༺ Chaos (2) ༻
In the 5th Street of the Capital.
Stepping out into the streets where the festivities should be in full swing, Vera’s eyes widened at the sight before him.
The streets were littered with walking corpses, their pink hair whipping around. He could see more than thirty of them.
The corpses smashed the decorated streets for the festival and attacked passers-by. There were some who took up weapons to fight against them, but the situation was grim. It was because the force of a single corpse was much stronger than the armed bystanders.
When Vera found a corpse attacking a passer-by right in front of him, he quickly drew his Holy Sword and decapitated it.
After watching the head whirl and fly into the air, Vera wasted no time and started running and slashing all the corpses in his sight.
It was going well, but his expression was grim.
‘I can’t use the Sanctuary.’
There were many people nearby. Using the Sanctuary in such a crowded space would put people that he was meant to protect into its restrictions.
In addition, they were short-handed.
There was only him, Albrecht, and Count Baishur. They were the only ones who could stop the corpses because they left the other two Apostles with Renee, who was not able to move fast enough.
‘The Royal Guards…’
Vera’s eyes turned to the center of the Capital’s Imperial City, where the Imperial Palace was.
‘…would have gone there.’
Even from the 5th Street, he could see that the Imperial City was engulfed in bright red flames.
Had they already dealt with the Crown Prince? The thought made him more anxious.
He swung his sword again. Slashed, stabbed, split, and moved forward. He cleared the corpses in front of him, but there was no time to rest.
The festival was taking place in every area from the 3rd Street to 10th Street. Moreover, they have to catch the Tower Master who caused this disaster.
It was the worst situation.
In the midst of it all, despair rose over Albrecht’s face as he looked at the burning Imperial City in the distance.
His golden eyes shook. His grip on Pure Blood loosened, and the sword fell to the floor. His jaw began to tremble, and his face was flushed with despair.
Vera frowned and approached Albrecht, who was filled with shock, and hit him on the cheek.
Albrecht’s head snapped back. His body stumbled backwards from the sudden impact.
Vera clicked his tongue at the sight and grabbed Albrecht by his collar, then spoke.
“Get your head together. The Crown Prince might still be alive.”
“Th–the Imperial Castle is on fire! It’s already too late…”
“Who is in the Imperial Castle? The Royal Guards are there. The Knights are there. Also, the best healers in the Empire are there.”
There was urgency in Vera’s voice, and he had a harsh expression.
‘Is he still a kid?’
Although he was said to be a hero in the future, his ability to cope with sudden situations was lacking due to his young age.
Vera somehow managed to calm down Albrecht and told him the plan.
“Stop dilly dallying and run to the Imperial Palace. Find the Crown Prince and release the guards and knights onto the streets. I will take care of the streets until the guards come out. After that, I will go find the Tower Master. Do you understand?”
He explained the plan as briefly as possible, saying only the essential parts. Albrecht gritted his teeth and nodded in response.
Vera watched the light come back to his golden eyes, and he spoke as he pushed him aside.
Vera pulled out his sword, and released divinity all over his body.
He had to clear the dead before moving to another area. With that in mind, he wove together a single divine art.
Wide Area Regeneration Spell [Cradle].
A golden light of divinity fell over the streets, enveloping the groaning passers-by.
Vera frowned as he inhaled, a large amount of divinity flowing out of him.
‘I’ll just make them sleep.’
As long as they were breathing, Renee would be able to heal them later.
Vera tensed every muscle in his body, then lunged forward.
He headed to 4th Street, the place where he heard screaming and loud explosions.
In front of the junkyard.
A shudder ran through Renee’s body as she recalled what Vera had said earlier.
–I will head to the main street first to assess the situation. Please follow afterwards and take care of things from behind.
Vera, who had always asked for her opinion and followed her wishes, notified her like that and left. That was how urgent it was.
She had to go. With the way things were going, she had to go quickly and help Vera.
If, by any chance, Vera was facing the enemies, she had to go there and pray or use her powers.
She could not move.
The nausea, the feeling of vomiting, and the emotions she had felt there didn’t leave her body, swallowing her whole with fear, making her unable to move.
It was a horror that she had never felt in her life. Her imagination, which had always been praised, was painting a vivid picture of the scene. A hell made of corpses. The nauseating stench and the sound of bugs flying around.
Maybe, if Vera hadn’t had the stigma, if he was still in the slums, and if he did not try to change…
The thought that Vera might have been there too. The thought that something like that could have happened among the possibilities she was unaware of.
The fear it caused gnawed at her whole body. It hadn’t happened. Vera was still alive. Those words were meaningless.
She felt nauseous all over again. Her thoughts were getting clouded. Renee gripped her cane tightly and stepped forward.
As the muddy water splashed, her thoughts sparked.
She had to go. After that thought, questions followed.
‘…What if I go?”
What am I supposed to do there?
She had to treat the injured. If Vera was fighting against an enemy, she had to use her power to help him.
That was clear.
However, amidst all that, there was a concern that kept coming to mind.
‘What if something happened that’s beyond my control?’
The thought would not leave her mind.
It was such a big vibration that it could be felt even in the slums, which were located on the outskirts of the Capital. Vera said that the Crown Prince was in danger and that there might be a terrorist attack.
Would I be able to save all the injured people there? Can I save them and help Vera?
If I had to choose between the two, if I had to choose between helping the people or helping Vera…
Her thinking became estranged, and her heart was weighed down with fear.
Will I be able to choose?
To let people die and save Vera, or vice versa.
Will I be able to do it?
…No, she would definitely choose Vera. She loved Vera more than a hundred strangers. She was just a human being after all, and she would make that choice.
But even so, she was thinking about it because she was concerned that her choice would disappoint Vera.
After everything was said and done, she was concerned that Vera would criticize her decision.
She was afraid that Vera, who was chasing the light and was following her because of that, would realize that she was not the light.
She was afraid that he’d leave her behind.
It was a concern born out of her fear.
“You should go immediately, Saint!”
Rohan’s shout rang in her ears.
“Saint? Are you okay? Your complexion doesn’t look good.”
Marie’s worried words rang in her ears.
Finally, at a crossroad, Renee staggered forward, feeling her heart turn to mush.
The muddy water splashed. Her cane wobbled in the mud.
It was a mechanical motion. Driven by the subconscious thought that she shouldn’t reveal her trembling heart, she moved forward.
Her mind kept racing with other thoughts.
Then, should I save the people?
In her heart, she wanted to. She wanted to save everyone.
But if Vera dies, then what’s the point of that choice?
…Renee felt resentful.
She resented this situation that tested her, and she resented herself for being so shaken in the face of such a decision.
She was filled with self-loathing. She was extremely disgusted by her brazenness when she told Vera that she was his light. She loathed herself for not being able to control her emotions in such a critical moment.
Everyone referred to her as a Saint who would illuminate the world with her light, so she thought of herself as such.
But at that moment where she had to make a choice, in front of an imminent threat, only then did Renee realize.
That she was nothing but an eighteen-year old child. That she was an idiot who could do nothing but tremble in front of things that were out of her control.
The idea of weighing life and death was too harsh for such a fool.
She had to come to her senses.
There must be something that only I can do. I have to become the light, only then can I be by Vera’s side.
All her pent-up frustrations erupted.
In her mind, a kind of obsession to be the light, and that if she wasn’t the light, then she wouldn’t be able to be with Vera, reared its head amidst her collapsing thoughts.
She still didn’t know what she had to do. She didn’t know faith, she didn’t know humans, and she didn’t know her duty.
She just did what she wanted. Everything that had happened until now was within her power. Renee did not think about it too deeply.
She did not confront the power that was bestowed upon her.
She hadn’t even tried to bear its weight.
All she was doing, was whining like a child.
While she was whining, Vera was already far ahead of her, and she was just longing for him.
Yet, she wanted to be a match for him. She thought about it, but she did not act on it.
But, she hadn’t even tried to understand why Vera had to be so desperate.
Renee’s body halted.
In the middle of the slums, in the mud, Renee found where she had turned away.
…She refused to face the sorrow of others.
And only knew how to blame the world.
She only felt sorry for herself, so sorry for this life where she lost her sight and could not even walk properly by herself. She only knew how to console herself.
The moment she realized it, she felt her heart sink.
She realized that she was deluding herself into thinking she was a good person.
But, she wasn’t.
She realized that she hadn’t done any good so far.
She was drunk on herself.
Drunk on the feeling of caring for others while pitying herself.
Her trembling head tilted down.
Instantly, her extended thoughts began to take in the information around her.
The sound of cries, a new scream, and vibrations ringing out.
As if she were bewitched, Renee cast pure white divinity on her cane and hit the ground.
The cane dug into the mud and wailed. The waves spread out and came back. A clearer information began to appear in Renee’s mind.
There were still people in the slums.
There were children huddled in a corner, hugging each other.
There was a newborn child being held by a big adult.
They were in an alley somewhere in the slums, shaking with fear.
None of them were thinking of running away.
‘…A place to run to.’
Because there wasn’t anywhere for them.
For those who had already been driven out, there was nowhere else left to run.
They had no place to be pampered at, unlike herself.
She felt great shame. Her self-loathing began to form again.
Her emotions ran wild.
Finally, the fool realized that she was nothing by herself, made a blank expression and raised her head.
Why did I come here?
What am I doing this for?
What did I want to do? What did I want to be, and what did I come to this place for?
At that moment, a thought came to mind.
The second hand of a clock chimed.
Her perception endlessly expanded.
Rohan’s outcry dragged on. Splash, the sound of muddy water splashing on the ground, lengthened indefinitely.
Eventually, all sounds ceased. It was as if the world stopped.
In the midst of it all, the second hand of the clock chimed once again.
In the silence.
“Vera. From now on, your name is Vera.”
Those words resonated throughout.
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