Paladin of the Dead God

Chapter 26:



Chapter 26:

As Isaac transmitted his will, he spoke to Isolde.

“Let’s proceed with the investigation as you suggested. But, Inquisitor?”

“Yes?”

“If we suppose the Immortal Order’s members are here, what would you consider the nature of this mission? Reconnaissance? Investigation? Extermination?”

Isaac didn’t think this mission was primarily about exterminating the Immortal Order’s members. It was unlikely that their skeletal minions had infiltrated this deep. However, undead creatures could easily be ‘recruited’ locally.

Thus, Isaac had thought of this mission as reconnaissance or investigation at most, not an extermination. But Isolde seemed to have a different view.

“Primarily, it’s an investigation, but it turns into extermination upon discovery.”

Isaac was startled by Isolde’s assertive stance. However, he realized that an inquisitor wouldn’t come to a place possibly ambushed by enemies without some thought. Isolde was not foolish.

“Don’t worry. If something happens, just buy us some time, and we can take them down.”

It seemed Isaac and Gebel’s role was to buy time in case of an encounter.

Isaac nodded and headed deeper into the valley.

***

Meanwhile, deep in the valley, the offspring of chaos that Isaac had deployed were moving rapidly.

‘Find out what creatures are hiding deeper in the valley. Make sure of it.’

The battle with Zihilrat had expanded the chaos offspring, making reconnaissance not too difficult.

Isolde was meticulously inspecting each statue as if they were significant heretical evidence.

The remnants of a destroyed temple were indeed scattered throughout the valley.

“Why would people build a temple for this plague god? What’s so good about a plague?”

In ‘Nameless Chaos,’ Isaac’s primary concern was the nine faiths. The rest, like ancient gods, weren’t significantly featured in the game.

In other games, ‘ancient gods’ might be fearsome hidden bosses, but in Nameless Chaos, they were at best field bosses. On the other hand, other gods mainly communicated through angels, and except for the Immortal Emperor, it was difficult to encounter a god face to face.

“People used to believe in many gods,” Isolde answered surprisingly casually.

“People named everything they couldn’t understand as gods. Probably, a major plague hit this area long ago. As people died, they named the plague a god, worshipping it, hoping for forgiveness.”

“Forgiveness?”

“When there’s a drought, people pray for rain, and during floods, they pray for it to stop. Similarly, the god of plague can become a god of healing.”

‘A healing god Zihilrat, huh. The one who gives the disease can also provide the cure.’

Isaac understood it that way.

“But with the advent of the Codex of light through Luadin and the Tablets of Dawn, these minor gods were crushed and disappeared. Truly a blessed event.”

“What about the other eight faiths?”

Isolde pretended not to hear. Though she didn’t say it, Isaac quickly understood the implied message. Crushing and eliminating the ancient gods was not just the Codex of Light doing; all nine faiths had agreed to it. This was part of the game’s setting, so he was aware of it.

Luadin bringing the Tablets of Dawn was a pivotal event separating the Age of Barbarism and the Age of Reason. This marked the beginning of the so-called ‘Age of Light.’

During the thousand-year Age of Light, ancient faiths were eradicated, and only the eight faiths that cooperated, submitted, or harmonized with the Codex of Light survived. Even the late-arriving Immortal Order didn’t deny the order led by the Codex of Light.

‘Only the Nameless Chaos vanished.’

Isaac contemplated this subtle irony and why, despite the apparent disappearance of the Nameless Chaos, it was still referred to as the ‘nine faiths.’

Thud, thud, thud.

Then, Isaac noticed gravel falling from a cliff above. Isolde looked up at the valley top but saw nothing. Isaac was the first to act.

“There!”

Thunk, thud.

A massive silhouette flickered between the cliffs. At first, it seemed like a wild animal, but the silhouette was distinctly aberrant.

Isolde’s eyes widened.

“What is that?!”

“Inside, let’s go!”

Isaac and Gebel drew their swords but instead of moving, they looked to Isolde. She, with a stern face, stepped forward and blew a long whistle.

Whistle─.

As the piercing whistle echoed through the valley, a raven flew up. It was the same raven into which Isaac had implanted a parasite. The raven, well-coordinated with Isolde, immediately chased the beast above the valley.

“Let’s follow!”

Isolde followed the raven’s path, not losing sight of it even from a distance.

The unidentified creature showed itself briefly between valleys and behind cliffs and corners, seemingly unable to escape the relentless pursuit, but clearly luring them.

‘And indeed, it’s a lure.’

The creature was one of the chaos offspring Isaac had created. It was larger due to its base organism, allowing it to be noticeable for such a task. Its unique form made it hard to identify precisely.

‘Good. If we lure it out of the valley…’

It would suggest that something was here but had escaped, leading Isolde to eventually conclude the matter. Since the Immortal Order’s priest was already dead, there wouldn’t be any problems. If Isaac wanted a clean end, he could even feed this chaos offspring to Isolde.

“Just a moment, it seems like we’re being lured!”

As the beast maintained a distance that was close yet unattainable, Isolde realized the situation. As they slowed down, the mysterious creature’s movements also slowed, inevitably due to the raven tracking its movements.

“If it’s luring us, could there be an ambush?”

“We can’t let this ominous creature escape. Please follow me slowly.”

Isolde said this and then brought a necklace to her lips, starting to recite something. Simultaneously, ashen dust poured from her body, rapidly making her presence faint.

‘The Doctrine of the Moth.’

One of Isolde’s abilities that Isaac had already figured out.

The Light’s Codex symbolizes light, and moths chase light.

The Doctrine of the Moth was a miracle of doctrine taught to those in the order who required stealth.

Isolde, almost indistinguishable from the roadside gravel, quickly resumed tracking on a different path.

If the beast was luring Isaac and his group, it wouldn’t notice Isolde’s approach under the Doctrine of the Moth.

However, as Isolde focused on the beast, Isaac carefully maneuvered the chaos offspring, observing her movements.

“…”

Isolde, even while using the Doctrine of the Moth, couldn’t close the gap, growing anxious.

That’s when Isaac received an unexpected message.

[Body. Found.]

The message came from one of the chaos offspring he had deployed.

‘A body?’

Understanding the message was hard due to the low cognitive ability of the rat used as the base for the chaos offspring, but finding a body was alarming. The offspring approached the body but then recoiled, sensing someone nearby.

Suddenly, the connection with the chaos offspring was severed. They were killed without even realizing the presence of an enemy. Their strength, at best, was comparable to a cat’s, but being taken out so easily suggested it wasn’t by a wild animal.

‘Gather for investigation.’Vissit novelbin(.)c.𝒐m for updates

Isaac commanded the chaos offspring to converge on the area where the body was found, not for hunting but for tracking. However, the place where the connection was lost wasn’t far from their current location.

‘Could there actually be an ambush?’

Isaac was surprised by this unexpected development. After taking control of the sanctuary’s altar, he believed he knew everything about the monastery and nearby areas. Yet, not sensing any strange presence meant either the presence was undetectable even to the sanctuary’s powers or it appeared last night.

“Ms. Isolde!”

Isaac called her name impulsively. Isolde stopped immediately. The moment she did, several arrows landed where she had been heading. One of them flew towards Isolde but only passed through the ashen dust emanating from her body.

The Doctrine of the Moth seemed to dissipate, revealing her form.

“Who’s there!”

Gebel’s voice thundered through the valley. Then, several figures in hunter attire with crossbows emerged from between the valley’s rocks. They looked like hunters from a nearby village.

“S-sorry, we just saw a bizarre creature pass over our heads and thought it was that…”

“So you shoot arrows at will!”

Isaac approached the hunters angrily. The hunters, seeing the extravagant attire of the inquisitor and the monk’s robes worn by Isaac and Gebel, seemed to realize they had messed with the wrong people. Especially as Isaac approached angrily, they felt an indescribable sense of intimidation.

The Nephilim’s unique charm was pressing their sense of guilt this time.

“We are also pursuing that creature; we’ll forgive you! Where did it go?”

“Over there, climbing the cliffs…”

At that moment, Isaac swiftly stabbed one of the men in the throat with the knife he was holding. Gebel and Isolde, as if in sync, quickly lunged forward.

It wasn’t because they couldn’t forgive them for attacking. The three had realized upon seeing the hunters that the situation was different.

Isolde knew that regular hunters couldn’t penetrate the Doctrine of the Moth, Gebel noticed their crossbows were too sophisticated for ordinary hunters, and Isaac saw blood from the chaos offspring on the man he had stabbed.

Ching, crackle!

Without any battle cry or coordinated communication, they attacked simultaneously, and the hunters were injured and pushed back in an instant. However, no one was killed immediately, proof they weren’t ordinary hunters.

“Kugh, urgh!”

Even the vampire Isaac had stabbed in the throat was retreating and healing the wound.

Isaac frowned at the sight of blood oozing and stitching the skin in the vampire’s pierced neck. Isolde also ground her teeth upon seeing it.

“Wallachia human hunters? How dare you intrude here!”

Wallachia was one of the smaller nations between the Black and White Empires. Its history was complex, having survived numerous conflicts by attaching itself to various powers, but it was generally classified closer to the Black

They were commonly known as the vampire race, who fed on blood.

And these aristocratic vampires often went on ‘human hunts’ for their amusement.

“Cher, Ra!”

The vampire who was impaled by Isaac appeared to be of a fairly high status among them, as he issued commands even with an injured neck. The vampires, realizing their true nature had been exposed, drew their dark-red swords from their scabbards.

It was a weapon used by the Wallachian nobility.

Isaac felt slightly tense.

‘If they are Wallachian nobles, in the game they were considered to have the same level of power as paladins…’

That meant the vampires in front of him should be thought of as the equivalent of six paladins.

Although there were differences in levels among paladins, vampires were particularly optimized for fighting humans.

Isaac thought this battle might be quite tough.

“Kek, huff!”

But in actual combat, they were not as tough as he thought. Isaac easily deflected the attacking vampire’s sword from below, twisting his own blade to slice the vampire’s arm.

The other vampires hesitated and did not rush in readily.

‘Was my skill always this good?’

Isaac felt a sense of pride in realizing that his swordsmanship worked well in real combat, but he soon understood the situation.

‘It’s because of the sunlight.’

The place was deep in a valley. There weren’t many parts where light shone, but the occasional rays of sunlight were enough to cause them pain. Their failed ambush attempt and the act of pretending to be hunters were probably because it was still daytime.

‘Good.’

Isaac did not want a fair fight. He decided to fully enjoy the current situation, which was unilaterally in his favor, while the vampires were flustered.


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