Second Death Row Series: A Death Row Convict Teaches at a School of Magic - Cel b17
- Second Death Row Series: A Death Row Convict Teaches at a School of Magic
- Cel b17 - Hit on and Religious Views
Translator: MadHatter Editor: MadHatter
I turned around only to find a blue flame.[i]
“―I haven’t seen your face before, mister.”
It was probably about an hour after I had entered the bar.
While I was sipping a glass of warm sparkling wine at the end of the bar, I casually observed the people who came into the bar.
The bar was not run by a merchant, but it seemed to be reasonably prosperous, and the ten or so round tables were all occupied and bustling with activity.
Even so, I was aware of the occasional sideways glance, and I kept my guard up at least a little when footsteps made their way toward me.
“You’ve been staring at the people in the bar for a while now, but is this your first time here today or something?”
But when I caught sight of the woman in front of me, I let my guard down, even if it was only momentarily.
Her eyes possessed a spark of fire in them. It may sound clichéd, but that was the first impression I had.
Her blue eyes were different from blue eyes[ii], but they had a ferocious light in them. The indescribable brilliance of her eyes awed me briefly, and then I was mesmerized.
“…Yeah, that’s right, but what about you?”
When was the last time I genuinely choked on my words? There was a slight pause, but I managed to reply that much.
“I knew it. Hey, do you mind if I sit with you? I’d like to talk to you.”
She raised her eyes as though to sidestep my question. The blue flame of her eyes intertwined with mine. There was an enigmatic force in her gaze that did not permit me to refute her.
“―So mister, you are from the capital city. But surely, you look somewhat like a city-dweller, don’t you?”
“Do I appear that way to you? I’ve never been told that before.”
“Yes. Your atmosphere is very city-like.”
“That sounds right.”
It was a bizarre spectacle. In a town I had never been to before, I was somehow drinking at the same table with a woman I had never seen before. Since I didn’t know her true intentions, I had to be at least vigilant, but given that she was one of the most strikingly attractive women I had ever encountered, I didn’t feel too bad about conversing with her, despite the envious glances I often received from the men at the other tables.
“Since you’re in the capital, is it possible that you’ve seen the archbishop before?”
“When you say archbishop, you mean…”
“It’s St. Ilias, Ilias Aguina Valignano.”
What, you were talking about Iris?
I swallowed the line that was about to escape my throat and quickly composed a word of substitution.
“Oh, you mean St. Ilias? Yes, there was a ceremony the other day, so I got to see her briefly, even though it was far away.”
Or rather, I actually met and talked with her the other day.
“Really! How nice. I wish I could have seen her just once.”
“You must be a great admirer of St. Ilias.”
I was on the verge of saying that I didn’t even know Iris’ full name, but I swallowed it down because I was afraid it might upset her.
“Of course. As an Aether believer and also as an imperial citizen, I find her truly marvelous.”
She sipped the whiskey after saying these words, but her demeanor changed as she set the glass down on the table.
“But shadows are usually produced by excessive light. Even though Master Ilias has a great deal of popularity, not all believers are fond of her. There are definitely not just a few aristocracy and businessmen that dislike the Aetherism religion, especially in this town…”
“…I hope you won’t be offended by the fact that I’m relatively sober, but even if Aetherism is the official state religion, I think it’s up to the individual to determine whether or not to believe in it.”
I did not forget to add, “I do believe in Aetherism, though.”
“That is undoubtedly the case! Every adherent is aware that the teachings of Aetherism contain a phrase encouraging tolerance for followers of other religions. But what does the Bible have to say about this? If you say you’re a believer, then you must know it too, right?”
Her tone was half spiteful and half testing me. Indeed, it was about the finer details in the Bible. The majority of Imperial subjects would likely answer incorrectly or did not know at all if this question were posed to them.
“But as fellow human beings, we don’t just focus on individuals whose actions or dispositions undermine our ability to have faith in God… I think the nuance of the question was something like this.”
“…Haha, mister, to understand this, you must really be a believer.”
“I already told you. I’m such a devoted believer that I even attended the ordination ceremony.”
“I wonder about that. You might just want to see the body of St. Ilias, you know. You lecher.”
The woman laughed in a high-pitched voice as if she were a little girl. Not to sound rude, but in appearance she looked about the same age as I was, but her expressive face and the fire in her eyes, which still blazed with radiance, projected an imbalanced charm against her looks.
Not to mention, she never spoke of her identity at all, nor did she ask any questions about mine. She probably didn’t know anything about me except that I was an Aether believer from the capital, while I didn’t know anything about her except that she was an Aether believer who lived in this town. Even our mutual names were a mystery to one another.
Perhaps she was afraid of causing trouble, or perhaps she just wasn’t interested in me.
But at least she was intrigued by the idea of talking to me.
“In the worldview of Aetherism, this world is hell, and we are born and die in this world, and after we die, we are born again as something different, and then we die again… it is a repetition… We are supposed to believe that one day the Aether God will manifest in this world and save us believers who are in trouble because we are suffering. What do you think about that?”
“…Are you questioning whether or not I’m a believer again?”
“No, I’m simply asking your opinion. There are believers in this town, but they all just believe in the Bible and its teachings. Sure, I agree that this is an essential part of faith, but sometimes I like to talk to someone like you and find out how people… um… what’s the word again…”
“Yes! I want to gain insight! So what are your thoughts?”
She drank more and more, becoming amiable and talkative as she did so.
I was a little concerned about my ever-shrinking personal space, but I decided to focus on telling her what she wanted to hear.
“Umm, yeah. It is not impossible for the Aether God to manifest in our world if, as claimed in the Bible, the sacred power is indeed given to believers by the Aether God. However, the Bible makes no mention of it specifically, and even if we accept the idea that this world is hell, there isn’t any proof of reincarnation, so it’s difficult to determine.”
“Ah, no, no. It means that a person dies and is born again and again. I misunderstood it as something different. Maybe I’m a little drunk.”
I gave her a bitter excuse, but she seemed to be more preoccupied with the religious beliefs of the Aetherism religion.
“But there are those who say that successive archbishops―including the current St. Ilias―have memories of their previous lives.”
“…I know this is extremely rude, but I think it’s a poor basis because there’s no way to confirm it with a third party. Although I myself have no reason to doubt that St. Ilias had recollections of her past lives, it could be challenging for someone who does not hold a belief in Aetherism to accept this.”
“I see… Well then―”
Her questions about Aetherian religious beliefs, precepts and even contemporary culture were varied, leading her to ask for my opinion.
Since I might be a priest in this town, I was careful not to say or do anything too negative about Atherism. Nevertheless, when asked the range of questions that I felt it was okay to talk about, I sincerely revealed what I was really thinking, and each time she nodded deeply, the fire in her eyes burning even more. I often wondered what her motivation was, but in the end, I never found out.
“Thank you. I haven’t had that much pleasure today in a long time.”
“Though it was mostly about Atherism.”
She was in a fantastic mood after leaving the bar, but surprisingly, we split up without any reluctance.
Having never told each other our true identities, I had faint hopes of a “one-night stand,” but it seemed I was reading too much into it.
Well, I would be staying in this town for more than a short period of time. It would not be impossible for us to meet again someday.
After a brief goodbye, we went our separate ways without looking back.
[i] It’s sort of a figurative expression but without direct meaning. If one considers intense anger to be a red flame, quiet rage is calmer in color but has a higher temperature (blue). Or something just like passionate
[ii] Not too sure what’s the difference except the word “blue” is written differently. But it seems to be the same color. Both are the same color that is common in Caucasians’ eyes
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