My fist thrust towards the church’s solid barrier.
I heard the barrier creak but no other changes overall. No way, did I lose?
A young priest came rushing from the church in a hurry.
「Right now I’m trying to deactivate the barrier’s magical device. After I deactivate the barrier, Count Dolknes will be able to pass the invisible barrier.」
Uh-oh, that wasn’t me using my strength to the fullest. If I get serious, this kind of barrier would break pretty easily.
Yosh, time for revenge. I close my eyes and concentrate. I focus all my strength on my right fist.
「It’s time for you to taste my Yumiela Punch.」
Okay, let me explain. Yumiela Punch is a punch that only I can deliver. It’s amazing.
Usually I either consciously or unconsciously suppress my power since it affects my surroundings. It’s the best technique to suppress my maximum power.
I feel the magic flowing inside my body. The enormous amount of power circulating isn’t just because of my power alone, but nature’s magic as well which is in sync with my body and power.
As I thought about how I could sense the flow of magic in the world, I felt someone’s hand on my shoulder.
When I turned my head, I saw Patrick.
「Yumiela, the barrier will be deactivated soon.」
So far, the wall-like barrier was still there, I could feel it with my other hand. I purposely thrust my hand as I complain to Patrick.
「Isn’t the barrier still there… eh? It’s gone?」
「Just in time, it was a close call.」
The barrier that had been enduring my thrust just disappeared. It’s not fair to win and run away after.
「I want a rematch! I demand a rematch!」
「Surprisingly you were… no, you are just a regular sore loser.」
I’m not a sore loser by any means. I just find it unbearable when I think I’ve lost.
Patrick, you were being a horrible distraction from my earnest fight with the barrier. I’ll make you taste my Yumiela Punch.
As I gnashed my teeth and scowled at Patrick, my head was getting colder.
It’s bad enough that I tried to break the barrier, but it’s bad enough that the church’s barrier kept me away from entering the church. What if the Inquisition takes me away?
But when there’s a strong barrier, one can’t help but feel like breaking them. As I pondered whether I would be forgiven, the young priest said.
「Count Dolknes, welcome to our church.」
They’re letting me inside the church? I thought the barrier didn’t want me in?
◆ ◆ ◆
As we ushered inside the church, we were greeted by stained glass windows that sparkled under the sunlight. However those stained glass windows gave the place that could be referred to as a cathedral a sense of sacredness.
The young priest guided us without stopping towards a distinctive chamber where a near-elderly man was already waiting for us.
「This is the first time that we meet. Welcome to the Balshaine’s central church, the head church of Sanonism, I’m Gerald the Cardinal.」
「Nice to meet you, I’m Yumiela Dolknes.」
I know he’s an important person, but I don’t know how important a cardinal is. The highest? I believe there are more than one cardinal.
「I thought Count Dolknes didn’t like the church. I’m glad that you decided to visit us.」
「Ah, no, nothing like that, I just haven’t had the opportunity to do so…」
「That’s good to hear. I was a little concerned since we’ve been trying to invite you since your time at the academy but our invitation kept being rejected.」
I’m pretty sure there was no contact from the church while I was attending the academy. It would be bad if I had rejected another noble’s invitation to go together.
The cardinal shifts his attention to Eleanora who stands next to me and says.
「Eleanora-san, you said that Count Dolknes turned down your invitation.」
「She did, High Priest. I’ve invited her to join us many times…」
「Eh?! I never heard of it.」
Eleanora had been quite persistent in inviting me to go out and play and I’ve successfully evaded her by various means. Don’t tell me that was her way of inviting me to go to the church?
「I’ve said it a million times! Yumiela said we’d go on our next vacation.」
No way, it is. The cardinal and I just stood there frozen. Patrick had to hold his chuckle.
「I didn’t know that was an invitation to visit the church.」
「I guess I asked the wrong person to deliver my message.」
Eleanora had a look on her face that said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Uh… isn’t this the cardinal’s fault? If it were me, I wouldn’t trust Eleanora with an important message.
With a wry smile the cardinal says.
「There’s a good reason why we asked Eleanora-san’s help. Sanonism isn’t unrelated to noble politics , you know. It would be unreasonable for us to summon the Count. But it would be easy on you if you were accompanied by our alumni, Eleanora-san.」
「…Ah, I see.」
Sounds like he figured out my relationship with Eleanora with just a few words from our conversation. It’s hard to watch the melancholy with a bitter smile.
「Eleanora-san, your friend…」
「I know! When I think someone is my friend, then they’re my friends! I learn it from High Priest’s teaching!」
「I’m sorry, it was my mistake.」
「No, I think it’s a lovely theory on how to make friends.」
The cardinal isn’t that bad at this. But I believe Eleanora’s persistent behaviour came from her natural constitution. I wouldn’t be able to do it if I didn’t believe in myself.
I can say with confidence that she’s the reason why all of this happened.
「Yumiela-san is very fond of me too, so I guess we’re perfect for each other!」
「…That’s sounds like Eleanora.」
The cardinal looks like he has something to say to me but Eleanora is being loud so I couldn’t hear him well. Patrick seemed to have understood my struggle and helped me.
「Oh— I’d like to look around the cathedral but… Miss Eleanora, could you show me around?」
「Of course I can. Let’s go Yumiela-san!」
「Yumiela would like to have a word with the Cardinal. I’m sorry but the two of us—」
「W-well! I’m sure Patrick-sama is a wonderful man but for me Edwin-sama is better… moreover, Yumiela-san…」
Eleanora was squirming and her face turned red when she said it.
It’s not like that. You have the wrong idea. Patrick didn’t like you like that.
It’s literally written on his face. Anyone with a brain could see that even though he thinks it’s troublesome. Is it too much to ask for anyone to see it or is it too much to ask for anyone but Eleanora?
I’m sorry, Patrick. Your sacrifice won’t be in vain.
Eleanora followed Patrick who left the room first with her eyes firmly on me.
The cardinal and I nodded at each other tiredly. Now, I understand that I won’t be treated as a heretic, so I lowered my caution level.
He catches his breath before he begins to talk.
「Ano, how much have you talked?」
「I haven’t heard anything yet.」
「So that’s how it is. Eleanora-san is a hopeless child, I have no doubt that she is a good child, but… let’s not talk about this. There is a certain topic I wish to talk with the Count.」
Onto the business it is, huh. I swallowed my words and focused on him.
「I’m here as a representative from Sanonism. I have no intention to show hostility towards you within the church. And I won’t force you to believe in our faith.」
Oh, this was unexpected. Is he a God or something?
I even thought that I have to fight the God of Light someday. So far our situation is in favorable condition, there hasn’t been any interference as it has been in the past.
But there were a few things that were bothering me.
「But I was born with the darkness attribute, is that okay?」
「That won’t be a problem, while there are attributes with different compatibility, when it comes down to importance, there’s no hierarchy between them. Other than Sanonism who worship the God of Light… you may have heard about Water Town, right?」
「Yeah. I heard there’s a place to worship God of Water there.」
「That’s right. We as believers don’t persecute other faiths. God of Darkness’s name has been lost but they’re a well-respected God.」
It’s not that I’m a believer of the God of Darkness. I’ve heard people talk about their faith in four major attributes’ God, but I’ve never heard anything related to God of Darkness. He said that the God of Darkness’s name is lost, but maybe there wasn’t a name from the beginning.
The cardinal smiled graciously and continued.
「Darkness exists because there is light and light exists because there is darkness. Darkness is essential to our God’s existence. I respect you for your unparalleled skills regarding the dark attribute that you possess… and I already told this to Eleanora-san…」
「I haven’t heard anything about this either.」
We sighed together. Was that what Eleanora was trying to say in the carriage on our way here? If she had properly told me, I wouldn’t be so on guard.
There’s one more thing I’m worried about. It’s the barrier.
「By the way, my entry to the church was blocked by a barrier.」
「I’m sorry to hear that. The magical barrier device has been passed down from generations to prevent the monsters from trespassing. We found out from today’s incident that it also blocked those with dark attributes from entering.」
「The barrier is really strong. I don’t think any monsters would be able to break it.」
「I’m glad to hear that. Since you can’t see the barrier and everyone can walk through them just fine, it makes some people doubt the barrier’s existence. I’m glad the barrier got your seal of approval, Count Dolknes.」
The barrier was really tough. And before I could deliver my Yumiela Punch the barrier disappeared, I would love to have a rematch. My pride was hurt and whether I had any pride left or not, one way or another I’d get my rematch.
When I was trying to figure out how to convey this to him, he said.
「I would appreciate it if you would let me know in advance when you will visit the church in the future. Today was a lucky day since I was able to deactivate the barrier, but I won’t be always available.」
From the way he speaks, there’s a main magical device that helps generate the barrier. I’d like to borrow it for a moment but I’m sure they will refuse.
Also, I’m trying to hide my greed and lightly encourage my rematch by trying to appeal to the church’s benefits.
「All right. While we’re at it, why don’t we try to examine the barrier’s endurance?」
◆ ◆ ◆
On our way home inside the carriage, I feel a little down.
「Sigh, he got away with it.」
「In that case, how will you take responsibility if you did not only break the barrier but the magical device too?」
My pretending-not-so-interested with the magical device had failed. Just like what Patrick said, the Cardinal was worried that the original device might break. After all It’s a legendary device that has been passed down for generations in Sanonism’s main church, please have a little more confidence.
Well, let’s give up the barrier. For now.
Also, something must have happened between Patrick and Eleanora when they went sightseeing in the cathedral. He’s been staring at my hand for quite some time.
「What’s wrong with Miss Eleanora?」
She answered while shaking her head. To me, it was obvious that she’s hiding something.
「I already know something must’ve happened, you don’t need to hide it. You can tell me.」
「Eh? Really? Then the diamond rin—」
「Miss Elanora, it’s still a secret for Yumiela. She doesn’t know yet.」
As expected, it’s easy to trick Eleanora but Patrick interrupted.
What was she trying to say? Diamond ring?
「Isn’t a diamond, you know, just a sparkling stone?」
「J-just sparkling stone?!」
「Isn’t it just sparkle? If it doesn’t have any other function then you don’t really need it, like a diamond ring.」
I can never understand why a stone that just sparkles is worth that much. I’d rather wear a brass knuckle than a diamond ring.
Eleanora might have been offended since she wore a few jeweled accessories. She held her mouth with both hands in disbelief.
「Sorry, we had to make a quick stop.」
Suddenly Patrick stands up and opens the carriage’s door, getting out quickly.
「Wait, Patrick, where are you going all of a sudden?」
「I’m going to take a look around the shop.」
Before I could ask what kind of shop he was looking for, Patrick had already walked into an alley. Moreover, my voice couldn’t reach him as I was inside the carriage.
I thought about going after him, then again I guess he had some errands to do. I’m not a clingy girlfriend. He must be happy.
Patrick left the carriage’s door open and he closed the door as he returned to his seat.
「Haa, Patrick-sama must be having a hard time with his girlfriend being so insensitive. Nevertheless, I understand. It’s impossible now.」
Eleanora gave me a look of pity. Remarkably unconvincing one at that.