Chapter 16-17: True reflection time

 

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  • 16: True reflection time

 

And in this way, the meeting about the monster strife -that was more of a reflection meeting- ended, and I was freed.

However, it was a mysterious meeting where I didn’t understand why I was in it as well.

A person with no title like me was able to speak as much as I wanted, and I feel like there will be retribution later on which makes me anxious.

“…Haine! Kuromiya Haine!”

When I leave the meeting room, an asphyxiating bald man was running towards me.

“Vice-captain Grades?” (Haine)

“Seriously, thanks!” (Grades)

Saying that, Vice-captain Grades lowers his bald head speedily. It even felt saddening in a way.

“I am truly sorry, and thanks for protecting the hero-sama at that time! In reality, we knights should be the ones acting as the shield for that person, and yet, I was worried about my rank and post, and was unable to say anything! Truly pathetic!!” (Grades)

“Eh? Doesn’t that mean it is even worse for me who doesn’t even have a rank or a post?” (Haine)

“No problem! The Founder-sama is serving as your backing after all! With that, even Knight Commander Dobbe won’t be able to put a hand on you. Seeerves him riiight!” (Grades)

The tension of the baldy is high.

“…I really am pathetic. The job of us -Aurora Knight Corps- is to provide support to the hero-sama, and yet, the Knight Commander took the initiative to blame the hero, and us as group members couldn’t stop it. Seriously, for what reason are we even here.” (Grades)

“Vice-captain Grades…” (Haine)

“Can we talk for a bit, Haine?” (Grades)

Taken somewhere by the Vice-captain, we arrived at the light grand church’s garden.

Time has passed since the monster strife. The sun has already gone down, making it completely dark already.

“Do you know why the Knight Commander hates the ethereal machines so much?” (Grades)

“No… In the countryside I was living in, there were no such machines after all…” (Haine)

Vice-captain Grades searched for something in his pocket and takes it out.

It was a small and thin glass tube that was small enough to be held completely in his hand, and inside of it, there was some sort of black shining mineral.

“This is ethereal. Around 100 years ago, there was someone that found a way to smelt this from the earth. It released energy that’s able to move anything without the need for divine power. Cars and flying machines, and the element measuring device you used not that long ago as well; they all use these as their energy source.” (Grades)

‘That’s not all’, is what Grades says as he continues.

“Lamps, heating, clean water, fire used in cooking; right now, it is all done with ethereal power. When ethereal was discovered, it spread to the main cities in the blink of an eye, and it raised the living standard by several times. And then, can you tell what happened after?” (Grades)

“…People…stopped believing in God.” (Haine)

“That’s right! As I thought, you really are intelligent. Seriously, that’s exactly what it is. Because of ethereal, the civilization advanced, stabilized the food production, cured previously incurable diseases,and provided humans methods to go against natural disasters. With all that, there would be no need to pray to God, right?” (Grades)

That’s why machines are the enemies of the church huh.

If the machine culture develops and the need to entreaty to a God disappears, the people will steadily grow apart from God. That’s why a person like the Knight Commander Dobbe, who’s in a high position in the church, hates the ethereal machines to the point of completely forbidding them.

“Honestly speaking, the only problem ethereal can’t solve is the monsters. By having the heroes fight the monsters as the leaders, The five churches -counting us- are somehow able to maintain the faith going.” (Grades)

“Can’t you make weapons from ethereal that can defeat monsters?” (Haine)

“About that, there was a joint signature from the five churches, making the use of ethereal weapons forbidden. Even the five churches, who normally don’t get along with each other, were in accord with this one point. If this one point is broken, the church of God will without doubt be going to the trashcan.” (Grades)

People will…escape from the ruling of the Gods.

This is the thing that I wished for the most in my time as a Dark God. The other five Gods were at the side of ‘humans are the slaves of Gods’ and I went against it.

I fought and lost. And in the time I was sealed, I wonder what kind of path did humans walk.

What I understand is that, as a result of this thing called ethereal, everything was wrapped up.

“It is said that the reason for the monster’s origin was maybe because the angered Gods sent this as punishment to the unfaithful humans.They began appearing around a hundred years ago, and it is right at the time when ethereal was discovered.” (Grades)

“Sounds like it might possible. Seriously possible.” (Haine)

“The church clamoured that ‘monsters are the punishment for the corrupted humans!’ as they fought the monsters, and by defeating them, they obtained fame. In that sense, monsters might be our saviors.” (Grades)

“But Karen-san is…going so far as using ethereal machines to protect the people.” (Haine)

“That’s right. That’s proof she is a true hero. She is not fighting for the sake of something like the authority of the church, she is purely doing it because she wants to save people. That’s why, for the sake of this, she will use whatever it is needed. The holy divine power and the ethereal machines as well. But for the higher-ups of the church, this is an eyesore.” (Grades)

The church fights monsters for the authority of the church…putting it another way, to protect the authority of God.

The reason Karen-san fights is to protect the people.

That discrepancy is hurting a single girl.

Within that discrepancy, a young one appeared who had no fetters and no position…

“So that was my role huh. To protect Karen-san, not only from monsters, but a variety of other things.” (Haine)

“That’s right.” (Grades)

Vice-captain Grades said this earnestly. In those words, there were various complicated emotions mixed in.

“It seems like at first, Karen-dono wanted to make you into a person that doesn’t move on the whim of the church, a person that’s truly a monster subjugator. She said that the moment she first saw you, she saw your abilities and sense of justice and felt that ‘if it’s him, he can do it’.” (Grades)

“Seriously?” (Haine)

I was bewildered.

“But when the moment came, you surpassed expectations. I truly didn’t expect you to stand against the Knight Commander. Or more like, since the moment I saw you stay at the side of Karen-dono and entering the meeting room, I thought I was hallucinating.” (Grades)

“Haha…Karen-san’s state was kinda strange since the time she met the Fire Hero, and it didn’t seem like it would be good to leave her be, so before I noticed, it ended up in that way.” (Haine)

“Seriously?! You really might be the personal knight for Karen-sama.” (Grades)

“Did you seriously think that was a witty statement there?” (Haine)

“No no, I am simply vexed. Even when I called myself a knight, this cowardly self was unable to do anything.” (Grades)

This is what he says, but Grades-san is most likely a splendid knight.

Also, it is true that Karen-san’s state was strange. If it were the usual Karen-san, she would have spoken back to the Knight Commander, and there wouldn’t have been any need for me to step in.

The reason for this is as I thought, the Fire Hero, Katack Mirack.

When my thoughts reach that conclusion, I felt like I couldn’t just stay like this.

“Vice-captain Grades, sorry but, I will be excusing myself now.” (Haine)

“Yeah. Sorry for having you do overtime work, newcomer.” (Grades)

So Vice-captain Grades also understands my intentions. It looks like there’s no need to say anything more.

“Ah, BUT! Don’t go decreasing the distance between you two more than needed, okay?! If you dare do something like forming a romantic relationship with Karen-dono, the whole knight corp will beat you up!” (Grades)

As expected, he is a person that says a word too many.

 

  • 17: Frail Hero

 

I searched here and there for a good amount of time.

And then, I finally found Karen-san at the outside area of the light grand church. The storehouse of the flying machine.

“Ah, Haine-san.” (Karen)

Karen-san was holding some sort of tool in her hand.

“Uhm, are you doing that thing called maintenance? To that flying machine?” (Haine)

“Yeah. Whenever it is used, there’s the need to check its state later. It would be trouble if it were to act up in the middle of a flight after all.” (Karen-san)

So Karen-san does it herself.

She leads the knight corps, fights monsters, and while being in distress with the friction of the church’s higher-ups, she does maintenance to a machine.

This person does way too much by herself.

“Now that I think about it, I haven’t thanked you yet, right? I completely forgot. I really am fumbling way too much today.” (Karen-san)

“Did I do something to be thanked for?” (Haine)

“You did. A lot. Especially when you covered for me at the meeting room, it really saved me. If Haine-san hadn’t said anything, this little one might have been disposed of.” (Karen)

Saying that, Karen-san kindly pats the flying machine that’s currently in standby.

“But that…if that was the usual Karen-san, you would have been able to manage something yourself, right? That Knight Commander, I don’t think he is someone that Karen-san wouldn’t be able to handle. In normal circumstances, there would have been no need for me to step in.” (Haine)

“…Is that so?” (Karen)

“It is. Is the reason…the Fire Hero?” (Haine)

Karen-san was silent. She silently continued caressing the surface of the flying machine. It looks like the maintenance was finished a long time ago.

“Did you come here to ask that? You really like to stick your nose, Haine-san.” (Karen)

“That’s why you dragged me here from my countryside village, right? It is too late to regret it. If you have any worries, try telling this big brother here.” (Haine)

The head of Karen-san suddenly fell onto my body. I could feel the softness of her hair and a nice scent coming from her.

“Eh?”

It was so sudden that I didn’t know what was happening. Even if my soul is that of a Dark God, my body is that of a healthy 18 year old. I would normally react to a cute girl.

But…

“…Uuhh…uuuhh…”

The weeping voice that was coming from her quickly dispersed any immoral feelings.

“Ueee! Ueeeeeee!!” (Karen)

Karen-san was crying.

The girl that is praised as the light hero and defeats great amounts of grotesque monsters resolutely, was currently showing weakness fitting of her age.

After crying for a while, she slowly spoke.

As if spilling out every single bit she had piled up to the very last.

The real reason why she felt like crying was not because of the blunder at today’s monster battle or the heartless words of the Knight Commander, it was as expected, her.

The Fire Hero, Katack Mirack.

Now that I think about it, since the moment she appeared, Karen-san’s state was strange. And that strangeness was always there.

Both being heroes and rivals. My assumption that it was because of the shock of her stealing away the merit was wrong.

“I know of Mirack-chan. Since before I became a hero. A long time ago.” (Karen)

This is a story that is connected to Karen-san’s own welfare.

In the present, Karen-san runs around freely as the light hero, but in her childhood, she had a weak constitution and constantly fell sick.

“It is unexpected, right?”, is what Karen-san said trying to cover it as a joke, but for me, that hit me in the gut. A girl that possesses an inclined elemental affinity to light with a number of 700. That’s definitely not something that only provides good effects to her body.

At any rate, in the childhood days of Karen-san, her daily life was a repeat of sleeping and waking up.

Of course, with that kind of lifestyle, it was impossible to make friends, and her child self was lonely. However, even with that, there was one person she could call a friend. A girl of the same age that lived at a neighboring house.

That’s Katack Mirack.

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