――Then, at night.
“….and thus, the greedy old woman was eaten by demons. The end.”
I was telling some old Japanese folk tales to the Fellow young believers (it’s called the child group so girls are also included) in the same kids’ room.
Today’s subject is Shita-kiri Suzume.
Hearing how the greedy old woman who brought the big basket(I rephrased it as an Itembox) back with her suffered a cruel end, the mischievous Miguel shouted ‘Serves her right!’ and ran around the room.
“…..it’s a bit sad that she ended up getting eaten.”
That was Donna’s opinion.
Donna is a fair-skinned, black-haired beast race girl, who has her hair thinly braided hanging down to her shoulders.
Apparently this way of braiding is a tradition of her tribe that matches her flat ears and it suits her indeed.
Aside from Miguel and Donna, there are many other children in the kids’ room.
Their ages range from 5 years old to 11 years old.
The elder group of Miguel, Donna, Beck and Eremia serve as the core.
These four were there at the time of the attack on the Viscount Chrebl mansion.
The gluttonous Beck apparently fell asleep during the story, she doesn’t get up from the bed.
Eremia was leaning against the wall in the corner of the room and listened to my story without any particular interest.
Eremia has short-cut, silver colored hair and brown skin, a so-called Dark Elf girl.
At first glance, she is wearing boyish clothes and she herself conducts herself as a boy, but because of her well-proportioned face and figure, she can’t be mistaken for one.
She is the youngest of the four, but in ability she far surpasses them.
Among the child group, Eremia is the only one who belongs to the special squad under the direct command of the Leader.
“……oh, did I scare you?
But according to the version I heard she was eaten by demons.”
“It’s a hag that cut the tongue of a sparrow!?
If there was a divine message then I would kill her myself!”
As a child, Miguel had no mercy in his words.
No, that’s not the only thing.
The children here are being trained to kill people.
Because of that, they unconsciously consider killing people as a possible option.
Of course, I myself took the life of many 「enemies」 since the Ranzrack Fortress.
I don’t intend to say anything self-righteous at this point, but hearing children guiltlessly say ‘kill’ doesn’t feel very good.
“Say Fellow believer Miguel, Fellow believer Orochi.
Unlike you, I’m already a fully qualified emissary you know?”
Huhunn, Miguel puffs his chest with pride.
Miguel and Eremia are already assigned to the 「Sacred Duties」 of the religious organization.
In other words, they are performing the killings contracted by the religious organization with their own hands.
Miguel and Eremia believe in the teachings of the religious organization so they believe the things they are doing are their sacred duty without any doubt.
Beck and Donna also finished the training process, received their names back and currently doing the final adjustments in preparation for the sacred duties.
Compared to Miguel and Eremia they have more of a gentle personality, but in the aspect of piety, they are not at all inferior.
“Then, Fellow believer Miguel.
Why is it then we need this collar?”
Saying that, I pointed at the thing coiled around my neck.
There was an inorganic ring with a black luster.
It’s something the people of the religious organization call 「Necklace of Loyalty」
Its effect is simple, if the other party wants to punish someone, they can activate the collar anytime they want, which then will tighten around the neck.
Loyalty? Far from it, this is a slave collar.
“That is….because we are still young, so we sometimes fall for the temptation of the devils.
They said it’s a tool to make us listen to them if that happens…..”
“Even though you are a fully qualified emissary?”
“That is something Archbishop-sama decided.
All we have to do is kill who they say.”
It seems Miguel abandoned thinking about it at that point.
“Have you met Archbishop-sama yet?
I haven’t even once seen him since I got here.”
“Met, you say……Founder-sama is, how do I say it, isn’t someone you can just lightheartedly meet. His existence is in different phase(?) from us or something, is what I heard…..”
Miguel is thinking hard while tilting his head like he is about to break out in a fever.
Donna joins the conversation.
“We just observe from the congregation seats as the Archbishop-sama descends at the time of the mass.
It seems he isn’t here in the nest all the time.”
Maybe he is something of a supernatural being.
The management of the religious organization is handled directly by the Leader, Gazaine, therefore, it has effectively become an almost complete dictatorship of Gazaine.
That being said, it doesn’t look like he is abusing his power that much.
There is no way the emissaries who believe their creed would ever disobey him anyway.
If there were any malcontent elements, then I would’ve talked to them and stirred a rebellion, but I don’t hear so much of an idle complaint against Gazaine within the religious organization.
I have to say, Gazaine’s position as the proxy of the Archbishop Glutometsa is as firm as stone.
As a whole, this religious organization is governed exceedingly efficiently.
If I had to point out where that efficiency comes from, then I would say the clarity of the creed that requires obedience to the Evil God, Monguenes, the system of reward and punishment that rewards them proportionately according to how much people they have killed, and the abstemious organization structure that resembles a monastery.
I can only assume that it was a terribly smart person that planned out the system of 〈Yatagarasu〉 and this nest.
“But, we didn’t even get to see Archbishop-sama until a year ago, so we are fortunate now.”
“Right right. Ever since Archbishop-sama started to show himself the religious organization changed too.
The organization got bigger and a base perfect for 〈Yatagarasu〉, the nest, was also found.”
Miguel joined the topic.
……wait, he just said something I can’t overlook.
The nest wasn’t your hideout before?”
Miguel was shocked by my words.
“Fellow believer Orochi, don’t say hideout, it’s like we are bandits or something.
Say sacred residence instead.”
“N-no, that’s besides the point, but did you move to this 「sacred residence」 only recently?”
“That’s right. Archbishop-sama sent a divine revelation about this wonderful base, thinking of the emissaries who were wandering from battlefield to battlefield.”
“……the Archbishop-sama who didn’t show himself to the emissaries before, did that?”
This time Donna answers.
“Nn. Since we settled into this base there were many new children joining so it became fun.
The adult emissaries said that since we have a promising newcomer like Fellow believer Orochi, 〈Yatagarasu〉 will grow bigger in the future.”
I asked after thinking for a bit.
“I’m most likely wrong, but…. did Gazaine also become a Leader around that time?”
Miguel answered my question in a matter-of-fact tone.
Gazaine-sama suddenly appeared about a year ago, made the then top brass of the religious organization recognize his ability and became one of the leaders in no time.
The top brass of that time was very turbulent and after a dispute about the leadership, Gazaine-sama took the position of the Leader.”
“Who was the Leader before Gazaine?”
“…..Fellow believer Orochi.
Even if you are close with him, I don’t think you should talk about the Leader without any honorifics.”
So, who was the Leader-sama before Gazaine-sama?”
“Hmmm……how was it?”
Miguel and Donna is tilting their head.
“――until then there was a top brass, but there was no position called a Leader.”
Eremia told us.
“The top brass managed the religious organization by consulting with each other.”
“What happened to that top brass?”
“Everyone was killed.”
I unintentionally let out a sound of bewilderment.
Eremia said it like it was natural.
“It’s not something to be surprised about, right?
That’s how it is when you compete for the leadership in this religious organization.
The most skillful assassin should be on the top of 〈Yatagarasu〉.”
“Isn’t it Gazaine who is saying that?”
“Mnn….that’s, right I guess.
He started saying that after he became the current Leader….I think.”
Donna’s words are amazingly uncertain.
In other words, Gazaine took over the religious organization.
“Before this, it was strictly forbidden to kill someone within the religious organization, if you broke this law you were severely tortured and killed in the end.
…..oh? That’s very different from now, huh?”
Eremia tilts her head.
I call out to the hidden Melby with [Telepathic Communication].
“Nn, I know what you want to say.
Indeed, there are traces of hypnotic magic on these children.“
“Same as the woodcutter in Riverette Village?“
It was imprinted much more softly over a long period of time, but it was done by the same practitioner.“
Melby declared as such.
“That reminds me, one month ago, the night when the mansion was attacked in Fauno City, Melby was worried about something.
Was that perhaps――”
“Ah, the thing from that time?
That was, the servant…..Marcella-san, was it.
I had a strange feeling about her.
If I think about it now, she was under the same spell, only very lightly so we don’t get suspicious.
If I was more reliable that time…..“
Melby said feeling mortified.
As I thought.
That means there is a high chance that 〈Yatagarasu〉 knew that we removed the spell from the woodcutter in Riverette Village.
Therefore they didn’t brazenly use magic on Marcella-san like with the woodcutter, but they used a combination of threats after kidnapping and weak magic and instructed her to do something.
It seems it was the 〈Yatagarasu〉 members that scattered the pollen of the Repchipa grass, so Marcella-san’s role was probably only providing information about the security and opening the locks from inside.
The fact that Melby’s existence was not exposed means that after we left, members of 〈Yatagarasu〉 went back to gather information in Riverette Village and only found out that someone among us removed the spell.
They probably thought that Julia-kaasan, who is an excellent mage, was the one who removed it.
We asked that they don’t tell anyone from outside the village about Fairies, and it looks like the people of Riverette Village faithfully kept their promise.
The fact that Melby wasn’t discovered was the silver lining.
Because if Melby wasn’t here, then everyday life would’ve become many times more difficult here.
“Wh-, what are saying suddenly.
I didn’t notice the spell that was put on Marcella-san you know?“
“That can’t be helped.
They were one step ahead of us.
Me too, I was a bit conceited from learning various skills.
But, because Melby is at my side now I’m really being saved.
I’m not talking about [Telepathic Communication] or the dimensional stash, if Melby wasn’t here with me now I honestly don’t think I would’ve been able to keep myself sane.“
“I, I see…..
You are welcome…… is this the appropriate thing to say here?“
While I was speaking with Melby, my Fellow young believers tidied up the room and started to slip into their beds.
“――Fellow believer Orochi, turn off the light please.”
Since Miguel asked me, I extinguished the ∩ (Light) that was floating in the room with ∃ (Erase).
“Couldn’t you just cancel the ∩ (Light) without especially using ∃ (Erase)?”
Eremia asked me.
“Everything depends on practice.
Particularly erase magic is something you have to be able to use in an instant or it’s meaningless.”
“Is that steady practice the secret of Fellow believer Orochi’s strength~?”
Donna said while putting the smaller children to sleep.
“I still have a long way to go.
I couldn’t even get a hit on Gazaine yet.”
“There is frickin’ nobody in this nest that can get a hit on the Leader!”
The retort from Miguel served as the end to the conversation, then after a short while, the sleeper’s breathing from the children could be heard.
After confirming with [Detect Presence] that everyone fell asleep, I slowly got up from the bed.
――Well then, the night is just beginning.