The Cult Leader in the Clergy Academy

Chapter 170



Chapter 170

The demon crouched underground, remaining still as if it was waiting for the right time to hatch.

I had no idea what would happen if it emerged from the ground. Just by looking at its appearance, I could tell that it was different from the weak and puny demons I had faced before. Could I defeat that demon with Granbwa's power? If it was impossible to completely dominate the demon, I could at least try to prevent them from coming up to the surface during the practical exam.

"Granbwa, lend me─"

[No.]

Granbwa responded with a firm rejection.

"Ah, what is it this time?!" I shouted in frustration.

I had to stop the demons, even if it meant I had to put something on the line. Now was not the time to worry about the drawbacks of the power or what state I was in.

[All the plants nearby have rotted and died.]

"...Why?"

[It seems the demon is oozing demonic energy from its body. Even the soil... it’s completely rotten,] Granbwa said, her voice devoid of strength.

It seemed like she was trying to say it wasn’t that she didn't want to help me, but she had no way to help.

I sat down on the ground, lowering my head.

"Then what should I do..."

I couldn’t stop the demon from using Granbwa's power because the demonic energy it emitted killed all the plants. But I couldn't just stand by and watch it emerge from below the ground and cause chaos on the surface. People would die. A lot of them.

There must be a method to subdue the creature underground other than using Granbwa's power. There was a Loa suitable for this kind of situation. However, that bastard...

My head was spinning. I drew a spell array.

Shwa...

I was engulfed in the mist from the intoxication spell. My consciousness cleared up. Perhaps it wasn't actually clearing but rather the illusion of clarity brought on by pleasure. But right now, I didn’t care which one it was.

Rather than spending my time thinking, I decided to walk instead. I didn’t know when my stamina would run out. If I became too exhausted to use Dan Wedo's power or Sobo's power, it would be difficult to re-enter the examination site.

For now, I decided to return to the examination site. Afterward, I would think about the method to defeat the demon. If a suitable method still didn't come to mind, then I would handle it myself. Unless I got caught, I’d use Bossu’s power or whatever it took to stop it from happening.

[Reckless and arrogant.]

[A little reckless, I suppose. Not sure about the arrogance.]

Dan Wedo's power gradually weakened, and the raindrops became thinner.

Legba and Baron Samedi had spoken almost simultaneously. Had there ever been a time when their opinions came together this seamlessly? Just as I was thinking so, Legba spoke once more.

[It's arrogant to think that you can subdue it with the limited power you have.]

"There's no other way," I retorted as I walked toward the examination site.

My steps were heavy, and annoyance laced my voice.

[You don't have to be the one who steps forward. They will take care of it.]

By they, Legba was referring to the Romanican Church clergymen. He was saying that the clergymen would take care of the demon even if I didn't step forward, but I couldn't agree.

If that happened, then casualties were inevitable. Easily, several clergymen would die, and if they were unlucky, even the F.A. students could die while getting caught in the crossfire.

[That would be a small sacrifice that they would have to endure.]

"..."

[It's not even your duty, so there's no need for your sacrifice,] Legba said in a cold and dry tone, devoid of any emotion.

Most of what he said was not wrong. I had no reason to worry about the deaths of the Romanican Church clergymen. But there was one thing he was wrong about.

"This is my duty."

If there were any casualties during the fight, the academic schedule would be pushed back to deal with the aftermath and investigations of the truth. If students got injured during the battle between demons and clergymen, another school closure order may be issued. The missionary trip schedule could not be delayed any further. If that happened, all my plans would be disrupted and postponed.

[Consider the possibility that clergymen could subdue the demon without any casualties. You should believe in their abilities,] Legba said.

I could tell he was trying to test me with his tone. I smirked and shook my head.

"Some people just can’t be trusted. Aren’t I right?"

***

There was a bright flash in front of Dae-Man’s eyes, followed by a pitch-black darkness. His field of vision kept flickering and disappearing. After rubbing his eyes and shaking his head, he could barely open his eyes. However, all he could make out was hazy smoke.

Boom-!

A loud explosion pierced through the smoke. The shockwave spread throughout his body. He fell backward, and he collapsed onto the floor. It felt as if his back and shoulders were breaking. A cold sensation quivered through his waist. He tried to get up, but he just couldn’t seem to get any strength in his legs.

The shockwave cleared up the smoke. Min-Seo ran toward Dae-Man, her eyes flared open. Min-Seo's demonic eyes were approaching him, and Dae-Man felt a familiar sense of fear.

It was no coincidence that the phrase, "free yourself like the bird that flees from the snare of the fowler," suddenly came to mind. Dae-Man had experienced something similar, no, something even more terrible and tragic in the distant past.

Dae-Man had received help from an unknown man covered in blood amidst a situation that resembled a bottomless pit, leaving him with no choice but to move forward or backward. The phrase was one of the phrases that the man muttered.

"Graa...!" Dae-Man screamed loudly, using his arms to push himself up from the ground.

He was determined to get up, and if his legs weren’t moving, he would use his hands instead. He managed to stand up, but now the problem was what came next. He barely had the strength to stand but had no strength to move. If he extended his legs right now, he was undoubtedly going to strain his back. However, if he stayed still, Min-Seo would attack him. Whether he moved and got hurt or stayed there and got hurt, it would end all the same. Dae-Man lowered his posture and prepared to counterattack the approaching Min-Seo.

Krrk.

Right then, Min-Seo abruptly stopped rushing toward Dae-Man like a predator stalking prey. Amidst the swirling smoke, Min-Seo's intense gaze was glued on Dae-Man. He instinctively sensed danger. He shouldn’t move, not even an inch.

Swish–!

A projectile grazed past Dae-Man's eyes. The sharp sound of wind tearing and the fog splitting echoed throughout the cathedral. Dae-Man turned his head and looked at Su-Ryeon who had just fired the shot. She momentarily put down her gun and was in the midst of casting an intermediate blessing of peacefulness.

"Ah, so close..." Su-Ryeon muttered as she saw that Dae-Man had spotted her and went back to cast the blessing of peacefulness.

The light of blessing enveloped her body, melting away the tension and calming her trembling hands. She loaded the ammo again and aimed the barrel at Dae-Man. Her gaze was fixed on her target, and it felt like time was passing slowly to her.

She was great at immersion and concentration. Thanks to this quality, she excelled in her studies and could handle blessings proficiently, but she, for some reason, could never become accustomed to fighting. She could have just applied to the Department of Priests, but she wanted to become a crusader, even if it meant risking her life.

That was why she had picked up marksmanship and archery. It was more accurate to say that she had engraved the art of archery within herself through repetitive practice rather than saying she had learned the craft. But that didn’t really matter.

Boom!

A dull gunshot echoed. Drawing a low parabola in the air, the projectile flew toward Dae-Man's forehead. Even that seemed to move slowly in Su-Ryeon's eyes.

Without fail, the projectile hit Dae-Man's square between his eyes. The radiant beams of light from the sacred flashbang blinded Dae-Man. Instinctively, Dae-Man covered his eyes and struggled.

Min-Seo didn't miss this opportunity. She cast the blessing of lesser strength on both her legs and leaped forward. Her toes flew toward Dae-Man's chin.

Kwak!

"Oof...!"

Instead of hitting Dae-Man’s chin, Min-Seo's foot struck his neck. Although he avoided being knocked out because it wasn’t a direct hit, it still hurt a lot. Dae-Man held his neck and staggered backward. His blurred vision showed no signs of returning to normal as he had been hit by the sacred flashbang twice in a row.

Dae-Man decided to close his eyes and crouch down instead. Then, he took continuous steps back. It seemed like he was trying to escape.

Min-Seo looked at him and let out a hollow laugh as if she couldn't believe what she was seeing.

"Were... were you always so pathetic?"

"..."

Min-Seo took out the handcuffs from her pocket and shook them, striding toward Dae-Man.

"Stop that and just give me your hand. I'll make sure it doesn’t hurt when I put the handcuffs on."

Dae-Man just took steps back without saying anything, trying to gauge the possibility of him winning the fight. He had injured his waist from Min-Seo’s explosion. His legs felt weak, and he couldn’t see. However, that alone couldn't be considered a disadvantage. Min-Seo, just like Dae-Man, was partaking in the practical exam with an injured body.

The problem was Su-Ryeon. Dae-Man’s team members were failing to regain their composure due to the thick smoke that spread in the cathedral, and he, the only combatant, had lost his eyesight due to the sacred flashbang. If things continued out like this, there was no way he could win.

Thud.

That was when it happened. Something touched the back of Dae-Man's heel. He reached out with his arm and felt the object behind him. It was the wall.

“Oh, Dae-Man, that there is a dead end. Let's get it over with and surrender already! What you have going for yourself right now is not a good look."

Min-Seo approached, shaking the handcuffs. Her voice was threatening and filled with madness.

Dae-Man lowered his stance and took a deep breath. He opened his eyes, which had been tightly shut. His pupils were filled with a resolute determination that could be perceived as threatening.

"SUN-WOOO─!" Dae-Man's shout echoed through the cathedral.

Min-Seo reflexively staggered back and covered her ears. His voice was loud enough to feel like one’s eardrums would burst if one were too close to him.

On Dae-Man's arm sparkled the most brilliant and beautiful light of blessing ever. The Holy Name of Diligence and the Holy Name of Charity were referred to by the same title: the Pope's Spear. The blessing received by the Holy Name of Diligence was called Well. If the Blessing of Superhuman Strength was about directing power to specific places, Well dealt with the accumulation of power. It was a blessing that allowed power accumulated through long hours of hard work to be released all at once. It was a blessing that perfectly matched the word diligence.

Right at this moment, Dae-Man unleashed the power he had been saving up for a long time.

BAANG–!

His arm, wrapped in light, struck the old wall of the cathedral. With a sound that resembled an explosion, the accumulated dust and dirt on the wall splattered everywhere. Nearby windows shattered or cracked from the impact. A huge hole was punched through the wall, and Dae-Man's fist was tattered and bleeding.

The smoke that had filled the cathedral escaped and soared into the sky through the rifts in the window and the hole in the wall. It looked as if someone had lit up a fire beacon.

"Grrgh, argggh!"

Dae-Man's resistance was not finished yet. He rushed toward Min-Seo, making beast-like noises. It was a reckless and clumsy charge, flawed in too many ways. Min-Seo could have easily counterattacked. However, she distanced herself and retreated.

"Ha, hoo, ha, hoo."

"..."

Min-Seo fell into contemplation as she watched Dae-Man catch his breath as if he were exercising. He had clearly called for Sun-Woo just now. With a voice of that caliber, it must have reached Sun-Woo's ears. It seemed he had made a hole in the wall so that the smoke could escape in order to make it easier for Sun-Woo to find this place.

If that were the case, it would be fitting to take Dae-Man as a hostage, but he was resisting a lot more than expected. He was proving himself to be a nuisance to deal with even when she was going two-on-one against him with Su-Ryeon’s aid. If Sun-Woo and Dae-Man joined forces and the fight turned into a two-on-two, the situation would significantly worsen.

Should they give up on Dae-Man and take the other students hostage instead? No, the other students would be worthless as hostages. Even if their freedom were to be negotiated, Min-Seo wouldn’t be able to get that many tokens, and negotiation itself may be impossible.

Lost in thought, Min-Seo murmured, "No..."

She needed to correct the premise. They shouldn't assume that Sun-Woo would come. It seemed like they weren’t in the same group, and Sun-Woo would have no reason to come all the way here to help Dae-Man.

That bastard was thorough and rational. It was obvious that he would think it would be a better use of his time to get tokens with his group rather than spend it helping Dae-Man. In that case...

At that moment, a familiar voice sounded behind the smoke.

"...Fuck, this isn't the place!"

The voice was clearly familiar, but the tone and vocabulary it used were not.

Min-Seo stopped thinking and looked in Dae-Man's direction. The sunlight seeping through the rift shone on the two of them. Th/e most uptodat𝓮 n𝒐vels are published on n0velbj)n(.)co/m

Dae-Man was exhausted. He was sitting, or rather slumped over on the verge of collapse, on the floor. At first glance, the appearance of the man standing next to him was pitiful. His clothes were stained as if he had taken a bath in a mud pool, and blood was flowing from his hands. His hair was matted and dripping from the rain, and between them, his eyes glinted with madness.

It was Sun-Woo!

"Hey... hey! What the fuck, Su-Ryeon?” Min-Seo called for Su-Ryeon.

But she was already stunned by the sight of Sun-Woo, whose eyes were unfocused. No one could tell what he was looking at. Su-Ryeon could predict where the opponent would move by looking into their eyes, but she couldn’t predict Sun-Woo’s next move.

"Hoo, hoo..."

Su-Ryeon used the blessing of peacefulness to calm down. She discreetly loaded a sacred flashbang and aimed the barrel at Sun-Woo's head, pulling the trigger.

Boom!

A gunshot rang out. Although her focus wavered slightly in the last moment, her aim held true. The projectile flew along the trajectory Su-Ryeon had predicted, closing in right between Sun-Woo’s eyes.

But she couldn't let her guard down yet. Sun-Woo was not as slow as Dae-Man.

Thump.

Sun-Woo caught the projectile. It wasn't that surprising of a feat. The small grenade launcher that had been supplied wasn't very powerful as it was meant for training purposes. This meant that it was possible to block or catch the projectile if one was incredibly agile or lucky.

Su-Ryeon had anticipated such. After all, what she shot was a sacred flashbang. It wasn't meant to directly inflict damage but rather to blind the enemy with its flash when it exploded. She didn't necessarily have to hit Sun-Woo with it. The bullet just needed to explode near the enemy.

Pssssh...

However, the projectile in Sun-Woo's hand didn't emit a flash. Instead, it emitted smoke and hissed.

‘A dud...? No, I loaded it incorrectly!’

"Shit! Run!" Su-Ryeon quickly shouted at Min-Seo as she picked up the gun.

Without looking back, the two of them ran toward the main entrance of the cathedral.

"Close it."

Meanwhile, most of the smoke had dissipated. Dae-Man growled, struggling to raise his body that had been pushed to its limit long ago.

The team members, who had been scattered and disoriented due to the smoke and consecutive explosions, were gradually coming to their senses.

Dae-Man raised his finger and shouted, pointing toward the main gate.

"Close the door!"


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