Chapter 294: Prayers and Wishes
Suddenly, there was a roaring sound that was enough to blow off my earlobes. The impact creaked the bones and muscles of my body, and the sensation of blood flowing felt as if it went out of my limbs.
I didn’t know what happened and I didn’t know what was done. I could only understand that my body was thrown onto the floorboard of the Great Temple’s altar with ease. It looked like I was swept away like a fly.
My eyes were wide open, and my expression was distorted. It felt painful. Even though I twisted my body while clenching my back teeth, none of my fingers moved straight.
It left a bad taste. There was certainly a feeling that something fatal was spreading through my whole body. Not blood, not flesh, but something close to the soul.
With Helot Stanley’s white blade still stuck in my body, the painful heat continued to grow. The treasure sword that I forcefully grabbed was no longer embedded with my will.
The thing that knocked me away spoke without even looking at me properly, pretending that it had no interest in this direction. In the dim darkness, I could only see the familiar golden eyes that had a faint glow.
「What a nostalgic place this is. You’ve come to the Great Temple of Flimslat even though bad things often happen here.」
It was like muttering to oneself. Someone in Ariene’s shape grabbed Helot Stanley’s neck with one hand and lifted him up, moving her lips indifferently.
It was a strange sight. Ariene’s slender arms didn’t have the strength to easily lift Helot’s body. It would be different if it was Caria.
Even so, she didn’t show any effort whatsoever, and while still holding Helot Stanley, her golden eerie eyes glittered.
It was something in Ariene’s shape, but not Ariene herself. It looked familiar. A strange creature that appeared in the mercenary city of Belfein and Mordeaux’s mansion. That overwhelming demonic nature that borrowed Ariene’s body was now here.
I clenched my fist hard. That alone sent a pain that directly crushed my body nerves, and I felt as if my flesh wanted to come out of my skin.
I was going to die. I was losing my body. Because I saw this final light, I clearly understood that I gained a temporary consciousness.
「What an odd thing. Helot Stanley is the one who should be the savior, the one who has the soul of a great hero.」
It would feel bitter to lose my life in a place like this. The grotesque being said those words without much emotion. The golden eyes were slightly directed towards me. Those were the eyes that looked at me as if I were a troublesome rat lying down on the ground.
The breath that leaked out of my mouth was rough. As usual, my body didn’t move at all, and I was only able to accept those words. However, there was something that seemed to be hot at the bottom of my heart, which was starting to get cold.
「But don’t worry. His soul is in my hands again. Just as the script says, I will give him the life he deserves. For the sake of all salvation and happiness in this world.」
My heartbeat got stronger once again. Even though my body was cold now and my consciousness was about to be taken away, the heat in my viscera was still swaying. My vision was blurry, and my lungs didn’t seem to take in any breath.
Still, even so. Only my eyes were glaring at it. I opened my trembling lips.
「…You bastard. It seems you still like cheap words, huh? Why don’t you tell me your real identity? Or can’t you speak a single word without borrowing someone else’s face?」
A faint voice that seemed to be lost leaked into the air. My throat could only spit out that much. It was too pathetic. Even though there was an unmistakable enemy in the form of my childhood friend, I couldn’t move my hands or feet.
I would be much happier to die quietly while lying down on the ground without seeing the presence of such cruelty. No, I was sure of it.
After all, if I died immediately, at least I would not be exposed to this hostility that pierced my spinal cord without mercy.
In Ariene’s form, that thing spoke. It let inorganic sounds flow from its mouth.
「I wonder why, but you are strangely hateful. Maybe it’s because you look like Offal, Lugis.」
It sounded indifferent. There was no weight or real feelings in that voice. It was just overlapping sounds. Fear ran through my limbs as it hit my earlobes.
My throat was dry. The Golden opened its lips while stroking the hollow.
「I am the Divine Spirit Altius. The one who is called salvation and happiness. The one who sits in the world and reaches out to you. Are you satisfied with this answer, human Lugis?」
It acted as if it talked about something natural.
The divine spirit, Altius. As soon as I heard the name, there was a feeling that my whole body was wriggling. The name of the God that was also known as the God of Salvation and worshipped by the Great Holy Church. That being’s identity was now moving in Ariene’s body freely, and it was an existence that was hostile to me.
Hey, give me a break. What a terrible joke. Did it say it was God himself? C’mon, bring something a little more serious. How could a sane person accept those kinds of words.
Anyway, in the eyes of the being who was standing in front of me and waving the sound at will, there was nothing like sanity. I didn’t even know what I was looking at.
Was it saying that humans and gods see things differently? What a joke, then why meddle in the human world? Just go somewhere else and let your imagination run wild.
The one in Ariene’s form…Altius turned his body towards me while making light footsteps. A chill ran down through my spine, even though that familiar face was now by my side. Even though my body didn’t move, my brain was warning me to run away.
I could see its feet right next to me.
「Lugis. I’ll give you a chance. 」
I heard a very unpleasant noise. My throat rang slightly. Somehow, Altius’ voice, which had no color, seemed to have a pleasant resonance somewhere.
「You’re going to die like this. You will die pitifully, foolishly, without salvation or happiness. 」
That was a sure thing. Even though my heart was a little warm, I still felt the blood draining from my body, and the feeling of my nerves being torn apart.
Death. Undeniable death was out there. The god of death was lying beside me with an unbelievably real presence. My eyelids felt too heavy.
「So, I’ll give you a chance. If you want salvation, if you want happiness. Pray to me. I’ll give you unmistakable salvation. For you now, not before. I will give you that right.」
“Well then”, said God, holding out its hand. It said it was no difficult task. All I had to do was say one word to become a prayer.
…I wish you happiness with this hand. If so, pray.
It was strange. That inorganic voice, which seemed unpleasant until now, now entered my ears with a strange warmth. There was even a sign that it grabbed my own brain.
My vision was muddling. My breath was strangely rough. My heart was strong and loud, and it rang continuously.
Altius’ voice spoke gently to me as if to urge me to speak. It was a soft, nostalgic voice that reminded me of my childhood friend Ariene.
I opened my lips as if I had already decided what to say. Of course, I had no other words.
「…Did you forget, Altius? The woman I fell in love with was not the kind of person who would speak cheaply like you.」
I could recognize myself even with a weakened and hoarse voice. There was still more to say. I pulled my cheeks and moved my lips to show a distorted smile.
「Besides, don’t talk about Helot Stanley as you please. Helot is a hero. He’s the hero I long admired, and he’s the hero I killed. You speak like it’s something that’s easy to use. Aren’t you a tad too overconfident?」
I snorted and said those words without thinking about what could happen next. I just did what I wanted to do. It felt so refreshing.
I didn’t mind. After all, this body had no choice but to rot away. I wondered if I’d be praying at that moment, the final moment. What was my real wish then?
My wish was only mine, and I had not even prepared a piece of something to offer to God. If so, these words were enough.
After saying that, I turned my eyes upward, and Altius’ expressionless face once again appeared in my field of vision. Its emotions were very difficult to read. Indignation, humiliation, or disappointment? The only thing I knew was that it didn’t look that amusing.
Without saying anything, that thin white hand slowly approached my face. There was nothing strange, disappointing, or scary.
However, were Caria, Filaret and Eldith safe? Only such thoughts crossed my mind.
And then, the moment that hand reached my eyes.
A huge scream that seemed to crush the Great Temple itself fell on the altar.
Hope you’re enjoying this special week, yall!
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!
How is it that the ‘great sinner’ had way more interaction with Altius than any believers? ^^’