Few days had passed since the warlocks arrived.
The cleansing of the river went according to plan, and the zombie disease didn’t spread to regions outside Jackson.
In addition, the zombies didn’t attack Wolfs.
As Wilf did in his village of Ribek, Luke and the Dark Moon warlocks controlled the zombies nearby.
Thanks to that, the sacrifices of the paladins and the soldiers had been reduced, and there was no need to exterminate the zombies.
It wasn’t just that, something surprising had happened.
“Oh my, how are the zombies…”
The soldiers who were standing on the walls of the borders, had their mouth hanging when seeing the scenery outside the region.
It was because they were seeing zombies carrying farm equipment and performing farming, such as ploughing or trying to plant seeds.
If the farmlands would be left alone, it would turn desolate.
Because of that, it was necessary to keep the land used, but they were in a situation where they were unable to deal with zombies.
However, the zombies were working on the lands where the people were working before turning into zombies.
“What the hell is happening?”
“I heard it from a priest who knew about it, the warlocks are controlling the zombies.”
“We need to catch them and kill…!”
The soldiers who heard that were furious, however, the man spoke again.
“I heard that not all warlocks are bad guys. As you know, not all priests are good ones either.”
“Well, that is true. The priest of our village was called Greedy Pig. The bloody man used to take away huge amounts of grain…”
A fellow soldier frowned, recalling the things he witnessed in his hometown.
“Well, anyway, the warlocks had volunteered by themselves and said that this wasn’t their act, and they didn’t seem that bad.”
“Is that really true?”
“Yes, not just here, but the village of Ribek was also able to save their people because of a warlock in their village.”
Honestly, Wilf’s story didn’t spread from the mouth.
It consisted of the instructions from Luke and the Holy Empire officials, who decided to use Wilf as an example.
The fact about the descendant of the Rakan hero learning dark magic, that too, the legacy of Devil King Saymon, would have been too much for the people to take in.
Both Luke and the other higher officials of the Holy Empire thought that it would work well for Luke, and instead of letting out the full truth, they decided to spread only the appropriate information.
And that was what the soldiers were aware of.
“So, that was why the wild zombies are acting like that.”
“Well no matter what, it is useful for us. Without day or night, they can work and provide us with food.”
“That isn’t it, you stupid friend. We don’t know if they are sinners or good people, it is a terrible disease that rots away the flesh. This isn’t something a human can do.”
“Well, that is what it is. The warlocks are helping the Pope to study the cure for the zombie disease, and will soon be successful.”
As the warlocks were getting attention, Luke was taking a group of zombies that were approaching Wolfs.
Taking control of the zombies with the undead dark magic, Luke drove them to a nearby valley.
“You all, don’t go around walking here and there. Later, once the cure is found, I’ll bring it here.”
The zombies nodded their heads as if they understood.
Luke, who moved a huge rock at the entrance of the valley to avoid any attention, turned towards Wolfs.
“Phew, it isn’t easy to control zombies.”
Even if he was great in using dark magic, it was Luke’s first time to use undead magic.
Moreover, the number of zombies was huge, and he was in no position to control them one after another.
‘If the cure isn’t found quickly, I’ll be overworking myself.’
“Back? You seem tired?”
Reina welcomed Luke with a smile.
Luke, who would have normally smiled back at her, asked her with a stern face.
“Why are you still here? I told you to leave all the work in here to me and my men and head back to Bless, to look after the people there, get back to your followers.”
Once the warlocks joined, Luke asked Reina to stop her work in Wolfs.
No matter how careful one was, they were in a place where anything could happen.
If she was going to stay there, there was a chance that she could be infected with the disease.
At Luke’s words, Reina replied with a sad expression.
“I don’t know if there is anything I can do over there.”
“Of course, there is no way we can know… yet, I don’t want you to be in this dangerous place.”
“But, did you ever think from my point of view? I hate you staying here on my behalf and getting hurt.”
Reina could never get herself to forget the nightmare she saw last night, the nightmare in which Luke gets killed.
Well, she didn’t want to forget it.
Which was why she wanted to stay, she wanted to stay to make sure nothing like that would take place.
“I would rather stay here and be wrong than leave you here alone…”
“Fine. I understand so stop thinking those bad thoughts.”
Luke decided that he could never win over Reina’s stubborn nature, and raised his hands in defeat.
However, to himself, he was thinking of sending Reina to Bless, even if it meant to use sleep magic on her.
At that time, he felt someone walk outside.
“Holiness, I, Luther have come.”
“Please come in.”
At Reina’s words, Luther opened the door and brought in the good news.
“It was said that the warlocks of Dark Moon have discovered the cause for the zombie disease.”
“Is that true?”
Luke couldn’t hold back his question when he heard that some kind of result came out.
“Yes. We can head over to the Magic Tower lab right away.”
When they went there, they were met by Marquis Reas and Arch Duke Gregory, who received the report early.
When people gathered, Elder Quintero showed the microscope and began his explanation.
“This is a body tissue that was removed from a goat which was infected with the zombie disease, and it is now in the microscopic stage. If you look closely, you can see the parasite attacking the tissue cells at random.”
At Quintero’s words, Luke, Reina and the other officials in the room brought their eyes to see the picture in the microscope.
They were able to see tiny red worms, which looked very much like centipedes, wriggling and wandering around the tissue.
The number of worms were too many to count, those who saw that weren’t able to calm their eyes for a while.
“They are breeding inside the body!”
Marquis Reas was shocked at what he saw, which made Quintero smile.
“It was very impossible to see it with regular observation devices. This too is an image we are able to see after we used our dark magic reagent.”
“So, what you mean to say is that, those worms are the cause of the zombie disease?”
According to Quintero, the parasites had invaded the body of an organism and were spreading through blood vessels which would pass through all body parts.
In particular, the part where it reproduced the most was the brain, spewing its toxins, it was decaying the host’s body and was taking control of the brain and nervous systems.
“The reason for the attack is to breed itself in huge numbers. No matter how small a parasite is, there is a time limit to which it could stick to one individual.”
‘Right. Does it look for another target?’
When Luke was thinking and nodding his head, Quintero continued to speak.
“What is worse is that the parasites release deadly toxins when they die. Because of that, the body of the host turns into zombies.”
“Which is why, when divine power was used, they were turning into ashes.”
Priests and wizards, such as Marquis Reas and Reina now seemed to understand.
“Then, can the worms be removed from the people and revive them without any trace of the disease?”
Reina’s biggest concern was to revive those who were turned into zombies.
With a stiff expression, Quintero answered her question.
“Theoretically yes, but we still haven’t found a way to safely remove them. In the future, after conducting experiments on animals, we might see some kind of a result.”
“Hugh, I see.”
When Reina showed her disappointment, Arch Duke Gregory and Marquis Reas began to soothe her.
“Holiness, we just identified the cause, we will soon be able to develop the treatment too.”
“That is right. Once the cause is known, we can see this as being half successful.”
Reina spoke with a faint smile, still seemingly upset.
“If there is anything I can do, please tell me without holding back your thoughts.”
When Quintero was bowing to Reina, Luke looked through the microscope once again.
‘How do we get rid of these ugly creatures?’
Killing the parasites shouldn’t be done.
Killing them was releasing fatal toxins, which was turning their body into ashes when coming in contact with divine power.
Right then, something went past his mind when he was thinking about removing them without killing them.
Something he had seen when he was walking around the village to contain the zombies.
Unlike people and their livestock, wild animals didn’t seem to turn into undead.
Even when bitten by a zombie, the animals died, but never moved again.
Besides, it looked almost like the wild animals didn’t seem to get infected by the zombie disease.
They surely would drink from the river and it was bound for the parasites to spread.
‘It was the same with the fishes in the river. Are these parasites only attacking humans and their livestock? Or…’
Something else entered Luke’s mind, the story he heard from Luther when moving to Wolfs.
According to him, the former regent Constantine was able to show a miracle that brought back a zombie into a man.
He claimed himself to be the ‘true disciple of God’ and was told that Constantine seemed to have aged backwards.
‘Maybe Constantine has something to do with this disease. Maybe catching him would bring us the cure.’
Luke wasn’t the only one who thought so.
Arch Duke Gregory too was looking out, as they all thought that Constantine would be somewhere near Jackson.
‘For now, I need to see what I can do right away.’
Thinking so, Luke went outside to catch some wild animals.
He was going to scrutinize the animals and see why they weren’t getting infected with the parasites, the main reason for the zombie disease.