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673 – A Certain Girl’s Visit to the Holy City (side: Miria)

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“We’re finally here, Miria.”

Meltia-san says, looking back at me and smiling. Her blond hair flutters as she turns.

I look out over the city. The streets are blindingly white. Tall, solemn-looking buildings are lined up side-by-side. Each building is as beautiful as a work of art.

This is the Holy City of Ridom, the capital of the Holy Country of Liarm. It is the home city of the head of Liarm, the Pope, as well as the Saint who guides the country.

“…Thank you for sticking with me all this time.”

“You were determined to do what you wanted to do, and it would have felt bad to part ways just like that. Besides, I had stuck with you for too long to turn back. Before I met you I was just wandering around without an objective, after all. We’ve come this far, so of course I’ll stick with you until the end.”

“Meltia-san…”

“Besides, travelling around as a pair with a white mage is good for gaining experience. The experience isn’t split too many ways, and we can recover quickly between fights. There’s no way I could let an opportunity like this slip.”

The corners of Meltia-san’s mouth curve into a smile. I feel myself starting to smile too.

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“You’re so shy, Meltia-san. Whenever I praise you or say thanks, you always brush it off like that.”

“I-if you noticed, then stop saying things like that!”

Meltia-san’s face blushes bright red.

We walk through the Holy City. Scattered amongst the bright white designs of buildings is the occasional statue.

I’m amazed by the detail in each statue. But one of them is by far the most eye-catching. In the centre of the city stands a huge statue of an angel, about thirty metres tall. I have no idea how something so large could have been made.

“Amazing…”

“That’s the Angel Lumira statue. I’ve heard about it. Apparently, the Saint of the previous era, Lumira, carved it by herself in just seven days. Her beloved Hero Miia supposedly served as the model. Though there’s a bunch of different theories about that among scholars.

“I-in just seven days…? I guess she must have used magic, but she must have had a lot of mana to be able to do it so quickly.”

“Or it’s just an exaggeration to make the position of Saint more renowned.”

After saying that, Meltia frowns and peers around, then whispers to me quietly.

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“Miria… Ridom has a lot of zealous believers, even for within Liarm. We need to be careful while outside. In particular, don’t say anything bad about Saint Lilixira. All the people of this country view her as sacred. I know you don’t have a very good impression of her, but…”

“…It’s okay. I understand.”

I nod.

The reason I’ve come to the Holy City of Ridom is to directly ask Saint Lilixira about what happened in Alban.

Meltia was invited into the castle in Alban, and I accompanied her. The soldiers in the castle turned out to be slime monsters, and the princess had been replaced by the King of Monsters. I was targeted by Thermal of the Three Knights, but then was saved by a red-eyed girl and a spider monster who were with Irushia-san.

That much is fine. The problem was what happened after that.

Once the turmoil had died down… All of a sudden, it became that a high-ranking dragon that had taken control of the Kingdom of Ardesia, and the slimes were that dragon’s underlings. Saint Lilixira had driven out the dragon, saving Ardesia from the clutches of monsters.

But there’s no way that could be right. Irushia-san saved me. Besides, it’s clear he was hostile to those slimes.

He did kill Gregory-san and turned his claws on me, but that probably, no definitely wasn’t what he wanted.

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I want to know the truth of what happened. And…most of all, I want to meet Irushia-san again. That why I’ve come to the Holy City of Ridom

“But the problem is how to meet Saint Lilixira. I’ve heard she’s a busy person, so it’s questionable whether she’s even in this city. She often goes out to meet with the heads of other countries, and to subjugate dangerous monsters. There’s a good chance she’s currently trying to arbitrate in Ardesia now that their royal family has died.

I know that getting an audience with her won’t be easy. She apparently travels by riding her partner, the Holy Dragon Seraphim, so I won’t be able to catch up to her by chasing around. In order to meet her, I’ve no choice but to wait patiently in Ridom.

“Besides, there are a lot of dark rumours about the Saint. Apparently her Holy Knights are the strongest in the world. She herself has overwhelming combat abilities, and she leverages that military might to extract concessions for all the nearby countries. She apparently does a lot to support smaller counties, but the diplomacy she applies on the neighbouring countries is often exploitative.”

One of the doctrines of the Holy God religion is ‘help your neighbour, without heed for personal gain’. The Holy Country of Liarm supposedly enacts that teaching on a national scale as it saves distant lands from monster calamities.

However, the Holy County and the Saint appear to be more practically-minded than the Holy God. The ‘without heed for personal gain’ part seems to be being ignored.

“She seems quite a scary person. The reason she’s authorising a version of events in which the dragon was the one in charge is probably to turn the narrative into one more suitable for her. This is probably a good opportunity for her to install a puppet in control of Ardesia. Compared to everyone thinking she benefited while monster fought monster, it’s more convenient if she turns the dragon into the villain. She can seize control with the pretext of having saved everyone. We need to watch out, Miria. There’s a good chance the Saint will want to execute us to prevent the truth from escaping.”

Her expression grim, Meltia-san makes a cutting motion in front of her neck.

“U-umm, Meltia-san…”

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“Hah, you don’t need to be that scared. That’s probably an exaggeration, but we should be at least a little cautious. Once we manage to meet the Saint, it’s probably better if we hide the fact that that dragon is your friend.”

“No, umm, your voice is a little loud… Everyone’s looking…”

“You scoundrels would dare slander the Saint!? She’s is giving her all to mediate and lighten the suffering of the people. And yet, you would claim she’s making a puppet of Ardesia…?”

A moustached man wearing a white robe strides up to us. His face is red with rage. It feels like he could start punching any moment.

“T-this is bad, run!”

Meltia-san’s eyes open wide in surprise, and she pulls my hand as she begins to run away.

“You won’t get away! Don’t think for a moment you can get away with insulting the Saint! Hey, someone lend a hand! These outsiders have blasphemed against Saint-sama! We need to punish them!”

“P-please forgive us! We’re just rumour-loving wanderers!”

“…Meltia-san, you were the one who said we needed to be careful.”


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