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Published at 1st of May 2023 10:45:07 AM


Chapter 597

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The clubhouse had become the complete lair of Dettomorian after the operations of the temple had been suspended.

As they entered the underground space, everyone except Ellen couldn't help but be shocked.

"What is this…?"

Ludwig.

"Damn, is that blood?"

Heinrich.

"What, what is all this supposed to mean?"

Louise.

The three of them couldn't help but feel fear as they entered the space filled with unidentified spell circles and symbols.

Regardless of personal strength and experience, anyone who faced this scene for the first time was bound to feel an inexplicable fear. In fact, even Ellen had been overwhelmed when she first came here.

"Is it alright for us to be here…?"

Indeed, even Ludwig, who had said that Dettomorian was a misunderstood but kind friend, turned pale and hesitantly asked.

Dettomorian deserved special treatment in many ways.

Ludwig had seen civilians praying to strange idols and getting killed by guards.

However, seeing the idols and spell circles filling the underground space, even the priests who had never harmed others in their lifetime under the belief of embracing and enlightening heretics would ponder if Dettomorian should first be tied to the stake.

Dettomorian had managed to get away with being called the heretic among heretics due to being a Royal Class student at the temple.

Certainly, even civilians who knew nothing about heresy would think that these were the results of evil deeds committed by heretics when they saw this scene.

Despite the ominous and strange sights that they passed, everyone felt uneasy.

"It's okay."

As an experienced person, Ellen fearlessly strode down into the underground.

------

At the core and center of the spell circles.

Upon arriving at the space equivalent to an underground storage room, Ellen could see Dettomorian still sitting in the center of the spell circles.

Independent of the strange and ominous energy felt, the place was originally chaotic.

That's why Ellen couldn't tell if Dettomorian was still praying for the same thing.

It was impossible to recognize if the arrangement of the idols had changed or if new spell circles had been drawn. It had always been cluttered.

However.

"You're here."

"Yes."

Dettomorian spoke as she saw the four of them suddenly appear.

The meaning of her words was unclear.

Whether he knew they would come or was just acknowledging their arrival.

Dettomorian spoke in a way that not only was hard for others to understand but also made it impossible to discern his intentions.

Ellen wasn't particularly close to Dettomorian, and Ludwig had tried to become friends but had failed.

Heinrich and Louise were frozen stiff.

Louise's abilities weren't weak either, and there was no need to mention Heinrich.

However, there was something about this scene that overwhelmed people.

"Did you think we would come?"

In response to Ellen's question, Dettomorian gazed at the faintly flickering candle before him as it continuously emitted light.

"Well…"

Another ambiguous answer.

Without fear, Ellen approached Dettomorian and sat down across from him, with only one candle between them.

The hero and the shaman sat facing each other, separated by a single candle.

"Have you still been praying for peace lately?"

"No…"

Until Ellen, Bertus, and Turner arrived, Dettomorian had been praying for peace.

"What are you doing, then?"

At Ellen's question, Dettomorian answered softly.

"Safety."

"And peace."

Safety and peace.

Ellen tilted her head at those words.

"I was praying for the safety and peace of your soul."

"...For me?"

"Yes."

Dettomorian said quietly.

"Because that's the same as wishing for peace."

Ellen still can't understand Dettomorian's words.

However, in this strange scene, it sent shivers down her spine to hear that a shaman performing an unknown ritual was suddenly praying for her.

"I see."

But Ellen lowered her head slightly, looking at Dettomorian.

"Thank you."

She expressed her gratitude.

"..."

Just like Ludwig did.

Ellen knew that Dettomorian was not a bad person.

It's still the same.

The outcome of shamanism was unknown, and it was unknown whether it really worked. It's unknown whether the symbol given by Dettomorian will truly protect Ellen, and whether his prayers for peace and Ellen's soul will be effective.

But knowing that his prayers were sincere, Ellen was grateful to Dettomorian.

Ellen, who expressed her gratitude to Dettomorian, cautiously raises her head.

Dettomorian looked at Ellen with an expression that was hard to tell if he knew something or knew nothing.

Dettomorian, who already looked rather extraordinary, appeared even more so in this space.

If he usually looked gloomy, he seemed indescribable in this dark and dismal space.

Did we come to the wrong place?

Did we accidentally set foot somewhere we shouldn't have while chasing an event?

The same thought couldn't help but arise in everyone's mind.

But Ellen spoke quietly, looking at Dettomorian.

"There's a graveyard in the basement of the Holy Knights' Cathedral."

"..."

Despite the sudden start of the main subject, Dettomorian listened quietly to Ellen's words.

"It's a graveyard where priests and holy knights with strong divine powers during their lifetime are buried."

There was no need to beat around the bush, so she started with the main point.

Since the story was too long to start with, she asked only what needed to be asked.

"Someone seems to have revived the skeletons in the graveyard as undead and taken them somewhere."

"..."

"Is such a thing possible?"

As she spoke, Ellen wondered if this question itself might be impolite.

Assuming that Dettomorian knew the evil magic of creating undead, it could be rude to have come to him with this question.

However, at Ellen's simple but not-so-light question, Dettomorian fell silent.

Dettomorian's answer was neither possible nor impossible.

"Don't do it."

"...Huh?"

"It's better not to..."

Again, an incomprehensible statement.

But because it was completely incomprehensible, Ellen felt she could somewhat understand what Dettomorian was saying.

"Just staying still is... better?"

"Yes..."

It must have been a suggestion to not delve into this issue and let it be.

"Can you explain the reason in detail?"

"No..."

It was unclear whether he couldn't explain, whether she wouldn't understand even if he did, or whether he simply couldn't tell her. It was impossible to comprehend.

Everyone quietly listened to the strange exchange between Ellen and Dettomorian.

Their conversation seemed both engaging and completely nonsensical.

Ludwig approached the two silently.

"Detto."

"..."

Ludwig sat down beside Ellen.

"Do you know something? If you do, please tell us."

"..."

"I'm not sure. The priestess I tried to help turned out to be a terrible person, and I don't even know what she was trying to do through me. Now, no matter how wrong that priestess was... I just want to know what happened and what's going to happen."

"You'll die..."

"...What?"

Not only Ludwig but also Ellen, Louise, and Heinrich, who had been quietly listening, couldn't hide their confusion at Dettomorian's words.

Dettomorian, still wearing a gloomy expression, looked at Ludwig and slowly opened his mouth.

"Ludwig, if you go any further, you'll die."

At this sudden prophecy, Ludwig's face turned pale.

"Do nothing..."

Though they couldn't understand anything else,

Ellen and Ludwig knew that Dettomorian was genuinely worried for Ludwig.

------

A sudden prophecy.

Its content was excessively simple.

Death.

And that prophecy targeted Ludwig.

Caught off guard by these words, Ludwig stiffened like a stone, his mouth agape.

Ellen was equally taken aback.

"What are you talking about? Ludwig would suddenly end up dead?"

"..."

Ludwig had no intention of arguing or getting angry.

Ludwig wasn't the type to do that to a friend in the first place.

"Can't you say something...... please?"

Ellen asked on behalf of the speechless Ludwig.

The reason for saying such a thing, and what he saw, if anything.

"I can't persuade you...... and I can't explain......"

That was all Dettomorian had to say. Whether it meant they wouldn't understand what he saw, or he himself didn't know why he knew this, he didn't say.

Neither Ellen nor Ludwig could bring themselves to ask Dettomorian, with his gloomy expression, any more questions.

"You have to tell us something! What should we do if you suddenly say he's going to die and don't say anything else!"

Thus, Heinrich, who had been watching from behind, approached Dettomorian and scolded him, looking down at him.

"Youngest......!"

Louise, who saw her son took action in this unsettling and ominous situation, was also taken aback and gently grabbed Heinrich's shoulder.

Dettomorian silently looked up at Heinrich, his eyes slightly narrowed.

A penetrating gaze.

And for a moment, he glanced at the anxious Louise behind him.

"...!"

In that brief stare, Heinrich felt a chilling sensation as if all the hair on his body stood on end.

Even though it was just a brief look, it felt as if Dettomorian had grasped some hidden truth.

At that gaze, Heinrich unknowingly broke out in cold sweat down his spine, and Louise felt suffocated.

Heinrich sensed that he shouldn't meddle with Dettomorian carelessly.

"Dettomorian."

"Yes..."

Nonetheless, Ellen, who trusted Dettomorian in this situation, called out to him.

"Why is this so dangerous, why would Ludwig die, why is it better not to know... If we don't get a proper explanation, I - no, we - can't help but look deeper into this matter."

"..."

"It's not that I don't trust your words. But there's too much at stake in this matter. It doesn't seem like something we can just leave alone."

"You're right..."

Dettomorian nods quietly as if agreeing with Ellen's words.

"My words are small... small and weak, with scant evidence. Trust is lacking. Explanations are insufficient. Persuasiveness is low..."

For the first time in a long while, Dettomorian doesn't hesitate or stutter in his speech.

"I speak of what I have seen."

"I don't speak of what I haven't seen."

"But, of course."

"My words don't always come true."

"What I've said might just turn out to be nonsense."

"But, speaking of death in an age where death is rampant isn't such a difficult prophecy."

"Everyone dies someday."

"Everyone can die at any time."

"In a time when death is as common as the widespread hunger and poverty."

"Anyone's death would seem easily foreseeable."

"It's easier than predicting ordinary fate."

"So."

"My words aren't always correct."

"What I've seen doesn't always come true."

"But this time."

"It must be right."

"Ludwig."

"Don't do anything."

"You'll die."

Death was overly pervasive in this world.

That was why, when looking at anyone's fate, it was easier to see death.

That was why it must be true.

Neither Ludwig nor the others knew why this matter was related to his death.

On their way to inquire about shamanism and the rites of the heretics, they unexpectedly heard a prophecy of death.

Ludwig, frozen, stared at Dettomorian.

Speaking of Ludwig's death must be because he did not wish for Ludwig's death.

"Let me ask you one thing."

After a long silence, Ludwig spoke with a hardened expression.

"Will I die in vain?"

"..."

"Unable to do anything, as I am now, powerless to do anything on my own. Only receiving help, blaming myself for everything being my fault, for my powerlessness. Just causing trouble for others. Not being helpful in any way. Like that......"

Ludwig spoke with a miserable expression.

"Will I die like that?"

Dettomorian remained silent at Ludwig's question.

"..."

He gave no answer.

But this time, the silence felt different to everyone.

While the meaning of the previous silence was unknown, the current silence was a deliberate withholding of words.

Because speaking would bring about some sort of consequence.

Though he would die.

It would not be a meaningless death.

Dettomorian didn’t say anything.

The shaman spoke of what he saw. He didn’t speak of what he doesn't see.

For a shaman who cannot lie, not speaking the truth is the only lie.

"It's not like that, then."

"..."

"Detto, right?"

Dettomorian didn’t say anything.

"That's enough for me."

It was not a meaningless or futile death.

Though they didn’t know what would happen, the mere fact that death was imminent implied that something could be done.

Instead, they found hope in the possibility of doing something.

Even if death awaited, even if those words were absolute.

The hope that it might not be absolute was not entirely absent, either.

The very notion of being able to do something was what Ludwig had yearned for, ever since the death of Delphin Izzard and the loss of his arm.

After a long silence, Dettomorian finally lowered his head.

"Destiny is completed by those who seek to change it."

Once, someone had said,

‘As if they tried to change their fate and ended up like this.’

‘As if they had longed for it and achieved it.’

"Am I... the same?"

Dettomorian saw the future, but he instinctively knew that by trying to change it, he had fulfilled it.

Trying to prevent Ludwig's death had, in fact, pushed him forward.

Though the future was known, people did not know.

So, he realized that he had inadvertently propelled Ludwig forward.

"Am I unable to escape this fate as well?"

No one understood what Dettomorian was saying.

But they could sense his self-loathing and resignation in his words.

Silent, Dettomorian soon raised his head.

"Find Asher."

"What?"

Everyone was taken aback by this unexpected statement.

"Then, you'll understand."

A being with no reason to be mentioned in this situation.

An already deceased friend.

What does searching for someone who cannot return have to do with this matter?

"What do you mean? Find Asher?"

"You! You keep making these incomprehensible remarks. What do you want to say?"

As Ludwig was bewildered and Heinrich's old temper started to surface,

"Leave."

Dettomorian issued a stern command.

"I don't want to change anything more by talking further."

The shaman had already begun to fear his own words.

With his firm stance and the desperate look on the shaman's face, they could not ask any more questions.

------

Though Dettomorian often spoke in riddles, he was not known to be harsh.

Thus, plainly telling them to leave was almost the first time he had ever spoken to someone in a commanding tone.

It didn't matter who was listening.

Everyone was shocked, unable to understand or even guess his intentions behind his enigmatic words.

Left alone in the underground storeroom of the club building, with only a few lit candles, Dettomorian sat quietly.

Whether he was praying for something, contemplating something, or doing nothing at all, no one could tell.

In that silence, as the candles burned down,

A small, quiet figure approached.

-Meow

"..."

A black cat.

Dettomorian did not even look at the cat.

The cat quietly approached and sat across from Dettomorian.

After its initial cry, the cat simply stared at Dettomorian.

Neither the cat nor the shaman spoke.

A long silence ensued.

An hour.

Or maybe two.

After an indeterminable amount of time had passed in the silence between the cat and the shaman,

"All I could do was this..."

The shaman slowly opened his mouth.

"Choosing the lesser danger over the greater one..."

The cat listened quietly to the shaman's excuse-like words, showing no reaction.

"But, in the end, knowing everything might just lead to... I don't even know..."

The shaman lowered his head, speaking with a tone of lament.

"What if I had known the future completely..."

-...

"Even if I had known it completely, the future would change according to my actions. Knowing the future is, perhaps, meaningless."

-...

"Or is it that the very act of knowing the future incompletely... was arranged to fulfill that destiny?"

-...

"I wasn't unaware that I was no different..."

The shaman stared at the flickering candle.

"Wanting to do something, and ruining it as a result..."

-...

"So, this is how it feels..."

Finally, the shaman slowly shifted his gaze to look at the cat.

"Trying to change a fate that even the gods could not change..."

-...

"How foolish."

The cat sat quietly, looking at the shaman.

"You don't need my words."

-...

"You know what you must do."

-...

"Then, just do it."

Upon the shaman's words, the cat looked at him for a long time before quietly getting up from its spot.

The cat left without a word, and the shaman remained seated alone before the candles for a long time.



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