*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.
Due to my great injury, my three day vacation was extended to one week. It was rumoured that Leaf had attempted to get a month for me but was denied as the Pope had an important mission for me.
Sigh… Leaf, you really are a nice guy!
I added the soured milk to the paste mixture and mixed it in carefully with the Holy Sun Blade's scabbard. The scabbard is really useful. As it's made out of pure gold, I can use it to stir apple wine or my whitening paste without having to worry about it rusting. Actually, it seems to gleam even brighter than before after I wipe it clean!
Hmm… Ok, looks just about done to me; I should be able to apply it on now. After the long fight yesterday, I should have immediately done my whitening routine that night, but was unable to due to me collapsing from excessive blood loss. When I had woken up this morning, I had nearly fainted once more when I saw myself in the mirror. My beautiful creamy white skin had darkened to a honey golden colour!
Oh God! I'm going to have to undergo my whitening routine every night for a whole week before I can get back my previously fair skin.
"S-Sun! What are you doing?" Leaf had suddenly come into my room and was now staring at me in shock.
I've just finished whipping up my whitening mask and am going to apply it to my skin…… I thought distractedly, looking down at the scoop of whitening mask I had in my hand.
Why is it that the one time I forget to lock my door, Leaf forgets to knock before entering?!
But luckily I have yet to apply the paste! Or else if Leaf had seen a paste covered me, he would have mistaken me for a rotting undead and immediately drag me off to Judge.
"You've just lost a lot of blood yesterday and should be resting! What are you doing out of bed?!" Leaf hurriedly pushed me back into my bed and tucked in the covers around me firmly.
I rolled my eyes at this. Oi! I'm still holding a pile of paste in my right hand!
"Sun, what are you doing with this paste?"Asked Leaf as he stared perplexedly at the paste in my outstretched hand.
Leaf looked at it and thought for a moment, before turning to smile at me, "I understand now. You're hungry, aren't you?"
……However did he come to this conclusion? Does that pile of paste even look edible?!
"Eating this will make you sick." Leaf scolded as he swiped the pile of paste from my hand and threw it back into the bowl. He then proceeded to take the bowl away with him as he left. "I'll get something for you from the kitchens"
Hey, hey! I have no objection to you bringing me something to eat, but where do you think you're taking my whitening paste to?
That bowl of whitening paste cost me five days' worth of salary! I had planned to use it for a week of whitening!
When Leaf opened the door, he was startled by the person standing outside and dropped the bowl of paste……
My five days' salary! Nooooo---!
I leapt from the bed to save it but couldn't reach it in time……
Luckily, the guy standing outside the door calmly caught the bowl. He was black haired, black-eyed and clothed in black. Giving out a heavy and depressing feeling, the terrible and fearsome Judge Knight stood at my door.
"Judge Knight, may I ask what business you have here?" Asked Leaf warily.
Oh, I forgot to mention this before, but nobody else knows about our friendship but the both of us. On the surface, we still dislike each other and fight like cats and dogs.
It seems that I'm the only one on the Good Warm Faction who actually likes him. The rest are still wary of him and avoid him whenever possible. I guess the brainwashing since we began training at the Holy Temple was rather successful.
The Judge Knight merely stood there expressionlessly, looking rather intimidating. In his uniquely deep voice, he answered, "I'm here to tell Sun about the Pope's mission for him."
The nice and kind Leaf could never hope to stand up against the Judge Knight's daunting presence. He turned to me forlornly, "Sun……"
I had felt rather dizzy after my earlier burst of action, and sank down slowly and gracefully onto my bed. "Leaf Knight, since this is an important mission entrusted to Sun, this Sun accepts it."
"But you just received such a grievous injury, you should be resting now." Leaf said apprehensively.
"Please do not worry. This Sun has the God of Light's protection."
If you keep on insisting on forcing me to speak, I really will faint in front of you!
"Well……all right." Leaf said reluctantly, before he closed the door behind him.
Judge followed to lock the door, ensuring that we would not be bothered by anyone else.
He then went directly to the point. "The Pope is rather concerned about this incident. He wants you to secretly investigate the events surrounding the Death Knight. You're given one week to do this," he said, as he put down the bowl and sat down.
I knew it! I knew it was too good to be true. There's no way the Pope would have willingly given me a whole week off……
"Sun does not understand. What kind of mission could not be carried out under the God of Light's watchful eye?" I asked, resigned. These kinds of secret investigations are always very troublesome.
"I do not know." Judge replied.
"The appearance of a Death Knight is rather worrying, but why is the Pope getting involved? And why does he want me in particular to investigate it?"
I was rather bewildered. The Pope was a slave driver who exploits every man power available but this is a little too much! My recovery abilities may be pretty good, but I did bleed all over the streets just yesterday. I need at least three days' rest to get back to my optimum condition. If the matter was so urgent, why he didn't he assign the task to any one of the other Holy Knights?
"The Pope is not interested in the outcome of the investigation. Once you've found the culprit, you need only report it to me," said the Judge Knight with a severe look in his eyes. This stern look was not directed at me, but at the unknown culprit.
Ahh……The Sun Knight is to secretly investigate the matter, and the Judge Knight is to secretly deal with the criminal. Looks like this matter wasn't as simple as I thought.
I don't think you fully understood the situation, so let me explain it to you.
Creating a Death Knight is a very difficult and complicated task. You need two things to create a Death Knight, and one important 'food' to sustain and make it grow stronger.
Firstly, you need a high levelled necromancer
A high levelled necromancer isn't easy to find as a necromancer isn't a very popular job. In addition, a lot of people discriminate against necromancers, causing them to hide away in very remote places where people can't find them easily.
Secondly, you need a fresh corpse filled with a great deal of hatred and bitter resentment, and it has to have died with an unfulfilled desire.
Now, finding a corpse that meets those requirements is even harder than finding the necromancer.
How hard can it be, you ask?
Well, I have to clarify that the corpse's resentment cannot be some simple thing where he had not had a satisfactory last meal or something. Oh no, to create a Death Knight, you need hatred and resentment for something greater, like a bitter grudge against someone, so strong that he would want to return from the grave!
And lastly, the only thing that could make a Death Knight grow stronger-an impossible obsession!
The more impossible it is, the greater his hatred; and it is his hatred that makes a Death Knight grow stronger and more powerful. When his hatred and resentment reaches a certain level, he will evolve into a Death Lord, and by then we'll all be in a lot of trouble.
No matter how strong a Death Knight may be, he is only one; but a Death Lord possesses the powers of a necromancer, allowing him to raise an army of the undead, as well as allowing him to increase their skills with magic.
In short, the birth of a Death Lord must never be allowed to happen, or it'll spell great disaster for all of us.
Now, how to kill a Death Knight? The easiest method would be to defeat it before burning it till nothing remains.
The second method is to find out his grievances and obsession. Help him to get his revenge, help him to achieve his obsession, and he would finally be at peace and be able to move on to the next life on his own.
The second method may sound more humane and the 'right thing to do', but generally it is easier to just defeat it.
Back to the story:
"Why is the Pope so concerned about this Death Knight?" I asked curiously. What could have caused the Pope's conscience to rear its head and make him interested in a Death Knight's past grievances? I am sure even the God of Light was surprised!
Judge looked at me strangely and said, "I heard that during the entire fight, the only thing the Death Knight had said was that 'he'll come back for you', is that right?"
That's right, I nodded. He did say that…… suddenly, I understood what Judge was getting at!
Usually, a Death Knight would only appear around one person-the person whom he has a grudge on, or else someone who was connected with his obsession……
"I'm under suspicion?" I asked, so stunned that I forgot to speak praises of the God of Light.
The Judge Knight nodded solemnly.
"I didn't kill him! I don't even know him!" I protested.
Judge merely nodded and said, "Then find out the truth and clear your name. But you'd better get a move on it; people are beginning to suspect you."
I'm pretty sure I could become a Death Knight if I died right now.
I'm filled with such great resentment!
First of all, I was attacked by the Death Knight and had bled all over the streets. Then I get a week's holiday, only to find out that I would be using it to investigate a murder case. Worst of all is that I find myself the greatest suspect for the murder!
I had originally planned to apply my whitening mask and sleep for three days before enjoying the rest of my holiday. But how can I sleep anymore when I am the prime suspect for a murder?!
The moment Judge left my room; I staggered up and begun preparing to leave. A one week deadline to solve a murder case is already asking for a lot, but it is even harder still to solve a Death Knight's murder. I don't even know how long the guy had been dead for, before coming back as a Death Knight!
So even though I felt weak enough to collapse at any time, I still dutifully dragged myself out of the Holy Temple and began my investigation…… Should I die from carrying out this investigation, I swear I'll come back as a Death Knight and seek my revenge upon that Death Knight!
I pulled on a cloak and strapped on my Holy Sun Blade…… Who knows when the Death Knight might come looking for me? It's best to bring it along with me, just in case.
I had thought of riding a horse but decided against it when I realised how dizzy I was. I'd only get dizzier atop a horse. If I were to slip from the horse's back in my current conditions, I'd surely die.
So walking it is. I just pray that I don't collapse in the middle of my investigation.
To avoid any unnecessary distractions, I pulled up my hood to conceal my face, and slowly left the Holy Temple. A lot of people went around me impatiently, giving me a 'do you think yourself a tortoise? Why the hell are you walking so slowly for?' look.
I was feeling too weak to bother about anyone and merely continued on slowly. The further I walked, the quieter my surroundings grew, as busy shops bustling with people slowly gave way to poorer housing areas. The noisy streets grew less and less crowded until all that remained were a few drunkards lying about and the occasional person going about their business.
"Oh, ho—What a pretty cloak! Mister, are you looking for your missing wife?" sniggered a couple of drunkards.
I walked past them slowly step by step, neither speeding up nor slowing down, until I reached the darkest and most rundown part of the street and stopped in front of a house that looked rather inhabitable.
I kicked open the door and swept into the house while yelling angrily, "Damn corpse! Where are you! Come out here! I've been greatly inconvenienced by you!"
There were only a few pieces of broken furniture inside; and covering every inch of surface and more were layers upon layers of cobweb. If one had simply rushed in, they would have gotten wrapped up in all the cobwebs until they become a giant cocoon.
No one could have been living here, not even a stray dog.
But I know for a fact that this was merely an illusion spun by a necromancer to hide from the prejudiced public.
"Dead corpse! So you refuse to come out?" I slowly reached out a beautiful white hand from within the folds of my cloak….. Shit! It's a golden coloured hand.
Sob…… I've turned into a honey golden coloured Sun Knight!
No, forget about it for now. I have a necromancer to draw out. Without reciting any spells, holy light began gathering in my hand, growing stronger and stronger until its soft white glow illuminated the whole house.
Not that I'm bragging or anything, but there aren't many priests who can gather so much holy light without needing to recite a spell. Other than the Pope and his cardinals, only a handful of priests can achieve this feat.
While teaching me magic, my teacher once remarked, "Child, you are perfectly suited for a priest."
"Really?" I had asked happily, cheered up by this praise. I had been rather discouraged about my dismal sword skills, you see.
"Yup. If you had joined the Hall of Light, you would definitely have become one of the strongest popes ever!"
My eyes sparkled at this as I dreamed about the fame and glory of the strongest pope ever……
"But since you had joined the Holy Temple instead, you will just have to settle for being a very weak Sun Knight."
'A man fears choosing the wrong career, while a woman fears marrying the wrong man.' This saying is quite true. A single uninformed choice had changed my fate from becoming the strongest pope to becoming the weakest knight. How I regretted my choice. For as a young boy, I had foolishly fallen for the glamour of a knight; leaping at the chance to wear cool armour and wave about a sword.
It is only now when I am more experienced that I realise what a great career being a priest is!
As a knight, I have to spend money my sword, taking it in to be sharpened. I have to spend money on a good set of armour, as well as having to pay to have it fixed whenever an enemy takes a swing at it.
But if I were a priest, I won't have to lug about a sword, or spend money on it. Even though priests have to buy a magic staff too, but with my superb abilities at calling up holy light, even a broken tree branch is sufficient for me.
Furthermore, as a priest I won't need to wear armour. Even though priest have to buy a set of priest's robes too, as I said earlier-my abilities at calling up holy light can more than make up for a lack of them. I would be fine even wearing a scrap piece of cloth.
God had gifted me with the all the talents necessary for a priest, yet I stupidly chose to become a knight. And even worse, I cannot quit this job and can only continue to be the Sun Knight until my retirement, or the day I die, whichever comes first……
"Sun! Sun!" the shouts finally drew me from my lamenting.
I jerked my head up and saw a little black shadow jumping about while desperately shouting out my name. I quickly released the holy light.
"Oh, oh! It hurts!" The little shadow crouched in a corner of the room while sobbing pitifully.
The whole house looked different, for my holy light had broken the necromancer's illusion spell. The numerous cobwebs have disappeared, leaving behind a clean looking house, but……
Pink! Pink, pink, pink! Everything was pink coloured!
There was no need to set the illusion spell to hide the fact that a necromancer was living here.
The walls were pink; the tables and chairs were pink; the bed was pink; even the dolls and stuffed toys filling the house to the brim were pink coloured. Nobody would believe that a necromancer lived here!
The dark and debilitated house, filled with dirty cobwebs had looked even more suited to a necromancer than this pink house!
"Sun……" The little black shadow tugged at my cloak shyly.
I looked down—that's right-the necromancer only reaches up to my waist—I glared down at it fiercely.
The shadow folded into its self and sniffled softly at my glare.
"What are you crying for? You're a necromancer!" I looked at the little shadow disbelievingly. "If anyone has the right to cry, it should be me! Not only was I slashed at and bleeding all over the streets, people suspect me of doing unspeakable acts of evil, as I'm the only person the Death Knight has mentioned."
"Well, you probably did do it……" the shadow muttered quietly. But not quietly enough.
"What. Did. You. Say?!" I clenched my teeth and slowly picked it up……
A handsome young man with honey golden skin sat on a pink recliner, surrounded by pink. On his lap sat an adorable little girl with large soulful eyes and beautiful golden curls.
But if you were to look closely at her, you would realise that her skin was pink coloured! How shocking and creepy……
"So, corpse, are you saying that you don't know about the corpse's history?" I asked with a frown.
"Hey! Don't keep calling Pink corpse! Pink is called Pink!" The pink coloured girl complained as she licked her lollipop, but pouted when I glared at her and explained. "Pink had only went to the execution grounds as usual to buy back a corpse. The last time, Sun had requested for a better undead, so Pink had spent more money this time and got a fully intact corpse……I didn't know that that corpse would have such strong resentment and obsession that it became a Death Knight."
Pink tilted her head at me cutely and said, "And coincidentally his obsession seems to be Sun!"
"But I don't even recognise that guy!" I shouted irritated. I have never seen that guy before in my life, why would his obsession be me?
I did not know if Pink believed me or not, as she merely looked down and concentrated on her lollipop.
I knitted my eyebrows and asked, "You said you bought the corpse from an execution site? Is it a criminal?"
"I don't think so." Pink looked back up at me with an experienced look in her eyes…… She might like pretending to be a little girl, but who knows how old she really was.
"You don't think so?" I asked her perplexed. "Are not all those sent to the execution sites criminals?"
Pink looked at me in contempt and laughed, "Yes, on the surface! But I'll tell you something I learned from years of buying corpses. It is a simple matter to get rid of an unwanted body at execution sites for just a little bit of money."
"Really? And how can you tell if they were criminals or not?" I asked, wondering if I should mention this to Judge and ask him to investigate this matter.
"Idiot!" Pink laughed condescendingly. "Criminals are executed by hanging till death. While all the corpses I've bought have rope marks around their necks, it is easy to tell the criminals from those who are not by checking to see if their cervical spines are broken. Those without a broken neck had not died from hanging, but by other means."
"And how did the Death Knight die?"
I decided to focus on clearing my name first, and think about the execution grounds later.
Pink tilted her head to one side cutely and thought for a moment before replying. "Tortured to death. His body was covered with scars. He must have been tortured for a very long time before dying from the torture."
Tortured to death…… I could feel a few chills going down my back.
"But Sun……" Pink suddenly looked at me in admiration. "I never knew you shared the same hobby as me. We could have a discussion next time and exchange ideas about torture. I've never tortured a person till he could have enough resentment to become a Death Knight before."
Upon hearing this, I grabbed Pink by the shoulders and gave her a hard shake. "To hell with your discussions! I've told you already, I don't know that guy at all!"
After being shaken by me, Pink's eyes looked to be on the verge of falling out. I quickly slapped my hand over them, popping them back into their sockets with a 'pop'. I had no desire to see eyeballs falling out of their sockets.
"I understand. Pink does not know those tortured by Pink either!" Pink smiled at me knowingly and winked.
Why you…… Die you little…… But wait, she's already dead……
This evil little necromancer actually believed that I had tortured that Death Knight.
"Which execution grounds did you buy the corpse from?"
"The one north west of the city."
"Ahh… The one furthest from here…" Looks like I have another long journey ahead of me.
I resignedly stood up and pushed away my longing to collapse onto the pink bed just a few steps away from me…… How I wish to lie there, burying my face into the pink cake pillow on the bed, and sleep for three days and three nights.
However, I have to crawl over to the corpse-filled execution site and question its corrupted keepers about the corpse's real history.
Just thinking about it makes me feel even more tired……
I pushed away the pink corpse from my lap and slowly got up, before slowly making my way over to the door……
I turned around and looked at Pink-who was leaning against one of the pink walls and licking her bright pink lollipop.
She batted her eyes at me and said, "You should remember that Pink keeps her word. I would gladly accept you as my apprentice at any time. Even the Holy Temple and your teacher, the strongest Sun Knight in history, cannot force me to hand over my apprentice."
I stared at her blankly, uncertain of her meaning. Was she offering to protect me?!
The corpse might be a little weird-OK, a lot weird-but she is definitely a loyal friend.
I smiled at her weakly and waved goodbye; the little girl didn't say another word either and merely waved her lollipop at me happily.