‘Oh? That’s…’, is what Root says as he stops his feet.
At the place he was looking at, there’s the students touring around noisily.
They are touring, but they seem to have some leisure on them.
Root is reminded that they have already been a number of days in Tsige now.
“No, they are soon to leave, huh. Yeah, their faces are pretty different from the time when they just got here. No matter how many times I see that, it is always nice.” (Root)
It has been quite a long time since the Rotsgard Academy was founded.
Root is plainly aware that organizations are like that, but Rotsgard Academy has begun to deteriorate and it is a shadow of its former shining self.
There’s no one who succeeds the ideologies of that woman who put all of her efforts into bringing the joy of learning to this world.
There’s also no one to pass on the feelings of that man who tried to show that great effort is what brings wisdom and power.
Root knows that man and that woman personally, so the current state of the academy is hard to forgive.
That’s why he made the Rotsgard Adventurer Guild headquarters as his main base, and was thinking of purifying the academy in a plan of 10 years.
However, because of Raidou and the Kuzunoha Company that just showed up in the Academy Town, the long long purification plan of Root ended up being thrown into the trash can with a wonderful smile on his face.
The injustices and the deterioration were scraped away completely -albeit roughly- and, as for the town that had developed by attaching itself to the academy, it was cleaned up by the schemes of the demons.
(Oops, if I were to say it has been cleanly solved, he would get angry at me again.) (Root)
By him, he is referring to the otherworlder that is using the fake name of Raidou.
He is also the person Root is the most interested in right now.
The ones that Root is looking at having fun touring around are the students of Raidou.
What must be readied at Rotsgard Academy is a successor that holds certain conviction in teaching.
The one Root was secretly putting an eye on was within the students.
That’s right, it is as if every single thing had been prepared by Raidou.
That’s why it bothered him.
The male student that’s normally acting as their leader in a lively manner is lacking any sort of brilliance right now.
(If I remember correctly, his name is Jin Roan. He is a talented boy and he is a student of his, so… Alright, let’s make a special exception here. I shall talk to him directly. If I manage to separate him from the group, it would be easier for me… Ah, nice. They are splitting. Now then…) (Root)
Root tailed them for a while and checked their state. And then, he read his moves, got ahead of him, and then acted as if it was a coincidence, entering the eatery that Jin had come into and calling to him.
“Heya there, school trip, right? Having fun?” (Root)
“?!! Ah, the one from the guild! Falz-sama, right?! Yes, I am having fun!!” (Jin)
“Jin-kun, right? I guess today is your last day of free time?” (Root)
“Ah, yes. Tsige is an incredible city. Being called the liveliest remote region of the world is no mistake, but…you can’t tell unless you come here for yourself. I am glad I could have the chance to.” (Jin)
“That you managed to understand that with just one visit means that you are exemplary. But you are working part-time in the Kuzunoha Company, right? Haven’t you come to this city too?” (Root)
Root has an idea about the unfair instant teleportation means of the Kuzunoha Company.
Hence the question.
“I have never left the store. Also, quite a high degree of specialized knowledge is required here to attend to the customers, so it is still far too soon for me and Amelia. At that time, when I was told that, I thought I could at least watch the store, but…now, I can tell I was being a fool.” (Jin)
Jin laughs and scratches his head powerlessly.
He really is not his usual self.
The scary part of Root is that just by meeting you a few times, he can see through even the students like this.
Makoto’s follower, Tomoe, can do something similar to that by reading the memories of the other party, but Root uses only his memory, information, and discerning eye.
“If you are thinking of doing customer service work in a company of Tsige, at this period of time, it would be rough, you know? There’s nothing to be ashamed of for a student to not be able to do it.” (Root)
“It made it even clearer how amazing Akua-senpai and Eris-senpai are.” (Jin)
“Ahaha, they have apparently been trained quite a lot after all.” (Root)
Root energized his conversation with Jin and loosened his lips in an instant.
And then, he got an idea of what was stabbing at his heart, and began to steer the conversation towards it.
“And so, there’s underclassmen who are taking the lecture of Raidou-sensei in the academy, and I was thinking about bringing souvenirs to them. The armor and magic tools of this place would be a bit too much for my pocket, so I was thinking about taking a peek at consumables, accessories and everyday things that can only be obtained here. Do you have any recommendations, Falz-san?” (Jin)
Jin pleasantly speaks to Root about the plans of his friends and about the academy.
He also revealed that today’s free time was mainly being used to choose the souvenirs.
Being the considerate person that he is, that must be his true feelings. Root didn’t find anything off about this, and evaluated Jin favorably for his choice.
The two were talking with each other as if they were friends who have known each other for years.
“You are kind, Jin.” (Root)
“…Kind…no, someone like me?” (Jin)
“Denying it even though someone else was the one who evaluated you? Did something happen in the past?” (Root)
“There’s no need to be ashamed or hesitant, Jin. I, and surely your comrades too, think that you are kind.” (Root)
“That’s the result of you properly digesting your past experiences, wishing to become kinder, and acting upon it.” (Root)
Don’t know if to call it cunning or sly, but Falz appealed to the good side of a person with a smile on his face, and was leading Jin into the direction he desired.
What’s fortunate is that Root intends no harm towards Jin.
“I think you guys have grown up a notch in this city. Be proud of that.” (Root)
“Thank you very much…” (Jin)
“…Not enough?” (Root)
“You want to aim higher?” (Root)
“…No, I am not in that much of a hurry. I have already messed up once there after all.” (Jin)
“Oh, is that so?” (Root)
“And here I thought for sure that what was bothering you was how Sofia charged at you that night. Did I just unnecessarily overstep here?” (Root)
“Haha. I did think it was unnecessary, but you seem to be worrying about something, so I was thinking about freeing up your mind before you left.” (Root)
“Falz-san, uhm…is Sofia-san really…” (Jin)
“Is she really your daughter?” (Jin)
“Well now…that’s quite sudden. Yeah, she is my daughter. Slightly special circumstances, but…there’s no doubt she is my daughter.” (Root)
Thinking about the connection Root himself has with Sofia, he responds in that way.
“It is exactly as you say. It has been bothering me.” (Jin)
“There was an adult woman that looked after me in the village I was born and raised in.” (Jin)
“Her name was Miranda. Sofia-san is, uhm, a bit younger, but she is the spitting image of her. At the time when I met her in Kaleneon, and at the time when I met her in Tsige, I truly thought it couldn’t be anyone else but her. But Sofia-san says she doesn’t know me, and has never met me. And so…” (Jin)
Root looked at the sky internally.
That was the past name of Sofia.
“So that’s what it was.” (Root)
She has excelling physical prowess thanks to having strongly inherited the genes of Root.
Root is aware that Miranda had been used for manual labor as a handyman in a village somewhere when she was young.
Out of all of those places, it happened to be the home village of Jin Roan.
Fate is one strange thing, Root thought.
Root, Jin, Sofia, and Makoto.
The fate that intertwined in an interesting manner was showing its face here.
“Really got me there.” (Root)
“In other words, you are the boy that fought that mamono together with Miranda?” (Root)
“…I see. In that case, you might have the right to hear about this. About the…death of Miranda and Sofia.” (Root)
About how she threw away the name of Miranda and came to be called Sofia, and her circumstances.
Her death and rebirth.
A story with convenient dramatization that doesn’t hurt Root, Makoto, or Jin.
At the end of the school trip…
Jin Roan learned of the conclusion of his memories.
- Chapter 436: End of the Trip ②
At the time when Jin was settling one of the grievances in his chest.
There was one student moving with determination in this last free time.
The young man that has a connection with the church.
He has a big build but by no means gives off the impression of being intimidating, and just as his face expresses, he has a meek and gentle personality.
On top of that, because of the impression of his parents, he is thought of as an experienced Goddess believer, so, in other words, he has an incredibly good impression among adults.
However, the reality is that he is obedient and easy to sway. It is not like he has a particularly strong religious faith.
Even now in Tsige, he is heading to the church, not because of piety, but because he is easy to get caught in the flow.
Or more like, he didn’t have any noteworthy dreams as he lived his life.
He didn’t have any dreams that would make him want to ponder about this and that of his future, so he would let himself be carried by the flow because that was the easy way, entered the academy because that was the easy way, and thought of working at the church as his parents told him because it was the easy way.
He has arrived.
Considering the liveliness, scale, and momentum of the city, what was in front of Misura was a modest church.
He has changed.
The present him has a dream.
It is not like something highly illuminating has happened to him. It is simply that he met Yuno.
And he is going out with her.
A simple boy meets girl.
Well, his partner is the daughter of the prominent merchant of Tsige, Rembrandt. Yuno herself was an upstart and high up lady, giving the impression of a sheltered girl, so she was a woman very far apart from him.
So that’s exactly why Misura held a simple wish like wanting to do his best in Tsige together with Yuno.
He has already parted with the church internally.
Even when he came here like this today, his heart wasn’t swayed.
His last confirmation is done.
Misura turned around and walked a few steps, but he must have had something in mind, he faced the church once more, and then entered as usual.
There really are only a few who are coming and going from here.
(This place most likely only has few people who would pray to have their wishes come true.) (Misura)
At first, Misura was surprised by how there were a lot fewer people than he thought.
But after watching this city…no, this country every day while being inside of it, he understood it.
He learned that there aren’t many people here who rely on a god.
His parents suddenly popped in his mind.
People that place the Goddess as their support, and live for the devotion of their god as their pride.
They also declare that they survived the variant incident thanks to the Goddess.
That might have been the time when Misura began to hold clear doubts about the church and their believers.
At that time, Misura had fought the Variants together with Jin and the others.
Who knows what would have happened if their ability was lacking.
Even if the general situation wouldn’t have changed, he is sure that the amount of people that died from it has changed because of it.
There were countless situations like that.
However, for the experienced Goddess believers, it would mean that the Goddess sent them to that location.
He felt that was off.
It is okay to pray or make your faith the support for your heart.
However, is it really correct to assert that even the things you worked to your utmost effort were thanks to the command of the Goddess?
If you are in trouble, you should first do your very best with your own power.
Do everything you can, and if that’s not enough, you can pray to the Goddess.
But Misura’s parents laughed at that thought of his.
‘You still don’t understand how sublime the Goddess-sama is’, is what they said.
Basically, everything in this world was made by the Goddess, and the war currently happening must be something the Goddess set with some idea in mind.
‘That’s why, see? She gave the kingdom and the empire the heroes, right?’, they said.
(Then why did Elysion, that was the location of the head church, destroyed by the demons?) (Misura)
Misura thought any more would be a pointless battle, so he didn’t say anything, but that’s what he thought internally.
Depending on the region, there would be many different kinds of Goddess statues. In this land, it would be the form of a pure girl. Misura went on his knees in front of that statue, put both hands together, and offered a prayer.
A prayer of parting.
And yet, even though Misura has been praying a decent amount compared to others for more than a decade, and he is doing a prayer of parting here, the Goddess wasn’t even answering.
(Sensei said before: omnipotent gods are beings that can’t do anything. But the Goddess-sama seems to be moving for a lot of things, so she is not omnipotent. That’s why I thought that maybe…) (Misura)
It must mean that the change of heart of just one individual like him is nothing for her.
Then, it may not be a god, but he has the teachings of ‘them’ which is not that different for him, so he decided to live as he wishes, and that made his emotions brighter.
“Oh? If I remember correctly…you are the boy from the Academy Town. Your parents are pious believers.”
“Fufu, it has been a while since I have been called Bishop. Former. I have already left the church.”
The one who spoke to Misura after coming out of the church was a woman with a scar on her face.
For Misura, that’s a familiar face in the Rotsgard Academy.
The highest post in the church of the aforementioned place, the Bishop.
Her languid atmosphere leaves a strong impression, but right now she is walking around the city under the light of the sun without a veil on.
“Shima-sama, you quit the church and came to Tsige?!” (Misura)
“Hm, yeah. To be more precise, it is easier to go to my workplace from here. Right now…I am doing a job called a bathkeeper.” (Shima)
Hearing the name of a job he is not familiar with, Misura tilts his head.
The Academy Town has a high population despite its size, and there’s a number of unique jobs that have been born to match the students, but he has no recollection of hearing about a bathkeeper.
“The surprising thing is that I am being paid more than when I was a Bishop, and getting a mountain of tips. A bathkeeper is…right, a job that watches over the health and aesthetics of the guests, I would say.” (Shima)
Shima had climbed all the way to Bishop, grew to dislike the church, and is currently working as a hot spring manager trainee at the Kuzunoha Company.
When she heard the word bathkeeper from Makoto, she liked it more than hot spring manager trainee, so she has proactively called herself bathkeeper instead.
It is not like she has been told to keep silent about it, but Shima has given herself the duty to keep silent about the guests coming to the hot spring, and so she won’t tell even Misura about the details.
Shima came here to find ingredients for her make-up products, came close to her old origins, and was seen by Misura.
“…Lingering regrets towards the church?” (Misura)
Misura muttered this while he was walking away from the church with Shima.
That had everything included in what Misura wanted to ask Shima.
“None. However, I won’t go as far as denying the religion. The heart of belief itself can save you and become your strength.” (Shima)
“I see.” (Misura)
In the eyes of Misura, Shima has followed the teachings and beliefs of the church far more than that of your average person, and should understand it more.
That’s why he asked this question.
And the response that came back was almost exactly as what he thought.
“It would trouble me if you were to take my words as an indulgence. I am currently just a poor bathkeeper.” (Shima)
“Yeah, I know.” (Misura)
“…I see, that’s a relief then.” (Shima)
“I am sure…the adventurer priests who are studying daily with their lives on the line are the ones who truly understand what faith is.” (Misura)
“Desiring an absolute form for belief is the entrance to the death of the church, you know, young boy.” (Shima)
“…! I will be careful.” (Misura)
“Hmm, right. You guys are in the middle of a school trip, right?” (Shima)
“Ah, yeah. Looks like you also know our circumstances pretty well too, Shima-sama…” (Misura)
“Of course. Lisa-sama and Grount-sama have been speaking about you people the whole time recently after all.” (Shima)
“I see, Lisa-san and Grount…-san, huh.” (Misura)
Misura had a flashback of the worst and most painful moment in the school trip.
The nailed bat lady that introduced herself as Gloria at the beginning easily revealed her true name being Grount after a while.
Misura didn’t have to suffer anything from Tomoe directly in the school trip, but instead, Grount took good care of him along with the other two.
The three of them including Misura won’t be able to forget the trial that Grount gave them -named Sandpaper Dome♡- for the rest of their life.
Their vision was stolen by sand, and if they were to get hit and sent off 10 meters up, there would be rasps waiting for them.
(Aah, there’s no way anyone would be able to understand no matter what I say when they don’t know about that nightmare.) (Misura)
If Daena and Izumo weren’t there, just what kind of unreasonableness would he have faced? Misura couldn’t help but tremble.
Even though her appearance is truly that of a lovely lady, she was a drill sergeant not that different from Tomoe.
The attack power of the nail bat, being sent flying, cornered, had their meat scraped off by the ends of the dome; that fear, there’s no way they would be able to forget it even if they tried to.
When she looked at him and said ‘what a truly splendid sandbag’, Misura recollects just how much fear he felt at that time.
“Aah, I hope you are properly going out with the daughter of Lisa-sama, Yuno. Also, you had Grount-san look after your training, right?” (Shima)
“Ah, y-yeah.” (Misura)
“Right. We managed to reunite here, so I invite you to the hot spring, Misura-kun.” (Shima)
“Eh, hot spring?” (Misura)
“You still don’t have plans for what to do after, right?” (Shima)
“Ah, no, I don’t.” (Misura)
“…So it ended unexpectedly easily, huh.” (Shima)
“Judging from your expression, I noticed immediately that you were the same as me.” (Shima)
It meant separation from the church.
Finally Misura went ‘I understand now’.
The reason why Shima spoke to him.
She must have been worried about him.
She had seen through him since the very beginning.
“You are the man that might become a future executive of the Rembrandt Company, so it might not be bad to make you feel indebted to me. I am a calculative woman.” (Shima)
“…If you had been a Bishop at Rotsgard from way back before, I might not have had a change of heart. Thank you very much.” (Misura)
“Oya, is the one there Gro…Gloria-sama? Obviously, I can’t go as far as allowing mixed bathing, but I shall speak to her.” (Shima)
“Gloria-sama! Are you shopping?!” (Shima)
Leaving aside Misura who was faltering at the name and figure of Grount, Shima ran off with far more liveliness than the time when he met her as a Bishop.
Misura felt as if his back had been changed.
Today, even if it was easy, he had been reborn.
Misura had decided that, after graduation, he would definitely come back here again. And then chased after Shima.