“All invaders are demons! And even if they aren’t, they will be dealt with like they are. Anyone who associates with them will be treated like their allies, tied up at the church and burnt at the stake! You… How could you do such a thing?” Kocat raged, his voice deliberately low in fear of being overheard.
Marvin was sitting comfortably on the sofa opposite him, sipping on fragrant black tea. He waited for Kocat’s anger to subside a little before saying, “Father, I’m already working with these ‘demons.’ Come, have a look!”
He reached out his hand as he spoke, and a crimson flame suddenly appeared upon it. The flame was as dark as centuries-old blood. Although the flame didn’t last long, it still drained enough mana to leave Marvin pale, having him gasp for air.
Kocat was overwhelmed with shock. He took in a sharp breath, exclaiming, “Dark flame! You, you’ve become a fallen priest?”
“I’m only level 6, so I don’t qualify to be called a full priest yet. For now, I’m a fallen cleric,” Marvin corrected his father calmly.
“Who is the new god you’ve started to worship?” the knight asked frantically, his gaze unwavering.
“The Eternal Dragon,” Marvin replied before adding, “It isn’t a god from our plane.”
An unreadable expression overtook Kocat’s face, and he took a while to speak again, “This Eternal Dragon definitely has to be a powerful force, if it can channel its energy across planes.”
Marvin poured himself another cup of tea, “My dear father, I’m sure you understand now that I’m bound to the ‘demons’ henceforth, unable to separate myself from their camp. As for you, if it’s discovered that you’re the father of a fallen cleric, you will be burnt at the stake as well. Instead of this anger, wouldn’t it be better for you to think of a way to get me out of this?
”These invaders evidently aren’t as weak as the priests made them out to be. Even though they’re young— twenty years of age at most— they have astonishing power. Think about this: a number of level 10 invaders, despite being ill-equipped, managed to completely annihilate an army led by Sir Menta and Sir Hubert! That’s two of the Baron’s titled knights!”
Sir Kocat groaned heavily, not saying a word. Marvin was his son— he naturally couldn’t lie. These intruders were clearly of high status in their own plane, and likely had great powers backing them.
Kocat paced up and down the hall relentlessly, eventually reaching a conclusion. “The Direwolf Duke might be able to help you solve the problem. His clan worships their ancestors, and is at odds with the God of Valour. I’ll write you a letter of recommendation that you can bring to Baron Fontaine, the Duke’s brother. He will be able to introduce you to the Duke.
“But…” he paused and looked at Marvin with concern, “The Direwolf Duke is notorious for his tyranny. You must be careful when dealing with him. If his mood grows bad, he might tear you to shreds!
“Also, here’s the map of Baron Forza’s castle you wanted. I can only help you so much. When you leave, take extra precaution not to let others recognise you.”
Marvin took the letter of recommendation from his father, carefully stowing the thick scroll away. He then bowed deeply, “Father, I have a premonition that you won’t regret your decision today.”
Kocat could only let out a snort to that, not knowing what to say. Even level 6 wasn’t much of a deal given his son’s age, and divination and prophecy were arts that could only be performed by true priests at level 12 and above. Such priests also had to have great favour from their Lord to be able to adequately perform such spells. All this talk of premonitions was just nonsense.
Around the same time, a vase more valuable than any of Kocat’s possessions hit the wall in Baron Forza’s study, shattering into a million pieces on the floor. The Baron was evidently dejected— even after wrecking the vase he pounded his table without end until he was left huffing and puffing.
His butler had been hiding in a corner throughout this tantrum. “My Lord,” he finally managed once Forza’s rage faded, “Priest Essien has been waiting on you for the past half hour.”
Forza grunted heavily, trying to fix his disheveled hair as he slowly followed the butler to the hall. Essien was a priest who was already at level 12, and was the person who had coordinated his territory’s rise in the divine ranks. Even in secular influence the man wasn’t far off from Forza himself, and with the baron’s army taking a significant blow that especially reduced his elites’ fighting strength by more than half, the priest’s own army of about thirty paladins had become a formidable force in the region.
Baron Forza had an alarmingly thin frame, and a head of white hair. Late nights for many days had left him with an ashen complexion, and with deep bags under his eyes. Upon entering the hall, the Baron saw Essien admiring an oil painting of the Goddess of Spring. He addressed the man, “Priest Essien, if you are here to ask for help with the invaders, I’m afraid there isn’t much for us to talk about.”
Essien managed a smile, seemingly unbothered by the Baron’s cold demeanour. “My Lord,” he responded, “I indeed am here to discuss that very matter. You know the oracle—”
“Don’t talk to me about the oracle!” Forza raised his voice. “Only you know what it contains! If the intruders were as weak and insignificant as you made them out to be, and fewer than twenty in number, how is it that the last three knights and the hundreds of elite troops I sent out were all defeated by them?”
Startled, Essien replied “The oracle is never wrong. As a priest who serves the God of Valour, that is something I could never lie about. There is only one reason for the way the battles turned out. If I were to put it bluntly, my Lord, you should train your troops properly.”
Forza grunted, looking uncomfortable, but he didn’t say a word. Essien was criticising him for powerless leadership, but when he’d received the battle report he himself could only conclude the same thing. But he was helpless now— the remaining two knights weren’t good at military matters, having been given their position due to social connections and blood ties. It wouldn’t be very useful to send them out to battle.
“My Lord, you are in quite the plight at the moment. My humble suggestion is that you promptly seek the assistance of Earl Jayleon. If you send a messenger now, he should be able to reach the Earl’s castle within three days. We might still be able to catch the invaders. You might be losing some money and reputation, but that is much better than the incident at Joven occurring once more.”
Forza replied coldly, “Even if the Earl accedes to my request, his troops will need at least ten days to get here. What will the church do until then?”
“I have already sent out a messenger to ask for help from the bigger church in the duchy.”
Essien’s reply stunned Forza for a moment. Turning to a bigger authority for help meant that Essien conceded to not being able to handle the matters of his region by himself, which would make it even more difficult for him to be promoted or to be given divine grace.
While he felt that Essien’s decision was a little peculiar as it would put himself in a disadvantaged situation, it made Forza feel a little more at ease. He called upon his personal attendant to write a letter on the spot, and gave orders for this letter to be delivered to the Earl within three days.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Nugget
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA