Emperor of Steel

Chapter 555 - Close Encounter 1

The north of Bremen.

There was a group of individuals that were secretly approaching the city.

They were Reina and a dozen Saint Guard knights.

They had sneaked away from the main army and turned to the north of the city to avoid confrontation with the zombies.

“Holiness, it is very dangerous. It isn’t too late to turn back, please.”

One of the best knights in the Saint Guard, a young lady named Bertie, told Reina once again.

However, Reina didn’t stray away from her decision.

“Didn’t I tell you already? I have no intention of heading back, at least not until they recover the body of my companion.”

“Sigh… I really understand how you feel because the one you lost is your fiancé. However, we might end up getting surrounded by the zombies. Do you really think that His Majesty would want you to do this?”

“Surely, he wouldn’t want that. However, I need to know the state of his life.”

Reina was being too stubborn because of the nightmares she had.

The nightmare that showed Luke being murdered very vividly. It had been etched in the back of her mind.

“If you are scared, you may head back to the retreat spot. I can go and find him myself.”

Reina’s stubborn attitude only made the young Bertie look at Victor.

It was meant as a sign for him to convince Her Holiness. However, Victor only shook his head followed by silence.

After being with Reina for a long time, he knew that he wouldn’t be able to convince the woman.

And there was no one who could stop her from doing what she wanted.

‘It is better to help her achieve what she wants and head back.’

Eventually, unable to defeat her stubbornness, they entered the city through the broken border gates on the north.

“It is emptier than I thought.”

“Maybe the zombies all moved to the south.”

There were some zombies here and there, but none of them approached them. Maybe it was because they could feel the divine power emanating from Reina and felt threatened.

“Which is the path to the sanctuary?”

“This is the way. If we go down the alley here, we will get there sooner than using the main road.”

Reina’s group moved on the path that the knight of Saint Guard, who was used to Bremen, showed.

The experienced Victor stood in front of the group and looked around.

How many streets did they cross?

Reina’s group met with another group of people that came from the opposite side.

“Holiness?”

“No, why would…?”

Reina stared at the people who appeared suddenly and seemed startled.

And it wasn’t surprising that she did since they were living people and not zombies.

Moreover, the armor or the clothing that they were wearing was the same as the Saint Guards.

“Holiness, this is the 4th squad of the Saint Guard!”

Bertie, who recognized her colleague’s face, shouted with happiness clearly registered on her face.

The 4th squad, which was the infantry division, had been dispatched to the city and were told to be destroyed. However, it seemed like there were survivors.

The Saint Guard knights, who were with Reina, had pulled back their swords and lowered their guards after seeing their colleagues well and fine.

It was the same with Victor.

“I am glad you are safe. Were you hiding here?”

“Yes, Holiness. Rather than that, we have urgent information…”

The commander of the 4th squad, who answered Reina’s question, said that there was something important that had to be relayed to her.

‘This is strange. Why are their clothes so clean if they have suffered avoiding the zombies?’

Victor was puzzled to see the knights of the 4th squad look too clean. He noticed that the knights of the 4th squad were reaching out for their swords.

“Everyone, on guard!”

With the cry from Victor, the knights of the 4th squad pulled their swords out and launched themselves like lightning.

“Kuak!”

“Ahk!”

The escorts of Reina were the knights from Saint Guard. They were the ones who were given the position that was the closest to being with the pope.

That was why, along with being Sword Masters, they were individuals that had excellent skills and instant coping mechanism. They were the best even among the Saint Guard.

However, when their own colleagues turned on them, five to six people had taken damage.

Among them was the Sword Master, Bertie, the young female knight.

Although she managed to avoid the attack, she couldn’t help but stagger while trying to regain her balance.

“What are you doing?! Abandon your weapons right now and stand back!”

With the shout from Victor, instead of standing back, the 4th squad said to him, “Sir Victor, be careful! That person you are trying to protect is a fake!”

“Wh-what do you mean?”

“Did your ears stop working? He said that the pope is a fake! That witch drove out the real pope and placed herself in his position. She is a fox who is trying to disrupt the Holy Empire’s peace!”

“That bastard! How dare you go around and speak such nonsense?!”

Victor, who wasn’t able to hold his anger any longer, released his aura that rose like flames.

Maybe he would have been convinced if he thought of her to be a fallen angel or God’s disciple, but Reina is the princess of the ruined Volga Kingdom. She had nothing to do with that world.

And to call Reina fake?!

After reuniting with her, Victor had been walking in her shadows all along, which was why he would never be able to accept what the 4th squad was saying.

“Leave your sword and kneel down for forgiveness! Otherwise, this old man’s sword will never be able to forgive you!”

“Huh! You’re the insane one here!”

The commander of the 4th squad and his men attacked once again.

The escorts of the pope, who were already hurt with the surprise attack, wouldn’t be able to neutralize the incoming attacks.

Fortunately, those who weren’t killed were all treated by Reina right away and were ready to fight.

However, the skills of the 4th squad were too much to handle.

The Sword Master, Bertie, joined the battle as well after being healed, but they were still struggling to hold their ground.

“I can’t believe it! The 4th squad isn’t supposed to be this strong…”

“Huh! Our pope made us stronger!”

Honestly, Baymon was the one that made the 4th squad stronger.

He had brainwashed the captured prisoners, and by using the forbidden mental magic, he raised their potential.

If one could increase the potential of a person with artifacts, for a short period of time, that person could become stronger.

On the other hand, it had drastic side effects of shortening one’s lifespan.

One could die within 10 days or within a month.

That was why this kind of magic was forbidden.

However, Baymon wasn’t concerned with it.

He was supposed to use the Saint Guards and kill Veronica III as planned. They were just tools to kill.

‘I was planning to go out and assault them at the sanctuary, but to meet them here? I guess it was my luck.’

Baymon, who was sneaking from the roof near the alley, smiled.

It was when he was thinking that he had managed to prevent the pope from escaping.

The 4th squad commander rushed toward Reina, passing through her line of escorts such as Victor and Bertie.

“Die, witch!”

“Aah! Your Holiness, run!”

Reina, who was busy treating the injured knights, was shocked to see the man flying toward her.

However, she wasn’t a wizard nor was she a knight who was trained in ground combat.

The 4th squad commander knew that and smiled.

He was confident that he could execute the witch who dared to push out the real pope with his own hands.

However, the 4th squad commander and Baymon, who was watching them, saw something that they could’ve never imagined.