I Became a Ruined Character in a Dark Fantasy-Chapter 41

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Chapter 41

Seated on the bed, Ian tightened the straps of his breastplate. It was a constricting sense of unity he hadn't felt in days. He sighed briefly as he looked over the items spread out in front of him: shoulder guards, greaves, arm guards and gloves, boots, and other pieces of equipment.

Though the servants of the knightly family had stripped them of old dirt and polished them to look like new, strangely, he didn't feel good about it. Suddenly, the morning of the reserve force call-up came to mind—the memory of feeling drained and listless just from wearing a military uniform. It was exactly like that now.

...It's more like re-enlistment than reserve forces. A re-enlistment with no known discharge date. Fuck.

Despite his complicated feelings, his body automatically put on the equipment in the correct places. Without anyone's help, Ian returned to his usual appearance in just a few minutes. Daggers and throwing knives were positioned across a band and around his waist.

These throwing knives were newly acquired from Orendel. Having thrown the dagger a few times, the accuracy was higher than he had expected. His Agility stats might not be high, but his Mental Fortitude and Concentration surely played a supporting role. After checking himself over, he lastly picked up the Sword of Judgement that had been leaning against the head of the bed. His preparations were complete.

It seems like I've accumulated enough skill points to use them. After this is over, I'll seriously...

In the midst of his personal contemplations while seated on the bed—

Knock knock.

The door opened with a knock, and Philip peeked his head in.

"It seems you can come now, my lord."

It was a familiar scene. Thinking this, Ian left the room. Passing through a corridor with a view of the garden, he stopped in front of the office. Philip opened the door. Seated in the chair of honor was Mev, and revealed were the men seated long across the table on either side.



Their gazes concentrated on Ian. Ian entered the room with composure.


As the door closed, Mev began to speak, "Let me introduce him. This is Ian Hope, the assistant I mentioned. He's the most trusted mercenary I have, and the real person who solved the issues you've heard about."

The men's gazes swept over Ian. The emotions in their looks became a bit more overt. These were familiar to Ian: curiosity, caution, competitive spirit, and distrust.

Mev's voice continued, "And this is the members of the royal guard, Ian. I personally selected these, the most trustworthy men."

Ian nodded and then finally looked back at the men. Seven in total. The reactions when their eyes met varied, but none averted their gaze.

"The explanation about the current situation is finished. They will help us," said Mev.

"Did you also explain to them about your plan?” Ian asked.

"Simply," answered Mev.

"Hmm..." Ian nodded and began to walk. He slowly circled the knights. A strange tension spread.

With a leisurely gaze, Ian examined each one of them and then spoke, "Ensure to protect the king you serve. That's all you need to do in this plan."



Displeasure was evident in some of their eyes. Clearly, they didn't like hearing such words from a mere mercenary. It was obvious they didn't fully believe what Mev had told them. If Ian truly had such skills, they thought, he wouldn't be living as a wanderer. While their inner thoughts seemed apparent, Ian continued unfazed.

"And don't disclose the conversation we've had here to anyone. Not even to family. There's no opting out," said Ian.

"What if someone refuses?" Someone blurted out, a young man who had been sending looks full of rivalry.

As tension appeared on Miguel's face standing behind Mev, and a chill started in Philip's eyes guarding the door, Ian smiled, "They would die. You're asking the obvious."

"What...?" The young man's brows furrowed.

Though none spoke out, the eyes of the other knights also hardened. Had Mev not been there, swords might have been drawn immediately. Miguel seemed ready to intervene at any moment, his lips twitching.

Only Ian and Mev remained undisturbed as Ian continued. "If the plan fails, I'm not the one who will suffer. I can just leave this country. It's the ones left behind who will endure the pain, like you or the people of this kingdom."

"Can we prevent all those tragedies if we follow the plan?" A middle-aged knight who had been pressing down on the young man’s shoulder spoke.

"Who knows? But at least, we can prevent this country from falling into the hands of the corrupt." Ian shrugged.

"Are there really that many traitors hiding in Agel Lan?" The young man, barely containing his emotions, spat out the words.

Ian approached the table.

As he leaned his hand on the back of a chair where one of the knights was seated, he said, "There are. Even one among us here."Step back, sir," said Ian.

Almost simultaneously, the young man’s frown deepened, and Ian drew a dagger.


The dagger was thrust into the neck and shoulder of the man seated in the chair right in front of him.

"Aaack! Uuhh?"

Before the scream could fully escape, Ian, with his left hand, grabbed the man's hair and brutally smashed his head onto the table.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Crack.

Blood was everywhere, and it didn't take long for the table to break apart. Ian then slammed the knight's head onto the floor and, pressing down on his back with one knee, and drew the Sword of Judgement.

The moment he raised the sword with both hands,


Someone lunged at him to stop him. Pushed against the wall, the young man, his face was filled with anger as he threw a punch at Ian.

Dodging side to side and deflecting the incoming punch with his left hand, Ian briefly considered whether to stab the young man in the stomach. Deciding against it, he instead kicked the young man in the stomach. The young knight was thrown back, rolling on the floor, grinding his teeth.

"This crazy bastard...! This son of a bitch, to Rotan! Look at this! Isn't this the one—" The young man’s voice trailed off as his gaze shifted to the other knights.

They all stood glaring at Ian with murderous eyes, but that was all. Only then did the young knight, Jonathan, realized that Mev had stopped them, and furrowed his brow.

"Sigh..." Ian stood up and coldly said again, "I'll say it once more. Step back."

Just as the atmosphere was about to become even more hostile,

"Cough...! Cough, cough... Kk... Kkuk...."

Rotan, beaten to a pulp, started coughing up blood. His moans quickly turned into grotesque convulsions.

"Ro, Rotan...?"

Panic finally spread across the knights' faces.

It was then Philip frowned, "Step back, now."

"...!" They finally stepped back. In the meantime, Rotan rose, with his body arching like a bow.


His eyes rolled back, and purplish veins bulged as if about to burst all over his body. From his outstretched fingertips, a chilling sound of bones spreading echoed.


A blue light emanated from Ian's sword.

"Holy power...? How......?"

As astonishment spread across the faces of several knights once more, Ian charged at Rotan and struck down with his sword.


Rotan's body, midway through transformation, was cleaved diagonally from shoulder to hip.


The severed upper body collapsed to the floor, and the lower half spilled blood and guts before belatedly falling. Holding the sword, still flickering with holy power, Ian turned to the knights against the wall.

"The lowest level of the corrupted, like this one, can involuntarily reveal their true form. Attacking them during transformation makes it easy to kill them. Decapitation is the simplest method." Ian’s voice remained calm, incongruent with the situation.

"Even higher-level ones usually need to concentrate to shed their disguise. So, if something seems off, don't panic, just strike. The truly corrupt, who deserve the name, can change their form at will and have the means to defend themselves. If you encounter them, run. You have no chance against them with your skills.” Ian slightly furrowed his brow.

"Did you all understand?" Ian asked.

"Yes, yes...!"


The knights finally nodded their agreement.

"Cough... Ah... Aah...."

Then, Rotan, who had coughed up blood, groaned. Despite being bisected and his severed parts grotesquely withering as if burning, he was still not dead. This fact surely did not feel like a blessing to him.

With a cold gaze, Mev drew the sword that had been resting on her desk. Red holy power flared up in her grip.

The knights' eyes widened once again, as they all knew her holy power to be blue. But now, she was using a red, even ominously feeling holy power.

Mev, without a question, swung her sword down upon Rotan.


Rotan’s head was cleanly severed.

Mev, her gaze emotionless, turned to look at Ian, "I am ashamed. I thought I had chosen well."

"They must have kept that in mind and sent a minion. They had to keep an eye on you somehow. They wouldn't have known I could distinguish them though," Ian spoke nonchalantly.

Ian had requested this meeting precisely to root out any corrupt beings that might have infiltrated their ranks. Mev nodded at the knights, her gaze now icy compared to when she looked at Ian.

"As you can see, Ian is a holy warrior recognized by the stern Goddess herself. Without merit, she would not bestow her blessing. Moreover, I am not an Apostle of Judgment. I am an apostle of vengeance, and all corrupt beings in Agel Lan are my targets for vengeance. So, if there's still anyone who doubts, speak now."

"...I do not doubt."

Starting with the middle-aged knight, one by one, they responded.

"I do not doubt."

Jonathan, the last to answer, bowed his head toward Ian.

"I sincerely apologize for the misunderstanding and rudeness. I will accept any punishment.”

What a knightly thing to say, thought Ian. Ian smirked at the polite tone and expression, then nodded.

"Just keep to what I've said," said Ian.

"...Of course. Um...." Jonathan trailed off.

"Call me Ian," said Ian.

"Yes, Sir Ian. I will follow you with all my heart," Jonathan replied.

I’m not a knight though, Ian chuckled to himself, exchanged a glance with Mev, and nodded.

"Let's get back to the main topic. When the meeting is convened, we'll start with how you all should proceed," said Ian.

The knights nodded, their faces solemn and devoid of smiles. They were finally beginning to understand what they were protecting the king from.


By the time everyone had left and the meeting was over, it was already deep into the night. While Philip and Miguel were handling the body and the servants were cleaning the bloodstains, Ian and Mev stood facing each other in the garden.

"If they just do their part, things will be easier," said Ian.

"Now that the presence of the corrupt has been confirmed, at least they won't betray us," said Mev.

Ian's gaze, nodding along, suddenly stopped at the far end of the corridor. Lucia, who had been watching them, quickly turned away.

"Ah, right. I haven't introduced that child to you." Mev spoke, looking in the same direction.

"We've already met. She even came looking for me." Ian shook his head.

"She did? For what purpose?" Mev asked.

"To ask me to protect you," said Ian.

Mev opened her mouth in surprise at the unexpected statement.

"Seems you looked precarious enough in her eyes," Ian smirked.

"...It's hard to imagine Lucia saying that, she hardly ever shows her inner thoughts," said Mev.

"That's probably because she believes she's cursed,” said Ian.

"Cursed...?" Mev asked.

"Yes. A curse that people she loves die." Ian looked back at Mev, who squinted her eyes.

"Perhaps that's why she doesn't open up." A flicker of sympathy and tenderness crossed Mev's eyes.

Ah, here comes another lengthy sob story, Ian thought to himself.

"Anyway, we don't have much time. At the very least, we need to start before the duke notices the connection between the rebellion in Orendel and you," said Ian.

Mev's expression darkened.

Ian added softly, "If he realizes there's undeniable evidence, we can't predict what he might do."

"...We'll act at dawn then,” said Mev.

However, it was two more days before the date for the meeting was set.

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