Chapter 211: An Oath Made Under the Moon
…Have you ever hated something from the bottom of your heart?
I didn’t know what to answer upon hearing Saint Matia’s voice. I sensed a slight pain surrounding my lungs.
What kind of words did Matia want from me? In the first place, it was unusual for her to speak about her emotions. She often rejected actions based on emotions alone. For her, calculation, strategies and knowledge were the foundation of her role as Saint. Anyways, what kind of face should I show now?
What was happening? Matia kept her face down, quivering timidly like a young girl.
「…Yeah, I have. If you live as a human being, whether it is hate or love, there will be times where you have to hug those sorts of emotions.」
I sat deeply in the chair and distorted my lips. I felt a fever in my eyes.
For a moment, several thoughts came to my mind. How could I say that I have never had hatred in my chest during my whole life?
That was something no one knew except me. The dark emotions I once had that I couldn’t tell anyone at all.
Only I could deceive others. Actually, I had no intention of turning my back on it and denying it. After all, those dark emotions were undoubtedly the source of what once moved me.
When Matia heard my words, it seemed that the tension in her body had eased a little. Matia replied while holding my hand with both hands. Her face was still lying down.
「I’m ashamed to say that I have it too. How can I embrace something that I hate?」
If I told myself that I was ashamed of my temporary feelings, I would become a ridiculously embarrassing person.
Indeed, it may be contraindicated for the Saint to have such feelings. After all, the Heraldic Saint was a symbol of wisdom and reason. The person who showed unstable emotions was considered as someone unworthy of the title of Saint.
Nonetheless, no matter how much one tried to suppress it, hatred and anger would surely come to your mind once or twice afterwards. As she said, Matia had a voice that crawled on the ground and tried to consume her chest.
「Even if I think I shouldn’t dwell about it, it just tries to bring me down…It’s getting bigger and bigger these days, and it’s likely that it will burst.」
I naturally opened my eyes wide and raised my eyebrows upon hearing Matia’s words. Matia didn’t try to raise her face.
I felt that Matia’s hands holding my hand had a little power.
「…Is it about the Great Holy Church?」
I spoke, trying to cut the silence that came into the tent. Matia’s long hair swayed and I heard her sighing in response. She instinctively bit her lips hard.
I see. That should be it. Rather, why did she not realize it until now? What was going on in her head that kept her from avoiding that hate?
The Great Holy Church was the worst enemy of the Heraldic Order. For a long time, the Heraldic Order had been deprived of land, deprecated of its doctrine and dignity by the Great Holy Church.
No matter where you were, there was persecution. For the Heraldic believers, being struck by stones was the “normal” in their everyday lives.
That was even right for the person who took care of me when I was a baby, Ms. Ninz. While hiding the fact that she belonged to the Heraldic religion, she continued to behave as someone from the Cathedral who managed the orphanage for a long time. If she openly called herself as a believer of the Heraldic religion, she would lose her position in a blink of an eye.
Why did Matia, the Heraldic Saint, once have to hide in the underground temple? It shouldn’t be just because she was plotting to attack Garoua Maria.
She, my current partner, was forced to suffer for a long time. The clear enemy was now in a place that could be reached by the extending spear. Even if she was the Saint Matia, I felt there was nothing wrong in having those sorts of dark emotions swallowing her chest.
This battlefield had a completely different meaning than the battles at Garoua Maria and Ghazalia. Taking the scale into consideration, the opponent, who was extremely hostile, was neither city soldiers nor elves. The opponent was unquestionably the Great Holy Church itself.
It was a very heavy and crucial reality. I should have noticed it. I made a creaking sound in the back teeth.
Matia clenched my hand and professed the following words with a strong pounding heart. She could not longer fit those emotions in her chest and were forcibly spilled out of her mouth.
「Have you seen the treatment that the Heraldic people receive in rural areas? The men are forced to work as serfs without a break. They have to continue this hellish life even beaten and malnourished. The women had no choice but to please other men until they are no longer needed and left to die.」
She spoke straightforward words. Still, her tone was both frightening and quivering. It was my first time seeing this kind of behavior from Matia.
I had never seen her so emotional, except when she was truly angry at me. Matia’s appearance was strangely small, and I was beginning to see through her soul.
「During the bad times, most of my people were treated as livestock. They laughed at them and despised them. They even trampled on their faith.」
Matia’s body and voice quivered so much, but she continued to speak hard. She was even driven by some sense of duty that she truly had to do so.
「As a Saint, when I liberated them, they…They were no longer my people. Actually, they were no longer humans.」
“They were no longer humans.” I couldn’t ask what that meant.
To be honest, I didn’t have proper words to give to Matia. What could I say to her after speaking with a grieving voice with the face down?
I was sure she had endured everything on her own until now. She never expressed her emotions aloud. Her voice and her attitude always seemed to be austere. She had been killing her emotions, which one could say they were like a grudge, deep inside of her chest. She did it in her name, as the Saint.
She collapsed a little today. Her eyes caught the enemy’s shadow, and she couldn’t control her emotions anymore.
Then, she couldn’t help but spit it out in front of me. Why? I was not a member or a believer of the Heraldic Order. I was not someone that neither judged nor humiliated other people’s hidden emotions. That’s all.
「…I apologize. Until now…I was able to keep it down. But, only today…I have to make this one exception.」
As Matia said, this moment was probably just for today. Tomorrow, Matia must wear the Saint’s mask, all the time.
Matia was not a weak person who was always lying on the ground. She was not a person like me who kept having stupid anguish.
I felt that her hands were slightly relaxed. The air was shaking as the voice continued to quiver. She wasn’t speaking in an orderly manner.
In the darkness, the moonlight was shining into the tent. Matia’s hands gently left my hand.
This time, I was the one to grab Matia’s distant hands.
I almost had no words to speak. Her grieving was real. However, I should be allowed to hold her hands back when my companion was lying down and sobbing. No, it didn’t matter whether it was allowed or not.
「Today, my teacher told me that I was wicked just as him. I’m a cruel person who doesn’t really care whether a person dies or lives for my own sake.」
I could not deny that fact. To tell the truth, what I did in the slums of Garoua Maria, and in Ghazalia where it involved Eldith, was something that I did for my sake. I even “threw” some people into the graveyard.
It was unreasonable for me to act like a person of justice or a good person now. It was still better to be called cruel or villain.
So, I was sure that maybe Matia thought that I was a person who didn’t care much about her story, that I was a person who could not sympathize with the heat in her chest.
「Then, as the Great Holy Church say I might be truly the Lord of Vice. What a funny story.」
Matia’s body quivered right in front of my eyes while listening closely to my words.
I held Matia’s hands even stronger. I stared straight at her face, which was suddenly raised up.
「However, if you still put faith in this body of mine, then I will instead entrust my life to you. I will swing my sword as a hero.」
For a moment, Matia loosened her expression while blinking her eyes as if she was bewitched. Her face showed a very beautiful expression that I had never seen before. Her little lips gently created small waves.
…Can you help me, Lugis?
Matia spoke to me in a quivering voice that lingered somewhere. I noticed that her hands were squeezing mine back.
…I’ll gladly do it if that’s your wish.
Ohhh, I see a bond right there, right? Unlike the other girls, Lugis never felt hate towards Matia since he only met her in this timeline. They will become great comrades, I can feel it 😉
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!