Translator(s): Yomigaeru Editor(s): Yuzuha Proofreader(s): Yomigaeru
I meet eyes with that black-haired saint, Philine, and she smiles sweetly. Even though she’s smiling, her mouth movements just before definitely sent a chill up my spine. I didn’t hear her voice, but I get the feeling she muttered “found you”.
…W-What does that mean?
Without a doubt, it can’t possibly be a development like “The cool black-haired man from that time. We didn’t speak for long, but to think I would meet you again so soon in a place like this!”. True, we did meet once before I entered the beauty contest plaza, but it wasn’t an especially romantic conversation. As for what we talked about at that time, it was just that we had the same hair color and confirming that I’m a healer. It’s not remotely possible.
Besides, saying “found you” means that that saint-sama was searching for me.
…Well, it’s not like I don’t have any idea why the saint of the church would be looking for someone, though. Most likely, it’s the person who used that large-scale healing magic on the city at the time of the Krankheit Turtle incident. I mean, the city is referring to it as a miracle from god.
…The one who cast that large-scale healing magic on the city was me. In other words, I’m the one she was searching for.
And she found me.
H-How did she find me? Back when I treated Ruruka and the others with EX Heal, she shouldn’t have been able to see me since Yuel set off that smoke bomb. And there were plenty of people within the smokescreen other than me. I wonder if she happened to have some sort of magic tool to circumvent the smokescreen?
…No, maybe that’s not it?
That saint called out to me before the beauty contest. This is just a guess, but that saint might have already known that there was a powerful healer in this city. And she talked to me before the beauty contest because I was already under investigation as one of the excellent healers in this city, or something.
Thinking about that situation, a smokescreen was set up and everyone under it was cured of their petrification. And within that smokescreen, only one of the excellent healers that she had marked was present. Looking at it from the saint’s perspective, even if it’s not definitive, there’s a very high probability that she’d conclude it’s me. That’s likely what happened.
Yeah, recklessly firing off EX Heal was unwise after all, huh? Well, whether or not there was a smokescreen, I was going to heal Ruruka and the other contestants. As a man, there’s no way I could have allowed those big-breasted beauties to die before my eyes. My healing magic ability would’ve been discovered either way.
…Besides, thinking about it any more isn’t going to change the fact that I was found out.
What’s essential right now is that the Saint-sama of the Church of Medine, this country’s state religion, has been searching for me for some reason. Depending on her intentions, my actions from here on out will change. There are two main options: do I run away immediately, or do I give up and go quietly?
–And, as I’m considering the options.
「My goodness, Saint-sama. I had received word of a monster attack, but…」
A middle-aged man in priest robes approaches the saint and greets her. His physique is on the plump side. To put it less kindly, he’s as chubby as an Orc. A procession of muscular guards in priest garb follows behind him. I dare say this guy holds a high position in the church as well.
The priest, whom the saint addressed as Archbishop D’arnaud, glances at the collapsed temporary stage and the scattered monster corpses while he surveys the premises. After that, his attention fastens on the unconscious Earth Dragon. Then, eyeing the traces of petrification spread out along the ground, he speaks.
「…An Earth Dragon, hmm? The treatment of the petrified… looks to be finished already. When I received word of the monster raid, I thought of lending my humble ability to aid with the treatment, but it seems there was no need. As expected of Saint-sama, naturally.」
「Nay, you flatter me. Were the knights and guards not present, who knows what might have come to pass.」
Saying he’d help with the petrification treatment, I wonder if that means that this Archbishop D’arnaud or whatever priest can use EX Heal too? Well, I did hear from Eris that archbishop is the top position in the church for this city. It wouldn’t be strange if he could use it. That would make him the second person I know of who can use EX Heal.
…But that’s not what I want to know.
What I want to know is that saint’s goal.
…While the saint is talking to that archbishop, I wanna gather intelligence related to the reason she was searching for me. But being 10 meters away from the saint and the archbishop with their multitude of guards, I may already be a carp on a cutting board.
「Though I must say, I’m astonished that there would be a raid aimed at Saint-sama in this labyrinth city. I had heard that the evil god’s adherents were operating out of the royal capital. Good gracious, more than anything, it is truly well that you are unharmed.」
「I was quite taken aback when the Earth Dragon appeared, but thanks to it quickly being rendered unconscious, the damage was blessedly kept to a minimum. If it had released even one more breath, even my mana capacity might not have held out.」
The archbishop and the saint continue their discussion. I wonder what those evil god adherents are? I feel like the saint was saying something about them too during the raid. Oh yeah, in the Bible that Eris was reading, wasn’t it written that the evil god threatened humanity in the past? I guess there are religious conflicts in this world too.
…Wait a minute, that saint said earlier that her mana was empty, but now she’s talking like she still has some left over. Don’t tell me that statement about being out of mana was a lie to fish me out? I kinda thought this when she was using shills to gather faith too, but this bitch is a schemer. And she’s had that same smile painted on her face this entire time as she continues to speak with the archbishop.
「I see, I see… although, Saint-sama must be tired as well. By all means, please make use of my church to rest yourself.」
「…Archbishop D’arnaud, I am thankful for your kind words, but I must speak to Meirhartz-sama immediately concerning this latest raid. And the matter of the continued donations from the other day is as yet unfinished, so I believe I will be indisposed for some time at Lord Meirhartz’s mansion.」
「…Is that so? Well then, there’s no helping it.」
Meirhartz was Fran’s family name, if I’m not mistaken. In other words, that means the saint is going to talk to Fran’s father, the lord.
…I wonder if the knight brigade will have to bear some responsibility for this latest raid? Well, an incident did occur right in the middle of the city. Moreover, it was aimed at the saint, an important person who holds a title within the state religion of this country. Normally, the knights would take the blame as the ones in charge of protecting the city. And each city’s knight brigade is unified under the command of that region’s lord.
The knights’ responsibility is the lord’s responsibility. He might end up being questioned. I hope that middle-aged lord doesn’t collapse from anxiety.
「Now then, please excuse me. Until we meet again, Archbishop D’arnaud.」
And, their dialogue comes to a close.
The saint turns around, and increasingly comes closer to me. Her “found you” words immediately after the smokescreen cleared, and the movement of her lips at that time spring back into my mind
What the heck is going to happen to me from now on? What is the saint’s goal? I have no idea. Somehow, the bits and pieces are giving me a bad feeling about this. My legs were itching to escape earlier, but the more I calm down, the more I get the feeling that running is pointless.
The saint of the state religion. I don’t know how much authority she has, but at least it seems like she has enough to arrest me if I try to run. Even if I manage to slip away into the crowd immediately, if she felt like it, it would only be a matter of time before I’m captured.
I wonder if I’ll be confined in order to make use of my healing magic? But it might still be fine if the Church of Medine welcomes me with open arms as the savior of the city.
I’m saying so myself, but I have a high utility value.
I only realized it from that incident with the Krankheit Turtle earlier, but I have enough mana to envelop the entire city in healing magic. Which is to say, no matter what kind of sickness or disease sweeps through town, I can do something about it all by myself.
Those in positions of power would be desperate to get their hands on me. Furthermore, if said power is with the great church which has deep ties to healing magic, I ought to be a potential recruit that they wish to secure by any means necessary. If I’m only taken into their custody then it’s still okay, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they took advantage of their influence to forcibly inscribe me with a slave crest or something in order to further restrain me.
I haven’t even put my hands on Eris yet. It was even finally going well with Ruruka. I still have things I need to do.
But I can’t possibly fight before the mighty authority of the state religion. And running would be inane too. I’d just be in a worse position after I’m caught.
…In other words, what I need to do now is negotiate.
It will become a battle against this saint to establish my rights as best I can.
Even now, the saint approaches. She’s not giving me any more time. I gather my resolve and prepare to speak to the saint, when–
–she passes right by me, without a single glance in my direction.
The saint and her guards pass directly by my side and exit the plaza. There’s no sign of her coming back or even looking behind her. Most likely, they’re heading to the lord’s manor.
A magnificent snubbing, as if she wasn’t even conscious of my existence. We even talked a little, she could have at least thrown me a brief glance if she was gonna walk so close by me. I mean, I’d rather nothing happen if at all possible, but for nothing to happen after coming this far makes me feel uncomfortable in its own way.
Don’t tell me that “found you” was my misunderstanding? …N-No, but, I definitely saw it. And our eyes met, plus she was looking over here for a long time after that, not to mention that smile ever since. She must’ve had some sort of reason.
As I’m pondering, I suddenly meet eyes with that D’arnaud or whatever archbishop.
…Ah, maybe he’s the reason? When I think about it carefully, the saint is still young. She has talent with healing magic, but she might not be able to decide the important matters.
That archbishop’s serious expression. Those sharp eyes, that seem to see through everything. His appearance makes me feel like no matter what kind of lies I tell, they’ll be exposed.
Taking over for the saint, that middle-aged archbishop is going to discuss what’s going to happen to me from now on. I wonder if that’s what it means.
…No, that’s not it either.
The archbishop’s focus is a bit off. Now that I look closer, he’s not watching me.
The archbishop is looking behind me, at Eris. At her sensual body, covered by that habit.
I see, so what he’s seeing through are Eris’ clothes, huh? That sharp glint in his eye must be him squinting to try and perceive Eris a little more vividly. His serious expression too, that must be him trying to imagine what’s underneath Eris’ clothes with all his willpower.
Well, it’s not like I don’t understand that feeling. And Eris is a beauty. I’m probably looking at Eris in that exact same way every day.
But since he’s concentrating on licking Eris all over with his eyes, he’s not paying attention to me. The archbishop and his escort priests don’t show any sign of coming to talk to me either. Besides, now that I think it over, neither the saint nor the archbishop have said a single word about me.
Was it really my misunderstanding? But I could have sworn…
No, in reality, the people of the church aren’t aware of me. Even though it really looked that way, it only looked that way.
It must have been my mistake.
Guess I should go home. It’s not like the beauty contest can resume anymore.
And when I’m about to head back, I realize once again.
I was preoccupied with the saint so it unintentionally slipped my mind, but all that stuff happened with Ruruka. What’s more, Yuel and Eris were watching it.
Now that I get a good look, while Aria is clearing away monster corpses in the distance, she’s staring daggers in my direction. It doesn’t look like she can abandon her duty to come over here, but she’s totally focused on me. I guess Aria was watching at that moment, too.
I forgot. There’s still this awful mess.
I lower my gaze, and Yuel is right beside me, silently looking down.
…Oh yeah, I get the feeling she’s been tightly clenching my clothes this whole time. The situation being what it was, I unintentionally ignored her, though.
She seems depressed. First things first, how am I going to soothe her feelings?
Author’s Note: Volume 3 of the published edition is now on sale. In the published edition, the episode of the sisters Eris and Aria is heavily revised, and there’s an extra chapter that talks about the time when Shiki and Ruruka met. Please buy it if you’re interested.