was not an easy battle, but they eventually won.
From hunting the high level vampires, the paladins had been able to increase their level.
Furthermore, the support from the priests was enough to overwhelm the True Blood Vampires’ individual blessings.
On the second floor, 30 paladins and 40 priests were rescued. In the meantime, Weed had the villagers rescued as well.
‘They’re getting kind of hungry; I’ll have to do something.’
Weed took out a pot and started cooking.
Usually the priests and paladins would have watched him cook carefully, but now they were doing everything they could to get farther away.
Looking at the pot made his eyes hurt.
It hurt so much that Weed was crying as he made the stew.
“Is it alright to eat it?”
“It is overflowing with faith.”
Weed handed out bowls of stew to the paladins. The ingredients for it were the Avian eggs and the Fruit of Heaven!
Finishing the quest required a significant amount of risk. The fruits of heaven increased intellect and luck, so it was good to eat it before going to hunt. Luck increased the item and money drop rates from monsters.
So now was the time to use the ingredients. He used the Avian eggs and the Fruit of Heaven to make a stew.
In addition, he added one more ingredient to the mix: garlic.
The stew with plenty of garlic formed a resistance against vampires to some extent.
“Puaahhh, it’s too spicy, I need some snow.”
Tears trickled down the paladins’ faces as they ate the stew.
There was a tough battle ahead, so there wasn’t just stew. Weed cried as he put together dishes such as pickled garlic, garlic salad and garlic sandwich one after another. The relatively docile priests now had tears running down their faces and runny noses from the strong garlic.
The third floor of the black castle had 200 True Blood Vampires waiting for them.
“Khalkkalkkal! It seems that they have forgotten the horrors of dark magic. The fool’s need to be reminded of who their Master is. Charm!”
“Oh look, that knight is coming to us. He has become dominated by our spell. Wonderful!”
The Vampire Queen had appeared.
They tried their illusionary magic to seduce the paladins.
“You heinous creatures! Your vampire magic will not work on me!”
“This is crazy!”
The paladins began to attack with their swords as they let the priests take care of support.
The vampires tried to use their magic against the priests to control the paladins.
Once they had entered the black castle they were unable to leave.
Without the Ice Dragon statue increasing the priests and paladin fighting spirit, they were affected by the charm magic.
But not all the priests were affected, “Those filthy bastards! Those disobedient rascals! These vampires deserve to die.”
“This world needs to be freed from darkness!”
“Goddess Freya, bring your followers back onto the right path. Cleansing!”
Alveron and the rest of the sane priests used cleansing magic.
Weed thought as he analyzed the situation.
“First, kill the Vampire Queen and the crisis ends.”
But the Vampire Queen was well protected in the middle of the enemies. Weed would get killed before he would be able to kill them.
“Alveron, heal the priests before the paladins.”
Alveron finished purifying the priests. The priests then healed the knights that were under the spell. The priests were doing a good job, but the Vampire Queen was constantly interfering.
Weed had originally planned to have the paladins and priests fight the vampires no matter how the enemies were arranged. His formation with priests as the rear support would not fail.
However, the magic caused the paladins to attack their own colleagues and made the priests unable to heal.
The vampire attacks had been suppressed to some extent because of the strong smell of garlic on the paladins, but it was only a matter of time. It was a huge emergency!
Weed radiated as he gathered his mana.
“Hey! You! Guys! Go! Attack! The! Damn! Vampires!”
Skill: You have used Lion’s Roar:
Allied army’s Fighting Spirit increases by 200%
For 5 minutes, leadership will be increased by 170%
Any confusion is cleared
He used the Lion’s Roar skill that he had trained in the mountains.
A high intensity shout came out. At that moment, all of the Vampire Queen’s tactics became useless.
Weed’s leadership was now at a sufficient enough level to command the paladins and priests. Without the leadership and charisma stat, the paladins and priests couldn’t be commanded. There would also be higher level soldiers that would not listen to commands. Under the influence of his higher leadership, the paladins followed Weed’s absolute commands. They were faster and more accurate in following out his commands.
His Lion’s Roar range extended to the area of the vampires as well. With the advanced level skill the opponent’s movements was suppressed as an additional effect.
The paladins drove their blades to rip apart the vampires. The Vampire Queen tried to use her illusionary skills to manipulate the paladins, but it failed. She lacked the physical abilities that other vampires usually had. Weed used the Lion’s Roar skill frequently regardless of the mana-cost.
All of the vampires launched an attack on Weed.
Weed was the target of the vampires, since his Lion’s Roar skill made him a top-priority target.
With great difficulty, Weed and the paladins managed to clear the third floor.
With the soldiers that they rescued from the floor, they now had 300 paladins and 100 priests!
That was everyone that the Church of Freya had dispatched to retrieve the Crown of Fargo.
The remaining 300 True Blood Vampires were waiting. Thankfully, with the addition of the rescued paladins and priests, Weed obtained a complete victory due to the significant increase in soldiers.
Now, in the black castle, all the True Blood Vampires had been defeated except for one.
The Vampire Lord!
Tori was the clan leader with a level of 400. He was also known to be the one that had the Crown of Fargo.
“Please rescue her…”
The daughter of one of the villagers had been turned into stone and had been placed on the 5th floor because of her beauty. Her name was Prina.
A common trait of vampires was that they enjoyed decorations such as beautiful girls.
“It would have been nice if it had been another side quest.”
Weed looked over at the paladins and priests.
There were a solid 300 paladins and 100 priests now.
‘If only I could keep them as my soldiers…’
But they were paladins of the Church of Freya and no matter how high their friendship level was, Weed would not be able to get them to follow him. Thus he was only allowed to lead the troop until the quest was completed.
It was human nature to win a battle as easily as possible and Weed hated to sacrifice time. Battle should be fought as efficiently as possible. Only fight the vampires if you are able to defeat them. If you couldn’t win, then don’t fight. It was important to win without losing anything.
So far Weed had spent a lot of time to raise the level of the priests and paladins to a sufficient amount. Through the combination of the paladins and priests, the conditions to win the battle had been cleared. However, you had to be even more cautious if you were winning. You had to take the victory safely by taking turns in fighting and resting.
Normally Weed hunted alone, but that was more reckless than supporting the group. Knowing that, it was impossible to abandon the quests that he had taken since he had already come this far.
Weed went up to the fifth floor with the paladins and priests. There was an aristocratic young man sitting in a golden chair.
The Vampire Lord Tori!
He had skin as white as a porcelain doll and dark black hair. He had a slim body, resembling a woman’s. He wore a jeweled crown on his head and he was handsome, but the contrast between his pale, white skin and his black clothing was grotesque.
Weed looked over at the crown that was on his head.
‘I presume that’s the Crown of Fargo.’
At last, the goal had been sighted. However, getting his hands on it and finishing it was going to be the most difficult. Currently Tori was appreciating a statue of a beautiful girl.
“Oh, it’s beautiful. Have you ever seen such a beautiful statue?”
The paladins stopped the moment they saw Tori.
One of the two virtues of a knight was their bravery, but seeing such a powerful enemy had them trembling in fear. In an army, the invisible factor known as morale was very important. A lower morale caused the attack power to drop.
“I have seen a more beautiful statue.”
Weed decided to go with the momentum.
“You have seen a more beautiful statue than this?”
Tori got up as if he wanted to go there immediately.
“In Baran Village at the southern part of the Rosenheim Kingdom.”
“That is not a palace or the city of a church. I have never even heard the name of that town. Why should I believe that there is a beautiful statue in such a place?”
“It’s up to you to believe it. It was a statue that I made. However this is not even close to the Ice Beauty statue that I made.”
Tori was overwhelmed as he smiled.
“What is your profession?”
“An artist! Making your life enriching! Being praised in abundance! Eating and filling your stomach so that you can enjoy life! That is why I hate the Church of Freya. Humans are mistaken. They have lived thinking that abundance is good. Taking what belongs to another. Only that is beautiful is eternal. Humans that choose to sacrifice beauty cannot enjoy art. It takes the nobility of the night, the vampires, to appreciate art!”
Tori got off of his chair and revealed his true form. Long nails grew from his hands and fangs protruded from his mouth like a snake. He was changing his form to start the battle.
“I want to see what you look like drenched in blood! This is what it means to be a vampire. I hereby welcome you to my castle humans.”
“Paladins forward, concentrate on defense!”
Under the protection of magic and blessings, the paladins urgently made a layered formation.
Tori gazed with a mean look at the line of paladins in front of him.
From the ankle upwards, they began to petrify. Tori had used a curse to turn his enemies into stone. This was the skill that had turned the all 300 paladins and 100 priests into statues before.
Weed called Alveron to use the dispel magic he had memorized. In the meantime, a full-fledged battle went underway. Tori struck the paladins like lightning. Wielding his nails like knives, every now and then paladin blood would splatter. Priests continued healing as they had in every battle until now.
‘We’re going to win!’
Weed’s eyes shone.
A level 400 monster had caused him a lot of worry. Thankfully the paladins were excellent at blocking attacks. Even the little damage they did take did not matter that much because of the priests healing. No matter how much damage was done, the priests were able to quickly restore it. Taking away the enemy’s strength, it was a fighting cycle by a large number of enemies.
Tori’s health and mana continued to drop!
But there was an unseen variable!
Tori entered the fray playfully. Then a tremendous storm swept up the paladins. Those in the path of the tornado had their health reduced by nearly a third.
The priests continued to heal. The radiant white light began to heal the group, but Tori used his skill again.
With that attack about 20 paladins burst into gray flames.
Eternal rest. That was the fate of the slain.
Tori moved relentlessly. His health and mana were colossal. Tori’s long nails cut down like knifes.
Once again, a bunch of paladins turned into gray flames. However, Tori’s power gradually fell, just as Weed had planned. But Tori suddenly rushed near a paladin and bit down to suck his blood.
The paladin’s complexion was rapidly disappearing. Tori had recovered his mana that he had used. His health and wounds were restored and his power was restored.
“Behold my attack, you savage sheep!”
Tori had begun to fight at his maximum health and mana. Whenever his health and mana fell, he used his unique vampire skill to shower them with a wide area magic. The paladins tried to avoid it, but they could not escape. Tori moved with tremendous speed and caught the paladins.
‘The paladins that I spent all my time training!
Weed was tearing up at the scene. The paladins he had raised by feeding, repairing their equipment, and to whom he had given up his hunting grounds were helpless in front of Tori. To make matters worse, the paladins that fell to the vampire were slowly rising from the ground.
The faithful members of the church were now slaves to the vampire lord.
A vampire paladin!
Even without holy powers, their sword skills were still intact. Tori was increasing the number of slaves.
The paladins began to yell out in fatigue. This was not confusion magic but rather Tori’s plan.
Fortunately, the priests were still alive. However, it remained unchanged that the vampires could fight endlessly while his own men couldn’t. This was the tactic that Tori had used to exhaust and wipeout the first group of paladins and priests.
These were optimal conditions for Tori. His wickedness and twisted beauty could be distinctly felt. But Weed still had means to reverse the situation.
“If this is how it’s going to be then we can’t help it! Priests, stop the treatment of friendly units and attack him.”
Since that moment the situation was reversed. Using the high vitality of the paladins to stop Tori, the priests casted their healing spells on the vampire, which were deadly to any vampire! Since the priests concentrated their attacks on Tori, the paladins had to use their own healing spells to recover their health.
“Kueahah!” Tori screamed.
Tori killed a few more paladins, but his health gradually fell. He was falling under the continuous attacks of the priests. With low health, Tori began looking for food. At that moment, Tori caught a paladin and used his vampire skills. Weed was looking for a loophole. No matter how powerful, every monster had a weakness. Not to mention that the vampires had the biggest weakness. Their completely unprotected bodies.
Weed’s sword was covered in a clear blue light.
Most of the times, a sword skill had a red or black hue. However, as an engraver, Weed’s intermediate skill gave him a blurred blue light.
Weed’s sword gathered energy from his body. Then he flew forward and pierced the paladin and Tori together.
He used the paladin to get to the vampire!
Since he didn’t see Weed behind the paladin, his sword penetrated straight into the vampire's heart.
A fatal blow has been struck!
Tori’s vampire abilities have been removed
The vampire’s weakness was the heart! Since he had stabbed the heart with the sword like a stake in the heart. Agatha’s holy attribute gave twice the damage to the undead. Tori suffered a grievously fatal blow.
Sword Kaiser was the last technique from the Imperial Formless Sword set. It was the most mana and stamina draining skill Weed could use! However, the total damage from collecting all of Weed’s mana into a single attack was enormous. Tori had became unsteady from the huge amount of damage that was dealt to him, but as a high level monster, he did not die.
Throwing aside the dead paladin, he caught Weed with both of his hands.
“I’ll eat you instead. Kueahak!” He roared as Tori opened his mouth.
At the moment the shiny sharpened fangs drew closer to the nape of his neck. Weed stared at him and opened his mouth to let out his breath.
“Woowaak! The rotten smell of garlic!”
“So I heard you like art, is that right?”
“I’m going to kill you!”
Tori chased as Weed immediately turned and ran. He enjoyed the feeling of fighting significantly stronger monsters. However, the enemy was way too strong to fight one on one. His mana was depleted so he couldn’t even use the Sculpting Blade skill. Compared to Tori, whose damage was cut by half, a simple attack was very risky for Weed.
“Heal me! Paladins kill him!”
Weed was under the constant treatment of Alveron as he fled. While running away, his stamina and health was being restored. Tori was constantly being attacked by the priests and was slowly dying. As expected of a level 400 monster, he was able to get past and kill a few paladins. But under the heavily concentrated magic he fell to the ground and died.
The paladins that had been turned into vampires by Tori stopped moving. When Tori had died, the magic that was controlling their spirit was released. None of the priests had died in the battle, but 178 paladins, more than half of them, had lost their lives.
‘It’s a pity.’ Weed thought sadly.
Weed had depleted his mana and was disappointed. He had not dealt the final blow to Tori with his own hands. With the vast experience of a level 400 monster, he would have gotten at least 4-5 levels.
As Tori died, he dropped a crown and a necklace. Weed picked up the two items. The Crown of Fargo was heavy.
Item: The Church of Freya’s Treasure: Crown of Fargo has been recovered!
Item: The Crown of Fargo:
One of the three sacred treasures of the Goddess Freya.
The crown is a symbol of authority. It gives the firm belief to rule over others. It bestows the power to rule over the church’s army. With the Crown of Fargo, the army will be absolutely loyal.
A job related to the Clerical class that is recognized by the Church of Freya.
Raises the soldiers’ moral.
Soldiers do not surrender to the enemy.
+50 All other stats
It was indeed a Holy Treasure of the Church of Freya. Weed admired it and then a message window appeared.
For observing a beautiful object, art has increased!
Art has risen by 20 point (+20 ART)
The Crown of Fargo was adorned with glittering jewels. It was made with exquisite craftsmanship and elegance. The light that shone from the jewels had unparalleled beauty. That was the feeling being transmitted to Weed.
“And now the necklace…”
Item: Black Necklace of Life:
It was crafted from ancient black magic items and imbued with an unknown power. The Undead Lord Barkhan made this item for his subordinates.
“Whoa!” Weed exclaimed.
If his hunch was right, this item was able to summon Tori out to fight. But like the Death Knight Van Hawk, he needed to persuade him first.
‘Better keep it stored for now.’
Weed crammed the Black Necklace of Life into a corner of his bag. Since Tori died, the black castle began to change. Beams of light leaked in through the blocked windows. The deteriorated walls and floor were brightened up by the light, changing the atmosphere. It was as if the days of past splendor were returning.
“The divine light removes the power of restraint that binds and distorts freedom.”
The statue of the village girl finally returned to normal. The villagers of Morata came to give their thanks.
“Thank you, thank you! Now we will be able to live in peace.”
Quest Completed: The Curse on the Province of Morata:
All of the petrified residents of the Morata village have been freed, and although it will still be tough for them, do not give up hope; for the textile business in the Morata Province will begin reconstruction!
Fame has risen by 900 points (+900 FAME)
Your friendship with Morata residents has reached 25 points
You have leveled up!
You have leveled up!
You have leveled up!
You have leveled up!
You have leveled up!
You have leveled up!
You have leveled up!
You have leveled up!
Completing A Rank B difficulty quest, caused him to go up a staggering 8 levels!
Then the villagers laid out something wrapped in cloth. “Here, in absence of a reward, please take these poultry gifts!”
You have received:
Item: 100 pieces of Sovereign Prismatic Cloth
Item: 200 pieces of Premium Deer Leather
For tailoring, Prismatic Cloth was a Tier 1 material in making clothes. The Cloth was lustrous with light and colours. The leather was a great material for buckskin clothing.
“What to do with these things? I’ll just keep them for now and see what I can do with them later...”
Weed neatly stacked the bolts of Prismatic Cloth on top of each other into his backpack.
The quest in Morata had been completed. When Weed went to the teleport gate, the Paladins said.
“Please convey the High Priest this message. The town is powerless to stop the monsters. We have decided to stay here to keep order in this town. We will stay here and keep Barkhan’s army of darkness away.”
The paladins and priests remained behind. Weed and Alveron went back to the teleport gate and the priests from the church gathered in the cave.
“Savior, an oracle has divined that you have safely resolved the quest. The High Priest is waiting. Please enter the portal.”
Weed and Alveron went onto the teleport gate. With a dazzling light, they soon disappeared.