“Thank you, Ley!” Rafiniya’s voice sounded after a while.
The female knight was no fool. She knew that without Leylin, they really would have died at the hands of the ogres, disappearing into their mouths. She obviously didn’t want to die like that, and just the thought of it already left her in fear.
All those adventure books were scams! There were no romantic heroes and beautiful princesses. Rather, there were thieves and bandits, as well as ogres who ate people alive!
“So… Now that your fantasies have been destroyed, will you still continue adventuring?” Leylin asked in curiosity.
“Of course. This is my path as a knight!” The female knight’s voice was filled with resolution. “As long as I can endure, evil will be destroyed by my hands one day. With my work, the world will regain its beauty!”
“...” Leylin rolled his eyes speechlessly. This directionally-challenged moron seemed to show no signs of waking up to reality.
“What kind of expression is that?”
“No, I was just thinking that you’re very suited to becoming a paladin of the God of Justice. Really!”
Thankfully, the Goddess of Luck finally showed mercy on them, allowing their little group to leave the region where the ogres had wreaked havoc.
If not, once Leylin was surrounded by the ogres, he would probably abandon everyone and make a path for himself to escape. Besides him, everyone, including the warhorse Nick, would become rations and jerky for the ogres.
“Are they all confused because of the commander’s death?” On the way, he bumped into a few members of the merchant groups who had been separated, and even a few thieves and the like.
It was a pity for them that even Rafiniya had learnt to steel her resolve. The high-ranked female knight who had regained a portion of her strength did not need much energy to take care of these people.
All that had continued until this day, when a small city with a black wall appeared in front of Leylin.
“We’re here, this is Gloomwood Castle. After this place, we will reach the central plains of the Dambrath Kingdom, the territories there managed by people directly subordinate to the king.” After seeing this city, Rafiniya screamed in joy. Hera and Yalani smiled, looking as if a weight had been lifted from their shoulders.
They were only halfway through their long trip, but the exhaustion and terror was more than enough to leave them in fear.
“Halt! Stop the vehicle for an inspection!” At the city gate, Leylin’s group of strangely-dressed adventures were immediately stopped by the guards.
‘Oh? These soldiers seem pretty strong… And they’re Professionals who have seen blood already.’ Leylin saw Hera going up ahead to negotiate with them, his brows furrowing slightly. With his experience, he could obviously see that the guards were stronger than usual. They could even be people in charge of Professional groups, incomparable to the previous party.
He could sense tens of elite archers aiming their weapons at this area from the shadows, leaving him with a sense of danger.
‘To even give me a sense of danger… These archers should have equipment like the Spellslayer Arrow. How wealthy…’ Leylin shot a glance towards the top of the city wall discreetly, and then maintained a nonchalant face as he looked at Hera and the rest.
After checking the proof that they were mercenaries and nobles, the middle-aged soldier who seemed to be the leader headed over to them.
“Terrible events have occurred at Gloomwood Castle lately. Don’t stay long if you don’t have business here.”
“Thank you for kind intentions. Officer, is this about the ogres?” A hint of curiosity showed in Hera’s eyes.
“The ogres? They’re far from real devils…” The middle-aged soldier sneered, but did not elaborate. Only when he passed by Leylin and the other mercenaries did he warn them, “Don’t stir up trouble inside, or else…”
His threatening words immediately angered Rafiniya. Leylin and Old Pam, on the other hand, had met such situations before. They rolled their shoulders back in answer, though it was not obvious whether they truly took heed of the advice.
“Hmph…” The leader did not argue about this with Hera, looking disappointed. He waved his hand, “Go on!”
“The strength of this legion doesn’t lose out to the ogre tribes…” Leylin hung his head, eyes flickering with wit.
‘Seems like the kingdom’s power and soldiers are the true trump cards of the human race in the World of Gods. Those inferior mercenary groups can’t be compared at all…’ Leylin could finally see the aura of a nation’s soldiers, with as many sharp swords as there were trees in the forest and as many pikes as there were thorns in a bush. They might even have the support of wizards and priests. The mid-ranked officer just now had an aura very similar to a high-ranked warrior, and he had evidently gone through numerous battles. The aura of someone who had seen blood in battle was something most mercenaries could not match.
‘With how he spoke, something definitely happened here…’ The desolate streets and the tight security in the city left Leylin frowning.
“We plan to rest here for a while. We might also need to buy a carriage and recruit a few more mercenaries…” Hera said once they found an inn, looking tired as she spoke to Leylin and the rest.
“Mm, we do need a new carriage.” Rafiniya was obviously approved of this plan. They had finally made it to a human city with great difficulty, and she could not wait to get some good rest. For a lady of nobility, there was nothing harder to endure than filth and grime. It was a pity that there was no lack of these on the journey, especially for mercenaries. That the poor girl hadn’t already gone insane showed the resolve she’d gained from her knight training.
Pam approved of this well. He was already itching to exchange the ogre ears for the commission, as well as buy a new batch of rum.
“Alright, we’ll meet here three days from now.”
Leylin nodded without much care. He was now slightly curious about the events in Gloomwood Castle.
“Wait, Ley! Your friend is in need of your help! My injuries need healing from a priest…” When the time to part came, Old Pam grasped Leylin firmly, eyes gleaming with tears.
Looking at the state he was in, Leylin had no choice but to roll his shoulders back and bring Old Pam, with his broken leg, along. The dwarf worshipped the God of Warriors anyway, and the church wasn’t too far off from the Mercenary Guild.
“Divine spell— Cure Moderate Wounds!” Holy light shone from the priest’s hands at the church of warriors, and the injury on Pam’s thigh quickly recovered. A new layer of tender flesh grew out.
“The fee is 5 kronas!” The priest looked pious, but did not lower the fees at all. Most churches functioned by getting money for healing the wounds of their followers.
The gods needed money themselves to construct their extravagant churches. More importantly, they needed to lure in worshippers with more generous conditions. Old Pam, who was usually miserly, paid up happily and did not dare take advantage of this at all. Only after he left the church did he look regretful.
“If not for our employer wanting to leave in the next few days, Old Pam would rather look for a doctor or potioneer. Damn it, 5 kronas! How many bottles of rum would that get me… Oh, mighty God, Old Pam did not say that on purpose…”
Old Pam continued to mumble, “No! This should be included in the fees we get from our employer. You’ll back me up, right, Ley?”
Leylin pretended not to hear anything, walking to the entrance of the Mercenary Guild with the dwarf. Old Pam impatiently exchanged the ogre ears to make up for his losses, while Leylin went to the mission hall.
The hall was much smaller than the one in Emon City. A few mercenaries were seated there, and whether in terms of quality or quantity they seemed to be lacking.
This strange atmosphere was explained after Leylin looked at the mission board.
“High grade mission: Track down traces of devil followers. This mission is extremely dangerous. Please think over it carefully before choosing it.”
“High grade mission: Investigate the evil god ceremony in the home of Lord Wokdo.”
“High grade mission: Investigate cause of death of Baron Faylen.”
Numerous high grade missions were hung up in a row, looking marvellous. It was a pity that few mercenaries dared take them on.
‘Interesting. A devil?’ A smile rose about Leylin’s lips all of a sudden. As he recalled the unusual mobilisation of the troops, as well as the worried look on the mid-ranked officer’s face, everything grew clear.
Gloomwood Castle was in a strange state because of the activities of devil worshippers. These high-difficulty missions were usually left to the churches and nation’s troops. It was no wonder that the mercenaries were not interested.
However, them having no interest did not mean that Leylin was the same. He’d always been curious about hell and the devils in this world. Beelzebub’s memories had ensured that he knew as much about them as an Archduke, but theory and reality were two separate things.
‘Based on his memories, there are nine levels of hell here. Each have their own rulers governing them, as well as a few public regions… To be able to break through the restrictions of the dimension and arrive at the prime material world to spread belief… This is something that only a ruler of the same rank as him could accomplish…’
At his most powerful, the Sovereign King of Gluttony, Beelzebub, was as strong as a Magus who’d comprehended laws. At the very least, he was stronger than the lesser gods here.
It was no wonder then that the traces of devils had set the city on high alert.
The scene that the soul seed had projected at the beginning appeared before his eyes once again. ‘I wonder how that little guy Tiff is doing now? He received the power of the soul seed from my main body. If he managed to adapt to it, he should be rather strong now…’
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