The Cult Leader in the Clergy Academy

Chapter 206



Chapter 206

Han Dae-Ho led me out of the hotel. Before I knew it, we were walking through the dimly lit downtown of the foreign city. I followed him without a single clue about what was going on.

Even though we were in a foreign country, Han Dae-Ho was significantly big. Everyone who passed by glanced at him. However, he paid no attention to those looks and silently continued on his way.

He stopped at a desolate park in the heart of the city, untouched by the city lights. The park looked as if it had been neglected for some time, as trash was scattered carelessly on the ground, and the streetlights were broken. Han Dae-Ho brushed off the dust from the bench where the paint had peeled off and sat down.

"Sorry for calling you out all of a sudden. I caught you by surprise, right?"

His tone was kind, but I didn't let my guard down. Well, I tried to overlook that he had called me out by myself. Maybe he wanted to tell me something about the schedule.

Since Han Dae-Ho and I were acquainted before, it was possible that he had called me out to ask for help. However, there was definitely something suspicious about calling me out to a place like this.

"There's something I wanted to say. Are you going to stand there and listen? You can take a seat and make yourself comfortable if you want," Han Dae-Ho said.

I looked at him because he might be suspicious of me. Han Dae-Ho was the head of the Eastern Paladin Order, and Joseph, who was monitoring me, was part of the Central Paladin Order. It would be impossible to assume that the two were not affiliated in some way. Even so, Han Dae-Ho was an archbishop. He had the discretion to investigate me to his heart’s content.

I wouldn’t be bold to assume that Han Dae-Ho would have conducted some personal investigations about me, as he had found me interesting the frequent times I met him. If he had found something suspicious during that process and summoned me here to discuss it...

"...I’ll stay standing. It's more comfortable for me,” I said, keeping my arms folded behind my back.

Swoosh.

I unleashed Voodoo magic with the hand hidden behind my back. It was a precaution for any unforeseen circumstances. The light emitted by Voodoo magic seeped into the darkness, so I did not worry about getting caught.

Since there are no CCTV or black boxes here, there wouldn’t be a problem for me if I put Han Dae-Ho to sleep with a spell or if I had to deal with the sleeping Han Dae-Ho.

As long as I handled the aftermath well, that is.

"Well, if you say so," Han Dae-Ho said.

His expression was not clearly visible in the darkness. He scratched his eyebrow with his middle finger.

"I'm not sure if I remember... but you must have heard it through Bok-Dong. You know, the benefits I promised to give you if you chose to be a part of the Department of Paladins."

"Yes, I remember."

When choosing my major, Bok-Dong and Do-Jin highlighted the advantages of the Department of Paladins and the Department of Crusaders in order to recruit me. During that time, Bok-Dong mentioned the benefits that Han Dae-Ho had promised me if I chose the Department of Paladins.

"Do you still remember the details?" Han Dae-Ho asked.

"You said you would recommend me for the entrance evaluation of the Central Paladin Order, regardless of my performance or achievements," I answered without hesitation.

"You have a good memory." Han Dae-Ho nodded slowly.

The fastest way to become an inquisitor was to join the Central Paladin Order. No, to be more accurate, it was the quickest way to enter the underground prison. Although I would not be able to freely come and go like an inquisitor, I would gain the authority to enter the underground prison during ‘special occasions’ once I joined the Central Paladin Order.

If I used spells and the power of Loa appropriately, I could create those 'special situations' whenever I wanted. This was why I ultimately chose the Department of Paladins after contemplating between the Department of Crusaders and the Department of Paladins.

"Then you must understand that it's an unbelievable privilege."

I nodded and replied, "...Yes, sir."

At this point, I had dismissed the Voodoo magic. There was no need to bring up this matter if he didn’t trust me. Paladins taking the Central Paladin Order entrance examination were usually elites who had been slaved in their respective local jurisdiction Paladin Order for several years and had been recognized for their achievements.

So for someone like me, a vice priest with no achievements, to gain the qualification to participate in the entrance examination of the Central Paladin Order was indeed an unreasonable privilege.

"Are you confident?" Han Dae-Ho looked straight at me.

Startled by his tone and the gaze in his eyes, I took a step back.

"Sir? What do you mean..."

"I'm asking if you are confident you’ll be able to pass the entrance examination." Han Dae-Ho asked again.

"..." I didn't answer immediately but stayed still with my mouth shut.

Surely, there would be outstanding paladins who would attend the Central Paladin Order entrance examination. It would be a gathering place for the most talented individuals, the best in their respective local Paladin Orders.

"Yes."

Although that was the case, I was confident in myself. Honestly, I had never even considered the thought of being overshadowed by them.

"...Alright." Han Dae-Ho nodded slowly after hearing my response. "The reason I'm bringing up this conversation is... because I hope you don't think of me as an unjust clergyman."

"I have never thought of you that way."

"Then that’s a relief. But it still holds that I am granting you special privileges based on my personal feelings. Since you haven't officially achieved anything." He stood up abruptly from the bench and continued, "Nevertheless, I recommend you, unofficially, because I have witnessed your abilities with my own eyes. Ah, let's continue the conversation while we walk. This place is getting too dark and scary."

Han Dae-Ho lightly tapped my back with his thick palm and started walking toward the hotel.

I trailed behind him. As the noise of the city and unnecessarily flashy lights drew near, Han Dae-Ho started to speak again.

"I might not have become the Eastern Paladin Order leader. I might not have even made it past the lower ranks. But I ended up in a position far beyond what I deserved with the help of someone."

I nodded as I listened to Han Dae-Ho's story.

"Creating an environment where people with talents like yours can fully flourish is the way to repay the grace I received and is the path to help paladins and the Romanican Church. That's why I am going to great lengths to grant you these privileges."

Han Dae-Ho was such a fast walker that it was hard even to keep up.

"I hope you can prove that I made the right choice."

By the time Han Dae-Ho finished speaking, we were already in front of the hotel. I could feel his strong trust in me through his gaze and tone. I nodded.

"I will prove it. No matter what."

"Yeah, I've been holding you back too long from hanging out with your friends. Go upstairs and rest. I’ll see you tomorrow," Han Dae-Ho said and went outside the hotel while answering a phone call.

It seemed like he had matters to take care of. I watched his massive figure from behind. I thought about how he had looked at me. He seemed to trust me deeply.

But I didn't trust him. Initially, I was wary of him even when he was just trying to say some nice things to me. I was in a position where I couldn't easily trust someone who was kind to me.

Carrying a sense of unease that I couldn't pinpoint the cause of, I returned to my accommodation. It was noisy in the living room. As I entered the living room, everyone's gaze turned toward me. Their faces showed surprise.

"Oh, it's you? Wow, you scared me. I thought you were Director Han Dae-Ho," Yu-Hyun said.

I glanced at Dae-Man, who sat next to him. Su-Ryeon and Min-Seo, who shouldn't be here, and Ha-Yeon were also seated next to him. Bottles and snacks were scattered among them. The strong and unpleasant smell of alcohol stung my nose.

"Ha."

I couldn’t even get myself to be angry. I was so dumbfounded that all I could do was laugh. I quickly scanned the scattered bottles with my eyes, but it seemed like the drink from Yeom Man-Gun's factory hadn't been taken out yet.

If it wasn’t out, then I had no reason to stop them. Upttodated from n(0)/v𝒆lbIn/.(co/m

But I didn't want to join them, so I left the accommodation altogether.

***

Upon hearing that there was a garden terrace in the middle of the hotel, I made my way there. I wanted to clear my mind and plan while getting fresh air.

I wanted to bring Damballa with me, but unfortunately, too many people were in the living room, so I couldn't.

The garden terrace was very well decorated. There was a small garden and a café with tables, allowing customers to have a cup of coffee while enjoying the view.

As the facilities were well-equipped, the terrace housed many people. Among the crowd were local tourists and even Romanican clergymen. The clergymen were dressed like ordinary tourists, perhaps to avoid revealing their true identities. I mingled among them, pretending to be a tourist myself, and wandered around the terrace.

[It's good to think ahead, but don't get too absorbed,] Legba said while I was admiring the night view.

I didn't respond and instead looked down at the bustling lights of the city center. Other tourists were also leaning on the railing, sipping their beers, and admiring the night view like me. The pleasant noise they created filled the terrace, creating a good atmosphere.

[Sometimes, take time to enjoy the present. Don't let your thoughts of the future consume your present.]

I didn't respond.

To enjoy the present, one must first think about the future. One could not enjoy the present while they were anxious about what was going to happen. Enjoying the present while putting anxious thoughts behind was nothing more than running from reality. The pleasure obtained through running away was light, but the responsibility that came with it is heavy. At least, that’s what I thought.

[Those like you who chase their future their entire life always regret it.]

"..."

[They missed their chance to take care of their past because they were so focused on their future.]

I decided to ignore Legba's words.

While I was aimlessly walking around, trying to drown out Legba's chatter, I happened to see Jin-Seo.

She was leaning on the railing, looking into the night, a cigarette in her mouth. The smoke she exhaled collided with the wind and scattered about. Suddenly, I felt a bit mischievous.

“Student Jin-Seo!" I approached her and shouted.

Startled, Jin-Seo quickly extinguished her cigarette and threw it on the ground, stepping on the butt with her foot to hide it. Then, with wide eyes from surprise, she turned toward me, scowling when she recognized me.

"What are you trying to do?" she said resentfully.

I approached her with a big smile on my face. Jin-Seo glared at me with narrowed eyes.

"I thought you were a teacher."

"What were you doing that made you so surprised?"

"...I was just enjoying the night view." She snapped back, turning her head toward the direction of the view.

She didn’t acknowledge me but leaned against the railing and gazed into the night.

It was a fierce gaze, and it felt like she was glaring at the scenery rather than enjoying it. I stood next to her and watched the night view together.

She glanced at me when I didn’t say anything.

"...The others were drinking earlier. Why didn't you join them?"

"I don't like alcohol."

"Have you ever tried it?"

"No, I haven't."

"Then why don't you like it?"

"You know..." I gave a wishy-washy answer.

Although I had never tried alcohol, I knew how disgusting and violent someone could become when drunk. Above all, alcohol clouded my judgment, and I could easily make a slip of the tongue.

"Why aren't you hanging around and drinking with them?" I asked, trying to change the subject.

Jin-Seo kept her gaze fixed on the view beyond the railing as she opened her mouth. Her hair fluttered in the wind.

"Alcohol is not good for the body."

“And smoking is?"

"...No."

"Then you should quit soon."

"..." She looked at me silently, then smiled faintly and opened her mouth.

"I can't quit. I have nothing motivating me."

"Motivating you?"

"I mean... I have nothing that is giving me the motivation to quit."

"It's not good for your health. Shouldn’t that motivate you enough?"

"That's true, but..." Jin-Seo glanced at me and continued speaking. "...Well, it's not like there's a reward for quitting or anything."

"Do you really need a reward?"

"It would make quitting easier."

"Hmm..."

I tried to think in Legba’s shoes. If Legba told me not to use the intoxication spell right now, could I quit it instantly? It probably wouldn't be easy. Come to think of it, Jin-Seo might have a point. The reason I hadn’t been able to quit was because there hadn’t been any significant reward for quitting the intoxication spell.

[No, that's a matter of your willpower.]

"Okay, what kind of reward would make you quit?" I asked, ignoring Legba's words.

Jin-Seo opened her mouth as if she had been waiting for this.

"Maybe if you grant my wish?"

"A wish? That's a bit much. Why should I grant you a wish in the first place? I’m helping you get better."

"That's why you're helping me quit smoking."

"..."

She had me there.

"Fine, then."

"...Huh? For real?"

"Yeah, I'll help you, so just quit." I readily accepted her proposal.

There wasn't any other reason. I just wanted her to quit smoking. Maybe it was because I saw myself in her, struggling to quit using the intoxication spell.

[Who are you to tell her to quit?]

I decided to ignore Legba's words, as I wasn't in a situation where I could answer him. Jin-Seo blinked at me, looking somewhat surprised. She lowered her head slightly and looked up at me.

"...I’m really going to quit, you know?"

"Yeah, please do."

"You said you’d grant my wish. Don't pretend like you forgot later."

"Yeah, yeah, I know."

She turned her head after hearing my answer and started to take in the night view. She seemed calm, but the corners of her mouth were slightly upturned. It seemed like she didn't want to show how happy she was. But eventually, her smile turned into a frown, as if a sad thought suddenly came to her.

"Someone named Joseph came to me," she said, looking at me.

It was a sudden remark, but I quickly understood the situation and nodded.

Recently, Joseph had been quiet, but it seemed like he had approached Jin-Seo instead of me, probably in an attempt to extract information about me from her. She lowered her gaze as if she had committed a sin and continued speaking.

"He told me that there was a Satanist among your relatives... and asked me to attach this to your phone secretly..." Jin-Seo said, taking out a small circular device that looked like a mechanical device.

It was so small you would have to look very closely to see it. Upon closer inspection, it didn't seem like a mechanical device either. I wished Ogun would explain what it was, but he didn't say anything. Ogun also seemed clueless as well.

[If it's not a machine, it must be a holy artifact,] Legba said.

I accepted the circular device she handed me and asked, "What is this?"

"A location tracker... something along those lines?”

"...."

Jin-Seo also seemed unsure of what exactly it was. If Joseph had explicitly instructed her to attach it to my phone, it must be somewhat related to figuring out my location...

If it was a location tracker, that was somewhat fortunate, but if it was a bug, I was in trouble, as it would make it difficult to have a comfortable conversation with the Loa.

I examined Jin-Seo's face. Her expression was dark. She seemed to feel guilty even though she hadn't done anything wrong to me. I looked back and forth between the device and her.

"So, aren’t you supposed not to tell me this? If he told you to put this on without me knowing."

"I trust you more than that person,” Jin-Seo said sternly.


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