Paladin of the Dead God

Chapter 27:



Chapter 27:

Chapter 27. Hunting Human Hunters (1)

Isaac quickly stabbed his sword, taking advantage of the vampires’ inability to move freely. He swung his sword only when he judged it could inflict a fatal wound, to conserve his energy. Thus, each flash of his blade sent blood and ashes flying.

The vampires were caught off guard by the sudden attacks. However, as they naturally retreated into the shadows of the valley, their momentum began to change. The vampires, accepting their inferiority in vigor and spirit, began to respond calmly.

As an organized counterattack began, Isaac created some distance.

‘I need to conserve my movements to avoid wasting energy.’

Fortunately, the vampires Isaac was facing were already wounded, so they couldn’t rush him recklessly. Isaac steadied his breathing while checking on the conditions of Isolde and Gebel.

Gebel was pressing three of them, and Isolde, a wandering inquisitor, seemed to have no trouble with one.

Isolde, for her part, seemed either worried or impressed by Isaac.

‘Come to think of it, this is the first time she’s seen my skills in action.’

The balance was disrupted when Gebel decapitated one of the three vampires he was fighting.

Even after one fell, the vampires didn’t show signs of defeat, but their balance began to crumble inevitably. Now Gebel was overwhelmingly suppressing the vampires.

Isaac did not miss this opportunity and thrust his sword into the chest of a vampire who had turned his attention away. The vampire gasped and tried to fend off the sword.

In a moment, Isaac’s sword twisted strangely like a snake, piercing the vampire’s heart.

Flesh and bone were torn away, leaving a gaping hole as if bitten by a beast. The vampire gaped in disbelief at the wound and flailed helplessly.

“These guys are paladins!”

One of the vampires shouted as if screaming.

“Strictly speaking, there are no paladins here.”

Isaac murmured.

Just an inquisitor, a retired paladin, and a paladin aspirant. But at the cry of ‘paladin’, the vampires gnashed their teeth and tried to distance themselves.

Gebel and Isaac did not let the vampires escape and prepared to continue the attack, but suddenly a shadow fell from above, making them hesitate.

‘What’s that?’

Red mist had formed overhead.

Seeing this, Gebel’s face turned pale, while the vampires’ faces brightened.

The red mist swiftly enveloped the valley.

Craaaack.

As the red mist descended, a loud noise echoed. The mist, as if having teeth, began tearing apart two vampire bodies on the ground. The bodies of the two vampires were disintegrated and absorbed into the mist.

The red mist consumed the corpses of the vampires but did not touch the living ones.

It writhed as if targeting them next.

The silhouette of the red mist momentarily took on a human shape, then blurred again. It surged rapidly towards Isaac.

But Isaac thought he had bought enough time.

Isolde, who had been preparing a prayer since encountering the vampires, condemned the approaching red mist with her final words.

“…And the Lord showed us the light from beyond the rift!”

Suddenly, a brilliant light filled the valley.

Enveloped in the bright light, something indistinct appeared. The dark valley was instantly bathed in a light so bright, no shadows could be found.

The red mist vanished instantly in the overwhelming radiance.

Despite the pain in his eyes, Isaac gazed at the creature formed of light.

It was a feline-like beast with massive butterfly wings, its silhouette obscured by the bright light.

[Abyssal Beast (A)]

Not only humans praise God in this world.

Many are lured by the radiant light of the Codex of Light, only to perish like moths to a flame. The ‘Abyssal Beasts’ are those reborn from the ashes in the furnace.

‘…Well, that’s the setting. The important thing is that the beast has a luminous effect.’

The Abyssal Beast is among the top tier of summoned beings, excluding transcendental beings like angels or divine creatures. However, its form and strength vary depending on the summoner’s ability.

But the common attribute of the Abyssal Beast is the ‘luminous effect’.

This characteristic, similar to sunlight, was supremely effective against vampires, even in its smallest form.

As expected, the vampires fled as soon as the Abyssal Beast appeared.

Isolde didn’t maintain the summoning for long and soon sent it away. With the departure of the Abyssal Beast, the valley darkened as if night had fallen. Isolde, perhaps from the aftereffects of the summoning, appeared pale as she fidgeted with her rosary.

“They’re gone now.”

Isolde spoke with forced energy. Isaac didn’t doubt she had the strength to summon again, but he thought there must be another reason why pursuing was difficult. Gebel also shook his head in disagreement.

“It seems difficult, Inquisitor.”

“Why is that?”

“Night is about to fall.”

Gebel muttered, looking up at the sky worriedly.

***

Night falls quickly in the valley.

Even though they had finished the battle while the sky was still bright, it had quickly darkened around them.

The vampires had been able to move relatively freely, weakened but still active, because they were in the deep valley. But now, with night approaching, Isaac and his party would inevitably have to face the real Wallachian human hunters at their full strength.

They had to collect the traces and evidence left by the scattered vampires before that.

“Did you check everything?”

“Somewhat. But I could only figure out that they were not mere ghouls but Wallachian hunters.”

The vampires had been unable to properly regroup due to Isaac’s party’s successful ambush. Although they only found camping grounds and equipment, Isolde scrutinized them as if they were treasures of the world.

“Look, Inquisitor. Can’t we explore outside?”

Isolde, who was examining the ground up to the base of the campfire, turned her head at Isaac’s suggestion.

“Did you find something?”

“Not much of use…”

“It can’t be helped. We didn’t anticipate vampires in the first place… No, maybe it’s a significant discovery that the Vampire Duke was involved?”

Isaac’s casual remark met with Isolde’s shocked gaze.

“The Vampire Duke? How did you know?”

“Huh? Oh, that… ”

Isaac belatedly realized he had mentioned the Vampire Duke. He vaguely guessed the identity of the red mist, having already experienced the ‘Red Chalice Club’ ending related to the faith of the Wallachian Kingdom in the game.

Isaac reluctantly mentioned his information as if he had deduced it.

“Well, vampires wouldn’t camp and light a fire, would they? There’s a need to monitor the approach of people pretending to be ordinary during the day. It seems this place serves as a watchpost. There might be a cave or a temporary shelter deeper inside, where this noble person rests, guarded by Wallachian hunters.”

Isolde opened her mouth slightly in realization and then nodded. Isaac was relieved to see that she was convinced. In fact, Isaac could even guess the name of the Duke.

Heinkel Gullmar.

“You know a lot about the behaviors of Wallachian hunters. Yes, it seems that Duke Heinkel Gullmar of Wallachia is involved. It’s an important clue. But there’s no clue about the relationship with the plague god.”

Gebel asked in a firm tone.

“Heinkel Gullmar? Why do you think that?”

“Only Heinkel’s family, among the Wallachian hunters, is strong enough to use the miracle of the Red Chalice during the day. There are only three influential families that could move at this time; the heir is unlikely to be here due to danger, and the head of the family has been stationary in that fortress recently. That leaves only Gullmar.”

“The situation is getting worse. If he’s a duke of Wallachia, he’s royalty. We absolutely cannot encounter him at night. Let’s get out of this valley quickly.”

The Wallachia Kingdom’s hierarchy is defined by bloodline.

Royalty, literally sharing blood with the revered Red Chalice, wield demi-god-like powers.

The nobility swear allegiance to the royalty and receive a share of their power.Upstodatee from n(0)/v𝒆/lbIn/.(co/m

Naturally, the lower the class, the weaker the power.

The Wallachia Kingdom is a nation structured in this vertical bloodline caste.

Heinkel Gullmar, a duke, had received blood just one step removed from the royalty. His power required at least a full paladin order or an angel-level entity to match.

It was absurd to think of confronting him with just their current group.

“No need to hurry.”

However, Isolde’s response was unusual.

“At least a paladin order is needed to confront the duke! Once it’s night…”

Gebel stopped speaking as he looked at Isolde’s face.

“You’ve already called the paladin order?”

“Yes. This morning. The Briente Paladin Order should arrive by the time we leave the valley.”

“Thought you couldn’t call the order without evidence…”

Gebel mumbled incredulously, then shook his head at Isolde’s triumphant expression.

“Yes. I was confident we’d find evidence. And we did, right? I didn’t expect this, but sometimes action precedes evidence.”

“Even if the paladin order is coming, they’re not by our side yet. What if the vampires attack before they arrive?”

But Isaac, observing Isolde’s expression, realized why she wasn’t hurrying.

Isolde actually hoped for that very situation.

“Then it’s welcome. It’s harder to chase culprits on the run.”

Gebel looked helplessly at Isaac. Isaac, covering his face as if sighing, had a victorious smile.

‘This is going better than expected.’

Isolde’s plan aligned with, and even exceeded, Isaac’s wishes.

***

Isaac’s original plan was to conceal the sanctuary.

But with the appearance of the vampires, this condition was met. Now Isolde had to focus on finding the Wallachian hunters rather than the sanctuary.

Isaac, seeing the vampires, added another plan.

To owe a debt to the Inquisitor and leave a credible accomplishment.

‘Called the paladin order? Even better.’

Isaac had planned to join the paladin order anyway. He didn’t know much about the Briant Paladin Order called by Isolde, but he thought he could at least get a recommendation if he didn’t like it.

A paladin aspirant with recommendations from the order commander and inquisitor.

‘A decent debut.’

With his skills, he might skip the troublesome apprenticeship.

Isolde’s plan ultimately aligned with Isaac’s goal.

‘And on the way, I can smash those jerks who tried to screw over my monastery.’

In fact, this was his true intention. He had to find out why they were moving around near his territory.

But the opponent being a Wallachian duke was a concern.

‘In the game, he’s a named boss…’

Weaker than Kalsen but stronger than a half-dead god like Zihilrat.

Even if Isaac couldn’t capture the duke, in such a situation, it would be an achievement just to save the Inquisitor and escape.

The best course of action was still to leave the valley safely without any vampire attacks.


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