Chapter 2: Departure for the South
In the chapel of the main church, Archbishop Zekyutos, Archbishop Zappan, and other priests were gathered, and when Hirune entered, they made the holy seal.
Archbishop Zekyutos was a large man with a somewhat strong face, the crease between his eyebrows extending to the middle of his forehead. His face hardly moved, and the people involved had never seen him laughing before.
Zekyutos urged Hirune to go in front of the statue of the Goddess.
(Is he asking me if I slept well?)
Feeling his gaze on her, Hirune shook her head.
Zekyutos closed his eyes and replied, “I see,” and sternly opened the parchment in his hand.
“The Great Saint Hirune will now be on her way to the southern land of Ixendahl. She will build a great church to heal the land defiled by the miasma, and pray for the peace of the land. Mephistopheles will fully support this and pledge to work to deepen the faith in the Goddess.”
When Zekyutos finished, he made the holy seal.
The southern region is a place where a lot of miasma is common and ‘demons’ possessed by the miasma roam around.
Ixendahl is an important base in the south, a remote city surrounded by a large wall. Even now, people live in the city, fighting against the threat of demons.
The reason why Ixendahl has not been abandoned until today was because the kingdom can’t afford to abandon the southern region, which boasts rich resources, and has been sending soldiers there on a regular basis.
The Church of Mephistopheles has also sent many saints to the area.
The southern region was large and is chronically overflowing with miasma, so they take trips in the form of pilgrimages to purify it. It was obvious that if they didn’t do so, the miasma would eventually overflow into the central Royal Capital as well.
(It seems that the first difficult task for a new saint is to make a pilgrimage to the southern region, but …… I’m a great saint who skipped that step. …… Thanks to everyone, the world is peaceful.)
Hirune remembered what Wanda had told her.
Thanks to the efforts of the saints, the miasma is under control.
The balance of the world has been maintained.
That’s the story.
(Are Great Saints really that great? I don’t feel like anything has changed. …… I’m sleepy. ……)
Hirune bit back a yawn.
In recent years, there have been many miasma outbreaks, and they were walking on a tightrope. The equilibrium between the purification and the miasma encroachment is slowly breaking down, and the number of refugees from the south is increasing.
This was the best news that had come to the southern region, which was on the edge.
A girl of only ten years old had appeared like a comet and become a great saint through the favor of the goddess.
Not only the royal capital, but the whole world had high hopes for Hirune.
(I’d like to laze around while doing my best to purify in moderation…….)
Hirune thought absentmindedly as she looked up at Zekyutos.
She was at her own pace.
“Great Saint Hirune, would you accept the commission to the south?”
Zekyutos asked politely.
His low voice echoed in the chapel.
Light spilled from the stained glass windows, and a serene air flowed through the chapel.
Hirune, dressed in the clothes of a Great Saint, blinked at Zekyutos and looked at the priests gathered in the chapel.
(Of course I’ll go. I want my own big church, you know. Fufufu.. …… Let’s go for the whitest company in all of Ever Sophia! Mainly three meals and a nap, four days off a week, irregular holidays ……)
It was no longer a white company, it’s more like a whimsical coffee shop run by an old retired man. It seems absolutely impossible, but it’s good to have a dream.
“Yes, sir. Let’s head there right now.”
Hirune said with a smile.
The priests who were watching were so impressed that they carefully made the holy seal without anyone telling them to do so.
Hearing the reply, Zekyutos also made the holy seal and began to chant the scripture.
The departure ceremony was over in about twenty minutes, and Hirune headed for the ranks gathered in the square of the main church.
Hirune and Jeanne walked surrounded by priests.
“Hirune-sama, it’s a three-week journey to the southern city of Ixendahl. Let’s do our best.”
Seeing Jeanne’s smile, Hirune froze.
(What? Three weeks? It’s going to take three weeks?)
“Jeanne, is there something wrong with my hearing?”
“What’s wrong? I thought I cleaned your ears yesterday. ……”
“Yes, I had my ears cleaned. It felt really good.”
“You can’t do it again today, okay? Wanda said it’s not good to do it every day.”
“I’m fine, I’ll heal with holy magic. I’ll ask you again today.”
“It’s not good to do it every day. Let’s do it in three days. Okay?”
“Well, ……, if Jeanne says so, I guess I have no choice. ……”
As Hirune spoke, she noticed that the conversation was heading in a strange direction.
Shaking her Great Saint robe, she coughed softly.
“We’ll talk about ear cleaning later, I heard you say three weeks. Does it take three weeks to get to Ixendahl?”
“Yes, it does. Three weeks by carriage. If the demons appear, it’ll take even longer.”
“What ……!? a long journey without a bed!?”
Hirune was despairing at the thought of three weeks without a bed.
Jeanne smiled, as if she had expected it.
“There’s nothing to do while you’re on the road, Hirune-sama. No Bible readings, no rounds, no celebrations. You can doze off in the carriage as long as you like.”
“Oh, what a wonderful carriage ride. Let’s travel for two months instead of three weeks.”
Hirune was quick to flip.
“If we travel for two months, the others will get tired.”
“That’s true, too.”
“We’ll be in the square soon, so please do your best to hold back your yawns.”
“I understand. I’ll be careful……”
It was strange that the word “yawn” made her feel sleepy all of a sudden.
Jeanne gave a wry smile as if to say, “what a troublesome person.”
While they were talking, they arrived at the square.
The southern brigade of the Mephistopheles Church was waiting in the square, and a white chalk carriage was waiting in the center of the formation.
(It’s Spectacular. There’s about a hundred soldiers and people from Mephistopheles traveling in different carriages. Since I’m going, they’re all coming with me. …… I’m starting to feel bad about that. ……)
When the Great Saint Hirune arrived, the soldiers made the holy seal at once.
“–I wish you the blessing of the Goddess Sophia.”
Hirune mumbled this and quickly chanted the holy magic of purification, stardust fell on the soldiers’ heads. The soldiers seemed to be moved by the glittering stardust, and their faces tightened. It seemed to have created a stronger feeling that they would definitely protect the Great Saint.
“Hirune-sama, please watch your step.”
Jeanne opened the door and Hirune got into the chalk- white carriage.
Hirune looked in to see if anyone had entered first.
“Holly. You’re with me?”
Hirune smiled at the happy miscalculation.
Holly turned her head away when she saw Hirune’s big eyes crinkle.
“Actually, Wanda has assigned me to be your guardian.”
“Thank you for being my guardian. I can’t do anything so I rely on you very much. I can be with you again.”
Hirune sat down next to Holly, looking happy.
Jeanne also looked happy.
Holly glanced at Hirune with a slight blush on her cheeks and shrugged her shoulders.
“It can’t be helped. It’s the role of a good saint to do these things.”
“Yes it is. Jeanne, it’s good that Holly’s with us.”
Jeanne nodded, her smile shining like a sunflower plant.
“…… I always fall out of sorts with you guys. Haa, this is no good.”
Holly’s cheeks twitched with an itchy look on her face.
And so their journey south began.