Chapter 199: The Hero’s Spectacle
Every time the voices of the citizens surrounding ceremonial platform echoed, the noise shook the air and irritated my skin. It was the first time that I was at the center of such a large gathering of voices.
「Then, to you who were born as a hero, I shall give you a second title…as the Believer and Protector of the Heraldic Order. 」
Matia spoke aloud while I stood on the ceremonial platform.
Her words created a mass of voices again, so huge that it could shake the world. The voices of the people engulfed the entire space and were full of emotions of joy.
On the other hand, I had my head hanging down. My eyes were wide open and my cheeks squeezed.
Wait a second, Matia. I didn’t remember hearing or accepting such words.
…The truth of this world lies in the quest for knowledge, and the Heraldic Order is the arrow that points us towards it.
That quote was one of the clichés spoken by the Heraldic Order. The root of the Heraldic religion was their crazy obsession with knowledge and writing, which was said to have been left by God.
God Offal, who people said to have existed once, gave the believers of the Heraldic Order the truth. People gained wisdom, nurtured reason, and built culture through the Heraldic Order. Everyone worshiped the Heraldic Order has an entity given by God, and respected the knowledge and writing as something bestowed by the religion itself.
Nonetheless, with the passage of time, knowledge wore out, culture perished, and worship itself became a mere ghost.
In the flow of time, the people could no longer understand the meaning of the Heraldic Order, which was supposed to be given to them by God. That was why people were still fighting with each other and could only live by searching their own desires, or so they said.
It seemed that the aims of the Heraldic Order were to regain the truth that the Heraldic Order was given to humans by God, and to restore order of this world.
Because of this background, the Heraldic Order had an irreplaceable meaning to its believers.
I’ve even heard that some people were executed by just trampling on the picture of the Heraldic Order. Well, it was just hearsay, but it could have been true since these people greatly valued the Heraldic Order.
That was why it was a supreme honor to be given a unique post within the Heraldic Order. Unique jobs or positions were given to those who had made exceptional achievements in the cult, and to those who had the status of saints like Matia.
It seemed they were about to give such honor to me.
I was not a believer of the Heraldic Order in the first place. I was not even familiar with things that the Heraldic Order worshipped. I was not someone to abide by the rules of this organization, and my presence could even create some kind of friction among members of the Heraldic Order.
Besides, the only thing I’ve heard about today’s ceremony was they would bestow me the title of hero. I just had to receive it. However, I haven’t heard about becoming one with the Heraldic Order.
I felt great agitation in my chest. I blinked my eyelids several times, raised my head slightly and looked at Matia. I wondered if she was making a mistake, but I looked at her with a gaze that included the color of suspicion.
Matia noticed my gaze. After receiving my gaze, she nodded slowly and politely smiled at me. It felt as if she were relieved that everything went well.
As soon as her expression got reflected in my eyes, a suspicion suddenly arose in my chest.
…This woman has probably set me up.
I sensed a cold stir crawling down my spine.
In search for help, I turned my gaze to Largud Ann, who stood beside Matia. Ann was, if anything, a moderate person in the Heraldic religion.
I wondered if she, who put stability and reason first and foremost, would take some action in response to Matia’s words. After all, Matia’s statement could create a rough wave in the whole foundation of the Heraldic religion. I thought so.
「Hero Lugis, the Saint has decided to give you a new name. Please show us your left hand. 」
As soon as she returned my gaze, Ann lifted her lips and smiled at me, while saying those words. I had no doubts upon seeing that expression.
I see. Were you an accomplice, Ann?
The ceremony went on quietly as confusion consumed my own heart. What should I do? Should I refuse them here and now?
No, I could not refuse them. In front of me stood a huge mass of people, in other words, the citizens of Garoua Maria, soldiers and even merchants. Was it possible for me to refuse Matia before the eyes of all kinds of human beings?
This ceremony was to show everyone that the Heraldic Order and Ghazalia were united. If there were something that disturbed the pace, I couldn’t even imagine how grand the effect would be, of course, in a negative way. Moreover, if I were to ruin the ritual of the Saint, it would not be strange if I were to be attacked by some fanatic here.
The voice of the crowd began to subside a little. While I rippled my lips, I slowly extended my left hand to Saint Matia, just as I was told to.
Matia touched my hand in a very polite manner, and put a ring with some emblem on my finger. She behaved politely and respectfully, as if she was touching a fragile object.
Then again, Matia’s voice echoed in the surrounding area.
「Hero Lugis, as the Believer and Protector of the Heraldic Order, I shall give you another title…Golden. I, Saint Matia, believe that you are the one who can carry the true value and integrity of this name. 」
Golden. I was sure that she made some mistake. I wanted to sigh loudly on the spot, only if I didn’t have many eyes staring at me.
At best, I could receive gold coins or even a gold plate. But, becoming golden, that was a different story.
The person who really deserved these two titles, Hero and Golden, was, yes, a hero that resembled the sun, like Helot Stanley.
Did I want to reject these titles because of the feelings that kept haunting me? Still, if I were to reject them right here, I wouldn’t know how to accept Matia’s complaints, which would otherwise would’ve been ecstatic. Therefore, I was wondering if it would be okay for me to accept them obediently.
Ahh, they totally deceived me. Beautiful words were professed to make me feel good and emotional. However, when it came to me, things were not so easy to carry.
After all, human beings could not tell lies to themselves.
No matter how much I lied in my chest and put a lid on my true intentions, the devil or someone else’s finger would open the lid before I knew it.
As I was swirling my thoughts around like usual, words suddenly came down from the top of my head.
「…Lugis. Raise your eyes. 」
Matia’s tone felt different from her previous tone. Before, Matia’s voice resonated through the surroundings, but this tone was not meant to echo. I raised my face upon hearing her voice. As usual, Matia had a smile across her face that seemed to contain some kind of compassion.
Her lips slowly opened again.
「I think I roughly understand what you are thinking right now. “These titles are not suitable for a person like me”, isn’t that right? I’m sure you doubt yourself. Obviously, I’m not you to fully understand your inner feelings. But you are worthy of these titles. Everyone believes in you and so do I. 」
It felt as if Matia scooped out what I was thinking in my heart. I forgot to return the words and just stared at Matia’s eyes.
「Of course, talking to your inner self is not something bad, but not everything you think deep inside your heart corresponds to the truth. Sometimes it’s good to look outside. 」
Matia said something odd. Then, she held my hand and raised my body.
In my left hand was the ring that Matia had given to me. The emblem of the Heraldic religion inscribed there was different from the one they worshipped. An emblem, which showed the golden meaning, was engraved in the ring.
I stood up and turned to the side of the crowd as prompted by Matia.
“…Hear the sound that is coming in front of you. That is exactly the sound that shakes the world.”
My skin felt irritated. The people’s eyes and voices pierced my whole body. It felt unbelievable and painful at the same time. This was the first time I’ve ever had such an experience. However, only the scene felt strangely familiar.
Yes, I did remember seeing it once.
Those eyes and voices were never given to me on the past journey, but given to those who traveled with me. And I had been longing for such scene from the bottom of my heart.
This scene was certainly the view that heroes had seen.
「The human eye sometimes speaks the truth more eloquently than the lips. What do you think now, Lugis? All of those eyes are staring at you.」
Matia’s words spoken beside me gently stroke my earlobes. I didn’t know what to respond.
Curiously, the suspicion that I felt so vividly disappeared from my chest unknowingly, and now, I only felt a strange palpitation that shook my entire body.
The Hero Lugis who now shines Golden like the Sun! I bet he never thought that one day he would receive those titles, the titles that once belonged to Helot Stanley. I wonder if Helot will no longer be a hero in this timeline. It seems Lugis is taking everything from him (the girls, the status and the fame). And I think Lugis hasn’t realized this yet…
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!
Matia is really good at tricking him into appreciating himself better… but I wonder how Eldith could let this happen…
Thanks for the chapter.
You will see Eldith’s thoughts on this later on, dear reader 🙂
I agree, Lugis is taking on the role of the hero in this timeline, even if of another religion. But this also shows some hope for Lugis.
In the former timeline his childhood friend was the last heroine to fall to the hero (albeit there is some fridge horror in that, given what we now know of her situation). This suggests that – eventually – Lugis will succeed in winning her over. Except rather than due to giving up the internal struggle against the spirit possessing and influencing (and sometimes outright controlling) her, it will probably be due to exorcising that spirit.
I’m beginning to think that at some point in the past a powerful spirit purposefully set itself up as a saint (then goddess) and gradually misled / supplanted the original religion.
But is the original god really called ‘Offal’? Given the meaning of that word, I can’t help but wonder if that entity is any better than the supplanting spirit. Maybe two spirits are clashing against each other, each seeking to mislead the people into glorifying itself as a deity, sometimes one viewed as the heretic, sometimes the other.
According to Matia, both Offal and Altius belonged to the same entity, but since that entity had different opinions that clashed with one another, those opinions decided to materialize and separate into two. One says that humans must have free will even if that free will brings them chaos/pain (the consequences of their choices, bad or good). The other says that humans must be ignorant and must be led instead (the lack of free will give them happiness).
In fact, Lugis’ path really shows which entity he supported albeit unknowingly. In the past timeline, Lugis was led (he had no choices and no free will), he just went along with the others (Altius=The Great Holy Church). In the current timeline, Lugis makes his own choices but with consequences (Offal=The Heraldic Order).
I think this set up is quite interesting 😉