Chapter 129

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Just a half-day before the mercenaries reached Count Rebrecca’s estate, Joshua lay comfortably on the swaying roof of a wagon, thinking.

I said all that to Akshuler, but I can’t stay calm either. He glanced at their leader.

Joshua had two reasons for traveling through Tripia on his way to Reinhardt, not including the Laypone: one, he wanted to find the connections from his past life; second, the “special lich” which likely was related to one of his foes, directly or indirectly.

Akshuler said there might be classes of lich and archlich, but he’s not at that level.

Archliches were high-level monsters that had reached the level of a 7th-Class mage, whether they did it while they were still living or undead.

Liches, unlike most undead, could think like a human—that made them far more dangerous than their lesser kin. The bigger issue was that liches’ power varied wildly based on their class.

They have a passion for magic that defies death. In order to do that, they have to sell their soul—to a devil.

That was the distinguishing feature between the classes of liches. The Demonic Realm was as vast as the Human Realm, and its inhabitants were similarly diverse and numerous. All of them were powerful, such that even the strongest beings in the Human Realm—dragons, for instance—couldn’t guarantee a victory against a demon.

However, demons of that power were rare; these “high-level demons” numbered no more than a hundred. Still, even the lowest-ranking demons—a succubus, for instance—could contend with the most skilled mortals.

That meant a lich could gain a lot of power in exchange for the magician’s soul. Their pact allowed the lich to draw on a certain portion of the demon’s strength. The distinction between classes lies in the strength of the bond between wizard and demon.

Most demons were precluded from forming a contract due to competition within the Demon Realm. The majority of contracts were formed with intermediate demons seeking to get a leg up against their competition—however, there were always exceptions.

This was one of them. The lich Joshua was thinking of had formed a contract with a demon of the highest degree. A demon this powerful had distinct, unique features and would grant its contractor unfathomable power.

And this lich, the mastermind behind the bloodbath that becomes known as the Massacre of the East: Richi Heinz, contracted to Asmodeus, ranked 32 in the Demon Realm. Heinz was the first person on the continent to form a contract with one of the one hundred most powerful demons.

After the Massacre, Heinz vanished. Formidable men from throughout the continent, to say nothing of the Holy Empire of Hubalt, were dispatched to hunt him down. Heinz wasn’t seen for decades.

That gloomy old man was the most misinformed of Joshua’s adversaries. If Joshua met him, he was sure he could build rapport.

It was peaceful right now, but he would strike… and soon. Rivers of blood would be spilled.

Asmodeus has a very specific ability. This knowledge comes from my past life, but if it’s correct… Joshua’s eyes narrowed.

Kaiser discovered the enigmatic gray marble he used to kill Joshua in the ruins of Amon, the seventh-strongest demon. If that marble had the ability to store unique energies, then…

It may be a jump, but it’s not too much of one. Kaiser’s left hand was also a sorcerer. Joshua grit his teeth as he remembered the old man in the black robe that watched him die.

“The dark priest, Berber.” His eyes smoldered. The dark priest was more finely attuned to energy than anyone else; there was no way he could’ve missed the aura of someone like Heinz.

Evergrant von Aswald, current chief Imperial Wizard. Draxia bell Grace, progenitor of the war god and born of the noblest blood—but from the perspective of his homeland, he was nothing more than a traitor. And Berber, the dark priest, whose identity was secret to everyone, save Kaiser. These men had their hand in Joshua’s death.

Soon, all three men will emerge at Kaiser’s side. I will crush the people you count on for your power, Kaiser. Then… I’m coming for you.

All priests of Hermes in the Hubalt Empire were granted a single privilege: the freedom to travel to any land with a temple of the Hermes. Obviously, there were limitations on entering enemy territory, or regions which denied the existence of gods, but it was a privilege of no small power nonetheless.

A priest with dark inclinations could easily become a spy, though it wouldn’t be easy. Any priest who exercised this privilege would be carefully monitored; any evidence of spying would see them vilified by the entire continent and immediately declared a public enemy.

With that said, Christian, pupil of Chrysler John Sebastian, knight of the gods and Hubalt’s representative in the Master Battle, could use this privilege to travel to Avalon without much trouble.

“What…” Christian couldn’t believe the state of Tripia. “I’ve heard the rumors, but why is this place still abandoned?”

It was incomprehensible—not even an insect could be found in these desolate lands.

Most border settlements were highly developed thanks to international trade. This place was, frankly, nothing but ruins.

Christian heard footsteps approaching from behind and turned to look.

There were five men in robes; they were identical except that three wore blue robes while the other two wore brown robes. It was obvious that they belonged to two distinct groups.

Christian frowned. The blue robes bore a symbol of a wide-brimmed wizard’s hat on the chest, while the brown robes bore an ivory tower.

It was odd—why would Avalon’s imperial wizards and the Tower’s wizards be traveling together? As far as Christian knew, there was no interaction between the two organizations.

If I had to come up with an explanation, Evergrant was once a member of the Tower.

Even stranger was the fact that the Empire of Knights had sent wizards for a mission like this.

A middle-aged man, one of the blue-robed and apparently their leader, examined Christian’s clothing.

“Are you from the Hubalt Empire?”

“May God reward those who seek the truth—”

“I apologize, but this is a restricted area.” The man bowed his head slightly. “Where are you going?”

“As a humble messenger of Hermes’s will, must I have a destination? I go wherever I am needed. There are rumors that the remains of a remarkable creature was discovered here…”

The middle-aged man shook his head firmly.

“You have fallen prey to false reports; I’m afraid you’ve wasted your valuable time.”

“You mean—”

“This is an unfortunate result of some unpleasant happenings between the nobility in our Empire. You need not be alarmed.”

A war between families would not leave a hamlet in ruins like this. No country would allow their citizens to be harmed like this, if only for the sake of protecting their tax income.

There’s something… fishy. Christian’s eyes glowed. He’s too determined about this.

“If you detour a little further south, you will soon reach the Goddess’s temple. I wish you a safe and enjoyable journey”

“Yes, indeed. Thank you very much.” Christian bobbed his head, but his expression was cold behind his politeness.

Eventually, Christian and the wizards vanished from view.

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