Section 8: Instructions
“Well then let’s get back on topic. Seeing as you already knew about me, are we to assume you know about everything else as well?”
Aronda-san nodded at Saluena’s question.
“……yes. There was an oracle a few days ago. The dark elves are trying to revive Osnell. In response, the Pope has ordered us to gather information and stop them. And of course in order to prevent the spread of chaos in the world, we are to keep these activities an absolute secret.”
A secret……that’s right. Osnell was supposed to have been completely defeated. If it became known that he might be returning, the turmoil would be unimaginable.
“The Pope also made another declaration. The Goddess’s apostle Iris Calvafon. She is to be protected with the full power of the church.”
I froze. Any thought about how cold it was in here or any recognition of how Carol had started violently tapping against Toslin’s arm was blown from my mind. The church, is going to protect me? This word, protect, I’ve been hearing it an awful lot these last couple of days.
“Give it up my Master. You’re already in this position whether you like it or not.”
“Iris-san, you have been chosen by the Goddess. An apostle to carry us into the next era.”
My head was blank. Apostle. When you say apostle, you mean the Goddess’s apostle. Anyone living in this world can be considered an apostle of the Goddess. Toslin’s an apostle. So is Carol. Even the fairy Lapris who I said farewell to back in Relton is the Goddess’s apostle. But for some reason I feel like Rose-san means something different when she says it.
Part of me……understood what they meant. The situation I’m in right now is clearly not normal. But my brain can’t catch up. For the past sixteen years I haven’t been anything more than the daughter of a bookshop owner.
“But, will her life change any even if she is chosen?”
Carol’s words cut straight through my stagnating thoughts. She was out of breath, having just gotten out of Toslin’s strangle hold.
“Hey you, quit butting your head into anything and everything.”
*Ker-smack*, a nice sound rung out after Toslin karate chopped the top of Carol’s head. But Carol might have taken the blow on purpose as her ears cutely jumped up just as the hand strike fell on her head.
“No no, it’s important. We have to check it. Don’t you think so too? It’s all good if they say they’re just going to protect her, but depending on the church’s policy, Iris might end up being isolated.”
“Isolated, you……choose your words more carefully. But well, I get what you’re trying to say. It’s definitely important. As her friend, depending on your response, there might be some parts I may not be able to accept.”
“And that’s why you shouldn’t hit me!! Apologize, apologize to this cute Carol-san!!”
“Just shut up for a bit.”
“No way!? This is way too unfair mugagumwa!?”
Toslin squeezed Carol’s cheeks with both her hands meaning that once again Carol could only let out a few muffled grumblings. Honestly, no matter the time or place these two are always playing with each other.
But……it makes me just a little happy. They were worried about me and referred to me as their friend.¹
“Please rest assured, Tosrillon-san and Carotayle-san. For now, our church has no intentions of limiting Iris-chan’s freedom.”
“Puwa! Oh, is that so? Then I guess it’s fine.”
“But when you say for now, doesn’t that mean you might do just that in the future?”
“What the hell!? Then it’s not fine at all! Sure Iris is a general shut-in, but she’s not some pervert who gets delighted by being locked up!”
“Eh, I wouldn’t really call myself a shut-in per se. And I’m happy that you’re getting angry on my behalf, but we’re in a church, so if you could stop yelling……..”
“There’s no need to worry Carol. After all, what do you think we’re here for?”
Saluena placed her hand on Carol’s shoulder while quietly looking down on her.
Carol frowned, but after a second she figured out what Saluena was talking about. Seeing Saluena’s calm expression from the side, I could only think of one reason why she’d look like that in a situation like this.
“Of course, you mean the chivalric order.”
“Quite so Tosrillon.”
“Just Toslin is fine. We’re part of the same party and the same chivalric order after all.”
“Um, my apologies. That chivalric order is…….”
Toslin returned a wink to Saluena’s small nod. And taking a look between the two of them, this time it was Aronda-san’s turn to have a question mark float overtop her head.
“As you already know, Sally-oneesama is a knight. So Priestess Aronda, Oneesama has started up a chivalric order which she will be taking command of for the express purpose of protecting Iris-san.”
And for the record Aronda-san, they didn’t ask me for my consent on any of this. Don’t you think that’s terrible……..is what I would have said if this were just a few minutes ago.
But more than I had imagined, no, the truth that I’ve been refusing to acknowledge is that at some point in the possibly near future, I might need such a group. After listening to Aronda-san’s story, I’ve finally come to accept that.
“We had considered summoning a detachment of priestess warriors, but if that is the case, it seems I can leave Iris-chan’s protection to you without concern.”
“Yes, leave it to us. I, the one people call the Dark Violet Knight, and my comrades will protect Iris from any evil that may come for her.”
Standing as a majestic knight, Saluena made her grand declaration. But Aronda-san didn’t know. No, even her younger sister Rose-san wasn’t aware.
Right now Saluena’s expression is full of vim and vigor, but at night……..she’s a woman who makes a lonely face and likes having her hand held.
“You look happy Iris-chan. But I suppose when a reliable knight comes by, it’s only natural that your expression would relax. You are a young girl after all.”
“Eh? Was I really making a face like that?”
According to Aronda-san, I was wearing my feelings on my sleeve. I hurriedly put my hands to my cheeks and could feel the heat coming off of them.
“Yes, indeed. You looked just like a maiden in love.”
A maiden in love…….I haven’t fallen in love yet, so I would say that me making a face like that is unlikely. Now with that being said, the gap between what Saluena is normally like and what she’s like at night is certainly amusing, so I definitely can’t say I wasn’t grinning at the thought of it…….
“What, Iris, are you in love with Saluena?”
“Hoh, is that so?”
“W-What are you going on about now!! No, it’s different!!”
With Saluena jumping in on this, things are starting to turn in a bothersome direction. This is a church, not some place where we can stand around talking about love, but these girls don’t seem to get that. But with Aronda-san, the person who is supposed to be in charge of this church mixed in, it’s becoming something more than what I can manage on my own.
One sister walked over with her index finger raised in front of her lips, perhaps because the situation had become noisy enough that she couldn’t just let it go anymore.
Aronda-san apologized when she noticed. But then again this person has been like this for as long as I’ve known her. Even in my very first memory of her she was carrying this same charming smile on her face.
“Um~, ahem. We’ve gotten ourselves in a bit of trouble, so let’s shelve this chat for another time.”
“There’s really no need because there’s nothing left to say. But well, does this mean I’m okay to live a normal life?”
When I asked the thing I was most concerned about, Aronda-san took one more look at Saluena and nodded. She then gave her a wink.
“Yes, that should be all right. This lovely knight will be sure to properly protect you right?”
Do you really want to continue this? Even though someone just got angry at us.
But as you’d expect, Aronda-san is a priestess, the same as Rose-san, so her expression is able to quickly change into something more calm and peaceful.
“Yes, what is it?”
“Thank you for helping Iris-chan. If you ever require any help, the church’s doors are always open.”
“Eh, well now that you mention it, we currently don’t have a job…….mugagumwa!?”
“Thank you very much. If ever a time such as that comes, we’ll be sure to take you up on your offer.”
Toslin dexterously bowed while holding Carol underneath her arm, preventing her from saying anything else. After giving the both of them a beaming smile, Aronda-san then turned to Rose-san.
“And Priestess Rosalith. There is one thing I wish to ask for your help on.”
Hm? From Aronda-san to Rose-san? That would mean it’s a command from the church right?
Rose-san had said she would receive further instructions when she reached town, but perhaps, depending on what the orders are from the church, will this mean that Rose-san might have to leave the city?
1. Actual word here used is nakama. Anyone who has seen One Piece will know it, but it’s a little more special than just a friend or a comrade. My aunt would call it a sort-of ‘brother in arms’ or her ‘buddies’.