The Novel's Villain - Chapter 93
25. The Encounter (1)
Luna felt that her heart had been deeply pierced. The priests who had to show love and mercy as she told them to, even those who had a certain status, had actually been living debauched lives. They even took baths even when there was no water to drink. They were supposed to use their divine power on sick people, but it became the exclusive property of the nobility. It was so different from what she had seen in Heaven.
In the meantime, her eyes and ears were covered with sweet flattery, so she didn’t know the truth. Having a powerful influence in the Middle-World, she was causing people to suffer. She wanted to return to Heaven as soon as possible and reform the Order. To do that, she fled them. Her willpower felt, strangely, very strong, perhaps because of her escape.
She shouted so as she stood on a cliff; her expression was determined. She could return to Heaven immediately if her physical life were cut off, so Luna jumped off the cliff. However, she tripped over a branch. Then, she bounced around and fell into a swamp. It was so sticky that her body couldn’t move. After several attempts to escape, she barely raised her head.
Sticky mud blotted out Luna’s eyes. When she barely raised her hand and rubbed them, they turned even redder from the mud covering her hands.
Was she lucky? Or was she not?
There were no wounds other than her bloodshot eyes. Elise, her senior priest, approached in a hurry. She was worried about Luna and ran away together with her. She thought it was the Goddess’s will to take care of Luna. She let out a sigh as she saw Luna mucking around in the swamp.
“You must be blessed by the Goddess, too. Come on out!”
“In the swamp-like this…”
Luna’s body was sucked into the swamp. After a while, she was finally almost up to her nose. The suffocation would be painful, but she would soon be able to go to Heaven! But she didn’t go any further.
It felt like something slippery had touched her feet.
She was soaring!
The swamp bubbled up, and Luna was thrown next to Elise, still covered head to toe in mud. With a sigh, Elise took a white cloth from her bag and wiped down Luna’s body. It didn’t even clean her well.
Luna, who was lying on her stomach, jumped up suddenly.
“I didn’t expect my luck to be this high.”
All her attempts so far had failed. She felt horrified by her luck. The Goddess herself was such a great being; it was as if Middle-World was protecting her!
“I think the Goddess is very fond of you. So stop doing dangerous things.”
Luna sighed and shook her head.
“Take off your clothes and put on this.”
“A black robe? Isn’t that what dark wizards wear?”
“Thanks to that, I got it cheap. Let’s wear this today and do laundry tomorrow.”
Luna looked at Elise and nodded. She was evidently moved by her warm affection. Tears came out on their own. It turned out that not all the priests were corrupted.
It was then…
Something came out of the swamp. Luna and Elise’s faces turned towards the swamp at the same time. A fish with legs looked at the two. Luna and Elise’s jaws went slack.
Its whole body was sleek. It didn’t look threatening because of its large head and round yellow eyes. Maybe it hurt its leg, as the scales were split there.
“Looks like it’s hurt. Let’s help it.”
“I think it saved you from the swamp. The Goddess may have sent it.”
Luna had never sent such a fish. But she was the Goddess of love and mercy, and her scope wasn’t limited to humans. She gave love to all life.
“I will do it.”
Luna approached the fish. When she healed the fish, it looked at Luna with its round eyes. The fish opened its mouth to say thank you. It then blinked and pointed over the swamp.
“I think it’s asking us to follow it. It doesn’t look like a bad monster…”
Luna nodded at Elise’s words and followed the fish. As they passed through the swamp, the fish gave them a ride. Luna quickly got along with the fish. Although she was somewhat lacking, she seemed to be loved because she was naive and kind.
“We can’t keep calling it Fish.”
“Is that so?”
“How about Fishman? Or Fishwoman if it’s a female!”
Elise let out a sigh.
* * *
The village was growing peacefully in its way. The population brought in from the outside swelled. The influence of the sacred ground gradually increased with it, occupying all the forests surrounding the village and extended to the swamps. The sacred ground was a space that belonged completely to Jin-woo like the JW Gate, making it above the laws of the Middle-World.
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Since it had already become like this, Jin-woo decided to go out in earnest. He needed a stronghold since he had to move actively in the Middle World. And, as was always the case, he felt he should be responsible for those he was related to. As the village grew, he chose people to manage it. He appointed the village elder Eff to represent the villagers, Alonso to lead the priests, the nobles’ representatives who settled in the village, and Selena to manage them.
“Hahaha, we have a lot of work to do today.”
“I think we need to expand the church a little more. Haha.”
“The nobility of the Raskan Kingdom is without romance. But our town is a fantastic place full of romance! It will soon become the center of literature and art….”
“Well, that’s a good idea.”
The Village elder Eff, Alonso, noble representative Terius, and Selena talked together. All of them received a bounty because of their high contribution. In the case of Terius, he surprisingly received an R-rated comic book that Jin-woo brought because he was afraid he would be bored while traveling.
The four of them stood side by side in front of Jin-woo. However, the atmosphere became quite gloomy as most of the village was replaced with dungeon materials.
‘Looking at them like this…’
Jin-woo didn’t know why, but because they have a unique personality, it made them seem like the Four Heavenly Kings.
“It looks like we will have to harvest soon. A harvest ceremony will be held to commemorate the first harvest. I think the return of the estate will take place after that. It seems like the nobility is wasting time on purpose.”
Selena said so. Food was essential as the population increased. Pumpkins, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and many more vegetables were planted around the village and grew up fiercely. Especially the pumpkins, whose vines became huge.
Perhaps it was influenced by the dungeon, but some of the ripe pumpkins turned into monsters and were now wandering around. It was a peculiar sight, but there was no harm. All they did was chase after each other while making strange noises. The village was being transformed so smoothly. Everything would become more comfortable for Jin-woo when the Altamia estate was restored.
“The Emperor in the Middle-World….”
The most memorable Emperor in Middle-World was the Ancient Dragon. Speaking of fantasy, it must be a dragon.
Jin-woo looked around the fields surrounding the estate. This would be enough to fill the hungry stomachs of the people of the sacred ground and the people of Altamia. The situation around Guern was fine, but it was said that the Altamia estate was more serious. This was because nobles who managed the estate on behalf of the Altamia family were running riot.
Besides, the original story also mentioned that there was a great famine.
Jin-woo couldn’t save them all, but at least he could save those related to him. He had the power to do that, and he had the ability. He even had a plan, too. The seeds brought from Earth grew very fast and big like Elonti’s chickens, and they were very nutritious. It hadn’t been long since they planted the seeds, but they had already yielded results. The only downside was that the appearance was somewhat gloomy.
Everyone was sweating and working hard in the field. In particular, the former adventurer, who received mountain-climbing clothes as a bounty, now became a professional farmer.
Jin-woo liked this place. He thought it would be nice to bring Yoo-na or some of the others with him sometime soon. It was perfect for a quiet vacation. It felt like he was looking at the countryside where he lived as a child. The children were running around and bowed to Jin-woo when they saw him.
In short, Jin-woo had grown attached to this place.
He returned to the Sanctuary through the nearby hill where he could overlook the village. He was in trouble in many ways whenever he disappeared from the village. He had been in Middle-earth for a long time and had quite a bit of work to catch up on, alongside meetings that could no longer be delayed.
[An intruder has trespassed the Golden Sacred Ground.]
Such information came to his mind as he prepared to work. Jin-woo was a little flustered. It was the first time anyone had trespassed in his territory.
Jin-woo headed straight for the Middle World. He opened the portal to the Sanctuary on the hill where he could overlook the village. It was night in the Middle World. The moon was hidden behind dark clouds, but it was as bright as broad daylight around the village. Smoke was billowing out from all over the village buildings as screams filled the air.
It had been a while since he felt this way, probably not since the technology leak and Kim Se-yeon was kidnapped. The mana in Jin-woo’s right hand was boiling.
It grew silent. Even if it was the Emperor of Gold or the Incarnation of Evil, it was best to keep quiet for now. Jin-woo felt his mood cooling down. Who was it? It didn’t matter.
He could feel a lot of signs around him. He looked into the woods, then moved right away. Jin-woo’s body disappeared as he permeated into the darkness.
“Leave the useful ones.”
“Haha, is there anything useful in the countryside like that?”
The soldiers in the forest said so and drew their weapons as they slowly began to descend toward the village. The village looked different from before, but they didn’t pay much attention to it. As they made their way down to buildings…
Suddenly, a hand came out of the darkness and grabbed the face of a soldier who was holding a spear.
He felt a bolt of agony in his face. Like a fish caught in a hook, the soldier floated lightly and was sucked into the darkness.
A desperate scream resounded along with the sound of something breaking. All the knights and soldiers stopped marching.
“W-What’s going on?”
The soldiers who were about to set fire to the forest looked around in surprise. A broken spear was all that was left in the place of the missing soldier.
“Come on, stop joking around!”
It wasn’t a joke. The wind blew by, and the forest became quiet. Neither the chirping of insects nor the occasional sound of wild beasts could be heard. The forest seemed to have stopped breathing. Someone had quieted it.
The grass and trees shook, and the soldiers around them began to disappear one by one. They all disappeared, leaving only their weapons behind.
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The speed at which the soldiers disappeared increased. The forest was filled with the sound of death throes. A light flashed, and several fell to the ground at once. The fallen went still.
“W-who is it!”
It was when someone who looked like a knight looked around and raised his sword.
Something hit him. The knight was wearing heavy armor, but he was tossed lightly and collided with a tree.
The knights and soldiers who watched it from the side trembled. A soldier hurriedly lit a torch to illuminate their surroundings, and a presence was seen wrapped in the rushing air current. Golden eyes were watching them, eyes that neither humans nor even wild beasts could possess. It was a monster. The only thing they could tell was that it was wearing a black suit.
The soldier’s body fell forward and split. It was the beginning of their true hell.
Jin-woo looked at the fallen soldiers. Without needing to ask who it was, he could see everything through the Magic Eye of Information.
It seemed that they came to wipe out the village completely. Jin-woo grabbed the sword the soldier had dropped. It was a crude sword with no rank, but it didn’t matter much. He looked straight ahead and raised the sword. It was lightly drawn upward as his enormous mana was concentrated on the tip.
Everything in front of him disappeared in an instant. Trees soared in all directions as if caught in a storm, and the ground turned over. Not only that, but the cliff next to it cracked and collapsed. He could see the soldiers in the back running away. It felt like the Emperor of Gold, and the Incarnation of Evil were dazed and stopped. When Jin-woo regained his composure, it seemed that he could hear a sigh of relief.
‘The village is….’
Rather than the fleeing soldiers, the village came first. Jin-woo quickly went to check on them.
The village was fine. Huge campfires were set up all over the village, and they were enjoying the festival.
The whole village was on fire. Come to think of it; there was something about a harvest festival. The children were screaming and running around, their joy filling the air. Jin-woo felt his strength draining away.
All the cliffs collapsed, and a great sound rang out.
“Oh, my God!”
“Everyone, don’t panic.”
Alonso said so and looked at Jin-woo. When the landslide calmed down, leaving no impact on the village, everyone looked at Jin-woo and bowed politely.
* * *
Allen was an intermediate sword expert who was about to become a swordmaster. He was known as the most talented knight of Count Ehorce and the most likely knight to succeed Haymann as a swordmaster. He was a man of great ambition who did a lot of dirty work to win Count Ehorce’s trust.
This time he felt no remorse for being sent to clear out Guern village. He took the knights and three hundred soldiers to Guern. That alone would be enough to wipe out the small village, but Count Ehorce certainly wanted to get things done.
“I heard there is a festival in Guern village now.”
“Their festival will also be their funeral day, huh?”
“The Count is commanding us to keep the useful things alive. Don’t get carried away.”
The knights and soldiers laughed at Allen’s words. It was easy. He honestly thought he could do it on his own.
But why did this happen? He felt an ominous feeling as he passed the grotesquely overgrown vines. He thought it was nothing, but it was a warning sent by his trained senses.
It was dark. They couldn’t see properly because it was too dark around them. The torch wouldn’t light. Something flashed, and the soldiers have swept away. Trees rose, and the earth split. Allen’s sword, which was filled with blue energy, was shattered.
Allen and the knights ran, leaving their luggage behind. The ground rose like a tidal wave and covered the surroundings, devouring the surrounding soldiers.
The pumpkins on the ground turned and smiled at him.
‘T-The cursed land!’
The surviving knights and soldiers ran desperately. They couldn’t even go back the way they came. In the end, they decided to get out through the swamp. It was a place of bizarre rumors, but it was better than dying here.
“W-will it come after us?”
“I-it’s a cursed place. H-how could such a monster…!”
“W-wouldn’t it be better to go to Guern village where the saint is? I-if there’s a saint….”
Allen also heard the rumor that the saint had sent a high-ranking demon who had appeared in the Guern village back to the Demon Realm. He thought it was an outrageous rumor, but the fact that he had such a horrendous experience made it clear that it might not be a rumor.
“Don’t be so silly!”
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They came to wipe out the village; this meant that they were going to destroy the saint as well. They thought of working with the Order in Count Ehorce’s estate to make the story sound plausible. The sacrifice of the saint and how Count Ehorce saved the people from the demons. What a wonderful story. However, could they ask the saint for help now?
The soldiers who had already escaped headed to Guern village, but Allen couldn’t do that.
The priest blessed Allen before he left. He thought that the Goddess would surely help him. Considering the money he put into the Order every month, she had to.
The cliff completely fell, crashing down on Allen and the rest. Allen desperately ran away from the landslide.
‘A little further!’
A little further away was Ehorce’s estate. Yet, as he crossed the swamp, he noticed something in front of him.
It seemed that people were gathering in front of the swamp. Something glistened in the light. Allen and the others who survived rejoiced and crossed the swamp.
“W-we’re safe! There must be a village ahead. If we ask for help…”
The knights and soldiers could barely laugh.
“Hey! You guys…”
This was the moment when Allen shouted.
The shadows of people grew bigger and bigger. They were far beyond the height of a human. Allen’s expression turned into astonishment as they turned their heads and looked toward him. He saw large yellow eyes exposed in the soft moonlight and menacing legs attached to their bodies covered by huge scales.
They were monsters in the shape of fish.
“T-They’re chasing us!”
“Demons! The demons will eat us!”
Between them was a woman wearing a black robe, her skin visible underneath cracked like the scales of a snake. Both her eyes were bloodshot red.
Allen’s jaw trembled. That was a demon. Such a human being didn’t exist, especially not one capable of commanding so many monsters.
“I-It’s a demon!”
Allen began to run away, squeezing out all of the mana that he had saved up. He didn’t think of taking care of his men. The knights and soldiers ran away, screaming behind him.
* * *
Luna wiped her muddy eyes. Tears flowed from her bloodshot eyes, but she continued to exude divine power to heal the Fishman’s wounds. The Fishman was kind and nice. The reason it was injured was that it used all its strength to drive out the surrounding monsters. It also did good deeds, such as secretly bringing fish to the poor villages nearby.
Luna and Elise treated it kindly, so it gave them food and a place to sleep. There were some fishmen who looked a little creepy, but most of them were kind-hearted.
Luna heard a scream and turned her head to look at it, but it disappeared quickly.
“Demon, Demon King?”
She thought she heard something like that. Luna couldn’t help but react to those words. Come to think of it; she had heard rumors that the saint had defeated a demon.
‘He must be a very religious man of great power.’
She would gladly bless him when she met him someday. Luna hoped the saint would become her faithful servant and bring peace to Middle-World together with her.
“Fufu! He will be surprised to see me.”
Such a religious person might be able to recognize her. Luna was looking forward to that day.
When she scratched her itchy head, the hardened mud fell off.
* * *
Since he was the first to start the dispute, it was Jin-woo’s way to repay him. Count Ehorce was dead in the original story anyway, so he thought it would be okay to kill him the same way. Of course, he didn’t mean to kill him kindly.
Count Ehorce’s knights and soldiers entered the village. Everyone was terrified. These were those that Jin-woo had half-killed.
“S-Saint! Please save us, Saint!”
“T-there’s s demon in the swamp! Ah, no, it might be the Demon King!”
The men who were about to raid the village said crazy things. Jin-woo grinned as he looked at them. The soldiers were moved by his smile to the point of tears.
The saint’s smile seemed so kind.
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