The temple was a small stone building built in the centre of the village.
The front door opens into the chapel with its altar and behind the altar is a door leading further into the depths.
I was led to the office at the back of the temple by sister Maria.
“I was worried because your arrival was later than expected.”
Since a while ago I have been mistaken for the priest Robert Redbull.
What should I do?
The genuine one was attacked and killed in the mountains by a demon beast.
Should I tell the truth?
“I’ll prepare some lunch quickly. Please wait a moment.”
Sister Maria’s smile is pretty.
I’ll carry on pretending to be Redbull.
From the flow of our talk, it seems that Robert Redbull was supposed to take office as the head priest here in this village. It seems his predecessor suddenly disappeared.
I’ll be disappearing tomorrow as well so they will lack a priest gain.
I’m sorry if a new ghost story is made that this village is cursed.
I was finally shown to my room and felt comfort after a long while. I feel a little relieved that I can sleep under a roof for a change.
The room seems clean but there’s a strange smell in it. Almost like sewage.
Perhaps my senses have become heightened. It’s probably because this room doesn’t seem like it’s been used in a while so the air’s gone stale.
It’s still better than sleeping outside in the cold though. I’ll stay here tonight and sneak out before dawn tomorrow.
Lunch was a galette (1)
The galette is a crepe made with buckwheat flour. Because it’s for lunch it doesn’t contain cream but eggs, cheese and vegetables.
I ate it greedily since it was the first decent meal I’ve had in a while.
Whilst eating I noticed sister Maria watching me with a smile.
“I’m sorry for my bad manners. I was hungry and it was really delicious.”
“Not at all. You ate it with such relish it was worth making it.”
Flowers bloom around her as she smiles.
This is Ikan.
This smile is Ikan. (2)
Even if I say lovely smile it can have many meanings.
A healing smile, an innocent smile, a bewitching smile, a pure smile.
This persons smile is in the Ikan category. In other words, it gives off an unconscious ero.
Sister is not bad though. I’m the bad one for thinking such a thing.
That smile is truly terrible. It pierces the heart of a DT in one blow. (3)
To a DT [pure but ero] is like what a [holy attack] would be to an undead.
As expected of a sister. I can’t underestimate her.
“Priest-sama, I’m sorry for asking at such a time but would you conduct [evening prayer] for us?”
“Tha, that’s right. I don’t mind.”
“It doesn’t have to be in full. You can just read from the scriptures. We can omit the singing, holy water and incense tonight. I think the villagers will still feel relieved from that alone.”
“Is that okay?”
“Yes…….Were you perhaps dispatched without being told the full story?”
“Well. It was like go to the site and see for yourself…..sort of feeling.”
“I see. I’ll fill you in on what’s been happening here.”
Sister Maria’s story when summarised is something like this.
In Hofkins village people started disappearing including the last priest.
The first one to go was a vagrant called Dan. At the time nobody thought much of it. They assumed he had simply moved on to another town.
A month after Dan disappeared another man called Brandon disappeared.
Because Brandon had debts people thought he had fled in the night.
The next person to disappear was a widow called Amber.
Because Amber was having an affair with a married man in the village everyone thought she had fled when it got discovered.
By this time the villagers had started to feel that something was not right.
Everyone who disappeared had not taken any belongings with them. In particular, the widow left her entire house.
The last one to disappear was the priest.
“On the day before his disappearance, your predecessor Tabria-sama came to worship with a very pale face. He started shouting at the villagers saying that he was possessed by an evil spirit.”
It quickly became a scary story and people wanted to leave the village.
“The next day Tabria-sama would not come out of his room. There was no reply no matter how much I knocked. I thought he might be sick so I entered the room but he was nowhere to be found.”
I’m no good with ghost stories.
If it was not for the two mounds swaying in front of me I’d have run away long ago.
“After searching with the villagers all that was found was a ring.”
“Was it master Tabria’s ring?”
“No. It belonged to the widow Amber.”
“………Did she give it away as charity?”
“No. The ring was attached to a torn off finger.”
Please! Hug me!
I’m scared. I can’t stop trembling.
“….Is master Tabria the criminal?”
“I don’t know because he’s now missing, however, I can feel relieved because Redbull-sama who’s an exorcist arrived.”
I see. That’s why Redbull-san was dispatched.
This is bad.
If I carry on with the flow I’ll be asked to exorcise a demon.
“I was very uneasy living alone in this temple where someone had disappeared, but now Redbull-sama is here I can feel relieved.”
Under the same roof…….two people alone?
I have Patty.
In the first place the temple is a place of worship, however, two words come to mind
When I considered this possibility I decided to stop running away and stay the night.
Compared to earth the chances of ero [lucky pervert] moments in this uncivilised world are too tempting to fight against.
I’ll look at running away in 2 or 3 days.
I changed my mind at about the speed of Mach 3.
I’m a priest, but the contents are a perverted porter named Ippei.
After lunch, I went back to my room.
Sister said that [evening prayer] is a service where the scriptures are read and the priest gives a sermon. It’s necessary to pick a short piece from the scriptures.
I sighed and opened the sacred books.
At 10am the figures of Jean & Meg could be seen in Haydn park.
It’s common for skilled adventurers to be in the labyrinth at this time of day but neither of them has the drive to go so they are sitting side by side on the bench watching people go by.
“Aren’t you going to the labyrinth today?”
Hearing a familiar voice from behind they turn around to see Patty Cherrycoke standing there.
“We came back. Bonnie-san as well. If we enter the labyrinth in this condition we will probably die.”
Jean spits his words out sulking.
“Indeed. I saw Bonnie and she said you were here.”
“Are you not going Patty-san? You look well.”
There was a slight barb in Meg’s words.
She was aware that it was absurd to hurl her pain at Patty but she couldn’t help herself.
“Patty-san is also heartless. Are you not sad anymore? Have you forgotten Ippei-san so soon?!”
While nodding silently Patty pulled the golem out of her pocket and showed it to Meg.
“This child was on my windowsill this morning.”
Jean unintentionally stood up while large tears fell from Megs eyes.
“Is that Ossan’s?…..”
Patty nodded powerfully at Jean’s words.
“I, Patricia Cherrycoke, wish to hire the [Phoenix Company]. Please look for news on Ippei Miyata.”
Indescribable emotions circle around the 2 people.
It was a joy they had not felt in a long while.
“Assault captain Jean of [Phoenix Company] accepts your request!”
Jean shouted whilst jumping.
“It seems like it will take a while. Calculating the costs will be tough. I’ll need all my accounting skills!”
Meh was laughing and crying at the same time.
“Let’s go. We’re off to Kombu Wall mine!”
That rough yet bewitching facial expression that Ippei was so taken with was back on Patty face.
(2). Ikan means bad/not good so it’s like this (situation) is “bad” (for my heart). Thanks for the help Passerby.
(3) DT means doutei (a virgin.)