Translator(s): Yomigaeru Editor(s): Yuzuha Proofreader(s): Yomigaeru
Author’s Note: I was pleased to get so many more comments than usual on the last update. Thank you very much.
The man’s eyes roll back in his head. I’ve managed to remove the obstacle. All that’s left is to escape through that window.
「Okay, Eris, let’s get out of here.」
I remove Eris’ gag and go to untie her restraints.
「H-Hey, are you a-alright?」
When I do, Eris voices her concern, half in tears. I haven’t seen her make a face like this very often. It feels kinda fresh.
「A guy like that is no challenge for me. Just a small fry. C’mon, let’s escape.」
「Y-You were all beat up, weren’t you…」
After that, Eris clings to me and sobs out a few words. Ordinarily I’d stay like that and enjoy the the soft sensation of her chest, but unfortunately we’re not out of the crisis yet. I concentrate on untying Eris’ restraints.
「I’m not hurt anymore.
…There we go, the ropes are untied too. We gotta hurry out of here.」
I untie the ropes that were binding Eris’ arms and legs, and stand her up. The door still seems fine. Now we just have to escape through the window.
「It’s hopeless… they’re already ahead of us.」
Informed by Eris, I look out the window. Just like she said, outside the window there are the silhouettes of a number of priests.
…Was I too slow? I needed to defeat that Bardas guy before we got surrounded from outside.
I see one of the priests raise a mace over his head in order to smash the window. From now on, who knows how many priests are going to come climbing in through that window. Among them, there may be another battle-hardened man like Bardas just now. But unlike Bardas who was just sleeping in bed, he’d have a weapon from the outset.
Even though one-on-one would be hard enough, if there are more than one of them…
…Is it already hopeless?
No, not yet. If I give up, that will be the end for Eris. I wield my mace. If it comes to that, I’ll fight off every last priest by myself.
–The instant I resolve myself, I hear a loud crash.
It’s not the sound of the window in front of me shattering. It’s a louder, thunderous boom that shakes the entire building.
Then, some kind of roar.
「A d-dragon!? W-Why is there a dragon here!? Eep, d-don’t come any closer!!」
Human voices, escaping in a panic. Those are most likely the voices of the archbishop and his priests.
Hold on, a dragon? What the heck is happening…? The moment I try to think about it, accompanied by an incredible noise and impact, one of the walls of the room is blown off. I shield Eris at once.
When I take a look at the wall… there’s a dragon’s face there. The face of a dragon I remember, jutting through the wall of stone.
「I-Is this okay!? I-It’s really okay, right!?」
From the other side of the dragon’s face, I hear a familiar voice. It’s Ruruka. That’s Ruruka’s voice.
「Yes, Ruruka-san. Well done. Seeing the unsightly figure of that archbishop fleeing in terror, I am finally satisfied as well.」
「T-That’s the reason you had me and the dragon crash in!?」
「Indeed. I simply had to repay him in kind, you see.」
I remember the voice that’s talking with Ruruka, too. But it can’t be. I’m certain that Aria told me she was supposed to have returned to the royal capital.
–The dragon gingerly withdraws its head from the wall.
On the other side of the wall, there’s Ruruka, and… as I thought, the saint.
「Drop your weapons and surrender!」
When I come out of the room through the newly-opened hole, I notice countless knights rushing into the church. Looking back towards the window, the priests that were outside just now have also been restrained by the knights.
Huh… what kind of development is this? Why is the saint here in this city? Why did the knights come to this church? At the same time these questions arise, one of the knights who entered the church changes their expression and runs over.
…It’s Aria. The one who claimed she was returning to the capital with the saint; even she’s here.
「O-Onee-chan!? Why are you in a place like this!? D-Don’t tell me, the woman abducted by the archbishop, that was you!?」
Aria takes the hand of Eris who had sunk to the floor and pulls her to her feet. But why are the knights and the saint, not to mention Ruruka and even Aria, showing up at the church with this kind of timing…?
「A-Aria, what in the world is going on? Please explain.」
「O-Onii-san!? You look severely injured, are you alright!?」
When I try questioning her, I get questioned instead. Oh yeah, I’m all covered in blood thanks to that man named Bardas. So soaked with blood that it’s trickling down the sleeves of my clothes.
「Eh, S-Shiki!? Wait, uwahh, blood!? Is that all blood!?」
Maybe because she heard my voice, Ruruka comes rushing over to me. And, patting her hands all over my body to examine me, she raises a complaint to the saint.
「H-Hey, Saint-sama. What is the meaning of this!? Why is Shiki here!?」
「Come to think of it, he was an acquaintance of yours, wasn’t he? My apologies, it slipped my mind.」
The saint answer’s Ruruka inquiry bluntly without looking at her. Her cold eyes are currently fixed on the archbishop, who has fallen on his rear.
Ruruka and the saint. That combination makes me recall something.
If I recall correctly, Ruruka was saying earlier that the reason the saint came to this city was for a “purge”. By some chance, was that…
The saint speaks while eyeing the violet jewel in the archbishop’s hand.
「That is the one that was previously stolen in a raid by the evil god adherents, the succubus’ jewel. As I thought, you were the one who instigated that. That is quite a perilous item… I shall have you return it.」
…The saint suspected it, huh? The fact that this guy was trying to resurrect an apostle of the evil god. So that’s why it was a purge. From the beginning, the saint’s goal was to purge this archbishop?
「W-Why! Whyyyy! You were supposed to have fled back to the capitaaalll!」
Still down on his ass, the archbishop directs his rage towards the saint.
「How truly foolish. I was simply waiting for you to do something worthy of being purged. I slipped in amongst the knight brigade’s investigation unit and secretly returned to town, you see.」
…Now that I think about it, Aria was saying that a few days earlier, the lord sent out a large-scale investigation unit over the Krankheit Turtle incident. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, the saint and the archbishop were engaging in an information war.
「Just holding the succubus’ jewel amplifies the owner’s desires. Evil rumors constantly spring up around you. By continuing to observe you, I was certain that you would commit some sort of criminal act… I must say, the results were somewhat beyond my expectations.」
The saint was observing the archbishop? Which means, this situation where the saint stormed into the church is because she had the justification to purge the archbishop, due to him committing the criminal act of abducting Eris? The way she’s speaking kinda sounds like the police arresting a criminal on separate charges.
「Apparently, Saint-sama was convinced that this archbishop was an adherent of the evil god from the unnatural flow of the donations. But that wasn’t definitive enough evidence to mobilize the knight brigade… so that’s why she put on this act. I only heard about it myself after we left town, though.」
Aria gives us an explanation.
「So that’s how it was?」
It seems like everything played out exactly according to the saint’s plan. Most likely, what the saint and the lord have been discussing up until now was how to get that archbishop to reveal his faults.
「I never thought that you would come to be connected to this, however. In order to reduce the likelihood that the archbishop would become aware of your existence, I deliberately avoided placing you under observation… in all honesty, when I received the report from Astel, I was struck with terror at the thought that we may not reach you in time.」
Keeping her gaze locked on the archbishop, the saint addresses me and Aria. Next to the saint, the beast girl with doglike ears who’s around the same age as Yuel is there. I wonder if that kid is Astel? She’s contentedly getting her head patted by the saint.
Wait, this isn’t the time to be watching that.
…She didn’t think that I would be connected? In other words, that means the saint was already well aware of my existence?
「Ah, how terribly impolite of me. I must offer you my gratitude beforehand. I am truly thankful beyond measure for your treatment of the petrification in my stead. Not only the spectators, you also treated one of my subordinates whom I was unable to treat myself.」
The saint glances in my direction, and smiles sweetly.
…I guess that means that those “found you” words weren’t my misunderstanding after all. It would seem that my healing magic ability had already been discovered.
…But I wonder what she means about preventing the archbishop from becoming aware of my existence?
As I’m contemplating, I suddenly notice Ruruka looking at me. When our eyes meet, she says “I-I knew it…” and gazes at her own feet, then starts to smile happily for some reason. Then, murmuring “Oh you… oh youuu…!”, she lightly jabs me with her elbow.
「Archbishop… no, Evil God Adherent D’arnaud.」
The saint turns back to the archbishop. Then, when he’s held down by the knights and no longer able to move, she addresses him.
「For the crime of attacking the royal capital’s church and pilfering the succubus’ jewel. For the crime of abducting a woman and attempting to use her as a sacrifice for the succubus’ revival… doubtless there is much more dust to beat out of you, but these alone shall be more than enough to send you to prison. Under my authority as a saint of the Church of Medine, I hereby purge you.」
Creeping along the ground, the archbishop moans as he glares at the saint. It’s a reversal of the earlier scene he was forcing on Eris.
…I suddenly feel anxious and look at Eris, and for some reason she’s looking back at me. When our eyes meet, she lowers her head in a fluster.
「Recover the jewel.」
In a cold voice, the saint commands the knights.
「N-No way! Absolutely nooot! I finally obtained this jewel after using every means at my disposal to attack the church in the royal capital! I-I’m going to create my ideal world, where the succubus exists!!」
However, the archbishop twists his body despite being held down, resisting with all his might. Scowling at the saint, he somehow shakes off his restraints.
「There is nothing ideal about that world. After a modicum of pleasure, a hopeless reality full of poverty and strife awaits.」
…An ideal world where the succubus exists. A world where all of the women become lewd. I too found it fascinating, just a little… no, quite a bit, but…
「…Moreover, and a man like you who thinks of women as nothing but objects for sexual pleasure may not understand this, but for women, that world is merely hell.」
…Yes, of course, for women that would be hell, for sure. Please forgive me, I was just enjoying my delusions.
The knights spring into action and seize the archbishop’s arms. Then they try to pry the jewel away from him. The knights put enough force against his fingers that are frantically clutching the jewel that it seems like they’ll break off. And that instant.
「Sh, shit, shit, shiiiiiit!」
Smoke billows forth from the the area where the archbishop is.
A smokescreen. The interior of the church fills with smoke.
…Was he keeping a smoke bomb somewhere?
「S-Stop struggling, you asshole!」
The voice of a knight who’s trying to restrain him.
「You truly don’t know when to give up… Serena, do it.」
One of the saint’s escorts, called Serena, uses magic. A wind kicks up and quickly clears away the smoke.
When the smoke clears, the archbishop is still being held down on that spot with no visible differences.
「Fu, fufu… fuha, fuhahaha!」
However, he’s laughing. Unlike that desperate expression a moment ago, the archbishop has a daring smile on his face.
「Never… I’ll never hand over the jewel…」
Then, he mutters with an air of madness.
「…! Where is the jewel!? Please find it quickly!」
Looking at the archbishop, the saint apparently realizes something and raises her voice. The knights check the archbishop’s body, but… they shake their heads. The calm expression of the saint distorts heavily.
「Y-You couldn’t have… you ingested it yourself? I-If you do such a thing…」
「Gu, uuu, uwaaah…」
The archbishop stops laughing, seizes his chest, and begins to moan. His body twists with enough force to throw off the knights restraining him, and he emits a pained voice.
Somehow, his appearance seems unusual. Furthermore, that saint is panicking. He swallowed the jewel? By some chance, does taking that jewel into your body…
The knights who were restraining the archbishop realize the emergency and jump away.
…A black haze. A black haze gushes forth from every part of the archbishop’s body. It covers his entire body, almost as if it’s wrapping him up in a cocoon.
「Oh dear, we’ve been outfoxed… wizards, chant your magic! All hands, please prepare for battle! An apostle of the evil god is reviving!」
–An apostle of the evil god is reviving. At those words, I can feel the tension run through everyone around me.
At the same time, the black cocoon in front of me begins to transform. It repeatedly expands and contracts as if digesting the existence within it as it morphs. After that, the cocoon shrinks, gradually beginning to form into a humanoid shape.
Then, the form becomes female. That’s the succubus, an apostle of the evil god.
…T-That’s the succubus?
「W-What’s with thiiis!?」
As tension spreads throughout the church, the woman… no, the girl, raises a shrill voice.
…I-Is that really supposed to be the succubus?
「W-What happened! The vessel was a m-maaan!? And his mana was mostly fake!」
Patting her hands over her own body, the succubus cries out.
Long, pink hair. Soft-looking brown skin. Large, demonic wings. Red, brilliantly shining pupils.
Everything up to that point is certainly succubus-like.
But… she’s small.
Her height isn’t much taller than Yuel’s, and besides, more than anything…
「M-My, my breasts are gone!! W-Where are they!? Where did my breasts go!?」
…She has no tits. Patting her flat chest, the succubus throws a tantrum.
…Oh yeah, the archbishop was saying something about a woman with enough mana to use EX Heal being necessary in order to completely revive the succubus. The archbishop was not a woman. Moreover, his mana was inflated by all those magic tool rings jangling around on his hands. His original mana capacity likely wasn’t anything special.
「T-They were my pride and joy… my praiseworthy breasts…」
That must be the result of an incomplete revival. The illustration of the succubus drawn in the Bible had a more glamorous figure. In that respect it was exactly like Eris’. The current succubus… I could easily call it a child’s figure.
As for the succubus, those seemed to be considerably important; she’s fallen into panic. She’s not paying attention to her surroundings one bit, just checking her own body over and over in that atmosphere. Her face is half in tears.
「Offensive magic, fire.」
The saint raises an audibly ruthless voice.
While I’m still speculating, the knights and the saint’s escorts finish their chants. Fire bombs, lightning, and balls of ice fly towards the succubus, who only recently revived.
「…! Eek, h-hot! C-Cold, s-s-stooooooop!」
Screaming out, the succubus spreads the wings on her back and dodges the concentrated fire of magic.
…She kinda doesn’t seem that strong. After she was called an apostle of the evil god, it’s a bit disappointing. Although with how she’s dodging the magic in every direction, her only strength seems to be in running away.
「Show no mercy! She positively must be brought down here!」
The saint’s order flies out. Aimed at the succubus flying around inside the church, even more magic shoots out.
Ah, the dragon just hit her with its tail and smacked her against the wall. However, although she’s getting battered, the succubus immediately resumes her escape. I can see tears spilling from her eyes.
「F-Foul humans! …Hey, this is a church! Foul humans, from the accursed church that sealed Evil God-sama!」
The child-size succubus is saying something in her shrill voice, but it has no impact at all. Screeching the occasional “It’s hot” or “It’s cold” complaint, she’s just buzzing around like a gnat.
…I-Is that really the same succubus that was written about in the Bible?
However, doesn’t that mean she’s had a lot of combat experience as an apostle of the evil god? The succubus manages to slip through the rain of magic as she hovers around the ceiling where the stained glass has already broken off. Although her hair is considerably burnt, and chunks of ice are clinging to her legs.
The dragon pursues her close behind,
「Kuh… how’s this!」
but the succubus’ pupils shine red, and in the next moment the dragon’s movements stiffen a little. And the succubus continues to stare at the dragon.
「G-Guuhh, a dragon is impossible after all, huh…」
However, she seems to give up quickly, and stops looking at the dragon.
「I-I won’t forgive this! I absolutely won’t forgive you jerks! A city like this, I’ll crush it in no time with my monster army! J-Just you wait and see!」
After that, in tears, the succubus flees into the sky. She quickly melts into the dark of night, and can no longer be seen.
「So she eluded us…」
The saint mutters with a shameful face.
「I gotta say, she felt kinda underwhelming…」
How do I put this, at the very least she didn’t feel like an apostle of the evil god. Calling that a threat to humanity doesn’t seem fitting at all.
「Do not be deceived by appearances. Her resurrection appears to be incomplete, but that is unmistakably the succubus, an apostle of the evil god. According to the materials left in the church, at times she would periodically assimilate herself within human society, and at other times she would lead a host of tens of thousands of monsters and lay waste to numerous countries.」
The saint advises me with chagrin.
「T-Tens of thousands!?」
Tens of thousands. Did she just say that the succubus controls tens of thousands of monsters? Sure, it was written in the bible that she manipulates monsters’ desires and controls them as an army and stuff, but… t-that many of them?
「The succubus is not the type of apostle that engages in combat directly. One must be wary not of her fighting strength, but her special ability to manipulate desires. It would have been ideal to bring her down here, but…
Furthermore, she declared that she will make an attack on this city. It will be essential for us to prepare countermeasures posthaste.」
The number of knights in this city is perhaps not even a thousand. Despite that, tens of thousands of monsters are apparently going to attack us. I was deceived by the childlike form, but seems like that’s really an apostle of the evil god. This is starting to feel dangerous.
「H-Hey, Shiki. This may not be the right time to ask you this, but… come to think of it, that Aria girl was calling you Onii-chan earlier, huh… what… what does that mean…?」
Completely falling for Aria’s trick, Ruruka asks me timidly. But this really isn’t the time to be having a conversation like that. An army of monsters is supposedly going to come attack us, so we should really run away immediately.
–Suddenly, there’s the sound of the glass window breaking.
Along with that sound, with incredible force, something comes plunging into the church. That was fast. Way too fast. Did the succubus come back with monsters already…?
Or so I thought, but nope.
Something busts through the window and slides to a stop along the ground. A short body. Silver hair. It’s Yuel. Yuel just dove through the window. After that, she quickly surveys her surroundings, finds me, and rushes over.
「Yuel, w-why are you here!?」
Yuel makes a beeline to me, then looks up at me with a tearful face.
「When I woke up, Master was gone, the front door was open, and I was so worried that something happened! I heard a huge sound from the church, so I thought for sure that you would be here!」
Yuel explains in a quivering voice. It would seem she’s been desperately searching for me. I must have ended up making her worry. Actually, speaking of worries…
「I-I’m not injured, okay. I’m fine, Yuel, don’t worry!」
I’m covered in blood. It’s not like she won’t worry just because I tell her not to, but for the time being I let her know that I’m unhurt.
「Master, I’m sorry… I couldn’t be by your side, I’m sorry…」
When I do, Yuel clings to me with no regard for getting covered in blood herself. After that, she starts sniffling and begins to cry.
…After Eris was abducted, I myself disappeared without a trace, not leaving behind a single clue. Yuel too must have been in a cold sweat this whole time, scouring the city in that kind of mental state.
I pet Yuel’s head. At the same time, I hear a voice from the saint’s direction.
「A-Ahh! That girl! That’s the girl, Philine-sama! When I was trying to observe the archbishop at the orphanage, she’s the one who chased me all of a sudden!」
When I glance over, the young beast girl who was getting her head patted by the saint not too long ago is there. Her name was Astel, I think? Her fluffy, light brown hair is disheveled, and she’s pointing at Yuel.
…Yuel chased her at the orphanage? Oh yeah, I’m pretty sure she was saying something about a beast girl being on top of the roof so she ran after her. Yuel-san, did you chase away the surveillance that the saint placed on the archbishop? Well, sneaking around near me, she might have thought that it was some suspicious fellow.
Yuel doesn’t even seem to be listening to that voice; she’s just clinging tightly to me like she’s trying to ascertain my warmth, continuing to cry. Now that I get a closer look, her body is covered in wounds. She’s barefoot, and blood is oozing from her feet. She was likely in a great hurry to search for me. I cast healing magic on Yuel, then pet her head again.
The Astel or whatever girl gives Yuel an intense glare as she vents her accusation.
「Philine-sama, hey, Philine-sama! That’s the girl! It’s that girl!」
「Astel, be silent a moment.」
However, the saint rebukes her, making an expression like she’s deep in thought. Astel does as she’s told and says no more, ears drooping as she hangs her head.
The saint continues to stare at the hole in the ceiling through which the succubus left.
「Remaining here forever will solve nothing. For the time being, shall we consider what to do henceforth at Lord-sama’s mansion?」
The saint mutters that, then for some reason looks at me and smiles sweetly.