Rockwall Lou – V4 Chapter 8

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟖

(8)

Seven days after the Royal Knights departed from the city of Arche,

The phenomenon occurred.

“What is that?”

The first to notice was a man from the city’s patrol team who was circling the outer walls of Arche.

It was dusk. In the dimming light, before the night settled, he spotted a band of red light in the direction of the “wilderness.” It wasn’t the remnants of a sunset. As time passed and darkness deepened, the red light became clearer.

“Could it be, a demon beast?”

The difference between wild beasts and demon beasts lies in their eyes. The eyes of demon beasts, which possess a mysterious power, always emit a red light.

In the city of Arche, which borders the “wilderness”, demon beasts occasionally approach. The city’s patrol was supposed to be prepared for such occurrences, but this man couldn’t react immediately.

There were countless red lights, much more than he had ever seen, lining the horizon.

Thousands, or perhaps even more.

“It’s an attack by a horde of demon beasts!”

Finally realizing the situation, the patrolman urgently rang the warning bell on the elevator tower.

Norancho, the mayor of the city of Arche, received this report while having dinner.

Five years since he was assigned from the central. Originally hefty, he had grown even larger to the point he needed a special palanquin for inspections. He loved to eat, not particularly gourmet food but rather exotic dishes. The specialty of the city of Arche, demon beast cuisine, seemed to match his taste perfectly.

However, tonight’s dinner was prepared by a top chef he had summoned from the capital. The menu was made using high-grade ingredients imported from the capital, intended for a grand dinner party.

“Honestly, ruining my hospitality like this. This is why I find military types so hard to deal with. To think of meals as mere sustenance, such barbarians!”

Artistic dishes disappeared with each bite. The soup, which took half a day to prepare with various ingredients, was drunk like water.

“I hope the ‘Blue Demon Beast’ beats the hell out of them and they come crawling back crying!”

For the Royal Knights, who boast the greatest military power and authority in the kingdom, Norancho did everything possible. Provisions, information gathering, welcome ceremonies, various events, gifts, and an array of lavish dishes. Many went to waste, but he intended to consume at least the meals himself.

“Mayor, it’s a disaster!”

At that moment, the panicked chief of general affairs and the captain of the city patrol burst into the dining hall. Annoyed at his interrupted meal, Norancho responded irritably.

“What? Did the Royal Knights get wiped out, and now the enraged demon beasts are attacking?”

“Yes, it seems so.”

“As expected of Mayor Norancho, always one step ahead.”

Norancho shoveled the remaining meat dish into his mouth and washed it down with wine, then wiped his mouth meticulously with a napkin.

“What?!”

After hearing the details, Norancho departed from his mansion on his personal palanquin.

“To the elevator tower. Hurry!”

 ㅤ

Heading toward the closest of the six towers that lead to the exterior wall. Inside is a steep spiral staircase. Clinging to the palanquin and urging the bearers on, they quickly rushed to the top.

“Head to the northern wall!”

As the exhausted bearers collapsed, Norancho clung to the parapet of the exterior wall, crawling.

“. . . . . .What on earth is this?”

The sound of alarms ringing all around. And a band of light, red as blood, against the dark night. It was truly a nightmarish scene.

“What’s the situation?”

The city’s captain inquired of one of his squad members.

“Sir, the individual lights are clearer than before. I believe they are approaching us.”

Norancho peered down from the city wall.

“There’s a crowd outside the northern gate.”

“Yes, they are out after the closing time. The residents from “outside the wall”.”

It would be a disaster if even one demon beast entered the city. The emergency manual stated that even if a demon beast attacked at night, the gates should not be opened without the mayor’s permission. Knowing this, the “outside the wall” residents chose to live there.

Norancho ordered the city’s captain.

“Open the gate for them.”

“What?”

“Open the gate and evacuate them into the city. However, they can only bring as much luggage as they can carry in both hands. No carts allowed. Hurry up.”

“But, mayor. . . . . .”

The sweating director of general affairs voiced his concern.

“We don’t have enough food in Arche city to support them now. Wouldn’t this cause future problems?”

The recent supply of food to the Royal Knights had come back to haunt them. The residents from “outside the wall” were rogues who had settled without permission. They didn’t pay proper taxes and were despised by the officials.

“That’s exactly why.”

Norancho raised his voice in frustration.

“What would happen if trade from the surrounding areas ceased? In this barren land, what’s the only food we can produce ourselves?”

Choked by Norancho’s pressing question in this critical situation, the director of general affairs gasped out an answer.

“Well, the meat of the demon beast.”

“To get that meat, one has to defeat and process the demon beast. Most of the demon beast hunters and dismantlers live “outside the wall”. If we abandon them, we’ll fall with them.”

Norancho, though capricious and often brash, was a competent administrator. He frequently conducted inspections and attended local events. While often mockingly referred to as “His Palanquin Highness”, he was surprisingly popular among the residents of Arche city.

“In the future, we’ll need them to undertake dangerous tasks. Best to owe them favors now.”

“Understood.”

Send a fast horse to the capital, request cooperation from the wilderness guild. Have the residents take shelter in their homes and issue a curfew. The city guard will be on the exterior walls, and the demon beast hunters will standby inside the northern gate.

The city prepared for battle in this tense situation.

“Mayor, it’s dangerous here. Please return to the city hall.”

 ㅤ

Norancho did not heed the advice of the city’s guard captain.

The northern wall of the city of Arche is the thickest. This is because if it is breached, they believed all would be lost.

The red light emitted by the demon beasts was clear enough to see their outlines distinctly.

Demon beasts attack humans without reason. It’s said this has always been the case. The only place densely populated with humans in this region is the city of Arche. Norancho had anticipated the worst: the city being surrounded by a horde of demon beasts. However, the demon beasts seemed to be simply moving straight from the north to the south.

Could there be some other purpose, or do they simply not care about this city?

Norancho made a decision.

“Turn off the alarm bells. Extinguish the lights on the outer walls.”

“Understood.”

The surrounding darkness deepened. A rumbling noise approached, as if to break the stifling silence. Stars were visible in the night sky, but thick clouds covered about half of it. The moon emerged from behind the clouds, illuminating the ground.

“Look, it’s the demon beasts.”

“Such numbers.”

The city guards murmured.

Curtain rhinos, vivid-blood bulls, oil clump pigs, rainbow leaf deer, water lizards, lantern mantises, demon thorn spiders, burning yam bugs. . . . . .

Familiar demon beasts and even the rarely seen ones were rushing as if competing with one another.

“Look! It’s the chicken-crowned bear!”

By estimate, fifteen times the size of a person. It’s a ferocious demon beast that warrants a dispatch from the Royal Knights.

“Could that be. . . . . .the Moon-Tusked Elephant!”

Over twenty times the size of a person. It was even a legendary demon beast that only appears in texts.

Everyone was terrified, shivering.

Everyone thought it was the end of the world.

However, the catastrophe didn’t come.

The swarm of demon beasts was spread out widely, each one heading straight south. The few demon beasts that reached the city of Arche were just “small fry”. When the demon beasts toppled some flimsy tents and bumped into the outer walls, they confusingly flowed southward.

The city of Arche was safe, but irreversible damage had occurred.

“Ah, the aqueduct!”

The giant Moon-Tusked Elephant collided with the aqueduct that brought water from the lake in the eastern mountains to the city. The aqueduct, supported by consecutive arched land bridges, crumbled, and a massive amount of water cascaded like a waterfall.

“No, this is bad! Very bad!”

Norancho screamed.

The reason he had given the order to bring in the “outside wall” residents was that he thought they just needed to secure food.

However, the situation changed.

While people can function for a while even if they run out of food, they can’t last more than three days without water. The aqueduct’s restoration would likely take months.

The city of Arche would dry up before it starved.

Norancho recalled a recent event.

When the Royal Knights were welcomed into the city of Arche, a very elderly old woman blocked their path and shouted:

“Do not lay hands on the ‘Blue Lion’. A red tide will surge, and the world of man will be destroyed.”

The red tide. Wasn’t it the red light being emitted by the horde of monsters right before their eyes?

 ㅤ

“I can’t believe that old woman prophesied this.”

While Norancho stood in stunned silence, the city guards hastily ran around him in a combat-ready state.

Right below that spot.

The young wizard who was in the “House of Walls” slept soundly, unaware of everything.

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