Necromancer Academy's Genius Summoner
[Translator - Ramen]
[Proofreader - Artethrax]
Simon and his party climbed onto the roof to escape the swarm of zombies.
But the crisis wasn't over yet. A horde of zombies found Simon and his party, rushing in and starting to climb the walls of the building.
To be precise, they weren’t climbing, rather the zombies in front were sticking to the wall and other zombies were clambering on top, forming a mound of flesh.
Rick let out a weak laugh as he saw it.
"Hieek, this'll haunt my nightmares for the next week."
A sight that evokes an extreme and primal terror. All the undead in this place screamed for the group’s deaths. The only thing they could rely on was each other.
"Let's move again."
In the end, the four of them jumped off the roof with their Armors on. As soon as they crossed the mansion fence and came down into an alley, zombies on the ground rushed after them as if waiting.
"Is the city really this difficult?"
"I thought we just needed to get some materials while watching out for a few zombies roaming around!"
Simon was also confused. There being this many zombies chasing after them was strange.
'Is there some unnatural force at play?'
At that moment, Simon, running along the carriage road, saw something like a lid. It was on the road, its subtly different color making it barely noticeable.
"Everyone! Wait for a second!"
Simon ran toward it, grabbed the lid's handle, and lifted it up. Accompanied by the stench of the sewers was a ladder going down.
"Simon! Are you planning to go this way?"
Simon looked back. The waves of zombies looked like a landslide rapidly closing in on them.
"Zombies are coming from all sides, so I agree it's not a bad idea to just go down."
"Will it work? I think the zombies will follow after us right away."
"We could distract the zombies on our way, then sneak in here. What do you think?"
Meilyn immediately nodded.
"I'm in! I can obscure their visions with fire!"
"Ah, I heard that zombies are sensitive to sound!"
"Then we can use this."
Rick took out a box in the shape of a musical instrument from his subspace.
"This is a prototype not yet ready for sale, but I guess I can't help it."
As Rick deftly wound the spring and released, music began to play loudly from the box.
"You got any more of those?"
Asked Simon as he took out three skeletons. Rick pulled out two more music boxes so the skeletons could carry one each.
"There's not much time!"
Camibarez was buying time by firing a series of blood bullets, flinging back the approaching zombies.
"I'll summon the fire now!"
Meilyn swung her arm and spread Dark Flame around like a wall. Smoke rose along with the flames, and the group was completely obscured.
'I'm counting on you!'
Skeletons carrying music boxes ran through the flames. Then they dispersed and ran in three directions. The horde of zombies heard the loud music and tore into groups to go after them.
The four of them swiftly entered the sewer. Simon, who came in last, closed the lid behind him with a clang.
As soon as the lid was shut, nothing could be seen in the thick darkness, and all he could feel was the old ladder that he was gripping with all his might.
"Is everyone okay?"
After waiting for a bit to adjust to the darkness, he took a lantern out of his subspace.
Now he could see better. Simon was at the top of the ladder, followed by Camibarez, Meilyn, and Rick.
Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud!
You could hear the rough footsteps of zombies directly above. The ceiling shook, and their wailing reverberated through the walls.
With just a single ceiling above them, the four of them held their breaths and nervously waited.
And after a while…
"…Did they leave?"
The outside had become quiet. The sound of footsteps seemed to have trailed off to someplace else. Only then did they let out a collective sigh of relief.
"We have two options now."
Said Rick, seemingly regaining his composure as he spoke.
"To go up or down. Either way is risky."
As Meilyn was in deep contemplation, her eyes met Rick's.
She suddenly blushed and grabbed the hem of her skirt.
"Where do you think you're looking?!!"
"Ah, you caught me."
"You caught me, my ass! Die! Just jump off a cliff!"
"Ouch! Hey! Hey! I got hit on my nose! My nose!"
Meilyn grabbed her skirt and began kicking Rick in the face wildly. In the end, Rick went down, out of reach of her legs.
"Wow! You're seriously kicking a person with the intent to murder! It's dark, so I can only see the outline anyway!"
"And why are you looking at that outline, you perverted commoner!!"
While the two were fighting, Camibarez let out a small sigh and looked up at Simon.
"What will we do, Simon?"
"Let's go down. It's hard clinging on to the ladder, and if we go up now, there would be zombies roaming nearby."
Meilyn and Rick agreed with Simon. Everyone carefully came down the ladder and stepped foot on the sewer floor.
There was nothing special.
The dark passage stretched endlessly, and the stench of sewage and ammonia stung the nose. Trickling down beside the walkable path was black, pungent water.
"Hmph, it's better this way."
Meilyn crossed her arms.
"I don't think there'll be any more ingredients up there. Now that it has come to this, let's go all the way down the sewers to the depths of Death Land!"
Rick dusted off his hair.
"Hey, are you for real? There were already so many zombies around the entrance. There could be a real zombie den if we venture further inside."
"Ehem! S-Scared? Who’s scared? All I'm saying is that we shouldn’t act impulsively. Let’s make a reasonable decision!"
Rick and Meilyn turned their heads at the same time to look at Simon. It seemed like they were saying, 'I'm right, right?'.
Simon pondered for a moment before responding.
"Meilyn is right. Materials close to the camp must've already been swept away."
Class C went ahead of Class A, and according to the seniors in Mutant, all the students in Professor Aaron's summoning class came to Death Land last year and the year before that. Of course, the location of the camp would’ve never changed.
"So you're saying we need to go deeper?"
Simon nodded at Camibarez's question.
"Yeah. I think they gave 12 hours and made us move in groups because it's difficult to get the materials in the first place."
Rick clicked his tongue and nodded.
"Tsk, got it."
"If we all work together, it'll be fine!"
And just like that, the four were in agreement.
* * *
Translator - Ramen
Proofreader - Artethrax
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* * *
Simon and his party wandered through the sewers until there was another way to get to the surface.
Perhaps because of the shock from the zombie attack earlier, everyone was talking with resolution now.
Simon pressed down on Pier's clone and spoke to him telepathically.
'What are your thoughts?'
[Kuhehe! I wonder. Zombies are so different, even among the undead, so you can't just jump to conclusions based on their behavior!]
[But, well, I can make a guess!]
The skeletal mouth of Pier's clone formed a weird grin.
[It’s the former Captain of the Legion Prince! He could've led the zombies from afar!]
'I think so, too. Please tell me more about Prince's abilities and personality.'
Pier immediately started explaining as if expecting Simon to ask.
[The most important ability of Prince is his 'Crown'.]
[When he puts on the Crown, he can control undead of the same kind as him. In other words, he is able to dominate zombies!]
Simon nodded. It was an ability like a lower-tier version of his Commander role, being limited to only zombies.
[The difference from the power of a Commander is that he can also control zombies that haven't undergone conscription, too! With this ability, he can rule like a king in Death Land, as over 90% of all undead here are zombies! That's why I wanted to come.]
'I understood that part. Let me change the question a little bit. Would Prince be friendly to the Legion?'
It took Pier a little while to answer this question.
[I'm not so sure. During Richard's Legion, Prince was in a moderate faction loyal to the Commander. He seemed to have feelings of envy for him.]
[But as you know, the Legion didn't end well. You'd have to meet Prince to know what he's thinking.]
If this large-scale zombie attack really was Prince's doing, and if it was because he recognized that Simon was the Commander of the Legion…
He might have to subjugate Prince by force.
Simon flinched and looked to his side. Camibarez was smiling timidly.
"What’s gotten you so deep in thought?"
"Mmm, it’s nothing. Did you ask something?"
Rick pushed his head in.
"I asked about your thoughts on Meilyn's brutality, turning a good man's face into a flat patty for the unforgivable crime of being positioned below her."
"…Please die. Please get hit by a carriage and die as soon as you return to Kizen."
Then they kept walking for what felt like an eternity.
As their legs started to ache and their noses were going numb from the smell of the sewage…
"It's a ladder!"
They finally found a route to the surface. And unlike the previous one, the condition of this ladder was fine."
Simon led the way up the ladder.
Rick, who was next, greeted the noble Meilyn and said something like "Ladies first," which was met by Meilyn pulling hair a few times. But that’s not important.
After climbing all the way up, Simon pushed against the ceiling with all his might, revealing the strange sky and letting a cool breeze in.
Simon jumped out and helped pull up his group mates following him.
Camibarez, who came up last, let out a small exclamation.
The place they escaped to was the garden of a large and luxurious mansion.
There were no zombies here. It seemed that this garden alone was still managed by someone. The flowers and trees were in full bloom. Simon's nose sang with joy as he smelled the scent of flowers after the hours in the sewers.
"To think that a place like this exists in Death Land…"
They thought that it was a beautiful place, but the performance assessment came before sightseeing.
"Let's try to look for ingredients here."
The four of them started searching the garden.
[Boy. I can sense the traces of an extensive barrier in this place.]
'What? What kind of barrier is it?'
[One to keep the inside hidden. It's currently unlocked, but it seems like there's an entity who wanted to hide this place.]
As Simon was concentrating on Pier's words, he suddenly heard Camibarez scream.
"What's wrong? Cami!"
The three of them rushed over.
A woman was lying in the garden.
While everyone else was hesitant to check her out, Simon strode over and investigated her. Judging from the attire, she was likely a maid who worked at this mansion.
"She's dead. Long dead."
A non-decaying world.
She had already died, but her body was preserved in a non-decaying state. That only made it eerier.
"It'd be better for you not to look…"
"Don't look down on me, Simon."
Meilyn approached, her eyes shaking.
"I'm a necromancer, too!"
Rick and Camibarez also inched their ways closer. Meilyn boldly squatted in front of the corpse and rummaged beneath her clothes to examine her condition.
"She satisfies the conditions for the summoning magic in the textbook. I guess we could prevent ourselves from getting a score of 0 if we turn her into a zombie, but… this feels lacking."
"Let's try to look for more."
They all scattered again and started searching around.
This time, Rick called everyone's attention.
"Isn't this enough to get an A+?"
At the back of the mansion was the corpse of a man who appeared to be a guard. He was bulky and almost two meters tall. He also looked like he never skipped a day of training, his whole body covered with muscle.
"In terms of physique, his body is the best."
But everyone was full of hesitation.
The materials they had used up until now had already been processed by someone.
But now they had to turn a fresh corpse right in front of them into a zombie.
It was probably not the zombie attacks that made many students and seniors express how tough their experience of Death Land was.
"I'll do it."
When Simon rolled up his sleeves and came forward, Meilyn stiffened.
"Hey, wait! I can do it too!"
"I'm better at Summoning than you. Even in the Zombie Summoning unit, I got a better rating."
When Simon mentioned grades, Meilyn just pouted.
Simon took a deep breath and knelt down in front of the corpse. Then, he placed his palm on it.
'He's already dead. Let's not get too emotional.'
The core value of the necromancer is 'practicality'.
A necromancer has to use everything, whether it be a corpse or something else, in order to win.
Simon brought forth his jet-black and began drawing a magic circle on the corpse's chest.
Skeletons and zombies were both beginner undeads. However, at most necromancer schools, including Kizen, the professors of Summoning largely teach skeletons.
As this was an era of peace, for the sake of the students, some schools didn’t deal with zombies at all, or they only used monster corpses for them.
But Aaron was different.
He brought first-year first-semester students to Death Land and had them raise zombies themselves. According to his educational philosophy, it was what a necromancer must do.
Discern the fundamentals.
Just like how a surgeon who can't handle a dissection can’t survive, a necromancer must be able to handle a fresh corpse.
Simon poured jet-black into his magic circle.
Finally, the dark-magic circle was activated on the corpse's chest.
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