Translator: Kell | Editor: Ryunakama
I think there’s too much sunshine and rainbows inside her head…
I glanced at the saint’s face. She was as beautiful as the rumors said. Tall for a woman, she had a gentle demeanor and a softly rounded body befitting a mature lady, which, combined with her ample breasts, made her almost bewitching. She had a very childish air to her, however.
“The son of Ideaverna’s governor is having some lung problems,” the saint said. “We were on our way to treat him.” Her expression clouded.
Ideaverna was the most famous port city in the Republic of Cleon. We entered the country to gather information there.
The continent we were currently in was shaped roughly like a stout crescent moon. There were large port cities at both ends, and at the halfway point was Ideaverna, a center of maritime trade—which also made it the center of epidemics.
Unknown diseases came by ship. Because of this, there were more doctors in Cleon than average.
Years ago a doctor in Cleon was synonymous with a skilled physician, but from what I heard from Theo and the group of doctors at the inn, their numbers were dwindling.
“We chose a safe route, even if it meant going the long way around, but then we found a child collapsed,” the saint said. “When we stopped the carriage, we were attacked.”
What the hell was the priest doing then? The Church’s elite my ass.
I glanced at the priest, but he wasn’t looking at me. There was more to it, actually. He had completely covered both his eyes with a leather belt, and with his staff in hand, he looked like an actual blind man. All five fingers of his right hand had plain silver rings on them, probably to protect the fingers of his dominant hand.
But I was sure he was glaring at me just now.
“What are you looking at, foul beast?”
“So you can see!”
“I don’t have to see to know you are staring at me. My eyes are sensitive to light. It hurts from the sun or the light from a campfire. That’s why I usually protect my eyes with a light-blocking eye patch.”
I see. So that’s why he extinguished the fire before attacking the bandits.
“Just ask the saint to heal you,” I said.
“This is divine punishment handed upon me by the Goddess for my sins,” he said flatly. “It is not an injury or a disease of any kind.”
I almost threw up. Was it piety to just accept a curable ailment without doing anything? I don’t think I’ll ever understand that.
“Um… I can’t heal the Father’s eyes,” the saint timidly interjected. “I tried, but…”
“You can’t? There are illnesses that even miracles can’t heal?”
“Y-Yes. I’m sorry. I don’t even know why.”
“Because it is neither a disease nor an injury,” Zero said firmly. The saint and the priest turned to Zero at the same time. “You would not call having too much power a disease, would you? The priest’s eyes are “too good”. They take in even small amounts of light, but that also means they cannot see near strong light. As far as I can tell, the priest has better night vision than Mercenary. Perhaps what is daytime for ordinary humans is nighttime for the priest.”
A dark forest on a moonless night was frightening even to me, a Beastfallen. Although I had better night vision than normal humans, my eyes still saw far less than I did during daytime.
“Priest. You have had the condition since birth, yes?” Zero asked.
“That is correct.”
“Then if you were to have your eyes fixed now, it would only cause confusion and hinder you. That is not some kind of punishment from God, Priest. Rather, it is a rare gift. Do not put yourself down. Be proud.”
The priest was staring at Zero, his mouth open. “Thank you,” he muttered awkwardly.
Zero turned to the saint. “Saint. Why did the thieves not kill you immediately? They called you a witch and said they could kill you any time, but you still live.”
She could ask the bandits directly, but I doubt they would speak, knowing that insulting the saint in front of the priest would result in sure death. As long as they claimed that the saint was a witch, whatever statement left their mouths would not be sugarcoated, regardless if they said the truth or not.
Frowning, the saint shook her head. “I don’t know,” she said. “But they said something about going to Fort Lotus.”
“It’s an old fort located near the Holy City. It’s a historic building, but bandits have taken up residence there.”
“They were probably planning to hold her for ransom,” the priest cut in. “The powerful people in Cleon hold Her Eminence in high regard. They will not hesitate to pay in order to save her.”
She could heal any injury or disease. The rich would gladly pay any amount to not lose such a cure-all walking medicine.
“I have a question, Saint.” Zero peered at the woman from under her cowl. The saint looked at her too. “Where did you learn to perform miracles?” She went straight to the point.
The saint exhaled. “I, um…”
“The healing power that Her Eminence possesses is a miracle from God,” the priest interrupted. “A miracle is not something you can study and learn anywhere, young lady.” His voice was gentle and carried a hint of amusement, completely different from when he was talking to me. He sounded like someone teaching an ignorant child, assuming a similar attitude that Zero showed towards me.
Zero was clearly offended by the man’s attitude, however. “Are you saying that one day she simply woke up and discovered that she could heal injuries and diseases?”
“A miracle is something you do not realize exists until it happens to you. You may be born with a miraculous power, but it only manifests when you truly need God’s salvation.” The priest nodded solemnly.
Zero regarded him like she was looking at something enigmatic. “You believe in the miracle of the saint for no reason? There are records relating to God’s miracles everywhere, but the majority of them were deemed fraudulent. They were either witches pretending to perform miracles or powerless humans employing trickery.”
“I see. You are still young, but you seem to know a lot of things. While it is true that there are many frauds out there, divine miracles do exist, although they are rare. As an adjudicator from Dea Ignis, it is my mission to examine those miracles.”
“So what exactly is a miracle? How can you tell the difference between a witch’s Sorcery and God’s miracle?”
The priest stopped in his tracks, and everyone did the same. Zero and the priest stood facing each other. There wasn’t any hostility in the air, at least. The priest knew Zero was asking questions simply out of pure interest.
“Don’t you believe in God’s miracles?” he asked.
Zero frowned. “I do not know what a miracle is. Neither do I know how you judge something to be a miracle. How do you differentiate between a witch and a saint?”
“We do not need any criteria for judgement. We just know.”
“You do? Without any proof?”
The priest’s mouth curved into a gentle smile. He wore the kind of look that one would show to a child eager to learn everything.
“One day, you will know. Everything begins with faith. God does not reach out to those whose hearts are filled with doubt. On a different note, I know that it is dangerous for a woman to travel alone, but traveling with a Beastfallen will inevitably corrupt your mind. You must have your reason. If there is anything I can do, let me know. I will assist you as best as I can.”
“I have no particularly special reason for traveling with Mercenary,” Zero answered without any hesitation. “I simply wish to be with him.” She quickly resumed walking, as if she was tired of talking to the priest.