“H-How…How could that ridiculous-looking magic circle be real!”
“Yeah, but it’s a bit different. Didn’t I tell you that the magic circle drops the ritual’s power, extends its time, and returns the life force it takes? But only the part about returning the life force is true. Through the magic circle, Karuna’s holy power goes into the groundwater, and when the ritual gets activated, it scatters the life force mixed in the water. Most of them get released, but if the owner of the life force is still alive, it returns to the owner.”
Lubella recalled Timmy’s brother; Zich had promised to heal him.
‘He was telling the truth!’
If what Zich said was right, Timmy’s brother would become healthy again.
Since he didn’t know the whole story, Weig murmured, “…A ridiculous-looking magic circle? What’s that?”
Lubella explained it to him.
“Something like that happened?”
Weig could now understand why Grotim had gotten so angry at Zich. If Grotim was a normal person, Weig might have felt a bit bad for how much he got played by Zich. But having sympathy for those Bellid bastards was way too grand for what they deserved. Besides, Weig was much more interested in something else.
He stared at Zich who was crouching next to Grotim. Weig first met Zich when Zich asked Lubella a silly question about how to live a kind life.
‘I never thought that we would meet again like this.’
For now, it seemed like Zich was protecting Lubella, and Lubella looked at Zich with complete trust.
‘But what is this magic circle that hindered Bellid’s ritual?’
As a Karuwiman, Weig really wanted this magic circle—no, he needed it at all costs.
‘How does this young man know of it?’
Weig wondered about this. Seeing how panicked Grotim looked, it seemed like even the Bellids weren’t aware of the existence of this magic circle. Then how did Zich have this knowledge when even the Bellids and their arch-nemesis, the Karuwimans, didn’t know of it?
‘Well, it seems like he is not our enemy so that’s a relief.’
Even though Weig didn’t know Zich’s identity, he was still grateful to Zich.
“How do you feel now? You guided us with your soldiers so that we could find the statues easily. Were you happy, thinking that your plan tricked us? But that has totally backfired on you~!”
“You bastard! Bastard! Bastaaaaaard!”
Grotim squirmed, but Weig’s restraint was too strong. Grotim couldn’t do anything but squirm like a bug.
“Hehehe! You look like a shrimp flopping on the shore. Ah, since Bellu has a fish head, are you copying him and acting like an aquatic animal? Wow! That’s an amazing display of faith. I applaud that.”
“But I don’t want to?”
Zich poked at Grotim’s side with a tree branch that he picked up from who-knows-where. The poking didn’t hurt. How much power could a small tree branch have? However, the humiliation that Grotim felt from it was incomparably greater than the pain he would have felt from getting stabbed by a knife.
“You son of a bitch! If only it weren’t for you!” Grotim screamed as if he was vomiting blood, “Why? Why the hell did you help Lubella!?”
“I told you. I wanted to live a kind life.”
“What made you believe in her! I charged her as a witch! Did you already know her beforehand?!”
“Of course not. I only saw her like twice before.”
“Then, how could you believe her!”
Even Lubella was curious about this. Without any doubt or hesitation, Zich had helped Lubella who was charged as the witch by the whole city. She didn’t know why Zich tried his hardest to help her.
Zich brought his plans to ruins, yet Zich gave him such an unbelievably simple answer. Grotim became speechless.
“Just look at her face. It says, ‘I’m naturally good’ all over it.”
Both Weig and Lubella thought his answer was absurd, and Grotim became even more furious.
Grotim spat out curses as he squirmed on the floor again. However, Zich didn’t respond this time.
‘Ah, playing with him was fun!’
If Grotim heard Zich’s thoughts, his mouth would’ve started foaming.
‘The reason why I believe in Lubella…’
Of course, Zich had another reason; he just couldn’t tell it to anyone else. He recalled what he saw before his regression when his head was about to fly off from Glen Zenard’s swing. The party of heroes glared at him with animosity and hate, but among them, only Lubella acted differently.
‘How many people would cry for a dying bastard like me?’
It had been a shocking scene for Zich, so he remembered it vividly.
‘That’s enough for me to believe in Lubella.’
* * *
Porti was in chaos. Porti’s economy had gone downhill since the witch hunt against Lubella, and reports about missing people that the Deputy Mayor had repressed with his authority began to surface. In addition, the damages that the undead and monsters made were significant and made the city buzz for a while. Above all, they suffered the greatest loss from the collapse of their ruling establishment with the Mayor's death and the arrest of the Deputy Mayor and other high-level figures.
However, Lubella’s false charges were quickly dropped. Not only was the Deputy Mayor alive, but there were also Bellid statues all over the city that clearly showed the group’s involvement in the case.
“Are you done?”
“Yes, sir!” Hans answered while carrying a thick suitcase. Zich also lifted the baggage that he placed on the ground.
“Then, let’s go.”
“Is there a need for us to go so soon?”
Zich and Hans spent an exceptionally relaxing and comfortable time in the Karuwiman temple for the past couple of days. Zich had saved Porti, helped drop Lubella’s false charges, and crumbled Bellid’s plans. For this, the Karuwiman showed him the best hospitality that they could provide.
Since they left the Count’s residence, Hans had gone through a great amount of suffering, so he wanted to stay as long as he could in the temple. But Zich was adamant.
“We rested enough. We have to start moving to do more kind acts.”
“C-Can’t we do enough of that here, sir?”
“That’s true, but I realized something from this incident. I guess I can say that I’ve found my calling.”
“Is that so! Can I perhaps hear about that too?”
The two turned around to see Lubella and Weig approaching them. Similar to how they first met, Lubella was wearing a white robe, and a pure and clean aura was coming off from her.
“You look like a religious figurehead now. Just a couple of days ago, you looked like a homeless person in the back alleyway.”
Hans was taken back by Zich’s rude words, but Lubella agreed with him and retorted humorously.
“It was a worthwhile experience since I didn’t just listen to the voices of the weak but was able to experience their struggles firsthand.”
Weig stared at Lubella. Because of the scale and harshness of this experience, Lubella had changed significantly.
‘But it’s not bad.’
Lubella’s mind and heart had been enough for her to become the Saint, and even her skills were much greater than the other Saint Candidates. However, it was true that she lacked mental fortitude in areas like confidence; that was why Weig had always hoped that she would act with more firmness and confidence. But now, Lubella’s current behavior was what he had always wanted from her.
‘We really do owe him a huge favor.’
With her now perfect mentality, Lubella would definitely become the Saint. It had been 90% likely that she would become the next Saint, but now, even that other 10% was assured.
Zich asked Lubella, “Are you going to continue helping the weak?”
“Of course. As a follower of Karuna, it is a duty expected of me. But from now on, I won’t fall into my prejudices and think that the weak are right and that the strong are wrong. I learned this lesson the hard way.”
“If you think like that, it feels worthwhile to have helped you.”
“Yes. I have learned a lot, thanks to your help. It is also thanks to Grotim who planned all of this although I don’t feel an ounce of gratitude towards him.”
“What happened to him?”
“Grotim was dragged off to the kingdom’s capital. He won’t be able to keep his life, but he will probably be tortured in various ways so that we can get information out of him.”
Weig answered, “Good for him.”
Zich prayed that Grotim’s future would only be filled with grief and despair, and he laughed inside.
“I have also mastered the magic circle Mr. Zich has taught me. From now on, we will be able to respond to Bellid’s awful rituals more easily.”
“I’m glad that I could be of help.”
“Are you really sure that you don’t want to receive a reward for it?”
“I have received enough.”
Zich had already received a lot of money as a reward, but Lubella didn’t seem satisfied with just that.
“It’s nothing compared to what you did. No, even the price of this magic circle should be hundreds of times greater than the amount we gave you.”
“I’m not that interested in money.”
If he put his mind to it, Zich could amass a fortune, so he needed just enough money for his immediate travels.
“Then, it can’t be helped. Please tell me if you ever need my help. I will help you to the best of my abilities.”
“I am grateful for that.”
Zich lightly expressed his thanks.
“But by the way…do you really not know who invented this magic circle?”
The person who invented this ridiculous magic circle could really help out the Karuwimans against their fight with the Bellids.
Zich shook his head.
“I also learned about this magic circle by coincidence. I don’t know who the inventor is.”
“That’s a pity.”
Lubella let out a soft sigh.
‘Well, it’s a half-lie.’
It was true that Zich learned about the magic circle by coincidence. However, he knew who invented this magic circle, but he couldn’t tell this information to Lubella of all people.
‘This magic circle—you are the one who invented it.’
Zich stared at Lubella as she blatantly expressed her disappointment and pity.
Even Zich, who didn’t care about how others looked at him, couldn’t tell Lubella this: ‘In the future, you made this ridiculous looking magic circle to fight against the Bellid.’
“But no matter how many times I think about it, it’s amazing how those bizarre pictures could have an effect.”
‘You’re the one who thought of those bizarre pictures though.’
“Well, even Lady Lubella had her doubts at first. Of course, when Grotim was trying to make us believe that those pictures were having an effect, she got tricked.”
Lubella reddened at the memory.
“Ah, now that you mention it, didn’t I tell you that the magic circles were fake and there was no need for you to feel sorry about having any doubts? I’m taking back my word. You can be sorry for that.”
“You really are a liar.”
Lubella was stunned by Zich’s shamelessness.
“So, you should be more careful from now on. There are also people like me in this world.”
“At least, I don’t think that there would be many people like you.”
Zich was a truly unique figure.
“Fufufu! I guess Lady Lubella has a new friend.”
Weig was filled with joy as he saw Lubella, who he cared for like his granddaughter, animatedly converse with another person. Then he asked Zich,
“My offer still stands. Mr. Zich, if you change your mind, Karuwiman will always welcome you.”
Lubella was curious about Weig’s words.
“I asked him if he wanted to become a Holy Knight of Karuwiman. He has done so much for our cause, and his skills are far greater than those in his age range. Furthermore, he helped Lady Lubella for the sole reason of doing a kind act. If his faith for Karuna is deep, I think he is more than fit to be a Holy Knight.”
A Karuwiman Holy Knight! Hans thought it was absurd. Hans couldn’t believe that Weig offered to let Zich, who was close to being a scumbag, become a noble and sacred Holy Knight. However, it seemed as if only Hans thought this, and Lubella brightened up at the news.
“That’s a great idea! How about it Mr. Zich? You can serve Karuna with us.”
She stared at Zich with eyes full of expectations, but Zich evaded her gaze and shook his head.
“I thank you for your offer, but I don’t have any thoughts about becoming a Holy Knight.”
‘Do they think I’m crazy? Crazy enough to be a Holy Knight?’
Even if Zich’s relationship with the Karuwiman was much better than before his regression, this was another matter. How could Zich jump into a war in Karuna’s name and wear the white armor that the Karuwimans were known for?
‘Ugh, just the thought of that makes me cringe.’
Walking the path of the Demon Lord a second time was preferable to that.
“Ah, that’s a pity.”
Lubella hung her head; she seemed disappointed about the news. Most men’s hearts might have been shaken by Lubella’s disappointed expression and would have reconsidered the offer, but Zich was firm. He had no intentions to become a Karuwiman Holy Knight.
“Then, what about becoming an Honorary Holy Knight? It’s a position we give to people who don’t necessarily serve Karuna but have given us a lot of help—”
“No, thank you.”
His answer was immediate again.
“Then, it can’t be helped. But if you change your mind, please look for me. Karuwiman will always welcome you.”
Zich thought he would never join Karuwiman.
“We went off-topic. Mr. Zich, you said that you found your path, right?”
“Ah, about that.”
Zich shrugged his shoulders in pride; it seemed like he was satisfied with the answer he found.
“As Lady Lubella knows, my goal is to live a kind life. However, I didn’t know how to do that or what a kind act was. But I feel like I’ve got the hang of it these days.”
“Yes, that was the first question you asked me.”
“But through this incident, I realized a way to live a kind life that suits my taste and skills perfectly.”
“What is that?”
Zich smiled. His smile looked like that of a wise man who found enlightenment; there was even a bit of holiness mixed in with his smile.
“It’s to go around beating the crap out of bad guys and killing them after.”
Lubella blurted out by instinct.Previous Chapter Next Chapter