Chapter 144 - A Sharp Rise (3)
One day passed, and the priests finally got Von's health back on track. They collapsed on the spot after the ordeal, drenched in sweat.
“If he takes good care of himself, he will be back to normal.”
Due to the large amount of power Priest Peter had used up, his voice was shaky and his fingers trembled.
Henry roughly scribbled his signature on a bill issued for 10 million gold and handed it to Peter.
“God bless you...”
Peter smiled brightly as he checked the number on the bill.
Watching them leave, Hector asked Henry, “Are they real priests? No matter how I look at them, they look like quacks.”
“It doesn't matter. If they can fix Von despite being quacks, I can turn their religion into the nation’s religion if that’s what it’ll take.”
“You sure have a lot of love for your subordinate.”
“You’re distracting, go eat. I’ll take care of Von.”
Henry’s smile disappeared.
Hector grumbled to himself but he understood Henry’s feelings and quietly left the room.
Von’s state was a great shock to Henry.
Von had never neglected training so that he could maintain his best condition. Only a few members of the famous Imperial Ten Swords could reduce him to a desperate state.
Von had spat out the name Arthus when he had come to his senses for just a moment.
While the priests were treating Von, Henry had thought about Arthus and the people around him. However, when Henry tried narrowing down the suspects to swordmasters who were likely stronger than Von, it was too difficult to decide because most of the swordmasters in the empire were knights on Arthus’ side.
It made Henry angry.
How did they even know and attack Von, who had undergone Cosmesis? Had spies been following him?
Henry’s guesses grew more complicated.
In the end, Henry’s impatience made him summon Elagon so that he could hear the story directly from Von.
Elagon emerged from the bracelet at Henry’s call. He knew that Elagon had the power to heal. However, he had called the priests because he wanted to heal Von with verified divine powers rather than unpredictable healing powers that he had only experienced a few times.
“Can you do it?”
Understanding what Henry wanted, Elagon climbed on top of Von, who was lying in the bathtub.
Elagon spread his wings and embraced the entire bathtub.
Soon, a bright light started to flash from Elagon’s body.
The light quickly disappeared.
After healing Von, Elagon left the bathtub as Von regained his vitality.
It was an amazing recovery.
Henry was so moved that he forgot his current relationship with Von and called him by his name as Henry had done in his previous life.
However, it didn’t matter to Von. The only thing that he could think of was himself holding back his tears as he collapsed right before reaching Vivaldi after that deathly encounter.
“It looks like god hasn’t abandoned me yet...”
He felt a plethora of emotions because he had almost died a stupid death.
Before Von could feel thankful for the life he had been given once more, cold anger bloomed on his face.
“Henry, there’s something you must know.”
“What happened? What do you mean by ‘Arthus’? How did he know about you and attack you?”
Von answered Henry’s questions as if he knew how desperately Henry was waiting for answers.
“It’s not Arthus. It was Mordred from the Highlander family.”
“Mordred, as in the 6th imperial Sword?”
“No way, he attacked you?”
Henry’s face was full of disbelief, and Von burst into laughter, equally bewildered. He couldn’t believe he had struggled so desperately for three days and nights either.
“Henry, listen to me carefully. The things I’m about to tell you are a hundred percent the truth,” Von continued.
“Please feel free to say everything. I’m not stupid enough to regard the words of a person who has been on the brink of death as a joke.”
“Okay, I’ll tell you the results first. I managed to subdue Mordred easily. Before that, I was looking for recruits as you ordered, and I happened to meet Mordred along the way.”
“You subdued Mordred?”
“Yes. Not only did I subdue him, but I defeated him overwhelmingly. I thought he was dead, but he came back to life as a monster.”
Henry couldn’t help but frown.
Was it because it coincided with the time of Hector’s resurrection? It was a bit strange. However, Henry didn’t say anything and questioned Von.
“What do you mean by ‘monster’? What kind of monster exactly?”
“I don’t know.”
“I’ve never seen such a monster in my life. It looked like a mixture of all types of creatures and it even had tentacles like an octopus.”
“Yes, and that wasn’t all of it. It seemed to have a hard outer shell like a crustacean, but when I sliced through it, it regenerated again and again like a troll. The severed parts also continued wiggling. But the most terrifying part was... the human faces it had all over its body.”
“It looked like a mixture of different creatures. There were human faces plastered on it like armor. It was so disgusting to look at... In addition, it sprayed poison and flame from all over its body, so I had to fight like crazy for 3 days.”
Only one thought came to Henry’s mind.
It was a kind of monster that even he had never seen in person. Descriptions showed that it did not have a fixed appearance, apart from being hideous. It had incredible regeneration abilities and it spat out fire and poison.
And now, Von was telling Henry that he had encountered precisely such a Chimera.
‘A swordsman from the great Highlander family and a high-level swordmaster of the empire is a Chimera? Why?’
Henry couldn’t understand.
Besides, they had turned a human, not a plant or an animal, into a Chimera?
‘I’ve never allowed anyone to turn a human into a Chimera.’
This was the situation that had brought Von, a skilled swordsman, to the brink of death.
“Brother, if my guess is correct, what you saw is probably a type of Chimera which is banned in the Magical Spire,” Henry calmly continued.
“It’s a forbidden creature created by combining several organisms through alchemy. It’s especially forbidden to use on humans.”
“Well, if it’s forbidden, then what did I see?”
“That’s what I’m wondering too. Obviously, Master has banned the creation of Chimeras. Besides, a man like Mordred would never undergo a Chimera procedure, even for the sake of honor... Can it be?”
“Yeah, I think we’re thinking of the same thing.”
Henry and Von made eye contact and their pupils dilated at the same time.
Both of them thought the Highlanders, specifically Duke Arthus, might be secretly making Chimeras.
“But why would Arthus do such a thing when he already has everything he needs?”
“According to Aubert, Arthus is currently preparing for a rebellion.”
“What? Arthus is preparing a rebellion? Fucking bastard!”
Von angrily slammed his fist on the bathtub.
Henry calmed Von down and said, “It’s my fault. I should have caught onto it right away, but I overlooked it because I was so focused on revenge.”
“Are you sure? Was that something Aubert said to try and survive?”
“No, I think Aubert was telling the truth. Wasn’t Arthus also behind the Shahatra rebellion?”
“True. It’s just that we didn’t have evidence back then, but now that Aubert confessed, he won’t be able to escape this time.”
“But we still lack evidence. You did survive a battle with that thing, but who will the emperor believe?”
“Hmm, then what should we do?”
“There’s nothing we can do for now. I have no choice but to look for other opportunities while proceeding as planned. However, now that we know that Arthus is crazier than we thought, we have no choice but to speed up the plan.”
“Do you already have a plan?”
“My plan is already underway and if Arthus rebels in the not-too-distant future, most of the nobility will side with him. Of course, they’ll do the same even if he rebels now..”
“Then what’s your plan moving forward?”
At Von’s question, Henry pulled out a Pink Swamp cigarette.
Von looked puzzled.
Henry smiled and slowly started to describe what had been going on.
* * *
Syred Etherwether, the second son of Marquis Alfred Etherwether, had been unable to do anything for several days because of the taste he was missing.
“Wow, I've only smoked one of these, why can't I stop thinking about it? It’s making me crazy.”
It was none other than Henry’s Pink Swamp, which had been distributed at the Central Aristocratic Association meeting. Syred had gotten his hands on the Pink Swamp even though he was not a member of the Central Aristocratic Association as Oscar had sent a box each to Alfred’s and Arthus’ mansions to impress them.
His father and his eldest son had taken most of the Pink Swamp. They were smokers, and Syred didn’t like to smoke, so he usually gave most of his share to them.
However, he had no idea that the cigarette he smoked out of courtesy at his father’s invitation would leave such a lasting impression.
It left a devilish feeling.
The taste made him very thirsty for alcohol, but even after drinking, the rich taste of the Pink Swamp lingered on the tip of his tongue.
Syred went to his older brother, Waled Etherwether, and asked if he had any cigarettes left. His brother had already smoked his share and was drinking alcohol for the aftertaste.
‘This won’t do. If I don't do something about this, I feel like I'm going to cause trouble .’
He didn’t think negatively about cigarettes because he knew that cigarettes were a popular item. Shahatra’s special cigarettes were very precious and only the emperor received them. One would be scolded as a philistine if one avoided cigarettes and spoke badly about them out of fear of addiction.
Syred Etherwether quickly prepared to leave. Rather than suffering from withdrawal, he thought it would be better to buy the cigarettes himself and smoke until he felt satisfied.
Syred’s carriage headed toward Oscar’s mansion.