TLN: Please read my translations at tseirptranslations.com, I did not give permission to any site to host my translations.
Chapter 0399 March of the Saint (?)
For starters, Ryo gulped down the Ryo-specially-made potion he had with him.
As usual, it restored the pierce wound in his left leg caused by the stone lance and other minor injuries at an astonishing rate.
When his body was fully restored to normal, he slowly approached the Pope, who was crucified and pinned to the wall.
“I suppose it’s about time.”
Muttering such words.
Then it happened.
A light from above struck the Pope.
A moment later, the Pope’s body was gone.
The light came from above, even though it was an underground space… of course, there was no hole in the ceiling.
Something from the upper dimension interfered with the lower dimension.
It didn’t need to do something tactless like leaving a hole in the ceiling.
Ryo took a closer look at the place where the Pope’s body was pinned.
If he guessed right….
There was blood in several places there.
Most likely the Pope’s blood.
Ryo said, making a slight fist pump gesture.
Last time, the light from above seized all of the Pope’s body, perfectly, even though he was completely trapped in an icy coffin.
This time it was totally different.
This time, Ryo’s special ‘water’ seeped out from the countless ice lances that he had pierced into the Pope’s body, allowing it to mix with the blood in his body.
He tried to see what would happen.
As a result, there was blood left behind that could not be completely recovered.
At the very least, it proved that the interloper was by no means an omniscient being.
Simply put, he didn’t think they were capable of interference on the same level as Michael (pseudonym)… more or less.
What a stroke of luck.
That blood was a scar on those in the upper dimension.
Despite all the sounds of battle and destruction, no one came.
Perhaps because of the air membrane that blocked even water vapor.
At any rate, it was convenient for Ryo!
Walking to the back of the atrium, he found a passageway leading further inside.
A long passageway.
On both sides of the passageway, there were several sturdy-looking iron doors.
There were four people in the rooms right before him, two on each side, and four rooms in total.
The rooms further down held another group of magicians.
And in the large room at the end of the hall… there were more than thirty captives in total.
“The question now is whether or not to release them…”
Ryo was as troubled as Hamlet.
Well, there was no reason not to help them….
For the time being, he decided to release the four right in front of him, so he opened the doors.
Obviously, he didn’t have the keys.
But the doors seemed to be made of iron.
And Ryo is a water-attribute magician.
Iron can be easily ‘broken’ when exposed to low temperatures.
The Titanic disaster was also said to have been caused by an iceberg striking the iron hull, which had become brittle from the cold.
Iron at room temperature will only bend when struck with a hammer, but iron chilled with liquid nitrogen will crack with a single blow… he had seen such a video back on Earth!
So, he cooled them down and they shattered!
With a high, clear, beautiful sound, the four iron doors cracked and splintered.
Ryo took a sneak peek inside.
Knowing full well that they were all chained up.
Inside the first room was Alicia, the female wind-attribute magician.
But she was lying on the floor.
Her body was moving up and down slightly, so she didn’t seem to be dead.
He went ahead to freeze and break the chains attached to her legs, using the same method as earlier.
Then, Ryo gave her the special potion drink that he had.
The next room held Bellrock, the earth-attribute magician dwarf.
He was sitting on the floor.
“Oh, Ryo uh, it’s been quite a while.”
“Long time no see, Bellrock-san.”
They chatted away quite normally.
He broke the chains and released him.
The third room was Ash Khan’s, the Enchanter.
He was sitting on the floor but wasn’t looking too good.
But he turned his head and recognized Ryo.
And bowed his head slightly.
For now, he broke the chains and released him, then handed him the special potion.
Ash Khan thanked in a low voice.
The fourth room was Gordon’s, a fire-attribute magician.
He was standing firm, with hands on his hips.
But his legs were trembling… he must have been having a hard time because his magic power was being sucked out of him forcibly.
Perhaps standing was just him showing grit.
“You look fine. Keep up the good work.”
Ryo said and tried turning back.
“Hey, wait. At least break these goddamn chains!”
Ryo had no choice but to break the chains.
He wasn’t treating him coldly because he’s a fire-attribute magician.
It’s just that he had not forgotten that Gordon had attempted to attack Abel and Rihya had to put her body on the line to prevent it.
Despite his earlier reservation, Ryo rescued all four of them.
Except for Bellrock, the dwarf, and Ash Khan, the enchanter, no one could walk on their own.
Similarly, he destroyed the doors and chains of the remaining magicians trapped further inside.
Eventually, thirty-two magicians were rescued.
But there was a big problem.
In the end, none could walk on their own, except Bellrock and Ash Khan….
It appeared that it was because they were squeezed dry of their magic power.
Ryo also remembered how he used to collapse on the bed every day after running out of magic power when he first reincarnated on ‘Phi’… now imagine experiencing that constantly, it would certainly be difficult to walk.
“This is a problem.”
Ryo was really troubled.
Among the Roman party, Alicia was being carried by Ash Khan and Gordon by Bellrock.
But there was no way for the others to move.
“It’s a little conspicuous, but I guess there’s no helping it…”
Ryo muttered, steeling himself.
A roar rang out, overwhelming the area.
The people residing in the ‘palace’ were wondering what was going on.
The one who appeared was….
A robed magician-looking man walking in the lead.
Behind him, dozens of shiny, shimmering, ice cart-like objects were lined up in a row.
It was like a march of the Saint.
The carts were filled with people….
Each carrying one person.
Many of them lying down.
Those awake all kept their eyes down.
“D-Dammit Ryo. We can walk, you know?”
Bellrock said in a low voice.
Ash Khan nodded his head repeatedly without saying a word.
“No, it must be quite difficult for you, since you have been deprived of your magical powers for so long, right? No need to be reserved. It’s just thirty-two people, piece of cake.”
“No… I’d rather not.”
Ryo replied confidently.
Bellrock’s muttering, filled with a sense of shame, did not reach Ryo’s ears….
Clang, clang, clang.
From behind, the sound of hard objects colliding with each other could be heard.
It seemed that swords and spears were striking the <Ice Wall>.
Naturally, Ryo and the magicians were surrounded by a wall of ice….
“Quit dawdling! And stop them already!”
“We can’t! Something invisible is holding us back!”
“How can that be, what kind of barrier is this?”
“To even be impervious to magic! A magic barrier and physical barrier at the same time?”
Wrong, it’s an <Ice Wall>.
It’s hard to distinguish between the transparent ice wall, a physical barrier, and a magic barrier….
The group pushed forward.
To be precise, Ryo was just pushing forward and thirty-two <Wagons> were trailing behind him….
All the stairs were remodeled using ice and turned into ramps….
Every now and then Ryo would look back and nod in satisfaction, seeing that they were following him without any problems.
Finally, the group reached the gates of the ‘palace’.
For the first time, a man stood in front of Ryo, clearly stopping him from proceeding.
He was a knight, but his armor was clearly more elaborately decorated than those of the surrounding knights.
He must be a person of high status.
He could have forcefully eliminated him with <Ice Wall>, but Ryo pondered for a moment and decided to stop.
“Can I help you?”
Ryo replied politely.
“Who the hell are you? And where are you taking them?”
“It’s common courtesy to introduce yourself first before asking the same of another, don’t you think?”
The pompous knight asked, and Ryo fired back.
The knight was dismayed but replied politely.
“I am Abbondio, Commander of the Templar Underground Government Battalion.”
Commander Abbondio proudly proclaimed.
“I see. So, it’s a battalion commander of the Knights Templar. That certainly makes things easier. We’re on our way to Cardinal Graham in the Holy Capital.”
“His Eminence Graham?”
Ryo answered, and Commander Abbondio raised his eyebrows in a somewhat quizzical manner.
“Commander Abbondio, do you know the party His Eminence Graham was in before?”
“Of course. He was a member of Hero Roman’s party, and they together defeated the Demon King.”
In response to Ryo’s question, Commander Abbondio answered clearly.
“Exactly. And the four magicians of the Hero party at that time are these four you see right here.”
Ryo said pointing to the four people riding on the <Wagon> behind him.
Commander Abbondio’s eyes widened.
He was clearly surprised.
Perhaps, he was just now learning for the first time that these four were being held captive in this ‘palace’….
“These four, as you can see, are extremely weakened. That’s because they were held captive on the second basement floor of this building for a long time, with their magical power sucked out of them. My question now is, Commander Abbondio, were you aware of the fact that these four, Cardinal Graham’s companions, were held captive here and had their magical power siphoned off?”
At this point, Ryo’s expression had become very grim.
Ryo’s question now had put Commander Abbondio on the spot.
If he answered, “I was aware”, he would inevitably incur Cardinal Graham’s wrath.
If he answered “I wasn’t aware”, his ability as an administrator would inevitably be questioned.
But Commander Abbondio didn’t hesitate.
“Of course, I wasn’t.”
He most likely wasn’t aware.
And his answer right now was the right choice.
It would be imprudent if he made an enemy out of Cardinal Graham.
The influence of a Knight Battalion Commander can’t even begin to compare to that of a Cardinal.
If it were against an archbishop instead of a cardinal, it might be manageable to some extent….
In the Western Church, the cardinals are a separate entity.
“Oh, I see, you weren’t aware. I am relieved to hear that.”
Ryo smiled and nodded slowly.
Not that Ryo himself had any authority of any kind… but seeing that smile and nod, Commander Abbondio couldn’t help but feel relieved.
“Now, as I said earlier, we will continue on our way to the Holy Capital and bring the four of them, as well as the other magicians, to Cardinal Graham. What about you?”
“Yeah. These magicians were held captive in this building. And, inhumanly, had their magical power drained. You are in charge of this building… or something, aren’t you? Don’t you have a responsibility to see things through to the end?”
“W-Well, if you put it that way, then you’re right… it would certainly be better that way.”
Commander Abbondio nodded slightly and muttered as he thought about Ryo’s words.
“At any rate, we’ll be on our way. Please make way. If you want to follow us, you’re free to do so from the back.”
Ryo said and started walking again.
Commander Abbondio hurriedly moved out of the way.
With Ryo in the lead, the group continued on their way, exiting into the underground city.
Coming out, they stood out like a sore thumb.
“Hey. I don’t know if my eyes are getting worse or if I’m losing my mind, but the person leading that march looks very much like Ryo.”
“Yeah… he does, doesn’t he? I think that’s probably him.”
“Those things behind him must be Ryo’s magic called ‘Wagon’ or something.”
Niels, who had spotted Ryo and the group from afar, muttered, Etho agreed, and Amon explained the magic.
“The lot behind them must be the Templars from the government office, I suppose?”
“That’s some impressive march.”
“I heard them talking a while ago. Apparently, they’re heading straight to the Holy Capital.”
“Yeah, I heard that too. Something about the magicians of the former Hero Party.”
The three of them could hear such conversations flying around.
“He must have succeeded in rescuing those four magicians.”
“They are riding right behind Ryo-san!”
“I wish he was a little more discreet with the rescue though…”
Etho was pleased, Amon found the four, and Niels let out a little sigh.
Nonetheless, there was no denying it was good news.
“The news said they’re heading to the Holy Capital, right? Should we inform Graham-san beforehand?”
“Yeah, good idea.”
Niels said, and Etho agreed.
The three of them started running and went out from the spiral staircase to the ground level.
The group, with Ryo in the lead, proceeded through the underground city to the ramp where Room 10 first entered.
It was the path from the courtyard of the Boreas Government Office.
Behind Ryo were thirty-two <Wagons>, followed by another fifty or so knights of the Templar Underground Government Battalion, led by Commander Abbondio.
From a distance, it must have been a spectacular sight.
A man in robes leading the way like a prophet.
With the glittering <Wagons> and the magicians riding them.
And the knights who followed, as if guarding them.
But of course, the people riding on the <wagons> kept their heads down.
Owning to the fact that it was very conspicuous and embarrassing….
What people see from the outside and what is happening on the inside are two very different things….
Such universal truth seemed to apply there as well.
“Uh, hey, Ryo.”
“What is it, Bellrock-san?”
“I’ve recovered enough magical power to walk without this.”
“Ah. This uphill climb is quite long, too. Besides, it’s quite a distance from the Boreas government office to the Holy Capital, so please feel free to stay on the <Wagon>.”
Ryo answered Bellrock’s words with a bright smile.
After saying that with such a smile, even Bellrock, the dwarf, couldn’t reply with anything unkind.
He couldn’t come up with anything else to say.
Only one person, Ash Khan, was different from the rest of the magicians.
When he first got on, he was embarrassed and his face was flushed red, but halfway through the ride, his expression started to change.
He leaned forward to look at the scenery around him, looked at the row of <Wagons> behind him, and moved in a way that would be aptly described as ‘wandering around’.
His expression, as usual, didn’t change much, but it was obvious to everyone that he was having fun.
“I knew it, Ash Khan has more guts than I do…”
Bellrock’s muttering was heard by no one.
Three hours later.
The group was about to reach the northern gate of the Holy Capital without incident.
Under the protection of Ryo’s <Ice Wall>, it was only natural that nothing happened….
In front of the northern gate of the Holy Capital, there was a crowd of people.
Ryo’s little murmur reached the ears of Bellrock, who was riding on the <Wagon> right behind him.
Bellrock looked ahead as he asked.
Then he understood.
There were quite a few people in front of the gate.
And then he saw a familiar face among them.
“Is that Graham?”
“Oh, I see. He came to pick us up.”
Naturally, he understood who had made the arrangements.
They were indeed dependable party members.
“Graham-san, as promised, I have brought them back.”
“Thank you very much, Ryo-san. Truly, thank you.”
Graham said, bowing deeply.
Meanwhile, the four got off the wagons.
Bellrock, the earth-attribute magician, Ash Khan, the enchanter, Alicia, the wind-attribute magician, and Gordon, the fire-attribute magician.
“I’m glad all four of you are safe.”
“Sorry for the trouble, Graham.”
Graham said with a smile, and Bellrock replied shyly.
The other three also smiled shyly.
Ryo was reunited with Niels, Etho, and Amon.
“The three of you contacted Graham-san, didn’t you?”
“Yeah. Otherwise, it would be troublesome if you barged into the Papal Palace with that procession, wouldn’t it?”
“Oh, you read my mind. That was the plan.”
Niels asked, and Ryo answered honestly.
“Then it’s a good thing we got here before you did.”
“I would have liked to see that, too.”
Etho was relieved, and Amon expressed his true feelings in earnest.
“Well, either way, we’ve fulfilled Graham-san’s request.”
That’s right, it was a formal request from Cardinal Graham.
As adventurers, they had to fulfill the request.
It was then that Ryo finally remembered those who had followed him at the end of the group.
The Knights Templar Underground Government Battalion, led by Commander Abbondio.
“As you can see, Commander Abbondio. We successfully brought the four magicians of the Hero Party to Cardinal Graham without incident. Thank you very much for escorting us.”
In a heartbeat, Ryo had created such a ready-made fact… that the Templars had escorted them.
What a schemer!
“H-hmm. We too are honored to be of service to His Eminence.”
Commander Abbondio said.
That’s about all he could say.
At this point, he had no other choice.
By all appearances, Commander Abbondio understood… that it looked like he had escorted the magicians of the Hero Party and brought them to Cardinal Graham.
There was absolutely no merit in saying or doing anything contrary to that now.
To other cardinals, for example, or other Knights Templar Commanders, or even above, it would have appeared that Commander Abbondio had sided with Cardinal Graham.
That would be the impression from the outside.
While the true intentions of those in question were not taken into account.
Until now, Commander Abbondio had not belonged to any particular faction.
Of course, that’s not to say that he rose to the position of battalion commander solely based on his integrity and religious piety.
That said, he still intended to perform his duties as a Knight Templar without getting too deeply involved in anyone or anywhere.
However, he recognized that he was no longer in a position to maintain his stance.
Even though he didn’t know anything about it, the Cardinal’s men were being held captive in the place where Commander Abbondio was in charge.
Moreover, they were even being tortured….
Not belonging to any faction meant not having any protection.
He would undoubtedly be punished.
To save himself, he had no choice but to take a stance and get protection… that was the situation.
When Graham and the four magicians had warmed up their old acquaintanceships, Commander Abbondio dropped to one knee in front of Graham.
“Your Eminence, my name is Abbondio, Commander of the Knights Templar Underground Government Battalion.”
“Oh, you must have escorted them here. Thank you for your service, Battalion Commander Abbondio.”
Abbondio had yet to explain anything.
Yet Graham said that he had escorted them and thanked him.
Again, Commander Abbondio was already bound by words.
He was thanked by the overwhelmingly superior Cardinal of the Church, and couldn’t exactly say, “No, sir, that’s actually not the case”.
However, Commander Abbondio had already steeled himself ever since Ryo sold the narrative.
That narrative was simply a lifesaver for him.
“I appreciate your kind words, sir. However, even though I was the one in charge of the Underground Government Battalion, I didn’t know that they were being held captive deep underground. I will accept all responsibility for that.”
“It is impossible for anyone to know everything, Commander. You, as battalion commander, learning that such a great crime was being committed, did everything you could. You escorted them and helped them get back to the Holy Capital safely. That’s good enough for me. I feel that battalion commander’s sense of justice is in line with the will of Founder New-sama. I hope that you will continue to follow that spirit of justice in fulfilling your duties as a Knight Templar.”
Graham paused for a moment and then continued.
“I, Cardinal Graham, will never forget Commander Abbondio’s act of justice. May I count on you henceforth to further the agency?”
That was a proposal from Graham.
That final confirmation of whether he would like to work under him.
Naturally, Commander Abbondio did not hesitate.
He had already crossed that bridge.
“Of course, Your Eminence. Please accept my, Abbondio’s, complete and utter allegiance.”
From then on, Graham’s influence would spread throughout the Knights Templar.
TLN: Please read my translations at tseirptranslations.com, I did not give permission to any site to host my translations.