Chapter 37 – Revolution

 

Naxus was the capital of the Porcephone empire and the biggest city in the continent. It was shaped as a circle and was surrounded by giant walls that protected the insides of the town. There were three entrances : the south, east and west gates. There was no gate in the northern side of the capital, where the Imperial Castle was located.

 

As the imperial capital, Naxus was naturally the most heavily guarded city in the entire Empire. This is why being taken by surprise by a huge army of humanoid earth creatures was totally unexpected.

 

Normally, an army this size would have been spotted from far away and taken care of before it could even reach the gates. However, the Golems had been teleported directly in front of the gates, ready for a siege.

 

This had led to the imperial soldiers being mostly unable to react fast enough and the fights that would usually be happening outside where now being held within the capital.

 

“Both the east and south gates have fallen already ! Send some reinforcements to these points and make sure the western gate doesn’t let anyone in !”

 

Such were the orders shouted from one of the generals of the Porcephone army, Brell Ganoi.

 

He was a dignified man who had led his troops to over fifty victories and had distinguished himself as a cunning leader and great tactician.

However, even such a man was at a loss over the situation.

 

“How did these monsters enter the town !? Well anyway, it’s too late to think about that. The western gate is the most heavily guarded one due to it being the one most merchants usually go through. As long as it does not fall, we still have a chance. Sergent Lionel !”

“Yes, sir !”

“Send 80% of our remaining foot soldiers as reinforcements to the eastern and southern gates. I want you to push the enemy back outside the walls. Send the remaining 20% to the western gate and call for the Black Legion. I want them to help the western gate to hold on until we’re done with the eastern and southern one.”

“Sir, yes sir !”

 

The sergeant left urgently while Brell was carefully analysing the situation.

 

“The positive point is that we are not outnumbered. We currently have about twice as many soldiers as they do. Although they are mainly clay soldiers according to the reports so they seem even weaker than your average soldier. What caused the most problem is the speed at which they entered the town. They are coordinated so well it is as if they were all controlled by a single person… Well as long as the situation does not change though, we should be able to take back both gates. Besides, it is only a matter of time before the Black Legion sweeps the enemy.”

 

The Black Legion was one of the Porcephone army’s trump cards. They were a legion of 200 highly trained Paladins – this means that they were remarkable soldiers that could further enhance their abilities thanks to a great control of Magic. In addition, they were kept at a maximum of 200 soldiers in order to maximise their teamwork and coordination potential.

 

These soldiers were such an asset to the imperial army that they could literally change the course of a war. According to reports, they are able to fight on par against an army of 2,000 normal soldiers.

 

“Although this is certainly an alarming situation, this is nothing that cannot be taken care of.”

 

The general could not be any more wrong however, as two hours later, the western gate had finally fallen as well.

 

“HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE !?”

“I’m terribly sorry sir but… the reinforcements at the southern and eastern gates have been annihilated by what looked like to be two paladins, both wearing a black armor.”

“Two paladins you say !? Did the some of the Black Legion betray us ?”

“It is still unsure who these two are, sir but I have more bad news.”

“What ? Even if the western gate has fallen, when the Black Legion gets there, we will take it back.”

“Well… the fact is, the Black Legion got entirely decimated… sir.”

“… Could you say that again please ? I don’t think I heard you right.”

“The enemy is not just an army of Golems, sir… right when the Black Legion arrived at the western gate, a black dragon appeared out of nowhere and killed most of our troops there, including the Black Legion.’

‘A dragon… impossible…”

“Sir, what should we do ? We cannot fight properly against a dragon ! Our soldiers are not trained for such a task.”

“You’re right. The only people who can take down dragons are the people at the Adventurer Guild. It is shameful but we are going to have to ask the Adventurers for their help. Also, go find the Archmage, Vladimir Stalford. I remember that his father took down a dragon on his own, so the son might be able to help.”

“Yes sir, immediately !”

 

After the sergeant left, Brell sighed. For the very first time, he thought that victory may not be the only option.

 

“… This is not looking bright for Naxus…”

 

***

 

While the swords were clashing outside, a man was busy walking around in circles inside the Imperial Castle. It was Orth Porcephone, the new Emperor.

 

“This guy killed daddy. I… I did not get to see his face because of that mask… Who is he ? Well, this matters not, for I am safe. However… damn that cursed Elf. He said we were protected, he said we were safe. HOW AM I SAFE WHEN THIS GUY JUST KILLS DADDY IN FRONT OF ME !?”

 

Vladimir Stalford was standing next to Orth, trying to calm him down.

 

“Fear not, your highness. I am here. I shall protect you, like I swore to your father.”

“Oh, well great job protecting father earlier !”

“This was… unexpected. I have myself to blame for my lack of reaction. I cannot even begin to apologise for such failure. But right now, you must focus on recovering from the shock. This man is still out there, looking for you. Surely, he will make his move soon enough. We must catch him before that.”

“Ha, don’t make me laugh. You saw it, this man used some unconventional Magic. He destroyed the guards that tried to stop him and he even managed to behead daddy before you could even bat an eyelid ! I don’t think anyone can catch him currently. What we need is to set up a trap for him. For instance, we could…”

“Sir, your highness, sorry for intruding but I have some important orders !”

 

Orth got interrupted by a soldier who according to his armor, was a sergeant of the imperial army.

 

“How dare you enter my room without a warning !? I hope you have a very good reason, soldier. Speak or I will send you in prison.”

“Yes, your highness ! I have been sent by the general Brell Ganoi to ask Lord Stalford for his assistance !”

 

Stalford raised an eyebrow at the mention of his name.

 

“Hmm… ? Assistance ? What for ?”

“Sir, we are currently surrounded by an army of Golems ! All three gates have already fallen !”

“What !? What is this madness ? Just what is the Black Legion doing ?”

“Sir, the Black Legion got wiped out by a dragon that is most likely on the side of the Golems. That is why the General sent me to get you. He said we need your help to take down the dragon.”

“I see… A dragon huh… I wonder who our enemy is… Anyway, your highness I am afraid I will have to leave your side. But you still have the Kurotsuki clan to watch over you while I am away.”

“The imperial assassins huh… well their leader, Kankuro, is here today so with him by my side, I have nothing to fear. Besides, I can fight by myself as well. Shall I remind you that I can use Master level Fire Magic ? And I have a Fire Crystal in my pocket so even if someone comes at me, I’ll be ready to take them on, fuahaha !”

“I shall be on my way then.”

 

Vladimir left the room along with the sergeant and Orth was left alone in his room. Or so it seemed.

 

“Kankuro.”

“Yes, my lord.”

 

A man had appeared from behind the shadows along with three other people wearing black clothes and a mask that hid their identity. The man however, was not wearing a mask like the others and his face showed him as a man in his forties with a few scars on his face.

 

“Dispatch your men around the town. I want them to report the situation to me as soon as possible. As for you, I want you to act as my personal bodyguard.”

“As you wish, my lord.”

 

The men behind Kankuro nodded and disappeared just as stealthily as how they appeared.

 

“Now… Masked man… what will be your next move ?”

 

***

 

An hour later, the Kurotsuki members had regrouped to report to Orth Porcephone about the disastrous situation of the town.

 

All gates had fallen to the Golems and the exits had been sealed with Earth Magic by someone.  The inhabitants were thus trapped inside of the town while the soldiers dispatched outside of the town that were not part of the first fights were unable to rally to the inside of the capital as reinforcements. In other words, Naxus was isolated from any external help.

 

Most of the residential districts were occupied by the Golems as the imperial soldiers had been mostly annihilated.

 

The Golems had progressed throughout the entire town and were now surrounding the Imperial Castle. The last line of defense of the Emperor was made out of the survivors of the earlier raids and the members of the Kurotsuki clan. However, they were now greatly outnumbered and tired from the relentless assaults of the Golems who, on the other hand, seemed unaffected by fatigue.

 

Orth was watching this very scene, the fall of Naxus, from his balcony. Due to the structure of the town, it made it very difficult to reach the castle, as an invader but it also meant that if such feat was accomplished, the Emperor had no way to escape.

 

“I will not go down without a fight. Actually, I will not go down at all ! I don’t know where Vladimir went but Kankuro and I should be more than enough to wipe out these pitiful clay creatures ! Come at me, Golems ! I dare you to enter my castle !”

 

Finally the Golems killed the last remnants of the forces guarding the entrance of the Imperial Castle. However, they stopped at the entrance in a circle, not entering it. They stopped moving and stood still as a man, the masked man, made his triumphant entrance.

 

“YOU ! DO YOU REALLY THINK YOU CAN TAKE ORTH PORCEPHONE DOWN ALONE !? WHAT A JOKE ! COME, I’M WAITING FOR YOU !”

“…”

“What did you say !?”

“A joke, huh… A joke indeed.”

 

The masked man entered the castle alone and Orth left his balcony to go welcome his guest of honour.

 

A few minutes later, the two men were standing still in front of each other in the main hall.

 

Orth took out his Fire Crystal and broke it on the ground, spreading fire around him. However, that fire soon took shape in his palms and he threw some『Firebolts』at the masked man. But they looked like they were absorbed by the darkness around him and disappeared into nothingness.

 

“What the- What is this !?”

“This is the result of what you created yourself.”

 

Joker removed his mask. Although his face looked more mature and his hair had turned silver, Orth still recognised him.

 

“Impossible… Zwölf Kreizig… so you survived.”

“It took me a long time. But at long last I am back. Back to erase you from this work. You, the bad joke.”

“Hahaha, you idiot ! There is no way you can beat me ! You use shadows as your main weapons ? Fine, Kankuro here is a master of the shadows too. He will teach you true shadow mastery ! Kankuro, kill him !”

 

A blade was about to stab Joker from the back, in his blind spot. The assassin called Kankuro had been quiet, so quiet in fact that Joker had not noticed his presence earlier. His attack was swift and precise, meant to kill Joker in one hit.

 

But despite not having vision of the assassin, Joker turned around at the perfect time, grabbed the man’s throat with one hand and pinned him down using Gravity Magic to enhance this action. The man’s throat was crushed but Joker did not let his guard down.

 

Three black tentacles came out of his back and pierced the hearts of the three other assassins who had sneaked behind him while he was busy with Kankuro.

 

Although blood was shed from the three masked enemies, Kankuro – despite having his throat crushed – did not bleed. This could be explained by the fact that it was merely a puppet that Kankuro had substituted right before the impact.

 

When Joker realised that, it was too late. Kankuro had already appeared underneaf him and tried to slash Joker in half with a katana.

 

This would have worked if the weapon did not go through Joker without being absorbed into nothingness, much like the『Firebolts』earlier. Before Kankuro could remove his hand from the shadows that covered Joker’s body however, the shadows disappeared and Joker’s body rematerialised, cutting Kankuro’s arm with a fountain of blood.

 

When Kankuro tried to retreat, he was pinned down once more by Gravity Magic. Much to Orth’s horror, the man soon suffered the same fate as the other Kurotsuki members.

 

Orth started feeling an immense fear. The kind of fear preys feel in front of their natural predator. He fell on his bottom and tears gathered at the corner of his eyes. Joker had put his mask back on though so his expression could not be seen. Only a ruthless and merciless red eye could be noticed through one of the two holes of the mask.

 

“Finally, it’s only you and me, Orth.But don’t worry. I won’t kill you.”

“You won’t ? You will spare me ? I could make you rich and powerful if you do, you know ?”

“… Ha, ha, ha. You’re a funny guy aren’t you ? Rich ? I will be rich once I have taken over your Empire. And famous ? Well, I soon will be as well.”

“What..”

“Well I did say I would not kill you but that’s only right now. Before that, I want to make sure you enjoy the same treatment I did in your jail. Oh and if you’re wondering I do have someone to heal you after I wound you, just like you did back then.”

 

Orth’s eyes widened in fear as he was absorbed by Joker’s shadows. His scream stopped when he disappeared completely. Only Joker remained.

 

“There is no way I am killing you immediately… After all, I have a lot of questions to ask you, Orth. About the Elves. They are plotting something big. I will need to take care of Arcadeus, as soon as I am done with you so I’ll at least enjoy your delightful screams for a while. By the way, good job protecting me, Wahnsinn. I knew it was a good call having you fuse back with me.”

“Of course. Our synchronisation is perfect so the two of us should be undefeatable. Even Arcadeus stands no chance against the both of us. I can cover your blind spots and cover for you with Shadow Magic while you do your own thing.”

 

The man known as Joker had finally completed one of his main objectives : taking down the Porcephone Empire.

 

“What a joke” he thought. Around him was a pile of corpses and blood was spilt on the walls. He was the only living being in this room.

 

At the sight of this macabre scene, he could only let out an uncontrollable laugh.

 

After laughing for a good minute, he finally calmed down and left without a word.


This event was now known as the “Silent massacre”, marking the day of the fall of the Porcephone Empire.

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