The Cult Leader in the Clergy Academy - C.189


In-Ah sat down and watched her friend's back, then went back to reading the Holy Book. She was not really reading, but rather scanning the words. Unable to concentrate at all, In-Ah closed the Holy Book and stared blankly into space.


Although it wasn't something to make a fuss about, for some reason, she felt very conflicted. She couldn't figure out what the problem was. She had definitely done well on the exam. Even if she hadn’t come in first, second place was still an astonishing result.

Although they weren’t confirmed, she also heard rumors that the Department of Priests had a high chance of ranking first in the practical evaluation. For some reason, she didn't feel all that good. It felt like she had forgotten something—she felt a sense of emptiness and unease. What was it? Her memory seemed to blur even while thinking about it.

Tap tap.

"Excuse me."

"Ah, wah. W-what is it?"

Someone had tapped her on the shoulder and called her, causing In-Ah to jump up from her seat and take a step back in surprise. The one who called her was none other than Ha-Yeon. In-Ah felt flustered and a little embarrassed as they weren't particularly close.

"What, um, I mean, what’s up?"

"Sun-Woo didn’t come to school today?" Ha-Yeon got straight to the point.

In-Ah focused not on the reason why Ha-Yeon was looking for Sun-Woo, but the way she addressed him. Ha-Yeon didn't just call someone by their name if they weren't close. For example, when she referred to Sun-Woo, she would always use the strange honorific Mr. Sun-Woo. In situations where it wasn't necessary to call someone by their name, she would just say “hey” or “you.”

But now, Ha-Yeon was simply calling Sun-Woo by his name, and she was even looking for him. Was Sun-Woo close to Ha-Yeon? They were both part of the Seven Holy Names, so they must have met frequently for official matters...

"...Is he here or not? Answer me, please."

"Ah... yeah, he isn’t feeling that well."

"Sun-Woo? He seemed fine back then—"


At that moment, a man burst through the back door. Ha-Yeon stopped mid-sentence in surprise and cowered. Then, she turned with a displeased expression and soon started to retreat in fear.

The reason for Ha-Yeon’s retreat was because the man who entered through the door was Dae-Man. He looked around as if searching for someone, then furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. In-Ah was staring at Dae-Man, seemingly lost.

"Oh." Dae-Man noticed In-Ah and approached her with a short sigh.

His menacing walk toward her gave off the same feeling as a wall closing in. Dae-Man placed his terrifying muscular arms on In-Ah's desk.

"By chance, did Sun-Woo not come to school today?"

"...Yeah, he said he isn’t feeling that well—"

"This can't be! What a big problem!"

In-Ah and Ha-Yeon flinched in surprise at Dae-Man's booming voice. Realizing his voice was too loud, he pretended to cover his mouth with his hand.

"Sorry! My voice was too loud."

In-Ah forced a friendly smile and said, "No, it's okay... But why are you looking for Sun-Woo? Everyone seems to be looking for him today."

"I was thinking we could exercise together! You know, since exams are over, I’ve wanted to work out with him."

Ha-Yeon kept a safe distance from Dae-Man and asked from afar, "Don’t you usually do that with Yu-Hyun?"

Dae-Man nodded.

"Yu-Hyun is absent as well. So I was thinking of exercising with Sun-Woo... But now I don't have anyone to exercise with."

"Why don't you give him a call then?"

"I can't. I broke my phone while exercising last time. Ha-Yeon, can you make the call for me instead?"

"...Should I? But he doesn't answer my calls very often–"

"Yeah? Then just tell me what you need to say. I'll pass on the message." In-Ah interrupted Ha-Yeon and Dae-Man’s conversation.

She continued with a faint smile on her face, "He always answers my calls."

Ha-Yeon looked puzzled, seemingly not understanding what In-Ah was saying entirely. Dae-Man had a blank expression as if he wasn't thinking about anything at all.

He smiled as if everything was fine and exclaimed, "Tell him to come to the school gym during lunchtime if he comes to school!"

"Okay, got it. And what about you?" In-Ah nodded, smiled, and averted her gaze toward Ha-Yeon.

Ha-Yeon's face turned hard and cold as she realized the meaning behind In-Ah's earlier words. She stared at In-Ah for a few seconds before opening her mouth, one corner of her lips twitching.

"I'll just say it myself. It's not like I don't have a phone, like someone."

"Really? It would be better to tell me if it's urgent."

"I don’t think so?" Ha-Yeon replied with a cold sneer. "It's an important matter, so I think it'd be better if I told him myself."

"Oh, okay." In-Ah answered with an innocent face as if she didn't understand why Ha-Yeon's tone suddenly turned so sharp.

Ha-Yeon stood there, looking In-Ah up and down for a few seconds, and then left the classroom without even saying goodbye. Dae-Man looked up as he watched Ha-Yeon leave.

"Hmm, Ha-Yeon seems to be in a bad mood today. Anyway, please pass on my regards to Sun-Woo! Thank you!" Dae-Man warmly said to In-Ah and left the classroom, trudging off the same way he had entered.

In-Ah smiled and bid farewell to Dae-Man.

As the noise level of the classroom, which had momentarily quieted down with Dae-Man and Ha-Yeon’s arrival, picked up again, In-Ah buried her head in her desk and sighed.


‘That was very ugly of me just now...’

With her face planted on the desk, regret consumed her.


Ye-Jin and Joseph walked side by side. Joseph had his usual calm expression, while Ye-Jin's face was noticeably gaunt. It was only natural as she had been running around for three days, getting no proper sleep, with Joseph to investigate.

"...Is this how you always conduct investigations?" Ye-Jin asked.

"Well, not always, of course," Joseph replied with a smile. "When I'm alone, it usually takes about a week. Having a partner definitely speeds up the process."

Ye-Jin couldn't hide her astonishment at his words. She was on the verge of death after just three days. He could do this for a week?

She couldn't help but wonder if Joseph was really a human or a meticulously crafted machine. Well, she had a hunch that he was extraordinary the moment she saw the books lined up in his study.

"...By the way, where did you get all those books?" Ye-Jin asked, seizing the opportunity to satisfy her curiosity.

Most of the books in his study were about Satanism. There were books with information about Satanism that couldn't be found in the public, as well as books actually written by Satanists. Some of the books were scriptures and religious Satanist texts.

The range of contents was extensive: methods to awaken the inner chakra, how to use it to practice black magic, rituals to summon Satan, and information about the Coven of Thirteen, a group of witches who practiced these rituals...

Ye-Jin had lived her whole life as a member of the Romanican Church, and she felt like going crazy just by reading those documents.

"What, are you suddenly interested in Satanism? If you want, I can lend you one."

"What? No, absolutely not. I'm just..."

"It's okay. You can be honest." Joseph continued with a smile, "Apart from the savage and blasphemous teachings of Satanism, it’s true that the power and allure they possess are incredibly strong.”

"... " Ye-Jin couldn't easily answer and fell silent.

As she looked at the writings of blasphemy, songs praising Satan, black magic, astrology, and various sacrilegious rituals, she would suddenly have this recurring thought: maybe black magic was stronger than divine power, blessings, and miracles of the Romanican Church.

People whose faith was not strong enough might easily fall into the deception of Satanism, especially those who desired power and ambitions for authority and fame.

"I once had thoughts like that too. I wondered if living as a Satanist would be better than living as a Romanican," Joseph said. "We have so many things we must abide by, from the Ten Commandments to endless doctrines. To keep all of those promises, we have to make endless efforts, and only then can we be saved. On the other hand, Satanism has no such rules, as you have probably seen as well.”

"Yes, I saw that the first commandment of the Satanist is 'do as you please'..."

"At first glance, the doctrine seems too sweet to be true. If you think about it, it's better to live as you please and rule in hell rather than work your ass off to go to heaven. It's a lot easier and rational."

Joseph took out a cigarette and clamped down on it. "But there is a big contradiction in the doctrine. Even if you become a Satanist, do you really think you can rule in hell?"

"...Wouldn’t it be hard?"

“Not just hard, but impossible. In hell, there will only be people who harm others for their own benefit, just like the Satanists. They will perish from the harm they receive from others, just as they have done themselves. If you don't realize this contradiction, you might end up falling into Satanism."

Joseph didn't light the cigarette but merely kept it in his mouth. He had forgotten to light it while speaking. He touched his scruffy beard and continued speaking.

"Why did they become Satanists... We need to understand that in order to catch them. That's why I recommended such blasphemous books to you."

"Aha... But can you smoke over there, please?”


Joseph put the cigarette he had been holding in his mouth back into its case.

"Come to think of it, this could interfere with the investigation. You have a sensitive nose, after all."


"I'll smoke another time. We've arrived anyway."

Joseph pointed to the grand mansion at the end of the alley. It was the home of the person in charge of the administrative work of the Central Paladin Order, who was also his friend and a fellow schoolmate.

It was the friend who abstained from alcohol for the strange reason of ‘asceticism’ but, ironically, smoked just fine. He was also the friend to whom Joseph had spread false information that the F.A. practical exam would take place on the island of Gangjin.

"I hope this will be the last place. Otherwise, we'll have to wander around for another three days."


Ye-Jin nodded with determination, a hint of fear apparent on her face.