Paladin of the Dead God

Chapter 5:



Chapter 5:

The existence of the tentacles, if discovered, meant certain death, so whether they were useful or not was a secondary concern.

Isaac considered fleeing from the sight of the Codex of Light. He did not wish for his second chance at life to end up as nothing more than ash on a stake.

But where could he run to?

“Even the Immortal Order is after the nameless chaos!”

He looked up at the night sky for a long while.

But soon, he realized he had to do something.

“I have no choice but to hide them well.”

It was risky to join any order; if discovered, it was equally dangerous.

However, due to its inclusiveness, the Codex of Light had a large following, making it easier to hide his identity.

Being a Paladin required proving one’s faith, but it was not as demanding as being a monk. Unlike monks, who were confined to study, a Paladin’s personal training was more emphasized.

“Getting a miracle might be tough, but perhaps I can use the authority of the order…”

Furthermore, invading the territories of heretics could make him a lord of that land. Although it was customary to donate to the order, how could the order govern such distant lands? He could keep the real power while giving only honor to the order.

Of course, he would need to establish a monastery or pay a sum.

For now, he would hide his identity until he gained everything he could as a Paladin. He could always escape once discovered.

No, he must become a Paladin for survival.

They say, “Hide a tree in a forest.”

If he became an exemplary Paladin, no one would suspect him of being a follower of the nameless chaos.

He resolved to find relics, reclaim holy lands, and even destroy the Order of Immortality.

That way, no one would think of him as a chaotic tentacle monster.

Isaac was determined to become a Paladin using all his special abilities, talents, and knowledge. It was necessary for survival. If these tentacles were going to complicate his life, it was safer to delve deeper into the Codex of Light.

“I’ll need to train my body for combat… but I’m still young, so there’s plenty of time.”

A follower of the nameless chaos becoming a Paladin within the Codex of Light.

The more Isaac thought about it, the better the idea seemed.

As long as he wasn’t discovered.

***

“You want to help with rat catching?”

“Yes.”

Isaac, having made up his mind, thought he needed a steady intake of protein. Ordinary monks might be content with just a potato, but not Isaac.

“Even if the tentacles can’t taste, it’s a good opportunity to absorb nutrients.”

Isaac’s body wasn’t frail compared to other children his age. With enough nutrients, he could grow quickly.

Observation showed that his prey was slowly “digested-absorbed.” No hair, teeth, or nails appeared in his excrement.

“It seems like complete absorption.” His complexion had greatly improved, and he no longer felt hungry.

“Not so busy that I need a kid’s help. Do you find rat catching fun?”

“I’ll help with other tasks whenever I have time.”

Gebel had many duties at the monastery, handling them due to the monks’ lack of vitality. Isaac’s offer was timely.

“If you’re taking a kid around, you’ll need the monk’s permission. Did you ask?”

“I spoke to Monk Alek.”

Gebel’s work, being harsh and dirty, was usually avoided by the children.

But not Isaac.

“The best way for me to maintain my health and skills is to follow Gebel.”

Isaac’s eyes sparkled with ambition.

Catching rats was one thing, but Gebel was a Paladin.

A Paladin is not just blessed but also skilled in swordsmanship, capable of facing ten regular soldiers.

“Missing out on such an experienced veteran of battle would be foolish.”

He considered it likely that Gebel had advanced beyond a regular Paladin to a commanding or teaching role. Getting closer and building a connection could greatly assist Isaac on his path to becoming a Paladin.

Gebel laughed dismissively.

“Just know, if you get in the way, you’ll get a spanking. Understand?”

“Yes!”

From that day, Isaac followed and assisted Gebel.

What he called rat catching was actually collecting trapped rats or burying the ones Gebel caught.

More precisely, he was feeding those rats to his tentacles.

The work was tough, but it was better than the trivial tasks or garden work.

In fact, for Isaac, it was easier than working in the garden.

The sensation of his muscles growing each day and the ease of the tasks lifted his spirits.

***

Gebel had been consistently observing Isaac.

In fact, since he had brought Isaac to the monastery, Gebel had been observing him. The one-month evaluation was simply, “a pretty but quiet and silent boy.”

“Was he the only child who survived when all the villagers were murdered… But since Kalsen and the Immortal Order’s people all hurriedly disappeared, I thought there was something else, but was it just luck?”

There might have been a different reason why Isaac survived.

Because of this, the impression Gebel had of Isaac was just of a lucky survivor, nothing more. Gebel, who had hoped for something more, couldn’t help but feel disappointed.

But in the past few weeks, Isaac’s attitude had changed.

“He’s quite good… no, actually very good.”

It was as if he had become a different person, no longer just understanding the situation.

Gebel had no choice but to raise his evaluation of Isaac by several levels. He had intended to give a positive evaluation if Isaac just showed a moderately diligent attitude, but Isaac was doing surprisingly well.

Until now, there were many kids who had offered to help him.

To avoid studying, or because farm work was tough, and so on.

But the work Gebel did was dirtier and harder than farm work. Since it was not noticeable, it was tough to get recognized. Yet, Isaac followed Gebel every day without missing his studies.

Being 14 years old and able to read and calculate was not bad at all. He could have focused more on comfortable work or studies, but Isaac was spending all his spare time helping Gebel. Thanks to this, Gebel was gradually feeling less burdened.

The more surprising thing was that Isaac continued to try to learn something from Gebel.

Isaac didn’t just pass over even the simplest things, and tried to understand the principles and reasons. Although it could be annoying for Gebel, it was not difficult since Isaac understood everything after being taught just once.

Chopping wood, setting mouse traps, chasing beasts, managing horse gear, differentiating herbs, etc., Isaac was quickly learning everything after just seeing it once.

Of course, this alone couldn’t mean that he had the abilities fitting a survivor from Kalsen.

Isaac was just a child with an unusual maturity and skills for his age.

But regardless, Gebel liked Isaac.

Before he knew it, he had become accustomed to treating Isaac like an assistant.

Meanwhile, other children started to look at Isaac, who had begun to play separately, with uncomfortable eyes.

Isaac had suddenly come among the children and been an outsider. But instead of trying to fit in with them, he only mingled with adults and almost ignored the children. Since the monks liked the well-behaved Isaac, he naturally became an object of jealousy.

But whether that was the case or not, Isaac originally had no interest in his reputation among his peers.

It was a situation where even clinging to everything for survival was not enough. In such a situation, there was no need to care about the eyes of the children.

He was continuing his studies for himself alone in a place where no one saw.

It was about the study of tentacles.

“To prevent these damn things from sprouting out of control, I need to figure out how to use and control them.”

According to what Isaac had found out about the tentacles so far:

First, ‘digestion’ does not occur immediately.

Contrary to what he thought, that he would digest everything by the time he woke up, for almost several days, he did not feel hungry, and the abilities he gained through ‘predation’ did not disappear. Because of this, Isaac had fallen into the somewhat difficult situation of having to force himself to eat even when he was not hungry.DiiScôver 𝒏𝒆w stori𝒆s on no/𝒗/e()/lbin(.)com

But during this state, Isaac could retain the abilities absorbed from his prey. Moreover, whatever he ate was absorbed with considerably high efficiency in his body.

Though it was an effect difficult to feel immediately, in those times when people died easily from lack of nutrition or minor causes, it was a very useful bonus.

Second, the ‘tentacles’ are, for some unknown reason, favorable to Isaac.

It was strange that the tentacles that sprung from his body and cut through his skin were favorable to him, but in reality, they were kind to Isaac. When he unconsciously reached out for a cup of water far away, a tentacle sprang out and grabbed the cup for him.

Fortunately, there were no other people around, or it would have been a heart-dropping moment for Isaac. But thanks to this, he found out that he could summon the tentacles not only during ‘predation’ but also at other times. They were named like a skill, but they were essentially just another arm.

“How can I make good use of this?”

It wasn’t just for the sake of using it, but for survival.

The nameless chaos, the Codex of light, and even the immortal Order opposed it. Isaac knew that if his

identity was ever exposed, he would have to survive alone. In the end, the only thing he could rely on was himself. And these tentacles, whether he liked it or not, were a part of his fate.

Monk Alex said that the nameless chaos was still waving its tentacles beyond the horizon to invade this world.

And now, a tentacle was wriggling, swallowing a rat.

“Still, without these guys, I would have been chewing on potatoes.”

Crunch, crunch.

In front of an empty pit, Isaac watched the tentacle swallow a rat. The tentacles seemed thicker than before, and the number of strands had increased. As Isaac got healthier, the tentacles got stronger too.

“First, I need to learn how to properly control them.”

When Isaac wished for the tentacle to disappear, it quickly retracted into his skin. It was fortunate that they disappeared when he wanted them to, but controlling their appearance was difficult.

“Usually when they want to help me, or think they can be helpful, or when I’m in danger…”

Isaac suddenly thought that the tentacles might be smarter than they seemed. If they had appeared every time those conditions were met, Isaac would have been caught and hanged long ago. But that hadn’t happened, which meant the tentacles also had some sort of sense.

They had a kind of self-consciousness.

Whether that was good news or bad news was still unknown.

“For now, I’ll have to trust the tentacles’ instincts and find a way to control them.”

***

A rat was wandering near the bait of a mousetrap. It seemed interested in the bait, sniffing around, but hesitated and eventually turned back. The smell of its dead kin was already all around.

Click.

Suddenly, the rat sensed something strange and started running frantically. But in an instant, it was pierced by a sharp sound cutting through the wind.

Crunch.

The rat, impaled by the tentacle, trembled and then went limp. Isaac watched the tentacle chew and swallow the rat with a grim expression.

“Definitely thicker and longer than before.”

As more protein was consumed, it wasn’t just Isaac’s body that was getting healthier. The tentacles were also becoming thicker and longer. While Isaac’s body did not easily become healthy due to its constitution, the tentacles were rapidly growing thicker and longer.

“This may be related to the power of faith.”

The tentacles were indeed a power granted by the faith in the nameless chaos. The fact that they showed power beyond what was appropriate for his level might be related to the high faith value characteristic of Nephilim. For now, they seemed useful when there was no weapon.

Isaac examined the trap as he finished eating the rat.

Gebel preferred to use traps like a noose trap that tightened as soon as the bait was touched, set up at pathways where rats were likely to travel, and another trap where he would smear oil inside a large barrel and place bait inside.

They were decent traps. Already, several rats were caught inside the barrel, submerged in tar.

“The number has decreased a lot compared to before.”

Until now, the results had been quite good, but now the effect was starting to wear off.

Not only had the number of rats decreased significantly, but the cunning rat packs had begun to learn how to avoid the traps. The decrease in the number of rats caught meant a reduction in protein supply, so Isaac took this problem seriously.

“I need to check the condition of the traps.”

As he observed the trap, Isaac thought that he might be able to make some adjustments.


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