Behind the blue-haired woman, dozens of men walked lined up with their wrists tied behind their backs.
She would’ve already arrived in Kelton if nothing had happened since she left Guise, but she was still walking on the road to Kelton.
This was all due to a chance meeting that started when she ran into several famous Snow Bear Bandits.
The accidental encounter bothered her, and the eighty-three Snow Bear Bandits were annihilated.
At the end of the procession, the man glancing at the blue-haired woman made up his mind.
No matter how strong that woman was, they had a bit of distance, and as long as she was human, if he ran away with all his might, it was clear he would be able to escape.
She couldn’t go after him, leaving the dozens of other people here so that she could catch a single fugitive.
If that happened, surely all the other men left here would run away.
The man quickly began to act and freed himself from his bindings.
He held his breath and took a few steps back, but the woman didn’t notice.
He tried to distance himself from the procession little by little like that.
A flying dagger pierced the man’s thigh.
The other bandits looked at the man who had fallen to the ground with pity.
The men opened their mouths and tried to say something, but the blue-haired woman moved slowly against the procession, and they went silent.
With a calm look, she pulled out the dagger lodged in his thigh.
Gushing blood dyed the white snow red.
The woman examined the wound and spoke briefly.
“I don’t think you can walk anymore.”
“P-Please, let me live…”
The head of the begging man fell to the floor.
She closed her eyes and prayed as she wiped the blood from her dagger and sword.
“Holy fire, please burn this man’s sins.”
A blue flame descended from above, leaving not even ash.
The dozens of bandits closed their eyes tightly and moved on.
The woman who stormed into their stronghold in the middle of the night incapacitated them, then ordered those who could walk to follow her.
She killed and burned all those who could not.
The Priest of the Blue Flame went back to the front of the procession.
After half a day of walking, she finally arrived at Kelton as the sun fell over the horizon.
The soldiers standing on the lookout were astonished to see the bizarre sight of dozens of men walking tied behind by one woman.
They were terrified, but since they were trained, they did what they were supposed to.
“W-Who are you?”
The woman grinned and lifted the black robe, revealing her priestly attire.
The soldiers sighed in relief.
“You are a priest of the Holy Fire Church.
Could you please tell me what kind of men behind you are and why you brought them together like that?”
The Blue Flame Priest glanced behind her and poked the man in the front hard.
The man shouted out.
“W-We are the Snow Bear Bandits!”
She smiled with contentment at that strong answer and said to the soldier.
“That’s what he says.”
The Snow Bear Bandits had a bounty hung around their necks.
The head soldier, examining the face of the man who had just answered, soon realized he recognized him as the thief leader Bilke the Snow Bear.
He looked deflated compared to his bounty portrait, however.
The woman’s gentle voice brought the soldier back to his senses.
Are you going to lead these bandits in?”
The woman slowly nodded.
“Yeah, it’s probably too much for me to take them all.”
Not a little but a lot, though the soldier didn’t bother to point it out.
“Yes, I understand.
But, Priest, I have something to tell you.”
“There is a bounty on the person in the front, but it will take about a day to receive that bounty because the lord of Kelton is dead.”
The woman blinked her big eyes a few times.
“The Lord of Kelton is dead?”
All the citizens of Kelton, including the lord, died during an attack perpetrated by worshipers of the evil gods.
Her face stiffened at the tragic news.
“What happened to those worshipers?”
The soldier answered with excitement.
“The worshipers of the evil god and the monsters created by them were slain by the Great Enemy of the Evil God, Priest Marnak! Priest Marnak, unconscious for ten days from the wounds he sustained from that noble battle, woke up this morning!”
Marnak, the Great Enemy of the Evil God? The woman shook her head for a moment at the familiar name and soon realized that Marnak was also the name of Guise’s Demon Slayer.
“May I know where the Great Enemy of the Evil God is staying?”
The soldier answered with a broad smile.
Priest Marnak is chatting with the other priests!”
“Hahahaha! Long live Marnak, the Great Enemy of the Evil God!”
When the priest of the Restoration Church, a moving mass of muscle, carried his cup with all his might, dozens of priests responded with a cheer.
“Long live the Great Enemy of the Evil God!”
The priest of the Restoration Church lifted a cup the size of his head and drank it all in one go.
The priest slammed it down with a shout.
“One more drink! Hahaha!”
I sipped the wine in my hand while watching the scene.
It had no taste whatsoever.
At first, this was a meeting to share information about the worshipers I dealt with.
Still, as time passed and my story concluded, the priests of the Restoration Church held a banquet they’d prepared in advance.
To be honest, in my view, this show of praising me was just an excuse to have a drinking party.
“Long live Marnak, the Great Enemy of the Evil God!”
Whenever the priests praised me, Mother responded with a cheerful voice, shouting, ‘Marnak, the Great Enemy of the Evil God!’ I sighed as I squeezed Mother’s wriggling hand.
The priests sharing a drink were friendly to me because they didn’t know who I was now.
Still, if they knew I was a Priest of Corruption, they would immediately draw their weapons and cut me into pieces.
Honestly, it was my true intention to talk with the priests as little as I could manage.
It was natural that the less we met, the less likely I was to be caught.
I wanted to avoid this meeting as much as possible, but I had no choice but to attend as I was the only one who witnessed the worshipers of the evil gods.
“Are you feeling unwell? After all, it seems alcohol is too much for someone asleep for ten days.”
I smiled at Carmen’s worry-filled remarks.
I needed an excuse to leave, and he spoke to me at the right time.
Long live Carmen.
I answered in a low voice, making my face look as emaciated as possible.
“As you said, I feel a little unwell.”
Carmen looked at the noisy priests and whispered back.
“I think it should be okay to leave quietly.
If someone looks for you, I’ll take care of them.”
I bowed slightly to express my gratitude and snuck out of the drinking party.
When I returned to Carmen’s barracks through the chilly wind, a man was waiting for me.
The demon laughed and said:
“The priest of the evil god praised by other priests…this is such a funny situation for only me to know.”
I pulled up a chair and sat down.
Dealing with the priests was tiring because I was nervous they might discover the truth.
“It’s not easy for the demon to freely roam the places where priests are lined up.”
“Hahaha! Is that right? Indeed, you might think so.”
“Then why did you come in person?”
Except for the Demon Lord, none of the other lords came to Kelton directly.
There was no reason to.
The demon replied with a smile.
“Well, I came to hear the story of Priest Marnak, who had captured the worshipers of the evil god! It might be annoying after telling those priests several times, but can you tell me the story again for my effort in coming this far?”
There was no reason for me not to.
Glancing at the demon’s face, I answered.
“Well, it’s not that exciting of a story, but…”
Unlike what I did to the priests, I told the demon the story without a single lie.
The demon laughed as he enjoyed my tale, revealing all the joys and sorrows in his expressions.
“It’s a very fun story! Hahaha! I would follow Priest Marnak right now if I weren’t in this body, so it’s a pity!”
To be honest, I really liked this demon too.
It would sure be a lot of fun if we went together.
“I feel the same.”
After laughing for a while, the demon slowly opened his mouth.
“I’ve heard this interesting story, so I can’t help but repay you.
I also have a story to tell you.”
A story to tell?
The demon looked around and whispered.
“The priest of the Holy Fire Church, a lady with blue hair, is looking for you with a crude portrait.”
I felt a chill.
“Does she know I’m alive?”
I was so disconcerted that I stuttered a bit.
Hearing my question, the demon shook his head.
“She didn’t seem to be sure that Priest Marnak was alive.
Of course, she didn’t seem to want to stop looking.
In fact, I ran straight to Kelton to prevent you two from the meeting.”
I asked very, very carefully.
“Is that woman here, in Kelton?”
“I came here after checking she had gone in this direction, but strangely she hasn’t arrived yet.
Could she have died on the way?”
There was no way.
If she was coming to Kelton, I had only one option.
Tonight, I would leave Kelton with Carmen as soon as possible.
I decided to ask the demon a favor with that hope.
“Can I ask you a favor?”
The demon smiled wide.
“I was just getting bored, so I’ll help you.”
So that night, with the demon’s help, I left Kelton with the drunken Carmen.
As long as there was a chance that I would run into her, staying in Kelton was absolutely insane.
Sure enough, the strongest human I knew was the woman worth four and a half fingers.
The blue priest, who arrived late and was sipping a drink now in the tavern, asked the priest of Restoration Church sitting next to her.
“Where is Priest Marnak, the Great Enemy of the Evil God?”
The priest of the Restoration Church responded vigorously with his biceps flexing.
“Long live Marnak!!!”
Realizing she wouldn’t be meeting the Great Enemy of the Evil God tonight, and she had a bounty to collect, she decided to stay in Kelton until tomorrow.
Of course, Marnak had already left.
Two weeks have passed since I ran away from Kelton.
I had been through two more cities, but we didn’t stay more than a day in either.
Fortunately, Carmen accepted my reckless request with a smile, and he was truly a good client and travel companion.
As we continued walking westward in search of his mother, we saw a carriage surrounded by a dozen escorts approaching from ahead.
Carmen narrowed his eyes, looked at the carriage, and spoke to me.
“Marnak, I think that’s probably the Irmel family coat of arms.”
Carmen, after walking together for the past two weeks, asked me for permission and stopped speaking so formally.
We were about the same age anyway, so I agreed.
“You mean Irmel, the high lord of the South?”
Of course, I continued with the formal way because I was more comfortable with that.
It’d been a long time since we’d gotten used to this kind of conversation.
The white camellia pattern you see over there is the emblem of the Irmel family.”
Irmel was a family of only four high lords in the northern kingdom.
“Do we need to greet them when they pass?”
“Why bother? Seeing that the flag isn’t hanging, it seems like a colleague or their child is riding, so I think it’s okay to just quietly pass by.”
We decided to pass by the wagon without acknowledging them.
As we were passing by the carriage, something caught my sharp senses.
“Uhp, uhp, uhp!”
Someone was trying to scream through a gag and wriggle from their bonds.
I lowered my voice and asked Carmen.
“Irmel must have a lot of money, right?”
I made up my mind.
“It seems that someone is trapped inside the carriage.
There is a high probability that it is the owner of this carriage.”
Carmen’s face grew stiff.
Due to his personality, the choice he would make after hearing this story was obvious.
He looked at my face and said briefly.
“Can you help them?”
Carmen then exclaimed aloud.
“I want to meet the person in the carriage!”
There was no answer.
As the people escorting the carriage heard Carmen’s call, they drew their swords in unison.
The immediately apparent hostility proved our suspicions were right.
Now was the time to act instead of talking.
I sprinted out, drew the Butcher, and started the engine.
A harsh metallic sound greeted me.
The Butcher, which collided with their swords, spun wildly, smashed the blade, and slashed through my opponent’s neck.
An arrow from behind me pierced through the eye of an enemy running toward me.
I pulled out the Butcher and decapitated that man next.
I smiled as I wiped the blood from my face.
“Now, there are eight left.”
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