“Huff! Huff!” Trislowa heaved.
The area where his arm used to be was severely burned, and his muscles twisted like someone had wrung them out like laundry. His holy power was depleted, and he almost felt as if his god Bellu had abandoned him.
‘But I still made it out alive somehow.’
It was fortunate that there was a secret passageway near the ritual room. Of course, since another person knew the temple’s secret passages better than him, he didn’t feel fully relieved; but at least it didn’t seem like Zich had shared the information with Belri Weig.
Trislowa didn’t let his guard down and prioritized increasing his distance from the temple. In addition to the worry he felt that Zich might attack him suddenly, he moved carefully to avoid Karuwiman’s followers from spotting him. Fortunately, the Karuwimans seemed to be only focused on the temple.
Trislowa went behind the temple and slipped his body into a depression in the cave’s wall. In that place, there was a very small gap where he could hear the rushing sound of water from below. The place was connected to the lake.
Trislow squeezed his body between the gaps. It was so narrow that the rocks scratched all parts of his body, but he managed to come out safely.
Water swished around. Trislowa’s heart thumped in worry that his enemies might hear him. Fortunately, no one seemed to have noticed. The place he was at was an underwater cave that was connected to the backside of the temple’s lake. Trislowa continued to move forward quietly inside the waters.
Since he didn’t have one arm, it was difficult for him to swim, but as followers of Bellu, the god of water, the entire Bellid community was skilled in swimming. Thus, although it was hard, Trislowa swam well underwater.
Trislowa soon saw another underwater cave near the back of the lake. The cave was incredibly small, and he squeezed his body between a gap. The size was just barely large enough for an adult man to fit in by crawling. His body and head kept colliding into the bumpy walls, but Trislowa continued to move forward.
“Haa!” When he was at his breath’s limit, Trislowa finally went up to the surface. He got out of the water and saw a gentle slope and a small passage. He could finally sigh in relief now.
‘I don’t know how that guy got information about the secret passages in the temple, but I bet he doesn’t know about this place.”
The only one who knew of this passage’s existence was himself. Before, Trislowa had found the passage by coincidence and kept it a secret without telling anyone about it for emergency situations. Trislowa sloppily healed his severed arm with a tiny amount of holy power and began to climb the slope.
The passage was quite long. However, since Karuwiman’s forces could search around the temple’s surroundings, he preferred for it to be long and thought he could increase his distance from the temple.
Quite a bit of time had passed by the time he arrived at the end of the passage. The red light seeping into the area indicated that it was around sunset. As soon as Trislowa saw the light, his emotions intensified. He suddenly could feel the pain of his wounds more clearly, but what pained him the most was his current situation. The Bellid’s northern base had been conquered, the Pyramid of Vengeful Souls was crushed, and he was the only survivor among the Bellid followers.
Including his lifetime and the history of Bellid, they had hardly ever experienced such a loss like this. He was at a point where he just wanted to offer his life up to Bellu, but he couldn’t do that.
‘I have to exact revenge!’
He had to get back at the Karuwiman bastards who destroyed their base, Belri Weig who cornered him like a dog, the next great Saint, Aine Lubella, and…
The others had definitely called him Zich. Trislowa clearly remembered Zich’s name and voice. He didn’t think he would ever be able to forget them. He got out of the secret passageway and saw the passage’s small entrance that was situated in the corner of a canyon. Then, Trislowa began punching the edge of the cliff with his fist. A strange sound rang out of his bones; his flesh tore off and blood poured out, but Trislowa didn’t care.
‘I will definitely kill him. No, I will give him a pain more terrifying than death! I will kill his family, his lover, his relatives—no, everyone who just met him!’
“Wow. Your face is firing up with feelings of revenge.”
Trislowa heard a familiar voice, and he immediately knew who it belonged to. He had just sworn to never forget it, and his heart fell.
“What is it? You look like you’ve seen a ghost. Are you hurt anywhere?” Zich leaned against the cliff’s wall with his arms crossed, and Trislowa opened and closed his mouth like a carp.
“H-how did you…?”
“Why are you so surprised? I knew all the secret passages in your temple. Is it really that surprising that I know one more?” Before his regression—when he destroyed the Bellid’s northern base—Zich had lost sight of Trislowa. It was only later that Zich found out that there was a small passageway that connected the lake to the outside.
‘I was pissed at that time. To think I could use that information like this now…’
Zich observed Trislowa’s face; hate and fear passed through it. Moreover, Trislowa was in terrible condition: his arm had been sliced off, injuries were spotted all over his body, and his priest uniform was ripped everywhere. Zich glared at him.
“You tried to run, right? You shouldn’t have. How can the person in charge of the Bellids’ northern base run away to save his life? Aren’t you embarrassed to see the other followers?”
“Urgh!” Trislowa put out his uninjured arm and spurted out holy power. However, Zich laughed out loud. Without even taking out his sword, he fused mana into his fist and struck away Trislowa’s attack.
With minimal effort from Zich, Trislowa’s attack quickly dissipated in the air. Zich walked towards Trislowa. He lightly hit Trislowa’s abdomen.
“Ugh!” Trislowa’s whole body bent down.
“Ugh! Barf!” Trislowa began to gag. As if he was going to puke everything inside his stomach, Trislowa began to gasp for breath.
Just in case any of Trislowa’s vomit splashed onto him, Zich widened his distance from Trislowa. With an exaggerated movement, Zich blocked his nose with his hand and waved the other around.
“Huff! Huff!” Trislowa barely managed to stop his gagging and glared at Zich. However, his body was dying and there was saliva and bits of vomit spilling down his mouth so he didn’t look threatening at all. Trislowa made a firm decision. In his condition right now, it was impossible to make his escape.
‘Even if I die, I will honorably die as a Bellid priest! And if possible, I’m going to take him down with me!’
“Huh? Your eyes make it look like you want to take me down with you. But don’t try so hard. I have no plans to kill you.” An unexpected reply came from Zich.
“…You have no plans to kill me?”
“My goal is to inflict pain on you. But if you die, won’t you be unable to feel any pain? Then that would just be me being merciful to you.”
“Then why were you waiting for me here?”
“To see you like this.” As if he was judging Trislowa's appearance, Zich scanned Trislowa from head to toe. “To see the head of the northern branch of Bellid fall into decay and run away like a beggar. So tell me, how could I miss a rare sight that I might never see again in my whole life?”
Zich’s mockery hit and numbed Trislowa’s head. However, there was nothing he could do. There was no way he could beat Zich in his injured and fatigued state.
“…You will regret this.” Trislowa could only say this, but it was extremely foolish for him to threaten Zich. What if Zich changed his mind about killing him after hearing this? However, he couldn’t leave without saying anything. He felt that he was going to explode in frustration and die at any moment.
“I’m not the type of person who regrets my actions, so don’t worry. But just remember this for the rest of your life: the reason why the northern branch went extinct, why all the Bellid followers died, and why you are pathetically running away like this—” Zich maintained his smile, but his gaze became sharp.
“It’s all because of you.”
Trislowa’s whole body trembled. But as if he was no longer interested in Trislowa, Zich waved his hand.
“What are you doing? Quickly go. You have to go and make me regret my decision.”
“…” Trislowa turned his body around. While somehow repressing his desire to rip apart Zich’s face, he stumbled out.
‘I’m going to kill him.’
Wrath soared up inside his heart.
‘I’m going to kill him! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!’
As he was unable to act on this desire, these words were merely a way to comfort him and were nothing more than a curse. However, Trislowa repeated these words inside his mind: ‘I’m going to make him regret his decision! I’m going to fulfill my revenge at all costs! I’m going to imprison him in hellfire—!’
“Aghhhhh!” Trislowa screamed out loud and fell down. Intense pain spread around his foot.
He stepped on a small hole and in that hole, a sharp stake was hidden inside it. Blood flowed down from his feet.
“How about it? Wasn’t it successful?” Zich’s voice could be heard from a distance.
“I made a trap by digging the hard floor. It was a bit difficult, but I was able to make it to my satisfaction.”
“Didn’t you say you were going to r-release me!”
“What? What’s with you? Are you worried that I might change my mind? Don’t worry. I’m going to release you. I’m not the type of person who lies. But if I let you go too easily, it won’t be too great either. You are the head of the northern branch of Bellid after all.”
Zich took out something from the magic box. It was an hourglass. “So why don’t we play a game? The rules are simple. Try to escape this place until all the sand in this hourglass falls down to the bottom.”
The distance to the exit was not far. Additionally, the hourglass Zich took out was large, so it was going to take a while for all the sand to fall down. Just judging by the rules, it looked like an easy game.
“Of course, there are more traps in front of the exit. If you are able to successfully pass through these traps, your victory will be assured. How about it—isn’t this game so simple?”
“W-why would I—!”
“Ready, set, go!” Zich ignored Trislowa’s protest and turned the hourglass around. Sand began to trickle down the hourglass.
“Hick!” Trislowa quickly moved towards the exit. It was not easy since he injured his foot, but he moved forward desperately. And Zich followed right behind and watched him.
“Aghhh!” Soon after, Trislowa fell into another trap.
It was the same type of trap he just experienced. The injury on his foot became even bigger. However, there was no time for him to pay attention to his pain. He endured Zich’s mocking laughter right behind him and continued walking. Even though the exit was a few feet away, it looked as if it was the end of the world.
“Ugh!” Trislowa fell into another trap. However, Trislowa was able to endure it and escape from the trap. Even though his injuries and pain were getting more serious, he didn’t give up. After passing through several more traps, he continued to walk on.
Finally, he was able to reach the exit. He turned around and looked at Zich. When he saw Zich’s dark expression and saw that the sand in the hourglass hadn’t completely fallen down, Trislowa laughed, “I won!”
“Yes, you won.” Zich raised his hands and easily admitted this.
Trislowa became even happier that Zich admitted his loss. Ever since he first met Zich, this was the first time he was able to make Zich troubled. However, his happiness did not last long.
“So let’s end this.”
While he was laughing, Trislowa felt all strength leave his body. When he looked down, he saw Zich’s sword pierced into his heart. While Trislowa’s face was frozen in a smile, Zich said to him in an easygoing tone, “Ah, I actually have something to confess. I’m good at lying.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter