In the corner of a small town stood a large building.
For a town like this, the most magnificent building was the facility commonly referred to as the church.
Yet while that building might have an air about it similar to that of the largest religion in Earth, no cross could be found on it, only a ring ran through vertically by a straight line.
It looked just like the
There were no stained glass windows either, and the object of their faith, a female statue, was small, void of the slightest hints of splendor.
But of course to the latter, the issue was less the practices of the religion, and more the scale of the church.
Being about a size bigger than the surrounding cabin-like houses made of wood and stone, it was so simply made that the old priest stationed here could patrol the whole area alone.
An altar and a chapel just big enough for people to offer their prayers, behind which could be found a confessional merely as big as two coffins lined up.
There was also a small room to accomodate the rare traveler and devotee.
The priest’s private quarters and the other facilities could be found in the back, but they were barely sufficient.
It’s hard to believe that this was the most powerful and only religion of
And yet for the sake of the few devotees within the country and the devotees from other countries that visited, they ‘couldn’t help’ but build a church in this small town close to the borders.
The church in this country was that irrelevant.
But it was exactly because of that…
“Do you mind if we stay the night?” A man asked.
“A-Archbishop Oreil! Why could you come to such a remote church like this at this hour?” The priest replied.
The priest was shocked that such a person would come without any prior notice, and so late in the night too.
But that was only natural. After all, the archbishop was a top-level positions that numbered no more than 12 throughout the world. That was a position just two steps below the pope.
The world he lived in was completely different from a priest stationed in a remote church like this.
Perhaps that’s the reason why the Archbishop’s attitude was so curt despite the suddenness of his visit.
“There’s no need for a mere priest such as yourself to know. Fear not, I expect nothing from a place like this, just lend me a room.”
“I-I understand. B-But, the people behind you are…”
The archbishop may have been arrogant, but his position warranted such arrogance.
As someone who held a leisurely position, the priest didn’t mind the attitude, but the problem was that there were people other than the archbishop.
There were around 10 armed men in filthy clothing. Their outfits suggested they were mercenaries, but they could also easily be mistaken for a band of bandits. The priest frowned.
Indeed, one shouldn’t judge by appearances, but that vulgar color in their eyes and his many years of experience were telling him that they were – in fact – the latter.
They were not the sort of people that the archbishop should be dragging around.
Moreover, the air about them suggested that they had circumstances, forcing them to move in secret, and yet none of the church’s soldiers were here.
Troubles, schemes, violent secrets… All sorts of such words appeared within the priest’s mind.
“Is there a problem? Hurry now! Lead the way!”
A displeased voice hurried the priest to move, but just when he was about to say that he had no rooms to spare, he inwardly shook his head.
In this town, there was indeed an inn that could barely accommodate them, but upon remembering how nice the old married couple that tended to that inn were, he could not find it in himself to direct them there.
Even in this town, the church was not seen in a positive light, but since the priest did not force his beliefs onto the people, the people here has at least came to accept him, and they brought him no trouble.
In the end, the priest decided to surrender his own room to the archbishop and give the chapel to the armed men. In the first place, the so-called chapel was just a chapel in name and didn’t even have a chair for the devotees to sit.
It should be more than enough if these men just needed a room to lie down in.
He could smell trouble, so he pretended to be considerate and quickly left the church to go to the town inn.
At the same time, he softly warned the neighboring residents not to approach the church.
Bare stone walls with small windows that could afford only one person passage.
A poor desk and a small book shelf lined up, opposite of which was a simple bed.
And yet the remaining space was small enough that even just three or four men would make the whole place cramped.
The only light source, a lone old-fashioned lamp that flickered unsteadily and irregularly.
This was the best room in this church, and the room Archbishop Oreil would be spending the night in.
In his solitude, Oreil howled with fury.
“Curse these lowly mercenaries!”
As he sat himself on that hard and uncomfortable chair, Oreil let out all of his complaints.
He hadn’t been lying when he said he didn’t expect anything, but at the same time, those words were meant to help him avoid any further inquiry.
A church like this in the middle of nowhere would normally not be worth him staying in, but he couldn’t afford to attract attention right now, so he had no choice.
In fact, to avoid causing a commotion as much as possible, he even had to pay the mercenaries money to muffle their unhappiness regarding their lodging.
“I am an archbishop! A man chosen by the goddess herself! Yet these mutts dare look down on me!?”
Driven by all that rage bottling within him, Oreil furiously swept through the table with his arm.
A loud sound resounded, but no mercenary came up to check on their boss.
In that moment, Oreil should’ve already realized that something was wrong, but he had already completely lost control of his emotions.
“All of these sorry little bastards! Every single one of them! Just who the hell do they think they are!? Cures it, curse it all, I say! This is all that damned Masquerade’s fault! How dare he get in my way! How dare he make me suffer so!”
Then his wrath turned to that existence partly responsible for his predicament.
All that sweat and blood spent talking to all those nations to establish an alliance, and even that position he spent his whole life pining for… All of it was gone, and the person behind it all was the Mask… Not knowing that the church had intended to dispose of him all along.
“Just you wait… Haa… Haa…”
Perhaps he was finally satisfied after letting out his pent-up anger or perhaps he’d merely gotten tired, but regardless, Oreil sat on his chair again, though his breathing remained haggard and the anger on his face did not fade.
But when he thought of what was to come, that too calmed down, and a smile appeared in its place.
When he took out a small wooden box from his chest, that smile grew only bigger.
“Ku, ku ha ha ha! Wash your neck and wait, you filthy, meddling assassin. At long last, this Archbishop Oreil will bring you the divine punishment you so rightfully deserve!”
A twisted smile unbefitting a clergy man surfaced on the archbishop as an unsightly laugh resounded.
An existence that has left his mark on the history of this world will be destroyed as an enemy of the church.
But beyond that, he would recover that which he had lost— No, he would gain even greater honor and authority
As foolish as it was, he believed that wholeheartedly, not even realizing that the other side might fight back, only allowing himself to revel in that sea of excitement and joy.
“───And since when did you become distinguished enough to call divine punishment?”
It was then that a quiet voice as cold as ice resounded.
For a moment, Oreil didn’t understand. One reason was because that voice belonged to a woman, another reason was because the voice came from outside.
But before he could react any further, the girl leisurely opened the door and entered.
“W-Who goes there!? I-I mean, who’s esteemed self do I owe the honor to!?”
The poor excuse of a light that he had made him unable to immediately recognize the person that appeared.
But the existence of this visitor was just too dazzling.
She was likely a young woman in her twenties.
At first glance, she seemed to be wearing a white robe, but a better look would show that she was in fact wearing a nun’s garment, and she was wearing a wimple of the same color as well. A sister then.
She looked too gentle to be the owner of that cold voice, but for some reason, her eyes were closed.
“A-Ahh, w-why are you in a place like this!?”
Oreil said upon realizing who it was.
It was just a young girl, and alone at that, and yet the sight of her felt as though he’d found himself in the guillotines already.
But thinking that there might still be a chance to turn things around, he acted as though he’d merely been taking by surprise, and hastily knelt before this woman that was less than half his age.
“My holiness, if it would not trouble you, please enlighten this one as to why the saint herself would arrive in such a remote place as this?”