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“Hey, Esther. Can we find out the location of the Nesis Church using this method?”
“I think we might?” (Esther)
“But asking the location of another church might be making people from that church uncomfortable…”
“What are you anxious about Toru? At the Church of Alphas, she treated you very politely.” (Esther)
“No, they weren’t polite at all! We were thrown salt on the way out!”
“She has cleansed us from evil spirits using salt. Isn’t the priestess of the Church of Alphas kind?” (Esther)
“Yes, they do use salt for cleansing…”
I wanted to face-palm because of Esther’s overly positive mindset.
“But it’s too much to try recruiting followers by using holy water. Church of Alphas, how scary.” (Toru)
“Holy water is the thing the priestess said was effective against all kinds of illnesses. It was very expensive.” (Toru)
“That’s natural. The purification method can only be done by the church. And it seems that to make holy water all the priests become feverish after making it. If the price is only through donation, they will try to do their best on getting some.” (Esther)
I’m wondering how effective the holy water is, but even if it’s said to be cheap, it costs 5 silver coins-50,000 yen. It wasn’t affordable to buy.
That’s right – so we have to move on.
“In the end, even at the Church of Alphas, we couldn’t get the location of the Nesis Church.”
“You couldn’t even get information from the guild right? It really wouldn’t be easy to find the location. Toru, we have no time to feel discouraged. Let’s go to the next lead!” (Esther)
Driven by the energetic Esther, we visited Ermetia Church next.
This church is also made of stone, but it looks like the usual churches I know unlike the Church of Alphas.
When I opened the church door, I smelled the sweet scent of the flowers.
I felt myself getting healed from the gentle scent of the flowers, but I was shocked to see the person lying on the altar at the end of the church.
At the altar, there laid a blood-covered child.
The child looked so exhausted that he couldn’t complain from the pain anymore.
The priestess beside him whined and sobbed.
“I believe in the magical god Ermetia! Why should a young child have such a fate?! This child is only living with his brothers and sisters. The children cannot even have proper meals.
He doesn’t want his younger brothers and sisters to worry. He only picked fallen change from the streets to purchase some food from the meat stall.
He was just on his way home, holding a meat skewer. But he was hit by a horse carriage as he was walking on the street! Oh god! Why should a child who has done so much for his family, thinking only of his brothers and sisters, have such a tragic fate?” (Priestess)
And priestess raised both of her hands high.
“Please show the mercy of magic god, Ermetia, to this child!” (Priestess)
In that word, a little ball of white light shined a meter away from the Sister’s hand.
The light gradually fell, touching the child’s chest.
The next moment, the whole body of the child was wrapped in soft light.
When the light went out, the child opened his eyelid and touched his body with both hands.
“Ah… no? It doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t hurt!” (Child)
“Oh, the magic god, Ermetia! He has mercy deeper than the sea and he healed the wound of this child using magic from the heavens…. Thank you. Thank you!!” (Priestess)
The priestess was so touched by the occurrence she burst into tears.
As she cried, I felt my eyes get warm and watery.
I press the bridge of my nose to stop the tears.
Next to me, Esther put her hands on her mouth and wept.
“Thank you, God!” (Child)
The child looked up at the sky and put his hands together.
The priestess says, stroking the child’s head.
“I’m glad I did. Ermetia-sama performed the miracle because you were a believer of Ermetia.” (Priestess)
“Of course, no miracle would have happened if we didn’t pray hard every day.” (Priestess)
“And don’t forget to donate when you pray!” (Priestess)
“Yeah! I donate one big copper coin every day!” (Child)
“Wait a minute. Didn’t he grow up poor? What is with the plot?” [T/N: 1 big copper coin is 1,000 yen approximately $10. I don’t know about you but $10 is a lot when converted in my local currency. That’s daily minimum wage from where I’m from.]
“…” (Child & Priestess)
Sister and the child glanced at Toru’s tsukkomi at the same time, then the priestess stuck out her tongue.
However, they immediately returned to their original solemn expression and prayed to heaven.
“With the blessing of the magic god, Ermetia, lives are saved in this way.” (Priestess)
“Ermetia is amazing!” (Child)
“Yes. What an amazing God of Magic!” (Priestess)
“What if I want to be a follower?” (Child)
“To become one, simply fill out the required information on the sheets of paper near the entrance and give it to the person in charge.” (Priestess)
Watching the conversation between the two, I can’t help but think.
If I thought I was watching a person being saved, it was just a skit for the followers.
If I had kept my calm and observe, the blood on the child’s clothes was too runny.
Also, there were no tears in the clothes other than the blood and he doesn’t seem to be fatally injured.
(I want my feelings back…)
Unlike me Esther wasn’t looking at the scene with cold eyes–
“I am glad that God helped the child!” (Esther)
Happy with tears dripping from her face.
–She didn’t realize that this was all just a farce.
I exhaled with a sigh and opened my mouth.
“Excuse me, do you know where the Nesis Church is?”
“Being a follower of Ermetia –” (Priestess)
“Oh, that’s fine”
When I immediately cutoff her sales pitch, the priestess’ eyes, which had seemed so emotional before, were pretty dry.
And the priestess points her finger towards the door.
――The exit is over there.
No luck at Ermetia Church either.
I, who received salt cleansing two times in a row, walked along the main street.
In contrast to me, Esther’s gait was light.
“Oh, I am glad to see good things happening!” (Esther)
Esther’s smile is quite refreshing as if she watched a great drama.
“What’s wrong, Toru?” (Esther)
“Two consecutive fails on getting clues. On the contrary, you seem fine…”
“I saw a nice skit!” (Esther)
“Oh, you knew it was a skit.”
I thought we were being played for fools.
I felt my eyes widen in surprise.
“It’s no surprise. Churches in Finlis usually hold such skits. Unlike the royal capital, Finlis has fewer places for entertainment, such as plays and operas. So when you hold a skit in a church, citizens seeking entertainment come to church to watch.” (Esther)
“The schedule is irregular, so if you want to see a skit, you have to go there a lot. That’s how Finlis Churches earns their followers.” (Esther)
“Isn’t that rude to God?”
“What are you saying? If God thinks you’re rude, you’ll be forced to quit right away. That’s because God also enjoys their follower’s skits.” (Esther)
I once had a solemn image of religion, was overwhelmed by the religion of this world and the casualness of their God.
(No, probably only a few of them are serious, and Gods may be an unexpectedly casual existence.)
I was strangely convinced, remembering the gods that appeared in the myths from Earth.
“Toru, Toru. Next church, next!” (Esther)
The next place we visited was the Church of the war god Agni.
The church structure is similar to that of Alphas.
The difference is the church’s floor.
The floor of the Agni church was packed soil.
Immediately after entering the Church, I saw two men pointing their wooden swords at each other.
The men gaze at each other, giving off a tense atmosphere.
“…I will end it with the next attack. Secret technique ‘Senkō Ryūjin Kassatsu Ken’!!” (Agni Follower 1) [T/N: Well it literally means something like “Flash Dragon God Killer Sword”. I kinda like it in Romaji though. Sounds cooler.]
“-Sweet! Mysterious “God of war Agniswordddddd!!” (Agni Follower 2)
The two approach each other quickly.
After slashing each other with their weapons they parted ways.
A moment of silence filled the Church.
The man who broke the silence was the man who shouted his technique first.
“Guh…! Why… ‘Senkō Ryūjin Kassatsu Ken’ has hit you fully!” (Agni Follower 1)
“I’ll tell you. There is one reason you couldn’t beat me.” (Agni Follower 2)
The man lifted the sword — his wooden sword in the air.
(That wooden sword looks familiar…)
“You didn’t have this Agnisword!” (Agni Follower 2)
“What…!? Where can I get that Agni Sword!?” (Agni Follower 1)
“If you go to the war god Agni Church and become his believer, you can get one for free!” (Agni Follower 2)
“Free!?” (Agni Follower 1)
“And now, if you get one, you get another one free!” (Agni Follower 2)
“Great deal!!” (Agni Follower 1)
I silently at Esther, while this sweltering and painfully obvious farce of a fight.
Her cheeks are flushed and she’s cupping her face with both hands.
“…By the way, Esther believes in Agni right?”
“That’s right! I also have that Agnisword!” (Esther)
Esther took out two wooden swords from her breastplate with her eyes shining brightly.
The wooden sword was used the other day during our sparring.
(I thought it was familiar and I was correct…)
“This will also make me stronger!” (Agni Follower 1)
“Uh, yeah. Of course right, right.” (Agni Follower 2)
With such an innocent gaze, it is hard to point out that she is being fooled.
It doesn’t seem to cause any harm, so I will just leave it alone.
While holding the Agnisword (wooden sword), Esther sprinted toward the two men who had just finished the “battle”.
“Senior brothers, I have a question!” (Esther)
“Oh, aren’t you a sister who also believe in the same god Agni! What’s the matter?”
“Who is that unfamiliar guy there?”
“Oh, actually, at the request of the guild, I’m looking for the Nesis Church.” (Esther)
The eyes of the two people who heard that we were searching for Nesis Church looked shook and confused.
“Nesis Church… Sorry, sister. I can’t help in locating Nesis Church.”
“Because only those who are related to that church can reach that place.”
“Oh, right…” (Esther)
“Has sister already gone to Forcels Church?”
“No, not yet.” (Esther)
“If so, you should go. If it is a servant of the God of Justice, they might know.”
“I understand!” (Esther)
We couldn’t find any important clues, but we got some hints.
(The Forcels Church was a building with a triangular roof…)
Toru remembers the Church of Forcels that he saw on the first day he came to Finlis.
“By the way, sister. Is the boy over there already a follower of another god?”
“No, not yet.” (Esther)
Silence suddenly filled the place.
Realizing the unnatural silence, I looked at Esther and her friends.
Esther was staring at me with her eyes filled with a strange light.
Come here, Esther beckons me.
I can’t go there while you’re sending me weird signals, I escaped like a rabbit.
“Hah… huh…, Toru, why did you escape?” (Esther)
“If Toru accepted, you will get the Agnisword you know? And now you will also have two!” (Esther)
“No, I don’t need it.”
The Agnisword from the War God Agni is just a wooden sword that is just plainly carved out of wood.
The only difference from a normal wooden sword is that the handle is stamped with Agni’s holy seal.
Even if I get two of them, I wouldn’t be happy at all.
On the contrary, since the holy stamp is printed, it is psychologically difficult to use.
“So Esther next is the Church of Forcels.”
“Yeah. I hope I can get a good clue next…” (Esther)
The day has already peaked.
If we don’t find a place, we will finish the day just looking for the Church of Nesis.
I quickly headed to our next destination, the Forcels Church of Justice.
A/N: Additional Content if you’re confused.
The two in Ermetia are acting and are performing a skit, not to fool people.
Toru’s tsukkomi destroyed the solemn atmosphere of the skit. So they stuck out their tongue in annoyance.
From a Japanese perspective, the church is strange, but from a local from Filnis, Toru is a person who doesn’t know how to appreciate the good stuff.
This is a complete reversal, but “Priestesses throwing salt at you” at Finlis has the same meaning as “striking a flintstone” in Japan. [T/N: Striking a flint stone as you leave is a wish for good fortune or to dispel bad luck. Throwing salt which is a custom for many cultures as a way of exorcising evil spirits. Google-sensei is ready for more info]
In fact, they blessed two non-believers who would challenge finding the Church of Nesis, where few have reached.
Therefore, Esther’s remarks of “cleansing with salt” and “kindness” were not mistaken.
A/N: Finally, I uploaded a new short story at Kakuyomu (カクヨム).
You can jump to the short story from the link below.
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