Paladin of the Dead God

Chapter 9:



Chapter 9:

Chapter 9. The Holy Body (1)

As he lifted his head, he saw Gebel, drenched in rain, looking down at him expressionlessly.

It was an old sword, its teeth all worn away. However, a strange light danced subtly along the blade before fading away.

A tattoo of a crescent moon and a sword crossed was visible on the inside of Gebel’s wrist.

Thinking that Isaac was too shocked to respond, Gebel sheathed his sword again. He then touched Isaac’s face and asked with a mischievous expression, “Two eyes, two ears, two arms, and legs each. Wait, why do we have only one nose?”

When Isaac reflexively clutched at his nose, Gebel let out a chuckling laugh.

‘It seemed like a person who didn’t know jokes at all.’

Isaac found himself laughing too, though for a different reason.

It was because Gebel had demonstrated his abilities as a paladin.

Having witnessed the paladin’s skills with his own eyes, Isaac realized that the swordsmanship of the paladins in this world might be much more powerful than what he had seen in games.

Isaac decided he must learn the swordsmanship Gebel used.

***

The children who ran away that day immediately went to the monks.

Desperately, they informed about Isaac’s crisis, and soon Gebel rushed out of the monastery. He followed the trail of Isaac and the boar late into the night but couldn’t find them until dawn.

Everyone thought Isaac had died. However, Gebel eventually brought Isaac back, and all the people of the monastery gathered to praise the miracle of God.

Of course, there was not even a speck of the miracle performed by the Codex of Light, but Isaac humbly praised it.

The monks didn’t know whether to scold Isaac for his reckless behavior or praise him for his heroic actions.

Eventually, Isaac received the punishment of fasting in the evening.

It wasn’t a problem for Isaac, who could ‘overeat’ anyway. The atmosphere in the monastery became generally favorable towards him, and they almost always granted his requests.

But what changed the most were the children.

“I’m sorry.”

The next day, Hans came to apologize. Isaac knew how hard it was for a young person to apologize to someone younger than themselves. He wondered if someone had forced Hans, but there was no sign of shame in him.

“I realized how stupid I was about to act. Thanks to you, I saved my life. You’re my savior.”

Hans seemed rather relieved as he said this.

He had already felt that Isaac was a much superior being to himself, but out of jealousy, he had feared and antagonized Isaac.

However, this incident made him realize the stark difference between them, and it seemed he no longer felt any sense of competition.

Surrendering to an object of fear turns into awe, it seemed.

“Apologize to Johan. You don’t plan to run away anymore?”

“I already apologized. There won’t be any running away in the future. If anyone talks nonsense like me, I’ll deal with them sternly.”

Hans showed a look of respect in his eyes. Isaac found it awkward but brushed it off as childlike behavior.

It’s the age when strength is admired. And Hans was the oldest and strongest among the children. If he became compliant, controlling the other children wouldn’t be a problem.

‘But he’s quick to acknowledge reality when faced with it. Not as stupid as he looks.’

The escape plan was likely concocted out of wounded pride due to Isaac. Without Isaac’s intervention, things would have likely gone smoothly until he was 17.

Hans extended his hand as if asking for forgiveness. Isaac, feeling slightly sorry, shook his hand.

Hans smiled brightly, thinking they had reconciled.

***

“You’re incredibly strong. Did you learn from Mr. Gebel?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah, sort of?”

Isaac couldn’t say it was thanks to his past life’s memories, so he evaded the question. Hans nodded as if he expected that answer.

“You’re planning to join the Dawn Army, aren’t you?”

Hans then brought up a strange topic. Isaac nodded as he recognized the familiar term.

Dawn Army.

Isaac knew what it was.

It’s a periodic main quest and backbone story line in ‘Nameless Chaos’.

In a far eastern land, there is a ‘holy land’ known as the first place where the Codex of Light was written. But at the same time, it is also where the Immortal Emperor of the Immortal Order, Beshek, was reborn as a god.

The Dawn Army is a coalition formed by the Codex of Light sect to reclaim that holy land.

Sometimes the White Empire, which adopts the Codex of Light as its state religion, controls the holy land; other times, it’s the Black Empire of the Immortal Order. For the last 100 years, the Black Empire has dominated the holy land. The most recent formation of the Dawn Army was 15 years ago, the 12th Dawn Army.

“The last Dawn Army was 15 years ago, so by the time we’re adults, it’ll likely form again. The holy land must be reclaimed.”

Hans believed the Codex of Light sect would inevitably form the Dawn Army again. Isaac knew exactly when that would be – four years from now.

‘Indeed, to reach the pinnacle as a paladin, participating in the Dawn Army is unparalleled.’

Even if not a paladin, this quest in the game was inevitable. The whole continent gets involved in this war.

In short, the ’13th Expedition of the Dawn Army’ is a main story event in ‘Nameless Chaos’.

When the Dawn Army is formed, the Immortal Order also forms the Eclipse Army, joining hands with like-minded sects to oppose the Dawn Army.

In other words, Isaac had already successfully completed the 13th expedition of the Dawn Army eight times.

Isaac reaffirmed his purpose.

To hide his tentacles, he must become an unquestionable, noble paladin and reclaim the holy land at the pinnacle.

‘What happens after the game ends, I’m not sure.’

He didn’t expect a hollow ‘The end’ and a return to the original world. At that time, Isaac couldn’t predict what he would become, but he knew he had to join the Dawn Army someday.

“Why don’t you follow Mr. Gebel if you’re planning to join the Dawn Army?”

At Isaac’s words, Hans blushed.

“I used to follow him, but it was too hard and dirty… and scary.”

He meant that he had tried following but couldn’t keep up. Hans hastily changed the subject.

“But, aren’t you scared of Mr. Gebel?”

“Not really? He jokes and laughs more than you’d think.”

“But there’s talk that Mr. Gebel is a deserter. Deserters rampage, looting and even killing fellow believers…”

In this era, deserters were almost synonymous with bandit gangs. They were conscripted from all over without proper supplies for war.

After one battle, deserters would pour out, causing trouble in various regions.Diiscover new 𝒔tories at n𝒐ve/lbin(.)c/o𝒎

“And did you see the tattoo on his wrist? The one with the overlapping crescent moon and sword. That could mean he was a soldier of the Black Empire. He might have secretly infiltrated our country.”

Isaac almost laughed. It’s quite an imagination, but who would tattoo ‘I’m a spy’ on their wrist? Plus, if he were a soldier of the Black Empire, he would be undead. He wouldn’t blatantly wear human skin.

However, Isaac had seen that tattoo too. Since the crescent moon was a symbol of the Black Empire, it was natural for Johan to feel uneasy.

‘Well, I am curious about Gebel’s identity… Maybe it’s time to move to the next phase.’

***

Isaac began to ponder daily on how he could learn swordsmanship from Gebel. While he was working on building his body, learning swordsmanship as soon as possible was crucial, especially considering the path he needed to take to become a paladin.

However, Gebel had lost his comrades. To give him a sword again and make him mentor the next generation, there had to be a proper reason. Isaac knew that Gebel was a paladin, but he had no information about his affiliation or the circumstances that brought him here.

Unable to ask directly, Isaac began scouring the library shelves. The clue he needed was already out there.

After several days of searching, Isaac nearly dropped a book. He barely caught a thick leather-bound volume, heavy enough to nearly slip from his grasp, made of sturdy parchment.

He read the title of the book he was about to put back.

‘The Records of the 12th Dawn Army.’

It was a record of the very Dawn Army that happened 15 years ago. Isaac, thinking he had finally found what he was looking for, turned the pages.

The book was a true record, faithfully but monotonously detailing the reasons for the 12th Dawn Army’s formation, participating countries, routes, personnel, the hostile forces they encountered, and their supply strategies. Although devoid of entertainment, Isaac’s attention was caught by the ‘participating groups’ section.

The emblem of a crescent moon overlapping a sword.

It was the same symbol as the tattoo on Gebel’s wrist, used by an organization as their flag.

Isaac confirmed the name of the organization.

Avalanche Paladin Order.

‘…Of course, it was here.’

Gebel had participated in that 12th Dawn Army.

Isaac began reading about the Avalanche Paladin Order. It was a fairly large order, about 120 members strong, especially prominent in the eastern regions. Located on the border with the Undying Sect, they were known for their ample combat experience and aggressiveness.

Isaac paused at the list of the order’s members.

Gebel Crackton, Vice-Commander of the Avalanche Paladin Order.

‘Vice-Commander… He was more significant than I thought.’

Isaac felt incredulous.

He had thought of becoming a paladin, but to have someone of such stature so close?

Paladins are not only exceptional individually but also capable of performing divine miracles, making them more revered than ordinary knights. They hold high status within their orders, so much so that lords and kings try to win them over. However, paladins don’t move for money, making them notoriously difficult to persuade.

With such status, it wouldn’t have been odd for him to be the commander of a knightly order under some powerful patron.

‘But he didn’t… Did he desert after surviving? Apostasy, maybe?’

Isaac indeed never saw Gebel reading scriptures or even praying. But if he had apostatized, why would he take refuge in a monastery of the Codex of Light?

‘Regardless, this information can be useful.’

As if to echo his thoughts, a whispering voice came:

[Nameless Chaos is watching you.]

[Nameless Chaos wishes you to make Gebel your subordinate.]

“…What nonsense is this?”

[Nameless Chaos adjusts its goal downward.]

[Nameless Chaos wishes you to make Gebel your prey.]

“What do they see me as? A person is not the same as a mouse.”

[Nameless Chaos further adjusts its goal downward.]

[Nameless Chaos wishes for you to achieve even a tiny victory over Gebel.]

It all sounded the same.

What could be expected of a mere 14-year-old child? To subjugate someone who was a vice-commander of a paladin order? Knowing Gebel was a paladin seemed to ignite an inexplicable desire for competition in Nameless Chaos.

Isaac found it ridiculous but then thought maybe it wasn’t impossible.

Victory can take many forms. And Isaac had already planned to take a gamble with Gebel.

[The reward of Chaos awaits you.]


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