Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
The Church’s Corruption
Paula said she’d look for the priest, but there was only one thing in her mind.
I’ll look for Hikaru-sama and ask him if I can use my healing magic.
She couldn’t tell the man that she was a Healer. She had to keep her abilities secret. There was also the possibility that Hikaru wouldn’t allow her to even if she asked permission. In the end, Paula didn’t have confidence in herself.
She ran towards the hotel. By the time she reached it, she was out of breath. She had strayed too far from the first residential district than she originally thought. Still, she dragged her legs to the third floor.
Only Lavia was in the room.
「Let’s go help them quick.」Lavia said after learning about the situation.
Paula almost cried from joy. The only mistake she made was thinking Hikaru was around, but Lavia’s permission would work. However, Paula’s healing magic was to be kept secret, so they needed to do something. That’s where Lavia’s disguise came in.
Lavia took a hooded robe big enough to cover her whole body from head to toe, while only exposing the tiniest amount of skin. The plan was to pretend that Lavia did the healing.
「All right. We’re good to go.」Lavia said.
After leaving a note, they left the hotel. It took almost an hour for Paula to return to the church. In the meantime, she was worried about the girl’s condition. What if things turned for the worse?
「Th-There… it is…」Paula said, panting from exhaustion.
With her one point on Stamina, Lavia didn’t look tired at all, so she took the lead and opened the door to the church.
「Paula. Looks like we were a little too late.」
「What?」Paula walked towards Lavia.
「Hahaha! Now Fran is mine!」
A balding, plump middle-aged man guffawed. Paula’s oxygen-deprived brain imagined what happened—the priest returned before they did. After learning about the girl’s condition, he agreed to heal her in exchange for a huge amount of money. It appeared that the priest already used his magic on the girl as she looked more relaxed now.
「Th-That wasn’t the deal! You said you wanted money, not Fran!」
「Are you stupid? I know you don’t have 500,000 gilans. You probably only saved up 200,000 to 300,000.」
「I’m giving you the option to use Fran as collateral, so you should be grateful. I’m willing to accept a plain, commoner girl with no redeeming traits for 500,000.」
「Oh, you will! Or are you saying you have the money? You don’t, do you, Boltec?」
The girls didn’t make it in time. Paula sank down on the floor, feeling helpless.
「Hold it right there!」Lavia said in a clear voice.
「…Who are you?」the priest asked warily.
The carpenter—Boltec—noticed Paula. He realized it was the person she brought to help, but he wore a look that said it was too late.
Lavia ignored the priest and sauntered forward, stopping three meters away from the girl.
「She’s not completely healed.」
「She’s feeling better, but the root of her disease still remains. To say she’s been completely cured is laughable.」
Surprised, Paula scurried to the girl and took her hand.
「You’re right.」Paula said.「She’s recovered from the symptoms, but she’s far from being cured. As proof, her temperature is not going up.」
「What?! Is that true?!」the father asked.
「Judging from her condition, I think it’s a lung problem. To completely cure her, we need a Master Class Healer who specializes in healing diseasees. What this man used was simply Apprentice Class magic.」
Astounded, Boltec glanced at his daughter and then at the priest.
「Gesta, you bastard! You used some cheap magic and say my girl’s been cured?!」
「What?! Y-You fool! You won’t find many Healers in the royal capital who study healing diseasees!」
Gesta was right. Healers were few, and Healers who specialized in diseases were even fewer. Paula listened carefully to Fran’s breathing.
「Her condition’s better, but there’s water in her lungs. We should use Master Class healing on her right away.」
She meant to ask if Paula could use such powerful magic. Paula herself picked up what she was trying to ask and nodded.
「Please help her, Master.」Paula said.
「Very well. I’ll heal the girl immediately.」
「M-Master?! Weren’t you looking for Gesta?!」Boltec asked, surprised.
「There’s no way a shady-looking fellow can use disease-healing magic!」Gesta exclaimed.
Ignoring the priest’s words, Paula took Fran from her father’s arms and lay her down on the floor. Lavia kneeled down on the opposite side, facing Paula, and placed her hands on the girl’s forehead and chest.
「O’ God who art in heaven, in thy name I ask for a miracle. In thy right hand thou offer the gift of life, in thy left the blessing of death. Give us grace so we can survive. I offer thee my mana. I ask that thou purify the dark mist within us that corrupts our path to righteousness. It is not of humanity, but a product of evil—」
The chant was long. Paula taught Lavia what to say on the way to the church and Lavia herself had a bit of knowledge from reading books. For the parts she wasn’t familiar with, she just mumbled the words.
Ever since Paula obtained the Extra Healer job class, the number of spells she could use rapidly increased. She always thought she needed training to use Support Magic, but she managed to use it. The experience helped her a lot. She gradually learned spells that she thought she might actually be able to cast.
Paula recited the chant in a lower voice than Lavia. Volume was irrelevant to the power of the spell. Then all of a sudden, Fran’s body started glowing golden.
「I-It can’t be… A real Master Class Healer?!」
When the light subsided, color had returned to the girl’s face.
「Fran…?」Boltec nervously called the girl’s name.
「Dad…?」The girl opened her eyes.
「Dad! I feel amazing! My body’s so light, it feels like I grew wings!」
Fran jumped to her feet and embraced her father.
「Thank God… I’m so glad you’re okay…」
Boltec hugged his daughter tight, tears streaming down his face.
「Phew. Anyway, this is what real healing looks like.」Lavia said.
Although not tired at all, she pretended to wipe the sweat off her forehead. Paula, on the other hand, was in an awful state, wheezing as she slumped down. She had to use magic after running as fast as she could. Lavia let her rest for now.
「You have to undergo special training by the church to use that kind of magic!」the priest said.「Are you actually from the church?」
「Nope, not at all.」Lavia replied.「You don’t need special training for it. If you possess the qualities, you can use it.」
「Th-That’s impossible! Are you saying the church is useless?!」
As a matter of fact, the labels Master and Apprentice healing magic were something the church made up themselves. They said special training was necessary to learn them.
「I see. I get it now.」The priest suddenly chuckled.「You defy the church! In that case, I got an idea. You brought these people, didn’t you, Boltec? I’ll tell all the priests in the royal capital about you. You know what that means, right? We don’t show mercy against God’s enemies.」
The church was both a hospital and a welfare institution. If Boltec was deemed an enemy of the church, citizens would see him as an enemy as well. No one would want to be acquainted with the man lest they be labelled an enemy too.
This was Gesta’s trump card. He didn’t use it until now because he was still technically a man of status. He probably employed methods that just barely didn’t get him into trouble. But now that someone more powerful than him appeared, he’d do anything to protect his position.
I guess Paula’s healing magic was just too much for him, Lavia thought.
「I don’t mind. I’ll just leave the royal capital.」Boltec said.
「Then I’ll go with you!」Fran cried.
「What are you saying?! I alone am enough. You don’t have to sacrifice yourself too.」
「I’m not easygoing enough to live a fun life without you.」
Boltec and Fran seemed to have made up their minds. Gesta watched them, grinning.
「I’ll still make you pay the fee for my services. 500,000. Come on, cough it up!」
「What?! You’re out of your mind! These people healed my daughter, not you!」
「I’m the one who cast the magic first. Theirs was just a trick that made Fran’s body glow.」
「You bastard! You’re rotten to the core!」
「Before you leave, make sure you pay me! Or else—」
「Or else what?」A voice came from the entrance.「Either way, you’ll be arrested for breach of trust against the church.」
Everyone turned their eyes towards the door. A black-haired boy stood there, wearing a silver mask and a cloak that covered his whole body.
「Huh? What’d you say?」Gesta asked.
The sudden appearance of an intruder left the priest standing there blankly. The boy took out a few papers from his pocket.
「Are you familiar with these? Contract of sales and deeds of lands you ripped off of people who couldn’t pay for the absurd amount you charged them. This one here is a draft you wrote addressed to a noble, telling him to hush up the people complaining about you. I found similar letters in bulk.」
「H-How’d you get those?!」
「I found them by coincidence. Though I came here because it was necessary.」
The boy shot a glance at Lavia. The note she left said to come to this church as soon as possible. He came here after seeing that. Although, it was pure luck that he came across evidence of the priest’s crimes.
「It’s not like I looked you up. I just found the documents after sneaking into some noble’s house, so I took them. I came here ’cause apparently you were doing something intriguing.」
「Y-You think you’ll get away—」
「I could ask you the same. Hear that?」
The boy gestured to his ears. The sound of footsteps and armor clanging came closer and closer, as though guards were heading straight for the church.
「I told you I found other documents as well. Where do you think they are right now? Okay, I’ll tell you. I tossed them into a certain place. With your name on them, of course.」
Gesta quickly turned around to run, but a stone thrown by the boy crushed his knee, and he screamed.
「It would be troublesome if you escaped, so why don’t you lie down there for a while? I’ll be taking my leave.」
The boy turned around, his cloak flaring behind him, and left the church.
「Let’s go, Paula.」
「Wait!」Boltec stopped them as they started running for the door.「We don’t know what’s even going on…」
「It’s okay. Gesta seemed to have been doing some nasty things. Payment for healing should be given to the church. Forcing people into debt like what he did constitutes breach of trust. It sounds like he’s been using nobles to cover his tracks, but if the evidence was sent to the higher-ups, he’ll get arrested for breach of trust.」
「Does that mean we don’t have to fear him anymore?」
「Yes. Bye now!」
「I-I haven’t thanked you yet!」
「You can thank her.」Lavia said, pointing at Paula, and left through the backdoor first.
「Thank you! Thank you so much! You saved Fran by calling that Master of yours.」
「D-Don’t mention it. P-Please don’t tell anyone about my Master. She doesn’t like drawing attention.」
「Of course! About the payment…」
「We don’t need the money!」
Paula cut the conversation short and started running. Completely exhausted, she tripped over the groaning priest. She got back on her feet in a hurry and left staggering.
「I can’t even make heads or tails of what just happened…」Boltec said.
「Me neither.」Fran said.「But it’s strange. It felt like the warm power flowing into me came from the girl named Paula, not her master.」
「Is Father Gesta here?! The royal capital’s High Priest has summoned you!」
Five men entered the building; not guards, but temple knights wearing bright armor.
「So, what happened?」
Hikaru, Lavia, and Paula met at the back of the church.
「I… caused trouble for you two again.」Paula said, sitting on the ground, dejected.
Lavia smiled at Hikaru and shook her head. No, she didn’t.
「Whatever. Gesta will receive proper punishment. Let’s go, Paula.」Hikaru said as he crouched in front of Paula, his back turned to her.
「Wh-What’s this, Hikaru-sama?」
「You look like you can barely walk. I’ll give you a piggyback ride.」
「What?! I-I-I’m fine! I’ll use my healing magic!」
「I can tell you don’t have much mana. So stop lying and get on.」
「Quick. Before the knights arrive.」
Slowly, Paula moved closer.「I-I’m sorry! I must be heavy.」
Hikaru, however, started walking without trouble.「Nah, it’s fine. Believe it or not, I’m quite strong.」
「Maybe I should’ve gone out with you.」
「She’s asleep.」Lavia said.
「Already?! I was talking to her just now!」
Feeling relieved, Paula fell asleep on Hikaru’s back.
「So, Gesta’s not the only one doing awful things, right?」Lavia asked.「What about the others?」
「I’ll gather more stuff tonight and send them to the royal castle. I might as well. If Kudyastoria wins, they’ll probably be dealt with later. I must say, I didn’t expect the documents to be useful the very same day I found them.」
After that, Boltec and Fran told the authorities everything, except the part about Paula and her master.
As for the church, they believed that after recovering her strength through the priest’s magic, Fran overcame her sickness simply because she was still young. Boltec telling them it wasn’t anything serious also helped.
After donating 5,000 gilans to the church as payment for the healing services, Boltec and her daughter were released.
「Who’s this Silver Face guy?」
The commander of the temple knights grasped the report detailing today’s events. Documents indicating Father Gesta’s malpractice were thrown into the temple knights’ station. Before verifying them, the knights hurried to take the priest into custody. That’s where they met a boy wearing a silver mask coming out of the church.
The boy, who called himself Silver Face, said he was the one who tossed the documents into the station. The knights tried to secure the boy, but failed, losing sight of him.
「A boy got the better of our knights? And the station is on the third floor…」
How did he toss in the documents from an open window on the third floor?