When I opened the door, Robe 2 was smiling brightly.
“May we now proceed?”
Despite his polite words, the hand that reached out to me was forceful.
Are you sick?”
But the grip on my forearm didn’t let up.
The hem of my robe wrinkled from the force of his grip.
Bastard all round.
I still couldn’t see much above his nose because of the robe.
There must be some other reason for their attire, seeing as how they’re all showing their mouths and chins.
Something to hide?
The shame of the Robes.
You can’t kill a presence, but you can bring out the weird in a group.
With them roaming the town, I wondered if I was drawing unnecessary attention to myself.
On second thought, the people who greeted me as I wandered around looking for a futon shop felt uncomfortable.
Scary is scary, and unwanted is unwanted.
I couldn’t help but stare at Robe 2.
I put up with it because I’m nice.
Not because I’m a mage with no muscles and no power control.
Consider yourself lucky, Robe 2.
Robe 2, who had been still as if sensing my glare, tilted his head slightly to the side.
“Did anything else happen in the bathroom?”
“Oh, and this wound…?”
A forcibly lifted arm revealed a finger that had been hidden by a sleeve.
Keung keung keung, keung keung keung keung keung keung.
The unnerving sound from the bathroom came again.
“I must have cut myself somewhere, is there a problem?”
It was a nasty bite, even for me, but I ignored the fact.
“…No, Lord Badel likes fresh blood.”
Well, that’s …scary.
It sounded like a bell hitting me in the head.
“I have… a bad liver, kidneys, and eyes.
Also, I’ve been having trouble breathing lately, and… uh….”
You’re quite the prankster, brother.”
And you? You’re not bad?
Tears blinded me.
Robe 2 dragged me briskly along, saying we were behind schedule.
After stopping at several places to say a quick prayer, we arrived at the dining hall.
He insisted that I should eat, even though it was neither lunch nor dinner, and placed a bowl in front of me, then sat down across from me.
I couldn’t see his eyes, but I could tell he was watching me.
My appetite was gone.
I ate three spoonsful over the course of 30 minutes, keeping my eyes peeled.
Every time I swallowed something that was completely pulverised, I had to ask myself if I was okay.
The fact that my utensils weren’t silver made me even more suspicious.
When is it okay to be scared and when is it okay to tell me what to eat now….
I had just moved my spoon for the fourth time when Robe 2 jumped to his feet and grabbed my forearm once again.
“Mealtime is over.”
The sound of a spoon hitting a bowl rang out loudly.
Robe 2 dragged me deeper into the church building.
In every corridor we walked, people turned to me and greeted me with cupped hands.
Everyone pretended not to see Robe 2 as he dragged me along.
They stood still and clasped their hands together until the moment I was out of their sight.
“May grace be with you.”
The wistful greeting echoed down the corridor.
It felt different from the greetings I was used to receiving from the permanent residents as I was swarmed by robes on my way to church.
Whereas they were simply greeting the worshippers of the Badel, the robes greeting me now seemed to be bidding farewell to the sacrifice before a grand ceremony.
It was especially jarring when the bell rang, and the greeting overlapped.
As I put on my impression, Robe 2 pushed me into a steamy room.
I barely caught myself from falling.
I looked behind me and saw a door closing slowly, almost creeping.
When only a small gap remained, I could see a single eye through it.
“I hope you keep your promise.
The curling corners of the eye gave me chills.
I stood staring at the door for a long moment after it closed.
The voice was unmistakably Robe 2’s.
But the eyes that I first encountered were not human eyes.
In my previous life, as a reader of fantasy novels to the point of death, I was certain that only one race could have eyes with such white pupils.
The one who had been marking me this whole time was a demon.
I staggered through the steam.
I had to know what it was asking of me.
After a few steps, the steam revealed a large bathhouse, hidden from view.
On a small table beside it, a set of white tops and bottoms lay folded neatly.
A bath after a meal? What kind of grace is this, feeding and washing me, and not asking me a damn thing in return?
I’m grateful though.
I pulled out the communication orb I kept hidden in my robes.
Suddenly, I remembered the word ‘promise’ that the demon had said before the door closed.
Honestly, I wondered if it had realized I was a fellow warrior because it interrupted me every time I tried to use magic, but apparently not.
If he had, he wouldn’t have brought up a ‘promise’ I couldn’t understand.
I stared down at the murky water.
Wait, so where’s the real Oberyn?
Even if I contacted the warrior, it would be very troublesome if my identity was discovered before my companions arrived.
But if Oberyn didn’t show up, I’d be at his mercy.
The companion of a warrior chosen by the Lord is the recipient of a demonic favor.
A shiver ran through my body.
I’ll be cursed by the God.
The last thing I needed was for what had begun as a fellow warrior to end in a torn limb and a curse from the God.
I raised both hands and slapped my cheeks.
“Not the time for this.”
I tried to make the connection against the backdrop of the bells ringing overhead.
I’d already been in this church and the bell had rung four times, which, assuming there was an hour between bells, meant I’d already been in this boring, creepy place for four hours.
I couldn’t wait to get back to my companions and convince them that we could go to the woods somewhere and spend the night in my sweet home.
This stress was not going to be relieved without a visit to my lovely mattress.
Knock on the outside three times and say ‘Jewellery Field’.
The communication orb emitted a silver glow.
A sound similar to that of a security spell being activated was mixed in with the connection.
The entire building felt the amplification of magical energy.
It seemed that the detection and security tricks the demons had installed had worked.
My impression was crumpled.
I hadn’t been convinced because I hadn’t recognized it from my experience of the afternoon prayers.
But this was different.
The security rituals that were now being invoked were too much like magic.
Demons had been spotted every few decades even before the arrival of the Demon King, but the records of their appearance only said that they used ‘sake’, not ‘magic-like sake’.
In the first place, magic and magi are similar, which is why the Eighth School studied magic and magi objects.
If the demons had been using magic-like techniques for a long time, there should have been at least one or two lunatics in the Tower who wanted to go to the Demon Realm to study their techniques.
-Cylon! What’s going on!
I needed to find out.
For now, later.
Still, my uncontrolled magic made me feel even worse.
I brought the communication orb to my mouth and whimpered.
“…I just happened to be in a church.”
There were no beeps when I used subspace magic in the bathroom, so I’m guessing that security measures were in place here.
It was proof that this place was so special to the church.
This was the only place I’d ever been left alone by a demon who was desperate to be next to me, and I’m an idiot.
I thought you just didn’t want to wait for me.
I didn’t expect you to believe….
I’m muttering excuses that aren’t excuses, and there’s one more noise to add to the mix.
I heard several people running down the corridor.
In front of me was a bathtub filled with murky water.
The water was so murky that it was impossible to see what was inside.
I quickly rolled the communication orb to the side.
The steam would make it difficult to spot the communication orb in the corner.
I could only hope that my words would reach the warrior and that he wouldn’t get caught.
I squeezed my eyes shut and dove into the bath.
There’s already a ruckus.
I decided to just use my magic for good.
After being dragged around by demons for hours, my magic had calmed down a bit.
I was relieved.
At least I didn’t have to draw a magic circle and use a spear; I could just use the control I’d evolved from a mouse to a rat and use the spear to slap the magic around.
If I just use the control that can turn a rat’s tail into a rat and pour magic into it, I can do magic with only a chant.
It would be an extremely inefficient spell, but it would allow me to use magic underwater.
I squeezed my magic as hard as I could.
I created a giant bubble of air over my head.
As I watched the bubble struggle to rise above the water, I poured more magic into it.
Gradually, the bubble formed a complete circle.
I had to use enough magic to launch ten fireballs just to do this.
With the uncontrolled leakage of magic, I had to use magic just to maintain the small amount of magic I had.
Normally, I would have been able to blow up the church building with just the power that was escaping.
What a shame.
As I crouched down with all my might, I gradually sank to the bottom of the bath.
The water was deeper than I expected, so it was almost impossible for anyone above to see me hiding here.
Ding- wiiing- wiiing-! bolkok! tadadak.
The noises that had invaded the water swam dizzily.
“Where… the magic… It’s obvious that…!”
“…Find him now!”
There was a furry of words, and amongst them, a shouting voice belonged to Robe, who was chanting a prayer on the podium.
He was alone, wearing a colorful patterned robe.
I held my breath long after the voice had faded.
I opened my eyes slowly.
Suddenly, a dark hand popped out through the murky water.
I slowly lay back, avoiding the stirring hands, swirling through the water.
In that state, I swam away from the hands by imitating the squid.
The hand that stirred the water a few more times disappeared.
But I was not reassured.
These guys were a little creepy.
He clenched his teeth and entered multiple casting.
Recently, I lived in slow motion, but it was my second time working as a researcher.
I was confident of persistence, strength, and patience.
The objective was to create a reflective film around me, making it look like no one was in the water.
The point was to illuminate the water, not the surface.
Controlling the power, calculating the angles, maintaining and executing the spell at the same time felt like splitting my brain.
I had barely covered half my body.
The water cracked, and this time a face appeared.
It wasn’t a demon.
But it wasn’t a pleasant experience to make eye contact with brown eyes that were filled with madness.
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