Third Death Row Series: According to God, Death Is Salvation and Killing Is a Good Deed. The Source Is Me. - Chapter 20
- Third Death Row Series: According to God, Death Is Salvation and Killing Is a Good Deed. The Source Is Me.
- Chapter 20 - Church Inhabitants
Translator: MadHatter Editor: MadHatter
“Captain, if you don’t mind, would you like to have lunch with me after this?”
Thilia called out to me as I was ready to head back to my room after the meeting was over.
I nodded for a second before remembering that I had something to do and forming an apologetic face.
“Sorry about that. I have to go out for a while after this. Excuse me, but could you invite me out again some other time?”
“Oh, I understand. I will invite you again.”
Thilia gracefully bowed her head and left. Her emotional regulation was still a bit flawed, but she was excellent in the way she treated her superior, her perception of distance, and her bearing.
While she was my subordinate in a special position in the operations room, Thilia performed her duties well even when maintaining a certain distance from me and making sure that other officers did not form a negative opinion of me. Whether this was a natural process or she was thoughtful about the situation would be unclear. I assumed she was setting herself up so she wouldn’t be engaged if there was a conflict in the operations room between me and another person. She was the type of human being who could rise in the ranks.
I, too, was grateful for this space between us. After returning to my room and getting ready, I quickly left the inn.
Within 20 minutes of walking, I eventually came in sight of the church with the high roof that I had visited yesterday.
Although I didn’t inform them of my visit time, I hoped to meet the priest today.
It seemed my fears were unwarranted.
At the sight of the man’s back tending to the spectacular flower beds on the church grounds, I heaved a sigh of relief.
The man stopped weeding and looked back at me, perhaps aware of my footsteps.
Perhaps it was the brightness of the sun, or perhaps his dull eyes were narrowed. The corners of his eyes were creased with fine wrinkles. In appearance, the man looked to be in his late forties.
“You don’t look familiar. By any chance, are you the one who came to see me yesterday?
“Yes, I am Kanaki Taiga, a member of the 6th Division of the Imperial Army of St. Arnold. I am here today by order of Master Perth Aguina Nottol.”
At the mention of the name of the bishop who currently held the number two position in power after Iris, the color of the man’s eyes changed. The look in the man’s eyes was less one of flattery and more of caution. It would be a bit tricky if he was the type to cling to his current authority.
“Oh, it is an honor to have you come all the way to a place so far away from the capital city. My name is Roy, and I am a priest here at the church. Let’s not just stand around and talk. Please come in.”
“Thank you very much.”
Following Roy’s broad back, I entered the church and was instantly enveloped by a solemn atmosphere that was drastically contrasted with the one outside.
“…The church is beautiful, isn’t it?”
That was my genuine impression. From the moment I entered the church, my eyes were drawn to the stunning stained-glass windows that adorned the entire back wall. Despite not being a particularly grand building, it felt unusually spacious, perhaps due to the high ceilings. The chairs placed at equal intervals did not make me feel cramped, and the central aisle was spacious enough to allow plenty of room to walk around. Until entering the church, I was anticipating a slightly larger meeting place for a church in such a small town, so I was a bit struck by how “church-like” the interior was.
“I would be honored to hear that. As you can see, this church is a shabby place, but I told my family and Kyle to be thorough in cleaning it so as not to disappoint the believers who visit the church.”
By “family,” I assumed he was referring to one of the three sisters who served at the church. As for Kyle, he might be the boy I met yesterday, but as for the priest and the sister, they seemed to be a married couple.
“I see. Then the one who was tending the flower beds earlier?”
Roy answered modestly, “Yes, the inside of the church is essential, but we also take care of the outside so that our faith will not be disregarded,” yet I could tell that behind his words was firm confidence.
He must have confidence in the depth of his faith in the Aether God and in his own work to embody that faith. Indeed, to this point, I found no room for doubt as to the high degree of religious piety in the human being known as Roy.
A breath of relief was released when I was promptly shown to the guest room and offered a cup of cold hojicha (roasted green tea). Even though it was early summer, it was still sweltering hot today, so I was honestly glad for the hospitality.
“So, Sir Taiga, let me get right to the point. You are here today in regards to the letter I received the other day, correct?”
“Yes. I have received an order from Master Nottol to serve as a priest in the church in Siskima while I am assigned to guard the checkpoint near Ciscima.”
I stated what I thought was written in the letter.
Roy paused to consider his response before asking, “…Is it because I am not qualified to serve as a priest in this church?”
“No, that is not the case. Just from what I have seen today, I could sense how fervent your faith is. The directive that Master Nottol gave me this time is that I should work for the church as a priest. In other words, I am to take care of all the chores that Father Roy is usually too hectic to handle.”
Roy’s expression shifted to one of surprise. But I didn’t miss the momentary relief that dawned on his face.
“What a… it is impossible that a priest from the capital of the country would do such a thing for me?”
“Yes, of course. With all due respect, Ciscima undoubtedly isn’t a large town, but even so, administering this church must have been quite a strain for three people. With only one priest, Father Roy, it must have been hard for you to take a break from your daily duties. It is my desire that at least while I am here in this town, you will have the opportunity to make full use of me and take some time off.”
“Oh… how merciful that person is…”
Of course, what I just mentioned was a fabrication of mine, but Father Roy was so moved that he even prayed, using a phrase like, “O God…”. Well, I hoped that he would take a good rest so that I would have more time to win the hearts of the believers.
At that moment, footsteps approaching this room were heard coming from the door. I spontaneously turned my attention toward the door.
The owner of the footsteps knocked rather roughly on the door and opened it without waiting for a reply.
“Father, I’m back from getting some food―eh, a guest!?”
“Kyle! I told you over and over again that if you knock, you should enter only after the other party approves!”
“I didn’t expect you to have a visitor!”
The redheaded boy, Kyle, whom I met yesterday, scratched his head and laughed wryly at Roy, who rebuked him with dull eyes.
I was under the impression that he was a firm boy when I met him yesterday, but I wondered if he was usually this childlike.
“Hey, Kyle. Didn’t I tell you before that you are not allowed to enter the reception room when there are guests present?”
From behind Kyle, I then heard a woman’s voice, which made me gasp.
“Oh, Sharon. You’re back too.”
Roy, who had been yelling indignantly earlier, suddenly changed his tone to a cheerful one as he addressed the woman who had entered from behind Kyle.
The woman gazed at me with wide eyes as she entered the guest room with a variety of foodstuffs peeking out of her handbag. The blue flame flared up even more.
“Oh, Sir Taiga. Let me introduce you. The one in front is Kyle, a priest’s apprentice. In the back is Sister Sharon. This is my wife.”
Roy’s voice, who was seated right across from me at the table, sounded awfully far away.
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