* * *
「The bond between body and soul is weakened. Recovery mode is activated.」
「Recovery progress: 1%」
「Time remaining until completion: 23 hours 04 minutes」
After being poisoned by Ergo and losing consciousness, Cadel entered the space of nothingness. Being unconscious due to physical damage was different from falling asleep, but instead of appreciating the stories of the knights, he had to look at the same system window day and night.
“Is the speed of recovery crazy? 1% per hour?”
You want me to sit in a dark room with nothing and watch the clock tick away until I reach 100%? I’m going to go insane.
Cursing under his breath at the injustice of it all, Cadel jumped to his feet. He felt like he was going to lose his mind if he didn’t do something.
‘I can’t believe I have to lie down doing nothing for a day. What about Lydon? The villagers of Baskin Village?’
After pacing and biting his nails, Cadel soon decided to give exercise a try. He didn’t know if the subconscious exercise would work, but it was better than sitting still. As he started doing sit-ups, he could definitely feel his muscles flexing.
‘Ergo must have taken Lydon. ……He hasn’t eaten him yet, has he? No, it can’t be. Although Lydon’s condition when I last saw him.……. He’s not going to sit still, so let’s not get ominous.’
By the fifth rep, he was tired and switched positions. Cadel’s arms shook as he attempted the next set of push-ups.
‘If the full 24 hours pass, I’ll have about 10 hours left to complete the main quest. Is it possible to save Lydon and defeat Ergo in that time? We’ve lost Lydon who can detect the scent of demons. How much time will be spent tracking them down…….’
After six reps, his arms were weak. Deciding that enough was enough, Cadel laid down. He was unconscious yet he was gasping for air.
“Ah…… What should I do…….”
His face was half in a daze as he stared into the black void. A powerful despondency dominated his mind to the extent that his will to fight faded.
Guilt flashed through him at the name.
The image of Lydon collapsing with his eyes closed was haunting. Cadel felt pathetic for not realizing he was pushing Lydon too hard, and for planning hastily.
Lydon was probably dealing with something terrible right now. What if his injured eyes were irreparably damaged? Cadel wondered if he could have rebelled against Ergo as much as he did, given his smaller body. If Cadel had known, he would have returned Lydon to his original body in the middle of the battle.
The regret of biting his tail made him feel even worse. Shaking his dangling limbs, Kadell stood up with a grimace.
“This is crazy! Do I really have to wait all day?”
Was there any way to speed up recovery? The moment when his impatient gaze quickly looked around the landscape of despair no different from the abyss and recognized that this place was truly a perfect ‘space of nothingness’.
「External intervention detected.」
「The recovery speed is dramatically increased.」
With each successive system window, the recovery progress, which was only 1%, began to steeply rise.
Cadel slowly lifted his eyelids. Blinking a few times to clear his blurry vision, he saw an unfamiliar ceiling somewhere and felt a soft, cozy warmth wrap around him.
‘Bed……? Ah, yeah. Looks like reinforcements have arrived.’
The fact that he was not lying on the ground meant that the reinforcements had found him. Did they find Lydon? And Ergo?
As soon as he opened my eyes, many thoughts ran through his mind. There were so many things he wanted to know. Cadel tried to lift his upper body by straining his limp arms. Unlike his urgent mind, his limp body gave way and he collapsed straight down.
It was the moment when he collapsed on the bed again, frowning. In the room where he thought there was no one there, an unfamiliar voice was heard.
“It’s probably a good idea not to move too much, you’re still recovering.”
Before he could identify the voice’s owner, the bed where Cadel lay stirred slightly. His reflexive gaze caught the unfamiliar figure at the end of it.
“Reinforcements from the White Kingdom. Let’s just call me a lifesaver?”
A man sat at the foot of the bed where Cadel lay. Dazzling white hair with curls, a languid expression, and deep, dark purple eyes. A high, uncurved nose and smooth skin set off his pale complexion.
He turned his head toward Cadel, revealing a black patch covering his left eye.
He was a man who exuded a sensual aura even when he was sitting still. Cadel, who had been robbed of his attention by the man’s stunning beauty for a moment, came to his senses belatedly. His urgent gaze alternated between the man’s white hair and the plain eyepatch underneath. And.
‘Oh God! It’s Garuel Monzasi!’
He let out an internal scream. It was Garuel. Lumen had succeeded in bringing Garuel. It was a more welcoming meeting because Cadel had forgotten half of it. Resisting the urge to pounce and flirt with him, Cadel thanked Garuel politely.
“You healed me. Thank you.”
Garuel, who nodded insincerely, put the flask he was holding to his lips. Under the raised head, a strange gaze was scrutinizing Cadel.
“By the way…….”
Garuel continued to drink without taking his eyes off Cadel. The neckline that rose and fell along the tilting bottle and the sharp jawline stood out.
Emptying half of the flask in one go, he asked, wiping the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand.
“What’s your relationship with Sir Lumen?”
“I mean, what’s up with you two.”
What’s up with us? Between a temporary leader and a temporary subordinate? We are fighting together? A partnership for now?
While Cadel hesitated, choosing his words carefully, Garuel smirked and took the flask’s opening between his fingers. Parting his lips, he swallowed the protruding mouthpiece in one gulp, sucking in a long, long breath as he stared at Cadel. Cadel’s expression froze as he caught the lustful gaze directed at him.
‘What? What did he just do?’
Did I see it wrong? Something…… Something just passed by. I think I saw something I shouldn’t have seen.
Garuel, who stuck out his tongue and sucked the mouth of the flask, said in a low voice on behalf of the confused Cadel.
“Is this what you guys doing?”
“What…… Pardon? What, excuse me?”
Words didn’t come out properly. Could it be that he was asking if Cadel and Lumen were in a relationship in which they ‘sucked each other off’? Cadel didn’t even want to ask the question of what he would suppose to suck.
Cadel’s breath caught in his throat at the kind of humiliation he’d never experienced before. Just a few moments ago, he’d been wondering what he could do to earn Garuel’s favor, and he’d given him a giant f*ck right out of the gate.
Cadel instinctively touched his forehead and took a deep breath. He felt that if he didn’t calm down, murder would happen.
“I’m not sure why…… you have that misconception, however.”
His voice, which never trembled in the face of fear, trembled. Cadel forced the corners of his mouth up and locked eyes with Garuel.
“You saved my life, so I’ll let you off the hook at least once. There’s no second time.”
“Oh. Looks like it wasn’t. So what’s the relationship between the two of you?”
“It’s the relationship between a commander and a member. And just in case you’re wondering, I’m the commander of the mercenary corps.”
“Commander of the mercenary corps…….”
Garuel’s eyes widened this time. It would have been rude to be so openly surprised, but Cadel knew better. He was smaller than the rest of his subordinates, and he was even younger, so he didn’t have the usual sense of the one in charge.
Garuel muttered something unintelligible about ‘It wasn’t an attitude toward a commander’ and then took another drink.
‘What kind of alcohol does he drink like water? ……Sure. Garuel himself has that kind of setting.’
Corrupted Holy Knight, Garuel Monzasi.
He had a good reason for being like this. But from the perspective of a stranger, he was just a corrupted cleric. He was nothing more than a revelry who sprinkled his chastity here and there like pennies on his alcoholism.
The fact that such a lout still held the position of commander of the Holy Knight Order directly under the kingdom was only thanks to his outstanding ability. There was no talent to replace him. They were turning a blind eye to it.
‘Forget it. I can only recruit Garuel after the mercenary corps is promoted to the knight order. Let’s be content that we have opened up a little.’
A strange sound made Cadel lose all motivation to build a good impression. After a short pause, Cadel asked Garuel, who tossed his finished flask on the floor.
“How is the demon tracking going? The last time I faced the demon, I was knocked out, so it’s going to be hard to find his tracks.”
Cadel glanced sideways at the floating system window. Thanks to Garuel’s healing technique, 24 hours hadn’t gone by in a straight line, but a considerable amount of time had passed.