Zich stood in front of Lubella and asked, “Is he the Deputy Mayor”
“Yes, he is the Deputy Mayor for sure. But how I thought you died.”
The Deputy Mayor didnt respond to Lubellas question and continued to scowl as he stared at the item in his hands. It was a book.
Lubella was astounded because she was familiar with the book that the Deputy Mayor was holding.
“The book that has Bellus energy…”
“Its official name isOffering Rituals Key, Lady Lubella,” the Deputy Mayor corrected as he closed the book. His voice was soft and comfortable, but Zich noticed twisted emotions behind it.
“Sorry What are you talking about…!”
“Dont you get it”
Zich patted Lubellas back.
“We have made the wrong conclusion. The Mayor isnt Bellus servant but a puppet. He lost his senses and was just following someone elses commands.”
Lubella thought the Mayor was the mastermind behind everything, so she was in shock. She looked at the Mayors head that was carelessly rolling in the corner and looked at Zich again.
Lubella didnt finish her sentence and slowly turned her head. Then, her eyes rested on the Deputy Mayor. Even if she was slow at grasping the situation because of her lack of experience, she realized it.
“Yes. He is probably the mastermind.”
While scratching his neck, Zich pointed at the Deputy Mayor with the end of his chin. In response, the Deputy Mayor furrowed his eyes and stared at him.
“…You did this, right”
The Deputy Mayor opened the book which he had called the Offering Rituals Key and showed the insides. Chilling writings were scrawled on the pages like they were casting curses, but some of the pages were ripped perfectly in half, which lessened the scariness.
“You suddenly jumped out, so I swung my sword instinctively. I apologize, but I have the ripped pages here.”
Zich stamped on a nearby page with his feet and kicked it towards the Deputy Mayor. However, the page didnt fly to the Deputy Mayor and flailed in the air at Zichs multiple kicks and landed back on the ground again. Both Zich and the Deputy Mayor didnt look at the pages.
“…It seems like this little rat hasnt realized the situation hes in yet.”
“Probably a hundred times better than you think.”
Zich hung his sword on his shoulder and stared down at the Deputy Mayor with his chin raised and posture crooked. There wasnt an ounce of fear that the enemy had captured them. Thanks to that, Lubella, whose heart raced with surprise and fear, was able to calm her nerves.
“Let me ask this first—what did you do with the Holy Knights”
“Did you think that they would still be alive”
Lubellas eyes shook as their conversation went back and forth.
Then, the Deputy Mayors eyes moved to Lubella. On his face, there was a fishy smile.
“I finely ground their corpses and fed them to the ponds fishes.”
Lubella let out a cry, and in her rage, the hand that grasped her staff trembled.
“Well, I guess my acting paid off. I was surprised when you escaped, but its an even greater surprise that you came back with a talent like this so fast. It might have been dangerous if I got ambushed.”
“Its notmight have been dangerous. You would have died for sure.”
Zich stretched out his thumb and drew a line across his neck. He was obviously indicating that the Deputy Mayor would have died in his hands, and from this provocation, the Deputy Mayor twitched his lips in discomfort.
“Who are you Why are you working with the Karuwiman saint candidate Are you some kind of Karuwiman secret service or force”
“Not at all!”
Zich cleanly denied it. The thought of being part of the Karuwimans secret force chilled him. Even though he was developing a new relationship with Karuwiman in this life, he had no intention of joining Karuwiman.
And it will never happen even in the future.
“Because I wanted to do a good deed.”
“…What” the Deputy Mayor asked again. In his perspective, it was an unthinkable answer. However, Zich expanded his chest even more and confidently declared, “I said,I wanted to do a good deed.”
“Thats why you joined forces with Karuwiman”
“…You really are out of your mind.”
“Dont criticize other peoples way of living, you moron.”
Zich spat on the ground.
“Well, fine. It seems like you are the only force she can mobilize right now. But if you really joined forces with Karuwiman for that reason, how about you join us from now on”
“You said that you wanted to do a good deed This world will be offered to Bellu anyways, which is the only right path for all living creatures in this world. If you really want to do agood deed, supporting the path for Bellu is the real—!”
“—You have a lot to say for someone who serves a fish's head. For someone whose intelligence is similar to that of a fish like the god you serve, you shouldnt talk for too long. If you talk for a bit more, you will be unable to keep up with your inferior intelligence and get tongue-tied.”
“Dont glare at me too much. I am just saying this in good faith. Isnt it a fact that everyone in the world knows that your god and his followers have the same intelligence level as a fishs head—is stupid, to say the least You can only progress if you accept your faults.”
“Hmph! Pfft pfft!”
From his side, a stifled laugh leaked out. Lubella had been coldly glaring at the Deputy Mayor, and she was keeping herself from laughing out loud at Zichs delightful remarks.
“…If you want to die that much, I will let you. No, if I consider the price for damaging this key, I will not let you have an easy death. Beg for forgiveness to Bellu for your sins as you suffer.”
The Deputy Mayor lifted his book. Dark mana exuded out from the book and enclosed the surroundings. Then, the Deputy Mayor took a step backward and moved away from the door. Simultaneously, something began to flow into the room and fill it.
“Its the undead.”
Zich raised his sword. He could sense that these creatures were multiplying. It seemed that the Deputy Mayor was continuing to summon them from somewhere.
“Kill the guy! The girl is useful, so leave her alive!”
“Be careful, Mr. Zich!”
Lubella raised her staff and generated holy powers. Her face was full of determination, like she was ready to put her life on the line. On the other hand, Zich was utterly calm.
“When I see guys like you, I always wonder about one thing.”
While he was preparing his stance, he murmured, “Why do you think things will always go your way Last time, you **ing failed and lost Lubella!”
Zich swung his sword. Mana engulfed into his swords body like turbulent waves and poured out. The intangible edges of his blade split into dozens and flew out in all directions.
Slice! Slice! Slice!
The room buzzed with dozens of cutting sounds. Lubella was determined to put her life on the line, and even the Deputy Mayor who had ridiculed them lost his senses as he watched the unrealistic scene before them.
However, the Deputy Mayor couldn't simply stay watching as a sharp slash landed on him.
The Deputy Mayor raised his book, and more energy poured out.
The slash collided against a transparent wall and collapsed futilely, but it was the only one that failed to make its mark.
Many of the undead fell to the ground at Zichs successful slashes. It was an impressive skill, but Zich clicked his tongue like he wasnt satisfied.
“As expected, that book is quite an item.”
In response to Zichs skills that went beyond his expectations, the Deputy Mayors heart thumped. But that lasted for a moment. When Zich showed appreciation for his book, the Deputy Mayors chest expanded again.
“Of course! Do you think that this artifact, filled with Bellus sacred powers, will merely break apart by your attacks—!”
“—Ah, never mind.”
Zich cut off the Deputy Mayors words.
“…You are insolent until the end. But no matter how much you resist, you cant escape—!”
“—I said, never mind. You cant even use your powers properly because the book is ruined, right”
Zich stomped on the ripped pages on the ground as if he wanted the Deputy Mayor to look at them again.
The Deputy Mayors forehead wrinkled, but he regained his composure again and said, “I wont be affected by that much.”
“Is that so Then, hurry up and call the advanced types of undead like you did when facing the Holy Knights.”
The Deputy Mayor couldnt say anything and gritted his teeth. A considerable number of undead were swarming outside the room, but they were all mid-level. The advanced undead types that had attacked the Holy Knights were nowhere to be found.
“…Even if that is the case, if I gather the patrol guards outside—”
“The patrol guards are not on your side though. No, to be exact, they are not on Bellus side.”
Lubella's face darkened at the thought of the patrol guards, and she asked in surprise, “Is this true”
“Didnt I tell you The number of patrol guards is small; they also dont include the knights who can control mana.”
“Ha, thats because I was trying to lure in the girl who escaped.”
The Deputy Mayor snorted, but Zich grunted two times louder in the same manner.
“Ok, then lets say that you decreased the guards on purpose. Then, what was the purpose of decreasing the number of housekeepers”
In the daytime, Zich hadnt only checked out the number of guards; he had checked out the housekeepers wandering in the residences gardens and trailed the servants going out to the city to buy water. He had observed their behaviors, eavesdropped on their conversations, and gathered information from the shopkeepers who sold them the goods.
“I know because I used to be an aristocrat. They are barely managing to keep the house running with the minimum number of employees. Did you know that they significantly dropped the number of not only soldiers, but the housekeepers as well It can only mean that they are hiding something, and theyre the ones hiding it.”
Zich pointed at the undead. This was the reason why he had brought Lubella to this place that was likely a trap: he was planning to involve the residences soldiers and housekeepers once the undead came out.
Although the Holy Knights had died senselessly from a sudden attack, it was a different situation for Zich. He knew that there were undead roaming inside the residence and had come prepared. It was also possible for him to contact the soldiers for reinforcement while he withstood the undeads attack; and in the middle of that chaos, Zich could simply escape with Lubella.
Although it is a plan that Lubella will protest against since it uses innocent lives…
That was why he had not informed her of his plan, but it didnt matter now. It was apparent that the Deputy Mayor had lost the power to stop them with the broken artifact.
Its good that I handled the artifact from the beginning.
Zich appreciated his reflexes for a moment.
“Ok, so, you can no longer summon the high-level undead types to cut off our retreat, and if things go wrong, the undead will collide with the soldiers outside and make a commotion. Then, I guess everyone will find out that you, who should be dead, are completely fine and well”
“…Fine. I will admit it. I cant stop you guys from retreating, but so what The preparation to offer this city to Bellu is already complete. Didnt you guys come here to stop that What can you accomplish by retreating now”
Lubellas body trembled. She wanted to strike her staff on the Deputy Mayors fishy face. Unlike Lubella, Zich stayed calm once again. The Deputy Mayors face was filled with worry as he wondered if Zich was still hiding something else.
“But the artifact—you know the key you talked about—is broken. Its impossible to complete the ritual right now. Stop bluffing.”
“The key doesnt matter with the ritual—"
“You want us to believe that Thats good. We will escape, and you can complete your ritual then. Make sure you do that, alright”
“…This is only for a moment. It can be restored in no time.”
“You bastard, why are you bluffing even when it wont work And for us, even that short amount of time is enough to do something.”
“…What are you planning”
“What do you think I will do once I get out of here I am going to search around the city first. Then, Im going to find the stone statues of Bellu that you have stationed all over the city, and I am going to break each one of them.”
The Deputy Mayor looked like he was going to say something, but Zich didnt give him a chance to and continued, “Of course, since the ritual is almost complete, destroying the stone statues wont do anything since their energies have already contaminated the groundwater and are shifting under this city. But do you think that I dont know If a follower of Karuwiman completes a certain action on those fish head statues, the power of your ritual will diminish.”
“I-is that really true”
“Yes, it is. I learned it by coincidence. We cant push the time of the ritual long enough to get outside help, but we can greatly diminish the power he can control. So, the moment we think he dramatically decreased his power, we can destroy the center of all the statues, which is the statue in this residence. If the rituals power diminishes, we will be able to destroy it. We cant move the central piece of the ritual, so it will be the perfect target.”
Even Lubella wasnt aware of this fact. However, she didnt doubt Zichs words, and she rejoiced in her newfound hope. On the contrary, the Deputy Mayors face twisted like an evil spirit.