Sorry for the wait here. Releases are going to be a little erratic for a bit here, but I’ll do my best not to make it take so long for the next ones.
Section 6: Riviera Von Iliana
“Ah, this is…..I think it’ll be good for us.”
The corners or Toslin’s mouth twisted upwards as she read what was written on the piece of parchment over my shoulder and then glanced down at the ring that had tied it together.
“What’s going on? What’s going on? Could you explain it so that this Carol-san can understand it too?”
As Carol started asking for an explanation, I decided to focus on my meal for the time being. It’s good to turn your back towards reality every once in awhile.
“First off, we called it a certificate, but it’s really more of a license or a form of credential showing that you have permission to mobilize an order of knights when you see fit. Rings like these are usually something issued by the king of a country, but this one came directly from the church instead.”
“And all of the names mentioned here are likely warrior priestesses who have sworn loyalty to the church. It appears that as thanks for subjugating the spirit involved in this incident, the church is not only giving Iris-san permission to start her own order of knights, but has also supplied fifty warriors to join her side.”
Oh, this bread is delicious. Is that walnut I taste? The scent of butter mixes together with the taste of the walnut, melting together inside my mouth. I could fill up on just bread and be satisfied with my meal.
“If they’re warrior priestesses, then they’re allowed to gather wherever the church holds power aren’t they?”
“Naturally it would be unreasonable for them to gather in special locations like inside a country’s castle, but otherwise it is mostly as Toslin-san says. Warrior priestesses are allowed to move and gather wheresoever they are needed most.”
This shank meat soup is wonderful. I’m pretty sure this taste is onion based, but I can’t find any onions in here. I’m certain the meat must have been boiled together with the onions over a long period of time, allowing the tastes to melt together. I can also taste some butter, salt, and pepper seasoning as well. And is that a touch of wine I taste?
When you combine it with that walnut bread from earlier, doesn’t that make this an absolutely splendid lunch?
“However, what stands out most of all has to be that name.”
“Fwy? Whoth fhat? Hiheria…….”
“Riviera Von Iliana. And I thought I already told you not to talk with your mouth full.”
“There are many chivalric orders in the world, but only one of them has ever been permitted to bear the name of the Goddess. An order of knights that no longer exists. The Goddess’s personal knight company that fought in the Illyarian War a thousand years ago.”
“I was one of their members. Becoming a member meant devoting yourself to the Goddess in both name and substance.”
“Hold on Iris, all of this has to do with you. Are you paying attention?”
I feel like a kid again, getting scolded by my teacher for staring out the window during class.
“…….yes, I’m listening……”
I stopped tearing into my walnut bread and nodded. The Knights of Iris was a name that weighed on me heavily. As such, I never thought it was going to get replaced by something even heavier.
Plus it sounds like I already have 50 warrior priestesses enrolling in this chivalric order. Warrior priestesses are supposed to be servants of the Goddess. Those people who raise their shields to protect the people and capable of bringing forth miracles. They’re a sweet yet daring figure that appears in numerous adventure novels, and just being one will draw you loads of respect from all sorts of people.
I’m sitting right next to one of those legendary figures. Rose-san is a splendid warrior priestess whose beauty and nobility is as if she had jumped right out of an adventure novel and has caused my heart to throb over and over again.
But right now, that name is just way too heavy.
“I suppose you do have that kind of face. But well, I was planning on gathering this number of people anyway, so receiving the backing of such a versatile force is more than I could have ever hoped for.”
“S-Saluena…..you think so too?”
My gaze kept shifting between Saluena and the ring I had set down next to my plate.
“We have no reason to decline. And from the beginning your position was going to be irrevocably tied to the church. If nothing else, it will be a boon that can guarantee your identity.”
Saluena’s words made sense, and I’d have to nod at her logic. And yet, my fingers wouldn’t move.
“D-Does Rose-san think so too?”
“Yes. I have never felt my own weakness as keenly as I did during this incident. I cannot protect you as I am now…… And so, I have no other choice than to rely on their power in order to ensure your protection.”
I’m silently sandwiched between Rose-san and Saluena. Nobody had any reason why I shouldn’t accept. Therefore it follows that this ring should inevitably find its way on my finger.
But accepting this ring is the same thing as agreeing to take those fifty warrior priestess’s lives in my hands. That kind of responsibility makes me hesitate.
I emptily stared at the ring, hoping it might just disappear and solve all my problems when Rose-san wrapped her hand around me and began rubbing my back.
“But you know…….that does not mean you will be doing this alone.”
“I have always……wanted to stay with you. I wish to stand by you and support you. And so……there is no need for you to carry this burden on your own.”
The dream gem is fitted into the ring on my right finger. It is the same deep red as Rose-san’s eyes peering into my own.
Her gaze is soft, and her voice gentle. A feeling of silk laced security wrapped around my heart.
“Quite so Iris, my charming maiden. Have you forgotten? I am the leader of your knights. And Rosa is my second in command. You are a protected princess, and we are your guards.”
Saluena jumped in while sipping on a glass of wine. Her demeanor is as calm as it always is. She cuts the perfect figure of an adult woman you can rely on.
“That’s right, the princess should just rely on her knights. If things ever get hectic, you can just unleash Saluena’s power like you did at St. Noglint. And then the rest of us will do our best to be as reliable as we can. We can gauge out our own strengths and responsibilities.”
Toslin offered in her own opinions while waving a fried potato in front of Carol’s face.
“Exactly, it’s a waste of time worrying about things that nothing can be done about. Plus these people are supposed to be the best of the best. I think Iris can rest easy…….Hah!”
Carol’s eyes greedily followed after the fried potato like a cat before snapping it out of the air with her teeth.
“Aha……thanks. I’m……just a bit overwhelmed. And somewhat embarrassed……”
I’ve already said numerous times before that I’m just a commoner. That’s why it’s a little ridiculous for me to be thinking about carrying all this responsibility on my own.
“No, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. It is all because Iris-san has such a strong sense of responsibility.”
Receiving Rose-san’s warm words and kind smile, my arm finally moved.
I picked up the ring. The figure of a tikarodeka flower was carefully etched around the silver, and it fit snugly on the index finger of my left hand.
The ring looked as if it was fitted to be worn on my ring finger, but my dark violet ring had already taken its place there. The ring finger of my left hand has already been designated as Saluena’s sanctuary, and nothing else is allowed to intrude on that space.
“It’s been a millennium, but the Goddess’s knight have finally been reformed. From now on, we of the Riviera Von Iliana dedicate ourselves to you.”
“Iris-san, I shall forever lend you my sword……and my friendship.”
Saluena and Rose-san lifted up their glasses of wine, followed by Toslin and Carol shortly afterwards. Although it was juice in Carol’s case.
“I also offer my sword and friendship.”
“Me too me too, umm…….I’ll give you my sword and friendship too!!”
Carol brought her glass up into the air while looking slightly disappointed that she couldn’t think of anything more interesting to say. But her raised glass acted as a signal for all of us to smile and raise our voices together.
It’s a little late for me to be asking this, but is it okay for us to be drinking even though it’s only noon? Those kinds of doubts soon faded away as I continued eating and drinking, replacing any idle thoughts with a full and satisfied stomach.
“That ring though, is it another grimoire? You just have to stare at the ring for a bit and it would transform right?”
“Oh, hmm……I don’t think it is.”
Toslin’s slightly drunk words got me wondering, so I funneled in a bit of magic power to the ring as a test.
But as I should have expected, there was no reaction. Unicorn has been acting as my ride whenever I need to go anywhere, so my body has already gotten pretty used to activating my rings. So the fact that this new ring didn’t transform means it really is just a ring.
(……hm? But…..did it suck up a bit of my magic power just now?)
“What? I was really looking forward to you suddenly summoning fifty warrior priestesses here, but I guess it’s impossible after all.”
“I-I can’t do something like that. Even if I could do it, there’s no way I would. That would make a huge fuss.”
I laughed the thought away. But, I should be careful. If this ring is actually a gift from the Goddess, it might actually be able to do that.
I played the possibility inside my head while rubbing my newly fitted ring underneath the table.
Just as I was about to doze off from how full my belly was, I heard a voice coming from behind me. However when I turned around, I didn’t find anybody there.
“Huh, I could have sworn someone called my name……”
Was it just a dream? Did I actually fall asleep and not realize it? Or maybe I’m drunker than I think am.
“I heard it too, oh, below us Iris-san”
Rose-san poked my shoulder and pointed down towards the floor.
“Uwa!! You surprised me!”
Down at the feet of my chair was Lapris, straddling the plush toy Unicorn and looking up towards me. Honestly, she has wings, so it’d be fine for her to fly wherever she needs to go……this girl seems to have a “I can’t fly” mentality ingrained in her brain. Did something happen to make her like this?
But then again, Lapris riding around the place on top of a stuffed Unicorn toy is really cute. Just watching them walk around is enough to get me unconsciously smiling.
“Are you already done eating? Then come by the church for a bit. There’s somebody who wants to see you.”
Who might that be? Mycena wouldn’t bother calling for me, and Peachseed-san just said farewell to me.
I tilted my head curiously, but Lapris soon gave me my answer.
“It’s a messenger from the king.”