As if the clouds that covered the sky were throwing a tantrum that they wouldnt back off easily, rain poured down from the sky. The streaks were considerably thick, and the cold rain covered the view and deafened all noise.
Most people didnt take a step outside their house. And even those who went out quickly came back inside after finishing their errands. However, some people welcomed this nasty weather.
Raindrops poured out like a waterfall from an upside-down hoodie. But inside the hoodie, a pair of eyes fiercely shone. It was Zich. While carrying Lubella who also shielded most of her face with a hoodie from the rain, he looked down at a house.
“Is it really that house” Lubella asked without much confidence. After taking care of the statue in Sudes house, Zich had set his next target. Because he had pointed out a place without a single clue, Lubella was quite surprised.
But Zich was sure.
“During the day, I checked the routes that the guards patrolled. Although its natural for them to patrol important places or areas where we might hide, they were intensively patrolling areas where there was no clear reason to do so. That obviously means that they are hiding something important in those places.”
“Are you saying that they are hiding Bellus statues there”
“Yes,” Lubella nodded. Truthfully, it didnt matter if Zich convinced her or not since she was one-sidedly relying on Zich right now.
“Then, lets go.”
While carrying Lubella, Zich entered the house. As if Zich was right, they saw a tightly guarded border that had not been visible outside the home. However, Zich easily passed the border, knocked out the guards, and removed the traps. Then, after inspecting the buildings insides, Zich found a secret room like the one they saw in Sudes house.
Zich was so skilled at finding hidden spots that Lubella suspected his career again; but regardless, Zich opened the door to the secret room. Inside, there was the statue of an ugly fish head that they had desperately searched for.
“What did I tell you” Zich boasted, “These kinds of guys are simple. And since they have a lot to lose, they like to overprotect their belongings.”
“Still, I didnt think that we would be able to find it so easily.”
“We didnt really find it easily. He laid many baits, but it was because of my skills that we were able to find the real one.”
Zich didnt seem like he intended to hide his achievements. Some people might have scowled at him because of his lack of humility, but because Zichs abilities were really coming to light from this crisis in the city, Lubella complimented him without hesitation.
“Thats true. You really are amazing.”
“Ah, thats kind of embarrassing.”
Zich had boasted just a moment before, but now he tried to be modest. It was because this was his first time receiving such a pure compliment.
Usually, when someone boasts, they are followed by all kinds of jeering and ridicule. Or they are met by shameless flattery.
That was the kind of world that Zich was used to.
“Thats enough of hyping me up. Lets just finish our business.”
“Yes, lets do that.”
Their reason for finding Bellus statue was to disrupt the ritual from completing. Zich pulled out a paint box and a brush from his grasp.
“Lady Lubella, please.”
Lubella instilled Karunas holy power into the paint. The paints red color sparkled for a moment and turned back to its original color.
Zich dipped his brush into the paint. And as if he was about to make a masterpiece, he twirled his brush around Bellus status. Lubella watched him from behind in silence.
“Will this really work”
Her eyes trembled a bit anxiously, but she believed Zich. Well, she didnt have a choice. After getting betrayed by Sude and the Deputy Mayor, it was hard for her to trust people, but she couldnt doubt Zich. I mean, wasnt he helping her who was charged as the Witch, and fighting an immense force like the Bellid for the simple purpose of doing a good deed
If she didnt believe in Zich, she felt like she wouldnt have the courage to believe in people anymore. So, she thought. However, there was still a difference between believing in the person and believing in the knowledge that the person held.
“…Is that so”
After turning around, Zich placed his brush and paint back, and Lubella carefully inspected the statue behind him. The statue was inscribed with all kinds of lines and shapes from top to bottom. They were probably magic circles to hinder the ritual and give the life force back to those who had lost it.
But were Lubellas eyes playing tricks on her
The marks on the statue didnt look like normal magic circles that geometricized the principles of holy powers, magic, or every type of nature or gods miracles; for example, they didnt include symbols of galactical planets like the suns, moons, and stars or living creatures such as humans, animals, and plants. Frankly, they looked very crude as if a child scribbled them for fun.
Were these marks really a magic circle that would solve their problems Even Lubella, who had significant knowledge and rank among the Karuwiman people had never heard of this method before.
“Please wrap this up now.”
Lubella nodded at Zichs words and poured her holy powers into the statue. She had to continue to have faith in Zich. She had come too far now to begin doubting him, and Bellids ritual would begin any time now.
“Can we just leave the statue like this”
“It doesnt matter since your holy powers have already flowed down the basement. Whether we break it apart or not, we are done here.”
Zich started to walk out while saying that they should search for the other statues. Lubella soon followed Zich while staring at his back.
* * *
Not long afterwards, Lubella felt foolish for doubting Zich. After they drew those silly-looking magic circles on Bellus statues and poured holy powers on them, they soon encountered an unexpected creature.
“Its a zombie.”
“Yes, its a zombie.”
Under the cover of darkness, Zich and Lubella were trying to find another statue when they met a zombie. It wasnt strange to see a zombie in the city when Bellids ritual was close to complete, but Lubella thought the zombie looked odd.
“Why is it acting like that”
The zombie approached them while staggering. That part wasnt unusual since zombies often moved strangely. However, the zombies movements went beyond simply strange. As if it was wearing invisible armor, its movements were extremely stiff like it was restricted.
Zich went closer to the zombie. Like all zombies, it stretched out its hands to take away Zichs life force— to make Zich like itself. However, the zombies movements were very awkward and slow, so it didnt feel threatening at all.
Zich struck the zombies neck. It was a simple procedure like striking the head of a dead fish.
“It became weaker.”
“Weaker The zombie did”
That seemed like good news to Lubella, and her heart thumped with expectations.
“Yes, it became weaker for sure. Thankfully, it seems like what we are doing is not useless.”
Zichs words were basically a confirmation for her. The doubt that took place in the corner of her heart quickly dissolved.
“Ah, thank goodness! Thats really a relief!”
Like that, Lubella got onto her knees and prayed to Karuna. Because she felt like they could end this harsh plight without a great sacrifice, her eyes teared up.
“I dont know how I can express my thanks.”
Then, Lubella abruptly got up and grabbed Zichs hands. She couldnt bear that she had doubted him before.
“Im sorry. To tell you the truth, I doubted you.”
“Uh, thats a bit disappointing. How many people do you think would be kind enough to help you with their life on the line—that you doubt me”
Zich winked. And because his eyes didnt seem to hold any grudge against her, Lubella burst out into laughter.
“I didnt doubt you, as a person. I cant thank you enough for helping me so far. But I had a bit of doubt about your method of hindering the ritual. Although I have access to valuable information from Karuwiman, I didn't know about it, and the method is…”
“Because the method is drawing ridiculous and suspicious-looking scribbles that dont even look like magic circles”
“…To tell you the truth, that was it. Im sorry.”
“Theres no need for you to be sorry. I understand. Even I wonder what the person who made it was thinking. I dont know if I should call the person a genius or an idiot.”
“I think the person is a genius.”
“Since you think that, I will also think the same.”
“Can I ask how you learned this method”
“Ah, that is a secret.”
Since she had been refused before, Lubella didnt really feel disappointed.
“Then, please, you must teach me the magic circle later.”
“Dont worry about that. I will teach you all later. Of course, with a price.”
“That doesnt matter. For us, Karuwiman, that magic circle is priceless, and the Church will grant pretty much anything you ask for.”
Maybe it was because they saw the effect of their works, but their moods were much brighter than before—despite the fact that they were still getting chased and the Deputy Mayor was still alive and well.
“Now, we just have to take care of a couple more statues. Then, the Deputy Mayors power will decrease significantly, and we can attack the Mayors mansion again. But we have to be more careful since they will increase the number of guards as the number of statues decreases.”
“I understand. But how can they place so many statues without a single rumor spreading Many people should have disappeared as offerings.”
“They probably blocked peoples mouths with money and power. There are a lot of excuses to choose from, like,Lets keep quiet for now since people can start panicking. Since this is a city sensitive to the economy, that probably worked well.”
The whole truth was impossible to realize if one didnt realize that the city was covered by a black curtain, specifically the Bellid group. In fact, before he became aware of what was going on, even Zich thought the appearance of the undead was a new happening since public sentiment was still relatively calm.
“But that wont last for long. Lets take care of the rest of Bellus statues and save the city.”
Feeling hopeful, they disappeared into the citys darkness again.
* * *
Since then, Zich and Lubella found a couple of more statues. On the magic circle that Zich drew, Lubella generously poured more holy power. And their results became more and more visible. In the end, they reached a point where they couldnt find a single undead all over the city at night.
Of course, this didnt mean that the undead completely disappeared. They might have missed one roaming around in a back alleyway. But generally, they could sense that the total number of undead had definitely decreased.
“Okay then, lets go to the Mayors mansion and destroy the center statue there. If that still exists, everything we did will be for nothing. We can only delay the ritual and not stop it.”
“Where do you think the Deputy Mayor is”
“I also dont know, but he will probably be at the Mayors mansion. Since the mansion is the center of this ritual, that guy probably cant leave the area.”
“Then we should go to the mansion. When are we going”
“Is there a reason for us to take our time”
Zich stared at the area where the Mayors mansion was.
“Lets go tonight.”