Happy Halloween everyone. I bought 4 bags of candy to celebrate. Hope everyone else is enjoying their holiday as well.
Section 6: Authority
Heading out of the dungeon, we made our way straight to where Litzreich was waiting for us inside the school.
The sun had already set and the time for students to head home had long passed.
Despite there being no students at the school, Litzreich was still in her office, banging some kind of weird tool against a couple of parts resting in front of her.
[Toslin]: “What are you doing?”
Toslin was the first of us to say anything as we all watched the smoke wafting off those parts.
[Litzreich]: “Oh ho, back already? I thought for sure I wouldn’t be seeing you for at least a day, but I suppose this is what I should’ve expected from the party that slew a dragon.”
Litzreich pulled off her lab coat, darkened black with soot and dirt, replacing it with the frilled jacket she usually like to wear.
[Litzreich]: “No need to worry about any of that. It’s a failure anyway. So? I take it your investigation bore fruit?”
[Toslin]: “Yeah, we think so. Rose, could you set it there?”
[Rose]: “Yes, just a moment.”
After Toslin pointed at the table, Rose-san walked up from behind and dropped the pieces of the gnome golem we had brought with us. Everything from the lens, to the larger bits of armor we scavenged together, to the core-like crystal fragments we found inside.
[Litzreich]: “Ooh!? What is this? A lens? No, it’s somehow……some kind of transparent stone…….and is this the core to a golem? It has crumbled a bit, but where did you get your hands on something like this?”
[Toslin]: “This, of course we got it from the dungeon. It was…….um”
[Rose]: “The 35th floor. It was right here on the map.”
Rose-san spread out our map across the little empty space left on the table. Litzreich’s gaze continued to move between it and the pieces we brought back before stifling a groan.
[Litzreich]: “……so in other words, this is what remains from that new type of monsters our knights had reported…….is this all that’s left?”
[Carol]: “We did what we could. They were tough, so we broke ’em.”
Carol gave a brief summary of what exactly happened down there.
[Litzreich]: “Hoh, I see…… Gnomes? You’re telling me they were riding inside this golem…….”
[Carol]: “Yep. And there were a couple of bold loire before that? They were these statues of knights that could move and attacked us. What floor was that again?”
[Litzreich]: “Why are you asking me? I’m the one who asked you to investigate.”
[Saluena]: “Those gnomes probably created the bold loire as well. They then told them to attack any intruders…….”
[Litzreich]: “Wait wait wait. When you say gnomes, you mean the spirits beaten during the Illyarian War right? But the curse placed on them afterwards…….er, and by that I of course mean the blessing, I mean, they shouldn’t be able to attack people right?”
[Rose]: “The Goddess’s blessing certainly prevent spirits from becoming hostile against others, but there are cases where some regain their primordial power and attack.”
[Litzreich]: “Sure, I heard that things like that happen from time to time, but…….why? Why are these gnomes rampaging now? I have examined every abnormal incident ever recorded that has happened in that dungeon, yet not once has the word ‘gnome’ ever appeared. Let alone one of them having gone wild like this.”
A pensive look crossed Litzreich’s face as she slumped down onto the arm of her chair in thought.
Seeing her like that, Saluena reached out an empathetic olive branch.
[Saluena]: “……for that matter, just how informed are you?”
[Litzreich]: “W-What do you mean by that?”
Saluena’s narrow gaze caused Litzreich to actually shrink back for once.
We brainstormed together as to why these gnomes would be causing such a ruckus while we were making our way out of the dungeon, and we all settled on a certain hypothesis.
However a national secret would have to be known in order to formulate that hypothesis. And that secret isn’t something we are allowed to repeat aloud.
[Saluena]: “Rosa, how much am I allowed to tell her?”
[Rose]: “…..I hold no position inside the temple……my apologies. It is impossible for me to say for sure.”
[Toslin]: “But she’s our client, so there isn’t really any other choice than to tell her.”
With Toslin chipping in, Rose-san took a moment to think before nodding.
[Rose]: “Litzreich-san. Could you lend us some of your time and join us at the church?”
[Litzreich]: “Hmm, right now? W-Well, I don’t really mind….. Unless, no way……you’re secretly trying to isolate me so you can dispose of your rival in love!?”
[Rose]: “When did we become rivals? I have no intention of doing anything of the sort, so please just quietly follow.”
[Marie]: “I see…… Which is why you have come to me.”
Once we had arrived at the church, we were escorted to Archbishop Marie Arone……or Marie-sama’s private office.
It was a simple room without any kind of decorative furnishings despite how large it was. It kind of reminded me of our room at the Shining Hen.
Marie-sama beckoned me over while I was lost in my feelings of déjà vu despite this being my first time in the room.
[Marie]: “Come here Iris-chan.”
[Iris]: “Y-Yes! What is it?”
Marie-sama pulled out a small box from her drawer as I sprinted over.
[Marie]: “Here, have some candy♪ I hear you are attending school now. Do your best in your studies.”
[Iris]: “Woah, so beautiful…….”
When I opened the box’s lid, I found rows of beautiful pieces of candy as radiant as gems. There was a rainbow of colors, and each of them had their own sweet aroma.
[Iris]: “Thank you very much Marie-sama.”
I brought both my hands together in front of my chest, bent my knees, and gave Marie-sama a small bow.
[Marie]: “Fufufu, my my. How elegant. Did you learn how to bow while you were at school?”
[Iris]: “N-No, it was Rose-san who…..”
I practiced all sorts things on etiquette including how to bow with Rose-san and Noelia-san when I was preparing for my audience.
I wasn’t able to do it right away, but I feel like I’m getting better at it little by little as time goes on.
[Marie]: “Priestess Rosalith”
Marie-sama turned to Rose-san after patting my head.
[Marie]: “It is a tad informal, but…..”
Marie-sama pressed her middle and index finger to the spot right above Rose-san’s chest where the tikarodeka coat of arms was inscribed on her armor.
[Marie]: “By my authority as an archbishop, I recognize you as a priestess of the highest caliber and hereby name you high priestess.”
[Rose]: “……you honor me Marie Arone-sama.”
With those short words, Rose-san performed a bow much more elegant than mine had been.
Woah, is that a promotion? Or, I suppose they would rather call this an advance in rank right?
I’m not sure what rank Rose-san was before, (or that there even were ranks to be honest), but this is a good thing right?
[Marie]: “I pray that you continue to serve as her sword and shield from now on.”
[Rose]: “I will. I swear to protect Calvafon-sama even if it costs me my life.”
……..but, somehow, this makes me feel a bit lonely.
Rose-san is referring to me by my last name, and it almost sounds like she’s saying she is only protecting me because she’s a priestess.
No, I know that’s not how it really is. Rose-san has been kind to me and has been protecting me from before I ever received this grimoire.
But, I’ve been feeling close to Rose-san lately, so her acting like that is strangely worrisome to me.
[Litzreich]: “So, is everything all right then? Can I find out why you needed me here?”
Litzreich had been on pins and needles the entire time over here, and she was finally unable to stop herself.
[Marie]: “High Priestess Rosalith. You now have the authority to confer our secrets. I would ask you to explain things to Rinrin-sama.”
Rose-san turned towards Litzreich with a nod.
[Litzeich]: “What? You mean…..this is something so secret, you needed the archbishop’s permission to tell me about it?”
[Rose]: “That is correct. And with my newly appointed power and authority, I must forbid you from ever repeating anything you are about to hear aloud.”
[Litzreich]: “…..I must admit I tend to be a tad loose-lipped. What happens if I break that ban?”
Litzreich responded with her usual gall.
[Rose]: “…..then you will come to regret those loose lips.”
Yet Rose-san answered with her usual smile.
[Litzreich]: “……so be it. Then I, Litzreich Rinrin, vow to never disclose what I am about to hear.”
[Rose]: “Good enough. Now, listen up. You ask why the gnomes have suddenly appeared and begun to rampage after a thousand years? What I am about to tell you is the most likely reason.”