*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.
Judge and I had explained the whole situation with the Crown Prince, for only a fool would hope to secretly hide close to fifty holy knights within the Royal Palace without alerting anyone. The Crown Prince had grudgingly agreed. Looks like he had already realized the gravity of the situation.
And so, a group of holy knights put on the uniforms of the royal knights and patrolled the area, while another group disguised themselves as servants, hiding all around the palace. There were already a huge number of people going in and out of the palace daily, so it was a simple thing to insert fifty more people without alerting anyone.
Judge was lying in bed, pretending to be the person Roland was after, while I had to hide away in the wardrobe. To hide my strong holy aura, the Pope had to design a special seal to seal away my aura and had stuck the seal on the wardrobe, hence why I am currently lying in the wardrobe.
Not that I'm criticizing or anything, but the royalty really are a different breed from us. Just this one wardrobe is half the size of my room; the flooring of the wardrobe is lined with crushed velvet, so soft that I simply couldn't resist lying down on it. I then grabbed a hanging cloak and covered myself with it…… Ahh… how comfy! I started feeling drowsy; this wardrobe is even more comfortable than my own bed.
Thank goodness I did not have to take Judge's position and lie on the bed, if just a wardrobe is enough to make me sleepy, what more a bed fit for royalty? I'd probably still be asleep when Roland comes in slicing me in half……
"Huh?" I flipped over onto my other side. 'What is it? How noisy! I'm sleeping here!'
The person outside was silent for a moment before pounding heavily on the wardrobe door.
I leapt to my feet, startled wide awake, and anxiously asked, "What is it? Is Roland here?!"
"Not yet." Judge's low and deep voice could be heard from outside. "But I'm worried that even if he were to come bursting in you would have fallen asleep and not notice him at all."
"Eh…… hahahah! Of course not!" I l gave a forced laughed. 'It is possible. Judge really knows me too well!'
"Night has only just fallen, Roland shouldn't be arriving so soon. To avoid you falling asleep, why don't you talk about him?"
I kept quite for a while. I had no idea where to begin, but Judge was a patient man, he did not push me to speak. In the end, I let out a deep sigh and began reminiscing about my past.
"The first time I had met Roland was at the Selection for the future Twelve Holy Knight, when only ten boys were left in the selection.
"You might or might not be aware of it, but that event was one of the single most widely betted on event in a long time. Practically everyone had placed betted on the outcomes for the next generation's Twelve Holy Knights."
"I know." From outside came Judge's reply. It sounded fainter; he'd probably lain back on the bed.
I dared not lie back on the carpeted ground and instead leaned back against the wardrobe's door. I asked Judge, "Do you still remember the odds against you?"
"I never noticed."
I gave a chuckle at that. "You and Roland are equally serious, spending all your time on sword practice! I still remember though, your odds were 1:1.083. Even if anyone had betted on you, they would not have won much."
"You remember the numbers very clearly." I could hear a hint of wonder from him.
'Well, can't be help, I have an excellent memory.'
I continued on with my story, "Roland's odds were 1:1.052, even higher than yours. That is to say, the probability of him being selected as the next Sun Knight was even higher than the probability of you being selected for the next Judge Knight."
"But he wasn't chosen," said Judge evenly.
"That's right, he wasn't. Instead, a kid with the odds of 1:563 had been chosen. Back then, a number of people had become millionaires just from betting on me." I said a little deprecatingly.
Outside, Judge replied calmly, "You weren't that bad. Your holy spells and written test results were among the best. Outsiders just didn't understand holy spells and the written examinations."
Even though it had all happened a long time ago, I still felt very glad and relieved at Judge's comforting words. 'That's right! I wasn't
that bad! It was only the sword skills that I did a little poorly at.'
"However, your sword skills were really terrible."
'Hey! You didn't have to add that last sentence!'
"Anyway, because everyone was certain that Roland was going to be the next Sun Knight, and I was the least likely candidate, we were able to get along well with each other. He would often help me, like……"
"Help me fight, help me scale the walls and buy me blueberry pastries, help me chase away that dog that bit me, etc. etc." Judge gave a little sigh at this. "Creus, you really haven't changed at all."
"Hahahah……" I laughed weakly. 'Oh, that's right, since Roland left, Judge had taken his place.'
"And so because you took his place, Roland now wants to harm you and frame you?"
"No. He wasn't trying to harm me at all." I felt like crying when I recalled that incident. "He was just being incredibly clueless. Till now, he still has no idea that he had accidently started rumours about me being his murderer. He believes that he had only accidently cut me."
"Speaking of the rumours, I have a suspicion that……" Judge suddenly stopped in the middle of his sentence.
I was wondering about it when I heard a familiar voice from outside, except now, it was filled with hatred.
"I've said this before that I, Roland, will come back for you, Your Majesty."
Roland?! How is it possible? How did he get here…… Ah! It must be the secret tunnels, damn it! I hadn't thought that Roland would know of the tunnels too.
"Y-you are not the King!"
Have we been discovered?
I quickly pulled open the wardrobe and leapt out while letting out a burst of holy light. This was our signal to the others lying in wait outside. Let it not be said that our holy knights are not alert and observant, for the holy light had barely faded away when Blaze Knight and the Judge Division had come leaping in through the windows on both sides of the room, while Earth Knight led my Sun Division in from the doors.
Judge had also leapt out of bed, his Divine Judgement Sword in hand.
Roland was surprised at first, but then he finally turned to look at me, saying in a disbelieving voice, "Creus……. How could it be?!"
"Roland, you should know that I cannot allow you to kill anyone." I said a little sadly as I looked at my old friend.
"But… I had clearly told you……"
I interrupted him, nodding, "You told me that your enemy was the Crown Prince."
"But," Roland interrupted angrily, "this is the King's bedchambers!"
"Correct. It was only until the moment you personally told me that your enemy was the Crown Prince, that I was a hundred percent certain that your real target was His Majesty the King. Roland, you've always been as terrible at telling lies as I had been at sword fighting."
"You-……" Roland was stunned speechless.
"Besides, I may not know for certain if the Crown Prince has a hobby of torturing people to death, but I am certain that if he did do such things, we would never have discovered it for at least another ten years."
I gave a shrug and said, "The Crown Prince is not an idiot. If he had really killed a person, he would definitely have destroyed the body once and for all, and not order one of his knights to dispose of the body for him instead.
"Moreover, rumours were later started saying that I had tortured the Death Knight and then killed him. It's understandable if it had only mentioned me killing the Death Knight; as everyone had heard you saying that you would come back for me, it's reasonable that they would conclude that I was the one who had killed you. But, the rumours had specifically mentioned that I had 'tortured you to death'. Now that's much more perplexing."
As I carefully watched Roland's face, I could tell from his baffled expression that he had no idea of the rumours. But that's alright; I wasn't solely explaining it for him.
"The only people who could have known that the Death Knight was tortured to death would be the Death Knight himself, and the guilty party who had done it in the first place."
I took another glance at Roland; the latter was frowning as if trying very hard to understand what I was saying. I continued on regardless, "However, the rumours had spread too far too quickly. I do not believe that the Death Knight was the one who had started them. After all, it's a little hard for the Death Knight to walk out into the streets and start gossiping with people.
"Therefore, the rumours incriminating me must have come from the guilty party themselves." I gave a small smile and turned to look at Judge. "The thing that you were about to mention earlier was this, right? Would you like to add anything, Judge Knight?"
Judge merely gave me a look, as if saying 'Stop playing around', but he did further elaborate on the subject, "Originally, the Holy Temple would have most likely dropped all investigations the moment we realise that this case involved the royalty; however, the moment the Sun Knight's reputation was dragged into the case, we had to find out the truth to clear the Sun Knight's name."
"That is to say, the guilty party had been stupid to try to incriminate me, forcing the Holy Temple to find out the truth. Doing something so stupid is not something the Crown Prince would have done."
I gave a cold laugh. "And thinking about it, who else had a grudge against me, who had enough guts and the stupidity to incriminate the Church of Light's Sun Knight? Why, there could be no other than His Majesty, our dearly beloved King."
"Bullshit! You impertinent bastard!"
The bookshelves on one of the walls suddenly split in two and moved apart, and the King rush out in a fit of anger. Following him closely was the Crown Prince, frowning deeply. Besides the two were a large number of royal knights, there to protect the two royals.
As I had expected, they were hiding in that sealed secret room that I had first investigated earlier this afternoon. In order to lie here in wait, they had probably lifted the seal on its exit.
The moment Roland saw the King, his eyes glowed a deep blood red colour and he rushed in the King's direction. The King quickly paled and pushed his knights to the front of him while he hid behind them.
I quickly reminded them, but there was no need for it as Judge had already raised his sword to block Roland's attack, while Earth quickly rushed forward to stand in front of the King, his Earth Shield already out and ready.
I started chanting an incantation, and as I chanted the Holy Light filling the room grew stronger and brighter. This Holy Light is the bane of all undead creatures; regardless of Roland's mastery with the sword, nor the fact he is one of the more powerful kinds of undead; as a Death Knight he would not be able to withstand the Holy Light for long.
Moreover, his opponent is the Judge Knight-the most skilled swordsman among the Twelve Holy Knights.
And true to form, Roland did not last long. His sword was soon sent flying by Judge and he was forced to the ground by the strong Holy Light.
Seeing this, the King-who had been cowering behind his knights all this time-immediately rushed out and stomped on Roland's head. As he continued to kick and stomp on him, he yelled out, "You rubbish! My killing you was an honour, yet you dare to come back for revenge……?!"
The Crown Prince paled and he tried to pull his father away, but instead his thin, weak body was knocked back. Fortunately, the surrounding knights managed to catch him and so spared this royal personage from the indignity of falling to the ground in front of so many.
"Stop stomping him!!" The Blaze Knight standing by could not hold his peace any longer, and stepped up to push away the King.
"You dared to push me……" The King said shocked, before shouting out, "Royal Knights! My knights, he attacked me! Attack him!"
The royal knights were taken aback by the order, but after only hesitating a second they pulled out their swords and advanced on the Blaze Knight, surrounding him carefully.
Blaze's face had swiftly turned red in anger, as he shouted, "You dare to point your weapons at me?! Holy Knights, prepare for battle!"
The holy knights aimed their swords at the royal knights.
"Everyone, stop this at once!" the Judge Knight roared angrily.
But the situation had already escalated beyond Judge's control. His order may have stopped his own division's knights- they would never go against his orders-but there was still my Sun Division, the hot-tempered Blaze Knight, and the secretly venomous Earth Knight.
The King's longstanding appalling conduct had not endeared him to the holy knights, and plenty of holy knights already held him in contempt. Yet now, the King had stomped on the fallen Death Knight and openly admitted to killing Roland, as if trying to make everyone detest him even more.
The holy knights and the royal knights glared at each other, both sides ready to attack at any time. Adding fuel to fire to the already tenuous situation, the King grabbed a vase and threw it at the Blaze Knight. It did not hit its target though and smashed instead on the Earth Knight's Earth Shield.
However, such an insulting action was enough to incite the Sun Division's wrath. One of them spitted at the royal knights, and before you knew it, both sides had attacked each other. The sounds of weapons clanging on shields and armour filled the room.
I have to admit that, my Sun Division may be a little, OK, extremely hot-tempered, but their strength is definitely top-notch.
I don't know of it's because of their piss poor luck or due to their inborn nature, but they often seem to be provoking and getting into fights with people who shouldn't be trifled with. And because their leader always had a smile on and looked easy to bully, not to mention that he had adopted the 'Don't bother me' attitude with them, they had no choice but to depend on themselves. Utilising their pure strength and rallying together, they would beat up the other party until they (the other party) were fearful of complaining of their treatment.
I ignored the fight going on behind me and walked up to Roland. As I knelt in front of him and looked down at him, I felt my many emotions struggling within me.
Roland called out my name softly and lifted his head, his face expressionless. Only the flames within his eyes revealed his inner turmoil as they slowly darkened. He stared at me with those black flame-eyes of his and asked, "Is this what you do after becoming the Sun Knight? Protecting that kind of people?"
I said softly, "Roland, there are many unfair things in this world that we cannot change. As the Church of Light's Sun Knight, I have to consider many things."
"Is this your answer?" The flames in Roland's eyes turned even blacker and blazed even stronger.
"Roland, wake up." I said with pity in my eyes. "No matter what the King has done, as long as he remains the King, I have to stop you from killing him."
"Even when he truly deserves death?" Roland pinned me with his eyes, the flames beginning to burn so brightly that the flames were leaping out from his eye sockets.
"Yes, even when he truly deserves death." I acknowledged frankly.
"What a Sun Knight!" Roland started laughing abruptly, his small chuckles growing into a crazed laughter. The black flames in his eyes had spread out from his sockets and moved across his face like two streams of black tears.
Without warning, Roland knocked his shoulder into me, sending me flying. At this sudden attack, the Holy Light previously filling the room instantly winked out, and with the Holy Light gone, Roland was able to regain his feet once more.
I slowly got up after being knocked down. Several holy knights from the Judge Division had seen this and stepped forward to help me, but I waved them back, ordering them to continue standing guard at the exits.
Other than the Judge Knight Division, no one else had appeared to notice anything. The whole room was chaotic as a battlefield with the royal knights fighting with Blaze, Earth and my Sun Knight Division. All in all there were about fifty or so people battling it out in the room.
Although both the Crown Prince and the Judge Knight were trying to stop the fights, the King was instead doing his best to stroke the fire. Furthermore, my Sun Division knights were completely ignoring the Judge Knight. Besides, their leader-moi-and the Judge Knight are sworn rivals! It's perfectly normal for them to disregard the Judge Knight's orders!
By now, the Crown Prince's face had turned so pale he looked to be on the verge of fainting; Judge Knight, on the contrary, was so angry his face had turned black.
It is fortunate that this is the king's royal bedchambers; it was as large as a conference hall. Otherwise, there would not have been enough room for more than fifty people to have out their battle here.
I chanted the incantation for the Holy Light once more, and this time the Holy Light was even brighter than before. But this time I had secretly tweaked it a little so that the Holy Light filled the entire room but stayed clear of Roland.
I needed Roland to become the Death Lord, for only then can my plan succeed.
The bright Holy Light successfully blocked everyone from seeing the Death Knight becoming a Death Lord, as well as covering up Roland's strong dark aura. No one could see Roland's form with the Holy Light so glaring; the Judge Division knights probably thought that I was in control of the Death Knight situation and so did not make a move to help me.
As for the rest, well… I doubt those knights so engrossed in their fights had even noticed the Holy Light disappearing and then reappearing again.
The Holy Light was cast by me so it did not block my vision, and I was able to witness firsthand the birth of a Death Lord.
Roland's body had originally been a pale grey colour, it was latter on that the flames in his eyes had turned a dark black and seeped out from his eyes and down his face, forming two black fiery streaks. Now, those black streaks were reaching down his neck and continued on under his clothes. I may not be able to see what happened as they travelled under his clothes, but I was soon able to see the streaks cover his arms and hands.
Other than the fiery black streaks, the surrounding dark aura was suddenly absorbed into Roland's body. Next, I could see something slowly growing from his back-a pair of black leathery wings akin to a dragon's! At the peak of each wing grew a set of sharp claws.
Pale white body covered with markings of black flames and a pair of clawed black wings, is this the Death Lord's form?
I have to admit that he looks pretty strong and powerful. I can only hope that my plan can stop Roland, or else…… Heheh! I'd probably die just while taking him down.
At this point, Roland opened his eyes and looked down curiously at the markings on his arms, and then twisted around to touch the wings on his back.
It is time!
I ran towards him, and when we were about one meter apart, Roland caught sight of me. His face twisted into an expression of anger as he sent me flying with a swipe of his hand. He was so fast that I hadn't manage to see him move.
I fell to the ground for the second time today. 'Shit! It really hurts this time!' I suspected that my chest had caved in, or even worse, that a hole had been punched right through!
The Judge Division knights were the first to notice my condition and had cried out, coming forward to help me, but with a wave of his hand and a few incantations, Roland had summoned up all kinds of dark creatures. Zombies, skeletal warriors, blood-sucking human-head spiders, malignant spirits……there were even several that I could not put a name to.
'Isn't this a little too powerful?!' I thought as my face paled. 'Please don't tell me my plan has backfired and Roland is going to kill me right here, right now!'
With this summons, the Judge Division were too busy trying to subdue the dark creatures to help me. But it had successfully alerted the two battling parties to what was happening.
The royal knights all cried out "protect the Crown Prince!" …… before realising that each had cried out the same thing and quickly shouted out "protect His Majesty, the King!"
'That old fart really isn't popular with everyone, even his own knights!'
And on the other side of the room, my Sun Division had finally noticed me lying on the ground coughing up blood, each showing various different expressions of shock that together they could make a compilation of 'Shocked and Stunned Faces'.
Struggling through my pain, I gave the order, "Stop the dark creatures, do not let a single one escape from this room."
"Yes, Sir!" They replied in unison, so disciplined were they that they were completely unrecognizable from the disobedient, unruly group earlier.
Even though my Sun Division might usually mess up everything, they would immediately become as obedient as a little kitten when they receive an order from me. This is because I had once told them that even if I had ordered them to jump off a cliff, they would have to follow my orders and jump. Or else I would personally push them off the cliff and throw down a huge rock after them.
At first, they weren't really afraid of this threat, for I was the ever-smiling Sun Knight and did not look at all scary. But, when I smiled at them as I kicked two of them off the cliff, and really pushed off two humongous rocks after them, the rest of the division made the decision to jump off the cliff themselves.
My Sun Division knights were better and quicker at subduing the dark creatures than the Judge Division, for the Holy Light and various other holy spells that is a must for the Sun Division is perfect for countering dark creatures.
I felt relieved as I watched my knights getting rid of the dark creatures easily; it was just a matter of time before all the dark creatures are gone.
Blaze and Earth had walked up to stand by my sides, each reaching out a hand to help me up. Once on my feet, I gave them the orders, "Blaze, I leave the spirits to you; Earth, help out anyone who is in trouble. I do not want to see any fatal injuries."
Both of them nodded, and Blaze entered the melee and started targeting the malignant spirits, Purification Fire burning in each hand.
Earth Knight stood by my side, watching the battle closely, casting his specialty-Earth Shield-whenever anyone was in trouble.
Roland was surrounded by a group of dark creatures. As he stood there he watched the battle going on around him with a small smirk on his lips. This was a complete 180 from his usual expression.
'Has his anger destroyed all rationality?' I wondered uneasily.
While thinking that, Roland did something that further supported my theory. He turned the dark aura in the room into a net-like form and placed it around the entire room, trapping everyone inside. He then summoned out a second wave of dark creatures, their numbers rivalling the number of knights in the room.
Ah, no wonder all the books on undead creatures had warned not to allow a Death Lord to be born, or else it'll be a disaster in the making……
I looked at Judge as he questioned the Crown Prince, "I apologise, your Highness, but the situation has gotten a little out of hand. May I ask how long it'll take for the rest of the knights and guards to notice the situation here?"
The Crown Prince was white as a bed sheet, yet he still had to fend off his father's shouts. He smiled wryly as he answered, "Because this…… delicate case…… is not something to be proud of, I had diverted all the guards elsewhere, and had given the order not to approach this area regardless of anything they might hear."
Upon hearing this, Judge frowned furiously before looking at me. I can guess at what he's planning. He probably wants me to get out and alert the guards and the Holy Temple, and call for backup.
That would be the best solution, because for one-I'm already injured; two-even if I weren't injured, my fighting skills were little better than an injured person; three-my whole body is filled with holy aura, and so it would be easy for me to get through the dark aura caging us in.
But I had my own plans. Just one more step left.
"What am I retaining you knights for?! Hurry up and kill that bastard!!" The king was trembling with fury, that he even slapped one of his own knights in anger.
'My dear beloved King, never before have I wished to kiss that fat sweaty paw of yours as I do now!'
His actions and words are a hundred percent sufficient to further enrage Roland, and it is this moment that I had been waiting for!
Roland was definitely furious. The flames in his eyes were spitting sparks and he gave a low inhuman roar. The dark aura exploded, causing the whole room to shake.
I immediately ran in the king's direction. I have no idea how Roland is going to break through the royal knights' defences to get to the King, but I know he'll definitely do it. I just need to stand in front of the King when he does it.
As I ran, I turned to look back at Roland. It seemed like the air was subtly bending around him, oh no, don't tell me……
I increased my pace, terrified that I would not reach the King in time.
While everyone else was still staring at the spot where he was last standing, Roland had re-materialised in front of the King. He gave him a cruel smile and said, "Your Majesty, your time is at hand."
The King was so terrified that his trembling legs could not support him and he dropped to his knees.
That move was a type of spacial magic-Instant Teleportation, shortening the distance between two places and allowing one to move between places in an instant. I never thought the Death Lord would be able to use this magic.
I was able to reach the King's front, just as Roland unhesitatingly lifted his sword to swing at the King's head. I quickly cast a holy spell on myself, giving me Holy Blessings, and took on Roland's attack.
Even so, my chest was sliced deeply and my blood spurted out, spraying onto Roland. Each drop of my holy blood was deadly to him, and he cried out in pain.
Even though he cut a sorry figure with my blood splattered all over him, his expression had cleared and the flames in his eyes were no longer as dark as before. Upon seeing this, I let out a breath of relief. He's finally calmed down. I was worried that he would continue on in his rampage!
"Creus……" Roland raised his head and stared at me with uncomprehendingly, "Just now, why didn't you stop-……"
"Roland!" I interrupted. 'Are you kidding?! I can't let all these people here know that I had purposely allowed Roland to become a Death Lord! They'd tie me up if they found out!'
"I know that you're determined to kill the person who had killed you, but I also know that you are not doing this for revenge. You're doing this because you cannot allow a cruel and heartless torturer to rule over this beautiful country of ours. You cannot bear the thought of people undergoing sufferings such as that you had experienced, to prevent future cases of Death Knights like yourself from happening again, right?"
Upon hearing my words, Roland nodded reflexively as they were somewhat similar to his intentions.
I looked at him calmly and said, "If that is so, if the King were to agree to abdicate his throne as a sign of his repentance, you would be satisfied and be able to move on, right Roland?"
"Su-sun Knight, what is the meaning of this?! What are you saying?!" The King cried out, his face red with anger.
Roland frowned at this, unsure at where I'm going with this.
"Roland? You're Captain Roland?" One of the royal knights suddenly cried out.
The rest of the royal knights seem to know of Roland's name, for they each took a closer look at the Death Lord's face, before one, then two,…… many of the knights had soon recognised who the Death Lord was.
The royal knights started murmuring:
"It really is him. It's that youngest captain of the royal knights."
"It's Roland! I used to run patrols with him."
"He was such a talented knight, how could this be……?"
"Captain Roland! Weren't you killed in the line of duty while out on a mission?" The knight who had first recognised Roland cried out.
Roland looked at the young knight and his severe face softened. "It's you, Herle."
"It really is Captain Roland!" When Herle heard his name called out, he got so worked up that he even dropped his sword. "H-How could you have become a Death Knight?" he asked disbelievingly.
Roland slowly turned back and looked at the King, his look of hatred making it clear to all that this was the person who had killed him. The royal knights looked at the King and looks of realization appeared on their faces. Not one person even doubted Roland's words, for the King's usual conduct was already telling everyone that yes, he is the kind of person to do such things.
The King got a little embarrassed, but he turned it into anger and shouted, "Yes, I'm the one who killed him! But he's one of my knights. He committed a crime so I merely executed him for it, what's wrong with that?"
Standing beside him, the Crown Prince wearily pressed his face into his hands, as if tired of all the trouble his father kept stirring up.
"Bullshit! Roland was one of the most law-abiding knights; he would never commit any crime. If not, why don't you tell us what crime he had committed?"
That knight called Herle must be one of Roland's fans, to be so daring as to shout back at his king; although, he did look rather shocked by his own outburst the moment he had realised what he had done. However, the other royal knights must have agreed with him, for even though no one else had spoken up, they were looking at the King coldly.
Looks like Roland has a pretty good reputation among the royal knights.
"He-he tried to take liberties with the princess!" The King cunningly picked a crime difficult to investigate, not caring that he was ruining his own daughter's reputation.
The twenty or so royal knights all revealed strange expressions, same even looked exasperated as they explained, "Everyone knows that Captain Roland avoids women. He doesn't covet money, he doesn't gamble, or drink, or get into fights. He spends all his free time doing nothing but swords practice……"
This kind of guy really
is hard to incriminate, is what the King must be moaning inside.
"I-as the King of a country, I would never kill one of my knights for no reason. If I said he had seduced the Princess, then he did! "
The knights fell silent at this, for if the King refused to admit it, they could not do a single thing about it. Then again, even if he had confessed, what could they do? Unless they were to rebel against the country……
"The reason his Majesty the King wanted to kill him was because……"
A lazy voice totally inconsistent with the current tense situation suddenly spoke up, startling everyone. Storm stepped out from behind a large dressing mirror lazily, a small smile on his face even when seeing the Death Lord.
'Storm is an-gry!' I thought gleefully.
I could tell, because every time this guy got really angry, he would look calm and relaxed just like now. And then just when the other guy had relaxed his guard, this guy would suddenly launch his attack, striking where it would hurt the most.
Currently, I hold the record for angering him the most times. In the thirteen years I've known him, I've angered him a grand total of ten times, and was surprise-attacked by him nine times. The reason why I was attacked one time less was because just after angering him that time, I had managed to anger my teacher.
When he had entered my room all calm and relaxed, I was already lying in bed pitifully, wrap from head to toe in bandages like a mummy. He had stood at the foot of my bed quietly for ten minutes, before his pity finally won over his need for revenge (or maybe it was because he could not find a single uninjured spot to hit?) Anyway, in the end he left without doing a single thing.
Well, looks like this torture and murder case had really roused Storm's anger.
Storm pushed open the mirrored door, slamming it into the wall. If I'm not mistaken I could see cracks forming in the wall…….
"He discovered your habit of torturing the maids and then killing them, and wanted to expose you. Instead, he was imprisoned by you and tortured for three whole months before dying."
'Three months? Where the hell did he get such a precise period of time?' I thought questioningly. 'Even I didn't know how long Roland had been tortured for.'
The king's face twisted into a sinister expression as he shouted, "Lies! All lies! You couldn't have known how long I had imprisoned Roland!"
Storm nonchalantly replied, "There are no walls that are completely solid, just as there are no secrets that cannot be found out. I even know that the underwear you are currently wearing right now are red, leopard-spotted briefs. Do you think that there's anything that can be hidden from me? Do you want me to list out the methods of torture you had put him through? Whipping, burning, pulling out his nails, tearing out his tongue, soaking him in salt water, pouring honey onto his wounds and releasing a nest of ants on him…… need I continue?"
The King's face paled drastically.
Upon hearing again all those torture methods, Roland covered his face and let out a little pained roar as he recalled all the cruelty he had undergone at the hands of the King.
'Woah!' I nearly gave Storm a standing ovation. I had only asked for Storm to jump out in the middle and help me reveal the existence of the secret torture room, but I never thought he would be so thorough as to investigate how long Roland had been imprisoned and what methods had been used on him. He had even found out the colour of the King's underwear!
I sincerely prayed to the God of Light that Storm would not die from overworking.
Storm stepped away from the dressing mirror, and I immediately noticed that he had removed the hanging cloth. With the cloth gone, the rotting smell of flesh and blood immediately drifted out, emphasising the truth of Storm's words.
By now, the Sun Division had finished with all the dark creatures. Roland had yet to realise that the dark creatures were no longer there to protect him, but no one had moved to attack him.
In fact, judging from everyone's expressions, they would rather attack the King than attack Roland.
"Blaze, go purify the room of any lingering air of resentment." I ordered.
Blaze nodded and stepped into the torture chamber, but he did not immediately call out the Purification Fire. Instead, he stood there for a while, dazed. Not a sound could be heard as an oppressive silence fell upon the whole room. Everyone had fallen silent as they watched him. After a while, a long sigh could be heard from Blaze.
The Purification Fire had started to burn when the torture room was suddenly filled with the screams of the dead victims, screaming out their agony as they were tortured mercilessly before dying.
More than a few had paled at these spine chilling screams, and had quickly bowed down their heads while muttering prayers.
Once the screams were over, an even more shocking sound was heard.
"Father, please abdicate the throne and retire, so that you may enjoy your older years in peace."
The Crown Prince had finally spoken up. His face was weary and looked like he had aged several years, tired of tonight's entire farce.
"What are you saying?......" The King looked at his son, stunned.
The Crown Prince looked at his father sternly and said, "Please abdicate the throne as a sign of your repentance, and let me take care of you in your retirement."
Several emotions flickered across the King's face at his son's words. As he looked around him, the royal knights just looked back at him coldly; the holy knights looked on in disdain; and standing not too far away was a strong and powerful Death Lord staring at him with hatred in his eyes.
Lastly, he turned to look at me. I turned my head and looked back at him, my golden hair and the angle hiding my expression from everyone else, but allowing him and him alone to see me, and the evil smile on my lips.
His eyes widened as his face paled, suddenly realising who had masterminded this whole act. And this person just so happens to be the leader of the Twelve Holy Knights with the capability of calling out the entire Holy Temple against him. The portly guy was probably even guessing if the Hall of Light had anything to do with all this.
"I-I will abdicate the throne." In the end, the King announced defeated.
The moment he announced his decision, I quietly slipped a hand into my pocket and crushed a pink heart-shaped glass.
At this moment, something began happening to Roland. His body started floating up and everyone thought he was going to attack, but Roland merely looked down at himself perplexed, as if not understanding why he would be floating up.
The dark aura began receding to be replaced with a soft pink glow.
'Why is it pink? I had clearly asked for white……' I grumbled softly.
"Could it be that his obsession has been achieved and that he's now going to move on?" Some random holy knight who had once flipped through a book about the undead exclaimed.
"Captain Roland!" cried Herle as he looked up at Roland with tears in his eyes.
Roland had a puzzled expression, as if wondering why he would 'move on'. As he started struggling a little the dark aura grew thicker and the pink glow dimmed a little……
"Death Lord, let me give you a helping hand!" I called out. As I wrapped the Holy Light around Roland, the dark aura diminished, leaving only the pink glow which got brighter and brighter, until a pink light appeared in the air, falling upon Roland and enveloping him in it.
At last, Roland seemed to have understood something. He looked at me meaningfully and said, "Creus, see you around."
I nodded back at him.
The light flashed and winked out, taking Roland away with it. From the air drifted down delicate pink petals, their soft and sweet scent clearly telling everyone that nothing dark remained.
As I looked around the room covered in pink flower petals, I felt thankful that everything had gone according to plan.
With the threat of a Death Lord and the royal knights distancing themselves from the King, the Crown Prince-firstly worried that the Death Lord might pull out all the stops to kill the King, secondly, to appease the royal knights, and thirdly…… well perhaps it is the little selfish desire of an old Prince already in his forties- would advise his father to abdicate the throne.
The Crown Prince had already been in control of political affairs for quite some time now, so when he spoke up, even the King would not dare to flippantly go against his son and refuse to abdicate.
In the end, the cruel-handed ruler has been forced down from his power, and I believe that after my advice about the possibility of his father creating more Death Knights, the Crown Prince would definitely watch his father carefully and stop him from resuming his hobby.
'Roland, you might not be completely satisfied with this ending, but after all, I am not a Death Knight. I cannot simply kill people to settle this.'
The dead can just kill and move on to the afterlife afterwards, but the living would have to stay and face the consequences. That is why the living has to find ways to compromise. I can only hope that you can accept this compromised justice.
The King abdicated the throne, and the Death Knight moved on to the afterlife.
Everything might have been resolved in a rather unexpected way, but it is a happy ending.
All fifty something holy knights had naturally returned to the Holy Temple, and while it had been unavoidable that some had been injured, they were all restored back to full health by the holy priests. Within half an hour, everyone was as good as new.
As the Sun Knight-not to mention I had been heavily wounded-I was the first the priests had rushed to. After receiving more than ten advanced level healing spells, I'm sure even the split ends on my hair have been healed. I immediately stood up to leave, intending to regain my beauty sleep, when I heard the Judge Knight approaching from behind.
"Sun, can I ask you a few questions?"
"Hmm?" I smiled faintly at him.
Judge hesitated for a moment and frowned. "The reason you brought Blaze and Earth along was really to stop the Death Knight, and not because their tempers are easily roused and might start a fight, thus allowing Roland time to become the Death Lord, right?"
"Earth Knight is an honest and gentle person, how could you possibly say that he would start a fight with someone?" I asked, showing just the right amount of bewilderment.
Judge could only frown at that. I knew that he had no way of refuting that statement as the Earth Knight's honest and gentle personality is a fact that the whole continent knows!
He then asked his second question, "Then while the royal knight were fighting with our holy knights, you had said something to him when he started changing into the Death Lord. You hadn't used your knowledge of your friend and purposely said something to anger him, thus manipulating him into becoming the Death Lord, right?"
I opened my mouth to reply him with another weak answer, but Judge had continued on without giving me the opportunity to answer.
"When Roland was close to becoming the Death Lord, were you really unable to stop him?"
Judge paused after these two questions, hesitated for a second, before continuing on to say in a certain voice, "Tonight's events leading up to the King's abdication, are they all done for Roland's sake? Your actions……"
"Judge Knight!" I interrupted him with a smile. "You need only know one thing. It does not matter if that Death Knight had been Roland or a complete stranger, everything that had happened tonight would have happened regardless of the Death Knight's identity, and no other way."
Judge frowned in disbelief.
I calmly laid my hand on the Sun Knight insignia on my chest and solemnly said, "The first thing my teacher had taught me was this: 'Serving out justice is the meaning for the Sun Knight's existence.'"
"Child, the Sun Knight may not be able to get full justice, and the Sun Knight may have to compromise on justice, but the Sun Knight may never give up on justice. The moment that you have given up on carrying out justice, tear off that Sun Knight insignia on your chest, for you are no longer a Sun Knight!"
"Do you understand my answer, Judge Knight?"
Judge was silent for a moment before he nodded. "I understand, Sun Knight. However, I would like to ask you one more question."
"More questions?" I laughed wryly.
"The Sun Knight is not going to leave a Death Lord wandering around, is he?"
"Of course not!" I smiled my most innocent and guileless smile at him before giving a yawn and said, "I'm so tired! I'm off to bed. Go to bed soon, yourself."
The Judge Knight kept quiet as I quickened my footsteps, and just as I was about to reach the corner and leave his sight, he suddenly asked me, "Then, will Creus let Roland go?"
At this, I halted my footsteps as I stroke at my pocket. After I had crushed Pink's pink heart-shaped glass, a book on advanced necromancy arts, a necromancy apprentice certificate and a small slip of paper had appeared in my pocket. I had yet to read the message.
I smiled wryly as I read the message now and answered him, "Well…… it's rather late. Creus is already asleep; he'll answer you some other time!"
Written on the paper was:
Don't bother hoping to get your friend Roland to move on to the afterlife. He's told me that his obsession is to be the Sun Knight.
I should have just burned him at the stake.