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Thousand Years of Heresy | LOTM

Zenith, no last name did not want to die. Yet, he did anyway. This new world was not the one he recognized. It was not the one he lived in before he died. This world was incredibly strange. It had mysterious powers and was backward in technologies. And the fate had it that the man he transmigrated in was a slave! He initially thought that he did not recognize this new world. However, as he investigated further, as the muddy water dragged him in further, and as he became entangle with both orthodox and unorthodox Gods... Cults like religions, blasphemy slate, paths to divine, monocles, Amon and his brother, coincident PTSD... Hey... wasn't this world the novel 'Lord of the Mysteries' mentioned by his sister!? Besides, wasn't the novel set in 5th Epoch? Why was he in the 4th Epoch!? By the time he realized, there were already many people, both men and women, Gods and angels, chasing after him. ~~~ Author's notes: -This work has no fixed update schedule. -This has slash/bl elements, is kind of like a slow burn, and is a harem. -I do not wish to see hate comments. Therefore, I ask anyone who do not like this work to stop reading. -Thank you.

NPC_Summoner · Book&Literature
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7 Chs

Chapter 5: Notary

 After Zenith had Isaiah terrorised– ahem, 'persuaded' number two into joining their little ragtag team, he bade Isaiah goodbye. Even if he wanted to stay a little longer to make plans, that was not possible. It had been a long time over the break, after all. If it was any other slave group leaders, they would be punishing the late slaves with whips. Luckily, the leader of the construction slaves was none other than Cross. A man who can be said to be benevolent.

 "Leader," Zenith greeted innocently as if he was not late coming to work, and then proceeded reporting to his superior as if nothing happened. His attitude was nonchalant, flippant, and utterly disrespecting. However, Cross did not mind. It was because he had a kind of sympathy toward slaves and was naturally an easy-going person.

 Although he did not mind, in order to prevent workplace-bullying for being shown favour, he decided to give a small punishment. "You are late," Cross reprimanded sternly but Zenith's face did not change. Truly no guilt at all, Cross was caught between being surprised and not being surprised. If it was Zenith more than two weeks ago, he would be surprised. Since that child was shy, timid and afraid of being bullied more than anything else, he was always on time for work, even if he had to drag his injured body. However, he sighed, the child had been changing little by little over the time. Perhaps, he just had grown some sort of backbone. Anyway, that was a good thing. He just hopes that this coming to work late won't be a recurring pattern. At the same time he could not help but wonder, He seems to be in a good mood. Did something happen? 

 Zenith said nothing and carefully observed the swirling emotions in Cross' eyes. I think he hasn't caught onto anything. That's good. Whether he should rope Cross into their little escapee or not, was a hard question. And he hadn't yet come into an answer. Therefore, all he could do right now was not to let the man have knowledge of what they, or what he was planning.

 Cross rubbed the corner of his right eye, his index finger going over the wrinkles in a smooth motion. This was a habit of his when he felt vex. "You are late for three rounds of work," Cross finally said, "Triple that amount, this will be your punishment."

 "I understand, thank you for your leniency."

 Three rounds of work… If it was any other slaves' leader, I might be whipped, and might have to spend the night licking my wounds all over again.

 Of course, spending the night licking his wounds was just a metaphor. In fact, he might have to work under the sun doing the labour, with the dry air, sweats, and sand seeping into his whipped, and exposed injuries. 

 Sounds fun, he thought sarcastically and started working.

 He visited the gladiator ring at the afternoon break time. When he came back to work, it had already been quite late. And combined with the punishment and the other tasks, it was nearly midnight when he finally finished work.

 When he descended into the dark stairway and returned to his cell, Alma was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed. Zenith peered into the 'bedroom' and saw Oleg asleep and the crazy man praying with a fanatic expression on his face. Everyone is already here. He couldn't be waiting for me, right…? Zenith was weirded out and was reminded of the first time they met. More precisely, after he transmigrated and walked back into the cell, Alma was also leaning against the wall that time with the very same posture.

 "Like what you saw?" Alma winked and Zenith immediately threw him a disgusted expression as if looking at a cockroach.

 "I don't have a hobby of staring at bugs."

 "Well, too bad," Alma shrugged, "However, I'm a good-looking bug, wouldn't you agree?"

 Wow… Zenith was secretly impressed. Did he just diss himself back there?

 "Are you that confident in your looks?"

 Alma showed a considerate look, "Well, this body's looks aren't half bad."

 Zenith rolled his eyes at him, "Enough. Do you have anything to say?" He was tired and would rather sleep than deal with Alma's nonsense. He did not wait for Alma's response, passed by the man, and prepared to curl up to sleep at his usual corner.

 It was when he heard it.

 "You are trying to escape again, aren't you?" 

 It was not loud, just a mere whisper, and if he was not within the hearing range, he would have undoubtedly missed it. He heard it very clearly and his body stiffened, and his pupils constricted. Zenith's sleepiness and tiredness instantly went away. 

 This was an enclosed space. No amount of light could peer into this underground darkness. In this lightless place, Alma's pair of brown eyes seemed to shine through the darkness, and they were filled with absolute certainty and confidence. The corner of his lips slowly curled up and he took a deliberate step after another toward Zenith who was about to curl up but had not yet and was still standing near the corner.

 Zenith's heart was thundering traitorously in his heart, seemingly about to jump out of his ribcage. This was the first person who had caught up onto his plan, no, his desire to escape again. Actually, was he the first person to find out? What if others had also caught up onto the plan? Maybe, there were traitors. Or perhaps, there were people who had never believed his and Oleg's act. There were countless possibilities and Zenith did not want to entertain even one of them.

 "Well…" Zenith decided to act feign for now, "What gave you the idea?"

 "Are you trying to play dumb even now?" Alma sneered, they were now face-to-face, "If you want to play, I'm happy to play along. After all, we have plenty of time." 

 Zenith froze. There was now a hand carcassing the top of his head, slowly sliding downward, tucking his hair behind his ear, gently tapping his cheek, pressing on his lips, and then, twirling the strands of his long hair.

 Did he go crazy…? Unknowingly, Zenith's thought just now was the exact same as when Alma first saw him. Zenith thought that Alma would do more. Maybe something like threatening him, blackmailing him, or something else. However, Alma stopped. He dropped the hair in his hand and his lips hovered over Zenith's ears. He then whispered something and appearing satisfied with what he saw, he went away. The glint of certain emotion in his eyes had never disappeared from the start to the end.

 Alma Roffe… What does he want? 

 It was yet another sleepless night for Zenith.

 The next day, Zenith did the work mechanically like a robot. His attention was clearly somewhere. At the break time, he took the given bread (If it could even be described as 'bread') and squatted down on the red ground. The ground was reddish in colour and due to the hot wind, the particles flying in the air could be seen vividly. He bit the 'bread' roughly, and damn, it tasted awful. However, even if it tasted awful, he could not spit it out or throw it away. Without eating, it would be easier for him to die from work, instead of getting beaten up.

 At least, there is water. He thought grudgingly, and had the rest of the bread swallowed together with water. He stood up, squatted down again, and then stood up again. He scratched his scalp and exhaled rather loudly. 

 Finally, he made a split second decision and headed toward a certain direction. Zenith was not sure whether he made the right decision or not. However, it was too late to turn back right now.

 "You are here," Alma did not look or sound surprised. He maintained the calm smile on his face, "Have you thought about that? What is your decision?"

 Zenith took a deep breath and asked, "What do you truly want?"

 This was by no means an answer to Alma's question. This was ignoring the question and asking back a question. A playful smile hung on Alma's lips. He did not seem to mind that Zenith did not answer him, and good-naturedly replied, "What I truly want… Well, it's not something you can give to me, nor do you have anything I want. What I want right now is simple, very simple. You plan to escape again, don't you? I just want to help you."

 As if I would believe that! Zenith almost instinctively retorted but managed to close his mouth in time. 

 Zenith eyed Alma with cautiousness, "I find that hard to believe. After all…" He hesitated for a moment, "After all, it was you who reported me to Xavier before, weren't you?"

 "Hmm…" Alma did not mind in the slightest that he was caught. "So, you already knew about that. No surprise there. You are probably wondering why I'm trying to help you now when I reported you back then, aren't you?"

 Not giving Zenith a chance to say anything, Alma continued rapidly, "I'm not helping you for free. Favour. I want a favour. In other words, let's make a deal."

 "...A deal?"

 "Yes, a deal. I will help you with escaping. I will also give you some information that will be very precious for you at this stage. Of course, there's no such free things in life. All the gifts of fate are already marked by a price," Alma looked at him meaningfully, "I don't know what happened on the night you were beaten up. But when you returned to the cell, your fate had undergone a huge trajectory."

 Zenith's heart tightened at Alma's words. That night when he was beaten… It was the night when he became Zenith. It was the night when he transmigrated. Alma Roffe… how did he know? …Who was he really?

 The next second, Zenith's thoughts went in a strange direction. Alma Roffe… He talks like a charlatan, doesn't he?

 It was not very useful. However, such dry mocking somewhat helped him regain his composure. 

 "I'm not sure what you mean," Of course, Zenith had to act innocent as always. He had always feigned ignorance in matters like this. For example, last night. It was only reasonable that he had to carry such acts to the end. 

 "I have a feeling that you would act dumb yet again. No matter. It has been a long time since I have seen something so interesting. Carry on with your act, will you?" 

 Shit. That sounds ominous. 

 Zenith gritted his teeth, "Enough about me. What's the deal?"

 The smile on Alma's face became wider, "Simple. I've already told you my side of the deal. Helping you with escaping, information, et cetera. Your side of the deal is a favour. You will owe me a favour and whenever I call that favour, no matter the situation you are in, you have no right to refuse. Of course, I might call that favour right now or ten years or even hundred of years later."

 Zenith considered it carefully and gave him an odd look, "Hundred of years later? At that time, I might already be dead."

 Alma's eyes were mischievous, and his smirk was like that of a Cheshire cat, it was like saying 'I-know-something-you-don't'. It made people want to hit him.

 "Who knows?"

XXX

 "Do you know about Beyonders?" 

 "Is it the supernatural powers of this world?" 

 "This world?" Alma's never-disappearing smile lit up even further. It was like a cat who got a canary, or a child who got a toy. Zenith cursed in his mind. Shit! When did I get so comfortable with him!? Zenith had accidently slipped. 

 He had agreed to the deal. The deal Alma proposed, parts of it, was in fact, a hidden blackmail. If Zenith failed to accept, Alma could just go to the guards, and report him again. What if Zenith agreed but Alma reported him again? Zenith had brought up that point and Alma took out something that looked like a notary, and was actually a notary with magical powers.

 Was it worth having Alma as an ally? Zenith did not know and he was not sure of the answer. He felt that it might contain more risks than rewards. However, right now, he had no choice but to accept the risk and the deal. He could make number one, Isaiah, deal with Alma. He appeared more like an ordinary, innocent person than Isaiah. However, he had a gut feeling that Isaiah could actually not deal with Alma. The reason was the fact that Alma, despite not fighting physically with him, gave him a feeling that he was a terrifying person, more terrifying than the berserk Isaiah. …A scam or not, someone who claimed about sensing a change in fate, could not be an ordinary person.

 Thus, Zenith had hesitated. He knew nothing about the magical powers of this world. He had no idea whether it was harmful to him or not. And he had no idea whether Alma intended to harm him through this 'notary' or not.

 Then, Alma said with a smile, "Actually, there is another way." 

 He asked doubtfully, "What?"

 Alma replied happily, "If you could trust me, we have no need for this at all–"

 Without a word, and with an expressionless face, Zenith instantly signed his name.