Interlude “The Small Church”
It’s been a while since the bustling special students have been gone.
Julian, a boy of the dragon race, was reading a grimoire in his carriage. The setting sun was already about to disappear into the western ridge.
The carriage was parked in front of a small church when the coachman announced it.
“Oh, we’re staying here today. You guys can come in too.”
As they entered the church grounds, a group of three boys and girls who had been squealing and playing turned to look at them all at once.
“Oh! It’s big brother Julian!”
“Oh, really! You’re back!”
Julian chuckled as three little kids came running at him, shouting and clinging to him.
“It’s not like I’m home. I’m only staying for the night.”
“What? You’re going away again!”
“It’s not fair that you’re the only one traveling, Julian! Why don’t you take me with you?”
“Idiot. If a guy like you went on a trip, he’d be dead within a day.”
“What the fuck?”
I was walking along, roughly patting the head of a boy who was banging me in frustration, when a woman emerged from the church.
“What’s going on? It’s so noisy. …… Oh?”
The woman who wore the monastic uniform’s face lit up when she noticed the black-haired boy’s presence.
“Well, well, Julian! It’s been a long time! How have you been?”
“As you can see. I’m glad to see you and the three idiots behind me are doing so well.”
“I’m not idiot! Calling me idiot is being idiot, Juli brother!
Julian said, as the girl ranted.
“I’ve got some business to attend to and need to get to the Western Territories. I came here on the way, and I need you to take care of me and the couple behind me for the night.”
“Really…. You haven’t sent me a single letter since you left for Mildiana, and suddenly. Can’t you at least not worry us?”
“I can’t. Rather, better not.”
Julian peered into the church.
“Is that old man still going well?”
“Oh, ……, uh, Father is …….”
“What? Did he finally die?”
“No! It’s just that it’s getting harder for him to walk by himself. I’m more worried about you. You’re still so small and skinny.”
“Shut up, woman. I’m not a human being, so don’t use the same scale to measure me. I’m still eating well.”
After saying this curtly, Julian quickly walked into the church.
“Julian, wait a minute. We need to pray first.”
“I’m not interested. Just do it for me.”
“That’s how you again….! Heaven will punish you!”
“Sorry, but I’m an unbeliever. Oh, right, here….”
Julian took out a drawstring bag from his pocket and threw it to Sister. She hurriedly received it and gave him a dubious look.
“Well, it’s like lodging for the day. And food for the little brats, that kind of thing.”
When the sister opened the unexpectedly heavy drawstring bag, she found a lot of gold coins inside.
“This is …… how did you get this much money?”
“Yeah. There was a lot going on in Mildiana. It’s like a reward.”
“But even if you say that …… Hey, wait a minute.”
Ignoring the voice calling out to him, Julian walked through the small but well-cleaned chapel and knocked on the door at the back.
He replied in a blunt tone.
“I don’t know who “me” is. Go home.”
“You still have a bad mouth as usual. I’ll enter.”
Without seeming to pay attention to the person inside, he opens the door.
The room, prepared for the priest’s life, was crammed with bookshelves and looked like a study. The white-haired old man lying on the bed in the back let out an exaggerated sigh when he saw Julian.
“You haven’t changed a bit, Julian.”
“It’s been only a little over a year since I left here.”
“Hmm, I see. Did you make it into military academy?
“Of course I did. I’m not going to fall behind some small fry like that. I also got into the special student program without any problems.”
Julian looked around the room.
Unlike the chapel, which was neatly cleaned, this room was covered in dust. The ceiling was covered with cobwebs.
“Old man, clean up a little. Marite must be in trouble.”
“I can’t stand it when other people mess with my stuff.”
Marite was the name of the sister just now. She had been a friend of Julian’s since he was a child.
She would have been 20 or so this year.
“How was military school? I guess it’s hard to find someone as talented as you.”
“It would have been nice if I was the best ……, but apparently the world doesn’t work that way.”
“What’s the matter? It’s not like you. Don’t tell me you’re comparing yourself to that Ludio Lambert. That person is a monster beyond compare.”
“I know what you’re talking about. Lieutenant General Lambert is indeed a monster……I can see it clearly because I saw it with my own eye. However, there is a weird guy.”
He muttered to himself as Ilhe watched a fly caught in a spider’s web, just in time to be spotted by the spider and wrapped around it with thread.
“Is there anyone weirder than you in the world, huh? What kind of guy?”
“…… He’s just a normal human being.”
“An ordinary person can beat you with magic? If he’s a trained soldier, I didn’t see anything weird.”
“He’s a nice guy, about a year or two older than me. He took the sword, physical, and magic exams and came out on top. I thought he was more of a monster than Lieutenant General Lambert.”
Recalling the entrance exam for magic at that time, the old man who was lying in bed muttered.
“…… I never thought there would be a human being who would set such a record in my lifetime. Does he come from a famous noble family? What is his family name?”
“You’ve been doing a lot of research in the past, and now you’re interested? He doesn’t have a last name, He’s just a commoner.”
The old priest was silent, as if astonished. Julian continued.
“And that’s not all. …… Hey, old man, can you read ancient script?”
“I was young too. I used to be able to read a little, but now I don’t know anything. If I had a book written in that script, I’d buy it with all my money.”
“This church is going down, old man.”
“I don’t care. As long as I can satisfy my intellectual curiosity, that’s all that matters to me. I don’t care about anything else.”
This old man, who didn’t seem like a church priest at all, was the one who took Julian in as an orphan, and was like a foster parent to him.
As a member of the dragon race, Julian originally had a high affinity for magic. His talent blossomed and he quickly learned a variety of magic, thanks in part to reading the grimoires that this eccentric priest had collected.
Julian suddenly stares at the old man. He narrowed his eyes a little when he saw the old man on the bed, looking lively and talking cheerfully.
At the most, he has one year left.
Something like a dragon race intuition told him that the old man had very little time left.
No man can defeat old age. Unless you mess with natural law.
“Hey, Julian. Don’t shut up and tell me about this person who’s stronger than you.”
“You’re just an old man with his feet in a coffin, but you still have the same curiosity. There’s no one in Mildiana who can beat him when it comes to fighting.
“You mean to tell me that such a great talent has suddenly appeared? It’s frightening. What else?”
“I’ve only known him for a little over a month, so I don’t know him that well. But he’s a little strange.”
“Say it quick, you little shit.”
“You should be patient a little bit, you dying old bastard.”
Julian didn’t seem particularly offended, although he did swear.
Because this is the natural way to interact with this old priest. He thought that his own bad attitude and language was probably due to this old man’s influence.
“He seemed to be very concerned about the demons.”
“The demons … huh, the youth of today?”
“I don’t know the old days, but how was it when you were? Did anyone know the demons deeply?”
“No, I didn’t see it. I was interested in them, too, but I could hardly find any books about them… I believe that they …… have probably been burned.”
“Anyone with a modicum of knowledge of history knows that 500 years ago, a Hero went to defeat the Empire and was defeated. The result was the defeat of the empire. I wonder if it has anything to do with it?”
“They want to hide inconvenient history. They can’t hide the outcome of the last battle, but at least they can get rid of the other details.”
Julian, who had just experienced the Final Droplet incident, could not deny his opinion.
It was another incident that was buried in the dark of history. He couldn’t talk about it in detail because he had been forbidden by Ludio to talk about it, but there are probably a number of other things like that.
“So, did he has an interest in the demons?”
“No, I think he was more concerned about the heroes who would defeat them than the demon race…. I’ve never seen a guy like that before, so I honestly don’t know what was he thinking.”
“Hmmm. A hero from 500 years ago, huh…. It is said that she was a beautiful woman, although there are few written records of her. I wonder if he was in love with that hero.”
“It might be. He seemed to like women somehow….Ah, right, there’s one more thing that’s unusual about him. He’s got blue hair.”
As soon as he said this, the old priest, who had been lying quietly in bed, jumped up.
“What? Cough… cough..”
“Hey! Don’t get up suddenly if your back hurts…….. What are you getting excited about, old man?”
Julian lent a hand to the old man, who was dumbfounded but had a sore back, and let him lie down quietly.
“I don’t want to live in this body anymore. I want to go to afterlife as soon as possible.”
“Don’t say that, old man. So, how did you get so excited to get up?”
“…… Julian. Do you have any idea how rare it is to find someone with blue hair in the Empire?”
“I don’t know much about it, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything else like that …… can it be, I know it’s pretty rare, but?
“So, do you remember the story of the Divine Sword Revisistra and the blue-haired hero?”
“Hmm, was that a story you told me a long time ago ……? If I am not mistaken, the legendary hero who helped found the Elberia Empire and defeated the Dragon God King in the Zenan Dragon God Realm in the north had blue hair?
Today, Zenan is called the Dragon Kingdom, but it is said that its original name was the Dragon God Realm.
Nowadays, humans and dragons coexist in this country, but in the past, there were only dragon races.
“Very well. The Hero defeated the Dragon God King with the Divine Sword Revisitra, created by the Great Goddess Orphelia.”
“That’s what it was about. So?”
“…… After that, it is said that those who wielded the divine sword Revisistra were always those with blue hair. And, according to old literature, those born with blue hair always possessed some kind of divine power.”
“You mean every blue-haired person was a prophet?”
“There are many who advocate it. But the number of blue-haired people has been decreasing over time. Nowadays, it is even said that no one is born with blue hair unless they are a mutation, except for a certain duke’s family.”
“Hmmm. ……? No, but I believe it was General Duras who became a great hero after his battle with Zenan.”
Julian was a little intimidated by the sudden intensity of the words.
The bedridden old priest struggled with the pain in his back, but he kept his fingers pointed in a certain direction.
He looked at it. He looked over and saw a stack of documents bound in a simple form.
“That was all supposed to be burned. Even today.”
Julian noticed that the bundles of documents were stacked one on top of the other.
Each one describes a different field of research. Each cover was given a different title.
“A strange disease that occurs in the Kingdom of Lugal.”
“About the Divine Sword Revisitra and the Great Hero.”
“On the Bloodline of the Kingdom of Tsefte Aria and the Erosion of the Great Forest.”
“Regarding the Great Famine of the Zenan Dragon Kingdom that occurred in the year 798 of the Empire.”
From a cursory glance, it looks like a bunch of four research results.
None of the titles were something he’d seen much of before.
However, from the current flow of the conversation, the most important thing would be the research results of the divine sword.
“If you want to keep traveling, read this. And if you can memorize all its contents, …… Don’t beat around the bush. Burn it right now.”
“What’s the matter with you all of a sudden, old man? I can’t believe you just handed over your research results to someone else.”
“I’m not in shape to do research anymore, but each of these fields of study represents an important part of my life. I want to leave it to someone I can trust.”
“Oh, so you trust me now? Well, if I can get it.
I’ll take it, though, thanks. I’ve already read all the grimoires I have, so it’s perfect.”
He was holding a bundle of materials that weighed quite a bit when he heard a knock on the door.
“You two. It’s time for dinner,” said Sister Marite’s voice.
“All right, I’m coming.”
When he said so and tried to bring the materials, the old priest said.
“…… ‘I killed a person,’ you too.”
Julian looked at the old man silently. He had no expression on his face.
“Marithe and the children will be saddened when they find out.”
“Is there any magic that can detect such signs? I’d love to learn about it.”
“You fool. I may look like this, but I’ve dealt with a lot of people in my profession. That’s why I know…I know what it’s like to be someone who has crossed the line.”
“Don’t worry. I’ve only killed people who were after my life. And then there was the time I was attacked by bandits and I fought them back….”
Julian cowered his shoulders.
“Isn’t that what happens to everyone in the military?”
“You are no longer the man of your childhood, the man who was unwilling to fight.”
“Old geezer, don’t remember such unnecessary things. You should be worrying about your own health.”
With a curt answer, Julian left the room.