Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「Something Creeping Up」 Part 1
Eastern Salma Kingdom.
The Sobiru Mountains separated the Kingdoms of Salma and Nozan.
The Uiru river east of the mountain range flew into southern sea, the land that had once belonged to Nozan, but was currently a part of Salma Kingdom.
As of now, a Salman noble governed the land, Lord Burnett had proven himself in securing this land from Nozan and now governed it.
There was a distinct lack of settlements and farmland along the main highway that ran through the gentle rolling hills of the Burnett territory.
A single carriage advanced down the road in a fast trot.
The carriage wasn’t all that extravagant, it only had the bare minimum of functionality, making the excellent physique of the four horses tied to it more apparent.
Since few people made use of them, pebbles and stones of various sizes littered the road, causing the carriage to constantly rattle and shake.
Ten horsemen escorted ran parallel to the carriage.
Given the quality of the armor they wore and the swords strapped to their waist, one could immediately tell that the riders at the reins of the horses were knights
The Knight’s coat of arms identified them as one of the groups that escaped the Nozan’s capital and the occupant of the carriage was none other than Princess Lille.
Although they had crossed into another kingdom’s territory, for the sake of speed and discretion, a flag bearing the royal chest hadn’t been raised.
At the head of the group were a man and a woman wearing better armor than those around them, princess Lille’s personal guards.
One was Nina, the Knight. Her long, raven-black hair was braided into three knots, her hard slated eyes and tanned skin did little to detracted from her feminine charm.
She voiced her dissatisfaction about the current situation to the large companion next to her.
“We left the capital two days ago. In our rush to get here we even switched out horses, yet as soon as we entered Salma we lowered our speed, shouldn’t we get to Dimo Earldom as quickly as possible?”
Nina’s fellow personal guard, Zahar quietly listened to her complaints with a thoughtful expression on his face.
With his expressionless face, short chestnut hair, large physique, his quiet demeanor gave Zahar an air of intimidation.
“We’re already in hostile territory. We can’t stop and switch out exhausted horses like before. If we pushed our horses to their limits we would be able to reach our destination quickly. However, all that would be meaningless if they collapse halfway there.”
Nina let out a large sigh as she was forced to accept their current situation after hearing his detailed reply.
At their current pace, they could probably reach the earldom in half a day or so.
As he’d said, it would be wasteful if the horses ran to exhaustion, forcing them to traverse the forest as a result.
Even though she knew that going at this pace was the right decision, innumerable undead had descended upon the capital, but the threat of being discovered in a hostile country made a leisure advance nerve wrecking.
Nina shook her head once, and pulled on her reins to match the speed of Princess Lille’s carriage.
When she noticed this, Lille opened the window and asked Nina a question.
“Is something wrong, Nina? Did something happen?”
Lille was a little confused by one of her personal guards suddenly slowing down, and she looked upon Nina with innocent curiosity,
Nina shook her head before answering.
“No, Princess Lille. Has the long journey not tired you out?&r
Lille’s childish expression vanished with a shake of her head.
“The capital is facing a major crisis, I can not whine about such little things!”
The escort riding nearby choked up at the princess’s words.
Despite only being ten years old, she clenched her small fist in dedication to the task the King gave her and spoke up again.
“Nina, tell Zahar we need to reach the Dimo Earldom as soon as possible.”
Nina nodded her the Princess’s wish and tighten her hold on the reins in preparation to spare her horse ahead.
However, the tense voice of one of the rear escorts reached her ears before she could act.
“Enemy at the rear! It’s a Spider monstrosity!!”
Nina looked back and looked for spider monster the escort had spoken of.
She didn’t have to search for long as the deformed ghoul openly crossed the hilly landscape behind them.
Two human heads set atop a muscular torso, a set of arms grow from its back, giving the creature a total of four arms, and the lower body of a giant spider.
The spider monster had discolored skin over the visible human portion of its body, wore armor, carried swords clearly made by human hands, a shield on its back and yet it still managed to silently chase after the carriage.
The horrifying figure convinced Nina that it was one of the abominations she heard about in the scout report a few days ago.
Naturally, questions began to form in her mind.
In this world, the existence of undead was well known, and while they didn’t spring forth all that often, it wasn’t a rare occurrence either.
It was common practice to cremate the dead as a precautionary measure, limiting the number of people that turned into undead.
The innumerable horde of undead that were laying siege to Nozan Kingdom’s capital Souria were evidently moving according to someone’s instructions.
Furthermore, there was no reason for such a large number of undead to spontaneously appear, and they were all even bringing their own identical metal equipment for the assault.
There were legends of an evil creature that the undead were subservient to, traveling minstrels even sung of it, but could the current events and said legends be related?
Nina shook those thoughts out of her head and galloped to catch up with Zahar in the front.
Now was not the time to let mere suspicions seize her heart.
“Zahar! One of the spider monsters has appeared! The Princess’s carriage is our priority!”
Zahar turned his horse around when he heard what Nina said.
“Nina! You stick to the carriage and defend it! The four rearguards follow me! We’ll engage the monster!!”
Zahar’s soft-spoken persona had been replaced with a man shouting at the top of his lungs, the four guards he singled out immediately followed his lead.
「Seen yoouuuu, insects!!!」
The deformed spider monster let out a disturbing voice from its two mouths as it focused its uneven gaze on Zahar’s group as they quickly approached it.
Zahar and the four guards drew their swords in response and hastened their pace toward the monstrosity.
Zahar, who had earned his knighthood through his own strength, lead the imperial guards who were normally tasked with protecting the royal family.
The escort unit was composed of the most valorous of people and those following Zahar fearlessly spread themselves out in an attempt to surround the monster.
However, contrary to its deformed appearance, the monster was capable of recognizing a disadvantageous situation as it crouched down and took a massive leap over the heads of the enclosing cavalry with its unbelievably strong spider leg.
“Hah!? Fuck!! Everyone reverse direction!!”
A leap such as that was beyond Zahar’s exceptions, he let out a curse as he yanked at the reins to turn his horse around.
Setting its sight on the carriage, the spider monster shifted the bulk of its body forward before it leaped into the sky once more.
Princess Lille stuck her head out the carriage window only for tears to appear in the corner of her eyes as she saw the monster approaching. On the verge of crying, she shouted for the person she depended on the most.
“W-What is that thing!? N-Nina, it’s coming this way!!”
Nina’s responded to her screams by pulling her horse next to the carriage and pulling Lille’s small body out the window.
“Princess! Hold on to me so you don’t fall off!!”
Moments after the princess had been pulled out of the window, debris was sent flying as the spider monster landed on the carriage with enough force to utterly wreck it.
The landing created a deafening shockwave that knocked down the four horses which had been pulling the carriage, the sudden fall snapping their legs and necks.
Half of the coachman’s body had been crushed and red blotches covered the ground around him.
Once Nina had settled Princess Lille in the saddle, she set off at a full gallop, only looking back at the monster to investigate once the dust had cleared.
The spider monster let out an angered roar as it began hacking at the barely alive horses with one of its massive swords. Once they were all dead, it set both sets of eyes on the fleeing Nina and Princess Lille.
However, Zahar’s group had managed to catch up to the monster and unleashed a barrage of attacks.
Unfortunately, the monster’s body was not normal and less than half of the attacks left a lasting wound.
Even if only a fraction of Zahar’s group’s attacks got through, they still managed to injure it.
The spider monster roared in irritation and brandished it weapons at an enemy that was no longer there.
A strong attack meant nothing if it hit nothing.
“We’ll kill it here!!”
At his command, the member of Zahar’s group turned around once more and raised their weapons again.
The first assault had left a deep cut on one of the monster’s leg, throwing it off balance, and the second attack cut into the human section of its body.
Black blood sprayed in the monster’s general vicinity as it screamed with an agonized roar.
Just as Zahar was about to order another assault, the spider set its sights of Nina once more and started chasing her despite the blood that continued to pour from its injuries.
“Fuck!! It’s after the princess, stop it at any cost!!”
The imperial guardsmen whipped their horses to chase after the spider monster, but the monster swung one of its massive swords at their approach.
Accompanied by a metallic echo, the giant sword became the reaper’s scythe as it reduced two of the pursuing guards into pieces of meat rolling along the ground.
Veins began to bulge along Zahar’s forehead as he ground his teeth upon seeing what became of his subordinates.
Thinking that the wounded monster had become desperate, he’d hastily ordered his subordinates to act…… as a result, the monster managed a lethal counterattack.
That error in judgment made Zahar want to lash out in anger, but this was not the time or place.
He somehow managed to maintain his composure as he tightened his hold on the reins and urged his horse to chase the monster at full speed.
Three of the guards from the group being chased by the monster separated from Nina and Lille and joined the assault on the monster.
The Spider let out an angry roar as the three guards and Zahar’s group joined together.
“Zahar-sama! Nina-sama has sent us to help!”
One of the guards that joined the battle loudly proclaimed their intentions and received a silent nod from Zahar.
Nina’s decision had further reduced the number of Princess Lille’s guards, a risky call to make, but if they couldn’t defeat the monster here and now, her safety couldn’t be assured anyway.
Immediately grasping the situation, Zahar raised his sword along with the other guards.
“Aim for the monster’s legs! The Princess’s chances drastically rise once it loses its leaping ability! Attack as one!!”
The guards let out a spirited shout as they engaged the monster once more.
Nina would occasionally glance back to witness the imperial guards struggling to slay the wounded monster, that decision cost her the awareness of her surroundings.
Neither Nina nor the guards with her immediately noticed what was going on, but Princess Lille had been looking straight ahead and saw what was coming.
“Nina!! To the right!!”
Despite her small body, her voice was clear and direct.
Nina immediately looked in the direction Nina pointed out.
The flat plain had given way to gentle hills, creating a natural blind spot, an easy place to hide from view.
In other words, the perfect location to ambush unsuspecting prey.
「Escapees!! God’s orders, eliminate eshcapees from royal capital!!Escaping!! Order to Killl thos-e that try to escape!!」
This wasn’t the same monster Zahar was fighting, another one brandishing large blunt weapons had leaped out of the hill’s shadow.
The monster’s abrupt appearance momentarily stunned Nina’s higher functions, allowing the deformed spider monster the opportunity to bring its metal weapons down upon them.
Nina’s body moved on reflex when she heard Lille’s shout, but the hammer-like lumps of metal had already blown away the guards that had been beside her.
After avoiding the attack, Nina drew her sword with one hand and planned to launch a counterattack…… however, the spider monster had more than one type of weapon.
Nina tried to keep her sword between herself and the monster, but one of its large sword suddenly closed in on her before she could dodge, shattering her posture.
The next moment, her right arm still grasping her weapon danced through the air before landing on the ground.
The shock of having her arm cut off was replaced with an intense burning, the accompanying jerking and ruined posture caused her to run her horse into the ground.
Princess Lille was sent tumbling into the grassy hillside, scraping and bruising herself along the way.
“Princess Lille!! Nina!!!!”
Zahar’s normal calmness had vanished as he was stuck watching the hopeless situation play out ahead of him.
The heavily injured spider monster prevented him from advancing.
“Moveee!!! Get out of my wayy!!!”
Zahar’s angry roar caused the surrounding guards to raise the blood soaked weapons once more.
But even if they managed to slay the monster in front of them, there was still a considerable amount of distance between them and princess Lille and Nina.
「Nozan Kingdom, eliminate human!!!」
An unsettling voice left the monster lips as it gleefully rolled a moaning Nina over with its foot and raised its weapons once more.
Princess Lille started wailing as she was forced to watch the was to come.
“NO! Noo! Ninaa!!!”
However, the monster didn’t bring it’s sword down on Nina.
Just as it was about to do the deed a loud rumbling caused the entire hill to start shaking. The Spider monster looked around with its two heads…… when it suddenly appeared.