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25. The Execution (2)
As frosty icicles, the imperial order has been issued. The noose around the tower lord’s neck was being pulled tightly. With the removal of the floor of the platform, he wasn’t able to reach the surface to even stand on his tiptoes as he had been.
“Auk, Auuk! Auuuk!”
The tower lord began to gasp for air as the noose tightened around his neck. Even though he was made an imbecile, the natural instinct for survival did not go away. He couldn’t conjure up magic, but his shaking appeared to be gruesomely desperate.
“Auk…. Auuuk….. Auuuuugh…..!
His eyes were turned red.
Fluids poured out of his nostrils and mouth.
Then his struggles began to slow.
The ember of life was slowly dissipating.
It was when he shook his legs for the final time.
Bizarre circumstances began to materialize.
All the spectators’ attention was directed to one spot.
And everyone appeared astonished.
“What, what is that…..?”
“Around the mouth….blood, is it blood? Blood?”
“Doesn’t appear to be so…..”
In black color, the dark energy spilled out of the tower lord’s mouth. It was the same situation as when the black magic was sucked out of Marco and many other victims by the ‘great cancellation’ spell.
‘Is it black magic?’
Ian looked onto the tower lord with surprise. Why is it that a perpetrator, rather than a victim, of black magic would release the dark energy?
‘There were two explanations.’
However, the astonishment lasted only for a brief moment.
Ian observed the situation with cool reasoning.
‘Perhaps, the tower lord was also a victim of black magic.’
It was possible that the tower lord was also a victim of black magic. That scenario had already been considered. He had used the ‘great cancellation’ spell on the tower lord a few days ago, but there were not any responses.
‘Perhaps, he had put a black magic spell on himself.’
That would be the most likely scenario of all. If it was something that gets invoked just before death, that would make the most sense. It was the last resort that might have been prepared for a long time. It was quite obvious that something big was about to take place.
“Sir, Sir Ian!”
In response to such unanticipated occurrence, the sorcerers around there looked at Ian. It was because, in the absence of the tower lord at the moment, the final decision maker of the Ivory Tower was Ian, the 6th class mage.
“Prepare a joint barrier!”
At Ian’s command, there gathered 6 high ranking sorcerers, who were near the execution platform. Then they followed up by covering the struggling tower lord with strong mana barrier. As the exterior of the barrier was hard, so would be the inside. Should there be an effort to attack, it will surely prevent it.
‘Self-destruct for example.’
There were many things that could happen such as causing self destruction, invoking epidemic disease spell, witchcraft, and even brainwashing. Ian had to move as well. Standing up from his place, Ian assisted in maintaining and strengthening the joint barrier.
The dark energy came out of his mouth with only his vocal cord moving, the tower lord was as good as dead. Was that why? It felt even stranger. As it felt strange to Ian, how strange would it have been to the ordinary spectators? Ian took a swooping look around the people’s expressions.
The spectators appeared full of astonishment. The tower lord was dying quickly as he struggled in vain. After all, it was already such an awful looking tower lord, and he his vomiting of the dark energy made it worse.
“What the heck…..”
“Should, should we be running far away?”
As was with wrath, fear and confusion were being spread quickly. This time, even the knights and the soldiers, who were in charge of managing the crowd, were wrapped in strange fear. The reason was that there was a feeling of something bad was going to happen.
However, even that fear was short live.
The situation quickly turned for the better.
The tower lord’s vomiting has become slowed.
There was no longer outpouring of dark energy.
It was quiet as if nothing had happened.
‘Is it the end?’
Ian did not order to stop conjuring the barrier magic. That’s because it may be too premature. It was necessary to take some more time to stay vigilant.
“Sir Ian. What, what shall we do?”
Some time has already passed. Noise began to arise from what has been a very quiet square. Inside the joint barrier, they saw the flaccid body of the tower lord, but nothing strange.
“….. We can stop for now.”
They stopped the joint barrier spell after Ian’s quiet command. No sign of breathing or heartbeats were felt from the tower lord. He was dead. For real! It implied the end of the leader of the Ivory Tower and the 2nd in line to the throne of the empire. It was a very cruel scene, which cannot be compared to his past life.
“What was that thing?”
Many people cheered. However, Ian could not shake off a suspicion. The tower lord had certainly initiated black magic. What in the world was that black magic?
‘There was no way that it was nothing.’
As Ian’s concern continued, the former tower lord of the Ivory Tower, Herbert Leon’s public execution eventually came to an end. No notable event took place until the end and most people have written off the dark energy as something of the black magic’s ‘impurities’. As the fluids discharged from the tower lord’s mouth and nostrils with the tightening of the noose, people thought the dark energy has been simply squeezed out of him.
* * *
“Is it, is it really OK to do this?”
“Gosh, yes, it is?”
“But still, he is of high stature…..”
It was in the same evening, near the hill of the imperial city.
There appeared four imperial military men.
“He was a high ranked person, so? Isn’t he dead?”
“Did you not volunteer, knowing that?”
“I was temporarily assigned for one day…..”
“Aha! Is that why you are talking nonsense?”
They were the imperial soldiers, a designated team that usually takes care of the ‘body of the condemned’ afterwards. Their duty was to collect the corpses of the condemned and either burn or bury them in the near hill, although they did not always carry it out by the book. The reason was simple.
“Well, is it always like that?”
“Always like that, we’ve all volunteered to come.”
“Isn’t this fun? Most of the time, it usually involves someone that is totally worthless, but sometimes we get a big fish like this one. Those that croak after living with stiff-necked pride or as you’ve put it, those people of high stature that have croaked.
On the surface, it may appear that no one would ever volunteer unless forced to do so. However, the rate of volunteering to be a member of the designated ‘after execution’ clean up team wasn’t necessarily that low either.
“There is that pleasure of playing with the fat corpses’ body parts like using them for fish lure or feed them to the wild animals. There are so many things to do. Hehe.”
The middle aged leader of the team said invidiously. The other soldiers also smiled wickedly. The newbie that claimed to have been temporarily assigned to this work was the only one to shrink his shoulders and looked unsure.
“Well, today is a special day alright. It’s not just a random noble, but the tower lord? At what other times would I get to see the face of the tower lord of the Ivory Tower, huh?”
As he looked down into the wagon at the face of the tower lord of the Ivory Tower, the middle aged soldier suddenly spat and giggled.
“And when could I be able to spit on him!”
“Haha! That’s right. The opportunity doesn’t come easy.”
“I wish for a member of the royal family to be executed too.”
“A royal family member? That would be good. While we are at it, let it be a princess!”
“You know, that one princess that was known for her beauty? What was her name?”
The newbie soldier was there among the lunatic soldiers. They’ve all come to the nearby hill. The forest under the torch was nothing, but complete darkness. However, they had no problem finding their way. Although they were not normal, they were also veterans at this.
“OK. This would be a good place.”
“What, what are you getting at?”
“Stay back. You can just watch.”
Ignoring the newbie soldier’s curiosity, the others kept moving. First, removing the corpse from the straw mat, they set the corpse on to the dirt ground. The tower lord’s corpse wasn’t even drained of blood.
Then they began to desecrate the corpse with the ends of their iron swords. Was that all? They even burned the corpse with the torch, causing permeating stench of the burning body. Instantaneously, the smell of the blood and burning corpse spread throughout the area. It will certainly stimulate the hungry wild beasts’ senses of smell and appetites.
“These wild beasts deserve to indulge in high class delicacy once in a while. They can’t always be filling up on back alley garbage, right? It appears to be tough due to old age, but it will certainly be different than what they’ve eaten and excreted before”
They had no intention of following the books with respect to either burning or burying the tower lord’s corpse. Besides, there were unlimited number of ‘interesting’ ways to take care of the corpse, but they have settled on feeding it to the ‘hungry wild beasts’ for today.
“I’m jealous. Jealous! They get to gorge on the tower lord.”
“If you are so jealous, feel free to go and join them in the gorging.”
“Kk! Crazy bastard! Stop that crazy nonsense.”
After engaging in jokes and laughter in bad taste for a while, slowly, they wanted to leave the area. It was because the wild animals will soon come in droves. No, they were probably here already and simply watching the soldiers.
“It would have been good to watch them eat.”
“You could also become part of their meal?”
“We’ve no choice. After all, it is the corpse of the tower lord. If we are ever caught, it will be the end of us. The end! We should be satisfied with what we’ve done.”
The soldiers were soothing themselves from the sense of not being able to do more.
How many steps have they taken?
A slithering energy came out of the tower lord like a serpent. As if it had eyes, it found the solders and immediately approached them.
“Uh? What is this?”
Feeling something behind his back, one of the soldiers turned around to look back.
There he saw a slithering black energy on the ground.
Was it because it was dark, evening time? It felt like as if it was a real serpent.
“……Is it a serpent?”
“What? A serpent?”
“On the ground, isn’t it a serpent?”
“Should we catch it and drown it in liquor for drinking?”
“Snake liquor sounds great.”
“You, you always talk about drinking….”
It was right at that moment. The dark energy, in the shape of a serpent, rose in to the sky. Its target was the middle aged soldier’s mouth and instantaneously, it has squeezed into his mouth. The soldier could not resist at all.
That sound became his final words. Truly, an astounding event has occurred. Out of the middle aged soldier’s eyes, nostrils, ears, and mouth, came the uprooted life force in a light pink color. And that life force headed towards the tower lord’s corpse that was lying in the forest ground.
The soldiers ran, screaming, at the site of such an unbelievable happening. It wasn’t a moment that either needed or desired any understanding, rather it was a moment meant for running away. That was the only way to live. Only that thought was engulfing the five senses of the soldiers.
However, the dark energy moved much quicker than the running soldiers. After taking the first life, the second life, and the third life sources, it has finally begun to move. What moved?
It was the tower lord’s corpse.
It did not come back to life.
It was too pale to be alive.
Even the two eyes have lost the sense of life.
Out of the four, only one has survived. It was the newbie soldier that came out on temporary duty, who stood there frozen after looking back. The corpse of the dead tower lord has moved. Even worse, it was looking right at him.
It was a moment of unrest between reason and the all of his senses.
That was the reason for his inability to move.
It was not black magic, nor magic.
“How dare, how dare to execute me?”
The tower lord looked down on his own shaking hands as he murmured. He even touched the noose marks that were made around his neck. And he was no longer pale.
He was reborn as ‘undead’ and all of his memories were restored.
“You will certainly regret!”
The tower lord has turned into an undead.
He approached the soldier in fear.
He wanted to take the remaining life source.
“Definitely….. Definitely…..! Krrr, Krrrrrr!”
The tower lord has become even more grotesque.
Through that came a familiar voice.
There wasn’t even a chance to respond sensibly.
He did not even finish smiling.
The golden mana that imitated the sun engulfed the tower lord’s body. The biggest reason for the race of the undead to be active in this world was due to the effect of the ‘Turn Undead’ spell.
Having become an undead, the tower lord had encountered ‘Turn Undead’ spell. The brown hair, the black staff, the dark blue robe, the reason behind the execution, it was Ian, who the tower lord despised.
The tower lord could not say another word. The turn undead spell is a disaster to the undead. It breaks one’s body into million pieces.
Just Like now.
“Son of a bitch.”
Many of the pieces splashed onto Ian as well. Of course, thanks to the ‘clean spell’ that was inscribed into the Michelle Greenriver’s robe, nothing was left stuck.
Ian, of course, knew what was happening.
Still, he shook off his robe as he murmured.
And obviously, he showed his displeasure in all this.
“You took it too far.”
He shook his head.
It was as he’s said, Herbert Leon, the former tower lord of the Ivory Tower, had taken it too far.
“Are you alright, sir?”
“Yes? Ah, Yes!”
Ian asked the sole surviving soldier.
As if he came back to his senses, he nodded his head.
“You should have followed the book and burnt him or something.”
“That, that was…..”
“Go and report it. I will clean up here before I go.”
“Ah….. Ah! Yes. Yes, I will do!”
The soldier quickly ran out of the hill. After looking at the back of the running soldier, Ian has burnt what was remaining. That is, the last remnants of the tower lord, the remains that were just in some shapeless pieces.