Priesia, who had been hiding her identity by covering herself in a rag, slowly turned her head and looked at Ian.
“May I ask who you are?”
Ian, who had his face hidden because of the mask, had his eyes met with Priesia. Ian gulped.
There was no way to describe Priesia’s face other than that she was truly beautiful, literally like an angel.
Just facing her alone was enough to stop his train of thought for a moment. Ian just stood there with a vacant look on his face for a moment. He tightened his fist to barely wake up from his useless thoughts.
“I am sorry, but I’m afraid I cannot tell you.”
Ian shook his head and said he could not tell her. Priesia stared at the mask on Ian’s face for a moment and slowly nodded.
“I understand. People have their reasons.”
While Priesia mumbled, Ian looked around to check the corpses. Ian tossed a question.
“Priestess, why are you here?”
The Magic Tower collapsed, and the tower collapsed on top of the Holy Temple and destroyed it.
There weren’t just a few people who were worried about her at the moment. It was a relief to know that she was safe, but on the other hand, it was strange.
She was hiding her face by wearing a rag. She also just told the man she saved that he should not tell others that he saw her. Ian thought about the two questions, but they were complete mysteries no matter how he thought about it.
“You should be telling others that you are completely fine and alive like this, but instead… You are trying to hide your identity. Why? People of Solia are worried.”
Ian asked in worried tone. Priesia looked at the Right Solia in complete disarray, bit her lips, and mumbled an answer that had no relevance to the question.
“I won’t ask who you are anymore. You must have a reason why you are wearing a mask.”
Even her cringing face was so mesmerizing, so Ian was just standing there with a blank look on his face. Ian nodded his head late. Priesia said,
“In that case, it would be all right if I asked what you are trying to do here, right?”
Ian wiggled his eyebrows.
“You are here to save people, isn’t that right?”
“You were about to swing a sword at me, but you stopped. You saved the man who was crushed under a building. Actually, based on these two things, I think the answer is already out. Isn’t that right?”
As Priesia said, Ian was at the Right Solia to save people.
The Young Master that Ian came here with was now gone without a trace to find the source that was raising the corpses while Ian saved people. Ian was certain of this.
“I am similar to you. I am here to save the people. There still are many who are injured.”
“In that case, why are you hiding your identity?”
“I cannot tell you that.”
“I am sorry. I cannot tell you why. All I can say to you is asking you to help me save the people.”
She also added and told Ian to not tell others that she was here. As if she was ashamed, Priesia lowered her head.
Ian vacantly stared at Priesia for a moment. He kept silence for a moment, and then extended his hand toward her.
After seeing Ian’s hand asking for a hand shake, Priesia lifted her head with a bright face.
“I am wearing a mask right now, but as you guessed, I am staying here instead of my master to save the people. It is obvious this will be much more efficient.”
Ian put the sword back in the sheath, tapped at the handle, and led the way. Priesia followed him.
* * *
While leaving the rest to Ian, Riley left the scene because he had a few things he had to find out on the side. At the moment, he was staring at the direction where angry voice was coming from. It was from behind a collapsed building.
“About the story about the Lower Solia that was a big issue recently, I won’t mention it, but I will presume everyone knows about it. About that incident… who do you think caused it?”
The voice was agitated.
There were dozens of priests and holy knights gathered in front of the collapsed Holy Temple. The old man who was standing in the front of them all was the Archbishop Rebethra, the one Riley had been looking for to follow around.
‘I knew he was alive, but what’s this?’
The situation definitely looked like it was heading in a strange direction.
It seemed the holy knights and priests barely escaped the collapsing building. They were covered in dust. They were in shambles. However, for some reason, the look on their faces and eyes were full of fury.
“Dead people are being forced to stand up, and as if they are puppets, they are charging toward people who are still alive.”
Standing in front of the holy knights and priests, Rebethra tightened his fist and spoke. The people gathered there started to grind their teeth.
“Who do you think is responsible for this?”
Having heard the Archbishop, Riley crumpled his face.
While Riley was crumpling his face, Rebethra continued with even more heart broken voice.
“Solia Castle, Solia’s Magic Tower… They have not shown any signs of atonement about the Astroa incident. We can’t just sit idly and watch like this forever.”
Rebethra spoke ill of the Solia’s Castle and the Magic Tower. He opened his arms wide and started to pour out tears.
“Instead of learning the lesson, they got greedy, and now the Magic Tower collapsed, and they have taken away from us our Holy Temple… and the daughter of the Goddess Irenetsa.”
Having heard the speech, Riley narrowed his eyes.
Rebethra was not just trying to stir up the priests and holy knights gathered there. He was trying to get everyone involved, even the other people gathered nearby who were watching him.
“We must not forget Goddess Irenetsa’s teachings… which says we should calm our anger and forgive the sinners. However!”
Rebethra tightened his fist while being in tears. Becoming sympathetic, there were people from the temple who were shedding tears just like him. Riley mumbled vacantly,
“… That runt… What is he trying to do here?”
“They are trying to commit unspeakable sins, and they are committing unspeakable sins. They have abandoned the sense of humanity and moral. Do you think that just sitting idly and watching them be is… truly the wish of Goddess Irenetsa?”
As if people were responding in favor of Rebethra’s words, the holy knights raised their swords and shields, the Holy Temple’s priests raised their staffs, and believers of the Temple raised their hands.
“We can’t just do nothing. Now, we won’t just watch and do nothing either.”
“I can feel that even Goddess Irenetsa is infuriated. To those who have abandoned their humanity, give them the punishment from the God!”
Rebethra shouted out loud with determination, and the people of the Temple responded with even louder voice in favor.
“Give them the punishment from the God!”
“They have taken away the daughter of the God! Give them the punishment from the God!”
“Give them the punishment from the God!”
Rebethra filled people with fury. He slowly turned his body and narrowed his eyes.
‘Now, Priestess… I know you are alive. Are you still going to hide around despite this?’
Behind the building, Riley, who had been in hiding and watching Rebethra smiling, also narrowed his eyes and started to spin his brain.
‘Just what are you scheming?’
* * *
“Mister, behind you!”
Ian’s sword circled around once and cut off the head and two arms of the corpse that was charging at him from the back.
It was endless.
Ian had been cutting the corpses again and again, but despite that, Ian and Priesia had been fighting a tough battle.
There was a corpse that grabbed on to Ian. It was trying to bit Ian’s arm. Ian used raw strength to push it away. He then twisted his body in a large motion and swung his sword. This time, three corpses rolled on the ground.
Instead of Priestess, Ian called her Miss and turned to look at Priesia who was supporting him from the back.
Priesia nodded and put forth her hand. She closed her eyes gently, and steady, soft white light exuded from her hand.
When her hand started to shine, the corpse that was pushed off by Ian’s monstrous strength and lying on the floor started to exude light.
It was the cleansing light using her holy power. It was something that a priest from the Holy Temple could use, and because the Priestess was the one using it, its power was extra special.
“I finished handling one of them. I’ll handle the next one… Kuk?”
Priesia just finished cleansing one corpse, but she saw a zombie that was charging at her from the front. She quickly changed the direction of her arm and created a barrier. [TL: For the first time, the author actually used the word “zombie.”]
The zombie that was blocked by the barrier started to scratch and bite the barrier. It was going wild. Priesia furrowed her brows as if this was such a bother. She turned to look at Ian.
However, Ian was held up in middle of fighting dozens of corpses. The corpses constantly grabbed Ian. He could only shake them off or dodge them.
Actually, if cleansing the corpses was all that needed to be done, they would not have been having such a hard time, and it would not have taken so long either.
The problem was the magic that was being cast by a few corpses wearing robes.
There were heads of corpses just rolling around on the ground. However, when these heads mumbled with leaking wind like voices, the headless bodies cast magic and posed danger against Ian.
Ian completely crumpled his face. In a hurry, he threw his own body behind rubbles of collapsed buildings and rolled.
Putting the sound of loud explosion behind him, Ian was able to hide behind the rubbles. It was a close call. Before Ian was able to catch his breath for a moment, Ian found a corpse coming at him with its mouth wide open. Ian extended his arm.
It showed up right in front of Ian, so he was not able to get away. Ian’s arm was bitten by the corpse’s teeth.
There were drops of sweats flowing on Ian’s face. They fell to the ground like rain drops.
“M… Mister! Just wait a bit! I’ll heal you right away…”
Surrounding herself in barrier, Priesia was trying to get to where Ian was hiding. However, from her behind, a corpse wearing a robe shot the Fire Lance, a pretty high level magic.
Although she had the barrier on, being struck by the Fire Lance twice from the back took a toll on her. Priesia crumpled her face. Before she could walk a few more steps, she faltered.
“God damn it. What are the guards doing…”
‘They are just corpses, so how come they can display such monstrous strength?’
Ian, who was struggling against the corpse that he ran into behind the rubbles, suddenly raised his ears.
‘This sound is?’
It was the sound of armors clanking.
‘Are they finally here?’
Ian thought that these heavy noises must be from the guards or knights from the Solia Castle arriving at the scene. Ian’s face was about to be brightened, thinking he was saved. However, it immediately darkened.
The armored things were approaching where Ian and Priesia were standing. Their eyes were pitch black.
They were corpses.
“At this rate…”
‘At this rate, we will die.’
Ian was almost certain of this. He desperately pushed off the corpse that was coming at him. He then ran toward where Priesia was struggling to stand up.
“Are you all right?”
Last spring, she withstood dozens of magic from Astroa. However, now, she was covered in cold sweats and breathing hard.
This was as result of repeatedly performing heal and cleansing.
She healed the injured, cleansed the corpses, and had to defend against the nails and even magic attacks coming from corpses charging at them. The burden was increased three fold.
“Ugh… Ugh… M… Mister. Are you all right? Your arm was bitten. Please wait a moment. I’ll heal you first…”
“No. It is all right. A wound like this is something I always had hanging on my body while I was in the battlefield. It was like a medal of honor.”
Ian pushed away Priesia’s hand when she tried to heal him. Ian looked around the area and said,
He noticed that the number of corpses grew substantially. He narrowed his eyes.
‘Their number is growing steadily.’
Before they realized, Ian and Priesia, who were saving people in the Right Solia, were fighting against greatly increased number of corpses.
Cutting, blocking and cleansing…
They were not sure for how long they had been doing this.
When they came to their senses, they realized they could no longer hear the screams or cry in pain from anyone anymore from the area. All they could hear now were ‘guuurrr’ sound in irregular pattern that was coming from the corpses.
“We are… surrounded.”
Under his mask, Ian had a desperate look on his face as he mumbled. Priesia, with her face covered in sweat, looked around.
The area was completely filled with corpses.
They could not see any particular path for getting past them.
Moreover, right in front of them, there were corpses from the Magic Tower wearing robes. They each had different innate type magic attacks readied and floating on the air. It looked like they were going to fire the magic attacks at any moment.
‘Goddess Irenetsa… Is this the end?’
Priesia tightly closed her eyes.
For some reason, the very last divine message that she received was coming to her mind.
<Follow the child of black butterfly.>
‘Black butterfly? What could she mean by that?’
It seemed Priesia’s strength was at its end. The golden barrier that she had to the front started to flicker.
“Mister… I am sorry. Because of me… this…”
Priesia was trying to apologize to Ian who was supporting her to stand. Blurring the end of her sentence, she suddenly had a vacant look on her face.
Since they were surrounded by corpses, Ian used the title, Priestess, instead of Miss. Wondering what was up with the Priestess, Ian tilted his head side to side.
Instead of finishing her sentence, Priesia put on a vacant look on her face. She was chasing something with her eyes.
It was a butterfly.
On top of that, it was a butterfly with black wings.
As if it was dancing, it was flying around in front of Priesia and Ian’s eyes. As if the butterfly did not fear the corpses at all, it flew toward the bastards that was blocking the path behind the two people.
“… I am relieved.”
From behind them…
From the direction where the black butterfly was flying toward…
Someone mumbled ‘I am relieved.’
“… I was not late.”
‘This… voice is?’
Ian had heard this voice before. Just like Priesia, Ian vacantly opened his mouth.
Standing in front of the zombies that were blocking the path she was trying to go through… The girl wearing a scarlet coat on her shoulder had a black flame on her left hand and an apple floating on the air. Standing like that, she was smiling.