Kieran's prediction was completely verified following how things progressed.
He was back in the wide hall of the Sanctuary where he first arrived, bathing in the ardent gaze of all the higher ranking members. His scalp instantly felt numb under the gazes.
All Kieran could do was to pretend to be calm while facing such gazes and he signaled Nicil to hurry up with the long-range teleportation setup with his eyes.
Both sides didn't communicate much, even for courteous chit-chats, Kieran would avoid at all cost if possible. Still, he couldn't bear the gazes because he knew this whole thing was a huge misunderstanding.
He was not the Holy Knight that these people hoped him to be and would never change himself to fit their expectations. Therefore, the best way out of the situation was to stay away from them, preventing any contact at all.
Seconds turned into minutes, Kieran couldn't help but chose to divert his attention away from the unusual anticipations from the members.
Fortunately, he had things that he could focus his attention on.
[Saint Thorn's experience increased slightly]
[Saint Thorn II: If you choose not to activate Transform Devil II or Desire Summon II, you will gain 30% resistance against holy energy attack. When you receive damage (regardless of holy damage), of Average, Strong, Powerful and Extreme level, you can activate a "Halo of Thorns" with different levels, to reflect the damage you receive by 10%, 15%, 30%, and 50% respectively. You will also be healed with Light, Medium, Heavily and Lethally wounded state respectively. When you choose to activate Transform Devil II or Desire Summon II, Saint Thorn effect will be temporarily halted.]
The slight increase in experience increased the numbers of the damage resistance and reflection, however, the direct increase in experience this time around granted [Saint Thorns II] a wider range of adaptive abilities.
Extreme level damage received plus 50% damage reflection and Lethally Wounded healing could provide him with much more options in different kinds of situation.
He knew exactly what kind of situations he might be facing in the future.
Kieran even came up with more theories revolving around the skill.
If he could increase the skill level even more despite each slight increase, [Saint Thorns II] would definitely become his ace skill.
As for how he already had a grasp of the leveling pattern based on the previous demonstration.
Although part of the process might differ from his style, as long as it didn't defy his moral baseline, he wouldn't mind taking the extra step.
"2567!" Nicil's voice sounded, interrupting his thoughts.
Kieran was not a bit unhappy, he took in all the gazes on him and walked towards Nicil with a smile.
"Can we leave now?" Nicil pointed at the pile of different kind of food and rations, asking Kieran and Schmidt.
"Sure!" Kieran replied eagerly, Schmidt obviously wouldn't reject either.
The blinding light appeared once more, mystical words and symbols spun and floated around them.
This time around, Schmidt was smarter, he closed his eyes quickly after his previous experience.
Kieran tried again to recognize the mystical words but still bore no results.
The stinging of his eyes forced him to shut them tight.
When everything was resolved, Kieran reappeared back in the Sanctuary's owned little wooden cottage.
"Do you two want to stay here? Or?"
"Of course we will return to our own cottage!"
Kieran and Schmidt gave the answer in unison immediately when replying to Nicil's question.
Both of them exchanged a gaze and smiled before taking the food and went out of the cottage.
"Leave a note here if anything happened. I won't be around but I'll be watching over here."
Nicil's words lingered behind them.
"No problem!" Schmidt nodded, saying that he understood.
Kieran never paused a step and went back to the wooden cottage that he built.
After two days of blizzard conditions, the blood stains and corpses on Final Island had thick layers of snow over them, making it seemed like it had returned to normal, including the cottage that Kieran built.
Different from the Sanctuary cottage which had magic circles to protect it from the snow, Kieran's common cottage would be lost in the whiteness if it wasn't for his outstanding memory.
After spending some effort in cleaning the snow before his doorstep, Kieran went in first before Schmidt to light up the fire inside, producing more warmth for Schmidt.
Heat followed as the fire burnt at the fireplace, thin smoke rose up into the air, but Kieran and Schmidt didn't rest right away.
Since they were unable to leave the place for quite some time, other than enough rations and food, they needed more firewood for heat.
Crunching on ice hard rations under the snowy season wasn't a pleasant experience.
"Thank God we picked a place that is near a bunch of spruce wood!"
Schmidt said with a laugh while giving a hand to Kieran in carrying the firewood back and arranged them on both sides of the cottage.
"There are some animal tracks in the spruce wood forest as well!" Kieran also replied with a laugh.
Although the Sanctuary prepared enough rations for them, most of it was dried vegetables and bread. Both of them didn't mind hunting for some meat over the period of their stay.
"Improving our meal is a must! After all, under such weather conditions, I couldn't really come up with things that we can anticipate other than a delicious meal!"
Schmidt said as he placed the firewood beside the cottage, testing whether they were hard enough.
The firewood was not only for heating purposes, they were also used to prevent the snow from piling up before their doorstep during the blizzard.
"Actually you don't have to come with me, I am here to train myself but you, you are completely torturing yourself!" Kieran sighed.
"Torturing? Believe me, the real torturing is staying back at the Sanctuary! I would rather be around my silent friend than with a bunch of enthusiasm overflowing apostles!"
"Because they wanted to recruit you in the most passionate way possible!"
"Recruit me as an apostle? Forget about it! I can't take any of those!"
Schmidt shrugged with both hands opened and his bearded face presented a sly smile.
"Well, compared to you, 2567, I am much better! I'm just being recruited as an apostle but you? A devil blood descendant being treated as a Holy Knight reincarnation! If the folks at the special daily get their hands on this exclusive scoop, they'd be over the moon! They have been scratching their heads for a big scoop when you weren't around!"
Kieran couldn't help but roll his eyes at Schmidt when he heard the words of ridicule from him.
"Well if you don't mention those folks, we might still be friends!" Kieran said loudly.
Kieran wasn't overly fond nor dislike at the people who deal in information trading for a living, but after knowing the existence of special daily, his view towards them had changed completely.
That newspaper that was quite popular among the mystics, other than some rigor real-time reporting of events, there were some unprofessional dressing of subjects as well.
As the hot shot a few months ago, Kieran was the victim of their unrealistic articles.
"I really don't understand why Rei didn't order a stop to this newspaper publisher!" Kieran muttered.
"Because Tiki was the newspaper's biggest advocate!" Schmidt laughed out loud.
Meanwhile in an unknown place under the starry sky.
Tiki sneezed hard all of a sudden, a dark shadow that charged at it was blown to ashes instantly.
"This is so boring! BORING! Rei, what's taking you so long? Those are just some half-assed good-for-nothing bastards, you should have dealt with them long ago right? Maybe something fun happened? I miss that little bastard, 2567 nyan! I wonder if he settled the matters at the Sanctuary already."
"Damn, I'm sleepy! Arhuuu!"
Tiki yawned loudly and shrunk into a ball of fur like a real cat.
Behind it was a huge gate a hundred meters in height, standing tall like a mountain peak that had a shining halo over it.
Before the gate though, were tens of thousands of dead bodies of all sorts of living beings, covering the whole plain.
The wind blew over softly, carrying the soft snoring to someplace far away.
Doesn't really say where is Tiki... Any guesses?