Rainer's palm, which was still grabbing Schmidt's neck, was broken as Schmidt raised his hand.
The whole process seemed almost too easy.
A moment ago, Rainer's powerful palm could have broken Schmidt's neck, but now it had turned soft and powerless.
Rainer was grabbed by the neck as Schmidt turned around and faced him.
Within a fraction of a second, the two of them switched positions and identities. Although Schmidt looked delighted, there was a bitter smile on his face.
"When did you notice? I might be overestimating myself, but I think I did a perfect imitation of Schmidt. Even his own wife couldn't have told us apart, if he had one..." the fake Schmidt said.
"When you came back and passed the letter Philly was holding to me, your anxiety looked very practised. Of course, I wouldn't have suspected much based on that, but the changes on Boller also caught my attention. His body seemed to have weakened all of a sudden, and after some investigation, I noticed something unusual. Boller was unconscious because he had been given a certain medication. Plus, his right finger and thumb had thick calluses on them, caused by holding a gun for so many years. Even his slightly hunched back and crooked spine were gone. Need I say more, Boller?"
Kieran stared at Boller, who had been disguised as Schmidt, with hostility.
He really looked and behaved exactly like Schmidt. If it was not for all that proof and the strange feeling that hadn't worn off ever since their first meeting, Kieran wouldn't have dared think that he and Schmidt had switched identities.
As for the hostility he felt, there was a good reason for it. When Kieran had checked on the real Schmidt, he had noticed some bruises on his lower jaw. Although they had been covered, Kieran could still picture Boller forcing Schmidt to drink that medication when he saw them, which made him angry. Schmidt had treated Boller as his partner and friend. He had even asked for Kieran's help when he had gone missing. He hadn't minded putting himself in danger for Boller, but what had Boller done to repay that favor?
He had forced him to take that medication and stolen his identity. Boller had approached Kieran with a hidden motive.
Kieran was almost sure that Boller had become Schmidt's partner in order to approach him.
He was unsure what his ultimate goal was, but he knew exactly what he would do to him.
Sensing Kieran's rage, the Creature of Desire became just as infuriated.
Thousands of evil eyes were fixed on Boller. The atmosphere in the hall felt frozen, making it hard to breath.
The remaining mystics fell down one after the other and caught fire. Their bodies started burning rapidly, their souls included.
The deadly sin was causing that fire, burning away all sanity and life.
The burning mystics didn't cry out in agony. They were screaming in rage. Every single one of them died with that scream. Their ashes were absorbed by the Creature of Desire, becoming a primitive fuel that allowed its body to grow bigger and stronger.
The creature's arms and legs were multiplying. Even its scarlet eyes increased under that dazzling rainbow light.
Its eyes were too gruesome to look at. The moment Boller was stabbed by that intense glare, his body broke out in heavy sweat and froze.
He thought he had overestimated the monster, but that feeling made him realize he had not thought enough of it. He was no match for that monster in his current condition.
"I don't mean you any harm. I am bearing the goodwill of the Sanctuary. Her Highness and Master Tiki must know about me. I swear on my soul, I'm not lying!" Boller shouted quickly when he realized he would lose. He knew how Kieran would react.
When the Sanctuary was mentioned, the attack stopped for a moment.
The Sanctuary was an organization that shared the same title and position as the major five societies.
It was a mysterious organization that few people had heard of. Kieran had only found bits and pieces of information about them in Nikorei's books when he had learned about the origins of the Major Six.
He was curious about that mysterious society that not even all mystics knew about.
The reason he had stopped the creature's attack though was because Nikorei and Tiki's names had been mentioned.
"Rei and Tiki knew about this?"
Kieran suddenly recalled his last parting with Tiki. The cat had said something that had made him scratch his head.
'You did really well. I guess that guy would also be pleased by your performance. Perhaps he might test you even further, but remember, kid... Follow your heart and you will reach the end on your own!'
"Is Boller the guy Tiki had mentioned?" Kieran wondered.
"Yes, they must know about me. If her Highness Nikorei wants to know something, nothing in this world can hide it from her. As for Master Tiki, its sense of smell and intuition is really sharp. I'm afraid it discovered everything by just taking a look at me!"
Boller smiled bitterly again, making Kieran frown.
"Can you not talk to me with Schmidt's face? It makes me want to punch you in the face!" Kieran said as he watched Rainer, whose neck was still being squeezed.
Rainer finally came back to his senses, stricken by shock upon hearing about the Sanctuary.
He suddenly started begging for mercy. "Oh my honorable Holy Knight, please forgive my sins! I'll follow you back to the Sanctuary Prison to repent for them!"
He was still the Shepherd leader. Even though the Shepherds had been eliminated in the past, some traditions had still been preserved, so Rainer knew some things about the mystical realm. Those things included the Sanctuary and its status as the most powerful and mysterious society.
Although it was on the same rank as the other five, its strength was recognized by all the other societies, because it was the only society that had preserved its traditions and legacy without being broken by war or other circumstances.
According to rumors, their legacy was over 1,500 years old.
That alone could earn them the respect of other societies, but the most intriguing factor were the members of the Sanctuary, who were known as the Holy Knights.
They symbolized Justice, Light and Mercy, and showed strict discipline and generosity towards others. All sorts of virtues were attributed to them. No matter how vicious a criminal was, they were always given a chance to repent.
Rainer begged, only to be disappointed.
Boller had no intention of sparing him. Instead, he broke Rainer's arms and legs and placed him before Kieran, who had freed himself of his bindings with the help of the creature.
"I am not a Holy Knight, that title is long" Boller didn't get to finish his words.
Rainer couldn't hear anymore, as Kieran crushed his neck with a powerful step.
Kieran's step was like a sharp scythe separating Rainer's head from his body.
A glowing orange item floated out of Rainer's body, but Kieran was not concerned about it at the moment. He was more interested in Boller.
The doubts he had had about him during their first meeting had not diminished at all.
"You better have an explanation I can accept!" Kieran said.
"I'll try my best!" Boller said, taking out a scroll.
"As an inspector of the Sanctuary, I hereby recommend 2567 to participate in the next Sanctuary Holy Knight trials as a candidate and be given the title of Reserve Holy Knight!"
While Boller spoke, the scroll moved and extended on its own.
Tons of names were written on it in columns. There were almost hundreds of them. On the last column was Kieran's nickname.
Kieran stared at Boller like an idiot. Was Boller using all necessary means to prolong his life?
A Holy Knight candidate?
A Reserve Holy Knight?
What the hell was Boller doing?
Didn't he know about the devil's lineage in Kieran's body? The Creature of Desire before him was not proof enough?
Choosing a person like that to participate in the Holy Knight trials would only result in an Evil Holy Knight!
What the f*ck?
What the F indeed.