Zich knew who he was.
“Aren’t you Sir Clovey?” Like Brod, Clovey was one of Joachim’s subordinates. Since he was one of the people who worked alongside Zich at the peak of the epidemic, Zich spoke nicely to him. “What is the matter?”
“The situation doesn’t look good.” Clovey’s face hardened. “I think new cases of Igram are appearing again.”
“You mean, in the containment area?” Zich could not help but make an annoyed face. Even with Ms. Bargot’s advanced preventive measures and Zich’s cure from the future, Igram cases were rising again; it was more annoying because they had been making significant progress. But Clovey shook his head.
“Fortun—I mean, I don’t know if this is fortunate or not, but it’s not in Ospurin. A disease with similar symptoms like Igram has been spreading around a village between Ospurin and Dobo.”
First of all, Zich was glad cases were not rising in Ospurin. However, it was bothersome that diseases were spreading near Ospurin. So far, all the infectious diseases apart from Igram in the Dracul estate were all rare and had particularly violent symptoms.
“Is that disease really Igram?”
“I don’t know if it’s Igram, or some other kind of disease, or if many people are just suffering from body pains at the same time. But since people near Ospurin are getting sick, Sir Joachim wanted someone to investigate whether the cases are connected to Igram.”
“And you are asking me to go investigate.”
“Sir Joachim feels very sorry about that. But the only one who has basic medical knowledge about infectious diseases and who has high enough mana to not get infected is you.” Clovey said this with confidence, but he glanced at Zich with uncertainty. Zich was not one of Joachim’s subordinates—no, he was not related to the Dracul estate at all in the first place. For that reason, Clovey was nervous whenever he made requests to Zich, especially considering that Zich had already helped them out so much.
“I understand. I can go.”
“Ah, thank you so much!” Clovey’s face brightened while looking at Zich, as if Zich was his savior.
“Should I go right now?”
“Yes. Since investigating new cases is the top priority right now, Sir Joachim told me you didn’t have to go check with him and leave as soon as possible. I already prepared your method of transportation.”
“Okay, let’s go.” Zich turned back. Hans and Snoc were awkwardly standing in the back while listening to their conversation. “You heard everything, right?”
“Are we following you?”
Without any complaints, Hans and Snoc nodded. Clovey also didn’t stop them from following Zich.
“Let’s quickly go. I prepared the carriage right in front, so you don’t have to walk far.”
* * *
The village they reached was small. But no matter how small the village was, there should have been some signs of human presence. However, no signs of human presence could be found anywhere.
“It feels ominous,” Snoc said while hugging Nowem. Hans also felt the same way, so he nodded silently. The carriage entered the village, but they found that the village was completely empty.
“We have arrived!”
Clovey took the position as the carriage driver, and shouted out loud. Zich, Snoc, and Hans moved out of the carriage. Hans and Snoc looked around and didn’t know what to do as the village looked basically like a ghost town.
“It’s over there.”
Zich pointed at a building in the village. The building looked like a temple for the village’s religious rites. Since the village was small, the temple was also small; in a tiny building, there was one simple statue of a god in it. But still, the temple was bigger than all the other houses.
“Yeah. When there are infectious diseases, it’s usually the temples that take care of the sick.”
Clovey also agreed with Zich’s assessment. “The situation is more serious than I thought. The only place where I can detect human presence is in that temple over there.”
“Are you saying that the entire village got infected?”
“Maybe. Let’s first find out more.”
Zich and his companions walked towards the temple. While they were walking there, they were able to see many houses with completely open doors. Through the doors, they saw that the inside of the houses was messy—it looked as if people were in a hurry to leave.
When Zich reached the temple, he flung the door open.
The temple was full of people on the ground. Dozens of people were crammed into one bed, and there were also many people on the ground with nothing below them. It was a familiar sight. Hans and Snoc who were behind Zich scrunched up their faces. Fortunately, not everyone in the village seemed to have fallen ill as there were a few people taking care of the patients.
A young caretaker closest to the entrance asked Zich and his companions, “Who are you people?” His complexion didn’t seem too great either. It seemed as if the patients who had less severe symptoms were the ones taking care of the severely ill patients.
“I think that everyone here has been infected.”
Snoc quietly told Hans his observation. Then Clovey stepped forward and said, “We are from Ospurin! We heard that infectious diseases are spreading here, and we have come to investigate!”
“Thank goodness, you are knights!”
The young caretaker’s face brightened up. As if welcoming a savior, the young caretaker reached out his hands towards Clovey and tried to approach him.
“We have to first figure out what happened here. So please give us an explanation—!”
“It’s fine.” Zich blocked Clovey from saying more.
“Hmm? What are you saying is fine?”
“We don’t need an explanation. I’ve finished analyzing the situation.”
“What? The epidemic has spread to this place. Shouldn’t we at least get an explanation?”
The young man glanced at Zich and asked, “Um…who is this person…?”
“He is someone who came to check how far the disease has spread. Please tell him what’s been happening without skipping any details.”
“Oh, you are a doctor! Of course, we will cooperate for the village. I will tell you all the details!”
Zich wasn’t a doctor, but Clovey didn’t seem to feel the need to clear the matter up and maintained his silence.
“It’s a bit of a long story, but I don’t think this is a good place to talk. There’s a room over there. It’s a bit shabby, but if you don’t mind, I will tell you about it there.”
The young man looked over the area where patients were lying around and pointed at a door. Clovey nodded.
“I think we should do as the man says. What do you think…?” Clovey asked Zich for his opinion, but he trailed off because Zich was staring at him intensely. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“I was curious.”
“Curious about what? No, but before that, shouldn’t we listen to what this man has to say first? We don’t have much time. We can deal with personal matters later—”
“I am curious if…” Zich cut off Clovey’s words and smirked, “…You are acting on your own will or if you’ve been blackmailed.”
“What do you mean—”
With that sharp sound, Clovey’s words were cut short again. Ignoring the stunned group of people in his surroundings, Zich moved his unsheathed sword. He aimed at the young man who they just conversed with. Zich’s sword moved as if it was about to rip the young man’s head off.
The young man looked at Zich’s sword in shock. But when he felt the sword’s bloodthirst and realized that Zich was not going to stop until he cut his head off, the man’s face changed.
The young man took out a dagger and blocked Zich’s sword. The speed of Zich’s sword slowed down.
Zich’s sword sliced the dagger and dashed forward. The young man’s chilly expression turned to shock.
Zich sliced the young man’s head off and moved past him. Everyone in his surroundings didn’t move as if time was frozen, and Zich flicked the blood off his sword with an exaggerated swing. Then he raised his chin and looked around the temple. Everyone, whether they were caretakers or patients, looked at him.
“Quit your theatrics and bring it on. I’m not naïve enough to fall for such a sloppy trap like this one.” Zich smirked again. “Your trap was so childish that I couldn’t bear to look at it any longer. You should have paid a bit more attention to the details.”
“What…?” Snoc didn’t understand the situation yet, but he exchanged glances with Hans and pulled out his sword.
“Be careful! They are enemies!”
Hans gave Snoc a warning when—
Daggers flew in their direction. Zich flung them away with his sword like they were flies. However, he couldn’t treat the sword coming from his side in the same way.
A sword soaked in mana lashed at him, and Clovey glared at Zich with a demon-like face.
“You didn’t answer my question yet. Are you acting on your own will or were you blackmailed?”
“How did you know?”
“Answering a question with a question is a very bad habit. Not to mention that I asked the same question twice.” Zich failed to get an answer again, and Clovey gritted his teeth. The bloodlust flowing in Clovey’s body seemed like it would take shape any moment.
At his command, people who were pretending to be caretakers and patients got up from their beds and dashed towards Zich, Hans, and Snoc. On the other hand, not everyone got up; a lot of people stayed crouched on the ground and screamed.
Clovey shouted, “If you don’t want to die, move! I will personally kill everyone on the ground!” The rest of the people got up at Clovey’s words. However, their fearful eyes and hesitant body movements indicated that they were ordinary people who were scared.
‘They must be the villagers.’ They were probably threatened by Clovey and his allies. ‘They won’t even put up a fight. Guess I’ll just ignore them for now.’
However, as they began running towards Zich and his company, Zich had to change his mind. This was because the villagers’ movements and speed were quite formidable. Of course, it didn’t mean that they were threatening opponents, but Zich couldn’t simply ignore them.
“You guys work together to fight.”
Hans and Snoc hastily turned their backs towards each other at Zich’s command. Among Zich’s training lessons, there was a method to fight against an opponent or a group through teamwork. Of course, it was too early for the two to move as one body, but because of Zich’s training, they were able to display an impressive level of cooperative fighting. After checking their formation, Zich focused his attention on the enemy again.
‘Let’s see. Who prepared this trap: Fest or the assassins? Or even Biyom Dracul?’
Zich listed all the people who wanted him dead. Ever since Zich revealed the cure and raised Joachim’s reputation, he could confidently put Biyom on the list of people who wanted him dead.
‘It’s probably from Fest or the assassins.’
It looked like a trap, but it was also true that the village was infected. The person or organization probably planned it like this to make the trap look more realistic. Judging by the involvement of diseases, Fest seemed like the most likely candidate for this trap, but the movement of his opponents confused him.
All of Zich’s opponents had the same movements as the assassins he met before.Previous Chapter Next Chapter