༺ Divine Battle Arts (1) ༻
If one walks for about 10 minutes through the north exit of temple hall, they will find themselves in the only greenwood in Elia.
Vera stood in the middle of the forest and looked at the cottage before him.
An old cottage that he could clearly feel had been deserted for a long time.
The cobwebs spread everywhere, dust gathered on the surface of the railing, a shabby door dangling on its side, and a sense of desolation lingered in the atmosphere.
This was the place where Vera would live for the foreseeable future.
Vera grinned delightfully as he inspected the quiet cottage and its lush greenery.
He was provided with accommodation inside the temple’s dormitory, with all amenities needed. However, there’s a reason he refused the offer.
“I don’t want to go senile.”
Like any other building in the Holy Kingdom, the dormitory was all painted in pure white.
Not just the buildings either, but the furniture placed inside was too painted in white.
Vera wasn’t confident that his mind could take it, living in a place like that.
“Are you sure you want to stay in a place like this?”
Vera’s head turned to the voice he heard from the side.
In his field of vision stood the leader of the Paladins, who he had just crossed blades with earlier.
A middle-aged man named Norn, along with his straw-coloured hair.
“Yes, I like it here. It’s quiet.”
“I’m glad that you’re satisfied… Still, this place needs some fixing, so I’ll send someone.”
“Then I’ll return. If you need anything, feel free to let me know.”
After the brief conversation, Norn left.
As Vera took one last look at Norn’s fading back. He finally moved to the entrance and opened the door.
A ‘creak’ sound echoed, and Vera’s brows furrowed at the sight of the cottage’s interior.
Indeed, it looked like it needed some fixing up.
With that in mind, Vera spotted a table and leaned his hips against it.
As it moved, he shook off the dust with his hands for a moment, then shortly afterwards, Vera’s expression subsided as he recalled the events leading up to this moment.
The interrogation that followed after he met with Vargo. In the end, he recalled spitting out poison on the spur of the moment, and his complexion immediately darkened.
‘Old serpentine geezer.”
Vargo finally pulled out the words hidden in Vera’s heart.
Vera didn’t know what was so funny, but after giggling for a long time, Vargo turned around and disappeared, leaving only the words, “Try harder.”
After that, it was Norn who had been with him since then.
Vera, continuing his trail of thoughts, heaved a brief sigh to calm his wrath that might erupt any moment.
‘…For the time being, the result looks good.’
What Vargo’s reaction showed was an apparent acceptance. He must have allowed him to be naturalised. That’s why they gave him a place of residence.
In terms of the progress, it wasn’t bad. Isn’t it a first step toward the goal?
The old man’s words are incredibly provocative, but Vera was not so reckless as to mess something up just because of his animosity.
Vera sat cross-legged and ruminated.
What to do from now on?
‘The Apostle’s Ceremony’
He was obliged to perform the ceremony to be recognised for his apostolate, thus allowing him to become the Saint’s future escort.
Vera was well aware of the ‘Apostle’s Ceremony’ because it was always a highlight whenever words about the Holy Kingdom were discussed.
The platinum Rosario, which the Saint had worn around her neck in his previous life, was a token of an apostle who had completed the Apostle’s Ceremony. It serves as proof for the nine apostles chosen by the nine gods.
‘The question is, what kind of ordeal will I have to face?’
The Apostle’s Ceremony is a ritual to prove oneself by overcoming the ordeal bestowed upon by the Gods through a revelation.
Of course, the content of the ordeal given by the Gods varies from time to time.
The time it takes to finish the ordeal varies accordingly as well.
Fifty years ago, the current prosperity upheld by Vargo St. Lore was told to judge the evils of the continent, and he travelled around the continent for about ten years, creating a legend.
The twins, now guarding the gates of the Holy Kingdom, were standing there to realise the meaning of true protection.
Then the Saint’s face suddenly flashed through Vera’s mind.
‘The ordeal that was bestowed upon the Saint….’
Her deeds were probably done in secret. However, Vera had heard from her in his previous life.
That must have been it.
Vera clenched his fists.
‘…It must be completed within four years.’
My ordeal had to end in that time frame.
After receiving her stigma and entering the Holy Kingdom, the Saint will arrive in the slum to go through her ordeal.
Vera didn’t want to leave her alone in that place. So he had to stand right by her when she stopped by.
In this second life, he swore he would live for her.
Vera sighed briefly and then stood up straight.
Norn informed him that the revelation would occur once the preparations were completed in a week or so.
Vera remembered what he had to do by then.
– You look like a dog in heat.
It was words that Vera wanted to completely deny with all his being, but nonetheless, it was something he could not refuse either.
Vera spread his palms out and stared blankly at it, contemplating.
It’s a hand that has always taken away from others. It was a life where I pilfered others with a sword in this very hand.
However, it had to be different now.
Suppose he wants to stand next to her. What he has to do instead is to protect, not to take away.
With the sword he held in his hand and his oath engraved on his soul, he had to protect her.
Again, the words of Vargo crossed Vera’s mind.
‘No form, no intent, no sense of righteousness.’
Again, Vera’s fist clenched tightly.
‘… I’ll do it.’
I’ll do it as many times as I need to. Then we’ll see who’s the one laughing.
The notion of failing didn’t linger in Vera’s mind.
To Vera, his swordsmanship was still the thing he was most confident in than anything else.
In the middle of Temple Hall was Trevor praying to the mural of the Gods.
Vera let out a small sigh after finding him.
It was challenging to find him. A presence that you can’t feel despite being in front of you. That’s a problem.
No matter how he asked the passer-by, the same answer came out; he would be somewhere in Temple Hall, so he finally found him while wandering aimlessly.
The reason I came to Trevor was precisely… to learn the ‘Divine Battle Arts’.
The sense of righteousness that Vargo spoke of.
He thought the surest way to melt it into swordsmanship was Divine , so he went to Norn to seek help. However, he shook his head, expressed his refusal, and said Trevor was the best person to learn from.
– The apostle’s divine battle arts differ from one’s usual self. The apostle Trevor would know better about this.
How ridiculous it was to hear that.
– Don’t you know? Trevor is an apostle, too. He is blessed with the mark of wisdom.
He introduced himself that he was the custodian of the hall instead of an apostle, so how could I have known?
Upon hearing the fact, Vera once again recalled the thoughts he had the moment he stepped foot here.
‘Gods are a bunch of fools.’
What is the standard for bestowing a stigma, and why are all the apostles a bunch of weirdos?
Vera sighed at the thought that occurred to him and then walked towards Trevor with resounding footsteps.
Soon after, Trevor turned his head.
“Oh, Sir Vera, How have you been?”
“I have been fine.”
Vera bowed slightly in response to Trevor’s words and quickly got to the point.
It was not in Vera’s nature to be restrained and polite.
“I wanted to learn the divine battle arts, so I asked around and heard that Trevor would know the subject well, so I’m here to see you. Will you teach me?”
After the lengthy request, Trevor made a slight sound at him and nodded with a calm smile.
“Well, you’ve come to the right place. Divine battle arts using a stigma is an area which most paladins are probably not that familiar with.”
Trevor got up as soon as he finished, then pointed to the temple and continued.
“Why don’t we go inside and chat there?”
Vera nodded and followed Trevor.
After walking deeper into the temple premise, Vera arrived in a room far in, doubting the scene before his eyes.
The place Vera arrived at with Trevor’s guidance was a space which no words can describe.
Besides equipment such as flasks and reagents being laid out everywhere, the scrolls on the walls created an occult ambience.
Trevor answered with a small smile as Vera looked around the room.
“It’s a little messy, isn’t it? I’m in the middle of researching the principle behind divinity.”
“You mean… the divine law?”
“Yes, it’s a necessary element to reinforce the Maginot.”
Vera nodded at Trevor’s remark.
A barricade beyond comprehension surrounds the Holy Kingdom of Elia.
It was a barrier that made Elia an impregnable fortress, absorbing all magical shocks from outer threats.
“Are you in charge of it?”
“Yes, it is the task of those who receive the mark of wisdom from generation to generation.”
Trevor responded briefly, and after clearing the table in a corner, he ushered Vera there and continued.
“So, you have a question about divine battle arts.”
“Yes, Sir Norn said that Trevor knows best among the Apostles.”
Trevor, who smirked at the words spoken about him, continued talking, placing his arms on his table and resting his chin on it.
“Hmm… First, how much do you know about divine battle arts, Vera?”
“I know it’s an effective body art that uses divinity to strengthen the body.”
Vera answered while looking at Trevor.
In fact, Verra did not know the details of divine battle arts.
He had been looking for the information for a long time to better use the stigma in his previous life, but it wasn’t easily accessible due to the secrecy of the Holy Kingdom.
It was information that he could find out if he dug in deeply, but he didn’t bother because of how difficult it would be if word spread out of his existence to the Holy Kingdom.
Trevor’s answer followed Vera’s proposed idea.
“Yes… The usual martial arts are not much different from what Vera knows. It is similar to rigid body art using mana.”
A reply that affirms Vera’s ideas.
He had one clue.
As Trevor added, he straightened his posture and reached forward to form a fist.
“It would be a different story if a stigma was involved.”
Divinity arose from Trevor.
It was blue, shining like the sea on a hot summer day.
His divinity intertwined together and turned into multiple strokes.
It would remould into lines and engrave itself on the body like a tattoo.
Vera’s eyes widened at the use of divinity that he had never seen before.
It was natural, of course. But, so far, the only way he has used the stigma was to amplify his divinity to the point of flowing out.
Trevor continued pleasantly, glancing at Vera’s face full of surprise.
“If you graft the stigma into your martial arts, you will be able to dish out attacks using divinity instead.”
You should check out the illustrations on our discord server: discord.com/invite/JnWsEfAGKc
You can rate this series here.