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Chapter 33

Chapter 33: Holy Grail Knight (Part 2).

Isaac felt a bit on edge. Gebel was like family to him, the one person who knew him best. It wouldn’t be a shock if Gebel had a clue about Isaac’s true self.

“I couldn’t care less if you’re a saint or a demon. I made up my mind the day you came here, especially when I started teaching you how to wield a sword.”

“For revenge?”

“For revenge,” Gebel confirmed.

Isaac had heard Gebel’s story before about the destruction of the Avalanche Knight Order he once belonged to.

Gebel, now looking resolute, revealed, “The Immortal Order snatched up all the bodies of the fallen Avalanche Knights and turned them into Death Knights. Those knights essentially betrayed their cause by agreeing to become Death Knights. The Avalanche Knight Order is now seen as traitors in the borderlands.”

“No…”

“No one now remembers the Avalanche swordsmanship. Unless they are a knight practicing the same technique. So, don’t fret.”

Isaac felt a bit awkward, thinking to tell Gebel that he never worried much. The Avalanche swordsmanship drained him. His own Isaac style was way more effective.

And then Gebel hit him with a bombshell.

“I think someone from the Dukharian Faction had a hand in wiping out the Avalanche Knight Order.”

Isaac gave him a serious look. The Dukharian Faction was a negative term for the core of the Order of the Codex of Light. Accusing them of being behind the downfall of the Avalanche Knights could be seen as an attack on the entire Order.

“Why do you think that?” Isaac asked.

Gebel fixed his gaze on Isaac and said, “Remember Calzen?”

Calzen Miller.

Isaac couldn’t forget him. Calzen was the first person Isaac devoured, and his sword skills were what shaped Isaac’s abilities.

“Calzen was on the path to becoming an angel, maybe even a Seraph. But just a few years after the Avalanche Knight Order was destroyed and marked as traitors, Calzen also turned on his own. Coincidence?”

“So, you’re saying Calzen wasn’t a traitor?” Isaac questioned.

“No, he definitely was. He betrayed his comrades and killed his fellow believers without mercy.”

Gebel tapped his fingers as he continued, “But someone lured Calzen into betraying, just like they orchestrated the downfall of the Avalanche Knights.”

“The Immortal Order…” Isaac mused.

“They were likely involved, but they couldn’t have done it alone. There’s a real betrayer within the Order.”

Gebel’s eyes held conflict and a hint of violence. Sharing this information was risky for both Gebel and Isaac.

But Gebel felt this might be his only chance to confide in Isaac. If not now, he might never get another shot.

“I couldn’t openly delve into this due to being marked as a traitor. That’s why I passed on the role of avenging to you…”

Gebel looked at Isaac apologetically.

“I don’t know what’s your secret, but it’s probably wise to keep it hidden. I believe in your integrity, but mysterious powers can provoke fear, especially with the current suspicious Order leadership.”
“Yep,” Gebel chimed in, “You always talked about wanting to be a Paladin, Isaac.”

Clearing his throat, Gebel continued, “You’re destined for greatness as a Holy Knight. Who knows? Maybe one day…”

The thought of Isaac reaching the inner sanctum of the Order lingered in Gebel’s mind. He hoped Isaac could root out the corruption that plagued the core of the Order, unlike Calzen or the Avalanche Knight Order. To make that happen, Gebel knew he had to get Isaac out of there.

“Okay, it’s time,” Gebel announced.

“For what?” Isaac questioned.

“No need to head back to the monastery. Forget Lancel Monastery too. The Briant Knight Order is where it’s at – bigger and more skilled. Rotenhammer might be tough on heretics, but she’s a solid ally,” Gebel explained.

Isaac was taken aback, catching onto Gebel’s suggestion.

“Join the Briant Knight Order?”

“I’ll have a word with Commander Rotenhammer. He owes me a favor, so he’ll hear me out. The Inquisitor will vouch for you too. Joining them shouldn’t be a hassle,” Gebel assured.

Isaac mulled over Gebel’s unexpected offer. While Lancel Monastery’s knight order was decent, becoming a knight there would take time. Joining the Briant Knight Order promised a faster track. It was a no-brainer for Isaac to opt for more hands-on experience and learning opportunities with them.

***

As the sun began to set, Rotenhammer returned. The celestial creatures summoned by priests illuminated the area, showcasing the Knight Order’s grandeur, yet Rotenhammer appeared displeased.

‘They must have slipped away,’ Isaac speculated. Having scoured the valley with his chaos spawn, he knew there were no Wallachia hunters left post-Heinikel Gulmar’s devouring.

“It seems they all got away,” Rotenhammer commented.

“Yup, checked out their den – no hunters in sight. The horses were gone too, probably bolted as soon as we showed up,” Isaac confirmed.

The horses brought by the hunters had become Zihilrat’s meal, erasing any traces. The chaos spawn was now so full it wouldn’t need to move for ages.

“Expected them to be sluggish in daylight, but Duke’s trackers are a different breed. They could be hiding anywhere. We’ve set the celestials loose for a search, but chances are slim,” Rotenhammer lamented.

Isolde cautiously emerged from behind him, her expression hinting at unease.

“I owe you big time – three times over. I’m lost for words,” she confessed.

‘Three times over? Have I saved her that many times?’ Isaac contemplated, reflecting on past encounters.

“It’s probably best if you steer clear of this area soon instead of thanking me. Seems like bad luck follows you here,” Isaac advised Isolde, causing her cheeks to flush. Rotenhammer observed the interaction, torn between worry and annoyance.

Despite any reservations, Isaac acknowledged Isolde’s competence. She had uncovered a plot to resurrect a plague god at the monastery and unveiled the secrets of the valley with confidence. Her actions as an Inquisitor were sound, disregarding the unexpected variables Isaac brought into the mix.

Almost turning into a dearly departed Inquisitor, though.
‘Considering how rare it is for Inquisitors to kick the bucket on duty, Isolde might not be as unlucky as I thought…’

“Well, let’s set that aside. Thanks to you, Gebel could be fixed up and saved real quick.”

“Nope, not gonna happen. Since I owe you big time, I’m gonna make it up to you triple. As a hotshot Inquisitor of the Codex of Light, as a Brant family member, and on a personal level.”

Isaac, seeing Isolde’s eyes blazing with determination, realized that owing her not just once, but thrice, might turn out to be a strategic move as long as she didn’t bite the dust as a guest.

Rotenhammer seemed taken aback by Isolde’s bold statement but quickly grinned.

“Hey, girl, why don’t you head in and catch some Z’s? You’ve been up since forever, right? We’ve already reached out to the neighboring lords and expanded the search area, so no need for you to worry.”

“…Thanks, Commander.”

After wrapping up her apologies and gratitude, Isolde, feeling a weight off her shoulders, wobbled back to her tent.

It was high time for her to crash from exhaustion.

“Then, shall we move this chat indoors? I’ve got a lot of questions about your moves down in the valley.”

The setting for Isaac and Rotenhammer’s convo was the tent where Gebel was recuperating. Initially planning to use the commander’s tent, Isaac insisted on involving Gebel in the discussion and called him over. As they entered, Gebel was sitting up.

“Oh, the holy monk. Have a good rest? How’s the wound?”

Rotenhammer only knew Gebel as a humble monk. Yet, Gebel greeted him with a wry smile and a bow.

“You’re still kickin’, huh Commander Rotenhammer.”

Rotenhammer, noticing Gebel’s familiar tone, was surprised. Gebel then covered his beard with his hand.

Rotenhammer’s eyes widened.

“Gebel? The rowdy troublemaker? You’ve aged a ton since those days.”

The rowdy troublemaker… Isaac’s interest was piqued about Gebel’s past exploits.

Gebel smirked at the nickname long forgotten.

“Thanks for remembering me after all these years.”

“Of course! How could I forget the epic tales of you and the Avalanche Knight Order during the War of Dawn! Right, that clicks. Miss Isolde spoke highly of your skills. Who would have thought you’d end up in a monastery now? Life is full of surprises.”

Rotenhammer’s admiration kept rolling, his gaze briefly flickering towards Isaac, suggesting he had a clue on how Isaac managed to survive.

Giving all the credit to Gebel was only partially true.

“But what happened to Commander Linde? I figured you lacked the patience for leadership but could’ve easily been a top knight. Why the switch to monastery life?”

“Commander Linde is no more. The Avalanche Knight Order is history.”

A solemn silence filled the tent. Rotenhammer hesitated before asking.

“Both the Order and Linde were around after the War of Dawn, so it wasn’t due to the war. Honestly, if Linde had kicked the bucket, I would’ve thought you lost it, offed him, and disappeared to a monastery.”

“I did entertain the thought of throttling that stubborn old coot more than once. And I ain’t the only one.”

“True, I can’t say I never had that notion.”

Isaac observed the two old-timers chuckling and reminiscing. It seemed like their way of honoring someone they knew from their battlefield days. After a pause, Rotenhammer took a deep breath and spoke up again.

“Who’s behind their demise?”

“I’m clueless.”

“You’re clueless?”
“It’s not certain. I ran away and haven’t seen or heard anything since. I’ve been hiding in this monastery ever since. A fitting end for a coward.”

Isaac knew Gebel had sharpened his blade for revenge, ready to use someone else if he couldn’t do it himself. But revealing everything would put Rotenhammer at risk, so Gebel chose the coward’s path.

“I see.”

But Rotenhammer didn’t condemn Gebel as a coward, seeming to understand there were unspeakable circumstances.

“So, I hope you can take care of this young man in my stead.”

Rotenhammer’s gaze shifted from Gebel to Isaac.

“I may have messed up teaching him the basics, but I believe he’ll greatly improve under your guidance.”

“…Miss Isolde also praised this young man to no end.”

Rotenhammer examined Isaac’s hands and arms. Compared to Rotenhammer’s iron-like hands and thick limbs, Isaac’s body seemed frail, but Rotenhammer wasn’t deterred.

“Do you want to become a Paladin?”

“Yes.”

Rotenhammer seemed satisfied with that answer and looked back at Gebel.

“I can take care of him, but I can’t make him a knight on my own authority. I’ll take him as my guest and apprentice to assess his skills. But if he’s been trained by you… he might already be able to outperform my trainees.”

“Well, he won’t be lacking.”

“Good. So, your name is Isaac? I’ll take responsibility and get you into the Briant Knight Order.”

Rotenhammer’s assertion made Isaac feel the atmosphere might turn awkward, but he had no choice but to speak up.

“Um, about that, Commander Rotenhammer.”

“Yes?”

“I don’t plan on joining the Briant Knight Order.”


Paladin of the Dead God

Paladin of the Dead God

죽은 신의 성기사
Score 8.2
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: Released: 2023 Native Language: Korean
The only Paladin of the forgotten god, Nameless Chaos, and also the only Pope, Priest, and Worshipper.

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