That evening, the Karuwimans decided to stay the night at the Bellid temple. Even the sturdy Karuwiman followers couldn’t escape the fatigue of battle and needed rest. In addition, the people who had been imprisoned to be Bellid’s sacrifices needed treatment.
Since there were many priests and the Karuwimans usually manufactured a large amount of potions, most of the soldiers were fully cured; however, they couldn’t do much for those whose limbs were completely severed. If they still had their severed parts, full recovery was possible, but a fierce battle had taken place above a lake so it was difficult for people to collect their body parts.
However, they received fewer losses than they had expected, and the faces of all the Karuwiman followers were bright. Zich and his companions each got a room; they were all quite big and fancy, and the room’s allocation clearly showed what the Karuwimans thought about Zich and his companions.
Tired from the battle, Hans and Snoc went to sleep early and were snoring; but Zich was awake. He placed the urn filled with the ashes of the boy, his family, and his neighbors in front of him and stared at it.
‘Wasn’t it a rather satisfying revenge?’
Zich had done all kinds of revenge and trickeries before, but this one was more thorough and polished than usual. His plan wasn’t that detailed; it was actually on the simpler side. From the beginning, Zich had planned to finish off Trislowa in the canyon’s entrance. As Trislowa did before Zich’s regression, Zich expected Trislowa to escape there while heavily injured.
‘With his personality, he probably resisted until the end when his body was at his limit to make his escape.’
That’s what Trislowa had done before the regression.
‘He knew about the secret passage, and since he is the Bellid’s Cardinal, he would have probably tried to escape with all he had.’
The reason why Zich trespassed into the temple and led the Karuwimans to make a feint attack was because he had wanted to find a way to improve his revenge. Moreover, he decided to attempt this because he perfectly knew where all the secret passages in the temple were.
‘And I basically hit the lottery.’
Zich had thought that there was a connection between the Bellids’ movements and the monsters in Polrune Village, but he didn’t realize that it was because of the item called the Pyramid of Vengeful Souls. Thanks to that, Zich was able to play around with Trislowa however he wanted.
‘I thought I would only be able to use the phrase, ‘It’s all your fault,’ in the end—when we were at the canyon.’
When Zich heard that Trislowa told the boy everything was his fault while torturing him, Zich swore to return those words back to Trislowa. And everything had turned out well for Zich so that he could use it.
‘Anyhow, everything ended well. Bringing the Karuwimans into this matter paid off too.’
Yet, compared to how well his plan worked out, there was a bitter aftertaste in his mouth.
‘We just destroyed the Bellid’s northern base at most, and I even had to rely on the Karuwiman’s forces.’
Although Zich had planned everything out, luck played a great factor in exacting such perfect revenge. Truthfully, Zich might not have been able to end Trislowa’s life by himself.
‘I guess what I really need right now is more strength.’
While he trained Hans and Snoc, Zich also underwent rigorous training. Even at this moment, he was letting out mana, but he still lacked power.
‘I thought I still had a lot of time to slowly gather up more strength, but it’s really uncomfortable like this. I even have opponents like the assassin guys to fight against. As expected, I really have to find that.’
After he swore to not live as the Demon Lord, Zich didn’t think about ‘that’ even once, but now, he needed it.
* * *
The next day, the Karuwimans prepared to go back. They didn’t want to nor did they need to stay in a place full of lingering traces of the Bellids. Before leaving, they decided to take care of the Bellid temple which they hated to even look at.
With a single swing from Weig, the temple’s foundation crumbled, the roof collapsed into pieces, and the walls exploded. Other followers of Karuwiman also assisted him in destroying the temple.
Like that, the hidden branch, which had overseen all the Bellid northern bases in the empire crumbled. And the followers of Karuwiman crossed the lake and cave to reach the wilderness again.
Zich and his companions moved with Weig and Lubella, right in front of the procession. Zich planned to stay with them for a while. The course to the place he was planning to go overlapped, and it was comfortable how the Karuwimans provided food and lodging while they moved together.
Then, one person suddenly spotted something. A group of people was approaching them from far away. Seeing how they marched in a rhythm, they looked like an army of troops. But the soldiers’ wariness soon disappeared when they saw the army’s waving flags.
Weig said, “They are our support force.”
The flags had Karuwiman’s symbol on them.
“His Holiness told me that he would gather as many support forces as he could just in case. But since the Church still needs a self-defense army, I didn’t expect much—but it seems like he used another method.”
The troops approaching them not only held Karuwiman’s flag, but the flags of many different lands.
Zich nodded. ‘It seems like he asked for help from nearby lands. That’s not a bad idea. Even if the Karuwimans are trying to annihilate the Bellids, other communities will dislike the idea of having any military conflicts near their lands. They would prefer to have some of their own troops mixed into the support forces to observe the military operations.’
It seemed as if the Pope had gone through great effort to maintain diplomacy.
‘Even if neighboring lands sent out their troops for surveillance purposes, it is both diplomatically and practically favorable for the Karuwimans. It’s a good deal for the other lands too. The Karuwimans probably funded the operation, and above all, it’s a great cause to even be present in a holy war.’
If they didn’t have to care about getting noticed by the Bellids, the Pope would have probably moved the allied forces from the beginning.
‘He really is a formidable old man.’
Besides, the Pope had established the allied forces and sent the support forces in such a short time. Zich was impressed by Karuwiman's authority and the Pope’s political skills. Then, the two forces soon met.
“Greetings, Sir Weig!”
“Welcome, Sir Twen.” Weig greeted the holy knight in front of the troops.
“At the command of His Holiness, I was in the process of bringing my soldiers to support you, Sir Weig. But while we were moving, we heard that you were successful in exterminating those Bellids and have come to escort all of you.”
Weig had already sent a messenger to announce the success of their operation. While Twen was moving forward, the messenger relayed Weig’s message, and Twen had now come to escort them. Even though it now became ridiculous that a whole army came to just escort Weig and his soldiers, this was also a part of diplomacy. The military force of the surrounding areas came all the way here to participate in the ‘holy war,’ so they couldn’t just leave after hearing that the operation was over.
‘I’m sure they came here at least to memorize the faces of Weig and Lubella, who’s going to become the Saint soon. And they want to show off the number of soldiers they brought to help out the Karuwimans.’
“Ahahah, you didn’t need to come all the way here to escort us. It’s embarrassing,” Weig said with humility.
“No, weren’t you able to completely destroy the Bellid’s northern branch? This is one of the most successful events even in Karuwiman history, so you must be treated with at least this much respect.”
“It was not only me. Lady Lubella and all the Karuwiman followers have worked hard, and most of all, if it was not for Mr. Zich here and his two servants, we would have never been so successful.” Weig shifted the attention to other people.
“Hahahah! Of course, since everyone put in their strength, such an overwhelming victory could be achieved. I was wrong. Let’s quickly go to the next city. We have prepared a small party for our heroes.”
It seemed as if they had prepared in advance a small party for those who were tired from battle. Weig also did not refuse. “I look forward to it. Then should we head out?”
The two forces united and slowly headed out of the desolate wilderness. Even though a new group joined them, Zich and his two servants were next to Weig. Twen, including all the higher-ups, made furtive glances towards Zich’s party. They were curious because it was obvious from a glance that Weig treated them with utter respect.
However, Zich paid no attention to them. All his attention was focused on one person. It was the person who was standing at the very front with the other holy knights. The figure had an elegant appearance and serious aura, so much so that he looked as if he was saying, ‘I am the definition of a righteous holy knight.’ This person was someone Zich knew. No, Zich had no choice but to recognize him.
‘I never imagined I would meet him here.’
Zich was filled with strange emotions as he stared at the person who was following them from the back command.
Before he regressed, the Sun Hero had killed Zich. He was with the reinforcements.
* * *
The Karuwiman followers passed a couple of villages. The place where the party Twen mentioned was not in a village. Since the villages were small, there were not enough resources to let the Karuwiman army drink and eat freely. After a while, they reached their destination in a large city. Under Twen’s orders, a few followers had already prepared a large campsite next to the city. The condition of the campsite was adequate, and the Karuwiman followers spent an enjoyable time at the campsite.
Weig and other high officials, with Zich and his companions, sat inside a large command tent. Glen Zenard was also among this group. Weig relayed to Twen how they were able to win the battle. However, his explanation was far from what actually happened. Weig told him that the Karuwimans were the ones who found the northern branch and the secret pathways that the prisoners used to escape; he also said that the reason why Zich was able to defeat Trislowa was because Weig had ordered him to infiltrate first. Weig’s explanation cut down Zich’s achievement and passed it off as Karuwiman’s achievement.
There was no way Weig, who was greatly fond of Zich, would do this with ill intentions. Like the last time in Portia, Weig’s explanation was to protect Zich. However, the exact reason why Weig did this was different from last time. Previously, Weig had hidden Zich’s achievement, because he was concerned that Zich might become the Bellids’ target. While this was still true, Zich’s efforts and achievements and his two servants were so large that rumors were bound to come out. But what Weig and the higher officials in Karuwiman were truly worried about was the information network that Zich possessed.
All the information that Zich said so far was of tremendous value, and any powerful organization would drool at the information he possessed. If the Karuwimans were a bit power hungry, they would have used any forceful measures to find out where Zich got his information from. Of course, Zich only freely gave information to the Karuwimans because he knew what they were like. Moreover, he was also confident that if the Karuwimans planned to use force on him in any way, he could make his escape.
However, it was also true that Zich was still “weak.” For that reason, Zich readily agreed with the Karuwimans’ decision to control the information they possessed and cut down Zich’s achievement. So currently, people just knew him as the Honorary Knight who was successful in his joint operation with the Karuwimans—and of course, this was enough for people to praise him greatly.
“Hahahahaha! I’m so happy that only good things have been happening for Karuwiman these days! We were able to deal significant damage against those Bellid bastards and our Saint is going to be born soon, and now we have two very trustworthy honorary holy knights!”
Twen glanced back and forth between Zich and Glen. “Now that I think about it, this must be your first time seeing each other. Since both of you might fight together in the future, why don’t the two of you greet each other?”
“I’m Glen Zenard.”
As he saw Glen bow his head towards him, Zich was filled with inexplicable emotions. He was probably the only person in the world who had the experience of drinking and sitting next to the person who killed him. Glen Zenard looked the same as when he last saw him. He was still annoyingly handsome, and the righteousness in his face seemed to shine.
His friendly but polite mannerisms (which were annoying) were still the same. However, he looked younger than the last time he saw Zich.
‘He was annoying during this time too.’
Even though Zich acknowledged Glen as one of the strongest humans in the world, he couldn’t help but feel a physiological aversion towards him. Zich thought he got better because he hung around Lubella and felt fine, but Glen Zenard seemed to be an exception.
However, a feeling was just a feeling, and Zich had a question to ask him. “I’m Zich. I don’t mean to be rude on our first meeting, but may I ask you one question?”
“Yes, of course.” Glen didn’t look frazzled by Zich’s sudden question and easily replied back.
“If you are born again, I hope that you will live a kind life. What do you think about this statement?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter