Chapter 26: The Pitiful Holy Knights
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: StarveCleric
“15 years ago, when I was studying in the Basic Warrior Academy, I was the pride of my parents and teachers. Whenever the villagers in my hometown saw me, they would lament ‘Why are the children of other families so outstanding?’.”
“When I was 10, I had already grasped over 10 types of basic fighting techniques and had successfully advanced into the Iron-rank. I became the pride of the school, a future hero of humanity. I was always surrounded by cute female juniors. Walking around school, I would ‘accidentally’ display my talents in front of them…”
“‘That genius from B class? He has only grasped the concept of Consecutive Counterattack, right? If he were to continue working hard for another decade or so, he could possibly reach half of my current level.’ Casually criticizing those fools without talent, I basked in the compliments and gazes of admiration from the cute female juniors. I thought that my life would continue on like this until the end of time. I thought that when I grew up, I would become a great hero and marry a rich woman. Until that day…”
“‘Talent for Divine Arts? The notification for the qualification of Academy of Holy Light? To think that I would be able to become a noble Holy Knight! I’ll go, I’ll go!’”
The me back then had been looking forward to becoming a suave Holy Knight. When I was overjoyed upon receiving the notification of my qualification, I seemed to have ignored the worried looks on my parents’ face,”
“To become a part of the noble Holy Knight seems like a bright future but in reality, it was just the start of a nightmare…”
“Graduation equals to unemployment? How can this be, I am a genius from the Academy of Holy Knights, one that only appears once a decade!! Look at my Holy Light!! Look at my Noble Charge!!”
“I’m sorry, we are all devoted believers in the Holy Light, but what we need are talents who can help to spread our teachings, and not violent warriors who could only fight and kill. Our department should only consist of 12 people, but now it is cramped with 24. Everyone here has graduated from the Academy of Holy Knight and they are all your seniors. Why should they give up their placing to you?”
“I… Then I’ll go and become a free adventurer.”
“I’m sorry, but as a Holy Knight, you have a responsibility to repay your gratitude to the Church of Holy Light with your strength. The 7th Holy Church is lacking a volunteer to clean the altar and the toilets… Volunteers aren’t given wages, but the Holy Light will pay you for your hard work. Don’t worry, you won’t have to do it for too long. Three years will pass in a flash.”
I still remember the gaze of the old Priest when he turned around to look at me. “Boy, you’re a newcomer? I have been working here since I was twenty. I have been tolerating this job to the point that my hair has turned white, so enjoy doing the job, you snotty brat!”
“I… I will go and be a free adventurer, that should be accepted right!!”
Of course, it is accepted but I didn’t expect that it would be the start of the true nightmare…
3 years later, I finally became a free adventurer. You are asking why is it 3 years later? If you don’t want to be chased about by the Holy Church, how can you skip the mandatory 3 years of volunteer work…
Alright, looking at how my juniors had become veterans and the core of their adventuring team, I sighed. Even so, I didn’t feel too discouraged because, with my Silver-rank abilities, I was confident that I would soon become the star in the eyes of the crowd.
But very soon, the cruel reality crushed my dreams with a spiked mace.
“You don’t want? Why, as a Silver Holy Knight, I am willing to join your team of Bronze-ranks. You should be happy about it. Or is it… is it because I am a Holy Knight?”
The thief who stood opposite to me nodded his head.
“Holy Knights speak too much nonsense and have too many canons to follow by. Can you tolerate having Undead and Half-Demons as your comrades? Can you socialize with gray organizations and can you remain quiet when we are splitting up our trophies of war? As adventurers, we would have to do dirty work most of the time. Can you ensure that you will listen obediently to our orders and not hinder us?”
Of course not! The Holy Church had clearly stated that all missing items have to be returned to their owners. If you couldn’t find their owners, then you should hand them over to the officials. How could they be divided among us as trophies of war! As for Undead and Half-Demons? The evil Beings of Chaos! I will never stand on the same ground and smell the same air as you lot!
Alright… Since our paths are different, we should not walk together. Since you aren’t willing to allow me to join your party, I will just have to create my own…
The process of building a new party went rather successfully. The Adventurer’s Guild and the taverns were filled with Holy Knights and Priests who were unable to find a party as well. Soon, our party, ‘Let Light Shine Upon The World’, started on our adventure.
“What does not being able to accept compensation means? Does that mean we can only starve?”
“Didn’t your teacher teach you about it before you became an adventurer? We are Holy Knights, and we serve the Holy Light and the public. The adventures of a Holy Knight can only be considered as a journey to accumulate experience. Helping citizens in need is our duty and since it is a duty, how can we accept compensation for our work?”
“Screw being an adventurer if we can’t earn any money! Do we just starve to death like this!!”
A mysterious smile flashed across the face of that senior. Indeed, he had an idea in mind and this was how the previous Holy Knight adventurers managed to avoid starving to death.
Although we couldn’t accept compensations, if we accepted them as a form of donation for the Holy Church, we were able to keep a third of it as a token of their appreciation, but…
“However, given that it is a donation, we can’t squabble over the amount we receive. But I can only buy two rye bread with the single bronze coin I received from getting rid the entire tribe of Ogre, it isn’t even enough for me to buy medicine! Right, I still have to donate two-thirds of it to the Church…”
“This isn’t the worst. You probably haven’t met with requests from the Goblins yet. That is the one that really breaks one’s back.”
“We can’t fuss over how much other people donate. In fact, we can’t even complain if the person doesn’t donate, or what he donates to us… It was still fine if a stingy Goblin refused to donate after fulfilling his request. If he were to donate a ton heavy boulder to you, you would have to cut it into three equal pieces and carry two of them back to the Holy Church to pay it as tax… As a senior, allow me to warn you in advance. If the Goblins were to hand you a machinery that seems decent, even if it means going against the teachings of the Church, you must dispose of it as soon as possible. If he isn’t using you as a lab rat to experiment his tools, which would explode sooner or later, then the thing he is passing you must be a real bomb, of which, he is still using you as a lab rat.”
“Right, be careful of the Mermen as well. The last time we helped the Mermen to clear up the coast, they donated a bunch of smelly mud fish. Under the hot sun, it started to stink halfway through our journey. That stench could be smelled even ten miles away… I had to bathe under the waterfall for three days straight after that. I still remember the looks of despise those Priestesses shot me with when they were collecting the donations. It was as though they were looking at something dirty.”
The additional information from my Priest companion chirped in was hilarious but I couldn’t bring myself to laugh. On the other hand, I somehow felt like crying.
“Also, be careful of DemiRams, they are truly damned. Those stingy things used their fur as compensation and furthermore, they went by strands!! Can you imagine the feeling of holding a bunch of goat furs in your hands and recounting them every few steps to avoid any falling onto the floor so that you could pay the correct amount of tax…”?
“Also, as Holy Knights, all of us are poor so we shouldn’t resort to scheming against one another. But that other time, I met a…”
Swiftly, the teaching session became a complaining session for our party. As for me, I only saw despair for my future as a Holy Knight.
“… At least, Holy Knights are dashing so they should be popular among women!!”
But very soon, reality swung another heavy bat at me.
“Do you have a house? A mount? Savings?”
I lived in the common dormitory filled with sweaty men. Naturally, it couldn’t be used as my home after getting married. As for mounts, I did have one, but how could I afford to raise a stallion by myself? Thus, I deposited it with the Church and I was only allowed to use it during times of war. As for my savings… During the last war, when the company selling feed for the horses sent in the receipts. Hehe. Hello, ladies. Goodbye, ladies.
After taking so many consecutive blows, I finally met an innocent and cute lady. She didn’t mind my poor qualifications and was willing to date me!
“Ah, how beautiful and kind she is. She is my goddess.”
But it was bizarre that the most intense activity the both of us had ever engaged in was holding each other’s hands and strolling through the park. She would always reject my offer to advance our relationship.
At that time, I was a little perplexed but I held in my curiosity. After all, she was so pure and innocent. But after five years passed, I was already 30-years-old and there was still no progress whatsoever. I couldn’t hold it in any longer so I bucked up my courage to ask her about it.
“Ah? Aren’t Holy Knights the Knights of God? Aren’t they devoid of desires?”
“I XX!! We are Holy Knights, not Monks (In fact, only a few Battle Monks would make a vow to stay away from lust)!”
So, I spent a lot of effort explaining the difference between Battle Monks and Holy Knights to her before she was able to comprehend. But, what I received was a reply that made me fall in despair.
“That… I’m sorry, I wanted to have a platonic relationship, that’s why I came to find you. Can we still remain as friends?”
“Friends?! Friends your head! I am already 30 years old!! My classmates already have dozens of children now!”
That night, in that dormitory full of sweaty men, I cried sorrowfully as my colleagues stood solemnly beside me to console me.
“Do you remember Arult? That genius Holy Knight from Lucart City?
Of course I would remember that winner in life! He found himself a rich and beautiful girlfriend.
“Why are you mentioning him? You don’t think that I am sufficiently pathetic as it is?”
“He fell into depravity and converted into a Black Knight. He had become the claws of the Chaos Faction. That rich and beautiful girlfriend of his was actually a Demon who approached him to corrupt him…”
“How many does that make? Before this, many people in the Church already had their doubts why a good woman like her would choose to go for a Holy Knight and everyone had warned him about it. Yet, he just wouldn’t believe it… No, he probably knew about it but he didn’t want to face the truth. He wanted to enjoy the blissful life a bit longer.”
“Heh, we are all numb to this already. If we take the initiative to look for girls, we would only end up rejected. On the other hand, women who approach us on their own accord usually have a screw loose. What’s worse is that the Holy Church bans us from spending money to solve our physical needs. Even relieving ourselves is a forbidden evil act…”
“We are humans! Not beasts! Just two days ago, the love affair between two Holy Knights in the West Mountains was exposed and both of them were exiled from the Church. They were my comrades and I even sent them off when they initially departed there. But from the looks of it, the both of them seemed to be happy over the fact that they could stay together from now on… But they are both men! They were originally normal men who liked women! If we restrain ourselves too much, something will really happen! The number of gays in the Church is increasing at a rapid pace!”
“Actually, I’ve started to think that I could reluctantly accept man…”
“Actually, I feel the same too. Why don’t we try? …”
Ever since the sudden formation of the ‘couple’ that day, I fell into total despair and lived like a zombie…
“You want to break away from the Holy Church? Stop being a Holy Knight? You don’t have other skills to earn a livelihood with and you are already getting old. Starting afresh isn’t something easy. The only class you can convert into without losing too much fighting ability is the Black Knight. Are you sure you want to try it?”
At that moment, I felt absolute despair toward life. When I was dispatched to the dangerous Underground World, I didn’t even attempt to reject it. As long as I could stay away from the increasing number of gays by my side, what did putting myself in danger count as?
But from there on, my life took a turn.
“South Ascension Law School? Currently accepting students for short-term training and it comes with a job recommendation? Holy Knights don’t have to undergo interview?! Is this real?”
“I should just give it a try, things can’t get any worse anyway.”
I didn’t hold too much hope as I entered South Ascension. After all, my age was getting a bit on the advanced side and my capability to learn was swiftly deteriorating.
But very quickly, I realized that the Power of Law they were imparting to the students wasn’t much too different from my Power of Holy Light. The silver Light of Law was extremely similar to the Holy Light and it was a Lower Concept of the Origin of Order as well. Many techniques and skills between the two were similar, making it easy for me to catch on.
Furthermore, they really provided jobs for their graduates! No, it wasn’t just at the level of providing jobs. It was to the extent that an old fellow like me, who haven’t even graduated from the academy yet, had dozens of companies vying for me!
“Security guard, police, judge and other members of the law system, they are all respectable figures of the upper-class society! To think that a useless old man like me would have a day that I would see the onset of spring!”
“We don’t have an annoying Church or any Gods that we have to serve. We only believe in the codex and in maintaining justice and equality. But at the same time, we are also humans and we need to make a living. As graduates of South Ascension, it isn’t a difficult task for us to deal with criminals and villains. Even if we don’t become a member of the police force, we are also trusted with other jobs such as security guards. As Justice Knights belonged to the Order Faction, they cannot commit crimes and they have to follow by their vows and promises. This made them trustworthy employees to their employers, thus greatly increasing their opportunities for promotions.”
That year, when my teacher was speaking passionately on the stage, I didn’t quite believe him, especially after all that I had gone through.
“But after that, everything changed, just like how that teacher described it to be! After graduation, I got a job at a large merchant guild. Just by chasing away those weaklings who cause trouble at the front reception for twenty days each month, my monthly salary was actually a staggering 10 000 gold coins! 10 000 gold coins!! That is 200 times more than that of a Holy Knight! Furthermore, I didn’t have to suffer the batter of the rain or risk my life for it!!”
“What, you are saying that a Holy Knight could do the same as well? Dumbass, Holy Knights are Knights who serve the Holy Light and the God. How can they be employed for their personal gains?”
“Very quickly, after I saved sufficient money to buy myself a house, I found my loved one! I even bought a cute Dragon Horse which had the bloodline of a Red Dragon. It could travel a thousand miles in a single day and spat flames from its mouth. I am finally a true Knight and not a foot soldier who deposited his mount with the Church.”
“Just a while ago, I informed my old companions of it and all of them immediately rushed over. After graduating from South Ascension, some of them served as sentries for the city, some of them joined the Town Security and others became judges. As for the two gay Holy Knights, after earning some money, they became their own bosses, married a wife each and even have their own children now!!”
“My Holy Knight brothers, come and convert to become Justice Knights. Putting aside the fact that you all get to retain most of your strength upon changing classes, we are all still standing on the same line in the Order Faction. The Holy Church would surely be glad to see everyone changing classes. After all, they don’t sufficient budget to raise all of us.”
“Which school is best at teaching the usage of the Power of Order? Come to South Ascension Law School in the Sulfur Mountain City of the Underground World. You can choose to pay after learning in the academy and users of Holy Light can get in without an interview. The first month of your wages after starting work will be taken as the school fees. We have a free month-long trial for people who would like to try it out. Our motto at South Ascension is to study hard and work hard. Power, promotions, and salary will come rapidly along with a rich and beautiful wife! My mother no longer has to worry about me being unemployed and even I can become my own boss.”
“This is just an advertisement slogan? You are still worried that you are unable to find a job in the future? Let me work the math for you. Every city needs its own police and public security officers. Every enterprise needs security guards. Every government requires a law system. There are so many job opportunities available and you, as the vanguard of the Law Faction and the favored one of the new era, you are actually worried that you are unable to find a job? Come to South Ascension, we provide you everything. Graduating from the Academy of Holy Light is equal to unemployment but at South Ascension, you can be employed even before graduating!”
The above is all the content of an advertisement flyer. The writer is the Supreme Judge of the Supreme Court of Sulfur Mountain City, Wumianzhe…
“Hey hey, aren’t you going too far? It is said that when the Archbishop of Holy Light, old Bill, saw the flyer, he fainted on the spot and almost died from excessive bleeding from his head!!”
Yes, I am poaching personnel from the Holy Church and I am doing it very openly.
Of course he would vomit blood. Even though this advertisement flyer was written by me, but the contents written above were entirely true. It was the sore spot of the Holy Church.
After all, I was once a Holy Knight and many of the examples were from my personal experience… A sudden heartache made me mutter subconsciously, “Fortunately, I am no longer an unlucky Holy Knight.”
At this moment, facing Adam’s question of whether I have gone too far, I smiled.
“I don’t see anything wrong with it. When I personally passed this flyer to the Town Security, they were overjoyed!!”
Of course they would be overjoyed. Previously, they were not allowed to join the law system officially. But now, they were given an opportunity to study the Power of Law. This also meant that my law system and the Sulfur Mountain City had completely accepted their presence here.
They already used their fresh blood and hard work to prove their loyalty. If I continue to turn my back away from them, that would be too heartless.
“…You reorganized the Town Security’s Holy Knight army into a Justice Knight army? You haven’t told this news to old Bill right, I’m afraid that he might be unable to hold on to his life.”
“I sent a messenger personally to report the news to him!”
“Lord!! You are vomiting blood again!! This is the 20th time this month! Things are going badly and we can’t hold on anymore. We better return to the Surface World.”
“Archbishop, bad news! After seeing the flyers, many Holy Knights and Priests said that they want to go to South Ascension, we can’t hold them back anymore!!”
The Archbishop of Holy Light continued to vomit blood…
Elisa reported the happenings after the Archbishop received the news of the Town Security switching faiths to me, saying that he was shocked and vomited blood. After which, a farce even broke out. Hearing those words, I smiled gleefully.
“You old fool, who asked you to preserve your own strength when things were in chaos. You even tried to spread your teachings when everyone was in a state of fear after the battle. Just because a lion hadn’t hunted for a long time, it didn’t mean that it was sick cat. You deserved this!”