The Cult Leader in the Clergy Academy - C.203


In-Ah gently tugged at the collar of my clothes. Although she didn’t use too much strength, I took a step toward her as I was pulled in her direction.

Her slumped shoulders and her hand gripping my collar trembled slightly.

Looking at her, I said, "...I guess it’s possible for me to not go."

In-Ah had her head lowered, so only her forehead was visible. She didn't raise her head and just held onto my collar.

Was she crying at the moment? Or was she frowning, or perhaps smiling? Before, even if I couldn’t see her expression, I could deduce what she was thinking based on her tone of voice and her gestures. However, it was currently impossible to tell what she was thinking about right now. I couldn’t even tell whether she was crying or smiling. The shadow cast by the streetlight made her expression even darker.

"Then, can you not go?"


Raising her head, In-Ah said, "Don't go."

Instead of fragile tears, I could see the firm determination in her gaze. However, her lips were still pouting. Even when I stared into her eyes, she didn't avoid my gaze.

I shook my head.

"...It’ll be awkward if I suddenly say that I’m not going to go two days before the trip. And it’s not like I have an excuse to not go either.”

In-Ah grabbed my collar again.

"Say that you’re scared," she said.

I was dragged along by her, unable to resist.

She continued, "Say that you can’t go because the religion over there is different. Say that it’s because the Islamic religion and the Romanican religion are currently on bad terms, and that you feel that it’s too dangerous to go. Or just say that you are scared of flying on the plane.”

“How can I pretend to be scared when I’m not?”

"Why not? Aren’t you good at lying?"

I shut my mouth. It seemed like she was still highly conscious of the fact that I had deceived her during the practical exam.

In-Ah stared at my face for a long while, then dropped her gaze to the floor. "...Sorry. I spoke without thinking just now."

"No, it's alright. About what happened during the practical exam... I would also have been pissed if that had happened to me.”

Releasing my collar, In-Ah said, “The truth is... it’s because I’m so scared.”

"What are you afraid of?"

“I’m afraid of you not coming back.”

With a smile, I said, "I will come back."

She looked at my face intently. I wanted her to also reciprocate with a smile, but contrary to my expectations, her expression hardened.

"How can you guarantee that?"

“There is no reason for me to not make it back.”

"You could get assaulted by terrorists, or a Satanist could appear.”

"Those things usually don't happen."

"We've experienced too many events that usually don't happen."

I looked at In-Ah. This was the first time I realized that such deep sadness could exist within someone’s eyes without containing even a trace of moisture.

"Can you guarantee that such things won't happen again?" she asked.

With a smile, I said, "It'll be alright."

"Even if such a thing happens, I will win anyway."

Upon hearing my words, In-Ah narrowed her eyes and glared at me. Her face indicated that she was dissatisfied with my answer. She chewed on her lips for a moment before letting out a sigh of resignation.

"...Stop saying such ridiculous things."

"I'm serious about winning, though."

"Stop trying to brush it off as a joke. This time, I really─"

Looking at her, I said, "Don't worry, it's not a joke."

“I'll come back, and...”

‘I will definitely find a way to heal your younger sister.’

I decided to keep the rest of those words to myself. I would obtain the Staff of Reversal on the mission trip, and I would find a way to turn Yoon-Ah back into a human. I would have the two of them reunite once again. Once that happened, everything would be alright. Both she and I would be fine. That was why I absolutely had to go on the mission trip. And that was also why I had to return no matter what. I would keep my promise.

As I silently looked at her, she asked, "...And what?"

With a smile, I said, "Let's ditch class and grab a bite to eat."

"...We can just go eat after school. Why bother ditching class? Are you a delinquent?”

"It’s more thrilling when you ditch class and eat.”

With a wide grin, she nodded and said, "Sure, why not?"

And with that, we parted ways. It was only after I saw her enter her house that I started to walk back to my dormitory.

By the time I returned to my dormitory, it was already past the check-in time, and as a result, the dormitory supervisor scolded me. They said a bunch of things such as, ‘How can you be this late all the time?’ and ‘What are you doing out so late at night?’

In the end, I received demerit points. It was only then that I realized the meaning behind Legba's words.

[Then at least check the time.]

Legba had probably already known that I would miss the check-in time. Perhaps he had already known that In-Ah was perfectly fine. That was probably why he had tried to stop me from meeting In-Ah.

Nonetheless, I didn’t regret my choice.


The day of the mission trip arrived. It was decided that each student would arrive at the airport on their own, so I decided to get my uncle to drop me off.

Let alone seeing his face, just getting into contact with Uncle had been difficult, yet this time around, he willingly fulfilled my request.

"Where did you say it was again...? Saudi?"

I nodded in response to my uncle's question. "Yeah."

Music was softly playing in the car. It was a rather adventurous atmosphere. After yawning, Uncle shoved a piece of chewing gum in his mouth and said, "But isn't Saudi a bit dangerous? It's an Islamic country, right?"

"That's right."

"I heard there are a lot of extremists over there. Well, I suppose they can’t be much worse than the Romanican Church.”

"The extremists are always a problem. But what could possibly happen when I’m only staying there for two nights and three days?”

"Hey... watch your words. That's a flag."

"A flag?"

With a frown, Uncle said, "If you say things like that, something is bound to happen."

Indeed, something was most likely going to happen. The Staff of Reversal was on display at the National Museum, and the purpose of this trip was to steal it. Since I was going to steal an item that had enough value to be on display at the National Museum, it would be strange if nothing happened. However, I could get the cooperation of a museum staff member, and I also brought along a counterfeit replacement for the Staff of Reversal. If things worked out well, I would be able to safely return home after resolving this situation without making too much of a commotion.

"Well... I’m sure things will work out well.”

“Yeah. It’s not like I’ll die, right?”

“Exactly. Just don’t die. As long as you stay alive, there will always be a way to survive,” Uncle nonchalantly said, continuing to drive.

As I was vacantly gazing out the car window, Uncle said, "But if it's Saudi Arabia... we might be able to take the same flight as that person when we come back."

"Who is that person?"

"That person I mentioned before. The executive of the Gyeonggi Branch."

"What was her name again?"

"She doesn’t like being called by her previous name. She told me to call her Sophia. She lived under that name while she was in the UK."

"Sophia... Did she lose her mind after being on the run for so long?”

My uncle chuckled and said, "It seems like she has, just a little bit."

Sophia, the executive of the Gyeonggi Branch, was in a situation where she had to transit through various countries before returning to Korea. Uncle said that it was because the immigration security inspections had become stricter due to the increase in Satanist activity lately. He then complained about how he had such a hard time setting up a fake identity that was affiliated with the Romanican Church for her that he thought that he was going to die.

"Well, then again, thanks to the Satanists, I made some money."

"What are you talking about?"

"In situations that result in strict immigration checks or when it feels like a war is about to break out... in those sorts of unstable situations, it’s possible to print out money by making some quick trades in the stock market.”

As I was chatting about this and that with Uncle, we suddenly found ourselves in front of the airport. I got out of the car and took out my suitcase from the trunk. Uncle drove away after saying goodbye. I pulled my suitcase and entered the airport.

It wasn't difficult to find my companions. The reason for this was all thanks to Dae-Man. No matter how far away he was, his stature always stood out. I used Dae-Man as a landmark and approached him.

"I was waiting for you, Sun-Woo!"

Dae-Man's greeting was way too loud, so I frowned and warned him.

"Please lower your voice."

Then, I looked around my surroundings. Yu-Hyun, Dae-Man, Min-Seo, and Su-Ryeon were present. Jin-Seo and Ha-Yeon hadn't arrived yet. But why was Su-Ryeon here too?

"What? Didn't you say you weren't coming?"

"Ah... did I? But I changed my mind and just decided to come!" Su-Ryeon said cheerfully.

I accepted her explanation without much thought. It wasn’t all that important after all. The truth was, it was better for me if more people came along for the trip. When stealing the staff from the museum, having more people around would help distract the attention of the security.

"Hey, Min-Seo. Is this your first time on a plane?"

While waiting for the two who hadn't arrived yet, we chatted. It started with Yu-Hyun teasing Min-Seo. She glared at Yu-Hyun with a fierce expression.

"What bullshit are you spouting? What do you mean by that?"

"No, you seemed nervous. I thought it was your first time."

"...I've never liked crowded places, you bastard."

"Then you could have just said that from the beginning. Why’d you have to swear at me? Don’t tell me this is actually the first time you're riding a plane?”

Intervening between the two, Dae-Man said, "Honestly, I've never been on a plane before! This is my first time, so I'm really excited."

"Ah, then Dae-Man, you probably don’t know about how we have to take off our shoes when boarding the plane," Su-Ryeon chimed in naturally during the conversation.

Dae-Man chuckled as if mocking her.

"Su-Ryeon, you underestimate me too much. I already know that much."

"Really? Do you also know that we have to give tips to the flight attendants?"

Upon hearing Su-Ryeon's joke, Dae-Man's expression turned serious.

"I didn't know that... I didn't bring any cash."

"Oh, really? Should I lend you some?"

"Hey... stop teasing him. Dae-Man will believe you, you know?” Yu-Hyun said, interrupting Su-Ryeon midway.

She clicked her tongue as if she were disappointed. Dae-Man shifted his gaze between Su-Ryeon and Yu-Hyun with a clueless expression on his face.

Min-Seo had been attentively listening to Su-Ryeon's story, but after realizing that she was joking, she let out a relieved sigh.

Meanwhile, Jin-Seo arrived, followed by Ha-Yeon. I thought Ha-Yeon would say something to me, but surprisingly, she didn't utter a word to me. She didn’t even glance at me. Her expression was cold and empty. It felt like she had reverted to the same Ha-Yeon from the beginning of the semester, who was distant from everyone.

Jin-Seo only shook my hand and greeted me. She didn’t say anything else in particular.

"So, do I have to give a tip to the flight attendants, or do I not?”

"No, don’t tip them.”

"Got it! Then what about my shoes─"

Dae-Man stopped speaking. It was because we could hear a commotion coming from the airport entrance. We all turned our heads toward the entrance. A group of clergymen were lining up and entering through the entrance.

The procession was massive. Unlike us, who were primarily tourists despite going under the pretense of a mission trip, these clergymen were dispatched to safely repatriate the missionaries who were in Saudi Arabia. Paladins, crusaders, and priests were moving in strict formation. It was easy to distinguish them due to their uniforms being different colors.

A man with the largest build among them broke away from the procession and approached us with confident strides. Next to the big man, a man with a relatively smaller frame followed along beside him. Both were wearing paladin uniforms, but due to their size and appearance, the atmosphere that they emanated was noticeably different. From a distance, I had not realized it, but up close, I realized that it was a familiar face.

"Ah, so everyone was gathered here. Nice to meet you. Some of you already know me, but for those who don’t, I’m Han Dae-Ho."

He scanned our faces and continued, "For this mission trip, I will be the leader as well as the safety officer, and I will also handle other miscellaneous tasks. I'll be counting on you all for the next three days, guys."

This chapt𝓮r is updat𝒆d by (f)reew𝒆b(n)