The Cult Leader in the Clergy Academy

Chapter 168



Chapter 168

Jin-Seo, a member of the Crusaders-J team, went to the designated starting point indicated on her digital watch. The atmosphere was chilly, perhaps because everyone in the team was unfamiliar with each other or perhaps because everyone was tense due to the practical exam.

“...”

Jin-Seo silently turned her head and scanned the faces of her teammates. She vaguely remembered seeing them during crusader practical training sessions, but she didn’t remember any of their names. It wasn't very surprising since she didn’t know the names of most people, but...

"Good to see you again!"

There was one face that she recognized. She still didn't know the girl’s name, but she couldn't forget her face.

"...What are you doing?"

"What do you mean, what am I doing? We're on the same team. Aren't you also on the Crusaders-J team?"

It turned out she was on the same team as the student who sat next to her and noisily droned on on the bus. The student greeted her with a smile, and as if trying to prove something, she showed Jin-Seo her team by holding up her digital watch. The characters Crusaders-J were clearly on the watch display, indicating that they belonged to the same team.

"Am I right?" the student asked.

Jin-Seo nodded with a somewhat dissatisfied expression.

"Yeah... looks like I’m really unlucky."

"That's a bit harsh!"

"Tsk."

Jin-Seo clicked her tongue and ignored the student’s words. A few persistent students would always try to be friendly with her despite her showing dislike. This was the first time she encountered someone who didn't seem to be persistently unaffected by her harsh words. Looking at the innocent expression of the student staring at her, Jin-Seo gave up and sighed deeply.

"...Let's just come up with a plan," Jin-Seo said while calling her team members together.

The teams belonging to the Department of Crusaders were given two types of special equipment. One looked like a small grenade launcher, loaded with holy flashbangs and holy smoke grenades. They seemed useful for obstructing the enemy's vision during battles. Each team was given two grenade launchers, and only four holy flashbangs and smoke grenades each.

"What is this... a whip?" Jin-Seo murmured. Yoouur favorite 𝒏ovels at n/ovel/bin(.)com

Jin-Seo held the second piece of special equipment in her hand and swung it a few times. At first glance, it looked like a whip, but it was too light and only had one cord fastened on the handle. This made it difficult to use in combat unless it was thrown around the opponent's ankles like a lasso. Two of these were given to each of the teams.

Jin-Seo suggested that two of them go toward the area where the priests were located to capture hostages, while the remaining eight should find clergymen to obtain tokens. Jin-Seo also added that the eight members didn't need to stick together and suggested that splitting into groups of four would be more efficient. Some members questioned whether it would be disadvantageous in battle if they scattered, but Jin-Seo firmly shook her head.

"Crusaders are better off scattered."

Even during the Holy War, crusaders had been organized into separate units and had conducted operations in smaller groups. Since each crusader had strong individuality and pride, the most effective way to maximize their capabilities was to allow each of them to do their own thing. If they were forced to cooperate, it would just end up becoming chaotic.

Moreover, since the crusaders were given two types of equipment, if the situation became unfavorable, they could just escape by using the equipment. Therefore, the Crusaders-J team that Jin-Seo belonged to decided to divide into three teams which were composed of a team of two, a team of four, and another team of four.

The key issue was who would go to the area where the priests were located to capture the hostages. While everyone was hesitating, Jin-Seo stepped forward.

"If no one else will go, I'll go. Anyone can come with me."

"I'll go!"

"...Is there anyone else besides her?"

Jin-Seo looked around for another candidate, but everyone else frantically avoided eye contact. She let out a deep sigh and set off on the road with the student. The other two teams, which consisted of four members each, were given miniature grenade launchers, while Jin-Seo brought a whip. Honestly, it didn’t seem like it would be of much help even if she brought it along, but she figured it would be better for her to carry it around than anyone else.

"Where are you going now? Did you say you were going to the Department of Priests’ camp?"

"..."

The student droned on next to her, but Jin-Seo continued walking to her destination without responding. She thought that if she walked quickly, the girl would get tired and naturally shut up, but the student continued to talk without any signs of stopping.

“You’ve been stonewalling me since earlier. I’m starting to get annoyed,” the student mockingly said to Jin-Seo, who didn't respond no matter how many times she spoke to her.

Jin-Seo looked down at the student with a stiff expression.

"If you open your mouth one more time..."

She menacingly raised the whip she was holding and gestured toward the rope with her hand.

"I'll tie you up with this and leave you behind."

"..."

It was then that the student finally closed her mouth. It was impossible to tell what was so entertaining about the situation, but for some reason, her lips curved into a wide smile.

***

[Team Paladin-D hostage capture: Team Priest-H Ha-Yeon]

The above message appeared on the screen of the electronic watch. When the handcuffs came into contact with the electronic watch, it seemed to automatically recognize that the user was in a “hostage” state.

The capture of Ha-Yeon, who could be considered the core of the Department of Priests' combat power, was a significant win from the perspective of the Department of Paladins.

“...”

On the other hand, Ha-Yeon was extremely embarrassed. She had always disliked rain. It was because her days of misfortune were always accompanied by rain.

Back when she was kidnapped by an unknown man in her early childhood and when she encountered the taxidermied creature that was separated into the head, torso, and lower body, it had also rained on those days.

Ha-Yeon even despised the cold sensation of wet clothes sticking to her body after getting soaked in the rain. That was why she had briefly sought shelter in a building to avoid the rain, but she unfortunately happened to encounter Dae-Man after doing so. If she had known this would happen, she would have stayed together with her other team members. She regretted having a tantrum about going alone...

"Please, let me go."

"No, I can’t."

"I can't walk. All my strength left my body because of this..." Ha-Yeon pleaded while pointing to the handcuffs with her chin.

However, Dae-Man simply shook his head expressionlessly.

“I can’t do that unless the team leader instructs us to do so.”

"The team leader... isn’t you?"

"No, it's Sun-Woo," Dae-Man said.

Ha-Yeon closed her mouth. She hadn’t expected Dae-Man and Sun-Woo to be on the same team. She had no idea what the teachers were thinking when they assigned them to the same team. They had said that the teams would be assigned fairly, but that was bullshit.

"Then where is Sun-Woo...?" Ha-Yeon asked.

It was difficult for her to finish her sentence. It was partly because the handcuffs were sapping her strength, but more than anything, it was because Dae-Man's presence was too overwhelming. In fact, it would have been fine if it was Sun-Woo, but because Dae-Man's face and body were too scary, it was difficult for her to speak comfortably.

"I don't know either," Dae-Man answered Ha-Yeon's question as if he was stating the obvious.

Ha-Yeon stared at Dae-Man with a puzzled look.

"No... I mean, can’t you contact him with the watch?"

"I tried, but it’s turned off."

"Is it okay for the leader to act individually like that?"

"Weren't you alone too? That's also the reason why we were able to capture you."

"..."

Dae-Man always seemed foolish, but sometimes he would verbally strike the weak points of her argument. Ha-Yeon had no way of refuting what he had said, so she just shut her mouth. It seemed better to stay silent and to wait until her team members came to rescue her than to say unnecessary words.

"...It seems like it’ll stop raining soon."

Dae-Man checked the outside weather through the broken stained glass window of the cathedral. The rain hadn't completely stopped yet, but the raindrops seemed to be getting lighter. There was also no more thunder and lightning. Thanks to taking shelter from the rain and resting in the cathedral, the team members looked like they were in much better condition than before. At this point, they would be able to either move to where the priests were located, or they could go meet some clergymen to obtain tokens.

Dae-Man figured that it was best not to decide what to do with Ha-Yeon until Sun-Woo arrived.

"Alright, let's go."

Dae-Man tried to lift Ha-Yeon up and leave together with her, but Ha-Yeon shook her head.

"...It's still raining."

"It's okay even if we get a little wet."

"..."

Ha-Yeon didn't want to be touched by even a single drop of rain. Dae-Man stared at Ha-Yeon, who had no intention of getting up, and went into deep thought. Ha-Yeon wasn't a member of the Paladin-D team, nor was she a servant. She was just a hostage, so it was natural for Ha-Yeon not to follow Dae-Man's orders. After all, she had no obligation to obey him. However, they couldn't just stay here all day, and they couldn’t leave Ha-Yeon alone without knowing when they would meet Sun-Woo, thus...

"I've come up with a good method. I'll just carry you around."

This was the conclusion he reached after repeatedly pondering all the possibilities a multitude of times. Ha-Yeon blinked her eyes and trembled due to shock.

"I-I hate that even more!"

"If you refuse to come out, there's no other choice. I can't stay here until the rain stops."

"Wait a moment. Our team members will be here soon. I'll call them, and after that we can─"

Creak!

It was at that moment that the cathedral door opened. Ha-Yeon secretly cheered, thinking that her team members had come to rescue her. In reality, they would end up exchanging tokens with hostages, but any method would suffice as long as she could remove these handcuffs.

"...What’s this?"

However, the ones who entered were not Ha-Yeon's team members. They were two female students with bizarrely shaped weapons. At first, it was difficult to recognize them due to their wet hair sticking to their faces as a result of the rain. The two of them wiped their wet hair away in sync as if they had planned to do so beforehand. Only then did their faces become visible.

"No way, it's Su-Ryeon!" Dae-Man exclaimed in surprise.

Although Su-Ryeon didn't say anything, her expression clearly showed her astonishment. In Su-Ryeon's hand was a small grenade launcher given to the team belonging to the Department of Crusaders. Instead of thinking about shooting the grenade launcher, Su-Ryeon just stared at Dae-Man with a shocked expression.

In the brief moment of silence that occurred during the confrontation, the female student standing next to Su-Ryeon said, "...Dae-Man. What the fuck, man? You’ve taken it a little too far. Do you seriously think you can just forget my face like that?"

Her lips were twisted into such a sinister smile that it had distorted into something that couldn’t really be called a smile. She was holding a whip in her right hand.

It was Min-Seo.

She had been so focused on her recovery that she hadn't even taken the written exams, and she appeared with bandages tightly wrapped around one ankle.

Dae-Man and Ha-Yeon still hadn't grasped the situation. It seemed like she wasn’t fully recovered yet, so why was someone who should be in the hospital at the examination site?

"Su-Ryeon!"

At that moment, Min-Seo signaled to Su-Ryeon while swinging the whip.

Bang!

Su-Ryeon skillfully loaded a grenade and pulled the trigger. With a dull gunshot, a grenade was fired. One shot landed in the middle of the cathedral and released hazy smoke. The smoke filled the cathedral so densely that it was impossible to see anything.

Bang!

Su-Ryeon pulled the trigger once again at an incredible speed. The second bullet was a holy flashbang. It pierced through the smoke-filled cathedral and directly hit none other than Dae-Man's forehead.

Boom—!

“Argh!”

With the sound of the holy flashbang exploding, Dae-Man let out a low scream. A flash similar to the light of blessing burst out from the bullet, momentarily blinding Dae-Man. Without losing his composure, Dae-Man tried to regain his vision by blinking.

"Nice shot, Su-Ryeon!"

However, Min-Seo didn't allow that momentary opportunity to go to waste. She drew two blessing arrays and fused them, breaking through the hazy smoke and running toward Dae-Man.

Dae-Man regained his vision. However, it was already too late. Due to the failure to fuse the spell, the collision phenomena occurred, and a blessing array that was on the verge of explosion was right in front of Dae-Man.

"Dae-Man, I have no ill feelings toward you! Actually, I might have some!" Min-Seo shouted.

For some reason, it felt like Min-Seo had gotten crazier than before she was hospitalized.

Boom—!

The blessing array exploded. The chandelier, which adorned the middle of the cathedral, shook from the aftermath of the explosion.


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