Paladin of the Dead God

Chapter 24:



Chapter 24:

Not long after Isaac purified the sanctuary, the plague began to subside.

It was sufficient to check the condition of Isolde, without having to examine other patients.

Isolde, who had been in the most critical condition in the monastery, was sleeping in the isolation ward. Most of her wounds were healing, and signs of illness were hard to find.

A few scratches and bites from wolves would leave scars, but they were not conspicuous. She was just sleeping and would wake up soon.𝒩ewW 𝒏ovels upd𝒂tes on nov/𝒆l/b(i)𝒏(.)com

“How amazing to see such progress in just one day.”

“It must be the prayers of the monks reaching heaven.”

Evhar muttered in surprise upon seeing the plague’s signs disappear from Isolde. The monks realized that the plague was retreating from the monastery too, as most of the monks who had been ill were now gathered in the chapel, praying.

As their condition noticeably improved, they immediately informed the Abbot, and Abbot Evhar went to see Isolde, where the plague had started.

Isaac, having reaped his benefits, unhesitatingly credited all the work to the Codex of Light. There was no other explanation but a miracle from God for such a quick recovery. Moreover, the power and credit Isaac held weren’t something to boast about.

“No, this is clearly your achievement, Isaac.”

But Evhar didn’t just attribute it to divine grace.

“Of course, I knew that the Codex of Light would save us. But when this would happen, how many of us would be tested and sacrificed, was unknown. This was certainly no ordinary plague.”

Evhar patted Isaac’s shoulder as he spoke.

“If the Codex of Light has helped us, then sending you as their emissary must be part of that aid.”

Isaac felt awkward with the unexpected praise. He had only helped because he couldn’t stand to see people he had lived with for years dying, yet now he was receiving such high acclaim, leaving him speechless.

“Uhmmm…”

Just as the awkward atmosphere between the one who gave and the one who received the praise continued, a welcome groan was heard. Isolde, who had been delirious for days, was finally regaining consciousness.

Seeing her eyes faintly open, Isaac quickly bent down.

“Hey, are you conscious?”

Isolde’s eyes, initially unfocused on the ceiling, turned towards Isaac. As her gaze sharpened, she met Isaac’s face and began to tear up.

Thinking her sudden tears were due to pain, Isaac was surprised by her unexpected words.

“You’ve come for me.”

“Yes? Oh, yes. Gebel and I went out to bring you here.”

“Gebel? I haven’t heard this name, but surely there must be heroes unknown to us. It’s humbling to have a named archangel come to greet me.”

With red, teary eyes, Isolde muttered to Evhar.

“Archangel Gebel, I am ready in my heart. To die following your will is a blessing, and to reach the eternal kingdom filled with light is beyond my humble self…”

After a moment of silence, Isaac decided to correct her misunderstanding.

***

A little later, with a face as red as her eyes, Isolde sat on the bed and replied.

“You’re not an angel?”

“No, I am not.”

Isaac couldn’t see her face as she had buried it in her hands and knees, her earlobes flushed, raising concerns that her blood pressure might cause her veins to burst.

“I’m sorry, it’s just that… undeniably, your face…”

“I understand. It was an extreme situation, and you must have been scared.”

Isaac quickly mumbled, interrupting her before she could express more regret. When Isolde first encountered Isaac, she had fainted, muttering ‘an angel?’ Isaac, being a Nephilim, wasn’t completely misunderstood.

However, since Nephilim were rare and it would be problematic if his true identity was discovered, Isaac had to avoid leading her thoughts in that direction. Fortunately, Isolde quickly accepted Isaac’s explanation.

“Yes, yes. It’s just that I thought I was dead, and then unexpectedly received help…”

It was easier for her and others to accept that she thought he was an angel because she had been brought back from death, rather than because of his appearance.

Isolde, convincing herself, frantically nodded and then finally showed her face, less red than before.

“By the way, there was a blacksmith’s apprentice traveling with me. Did he arrive safely?”

“Yes, Hans informed us of your danger.”

“That’s really… fortunate…”

Finally remembering why she came to the monastery, Isolde hurriedly began searching for her belongings. Isaac handed her a bundle.

“Your clothes and bag had to be burnt to stop the plague, but your books, documents, and tools seemed immune to the plague, so they were sealed. I apologize for burning your clothes.”

Most of Isolde’s belongings, suitable for an inquisitor, were treated not to succumb to other faiths or curses. This included the Sword of Judgement Isaac had secretly used. However, it was difficult to treat every piece of clothing, so they had to be burnt.

Yet, Isolde seemed unconcerned about having been undressed in a male-only monastery. Relieved to find all her sought-after items, she sighed.

“No lost items. Thank you for keeping them safe.”

Then she glanced at Isaac, as if to ask.

“Did you read any of these letters and documents?”

Isaac and Evhar exchanged uneasy glances.

Reading the confidential documents of an inquisitor could be branded as sacrilege. There were already two suspicious people in the monastery, three including the abbot hiding the fact that Isaac was a Holy Body. Debates had been rife about whether to read those documents.

But Isaac spoke calmly.

“Yes, I read them. I couldn’t understand what they meant.”

“Isaac!”

Evhar scolded, surprised, but Isolde shook her head.

“It’s okay. Given the circumstances, it was inevitable. In fact, if you had read them, you might have been able to improve the situation faster. My reason for coming here was because of this plague.”

“The plague?”

Evhar asked, surprised. They already knew the plague that swept through the monastery was not an ordinary one, but rather a curse or a conspiracy. However, they hadn’t expected that an inquisitor would have come for that purpose from the start.

“Yes. The Immortal Order’s influence is reaching this monastery.”

She muttered, her eyes burning.

***

Isolde changed into a spare set of clothes from her plague-protected bag and returned to the Abbot’s office. She was dressed in a comfortable uniform with a dark red hood.

This time, Gebel was also present. He was uncomfortable meeting the now-conscious Isolde but had to come since she insisted on meeting him.

“I heard you saved me. Thank you very much.”

“It wasn’t me; it was that young greenhorn over there who can’t even grow a beard yet.”

Gebel waved his hand dismissively and leaned against the wall, clearly not interested in taking credit. Isolde respected his wish not to engage much in conversation. However, her reason for calling Gebel wasn’t just to thank him.

“How many in the monastery can wield a sword?”

“A sword?”

Evhar hesitated at the unexpected question.

“I’m not sure what level you’re expecting, but I myself have combat experience in the Dawn Army. There are also some monks who have been on pilgrimage. But even if all of us together charged at Isaac and Gebel here, we wouldn’t stand a chance.”

Isolde looked at Isaac as if to gauge his response. Isaac wished Evhar hadn’t been so frank, but now that it was out, there was nothing to be done. In truth, Gebel didn’t even need to join in; Isaac alone was confident enough to handle the monks.

“Is there a reason you need a sword, not a miracle?”

The monastery’s greatest weapon was expected to be miracles. But Isolde was asking for swords.

“This plague is a conspiracy by the Immortal Order.”

“The Immortal Order… Isn’t that too far for them to be involved?”

The Black Empire, where the Immortal Order was based, was a two-month horse ride away. There were several small kingdoms in between. However, distance alone couldn’t negate the possibility.

“Just a few years ago, the apostate Kalsen attacked a village just half a day’s journey from here. It was a terrible incident with no survivors.”

Evhar desperately avoided looking at Isaac.

“That was possible because the commander of the paladins had turned apostate. It’s impossible now.”

“Of course, the missing Kalsen being related to this incident is unlikely. But their influence reaching here is possible. It’s about causing chaos with a few people in the rear.”

Isaac felt like he understood Isolde’s thinking.

The Immortal Order planned a biochemical terror attack in the monastery’s underground.

“They intended to resurrect an ancient god here in the monastery’s underground!”

Isolde declared solemnly.

Isaac almost hiccupped but managed to suppress it.

Despite her solemn declaration, the expected reaction did not come. Evhar looked incredulous, while Gebel massaged his forehead as if he had a headache.

“So?”

“Excuse me?”

“Inquisitor, such grand tales might scare the villagers, but I am the Abbot here. Ancient faiths can’t be resurrected, and most legends are exaggerated.”

“If ancient abominations and curses revive with the ancient gods…”

“Even if they really resurrect, gods without worshippers have no influence on the world. They are dead gods. Just like the nameless chaos that almost led to destruction, now it has no impact on the world.”

Evhar muttered, stroking his beard.

“But I think I understand what you mean. There was a plague faith in this area long ago. Hundreds of years ago, we demolished their temple and used the bricks as a foundation for this monastery. If what you say is true, this plague is influenced by that plague god.”

“Exactly. The Immortal Order intends to revive such ancient faiths across the empire.”

There were nine main faiths in the Nameless Chaos, but that wasn’t always the case. In ancient times, there were hundreds of faiths. Strong beasts, monsters, or special phenomena were all worshipped as gods. But with the advent of the Age of Light, ancient faiths disappeared or merged, leaving only nine. Even among these, some were on the verge of vanishing.

Isaac was the only member of the ‘Nameless Chaos’ faith.

“What does the Immortal Order gain from this?”

“If there’s internal strife within the Codex of Light, the Immortal Order’s followers would increase…”

“The Immortal Order hardly worries about losing followers. Their followers only increase, even if they do nothing.”

Isolde frowned and remained silent.

“Besides, the nine gods wouldn’t want the resurrection of ancient gods. Even the Immortal Emperor cooperated in destroying ancient faiths that burned children alive and demanded massacres. If we agree with the heretics on one thing, it’s that ancient faiths should not and cannot be revived.”

The biggest difference between ancient and the nine faiths was this.

While ancient faiths were barbaric, the nine faiths were realms of human reason and civilization. Half of the nine faiths originated from humans, proving this point. Isaac thought no one would want to return to those times.

‘Come to think of it, why is ‘Nameless Chaos’, one of the nine faiths, like this? Was it different before destruction?’

Isaac pondered but couldn’t ask anyone, nor should he.

Isolde bit her lip quietly. Isaac noticed she had anticipated this rebuttal. She could continue arguing – doctrinal battles could go on for years.

‘She’s hiding something.’

Isaac quietly stepped back. Fortunately, Isolde and Evhar were too engaged in their argument to notice him.

Evhar spoke up.

“Inquisitor, if you need our sword, please be frank. Why is the Immortal Order active around here? Is there something you can’t share, even among brothers of the same faith?”

At that moment, Isaac activated his newfound ability, ‘Eyes of Chaos’.


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