I held a warm cup of milk in the greenhouse and smelled the scent emitting from it.
“Hm, it smells good.”
“……Isn’t that milk?”
“It tasted savory.”
Then Trigon murmured,
“Ah, you must be talking about something else.”
Yes. Even if I picked up mud from the roadside, it would taste great. Because now, all of the greedy people who lined up in the mansion have disappeared. Augustine’s plan to control Dubbled by creating a fake was revealed to the public. Augustine, who was captured by our knights, was handed over to the imperial family. Since the people’s attention was focused on ‘the one who tried to make a fake child’, the greedy people were all terrified.
I said with a giggle.
“Augustine, he’s in big trouble. The emperor went on a rampage seeing him.”
It was not only Augustine’s face that was revealed through the tool.
“The emperor took money from the Duke of Dubbled and appointed me as a priest.”
The world knew even that the emperor took a bribe from Duke Dubbled and tried to get involved in the thanksgiving festival.
Looking at the situayion, Augustine and the temple tied to him would all probably die.
“It won’t be the case for me, is it…?”
Trigon covered his grim expression.
As I shrugged, his eyebrows rose, looking at me through the gap between his hands.
“Do you know what I’ve done for you?”
“The imperial court’s magic code was released. Also, together with Veronica, I illegally transmitted it.”
“Do you even know that if I get caught, I’ll have my limbs torn off?!”
I sip my milk and nodded casually. Trigon made a face that looked like he was about to explode.
“So you do have a conscience on some occasions huh, even though you stole someone’s identity.”
“Ah, that’s right. I was already a sinner…”
I patted Trigon on the shoulder as he looked like he was about to faint.
“Think about it, Trigon.”
“When I broke the rule in the imperial palace to fight Glashalabolas, you dared to extort a large sum of money from Dubbled to help me?”
“If you couldn’t solve my case, you would already be dead. You’re one lucky guy.”
His face, which had been grim, suddenly turned blue. He glanced out the greenhouse door and gulped.
“At that time, my soul was sold for money… When I thought that I could make Aragorn’s lifelong dream come true, I lost my mind…!”
“Yeah, anyway, things worked out so you’re still alive. You almost died once, so why are you worried?”
“You’re comforting me, but why do I feel more pain……. I’ll just go back.”
“Yes, stay strong~!”
The chairman, who had just entered the greenhouse, saw him and was surprised because he looked so haggard. Trigon bowed his head and left the greenhouse. The chairman frowned and asked.
“Why is he like that?”
“Because of the illegal transmission.”
“…So he had a conscience too.”
“Right? I guess remorse is inevitable.”
The chairman chuckled and handed me some papers. This is the details of the person you mentioned. I heard from Seria that you ordered an investigation into the case of Empress Dowager’s ‘Medicine of Youth’.”
“The temple were involved at the time. That’s why I thought of it.”
I smiled bitterly and looked at the papers.
When I read what the chairman had investigated, I sighed.
‘Why did I investigate this man with hope that he would be different even though I knew that no matter how many times I regressed, people would never change?’
After parting with the chairman, we headed to the dining room.
In the dining room, Emeline was eating as the maids had told her.
I sat across the child and said,
“Isn’t the salmon delicious? I was surprised to eat it for the first time too.”
Most beggars couldn’t even eat fish.
Even though we have seas, only the rich could eat proper fish. The fish that was given to the beggars are usually spoiled. So no one would eat it as they would get stomach problems instead. The beggars did not eat fish, even when they were desperate, they would rather dig through the trash instead of eating it. It wasn’t until I came to Dubbled that I realized that salmon was such a delicious food. Emeline put down the fork with the salmon on it and responded,
“Are you telling me to eat a lot? If I leave this place, I won’t be able to go anywhere unless I find my dad…!”
“Do you really want to find him?”
Emeline frowned at the naive question.
“If I help you, it’s in our deal that you let me know where he is.”
“I’m being considerate of you, Emeline.”
I’ll take care of her, who was my friend in my previous life.
“If you hear it, there is no turning back. It might be more painful than it is now.”
“No way. How could it be more painful? Even if my dad isn’t a good person, I’d be happier than I am now.”
She spoke in a confident tone.
I felt that her resolution would never change, and I had to experience her stubbornness once again.
“Alright, I’ll tell you.”
“My dad is a noble, right? My mom said it. He didn’t deceive my mother, right?”
“Yes, he’s a noble.”
“Oh, as expected…! See, I’ll be happy-”
“A priest. A noble priest.”
“That’s… weird. But that’s okay though! I’m sure if it’s a noble priest, we would have plenty of resources.”
“One of the 21 priests of the central temple.”
Emeline’s expression froze. This smart kid knows what I mean. There are three conditions for 21 priests in the central temple.
First, they must have possessed outstanding divine power to be called to the central temple.
Second, they shouldn’t be occupied with the problems of their family.
‘Oath of chastity.’
Emeline was a child born out of sins. If this child visits her father, he will be immediately expelled from the temple and family for mocking God.
The central temple was in turmoil because of Augustine’s case. The emperor was furious, and after a single meeting with the pope, he threatened to reduce the authority of the corrupt temple.
The 21 priests gathered at the round table. All of them were quiet, especially those who supported Augustine, and couldn’t hide their embarrassment.
“So Priest Augustine will be kicked out?”
“It would be nice if it’s only that! But the authority of the temple would really be reduced because of this one cockroach!”
“The pope is not going to let it go. And no matter how much the emperor was furious, he cannot tamper with the authority of the temple. That’s the power of state religion.”
“We must meet some aristocrats. We will put pressure on the Imperial Family and Dubbled.”
“Yes, the pope also said he was talking to Duke Marche, so we…”
The 21 Priests began to move in a hurry. Priest Stefano, who was left in the room with some priests, shook his head.
“What kind of nonsense is that?”
“In any case, Priest Augustine… wait, Priest Stefano, isn’t that a good thing? Congratulations in advance. You became a cardinal.”
Stefano’s face became grim as the priest rubbed his hands and flattered him.
“What do you mean? The servant of God has committed such sins. The temple is in danger, and the people are confused. In the midst of this, how important is my happiness?”
“N, no, I…….”
The embarrassed priest smiled awkwardly and said,
“As expected, you are a role model for us.”
“You…just stop it.”
As he bowed his head, Stefano narrowed his brow and walked briskly. First, he had to calm the confused people. It was the priest’s mission to guide the people. He had just passed the chapel, when he saw a child in a robe looking around for something.
“Are you lost?”
“…I was looking for a confession room.”
“You can turn around the corner on the right, and find an angel statue.”
The child, who had been staring blankly at him, bowed her head, Stefano took off his coat and put it over the child’s shoulder.
“Your clothes are thin.”
As he moved, the child shouted.
“Priest, please listen to me.”
“There must be another priest in the confession room.”
“I don’t want other priests.”
He glanced at the child, then smiled and moved to a nearby bench.
The child hesitated for a long time even after sitting down, unable to open her mouth.
“If it’s difficult, should we talk again next time?”
“No, I will say it not.”
“…If the priest who took the oath of chastity has children, should the child go to see him, knowing that it would be a nuisance? Is it a sin to visit him?”
Stefano’s hardened. He glanced at the child. Her small hand was trembling.
“Well, it’s a difficult story. However…”
“How can it be a sin to just be born? It’s the priest’s fault.”
Stefano muttered, “Yes, it’s the priest’s fault for loving someone.” The child bit her lips and then asked.
“T, then, if it’s you what would it feel like?”
“Sorry, I don’t have a child so I don’t know the feeling.”
“If it’s you…”
“Then, it must be a terrible feeling.”
“It’s a terrible feeling…?”
He stood up, stroking the child’s head tenderly.
“I’m sorry. I have to go back.”
Stefano moved quickly. He didn’t look back at his child.
“Priest! Priest! Ah-”
Emeline pulled her hood down.
The child’s face who was looking at Stefano’s back, was wet with tears.
That was a refusal.
It’s a request for her to never come again, and to live as if she didn’t exist.