Section 6: Library
When we arrived at the church, one of the sisters called for Aronda-san. She had a mysterious look on her face the entire time while I repeated everything I had heard inside the guild building.
“So….. Not undead, but ents……”
“Yes. There’s a chance there might be a stronger spirit managing the ents, so they’ll be going back to investigate this evening.”
“I see. If it’s a spirit that can order around a dozen ents, it must be considerably powerful. We are truly fortunate those girls arrived in the city when they did.”
Depending on the individual specimen and the habitat they reside in, ents are at least a level 5 enemy. It’s said that it takes an extreme amount of effort for a newer, less experienced adventurer to handle even one of them. So it’s natural that Aronda-san would think this way upon hearing that a dozen of them were killed in a single night.
“But the real question is, if there is a spirit with that much power, then why is it here?”
Saluena sat down on a bench and patted the seat right next to her. She’s telling me to sit next to her.
“You’re right. We’ve identified a large number of ents, and in all likelihood, that moaning didn’t come from an undead or some animal……. In that case, I would think it natural to assume we have a spirit capable of thought on our hands……but how a spirit like that came to be, I can’t even venture a guess.”
“Um, Aronda-san. I have an idea.”
I timidly raised my hand from next to Saluena.
“What is it?”
“Isn’t there a library inside the church somewhere?”
“Oh my, you’re quite well informed.”
“Thanks. I heard about it from a mage who lives in my neighborhood. That’s why I was wondering if there might be a section on the town’s history in there.”
“You want to research if there were any incidents similar to this that happened in the past?”
“Yes, that’s right. Right now, this is all I can do to help.”
“……gentle maiden. Certainly it was you who said we could turn to the church if ever there was a time we were in need?”
“Y-Yes. I, certainly did.”
“Then, that time has already arrived. If you could please allow Iris access to that library.”
“Oh! Absolutely. If a powerful spirit is involved, this might prove to be a danger to the entire town. I’ll even ask some of the other sisters to lend you their aid.”
“T-Thank you very much Aronda-san.”
I stood back up and gave her a deep bow.
“There’s no need to thank me. You’re the one who is saving me here.”
Aronda-san gave me a wry smile before summoning several other sisters for the sake of helping me with my research.
In its entirety, the church’s library was about ten times bigger than the Calvafon bookstore. And yet, these shelves were also twice as tall as ours, and the books were tightly fitted next to each other, filling every shelf.
“Wow, so many books…….”
For a short moment after stepping into the church’s library, I was in awe over the forest of books stretched out before me.
“The section dedicated to books about the history of the area surrounding Solretta is in the back Calvafon-sama.”
I believe the sister addressing me with sama was called Elzella-san.
“I’ve never heard a maiden make that noise before.”
Saluena was criticizing how I responded. But I just couldn’t help it. The only time I’ve ever been addressed with ‘sama’ were those couple times I was joking around with Mycena.
“U-Um, you can just call me Iris. There’s no need for you to address me with……..”
“That is impossible. Because Calvafon-sama is one chosen by the Goddess Illya.”
Saying that much, Elzella-san walked to the back of the room. I decided to give up on changing her mind about what to call me for the moment and quickly trot after her. I’ll talk to Aronda-san later. Maybe she’ll be able to convince her to at least use ‘san’ for my name instead.
“Here…..you say, but which ones are you talking about? These shelves are packed to bursting, and I can’t tell which ones are which.”
“My deepest apologies for my lack of an explanation. Everything from this point on contains information about what has happened in Solretta Litta and the surrounding area.”
Everything…… This section alone is already twice as big as the Calvafon bookstore.
“How many books are there…….”
“I would say 3,000. This church has stood within this city for several hundred years now. And we add several books to these shelves each year.”
“It’ll be like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
“But it has to be done. Let’s start with the oldest and work our way forward.”
“That would be this shelf here. We shall be as much help to you as we can.”
“Thanks. I really appreciate the help.”
I love books, but it’d be impossible to search through everything here with just Saluena to help me. There’s also a time crunch to take into account here. The more hands we have, the better.
So the seven of us–me, Saluena, Elzella-san, and 4 other sisters–began rifling through books, trying to find any information we could about this spirit.
…….but our first day failed to produce any results.
“…….sorry Saluena. I’m forcing you to do something you aren’t used to.”
The seven of us started our research in the morning, and continuing on through our lunch break, we kept going until evening was upon us. And yet, we failed to find even a mention of any kind of spirits.
“My master never need apologize to me. I am your servant. Use me however you wish.”
Similar to last night, I was walking home with Saluena after leaving the church. It’s the same road where I slipped and fell on my butt resulting in Rose-san and Saluena having to walk with me while holding my hands.
“Use….. I’d never do that, so please don’t talk like that about yourself.”
I’m tired, so my tone was a little harsher than I meant to be.
“……I see, I’m sorry.”
“No, I’m sorry too. I’m all worked up, and I took it out on you.”
“So even Iris can get annoyed.”
“What’s that supposed to mean? Of course I can get angry. I’m not Rose-san after all. Well, I’m usually just angry at myself though.”
“You’re giving her too much credit. Rosa is a human too. She’s still inexperienced as a priestess as well. I’m not saying she’s always angry, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t get frustrated or fed up either.”
“……now that you mention it, Rose-san did seem to be really angry with you when you two first met.”
Their sisterly pledge had left such a strong impression on me, I kind of forgot about that.
“And that’s not all. She seemed quite frustrated with herself at the church as well.”
“At the church?”
Saluena has been at my side ever since we returned to the city. So if Saluena is mentioning an incident with Rose-san at the church, I must have been there to see it too. But, I have no idea what she could be talking about.
“Back then, when I introduced myself to the gentle maiden priestess, I referred to myself as a traitor.”
Oh, I remember that. Back then, I thought of you as an honest to the fault woman for saying something like that out loud.
“However when that priestess heard me, she did not criticize or blame. She instead generously recognized and accepted me.”
“Yeah, she did do that.”
“At that time, in my eyes, Rosa looked angry. Angry at herself. Because she compared herself to this priestess in front of her and began to think of herself as intolerant.”
As she talks about Rose-san, the corners of Saluena’s mouth curve upwards into a soft smile.
“So after that, she made the choice not to rely on me, her sister. I guess……she wanted to show off her good points to me. Such a cute girl.”
I though I might be seeing things, a trick from sunset, but apparently not.
“I’m happy for you. It’s a good thing you were able to meet Rose-san.”
“Yes, you’re right. As I’ve said before, just like Iris, I am truly lucky to have met Rosa in this era.”
Seeing Saluena look so happy as she said that, I realized something.
To be blunt, I’m jealous.
(……I, never noticed.)
I never realized until right now that Rose-san was suffering and feeling inferior to Aronda-san. What’s more, I had to be told. Even though I’ve known Rose-san a lot longer than Saluena has.
“Even if you do look cute sometimes, you are still an adult after all.”
“What did you say?”
While mumbling something incredibly rude, a pain began forming in my chest as murky jealousy bubbled up.
“No, it’s nothing.”
But at the same time as I worked through the pain, I found myself thinking something else.
I wish I was as kind and gentle as Saluena is.