Chapter 144

“Ah, urgh…!” Albus groaned.

As he pathetically rolled on the ground, he looked far from the ‘authority’ which he had talked so passionately about. However, nobody pitied him.

Lubella and Weig shared a conversation calmly.

“It seems like we have our answer.”

“Yes, certainly.”

The Crown Prince quickly ordered Albus’ arrest. His face had a hint of bitterness since he firmly believed that Albus had jumped out to save him.

The King said, “It seems liked your heart is troubled.”

“…Father.”

“This is what power does to people. Once you become king, things will only get worse.” As someone who had sat on the throne for decades and seen all kinds of people, the King said with both severity and bitterness, “These are things you will have to overcome.”

Albus was dragged off. With Zich’s strong punch, his jaw dangled from his face as his bones had been shattered into pieces.

“Don’t be disappointed since you will surely make real relationships as well. From time to time, interesting guys like him will pop out.” The King’s eyes rested on Zich, and the Crown Prince also stared at him.

“Is everything over?”

“Yes, everything is over, Your Highness,” Zich answered, and the Crown Prince stepped forward.

“Okay Zich Steelwall—no, you said you were just Zich. Now that I think about it, I remember seeing you a couple of times when you were young.” The Crown Prince faintly recalled Zich following behind Count Steelwall when Zich was young.

“Your personality seems to have changed greatly. Weren’t you on the calmer side before?”

“Many things happened,” Zich replied with a grin.

“That’s fine. People change. I’m sure solving this case takes precedence over wondering how you changed so much.”

“It is just as you say, Your Highness.”

At that moment, Albus shrieked as he was getting dragged away. “You z-zamn baztwaaard!”

At Albus’ vengeful words drenched with anger and rage, Zich turned back to Albus with a brighter complexion.

Albus continued to shout, “You awted like zem and maze a twap! You baztward…!”

“Shut it!”

Punch!

Although Albus tried to desperately move his crushed jaw to let out curses, the knight dragging Albus struck him with a sword. For his own sake, Albus should’ve peacefully let himself get dragged off.

“Since you believed and followed those robed figures so much, I can completely understand why you’re so furious that I acted like those robed guys. Sadly, you missed your timing to get angry by a lot.”

Hans approached Zich and handed him a robe; then, Zich put that robe over himself. When he covered his face fully, Zich looked just like the robed figures Albus had collaborated with.

“Albus Windpool.” Zich pressed down his throat and let out a deep and rough voice. Albus’ eyes widened at the familiar voice.

“You didn’t keep your side of the contract. Take responsibility, Albus Windpool.”

“!!!”

“I have come up with a new plan. You must not fail me this time, Albus Windpool.”

“!!!!”

“Write the records of how you controlled Evelyn Rouge. As a reward, I will kill five people at your request, Albus Windpool.”

“!!!!!!”

As Albus looked at him with wide eyes and a face full of despair, Zich took off his robe and said cheerfully, “I actually killed all those robed figures you worked with at the lake outside the capital. The accomplice you met after Lady Rouge’s escape was all me in disguise.”

To corner Albus into his final trap, Zich told Evelyn to not tell Albus that all the robed figures who appeared in the lake were dead. Thus, this was Albus’ first time hearing that all of his accomplices were dead.

“Ugh, uhahhhhhhh! Ahh! Ahhhhhh!” Albus let out something between a human and a beast’s shriek. 

He looked like he wanted to immediately dash towards Zich, but a knight locked both of his arms and secured him strongly. However, he didn’t get struck by a sword this time. The knights and soldiers stood petrified as they stared at Zich who was gleefully pointing his fingers and laughing at Albus.

The Crown Prince said carefully, “…Saint.” 

“…You don’t have to tell me, Your Highness. You probably want to ask me the standard for choosing Karuwiman’s Honorary Holy Knight, right?”

“I assure you that I am not saying this in the hope of diminishing Karuwiman’s prestige or honor.”

“It’s fine, Your Highness. Anyone would have wondered the same thing if they saw this sight in front of them.” Lubella grabbed her head and began to explain, “Yes, it’s certainly true that Mr. Zich is a sadist with a nasty temper and a terrible personality.”

“…I didn’t go to that extent.”

‘Was everyone in Karuwiman like this these days?’ The Crown Prince thought about the Saint’s rough way of speaking and saw Weig laugh loudly next to her.

Lubella continued, “Nonetheless, he won’t direct his true nature to good and innocent people. He will only direct his sadistic side to evildoers. Besides, he wants to and actually does kind acts. Like I mentioned before, he has done Karuwiman a great favor, and he is also my personal life savior.” Even as she defended him, Lubella added quietly, “I wish he would slightly restrain his tendency to torment others though.”

The Crown Prince thought he now had a clearer picture of Zich’s character.

“Observe carefully,” the King told the Crown Prince, “From time to time, guys like him will appear in this world. Once you establish a relationship with people like him, you have to do one of these two things: never get on their bad side or kill them at all costs.”

“…Kill?”

“Didn’t you see the way he crushed Albus Windpool? He is the kind of guy who will squeeze the blood out of his opponents dry.”

“That’s quite harsh, Your Majesty,” Zich turned to the King with a smile still on his face.

“All I wanted to do was catch Albus Windpool. My feelings were pure and genuine.”

“While you did that, you committed many crimes. For example, stealing Count Steelwall’s invitation, adopting a false identity, and entering the palace without permission.”

“Your Majesty, that was all done to help the Crown Prince and get rid of Albus Windpool, who conspired to destroy the Marquess of Rouge and ruin the Kingdom. Your Majesty, I beseech you to compare my merits and crimes properly.”

“What a daring guy.” Judging by the King’s smile, it didn’t seem like he would make Zich pay for his crimes. 

Lyla moved towards Zich.

“What’s up?”

“I sense something strange.” Lyla had sensed something strange in the atmosphere. Maybe it was just a simple feeling, but Zich didn’t overlook her instincts.

‘I can’t sense anything strange.’

Zich’s senses were much keener than Lyla’s, but this time, only Lyla was able to sense something strange. There was something she was better at than Zich—no, anyone in this whole room.

‘Magic.’

“Lady Lubella.”

As Zich turned towards her, Lubella asked, “Yes, what is the matter?”

“Would you be able to spread your holy powers to remove all the magical devices in this place? It just has to be for a moment.”

“…I don’t understand why, but okay.”

Lubella raised her hands. Light came out from her hand, and soon, it spread to the entire ballroom. Zich admired the powerful and pure holy power that Lubella let out. During that short time since he last saw her, she had grown even more powerful. People stared at Lubella with amazement and shock, but Zich ignored their reactions and scanned his surroundings. 

Lubella’s power was very effective, as the illusion magic on Lyla was also erased. People were surprised that Lyla’s face changed, and then they were surprised by her beauty. However, Zich had seen Lyla’s face so much that he was no longer distracted by her beauty.

“W-who are you guys!”

A troubled voice was heard from a distance. It came from the area where the knights and soldiers were trying to drag away Albus. Zich turned his head.

‘They are different guys!’

At least half of the knights and soldiers who were dragging Albus away didn’t have their original appearances anymore. None of them were wearing helmets, so it was easy to check their faces.

‘Illusion magic!’

There was no doubt that the intruders used the same magic as Lyla did. To their surprise, the intruders also stopped moving; they probably didn’t think their identities would be revealed. Unfortunately for the real soldiers and knights, the intruders were faster at reacting than them.

Clash! Clash!

The intruders stole the weapons of the knights and soldiers and wielded their weapons against them. 

Pierce!

Slash!

“Agh!”

“Ugh!”

The intruders accurately targeted the knights and soldiers’ critical areas. Even though the knights and soldiers were highly skilled as elite guards of the palace, they were ambushed by even more skilled intruders. After killing the knights and soldiers, the intruders tried to take Albus and escape.

Crash!

“Ugh!”

Something came flying towards them. If they had reacted even a moment later, their heads would have been pierced by an unknown item.

Tap!

The intruder saw what fell on the thick carpet.

‘A culinary knife?’

The intruders looked up. Before they realized it, Zich was swinging a culinary knife at them. It was just a culinary knife, but they couldn’t underestimate the power infused into it. The intruders quickly abandoned Albus and drew back.

Crassssh!

The mana inside the culinary knife destroyed the floor.

“Agggh!”

The shock of the destruction spread to its surroundings and Albus rolled around on the floor. Zich kicked Albus on the back.

“Uggh!”

Albus’ body flew towards the knights who were guarding the King and his family. Zich thought the knights would do a good job capturing Albus. He also felt something inside Albus break when he kicked him, but that was of no concern to Zich.

“Hans!”

“Yes, sir!”

Hans threw something towards Zich. It was a short sword. It looked like a shabby sword, especially considering the present situation. However, as soon as it landed in Zich’s hands, its shape began to change. The blade lengthened, and as if it was blooming like a flower, it separated into many blades. Windur changed to its original form in a split second. Zich stared at the intruders and grinned.

“You came all the way to the party, but why are you trying to leave so secretly? Are there no friends for you to talk to? Judging by your actions, it seems like that’s definitely the case. Don’t be embarrassed though, I also don’t have a dance partner.”

Step!

Zich swung Windur at the intruders.

“Since we both don’t have dance partners, let’s dance together.”

Crash!

In Zich’s hand, there was an enormous sword that was completely different from before. However, the surprising thing was that the area of destruction was much smaller than before. This was the result of Zich concentrating his power.

“Tch!”

The intruders immediately ran towards the exit.

Crash!

However, a stone wall suddenly sprouted from the ground and blocked their path. In that short amount of time, the intruders tried to break apart the stone wall in front of them, but Zich made his attack.

Crasssssh!

A powerful force came from the side and surrounded the intruders. There was an enormous hole in the wall. 

‘They blocked me?’

Zich tightly gripped his slightly sore hands. They were way stronger than he expected. The intruders who successfully blocked Zich’s attacks ran towards the hole in the wall. There was a garden with carefully managed stone pavements, grass, and greenery with a clean fountain spouting out water outside.

“Snoc!”

“Yes, sir!”

With Zich’s command, Snoc reached out his hand towards the garden.

Crash!

A stone wall in the shape of a big circle spouted from the ground. The stone walls completely surrounded the intruders and made them look like caged animals.

“Break it!”

The intruders made their attacks against the stone wall. Pieces of the stone wall broke off, and it looked as if it was going to break apart soon; but the intruders had no choice but to stop breaking the wall. From behind, Zich, Hans, and Snoc jumped towards them.

“Did you hate the party that much?” Zich talked to the intruders looking back at him. “I’m so sorry you felt that way about the party. I really thought you were just leaving because you had no friends. Now that I see you in the open, I didn’t realize there were so many of you.”

The number of intruders had now increased. They probably were hiding in different places around the palace but were revealed by Lubella’s holy magic.

“You know, it’s the King’s birthday. If you leave like this, he will think you are being really rude. So I prepared a little show that even you guys can do—a sword fight.”

Zich raised Windur from his sides; Hans also raised Estellade, and Snoc tightly held onto Nowem.

“Don’t run away this time, okay?”

With these words, Zich ran towards the intruders. 

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