The Cult Leader in the Clergy Academy

Chapter 169



Chapter 169

With quick steps, Jin-Seo headed toward where the priests were located. The student following her was gasping for breath because she was struggling to keep up. However, Jin-Seo didn’t pay any attention to her. If she didn’t have the confidence to follow her, then she shouldn’t have followed along in the first place.

Pitter, patter.

It started to rain. The rain didn’t cease after a few raindrops. Instead, it intensified into a heavy downpour. Thunder roared and lightning struck down.

"Huff, huff... hey, slow down a bit... kyaah!"

Every time there was a thunderstrike, the student trembled and cowered in fear. She had planned on walking toward the priests’ location, regardless of whether it rained or not, but looking at the current situation, it seemed like it would be difficult to do so.

"Go into that building."

"Huh, huff... huff. Where?"

"Over there. Can't you see?"

Jin-Seo pointed to a building nearby and started walking toward it. She had no intention of staying there until the rain stopped. She planned to rest only until the student regained her stamina. She wasn’t particularly concerned about the student or anything like that. It was because the raindrops were starting to get heavy, and hence it was getting harder for her to open her eyes.

Inside the building that she had picked without much thought, there was already an occupant.

"Nice to see you. Aren't you the friend I saw last time?" Joseph said with a smile.

Although he was clearly smiling, there was a strange sense of pressure in the way he was standing still with his hands behind his back.

Jin-Seo silently stared at him, and Joseph nodded as if he understood and said, "Well, I suppose greetings would just be a waste of time from your perspective... Alright, will you try the test I have prepared?"

"...I would like to know what kind of test it is first," Jin-Seo asked with a determined expression on her face.

Joseph nodded, took something out of his pocket, and placed it on the table behind him.

"It's simple. You just have to deal with my interference and steal this flag,” Joseph said while pointing to the flag.

It was a relatively large flag, about one meter high and fifty centimeters wide. It seemed like it would be a walk in the park to steal such a large flag, considering that it was inside such a narrow indoor space.

If the opponent wasn’t Joseph, that is.

Jin-Seo lost confidence as soon as she heard the details of the test. She had witnessed Joseph and Sun-Woo sparring at the sacred training ground before, and she had seen their movements. In her current state, those movements were impossible for her to copy and keep up with.

"Decide quickly whether you're going to do it or not. Your competitors will be collecting tokens while you hesitate," Joseph urged.

Jin-Seo examined the interior of the building and contemplated. The area inside the building was small, and the ceiling was high. The floor was made out of wood. There were many furniture items such as bookshelves, wardrobes, and chairs that could be utilized. Above all, there were rods for curtains hanging on the walls. If she could utilize those rods well, she would be able to create new variables. However, the key was whether she would be able to utilize the rod effectively.

"How many tokens can I get if I manage to steal the flag?"

"Up to a maximum of five tokens. Within this area, I am the one with the most tokens."

"Five..."

Jin-Seo recalled the words the supervisor had said before the exam started. She heard that if someone met a clergyman and completed a task of average difficulty, they would earn one token. If the task was slightly more difficult, it would be worth two tokens. And if someone completed a task that was so difficult that it would lead to failure in most cases, they would receive three tokens.

A student would get four tokens for tasks that were not only difficult but also time-consuming. That meant that five tokens would, without a doubt, be the highest level of difficulty.

"..."

However, just like Joseph had said, his task was simple and clear. Whether she succeeded or failed, it felt like it wouldn’t take too much time. If that was the case, then she had nothing to lose.

"Alright, what are you going to do—"

Tap!

Jin-Seo dashed toward the flag without even responding to Joseph's words. Having observed Joseph's movements before, she knew that it was impossible to snatch the flag using conventional methods. Thus, the only option was to launch a surprise attack.

She didn’t give Joseph a chance to react, and she didn't even give him time to mentally prepare himself or adjust his posture. If she rushed while he was in that state, he would inevitably be flustered. Jin-Seo planned on snatching the flag by taking advantage of the small opportunity that arose while he was flustered.

Since she was executing a surprise attack, she directly darted toward the flag without deviating off course. She stepped off the ground while taking the most optimal path toward the flag. In reality, it would be more accurate to say that she was throwing her body at the flag rather than running toward it.

"Woah there."

Thud!

However, her fingertips failed to reach the flag and she ended up colliding with the ground. Jin-Seo failed to comprehend what had happened in that instant. As if she had been swept away by a wave, she had been completely unable to resist, before crashing to the ground.

"Argh...!"

The pain came in later. A tingling pain pulsated from her lower back to her head. Jin-Seo grabbed her waist and just barely managed to stand up. At some point, Joseph had entered his fighting posture and was staring intently at Jin-Seo.

“I won’t go hard enough for you to get injured, but it will hurt. Deal with the landing yourself.”

"..."

With an exceedingly casual expression on his face, Joseph even had the leisure to give advice to Jin-Seo.

"The surprise attack was good. However, it would have been better if you put some more thought into it. Perhaps utilize your colleague as well,” Joseph said.

A blood vessel in Jin-Seo's forehead twitched. Jin-Seo gritted her teeth and stared at her opponent with eyes filled with unprecedented sharpness. The student watching the situation unfold from behind without understanding what happened hesitantly approached her.

"Um, should I join in too?"

"You said you were tired earlier. Just take a break."

"But still, staying still is a bit..."

Jin-Seo turned her head and stared into the student's eyes. The student stumbled back in surprise. It was because Jin-Seo's gaze was filled with an indiscernible mix of wrath, resentment, or perhaps determination.

"Take a break."

"Alright..."

The student finally gave up and stepped back. Jin-Seo turned her gaze back to Joseph. His posture was not much different from before. He had a strange stance that made it unclear whether he was going to attack or defend. However, both attack and defense were intertwined within that stance. Jin-Seo knew that through both experience and instinct.

Her surprise attack failed, and her brute force strategy had also failed. Jin-Seo shifted her eyes and observed the interior of the room: the terrain, objects in the room, her equipment, and the blessings she could use. She had to use everything she had in a strategic manner in order for her to have a chance to succeed.

"I forgot to tell you about something. The time limit is three minutes. I'll keep track of the time."

"..."

Even after hearing those words, Jin-Seo didn't move and just quietly stared at Joseph. No matter how much she utilized the terrain and her equipment, she wouldn’t be able to shake off Joseph with such sluggish movements. Jin-Seo recalled what Do-Jin had said at the sacred training ground after Joseph and Sun-Woo left.

"You use blessings too honestly."

“...What?"

"You're too honest. You don't have any intention of utilizing the blessings."

"How long can you maintain your blessings?"

"Um... about twenty minutes."

"Compress that to ten, twenty seconds or so. Think of using the blessing as if you are using a burst of strength within a short amount of time. Then, you should be able to explosively increase the efficiency of the blessing for a brief moment.”

Depending on the situation, there were times when using a blessing on a specific part of the body was more efficient than using the blessing on the entire body.

Similarly, what Do-Jin had tried to explain was that the efficiency of the blessing would increase if the usage of a blessing was compressed into a shorter time frame. However, Do-Jin had never told her the method of compressing the blessing into a shorter time frame.

- "How do I use that technique?"

- "I have no idea. I learned it instinctively, you see."

Do-Jin had irresponsibly said that.

After that, she didn’t try to practice using the technique. She didn’t know if she would be able to learn it through practice or not. She believed that there was a high probability that she wouldn’t be able to figure out how to use it.

However, not even attempting it due to being preoccupied with the possibility of failure was cowardly. Jin-Seo believed that now was the time to try the technique that she had learned from Do-Jin.

She drew a blessing array. It was a blessing array that she had drawn hundreds of times, and it took only a few seconds to draw. The moment the light of blessing wrapped around her legs—

Crack!

The wooden floor broke due to the strength of her legs kicking off the floor. Using the momentum, Jin-Seo charged toward Joseph in a straight path once again.

"Oh..." Joseph exclaimed.

It couldn’t compare to the speed that Sun-Woo had displayed last time, but it was still incredibly fast. However, it was just fast and lacked any complexities in the movement. It was regrettable that she was only charging straight at him. When Joseph took his stance and was just about to throw her to the opposite side from the flag—

Bang—!

With a sound like that of a gunshot, Jin-Seo's figure disappeared. Joseph moved only his eyes to find her. She wasn’t on the right. She wasn’t on the left either. No matter how fast she was, it wouldn’t have been possible for her to go behind him from this angle.

That meant...

She was above.

Jin-Seo held onto the rod that was hanging on the wall and crouched down as if the wall was the floor. She drew one more blessing array in that state. It was a simple blessing of strength. However, it was not a lesser blessing, but an intermediate one. In that short period of time, Jin-Seo had drawn an intermediate blessing array.

Crack!

The rod that was hanging on the wall broke. At the same time, her body bounced up and rushed toward the flag. He didn’t think that her physical abilities would be so great because of her slender frame, but the elasticity and flexibility of her muscles were beyond his expectations.

Her strategy was also excellent. She made it look like she was recklessly charging in a straight path to make the opponent let their guard down, and then she soared up into the sky, which was his blind spot. If Joseph's judgment had been a little slower, he would have surrendered the flag to her.

"Impressive."

Her speed and strategy were enough to surprise Joseph. It was impressive no matter how he looked at it. However, there was one thing that was still lacking.

"Still too slow."

Thump!

Jin-Seo's body collapsed onto the ground. Even as this was happening, her eyes were still fixed on the flag. Joseph admired her determination and perseverance but secretly felt disappointed. He wondered what it would have been like if she were in the Department of Paladins. However, since Sun-Woo was already in the Department of Paladins... No matter how fast this student was, compared to Sun-Woo, she was still slow.

Joseph shook off these thoughts and leaned forward with the intention of lifting Jin-Seo up.

Swish!

At that moment, Jin-Seo swung the whip she was holding.

"Got—!"

The whip passed by Joseph and wrapped around the flag. This was what she had been aiming for from the start. She had moved as quickly as possible to disrupt Joseph's focus, and then she used the whip to snatch the flag when he let his guard down. Jin-Seo pulled on the rope with all her strength.

“...you?"

However, the flag was not wrapped around the whip that she had pulled.

"This time was really unfortunate!”

The flag was in Joseph's hand. Although she had successfully caught the flag with the whip, Joseph had managed to snatch it back midway. He had absurdly quick reflexes. Jin-Seo looked back and forth between Joseph and the flag with a bewildered look in her eyes. She felt a sense of despair when she realized that she still couldn't defeat him despite her efforts.

"Here, take these."

Jin-Seo couldn’t help but find this situation strange. Joseph was handing her three tokens as if it were obvious.

"Didn't I say earlier that you can obtain up to a maximum of five tokens?"

"..."

"If you manage to steal the flag, you get five. Just moving the flag alone gives you three. This is yours. Take it quickly and leave. Don't you have limited time?"

Joseph shook the hand holding the tokens. Jin-Seo received the tokens with a bitter expression on her face.

Joseph stared at her intently and said, "I suppose birds of a feather flock together." Foll𝑜w current novℯls on nov𝒆lb((in).(com)

"Huh?"

"No, never mind. Hurry up and go."

Joseph backpedaled what he said earlier as he waved his hand. Joseph's presence here was not only to test the students as an examiner but more importantly, it was to prepare for a possible attack by the Satanists.

The academy had deployed personnel capable of combat and combat support throughout the examination site so that even in the event of a disturbance, they could suppress the disturbance without suffering significant casualties. Due to this, Joseph felt extremely annoyed. He couldn't shake off the feeling that he was being used as a shield by Florence Academy.

The students taking the exam showed abilities that were below expectations. They all fell short and displayed less than half of what Sun-Woo could do. He hadn’t expected Sun-Woo’s level of skill, but he had expected at least half his level of skill from the students.

It was when he was starting to feel bored that Jin-Seo arrived. When he saw her last time, he thought that she was a female student who was friendly with Sun-Woo, but he didn't expect her to show such an excellent performance. It was a pleasant surprise.

"Birds of a feather flock together..."

Jin-Seo quietly repeated Joseph's words and looked up at the sky as she left the building with the student in tow. The heavy raindrops had gradually become lighter, and the weather was gradually clearing up. Thin sunlight timidly peeked out through the clouds.


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