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226 Bursting Pandemic

 [This is something I heard about in the guest room of the Tunaya castle.]

[Traces of an undead horde at Sotimi, a border region of the Silver Eagle Duchy were found a day ago, and contact was lost with the sacred corps dispatched to the area by the Brilliant White Church for suppression.]

[Afterwards, the border garrison had become silent after sending a report that 'undead numbers are wildly rising', and the garrison is assumed to be lost.]

[In the first place, the Brilliant White Church didn't station too many of their sacred corps Tunaya. Their archbishop in Tunaya had now formally extended a request for help towards Horan, liege of Tunaya and the Silver Eagle Duke.]

[He conveyed his wishes that Horan, who had good ties with the Temple of Glory and is himself a believer of Kratos, the God of War to persuade the Temple, so that they would help cull the undead.]

[However, the chief priest of Tunaya's Temple of Glory who had rushed to the castle refused Horan's request for aid, revealing that present circumstances do not bode well for the Temple of Glory either.]

[It turned out that three days ago, a violent landslide had occurred at Kristoff Mountains and part of the Wailing Trail of the North, south of Tunaya. Mud and rock had drowned several villages at the foot of the mountain.]

[Believers of Kratos who survived informed the Temple of Glory about the situation, who naturally didn't refuse them and sent their own sacred corps to investigate the Kristoff Mountains.]

[However, contact was lost with the recon force as well. However, the three-stripped warrior who was leading them sent a short message back through his sacred crest back to the Temple, informing them that they had run into a massive monster they could not defeat.]

[Said creature is an undead dragon.]

[Even if it's dead and had been resurrected as an undead, it is still a dragon-its breath melts armor and anything it slays would be reduced to its slaves. Even the most dangerous of magical creatures would not have the courage to face its claws!]

[In summary, Tunaya is now caught in between two calamities. The situation is dire, and what few minor churches that had kindly sent aid to wipe out the tide of undead failed.]

[It is hard to believe, but the other religions had more or less suffered great losses in the North, and not even one out of ten champions survived the onslaught.]

[To every Player reading this post, if you would offer your strength for the Church of Games, come to the Silver Eagle Castle through the Lifestone so that our fellowship could walk beneath the sun with honor without needing to hide and fear capture!]

[I'm waiting for you here!]

***

The post wasn't too long and the words were neither kind nor encouraging. Angora was basically relaying what he had heard in the Silver Eagle Castle to other Players, pushing them a little in closing... and that was it.

Naturally, fervent supporters of Angora such as Vela didn't hesitate to pick up their weapons and teleport to Tunaya immediately.

Meanwhile, the other Players were hesitating.

There was nothing scary about a few normal undead, but most children had grown up hearing legends about dragons, and those creatures were synonymous with power.

It was difficult for them to face a dragon without preparing themselves mentally-even if it were an undead.

Moreover, they had just finished fighting Nightcry and halfway through their celebratory feast. It just didn't feel right to rush over to help at once.

"What's happening?" The Elven Queen asked Marni, who was seated beside herself.

She had joined in the feast out of curiosity and was seated as a guest of honor, and naturally unable to see the Players' forum page. As such, she didn't understand why the jovial humans suddenly had serious looks on their faces and the feast had swiftly turned somber, with some even rising to their feet and without so much of a look behind.

"Have we been unwelcoming?" She added gingerly.

"No, we've received some news from other believers..."

Marni caught himself at that, uncertain if he should tell the Elven Queen about the post-but he soon remembered that the wood elves appear unconcerned with human affairs or to interfere with them. As such, no matter what he said, the Elven Queen probably wouldn't leave the forest as the monarch of the wood elves.

Hence, he told her about the gist of the post, and certainly didn't expect the Elven Queen to frown after thinking about it briefly. "I might be paranoid, but things might not be as simple as it seems. It is best for your fellowship to be cautious..."

"Is there a reason for that?"

Marni could not help feeling delighted-he might be on to something there.

"If your information is right, the first incident occurred three days ago at the Kristoff Mountains, followed by our arcanum seal, and then the undead forces at Sotimi..."

"Do you mean that the incident of the devil is connected to Tunaya?" Marni asked thoughtfully.

The Elven Queen nodded. "If you consider it carefully, the Trinia Forests is a part of the Silver Eagle Duchy's jurisdiction as well. Although humans wouldn't venture in here."

"Could there be a reason behind the order in which those three entities awakened?"

"If I had to put my finger on it, the order is a sequence from 'strongest to weakest." Dragons are the most powerful and therefore the earliest to awaken, followed by the devil which is a supernatural species in itself, and then Sotimi's undead... while there is no mention of what those undead were, it is known that Sotimi was where humans massacred some twenty thousand orks." The Elven Queen guessed.

"But if I remember correctly, Sotimi is a mass grave which had as many ork corpses as human corpses. Why are you certain that the undead are orks and not humans?" Marni asked, bemused.

"The reason is simple." The Elven Queen answered with great solemnity, putting weight behind every word. "Dragons, devils, and orks had survived since the First Age. They are amongst the First Eight: eight races made by the Trinity in the moment of Creation. Unlike them, humans are creatures mysteriously born out of nowhere in the Second Age."

She then paused for a moment, affording Marni, a human of short lifespan time to digest the information that was as ancient as it was mysterious.

"On the other hand," she continued after a moment, "if that mysterious zombification is really connected to the First Eight, there has to be undead of five other races awakening aside from the three that already did..."