SYS (Novel) Chapter 226

C226 - Murakan's Benefactor (2)

It was a relief that there were only two guards. They could be easily subdued in the same way.

Shing!

By the time the first Holy Knight managed to unsheathe his sword, Quikantel's fist was already in his face.

Clank!

She crushed his helmet, splattering blood.

The knight immediately fell unconscious, and his body trembled once he hit the ground.

Kuzan was equally composed as he pierced through the joints of his enemy's armor and paralyzed him.

"One minute and already four Holy Knights down."

"You could give people the wrong impression, Quikantel." Jin responded as he hid the unconscious Knights' bodies in the sewer. They looked dead, but they were actually alive.

Fortunately, there was no one behind the side gate because the civilians had restricted exit from the city and were confined to its central zone.

The three quickly advanced without further comments because they needed to get out onto the streets as soon as possible to confirm any news of Murakan.

Once they entered through the side gate, they saw several Holy Knights patrolling the area. Jeu's report was accurate. The Feudal States of Shol hadn't sent any forces. The Knights were composed solely of extremist and authoritarian figures like the Creed Guardians.

Jin's group slipped into the central zone without drawing attention from the Knights, thanks to their superior skills and the noisy and chaotic streets.

Sounds of burning and crumbling buildings echoed due to the flames left by Kadun.

There were wails and lamentations everywhere. In every street, people were kneeling and crying for the family and loved ones they had lost in the battle.

The streets were littered with bodies that hadn't been recovered yet. The Holy Knights concealed their soulless expressions under their helmets as they threw the bodies onto carts.

Most of them were burned.

No, every single victim had died from burns. Countless bodies had turned into ashes, making it impossible to identify them.

For now, there were no traces of Shadow Energy anywhere.

"This is devastating."

"The Fire Dragons, including Kadun, have no regard for humans. Unless the Human in question is particularly notable, most of them consider humans as insects. Most Dragons actually view Humans as inferior creatures, but Fire Dragons take it a step further."

But could Murakan be completely indifferent to all those corpses?

Quikantel continued as if she could see through the question in Jin's mind.

"He's a fool, but I know he's not the kind to randomly slaughter humans for his own purposes."

Jin awkwardly smiled instead of responding.

The number of corpses increased as they ventured further into the city. On several occasions, they saw bodies piled up in mounds, around which priests sang requiems for the souls.

There must have been at least five thousand dead, even by rough estimation. For a city the size of Santelle, it was tantamount to annihilation, as over half of the citizens had died in the incident.

It wasn't just the dead. There were also the wounded.

Although they were fewer in number than the deceased, the wounded screamed and moaned in pain. The so-called Saints, the Healers of Vankela, surrounded the wounded and did their best to restore their health.

But not all Healers were deployed for treatments.

This was another point that troubled the group.

"Lord Jin, the city seems quite strange, doesn't it?"

Jin nodded. Quikantel observed the Saints with a similar sentiment. Some Saints weren't performing healing procedures. Instead, they were delivering sermons.

"On the outskirts of the city plains, the fire dragon continues to battle the demonic creature. But fear not and do not fall into despair, all you good and meek people, for the heavenly helpers are here..."

"The despicable demonic creature that has killed our fathers, brothers, sisters, and children will soon perish at the hands of the Fire Dragon! Let us pray. Oh heavens, watch over your Fire Dragon..."

They lied about the battle supposedly taking place on the outskirts of the city plains. Jin and his companions had just passed through that area when they entered the city, and all they had seen were a few journalists and the Holy Knights preventing them from entering.

But the people kneeled before the Saints and seemed to accept their lies word for word.

"Let us pray!"

"Oh, heavens!"

Some people were so moved by the Saints' lies that they ended up fainting.

On one side, they healed the people. On the other, they were agitating the less injured people. And all of this with the city locked down. The Vankelans' intent was terribly obvious.

The common people fell for their incitement, but it wasn't due to their simple nature.

They were already on the verge of a mental collapse from the shock and grief of losing their families when the Saints began to brainwash them with their persuasive techniques.

Although the Saints claimed their powers derived from holiness, most spellcasters, including Jin, knew it was a type of magical eye spell.

Persuasion techniques, which were quite similar to ancient psychic spells, were often used to preach and convert in such calamities.

The faint yellow glow in the Saints' eyes was evidence that persuasion techniques were being used.

"Both the dead and the living will be united by the power of prayer. We will no longer be alone! Peace be with those who have fulfilled their calling."

Although the persuasion techniques didn't affect anyone with strong mental fortitude, they could easily convince people who were in a state of shock.

"I thought the current Holy King had strictly banned the use of persuasion techniques. But everyone here is using them."

The current Holy King, Miklan, had even gone to great lengths to declare all Saints who used persuasion techniques as heretics.

The reason was that the ability went against the teachings and ideals of the Holy Kingdom, despite its prolonged use in history for convenience and tradition's sake.

"They are inciting the citizens to blame the demonic creature for Kadun's massacre. If the creature is truly Murakan, it seems he hasn't been captured by Kadun yet."

"I agree, Quikantel. If he were, they wouldn't have to endure this mess," Jin said.

The demonic creature presumed to be Murakan had escaped, and due to Kadun's haste to chase after him, the Fire Dragon hadn't had time to collect the flames he sprayed over the city.

If Kadun had captured Murakan, he would have collected the flames spreading over the city and could have gained glory for the Zipple by killing the demonic creature.

"We'll have to investigate why they decided to help the Zipple, even to the point of defying the Holy King's orders."

Based on what had been revealed so far, Vankela could no longer be considered a neutral nation.

They were even resorting to the prohibited practice of persuasion techniques to aid the Zipple, which wouldn't be possible without state-level approval.

But for now, locating Murakan was a more immediate concern.

"Let's look for opportunities to engage in conversations with the locals. Once we confirm whether the creature is Murakan or not, we'll leave immediately."

Finding an opportunity to converse with the locals proved more challenging than they had thought.

Speaking with any of the incited and converted individuals would be pointless, and it was much more likely that they would report the group to the Saints for suspicious activity.

They were about to move forward when a Holy Knight approached a nearby Saint. He whispered something in the Saint's ear and hurriedly left.

"Good and meek citizens of Santelle! I have just received news that a group of evildoers has infiltrated the city. So, if you notice anyone suspicious, please immediately alert our helpers."

The Holy Knights patrolling the area also altered their movements. They had only been searching for citizens straying from the main herd in the main streets, but now they began patrolling the alleyways between buildings.

Jin's group quickly left the area and began searching for people to talk to.

But the entire place was filled with Holy Knights, Saints, or spellcasters busy extinguishing the fire. It was impossible to find a single citizen who was away from their herd.
The biggest problem of all was that the number of holy knights in the Santelle area far exceeded their expectations.

"Damn it. The streets are crawling with Holy Knights. How many are there? At this rate, we won't be able to keep hiding, Jin."

"This has become quite an exhausting ordeal, although I expected it since we broke through the side gate."

They could faintly hear the sound of double locks closing on every door in the city.

The Holy Knights ran through the streets shouting something to each other. The Saints led the people to another location and disappeared with them.

"They're here!"

One of the Holy Knights shouted loudly upon encountering the group as he turned a corner.

The fierce red flames and bustling scenes surrounding the city had helped conceal Jin's group from sight until now.

But they had also dulled their senses. Even with the mind's eye, the chaos made it impossible to accurately detect the hundreds of energies moving around them.

That's how they couldn't retreat to avoid colliding with the Holy Knight at a corner.

There were about five more Holy Knights behind the first one who shouted. The Society of Creed Guardians were Heretic Hunters. They skillfully blew their horns and fired flares to alert others of their discovery.

"Drop your weapons and kneel!"

If there had been more than five or if they had captain-class knights with them, the group would have been more cautious in the fight.

But there was nothing the second-class Knights of the Creed Guardians could do against the group. Quikantel and Kuzan planned to take down two knights each, but Jin unsheathed Sigmund.

The Lightning of Legends struck the five Holy Knights before they could form up. Since, anyway, their location was exposed due to the horns and flare, it was more prudent to use the Lightning to quickly clear the scene and move on.

Jin discharged ten bolts within the following five seconds to subdue four knights.

Of course, Jin had wanted to bring down all five. However, one of them made calm dodging movements despite seeing the Legends' Techniques for the first time.

This knight was probably a quite skilled swordsman, even by Jin's standards.

But for some reason, the Holy Knight didn't unsheathe his sword.
Even when the knights first spotted Jin's group, that knight was the only one who refrained from charging, unlike the other four who drew their swords and shouted at the top of their lungs.

Quikantel and Kuzan hurried to make a coordinated move against the Holy Knight.

"Wait. Wait."

The Holy Knight raised both arms in surrender. It was something incredible for a Knight of the Creed Guardians, the sole extremist group in Vankela.

"What's this about?"

"My name is Lani Salome, a second-class knight of the Society of Creed Guardians. I don't believe you are heretics."

"What?"

"You're not heretics, right? Please answer me first."

It was an unexpected question.

But the eyes under the helmet were sincere, so Jin decided to entertain his question.

"I never unsheathe my sword against those who aren't heretics. And from what I see, you're related to the Dark Dragon that fought against the mad Fire Dragon, am I wrong?"

Jin's eyes widened.

The Holy Knight named Lani used the term Dark Dragon instead of calling it a demonic creature. And on top of that, a mad Fire Dragon. There was an apparent hostility against Kadun in his voice.

They could hear other sets of Holy Knights running from the alleyway behind them. It would only be a matter of seconds until the new group appeared in their alley.

"First, follow me. You won't survive if my colleagues catch you."

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Publication of up to 6 weekly chapters, thanks.
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