Early the next morning, only dead silence accompanied the gloomy mist circling around Mount Felipoa.
More than three hundred horsemen followed behind Edmund and lined the wide plains at the foot of the dormant volcano.
On both sides of where the cavalry was stationed, the river meandered through the valleys with a thunderous roar.
The water’s currents were quite strong and swollen due to the continued rain from the night before.
The muddy ground was rather unsuitable for horses to maneuver, but the ground where the cavalry awaited was solid.
“A spirit of water.
It’s truly amazing.”
“I can’t believe there is a knight who has contracted a spirit.
I would have never believed it if I weren’t looking at it in person.”
“I didn’t think he was an ordinary person, but this is beyond anything I ever imagined.”
The cavalrymen of the Knights of Dawn whispered while stealing glances at Eugene, who was looking at the mountain wrapped in mist.
It was extremely rare for people to travel to and from far abroad, but most of them knew about the King of Maren, as he was famous in the Kingdom of Caylor and the other nations in the west.
The King of Maren had made numerous achievements over the years to eventually become a king.
As such, it would have been strange for them to have never heard of the one known as the ‘knight king’.
Even so, it was hard to believe that a highest-ranking noble of the Dark Clan was working together with a spirit.
“Kieeeh… This is freaking hard, sir,” Mirian muttered.
Take some rest,” Eugene responded.
She had worked hard to draw the moisture from the ground, a piece of land wide enough for the cavalry to stand on and maneuver.
She slowly crawled back into her pocket after finishing her job.
Eugene turned his head toward the cavalry and spoke, “Do not leave the marked area.”
In the first place, they wouldn’t leave the marked area even if they were told to.
Cavalry fighting in the mud was no different from suicide.
“Galfredik, Princess,” Eugene called out, and the two came forward.
“Follow the stream up.
Be careful not to get caught.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“As you wish, Master.”
Princess Lilisain started to climb upward with the elven knights, the beowulf warriors, as well as the griffon siblings at the forefront.
Galfredik, the two vampire high lords, and the twin-headed ogre began climbing the opposite canyon.
The large twin-headed ogre was slow as opposed to the vampires, who used their protruding claws to climb like spiders.
However, the ogre was slow only relative to the vampire.
In the first place, it was unbelievable for such a large creature to be able to climb such a steep, dangerous cliff.
“Then…” Eugene observed the two groups as they disappeared into the thickening fog, then stepped forward.
The horsemen of the Knights of Dawn watched Eugene with a gaze mixed with curiosity and anxiety.
A crimson energy began to emanate from Eugene’s figure.
They were wide-eyed at the amazing sight.
Although all of them were aware of the existence of vampires, there were no high-ranking vampires residing in the Hisain Countdom because of Count Hisain’s hatred toward them.
As such, they didn’t know the true face of the highest-ranking nobles of the Dark Clan.
No, rather, for most people, vampire nobles of the highest order were beings that spanned the realm of myth and legend.
In the first place, there weren’t many vampires capable of roaming around unaffected during the day.
The cavalrymen were seeing for the first time, a physical manifestation of Fear coming from a vampire.
Eugene’s body became engulfed in a crimson flame.
The tongues of fire burst and scattered like tens of thousands of dark red grains of sand.
Then, Eugene’s body disappeared along with his armor, sword, spear, and shield.
The onlookers’ eyes widened with surprise at the amazing sight.
The dark red particles quickly took shape in the air.
It was a crimson bat.
The cavalry stared with their jaws agape at the sudden transformation of the particles.
The large crimson bat flew through the fog after taking form.
“What are you all doing The subjugation has just begun.
Get into formation,” Edmund ordered in a cold voice.
His icy voice acted as a whip to quickly awaken the cavalry.
Eugene felt a strange sensation.
His physical body had disappeared, and only his mind remained.
He felt rather hazy, but he was surprisingly clear-minded.
He was clearly aware that he was flying through the fog to the top of the mountain.
In addition, he felt as if something was escaping from his body.
‘Am I losing my energy This must be why the vampire high lords don’t use their immaterial forms very often.’
If even he could feel his energy being drained, then the high lords would certainly be affected even more.
It could be concluded that using the immaterial form for an extended period of time could be quite dangerous.
‘I can’t… expand my Fear in this state.’
In his current state, his body had literally transformed into a materialization of Fear.
He could be called a body of Fear.
This ability was a mystery beyond magic.
It was a function that could only be utilized by vampires, particularly the highest-ranking nobility with superhuman capabilities.
With such a fraudulent ability, it was no wonder the monarchs from all over the world, including the emperors of the Roman Empire, had always tried to maintain a friendly relationship with the highest-ranking vampire aristocrats.
‘Or… they would have tried to exterminate us all together.’
They had definitely attempted that first.
Unless they had powerful wizards by their sides, it was impossible for nobles to be unafraid of existences with such mysterious powers, as well as resistance to sunlight and silver.
However, the situation drastically changed soon after the unofficial recognition of vampires by the Holy Empire.
The vampire nobles were then incorporated into the various societies.
‘By the way, how did my equipment transform as well’
In the case of the vampire high lord who first used the ability in Brantia, only his body had transformed, leaving behind all of his armor and weapons on the ground.
However, all of Eugene’s equipment had transformed into Fear along with his body.
‘It’s probably because my equipment is special.’
Eugene’s equipment were heirlooms of the Batla Duchy.
They were special items designed and crafted by special craftsmen with special materials for a special existence.
After hearing the stories related to the equipment and using them for a while, Eugene reached the conclusion that they were made for a special existence among vampires.
‘It either means that there had been an Origin back then or there’s Origin like me out there.’
He suddenly encountered a strange energy while flying with such thoughts.
He appeared to be around the middle of the tall mountain, and he could sense something strange emanating from a place where gray rocks were jutting out.
‘What is it’
He wanted to expand his Fear to check it out, but it was impossible in his current state.
‘Is it the ruler of this mountain’
There was a good chance that it was.
There were two evil lands on the mountain, as well as a lake—the water source of the Demiere region.
It would have been strange if the monsters had no rulers.
‘A high-ranking monster has never been spotted here before, but…’
If the source of the energy was indeed a monster, then it was most likely a high-ranking monster.
It was almost impossible to see high-ranking monsters not only as roamers, but even within evil lands until a few years ago.
However, things were different now.
‘Should I deal with it first before herding the others’
It would take some time, but it wasn’t a bad idea.
It will be better to deal with the others first before taking care of it last.’
Intermediate and high-ranking monsters were extremely territorial.
It wouldn’t care even if all the other monsters were wiped out.
As such, Eugene decided to leave the one responsible for the strange energy until the end.
Suddenly, the fog that obscured his view disappeared with a gust of strong wind.
At the same time, the top of the gray giant made its appearance beneath the bright sunlight.
Eugene had finally arrived near the summit of the dormant volcano.
Fear once again surrounded Eugene’s figure and soared.
The crimson pellets slowly fell to the ground in human form.
“Phew…” Eugene took a breath after taking the form of a perfect knight.
He definitely felt drained after taking the immaterial form for a considerable amount of time.
“I should feed on some blood.”
Eugene looked around with the thought of catching a suitable monster.
The first thing that caught his eye was a huge lake that filled the basin located at the mountain’s summit.
Even at a rough glance, the lake seemed to have a circumference of several kilometers.
The pollution there had significantly progressed as well.
The blue water had turned dark green, and groups of monsters were hanging around the vicinity.
Eugene was more than five hundred meters from the lake, and it seemed that the monsters hadn’t sensed his presence just yet.
“I should take care of them first before purifying the lake,” Eugene said.
The fact that low-ranking monsters were hanging around the lake meant that there were no predatory, threatening monsters in the vicinity, and the one responsible for the monster uprising shouldn’t be there as well.
He would eliminate the monsters and let Mirian proceed with the purification while simultaneously herding the monsters down.
“Get ready to purify… Hmm”
Eugene spoke while reaching for his leather pocket, then stopped.
It was gone.
The leather pouch, which was originally a waterskin but served as Mirina’s mobile home, had disappeared without a trace.
“Don’t tell me—”
His body and equipment could be transformed into Fear.
However, even though she was his contracted spirit, Mirian was still a spirit.
She could not be transformed into Fear.
“Then she should have fallen to the floor from the beginning… Ah!”
He had continued flapping his wings after turning into a bat.
In other words, the leather pouch containing Mirian would have stayed with him.
And since the wind coming from the mountain wasn’t so strong in the beginning, it would have stayed with him for a while.
And then it would have fallen thanks to the wind at some point.
Naturally, he had no idea where it fell.
“…This is crazy.”
The spirit had suddenly become a missing child; or rather, a missing spirit.
Eugene was dumbfounded.
However, after evolving, the spirit was capable of sensing him from a few kilometers away.
It wouldn’t be difficult for her to find him on her own.
“She’s a tough little thing, so she should be fine on her own.”
Even if she was a little ‘lacking,’ she wasn’t weak, and most importantly, she was better than a cockroach when it came to survival.
If nothing else, Mirian would come to find him because of the wealth she had steadily collected with him so far.
“I’ll get some blood first,” Eugene ran toward the monsters by the lake with glittering eyes.
“K-kieh Sir” Mirian called out.
She had been exhausted after draining the water from the ground where the cavalry would be stationed.
As such, she had fallen asleep and was comfortably snoring away after settling in her leather pouch.
However, a dull shock suddenly jolted her awake.
When she opened the lid of the pocket and stretched out her neck…
“W-what is this Where did you go, sir”
The surroundings were filled with fog, and all she saw were dark brown rocks.
Mirian was struck with a sudden onset of fear.
She shoved her little head in her leather pocket, and her eyes moved around relentlessly with anxiety.
Where did you go”
She was a little lacking and blinded by greed for wealth, but she knew one thing very well—she was nothing without her contractor Eugene.
“Huweeeeeeeeeennng!” Mirian shouted with joy after looking around with fear for a moment.
Although it was quite far away, she could clearly sense Eugene’s energy.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but I have to go there quick.”
She eagerly flapped her two sets of wings in the direction of Eugene’s energy.
However, all of a sudden…
“Hooh An undine in a volcano I’m lucky.”
The spirit screamed in response to the cheerful but rather insidious voice.