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Chapter 7

Chapter 7. Bigger Prey (2)

“Hey, didn’t you hear me? I asked you to snag the dried meat from the kitchen.”

“Th-The monk’s blocking the way…”

“You should’ve sneaked through a window or begged real hard to get it, you silly kid.”

Thump, thump.

The sound of fists flying kept going.

Isaac knew butting in would just lead to more trouble. The lack of stuff and the closed space were brewing up violence among the kids.

It was a tricky spot, no way out.

“You little punk, wanna end up in trouble? Wishing for trouble?”

Thud, smack! Hans’s blows were getting harsher. It was clearly crossing the line. Isaac felt a touch of panic in Hans’s moves. He seemed jittery.

“I’ll make you pay…”

Just as Hans was about to lay into Johan on the ground, Isaac showed up. He didn’t block the scene, just stood there from around the corner. Yet, the instant he did, Hans and his crew’s focus turned to him.

“What in the world!”

Hans stumbled in confusion and yelled. Isaac stared at him blankly. Hans seemed all ready to explode but eventually backed off.

Hans’s buddies, confused, trailed after him as he retreated. Watching their actions, Isaac pondered.

‘Is it my charm doing the trick?’

Though often linked with wooing, charisma involved more like trust, respect, favor, and being there.

But Isaac saw it as the knack to ‘convince’ others.

Folks with a good dose of charisma could sway others, whether through allure, fear, or deceit. Seemed especially true for kids, where gut feeling often overpowered logic.

‘But why the jitters when I haven’t uttered a word?’

The kids, particularly Hans, looked genuinely rattled.

Isaac never hinted at threatening or scaring them before. Maybe his gaze was intentional.

Yet, a Nephilim’s natural charm endowed Isaac with a solid presence, stirring up guilt and fear in the kids.

So, Hans buckled under the pressure and bolted.

‘Well, that fella’s either got luck or instincts.’

Isaac toyed with the hidden hoe. He didn’t fancy a brawl but wasn’t taking a beating without a fight if Hans came at him with his bulk.

“Ah, Isaac.”

Johan raced over. Thankfully, he didn’t seem too bad off.

“You alright? What went down?”

“Th-They used to ask me for just potatoes, but lately, it’s getting more, and the monk’s keeping watch tight…”

Johan blurted out. Isaac listened, scratching his head. The stash of food Johan nicked was surely more than enough for Hans and his crew.

‘So where’s it all going?’

***

Figuring it out wasn’t tough.

That night, Hans’s gang made a move. Spotting four of them sneaking out in the dead of night, Isaac got up too.

They slipped out of the monastery walls quietly to keep it down. They cracked open a known back door and slipped into the still dark woods.

Isaac crept up to the back door.

“…So, we just need to reach the village…”

“…But it’s dicey… should we tell the monk…”

Only bits and pieces reached Isaac’s ears, as anticipated.

‘They’re aiming to bolt.’

The food they made Johan steal was mostly stuff that lasts long. They must’ve had plenty of other things to gather, but let’s face it, their brains weren’t exactly top-notch.

Breakout.

‘You know, I’ve thought about it too.’

Well, he’d made up his mind to bolt from the monastery once he was strong enough and felt like a real adult.

Or got caught red-handed.

“If you don’t wanna come, then don’t! We gotta make a move before the monks catch on!”

Hans, who seemed to have forgotten about keeping their getaway on the down-low, was hollering at the scared kids, trying to push his point. But deep down, he seemed just as spooked about escaping solo.

‘He’s got a point there… even if everything else is questionable.’

Having more people around upped the odds of survival, but in a world where grown folks escape society’s rules to join monasteries, sneaking off without know-how meant either hunger or begging.

It wasn’t Isaac’s problem, but he couldn’t stand by and watch the four kids willingly starve. With a sigh, he headed outside.

“Quit goofing off and hit the hay.”

The kids were taken aback by Isaac’s sudden words. Hans, frozen in place, shot him a late glare.

“You little…”

“What’s your plan after breaking out? Grow up a bit, then maybe ask the monks to hook you up with a gig or hit the books harder. You can at least pick up some reading skills at the monastery.”

Hans quickly scanned the area for any monks or Gebel. Not spotting anyone, he stayed on edge.

Isaac couldn’t figure out why Hans, who towered over him, was so jittery. Taking a step closer, Isaac tested the waters. Hans flinched and stepped back.

‘See? Scared of a pint-sized kid like me?’

It wasn’t just charm; something was off.

Given their numbers and age, Isaac half-expected the kids to gang up on him.

But seeing their fear, he thought about scaring them back inside.

‘Chill out, they’re just kids. It’s up to the grownups to talk some sense into them.’

Isaac breathed out and asked, “Hans, where do you plan on heading after escaping?”

“To the village…”

“The villagers have mad respect for the monks. This is the only shelter around that doesn’t leave kids starving, so they’ll know you. What do you think the adults there will do to you, Hans?”

Truth be told, most runaway kids ended up getting caught. Maybe that’s why Gebel hadn’t rushed in and the monks were slacking.

If they got caught by a beast or shady character, it would be game over.

“What kind of escape plan is this? Just a couple of taters and dried sausages? I get you’re hungry, but winter’s on its way. If you don’t wanna freeze, should’ve swiped some kicks and fur too. And them holy books – they’re worth a pretty penny, so why not snatch a few?”

Hans reddened, unable to reply. He knew his prep was shoddy.

“Just hold off until you’re 17. The monastery gives you a choice then.”

“I’m 16!”

“Not quite 17 yet. Once you hit that age, you can choose to jet or become a monk. Monks get respect and don’t go hungry.”

In a world where even grown folks struggle for grub, being an orphan throws in an extra challenge.

“If Hans really convinces y’all to bounce, there’ll be less mouths to feed around here. Not like you’re much help at the monastery anyway. But why am I trying to stop you? If you numskulls skip town, maybe there’ll be more spuds left for me.”

Feeling himself get riled up, Isaac threw in a jab. Hans, catching on but flustered, shot Isaac a glare.
In contrast, the other kids’ faces went pale.

“You little…” Hans charged at Isaac, all riled up. Despite being taller and bigger, he moved as slow as a turtle compared to a speedy rat.

Isaac couldn’t duck in time and got nabbed by the collar. If he had eaten better and grown a bit more, things might have turned out differently.

But Isaac had a little something up his sleeve, just in case. He wasn’t planning on using it just yet.

“What do you know!”

Even though he was overpowering Isaac, Hans seemed more scared. It was like he was in over his head.

“If you hadn’t shown up out of the blue…”

“Come on, be more mature, kid.” Isaac growled back in annoyance.

At that moment, everyone except Isaac felt a creepy, slimy sensation.

Out of nowhere, Hans gasped for air, letting go of Isaac’s collar. He stumbled back and fell, looking like a frightened mouse.

[The Nameless Chaos is watching you.]

After hearing this message, Isaac snapped out of it. Tentacles slithered out of his hand but quickly vanished. Realizing what he was about to do, Isaac gave himself a light slap on the cheek.

“Am I losing it?”

It was almost like he saw Hans as prey for a moment.

The ‘bigger prey’ that the mysterious chaos craved.

Isaac noticed a dead quiet among the kids.

“They didn’t see anything, right?”

No, the tentacles didn’t fully come out. But there was a gross feeling, as if his hand had been licked.

Despite this, all the kids looked horrified. Terrified, Hans even wet his pants as if he felt an unstoppable wave of violence.

Isaac then understood why Hans was scared of him. The power of the mysterious chaos was flowing through his strong charisma. It was only natural for Hans to feel fear before admiration.

Feeling guilty for unintentionally exuding such an intimidating aura, Isaac used the opportunity of the calmer kids to keep persuading them.

“I’m trying to protect you from potential dangers like predators, traffickers, or wild animals.”

The kids stayed silent, either comprehending or just too scared to process anything. Isaac’s charisma-induced fear felt extra intense.

Isaac sighed and approached Hans, who tried to run but bumped into a tree. Isaac reached out his hand.

“Don’t worry, I won’t scare you. Let’s try to do better moving forward. Don’t let me down.”

Hans eventually agreed and shook Isaac’s hand, either genuinely making amends or too frightened to say no.

“I didn’t plan on being buddies anyway. This is fine.”

If Isaac set up a clear pecking order now, he might be able to guide the kids. If they behaved more kindly, he wouldn’t feel guilty. At their age, hierarchy seemed to be everything.

“Let’s head back before the monks notice…”

Isaac halted in the middle of his sentence.

The kids followed his gaze and gasped, backing away in terror.

Yellow eyes gleamed in the darkness. A rancid odor filled the air, unnoticed earlier in all the commotion.

A huge boar, nearly as tall as Isaac’s chest, advanced aggressively. The stench of decay was unmistakable.

“A boar? It’s not common for wild animals to come near people…”

Isaac realized this wasn’t your average situation. The stench of death and buzzing flies was overwhelming.

“Stay calm, let’s move back slowly…”

“Ah!”

The kids, totally freaking out, bolted away. The boar went charging as soon as it caught sight of them hightailing it. It was obvious that this boar was no joke, attacking as soon as it saw their backs.

“Uh, ah!”

Hans, frozen with fear, hit the ground without even taking a few steps. Isaac muttered a curse and yanked Hans back. His tentacle, acting on its own, snagged onto Hans’s clothes. With surprising strength, Isaac flung Hans backwards.

Bang! Instead of hitting Hans, the boar slammed into Isaac and sent him flying.

Isaac, taken aback by his tentacle’s unexpected move, didn’t have time to check on Hans or recover.

“Come on, you porker!”

He sprinted, purposely showing his back to lead the boar away from the monastery. The boar, seeing Isaac as an easy target, chased after him like a maniac.

Isaac knew he had to act fast, despite the danger.

“Hey, piglet!”

Isaac quickly got up and dashed away from the boar, pretending to lag behind. He headed in the opposite direction of the monastery. The boar, thinking Isaac was an easy catch compared to the other fleeing kids, focused on him.


           



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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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