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«Under the Oak Tree (Web Novel) - Chapter 405

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Chapter 405

This chapter is updated by Novels.pl

“I-I think…there is an underground channel nearby connected to the moat.”

Kuahel paused his vigilant surveying of their surroundings to look at Maxi. “Do you think we can use it to sneak into the city?”

“I-If we are able to find the entrance.”

A faint line creased the clergyman’s smooth brow. He looked up at the battlement in apparent deliberation before slowly nodding. “Very well. Please lead the way.”

Rising to her feet, Maxi grabbed Rem’s reins and cautiously started walking. The deep trench next to the wall widened as it stretched west, forming a chasm on the northern end with a watercourse at the bottom filled with gray ice.

They followed the moat until they reached a place that appeared to be a lumber camp, where they tied the horses safely out of sight before returning.

“I-It is that way.”

Kuahel looked in the direction Maxi pointed. At the bottom of the near-vertical slope was a small hole seemingly for drainage. Without hesitation, he glided down the moat. Fortunately, the remaining water in the trench was frozen solid, sparing them from having to wade through putrid waste.

Inwardly breathing a sigh of relief, Maxi clambered down the slope. When she finally reached the bottom, the clergyman helped her up and strode over to the city wall.

“This is the entrance?” he asked skeptically, peering into the arched tunnel.

Flustered, Maxi groped at the wall. “Th-There should be a bigger entrance somewhere around here.”

Infusing her mana into the wall, she located where the stone was slimmest. She approached the surface next to the drain hole and inspected it. While the rest of the wall was stone, a single spot was made of plastered wood.

After lightly knocking on it, Maxi’s face brightened. “There is a tunnel here. This is the real entrance.”

Kuahel promptly smashed the plaster and tore off the wooden boards blocking the narrow, five-kevette tall entryway. Summoning a blue flame in his hand, he peered into the dark tunnel before turning around to look at Maxi.

“I do not sense any monsters, but try to stay close behind me just in case.”

The damp tunnel exuded a musty smell. Kuahel bent down and entered without a second thought. Covering her nose, Maxi scurried after him. A horrible stench hit her as soon as she stepped in. She tried to keep her breathing shallow as she carefully picked her way over the sticky ground.

Soon, a staircase emerged to the left of the narrow passageway. Holding her cloak over her nose, Maxi pointed to them.

“Th-That staircase should lead us out of the tunnel.”

Angling the blue flame in his hand, Kuahel inspected the staircase. “Please cast a concealment spell as a precaution.”

With that, the Temple Knight swiftly made his way up the steps, and Maxi promptly complied as she hurried after him. Her heart pounded, and her stomach twisted into knots with each step she took.

There was no way of knowing what was waiting for them. What if she had to fight a legion of undead monsters alone with this man before they could do away with the necromancer?

After wiping her clammy hands on her clothes, Maxi gripped the sword hilt at her waist. Though she had trained with Ursuline and Riftan here and there, she had not had the chance to use the sword for a while now. Would she be able to protect herself if she was forced into combat? As she mechanically moved her legs, she tried to recall what she had learned.

Just then, the faint smell of smoke reached her nose. She looked up to find a small, iron-framed door at the top of the stairs.

After pressing her ear against the door for any sound, Kuahel gripped the door hand and gave it a light twist. The latch broke with a clatter, and the door cracked open.

Maxi felt her back break out in a cold sweat. She was terrified that monsters would come from them at any moment.

Contrary to her fears, however, there was only silence.

“From here on, you must stay close to me at all costs.”

After peering through the gap, Kuahel stepped out of the tunnel. Maxi followed close behind him, vigilantly glancing left and right. The secret passageway’s exit was located at the bottom of the stairway leading up to a castle tower. In front of it stood a large edifice that appeared to be a guardhouse with stone houses densely lined up behind it.

Maxi looked about the city until she spotted three or four skeletal soldiers prowling not far from them. She held her breath, but it fortunately did not seem like the monsters had noticed their presence.

“Shh.”

Maxi felt the Temple Knight snatch her wrist, and she was pulled into a narrow alleyway. For a long moment, Kuahel kept a sharp lookout for danger before finally turning his head to her.

“Can you start the tracing spell here?”

Maxi swallowed hard. With a slow nod, she started to read the flow of mana as carefully as possible. This time, she located where the mana was concentrated with less difficulty.

She looked up at Kuahel brightly. “I-It’s over there. A short distance northwest from the cen-“

Maxi froze. A skeleton with a war hammer had entered the alley, its bones rattling as it moved.

Kuahel immediately pushed her behind him and swung his sword. The skeletal soldier clattered as it fell into pieces over the ground. However, they were not out of danger yet. Alerted by the noise, ax and sword-wielding undead soldiers appeared in droves. Maxi heard the Temple Knight irritably click his tongue before he grabbed her wrist and started to run.

Maxi had to sprint with everything she had to keep up with the knight’s speed. As they raced from one narrow alleyway to another, the frightening faces of the monsters whizzed past them.

It was so overwhelming that she did not even know how many monsters were chasing after them. She was frantically looking about when the force pulling her made her stagger and stick closer to the wall. Keeping her shielded behind him, Kuahel smashed the charging monsters into smithereens with a single swing of his blade. Having met a dead end, he turned them around and began sprinting again.

Maxi desperately latched onto his hand. Though her lungs hurt as if they were frostbitten by the rapid intake of cold air, and her wind-battered face stung as if burned, she continued to run.

When they reached the wide square, Kuahel pulled her closer to his back. “Where do we go from here?”

Maxi glanced around dizzily. Before she even realized it, they were surrounded by a throng of undead monsters. Preparing herself to cast a barrier, she replied breathlessly, “Th-That way!”

Kuahel looked to where she pointed. The conical roof of a castle tower speared the sky, visible above the dense stone buildings. After wordlessly looking at the structure, Kuahel broke through the attacking monsters with his sword and raced toward the tower at full speed. Maxi felt as though she was riding atop a wild, out-of-control horse.

Each time the Temple Knight swung his sword, monsters standing in their way were shattered into pieces, while those coming at them from both sides instantly crumbled into ashes beneath blue flames. Maxi was amazed that he was capable of using divine magic whilst fighting with a sword.

Practically sick with terror, Maxi watched the Temple Knight battle the monsters until they reached the end of the square.

“W-We must go that way,” she said, pointing to a flight of stairs on their left.

Immediately, the Temple Knight ran up the wide marble steps with her in tow. A large edifice, which appeared to be a shrine, emerged in front of them. Once she was certain that mana was flowing out of the building, Maxi readily flung herself toward the entrance.

Right at that moment, she heard a whizzing noise before she was forcefully thrown back. Stunned, Maxi looked up at the man who had pushed her. A second later, she froze as she saw the cluster of spiked icicles embedded in the spot they had been standing.

When she raised her head, she saw a hooded figure in a dark robe standing in front of the shrine’s entrance. Kuahel promptly charged at the mysterious figure, and with a quick flash, one of its arms dropped to the ground.

Maxi hunched her shoulders at the ear-splitting scream. Crying out in pain, the monster grabbed its bleeding arm and fled into the temple.

“Y-You mustn’t let it get away!” Maxi cried out.

Kuahel promptly gave chase. Icicles rained down from above as she rushed after him, and she quickly summoned a shield. If she had not been prepared, they would have both been full of holes.

With her head swimming, Maxi glanced left and right until she felt a more sinister flow of mana somewhere above her. When she jerked her head up, she saw two hooded lizardmen in black robes standing on the tribune gallery.

Maxi stifled a groan. Both were in the process of casting advanced magic. Perceiving the unusual heat flowing in the air, she hastily placed herself in front of the clergyman and summoned the strongest triple barrier her mana would allow her. No sooner had she finished, scorching heat began to beat down on them from all sides.

When she felt the outermost shield helplessly melt away, she summoned a replacement. Even with the airflow cut off, her cheeks felt as though they were on fire. The palms of her outstretched hands burned as she continuously circulated her mana, and the fabric of her sleeves turned black where they fire singed them.

Squeezing her eyes shut, Maxi bolstered her barriers. On and on it went until, just as she was nearly drained of her mana, the flames finally died out.

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