Section 5: Virgin Guardian
I gathered together the blooming tikarodeka from the silver cup and handed them to Sarah.
“Sorry I didn’t tell you everything.”
“……it’s okay. I’m sure, you couldn’t say anything even if you wanted to. Onee-chan……you’ve always been terrible with secrets.”
Sarah stared at the crimson colored flowers I had given her for a short while before shaking her head. When she finally looked back up towards me, there was a smile on her face.
“Thank you Sarah”
“But, you don’t have to hide anything anymore. When everything’s done……let’s have a proper talk okay?”
“Okay. I promise. This time, we’ll have a proper talk. I’ll tell you what happened when I was in Relton, and everything else I saw these last six months. Dad and Mom too.”
I turned my gaze away from Sarah and towards my parents. The both of them were wearing their amazement on their sleeves.
But as soon as my eyes met theirs, they smiled and gave me a nod.
“Right, I’ll be waiting.”
“You can take your time and tell us over that stew I need to finish.”
As I was talking to my mom and dad, something small–about the size of a cat or a dog–peeked its head out from between their legs.
It’s tiny little feet kept moving until it was standing right next to Sarah and raised its head.
“This…..isn’t it the stuffed animal I gave to Onee-chan? Eh, why…….”
It really was the stuffed unicorn Sarah had given me for my birthday. It rested its front feet right on Sarah’s foot while wagging its little wool tail.
A stuffed animal moving on its own is an event ripped straight from a horror story. But we’re in a church, a holy place, so maybe that’s why this doesn’t feel that strange or weird?
“Are you, looking for a hug?”
Sarah carefully lifted up the stuffed animal into her arm. The stuffed unicorn stretched out its limbs in response before rolling up into a ball as if it were about to go to sleep.
And then gradually, it began giving off a soft light.
“Wa, a light……”
“Do not be afraid. This object embodies your thoughts in regard to your sister, the prayer of a pure maiden. The Goddess Illya is responding to that prayer.”
The fairy’s solemn voice sounded out from the position she had unexpectedly taken on top of my head.
“The Goddess is…….”
Sarah blinked a couple of times upon hearing that before turning her focus back on the stuffed animal in her arms.
“……ah, the stuffed animal’s shape, it’s changing……..into a book?”
I’ve seen a scene like this once before. It was that time Rose-san picked up a fragment of the Goddess’s broken statue in the fairy village. At that time, the fragment emitted a golden light before transforming into a grimoire.
And now that same event is happening once again before my eyes.
“Ah…….oh, is that so? Onee-chan and Saluena-sama’s wish……. Okay, I understand……”
Sarah smiled, laughing happily as she tightly embraced the figure which had now completely changed into a book. She then held it out, presenting it to me.
“The unicorn told me she wants to fulfill Onee-chan and Saluena-sama’s wish. She said she wants to help you save Rosalith-sama and the others. After that, she told me to give this book to Onee-chan…….”
“……okay. All right. I got it. I understand.”
I took the book…….the grimoire from Sarah’s hands. A unicorn is featured prominently across the new white cover.
I never told Sarah about how Saluena and I had prayed to the unicorn together for everyone’s safety. The fact that she knows about it now must mean the unicorn told her about it itself.
(This unicorn said it wanted to grant me my wish. In other words……everyone’s still…..)
“Sarah. I must thank you. Thanks to you…….I may allow myself to still hold hope.”
Saluena apparently reached the same conclusion I did. I could hear her voice dance ever-so-slightly.
“Iris. My master.”
I nodded powerfully in response to Saluena’s voice.
“Now……release the bonds of this world!!”
Turning open the grimoire’s cover, characters began to appear across a blank page.
A pure light similar to the one given off by the holy water in the silver cup radiated from the grimoire, brightly illuminating every corner of the church. Despite being inside a building where no air should be moving, a gust of wind started blowing around me.
“The Goddess Illya overwrites reason as commanded by Iris Calvafon!”
Back then, I was desperately hoping for a miracle. So I desperately cast my line, hoping to draw something in.
“Absolute law established in the name of the Almighty. Holy spirit born from an ancient age, virgin guardian, mare clad in sacred water.”
But now, I can see it somehow. The words I’m running through each have their own meaning showing me a scene of the Goddess undoing the curse that binds this world.
“Please deliver unto us an age of peace and safety! Fiercely defend us from malice and impurity!”
The grimoire emitted an even brighter light. Blue letters emerged from within the dazzling light, guiding my chant.
With the final words, the summoning is complete.
“My life, my name as a step, come forward. Unicorn!”
The light quickly converged into a single point, morphing into the shape of a horse. *Clop Clop Clop* I thought I heard the sound of hooves striking against the hard ground when, a moment later, an ear-splitting neigh shook the entire church.
Looking just like how I imagined as if it had jumped right out of my mind, a unicorn stood before me, its tail swinging behind as it looked down on me.
“………the stuffed unicorn became a real unicorn……..”
For once in her life Mycena looked actually surprised, her eyes opened wide in the presence of a holy spirit which had manifested right in front of her.
“You, Iris is…….”
“Oh, uh…….yes, I see it as well. Unicorn. A holy spirit that fought on the Goddess’s side a thousand years ago in the Illyarian War…… Unbelievable, I never thought the day would come where I would get to see one…….”
“Hey, Onee-chan, this unicorn, isn’t it the same color as the stuffed animal I made…….?”
The unicorn had a pure white coat, the same fresh snow color as the grimoire’s cover. But then its purple mane and eyes were definitely the same as the original stuffed animal.
“Yep. Because the only unicorn I’ve ever seen was the one you gave me as a present Sarah.”
“I suppose…… Unicorn, please. Won’t you……protect Onee-chan?”
Sarah reached out her hand and stroked the unicorn’s long face, and the unicorn let out a small whinny as if to answer.
After Unicorn had been successfully summoned, the grimoire in my hands began emitting light once again. This time though it was the grimoire itself that changed its shape inside the pure white light.
“Ah, the book……now Onee-chan’s finger…..is that, a ring?”
The ring finger on my left hand was already occupied by a dark violet ring. So this ring formed from the unicorn’s grimoire settled on my pinky finger right next to it.
“Indeed. Your sister has been awarded with the Goddess’s divine protection, the Grimoire Master. As the name implies, the Grimoire Master is one who specializes in the use of spellbooks. They are able to unseal and then wield the power that has been bound by holy chains from across the world.”
Saluena was the picture of a knight after straddling the back of the unicorn. Then after she tapped the back of its neck, the unicorn turned its head towards the church’s front doors.
“So, Master. Let us go together.”
Bending over, Saluena held out her hand to me.
“Yes. To save everyone.”
I grabbed her hand without hesitation. She lifted me up effortlessly as if I was lighter than a feather and fitted me right between her arms. The fairy resting on my head naturally came with us.
“Peachseed-san, Plumseed-san. Sorry, but please take care of everyone here.”
“Leave it…….I really have no room to talk about my strength, but we’ll fight til we break.”
“Ku-chan already gave it her all, so we’re ready to do the same.”
Kutuna-san was still sleeping, but judging by her complexion, there was nothing to worry about anymore.
“Well then, I’m going.”
“Right! Good luck Onee-chan. Saluena-sama too. And Unicorn!!”
“Iris, be careful!!”
With the full support of Sarah, Mycena, and everyone else, Unicorn started running.