Chapter 36: The Hero’s awakening and the Holy Maiden’s questioning
The burnt smell went through my nose. My lungs ached strangely as if I inhaled big quantities of smoke. My throat was dry and sore. The physical discomfort didn’t disappear. Only a little sticky mucus went out from my mouth.
「…Well then, heroes. Let me ask you again. Is your God the same as our God or is he a false god covered in a mask?」
I kept listening to a serene voice that echoed on my earlobes. I couldn’t tell exactly who was speaking to me. I couldn’t breathe properly and my surroundings felt blurred.
Give me a break. I was not in the right condition for a questioning. Rather, I would like to sleep tranquilly like an herbaceous tree for a long night. I looked up at the person’s silhouette in front me. This person was in a sitting position. It was foggy and I pressed my eyebrows, but I still couldn’t grasp the clarity of my surroundings.
Even though he has settled down, I must say that I was quite surprised on how brave he was… Not everyone could step into a place full of burning fire…
In a place where everything looked distorted, the owner’s voice created a strong and ever-lasting presence. It changed the surrounding atmosphere. My eyes gradually became clear.
This person was called a Saint. The shining light in her eyes was an undeniable proof of faith. If one looked closely at her appearance, they would see that she had a very attractive long hair. It was beautifully arranged. Maybe this woman belonged to the upper class. Her overall demeanor was elegant and sophisticated. There was no way that this woman was an ordinary person.
Certainly, this woman was respected as a Saint. She definitely had an aura that attracted other people. This was what people called charisma. That was something that my personality deeply lacked. I involuntarily sneezed.
「Wait a moment. I’m not sure if he’s still alive or if he’s actually dead. He is looking at you, but he doesn’t answer. I guess there’s only one way to find out.」
I tried to take out the chewing tobacco from my pocket, but my hand reached an unknowing location. I was wearing new clothes. The fire probably burnt my previous clothes. It seemed that my chewing tobacco was lost in the process as well.
I pressed my back teeth in frustration and narrowed my eyes for a moment. Perhaps, it would be a wise choice not to answer to this question immediately. These people were dozens of insane believers who were probably eager to kill their intruders, including this Saint woman. Everybody was staring at me with glimmering eyes. This situation felt like a situation where a predator was aiming at its prey. I noticed that next to me stood Caria and Helot Stanley. Filaret La Volgograd was also lying next to me, but she was unconscious.
My lungs hurt and ached at the sight of my situation. I felt bad emotions such as embarrassment and distress.
Speaking of which, I should have died back then. Why am I still alive? If you’re looking down from the heavens, I want you to answer me. Why God?
My eyesight was dark. This probably meant my own death. A void of nothing. I was certain that I was in the abyss of death, and yet, I felt like I was miraculously brought back to life. Before long, light touched my closed eyelids. I regained my consciousness. I reflexively narrowed my eyes and wrinkled my eyebrows. After a few blinks, my eyes opened slowly and a girl came into my view.
A woman with a pigtailed-silver hair and a long sword looked attentively at me. It was Caria. It was truly her because she behaved with a displeasing manner and with a disgustingly distorted expression.
But, it felt strange. I really thought that Filaret and I were dead because of the fire. If we ended up dead, then the god of death would be the one to guide us to hell. But, it was this woman who stood next to me. There was no way that Caria would’ve died too. Ah, no. Or did the death god transform into Caria in order to show the paths to heaven and hell? This transformation was probably an imitation of my acquaintance when I was alive.
「You finally woke up. You really are the impersonation of the eternal sleeping princess huh.」
I took a closer look at Caria’s appearance. Caria raised her cheeks and mocked me like always.
I was convinced. This person was neither a fake nor a physical imitation of my acquaintance. It was really the woman called Caria. Only this woman was only capable of spitting such harsh words. She did nothing more than insult and harass me. If I were to choose an immaterial guide that would guide through the heavens or hell, I would rather choose Ariene’s physical imitation. I’d even choose the hell’s keeper than have this wicked woman as my guide.
However, this situation was even more confusing. If the Caria in front of me was real and not a physical imitation, then it means that I’ve survived. I opened my eyes wide and stared attentively at my own body.
But, how? That was the only question that I didn’t manage to find an answer to. My body was engulfed in flames. I should’ve died because of the fire and the extreme heat. As a mere human, what awaited me was nothing but an unmistakable death.
I lowered the corner of my mouth and bit my lips.
「…Well, it seems you’re quite frustrated. If you are thankful that you’ve survived, then you should tell her yourself. You are alive because of her successful achievement. And, you must thank my treasure sword as well.」
Caria pointed to the other side. When I looked over, I saw Filaret lying on the ground while Helot Stanley took care of her.
The reason I was alive was because of Filaret’s healing magic. I didn’t understand all the reasons behind my own survival and why she did it. She overused her abilities to save me. But, she showed a certain amount of expertise because she managed to bring me back from the brink of death.
She was an unmistakable genius. She showed some commendable skills even though her past self looked weak. It was extraordinary how she appeased the hellish fire and saved me at the same time.
I really didn’t understand why she saved my life though. She would’ve abandoned me if she was her future self. Ah, or maybe she still had some empathy on this timeline for the worthless and the common folks.
Mysterious footsteps echoed throughout the room. The sound was continuous and it was clearly approaching the place where we were. However, it was multiple footsteps.
That wasn’t good. I gritted my teeth as I wrinkled my eyebrows. Filaret won’t be able to fight based on her condition. My eyes were foggy. I spent too much time engulfed on the burning smoke of the fire. It damaged my eyes for the time being. I wasn’t even accustomed to the light yet. And my body felt strange. Even if I survived, I might have suffered from a side effect, which was still unclear. Caria and Helot Stanley. We could probably survive a crisis with just these two. However, based on my ears, it would be impossible for two people to go against a full spree of enemies that were coming our way.
I tried to think of a solution. My mind was in chaos. Soon, the identity of the multiple footsteps was immediately exposed. Of course, most of the predictions were spot on. A woman appeared before us. She trampled on the ashes and carefully tried to avoid the scorched remains. She came with a dozen of armed soldiers.
「I admire your courage even though I don’t know you people. The wise and the brave should be respected based on our faith. Therefore, I will give you my respect.」
This woman was called a Saint. She spoke with a gentle and lower voice. Her polite manner was very different from the angry expression she made in the chapel not too long ago.
That gave me chills. The hatred that she felt when she saw us was acceptable. But, hearing this gentle and polite words coming from a supposed enemy gave me an ominous feeling. She reminded me of those cold-hearted aristocrats. Most of the noble people were famous for hiding their malice with a masking veil of good Samaritans. This was the perfect act for wealthy people to exploit the poor.
This woman was scheming something. No doubt. If she had good intentions, why did she bring a dozen of armed soldiers as her escorts?
「Our greetings weren’t exchanged in the best possible way. Especially by fire. I am Matia. I am known as Saint Matia. Even so, I don’t find myself fully qualified to be named as such.」
Her tone definitely emitted a pure aura and her charisma attracted several people. But, she was indirectly telling us there was no back and forth. Just one side of the coin. Ah, that’s why people like her were so scary to being with. A visceral greed transformed into purpose. That purpose transformed into power. If this happened, one’s moral compass could disappear entirely.
「It is an honor to greet my new guests. As a Saint, I would like to ask you to forgive us for the initial fuss and disrespectful welcome.」
She tried to sell us the purity of her intentions. But, deeply, I could sense the sarcasm hidden in her words. For a moment I could see the edge of the Saint’s eyes moving in a suspicious way.
「Yes, I didn’t feel any hatred on my soul from the very beginning. Why even feel hatred? It is determined that all lives and treasures will eventually return to God. All things that were burnt today just happened because God let it happen. Everything shall dissipate and reunite with God. Even the loss of lives and lost treasures are the will of God. Therefore, it will be foolish from our part to feel hatred and have grudges for your actions.」
Caria just looked silently at the Saint woman with a hardened expression. Perhaps, she and Helot were aware of this woman’s facade.
Everything that this woman called Saint Matia professed was only in theory. The reality told us otherwise. I could see the expressions from the people behind her back, including this woman own very eyes. Their eyes were full with infuriating emotions. Their legs trembled slightly. Even their hands looked like tightened fists so that they could suppress their rampant emotions. The inside of their hearts must be boiling with hatred.
Our demise was not determined yet. We were thrown into the first step of their maddening questioning.
「Speaking of which, I don’t think that I’ve heard about the purpose of your visit. Well then, heroes. Let me ask you again. Is your God the same as our God or is he a false god covered in a mask?」
It was as if she didn’t imply any good nor evil intentions. She waited eagerly to hear our reply. However, Saint Matia asked us that question with a tone that sounded as if she were judging us.
I’m in the process of changing houses again…. Yeah, yeah I know… But I have to run away from the cats… Those damn cats…
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