I Became the Youngest Disciple of the Martial God

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I Became the Youngest Disciple of the Martial God

[Translator –  Jreaming]

[Proofreader – Gorm]

 

Chapter 16

[...The corpses of gem beasts have a lot of value. Every individual part of their body, from a drop of blood to a cut of skin, is useful. Brothers, you should know that a long time ago, the Bednicker family head killed three of these terrible gem beasts and used the materials to strengthen House Bednicker.

If we can retrieve an entire corpse, it will be a huge benefit to the church.

Of course, I cannot understate the danger of gem beasts, but even though it’s been 17 years since the Lord of Blood and Iron slew three of the beasts, the reason no one else has defeated one isn’t because the beasts are strong. It’s because no one knows the whereabouts of these mysterious creatures.

However, thanks to the incredible work of the brothers of our church, we have succeeded in finding the habitat of one gem beast.

This gem beast is as big as a small mountain, has azure scales, and can chill the body down to the bone.

The church has named it Sapphire Snake due to its outer appearance and special characteristics.

We postponed the initial mission and used the base in the mountain range to collect information about the Sapphire Snake.

During that time, we discovered a rare mystic elixir called the extreme fire herb, and we started research on mass-producing it.

Our attempts were somewhat successful, but before long, we discovered a problem. As you know, brothers, it was because of the appearance of the disrupter.

Our best guess is that the disrupter’s identity is either the Hunting Dog of Bednicker, the White Knight of Gusspring, or one of the elite rangers of The Empire—]

I cut Arzan off.

“Butler.”

“Yes.”

“Can you summarize that into three sentences?”

The note wasn’t even particularly big, so how did it have so much text?

“So... the Church of Darkness seems to have been in this mountain range for a long time, trying to hunt gem beasts.”

“...Huh?”

“What is it?”

I felt something was off, but for now I just nodded.

“It’s nothing.” 

What she’d said did make sense.

Since the Gem Mountains were forbidden, it made sense to use them to avoid the watchful eye of The Empire.

And considering the circumstances, it looked like the experiments using the extreme fire herb were being carried out in the mountain range...

Wait, does that mean the Fire Demon was also...?

Was the Fire Demon, who went on a rampage after consuming the extreme fire herb, the result of one of their human tests?

I was starting to think that maybe the cult had been behind the entire incident. Maybe sending him out into the world was one of the final steps of their tests.

If that was the case, the scale of their base, which should be somewhere around here, might be pretty big.

“Then why did they lure me all the way here?”

“This is just a guess, but they might have intended to use you as bait.”

“Bait?”

“It says in the note here that they encountered a disrupter. If that person was a member of House Bednicker, the cultists thought that they might be able to use you to lure the disrupter out.”

“Hmm. Using someone like me as bait...”

My first thought was that was a stupid plan, but... it wasn’t completely nonsensical.

Although my current state was pathetic, it was true that I was a blood relative of the Lord of Blood and Iron.

Of course, the great Lord of Blood and Iron never showed any interest in me even until the day I died... but facts like that were hard for a third party to confirm.

I turned my attention away from the note and looked at the map.

It seemed to depict the mountain range and was noted with symbols and scripts that I had never seen before. However, the writing itself seemed ominous.

“This is that, right?”

“Yes. The symbol of the demon king.”

The symbol seemed to depict a blood-red moon. It was the symbol of the Demon Lord of the Blood-Lit Moon, Hadenaihar.

The number of symbols on the map was far more than I’d expected...

But the bigger problem was where they were placed.

I stared at the map for a while before letting out a sigh.

“This is near that place, right?”

“Yes.”

“Ehm...”

A similar conversation from before, but with an additional sound this time.

The map noted that we were surrounded on all sides.

At this point, our current situation was no different than being in the middle of the enemy camp.

Osel, that son of a bitch...

That guy had probably planned on either visiting a base or contacting his allies after dealing with us.

But there was another problem still.

“There are symbols on the path we came through.”

There was no way that the symbols were mistakes.

There was only one natural explanation for this: while we had been distracted, Osel had been making contact with his allies through secretive means.

Which meant that our exit path would be completely blocked as well.

It would be great if that was the end of it.

“Butler, can you move?”

“Yes.”

Although Arzan still looked sleepy and tired, I didn’t mention it. Right now, even if she was on the verge of collapse, we needed to move. 

The followers of Hadenaihar would soon notice something had gone wrong and begin to pursue us.

***

It was a relief that it was still night.

It might be obvious, but in a dark environment like this, the escapees had the advantage over the pursuers.

Even if we didn’t move as stealthily as we could, the veil of night would hide our tracks well enough.

On the other hand, we were in a situation where we needed to find a safe place before the sun rose again.

I opened the map again.

Seeing the symbol of the demon lord surrounding our location made my head spin a little.

Although I had been able to obtain some internal energy through sheer luck, fighting that many cultists was impossible.

In any case, we needed to avoid combat and escape the mountain range as fast as possible...

* * * * *

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[Translator –  Jreaming]

[Proofreader – Gorm]

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Fwip!

Curses. Already?

Arzan and I both lowered our heads at the same time, just in time for a chilling projectile to barely fly over us.

Immediately afterward, three assassins wearing pitch-black clothing appeared before us.

In this circumstance, I probably would need to deal with two of them. 

I kicked off the ground and threw a punch at the closest assassin’s face.

“Keuk...”

As the assassin staggered back while clutching his face, I readied my follow-up attack.

I grabbed his head and kneed him in the face. 

Crack. I felt the sensation of a skull cracking in my hands, but then the one standing behind him threw a dagger at me.

Do these bastards only know how to throw daggers?

I used the limp assassin as a shield, and after the attacks stopped, I threw him toward the other assassin.

“...!”

The assassin quickly dodged his ally’s corpse, and I used that opening to stretch out toward him with my left hand.

Fwoosh!

Flaming wheel launched from my hand and hit the assassin.

Since I had used the technique so quickly, it didn’t do a lot of damage. The fire wasn’t strong enough to burn him to a crisp, or even burn him at all.

However, distracting the assassin for a second was enough.

While the assassin tried to put the fire out, I closed the distance and kicked him in the abdomen.

Bang!

With a sound similar to an exploding bomb, the assassin was sent flying directly backward.

I wondered if I was making too much noise, but I decided that this was the best course of action since I needed to eliminate them as quickly as possible.

Arzan approached me with a serious expression on her face.

“Have we already been discovered?”

I noticed she had blood on her pale face, so I tapped my own cheek.

Arzan stopped moving. After a second, she realized what I meant and wiped her face.

“I don’t think so. They’re probably just scouts.”

The pursuers sent after us would be much stronger than this. They would know that we had killed Osel.

“Let’s hurry, young master. Since that fight wasn’t quiet, more enemies will be approaching this position.”

“...”

I suddenly stopped moving, and Arzan looked at me with confusion.

“Young master?”

I had come to the conclusion that this was the point at which I would need to make a decision.

I pulled the map out of my pocket again and showed it to Arzan.

“There’s exactly one opening.”

“Pardon?”

“Look here.”

As Arzan looked where I was pointing, her expression lightened a little.

“It is as you say. If we take this path, we’ll be able to escape the cult’s encirclement.”

“Yeah. But there’s one problem.”

I moved my finger and pointed at what was at the end of that path.

“Butler, what do you think this symbol represents?”

“A lizard? Or perhaps a snake... Ah.”

Arzan’s expression hardened.

She had finally realized why the encirclement didn’t form a complete circle.

Snake.

Sapphire Snake.

It was the gem beast.

“Let’s decide, butler,” I said as I looked at Arzan. “Will we fight it out against the cult, or will we fight the gem beast?”

If we took this path, we would encounter the gem beast.

***

Was it the right choice to face the gem beast to avoid the cult?

Was this any different than fighting a lion to avoid the wolves?

Honestly, I thought both sides had similar levels of risk.

Although a decision like this should be made after thorough consideration, we unfortunately didn’t have the time. We needed to decide right here and now.

But Arzan had a strange reaction.

“Decide...”

The moment I’d said the word “decide,” Arzan’s face had become even more pale.

“Me, deciding...”

“Butler?”

“The gem beast or the cult... We still don’t know the full strength of either side, but maybe if we obtain a little bit more information about the cult? But the time...”

“Hey.”

“In the end, my decision will once again—”

“Snap out of it.”

I clapped my hands, and the light seemed to return to her unfocused eyes.

It seemed that the word I’d used without thinking had ended up being a trigger for her.

“It’s fine. I was just asking for your opinion. I’ll be the one who decides anyway.”

Having said that, I took out a gold coin from my pocket. 

It was one of the twelve coins I’d gotten from looting Osel.

“...?”

As Arzan looked at me with confusion, I flicked the coin into the air...

Ting.

And covered it with my hands before it fell to the ground.

Arzan looked at the back of my hand.

“What did you do?”

“The lion is the cult, the old man is the gem beast,” I said.

Those were the images etched on the faces of the coin.

Honestly, I didn’t know which side was supposed to be up or down, so I was just using the images themselves as a guide.

“That’s not it. Are you going to make such an important decision on a coin toss?”

“Why are you saying it like that? We’re not going to get an answer trying to think it out, so I’m leaving it in the hands of the heavens.”

“That doesn’t mean—”

“Do you have a better way to do this?”

Arzan fell silent at my retort.

“In any case, right now, we have no way of knowing whether the cult or the gem beast will be more dangerous. But that doesn’t mean we can just directionlessly go with the flow and hope for the best.”

“But a method like this...”

“Butler, I’ll tell you one thing. Occasionally, at times like this, it’s not bad to rely on luck.”

“...”

“All right, then. Let’s confirm the result.”

I ignored Arzan’s gaze toward me and checked the face of the coin on my hand.

It was the face of an old man with a handsome beard.

“It’s the old man.”

So, the gem beast, then? Although I was acting confident, I didn’t feel calm at all.

This decision could lead me to my death.

While I was thinking that, Arzan spoke.

“Keshinus I.”

“Huh?”

“The person on the front face of the gold coin isn’t merely an old man. He’s Keshinus I, the founder of The Empire.”

“...I see.”

I’d learned something.

 

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