Chapter 8 – Crawling Wait.

Crawling Wait.

A crawling wait.

A priest of the Cult of Cultivation.

Worshippers of the Libra of Retribution, they dressed as one would expect a paladin to dress. Thick iron armor and a large battle hammer.

Priests of the Church of Cultivation are one of the least difficult classes in the game.

The thick armor, which at first glance seems very difficult to move, is enchanted to become lighter the deeper the wearer’s faith, and the moderately heavy battle hammer is enchanted to become heavier as the wearer’s faith increases.

A profession that specialized in melee, indeed.

The first to speak was a middle-aged Anglican priest with scars all over his face, each one a testament to his years of service.

I should probably avoid hand-to-hand combat as much as possible.

“Devotion to the right life. I never thought I’d find a priest of the god of preservation in a place like this. My name is Orbus, the pendulum on the Libra of Retribution. These men standing behind me are also on the same path as me, the big fellow’s name is Cornu, and this one is Petina.”

At the introduction of Orbus, who seemed to be the leader of the three, Cornu and the Protestant priestess called Petina bowed to me.

“It is a pleasure to meet you.”


Petina was a woman of average size, her light brown short hair cut to match, but of the two, Cornu and Petina, it was Cornu who caught my eye.

He stood a head taller than a sturdy adult man. And a large, thick horn that grew in the middle of his forehead. Kornu was a one-horned man, a rarity in the human-centered northern kingdoms.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, too.”

But I didn’t bother to express my interest in the horned people.

These were men who could strike with divinity, a fatal weakness of the Priests of Corruption.

I could disguise myself as a priest of another god, using the objects of that god’s favor at my disposal, but if my true identity were to be discovered by them, there was no way I could be friendly with them.

A class with a very clear weakness, with no possibility of making friendly relations with the powers that be. That was the priest of corruption.

An awkward silence was about to fall between me and the Corruption Priest. Erin broke into the conversation.

“I hear you’ll probably be here for a while, helping out with the mercenaries, just like Father Marnak!”

That was good news, as it meant I still had a chance to capture the holy relic I was looking for, if not now.

After all, how much of an acquaintance should I make?

Technically, I didn’t need to steal the relic. All I had to do was make contact with it, absorb the Divinity of Corruption, and then return it.

The problem was that when you absorb divinity from an artifact, it inevitably leaks out for a while.

Now I needed to do three things.

1. steal the relic somehow.

2. get as far away from those priests as possible and absorb the divinity.

3. put it back.

My head was spinning.

The obvious and self-evident fact that I’d be looked at like a lunatic if I asked to touch the holy relic for a moment.

Now I have to steal again? This isn’t a priest of corruption, this is a rogue of corruption.

“Priest Marnak?”

I thought too long. Orbus, the man with the scars, studied my face carefully.

“We’ve got plans after this, so I think we should go unpack for now. We’ll save our hearty conversation for another time.”

Okay. I needed to do a little more planning. I smiled and replied.

“I look forward to our next meeting.”

With a curt bow, the three priests casually disappeared into the back of the mercenary guild.


As if she could hear her own mind, Erin spoke up, watching the priests’ backs as they walked away.

“The priests have decided to stay at the Mercenary Guild for the time being.”

“Is that okay with you?”

“Usually our mercenary guild offers lodging to visiting priests for a small fee, after all, they are priests.”

No way—?

“Then why did you put me up here last night?”

Erin smiled sheepishly.

“Yes, of course I put you to bed because you’re a priest!”

The winter breeze from outside blew into my briefly warm heart. Yeah, that couldn’t be right.

Bright light green eyes blinked in front of me.

“Did the priest think I put you to bed because I was interested in you?”

“Not at all.”

She was absolutely right. I could only assume that this fine young lady harbored a vicious black heart for me in her heart. Like a pencil.

“But it’s true,” I said, “that I did do you a favor because I was interested in you.”


Glancing around, Erin sidled up to me and whispered in my ear, her warm breath tickling my ear.

“We have a big shipment of groceries coming in tomorrow night, and I was wondering if you could cast a spell to keep them from going bad.”

I stepped back and cupped my ears.

“Why do you insist on whispering that in my ear?”

Erin giggled like a little girl.


The giddy sound of her voice made my breast pocket heave violently.

“Murder, murder, murder, murder, murder!

I quickly grabbed my chest and smiled a reverent smile.

“I can cast a spell to keep your food from spoiling, but in exchange, do you mind if you stay here at the mercenary guild for a while?”

It was not beyond me to cast a simple spoilage spell unnoticed by a cultist priest.

“As long as the priest is willing to stay here, I’m good!”

Okay? Okay…?! I feigned nonchalance as I gently pressed down on my ever more agitated breast pocket.

“Then I will gratefully stay a few more days.”

“Yes. Stay in your room, and if you get bored, come out and talk to me, but now if you’ll excuse me, I have some business to attend to.”

Erin left with a shuffle back to her place, and I returned to my room with the two gold coins.


“Mother, you speak too much. Why don’t you use words that are a little bit brighter and finer?”

“Murder! Murder! Murder!

“What do you mean, I’m here purely to retrieve the holy relic, and I have no ill will toward that redheaded young lady, not even a hint of it, really.”


“Really, really. You’ve seen me for the past five years, you know that, and I really do have no one but my mother. Ha, that’s too bad, I’ll let you feel my pure heart for yourself!”

I took my mother’s palm in my hand and massaged it with gentle pressure. With all my heart.


Mother Corruption was so intoxicated by the massage that she was unable to finish my words.


When I returned to the first floor of the mercenary guild after I had sufficiently relaxed her, I found only a single horned man sitting in a chair. The horned man, Cornu, made eye contact with me and smiled.

“Oh, aren’t you a priest Marnak?”

Feeling the need to gather information about the holy object, I casually walked over and sat down in front of Kornu.

“It is indeed a pleasure to see you again so soon, but where have the other priests gone?”

“The priests of Orth and Petinara went to pay their respects to the Lord of Guise.”

“For what reason did you not go with them?”

Kornu laughed awkwardly and scratched his cheek.

“Perhaps because of my race, some of the lords of the Northern Kingdoms are reluctant—.”

In the Northern Kingdom, where the majority of the population was human, there were quite a few nobles who were uncomfortable with the idea of coming face to face with someone of a different race.

“I’m sure Lord Tredon doesn’t mind any of that.”

Erin, who had approached, pulled up a chair and sat down, joining the conversation. Cornu smiled benevolently and turned to Erin.

“I see, I should have brought the other priests with me on this one.”

“My Lord Tredon has a very hard personality, and he can be a bit cold in his dealings with people, but he’s very good at his job, and he separates the good from the bad like a sword. There are quite a few people in Guise who are very loyal to him, so if you’re going to be out there gossiping about him, you’d better be careful.”

“I will keep that in mind.”

I blurted out my question.

“But why did the other priests go to visit the lord?”

There was no law that said priests had to bow to the lord when they entered the city. If they went to see the lord, they must have an ulterior motive.

Cornu glanced at Erin, then spoke slowly.

“Actually, we are on a pilgrimage, following a prophecy from ten years ago. Priest Orbus believes that the apocalypse, the end of life as we know it, is a demon.”

Demons? Crazy! This was going very badly. I asked with as much nonchalance as I could muster.

“Do you really think my lord is the devil?”

Cornu grinned and waved his huge hand in the air.

“Oh, no, not at all, I wouldn’t have stayed here if I really thought Lord Tredon was a demon, I was just going to check with the Orbus priest, something he does every time he stops by the city, he has a ‘holy object’ that can determine if someone is a demon or not.”

The worst. The worst. It couldn’t be worse. This was going to kill a lot of people.

If Tredon had been a newly possessed demon, it would have been easy for a couple of priests to handle, but he was a demon who had spent forty winters in his body.

If he used his power in exchange for the body he had become so attached to, he could bring a part of himself from the other side of the world to this one.


A shaking earth. An exploding binge. Screams echoing through the city.

Cornu and I rushed out of the mercenary guild.

And we saw.

Part of the demon that toppled the lord’s mansion and descended upon the world.

– Gaaaaaah!

The dark skin that covered its entire body was too thick for any spear to pierce, and the razor-sharp teeth that peeked out of its gaping mouth were each the size of a human head.


A giant hammer of pure white light came crashing down on the giant demon’s head.

It was the Hammer of Punishment, one of the signature powers of a Cultivated Priest.

Cornu looked at me and said urgently.

“We must go help!”

I said, my face hardening, looking at the demon in the form of a giant black crocodile rampaging in the distance.

“You go first, we’ll catch up.”

While the three priests held the demon at bay for a while, I had other things to do.