Section 3: Knowing Who You Are
My voice resounded louder than I thought it would through the church, perhaps because of how quiet it was in here still after that previous healing miracle.
“Soldiers came by just a short moment ago to alert me of our current predicament. A group of more than 100 ents have appeared from the forest, and they are all rushing the city gates even as we speak.
Aronda-san’s voice resounded just as loudly as mine had, putting everyone who heard her on edge.
“Our soldiers, adventurers, and volunteers have all joined together to subjugate the monsters, but the people of this city have no experience dealing with this many monsters at once. We also have no idea how long our walls will last against this kind of force.”
“If we send a message to the feudal lord about our current situation, he can send help……”
Such suggestions were starting to crop up from the gathered evacuees, but Aronda-san solemnly shook her head.
“They would never make it. Even if we were to send a messenger bird, it would take a full day for word to reach the city where the feudal lord resides. And then including the time it would take to prepare and dispatch the necessary troops…… It would take almost ten days before any help could arrive. It’s for that same reason that we are unable to request aid from the priestess warriors either. And I’m afraid the sisters gathered here, including me, have no knowledge on combat……”
Aronda-san’s voice is always warm and eases the hearts of whoever listens to her. That very same voice is now stiffly speaking to the entire town. Anxious……no, it’s different. It sounds more frustrated than anything else. That feeling of wanting to be able to do something when there’s nothing you can do. Hearing Aronda-san’s voice and seeing the face she’s making right now, I know how she’s feeling quite well.
“Given the current situation, our next move is clear. We must protect you by smuggling you out of the city. As for the rest of the citizens…..we have no choice but to abandon them.”
Sarah’s voice leaked out from right next to me.
“What, did she just say?”
Ignoring Sarah’s question, Aronda-san carried on.
“But….I can’t. You could say I’m just following orders or threaten to brand me as a heretic, but I live in this town. I’m not prepared to throw away the people who live here with me. And so if I am able, I want to help. I want the people of this city to be saved.”
Not caring that the hem of her robe would be dirtied by Kutuna-san’s blood which had stained the floor, Aronda-san bent her knee and bowed. The sisters gathered behind her followed suit, dropping to one knee and lowering their heads.
“And so, please forgive our shamelessness. We beg of you, please, lend us your strength. Iris Calvafon-sama.”
A wave of emotion came over me.
The villagers at Relton asked for help, but from our party, not just me. I’ve never had someone ask me for help so directly before.
“O-Onee-chan? Um, this……”
“Sarah. It’s just as I’ve told you before.”
Somebody’s voice spoke out, answering Sarah’s question.
“I am a knight who has sworn their allegiance to Iris.”
The crowd who had watched all of this until now in mute amazement broke apart left and right so that the owner of the voice, Saleuna, could step forward.
“That is to say, this is just how it is. Your sister, Grimoire Master Iris Calvafon, is currently this city’s only hope for salvation.”
Right now she isn’t wearing the dress I had last seen her in but rather a tunic similar to what Toslin always wears. Her metal armor is strapped on overtop of it, and the knee-high boots she’s wearing on her feet echo through the church with each step she takes.
“You look great Saluena.”
They’re the same clothes Rose-san had recommended for her when we were buying pajamas together. We hadn’t bought them back then because Saluena thought the lace around the collar was a little too flashy.
“I just bought them.”
“Yeah, I figured you would need them. Although, I didn’t expect the moment to come this soon.”
Saluena had her sword strapped to her hip and her shield hanging off her back. And she was also carrying a robe in one hand. She spread out the cloth and slipped the robe on over my head.
It was slightly too big, but the trimming matched with what Saluena was wearing. The fabric was as sturdy as it was cute too, making it sturdy enough to survive over a long journey.
“You look good as well. As beautiful and charming as Rosa.”
“I’m not that beautiful.”
Sliding my arms through the sleeves, I stared back at Saluena.
“……..I, back then……I knew I couldn’t do anything and was looking for a way out, so deep down, I was relieved.”
“I’m scared, even now. But what I’m scared of even more……..is admitting that this is all there is to me………”
Saluena quietly listened to what I had to say, but once I was finished, a large smile came across her face. With her consent, I turned my gaze back towards Aronda-san.
“Aronda-san. All of the sisters.”
And then with my determination hardened, I turned my gaze towards Sarah, Mom, and Dad who were all looking at me uncertain.
“Dad, Mom, and Sarah……there’s something I need to tell you. I……I am an adventurer. I don’t want to be somebody who needs to be protected anymore.”
“……is this what’s been on your mind lately?”
“Yes. I really love everyone, and so I…..tried running away from what I feel. But, I’m not going to make anyone happy acting like that. Nobody would’ve been happy that way.”
After wrapping her arms around and giving me a hug, Sarah kissed me on the cheek.
“……okay. If this is what Onee-chan has decided on……I will support you.”
Any leftover hesitation in me was blown away as I returned Sarah’s kiss.
“It’ll be fine. A warrior cannot go into battle without knowing themselves most of all. If they are not prepared, all they’ll accomplish is pointlessly increasing the number of corpses. Once that has been established, everything else can picked up as you go.”
The reason why Saluena refused to let me go at that time was probably because she knew I wasn’t ready. She saw through my trembling heart and did her best to warn me.
But, I’m not lost anymore. I’ve readied my resolve.
“Aronda-san, I need your help. I…..want to take my baptismal rites.”
I’m going to be the Grimoire Master, and an adventurer.