The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

REAPER SCANS

 

The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

[Translator –  goguma]

[Proofreader – Karane]

 

Chapter 134

The Black Pilgrims had shown up again, four months after the spar to decide the last person to enter the labyrinth.

The pilgrims, all with dark, T-shaped tattoos below their eyes, entered Seol’s room.

 

- (TT) What they look like

- Wait, why does that look so similar LOL

- Why do they look so sad? Hahaha

 

Seol looked at the individual standing at the front.

The woman, who introduced herself as Chameli, seemed to be their leader.

Despite her fearsome appearance, Seol had the feeling that without her tattoos, she would possess a pure and elegant demeanor.

And near the back of their group was Boseok, who was awkwardly standing around.

“May we come in?”

“Ah, there’s only one chair for a guest here, though…”

Seol implied that there wasn't enough room for all her followers to sit down.

Chameli looked behind her with a sullen look.

One of the pilgrims spoke up.

“It’s alright. We can stand.”

“But…”

“You don’t have to consider us for small things like these.”

Chameli nodded as if she had no other option.

She sat down in the guest chair in front of Seol.

“I apologize for having to introduce myself like this. Allow me to reintroduce ourselves. We are the Black Pilgrims. I am their overseer, Chameli, the Nevenian Vicar of Varanoa, the Holy Nation.”

The Vicar of Nevenia.

Seol already recognized her high status from her accessories and how she was treated by the people around her.

‘The Vicar of Nevenia, though…’

Despite Nevenia being a relatively small kingdom, the position of vicar held significant importance. After all, she was in charge of an entire kingdom’s worth of believers.

'But why did a vicar come here personally?'

There was a good chance she was also in the audience when Seol fought Boseok four months ago.

Seol was curious about her intent. What could be so important that a vicar would spend four months here?

Having a general idea of what Seol was thinking about, Chameli bowed her head.

“V-Vicar.”

“If you do that…”

The pilgrims behind her were shocked but had no means or standing to stop it.

Her actions, though humble, were dignified.

“Why are you bowing to me?”

Seol was confused after receiving her bow.

Chameli carefully opened her mouth.

“I wanted to use this time… to apologize for testing you.”

“...Testing me?”

Seol quickly realized what she meant.

‘Was my fight with Boseok her means of testing me?’

It didn’t make sense for the Black Pilgrims to be interested in the labyrinth in the first place. Varanoa was one of the wealthiest nations. Why would they be interested in a labyrinth when they already receive support from Varanoa? The rewards from the labyrinth were appealing to adventurers, not them.

"I see... Are you suggesting my fight with the pilgrim over there for the last spot in the labyrinth was your test?"

“I am.”

“How unpleasant.”

“There’s nothing more I can really say, other than that I am deeply sorry.”

“What were you testing though?”

Chameli and Seol looked each other in the eyes.

Though the tattoos below her eyes were hideous, her eyes shined like jewels.

“Your strength.”

“My… strength?”

“Do you have any thoughts of becoming a pilgrim?”

“I don’t.”

 

- Nope

- ❌

- What do you think you’re doing LOL

- I’m just going to claim you after you do all the hard work :)

- It’s kind of funny how he just rejected it immediately LOL

- I’m glad that they went through this fast hahaha

 

Seol knew it was just a worthless offer she tossed his way.

She was going to show off her real intent now.

“That’s unfortunate.”

“You don’t look that sad about it at all, though.”

“...Was it that obvious?”

“Yeah.”

“To be honest… I knew you weren’t the type of person to accept this offer. I guess that’s why I’m not particularly sad about it.”

“So there’s something else, right?”

“...Right.”

They were finally getting to the point.

“I wanted to request you for help.”

“Help? Is support from Varanoa not enough?”

“The Holy Nation is having a difficult time due to various problems. They are in neither a good time nor situation to help us.”

“What problems are they going through?”

“I didn’t understand the question. Were you asking about the Holy Nation or us?”

“Both.”

“The issues within Varanoa are not something a simple vicar can share. However… I am able to tell you about our problems in Nevenia.”

Fwooosh…

As Chameli waved her hands, she created a backdrop around them that resembled the night sky.

Frss…

And within it, a certain individual was taking shape.

It materialized into a miniature knight wearing black armor.

“This… This is our problem.”

“......”

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s nothing.”

Seol tried his best to hide his shock.

‘Karuna?’

The knight Chameli created looked almost identical to Karuna.

The only difference between them was the mood they gave off.

“The Black Knight. He has many appearances and has revealed his traces throughout the continent for a very, very long time. And each time he leaves behind his traces, he also leaves innocent corpses beneath his blade.”

“The Black Knight, huh… how fun.”

“You won’t think of it as ‘fun’ once you hear the details. Regardless, one of the Black Knights that Varanoa was tracking down has slipped into Nevenia.”

“Are there multiple Black Knights?”

“Urm…”

Chameli bit her lips and thought for a second, troubled by Seol’s question. She seemed to have resolved herself as she began talking once more.

“According to the records… Apparently, there were multiple Black Knights in the beginning.”

“Multiple? How many exactly?”

“It’s just an estimate, but over seven…”

“Does that mean it’s different now?”

“Yes. Now there’s estimated to be… two or three? We’ve only successfully managed to track down one, though.”

“...Why are there less of them now?”

Chameli paused.

“...They seem to despise each other.”

“Despise each other?”

“I was told that when two Black Knights run into each other, the stronger Black Knight absorbs the powers of the weaker one. It’s likely… that they are in conflict with each other.”

“Hm…”

Seol began asking about other things as well now.

“How long has the Black Knight you've been tracking been here in Nevenia?”

“Likely half a year… though there are some people who claim it has been a year, though.”

“So recent, but you aren’t sure of the exact date. Are you intending on stopping him?”

“We’ve already tried, but…”

“It didn’t go as planned.”

Chameli nodded.

“He is powerful.”

"Is Varanoa not supporting you because the Black Knight is too powerful?"

“No matter how strong the Black Knight is, he is no match for Varanoa’s holy army. Apparently, they are going through issues of their own right now, but… I apologize. I do not know the specific reasons myself either.”

“Is Nevenia not doing anything?”

Chameli gave a quizzical look as if Seol had said something ridiculous.

“Why would those corrupt royals do anything for the greater good? We’ve already requested help, but it was pointless. In the end, it’s something which must be handled by the parish.”

“...Hm.”

"In truth, this matter doesn't directly concern Varanoa. Nevertheless, the presence of the Black Knight jeopardizes innocent lives, compelling us to take action as we couldn’t simply ignore it. Given Varanoa's limited ability to assist, the responsibility fell upon us, the parish."

A matter that doesn’t involve them.

They lacked the personnel, and it wasn’t a simple problem either.

However, the Holy Nation must never ignore the deaths of innocents.

That was Varanoa’s dilemma.

Seol suddenly grew curious about something.

Why did the vicar wait for four months?

“What did you plan to do if I didn’t return from the labyrinth?”

“But you did.”

“That’s…”

She calmly laughed.

“Everything follows God's will, and it was for his will that I tested you.”

“Hm…”

In truth, Seol didn’t particularly like Varanoa.

In fact, Varanoa might be even more rotten on the inside than Nevenia.

Seol posed the question as a measure of her response, and her gentle reply cast her in a more favorable perspective in Seol's eyes.

“For now, I understand the situation. You need my help to stop the Black Knight… is that right?”

“Yes, precisely.”

“And if the Black Knight really is powerful… Isn’t it possible that I hold no chance against him either?”

“That’s not true. You are more powerful than any adventurer I have met so far.”

“Amongst the transferees that the parish has an easier time controlling, right?”

Countless adventurers in Pandea were much, much stronger than Seol.

Why wouldn’t there be? After all, Pandea’s history runs deep.

Chameli avoided the question by smiling. She instead tried to appease Seol by now giving him the carrot.

"While we are discreetly seeking your assistance, rest assured that a proper reward awaits you, akin to what we would offer under usual circumstances. Brother, is there anything specific you desire?"

“Hm…”

A reward from the Holy Nation ensured that Seol could anticipate rare and valuable items.

‘Leaving aside how powerful the Black Knight is… the rewards are important.’

No request held merit unless it offered fitting rewards. Such was the reality of an adventurer's life.

Seol pondered while rubbing his chin. He then smiled as if he had thought of something fun.

“If it’s to the point that you would request me… it must be quite urgent, right? And considering how you waited four months for me… there probably isn’t a suitable alternative.”

"Kindly inform us of your desires, brother. I can respond once you've shared your wishes."

“I want a holy relic.”

“......”

The pilgrims behind Chameli were all in an uproar.

“D-Did you just…?!”

“How impudent! Know your place!”

“Vicar, we have no reason to listen to him further! He is looking dow—”

“Stop! Everyone, stop!”

The pilgrims immediately stopped as Chameli raised her hand. They were like an orchestra following their conductor.

Seol sensed that their loyalty was abnormally high.

‘Is… Chameli a ‘pure-blood’?’

Corruption amongst the leadership in Varanoa was rampant, to the point that Nevenia’s corruption was laughable compared to it. Seol has associated with them multiple times while raising his pieces, and has looked into the depths of their corruption, but came to the judgment that they weren’t people who should be kept close.

Varanoa governed its subjects based on the legitimacy of one's bloodline. Those descended from the founders of the nation were known as the 'pure-bloods’, and the nation employed them as a mechanism for controlling its citizens.

Seol had the feeling she was one of them after seeing how the pilgrims shuddered in fear when she raised her voice.

“Ahem…”

Chameli then spoke once more, her expression clearly showing that she was troubled by Seol’s request.

“Brother, the holy relics of Varanoa are not allowed to be handed out to outsiders.”

“Hm…”

“However… it might be possible if it’s not a holy relic from Varanoa. In fact, we just happened to recently acquire an appropriate item. Something that… we haven’t reported to Varanoa yet.”

“You aren’t talking about that, Vicar, are you?”

“W-We can just do that then!”

“We can give that to him, yes!”

Seol then asked them.

“If it’s because it’s defective or something…”

“Ah, it’s not that. It simply doesn’t have any relation to Varanoa’s history.”

Seol thought to himself as she continued.

‘Is it a holy relic from another religion or another nation? Well, I guess it doesn’t matter to me.’

Like how the labyrinth gave a Wonder-quality item for clearing it, Holy Relic-quality items also couldn’t be acquired from normal adventures.

Therefore, these rewards were quite appealing to Seol.

“We’ve made our decision. What about you, brother?”

Seol put his hand forth.

“My name is Snowman.”

Chameli smiled as she put forth her pale hand.

"At last, I have the privilege of hearing your name, brother."

 

[You have accepted Chameli’s request.]

[Adventure ‘Black Knight’ is scheduled.]

[Because this Adventure is a 'Linked Adventure' you cannot choose your next Adventure.]

 

* * *

Reaper Scans

Translator - goguma

Proofreader - Karane

Join our Discord for updates on releases! https://dsc.gg/reapercomics

* * *

 

After Chameli and the Black Pilgrims left, Seol laid his weary body on the bed.

‘I don’t want to do anything…’

The events in the labyrinth were so intense that the outside world felt unnatural now.

Whenever Seol closed his eyes, he returned to the scorching desert. He recalled the memories of eating monster meat to survive.

‘Even that was fun later, though.’

Smile…

A natural smile formed on Seol’s face.

That was generally how good memories were made. Very naturally, they melted into one’s being.

The days he spent with Toki were bright, a memory impossible to forget even in his later years.

“Master… you look a bit down.”

“Really?”

Karen had slipped out of Seol’s Shadow Space and was standing by the bed, looking down at him.

“Yeah, you look sad. Is it because of what happened in the labyrinth?”

“...Basically.”

Though Seol acted calmly, with composure, it was hard for such intense memories to disappear so quickly.

He still couldn't shake the memory of witnessing a human life burn like a comet across the sky.

 

- We only have one opportunity! Don’t waste it like a fool! Escape the labyrinth and greet the morning.

 

Seol wondered what Toki felt as he headed to the reaper’s lamp. Though Seol wasn’t sure about a lot of things, he was sure of one thing.

Slide…

As Karen waved the curtains, the sun greeted Seol’s face.

He had survived the labyrinth and had greeted the morning. Karen spoke to herself, seeing Seol’s sleeping face.

“...You fell asleep already.”

Seol fell asleep instantly from all of the exhaustion that had piled up.

He anticipated having the most restful sleep he'd had in a while.

However, he was swept up by some mysterious sensation.

‘This feeling is…’

Frssss…

It was a familiar feeling.

It was difficult to move his body. He felt voices from beyond a wall.

A dream within a dream.

Combining all of these factors, there was only one thing that this could be.

‘The… Madness Shop?’

A red haze surrounded Seol as he opened his eyes.

 

[Someone seems interested in the Madness you have collected.]

 

“...I didn’t use the invitation, though?”

Seol had previously utilized the invitation to access the Madness Shop. Given that he had received another invitation, he presumed he could now enter it at his convenience.

Ribbit… Ribbit…

He heard the sound of a frog somewhere.

Ribbit!

The problem was that the sound was loud, suggesting that the frog was massive.

Faaaade…

The red haze subsided, revealing something.

“...A toad?”

Ribbit!

The toad puffed up its throat, looking down on Seol. It was significantly larger than most monsters Seol had encountered.

Open!

The toad opened its mouth and lowered its tongue to the floor. When the tongue touched the floor, someone came down from the toad’s mouth.

A woman wearing clothes covered in jewelry.

“Janet?”

The woman gently landed on the floor.

“Stand by for now. He’s an important guest, so this might take long,” said Janet to the toad.

Ribbit!

The toad turned around and hopped away.

Janet tossed aside her ridiculous monocle and gave a childish grin. She then opened her arms annoyingly as if she was trying to welcome Seol.

“It’s been a while, Snowman. How have you been?”

____

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