Section 4: Paladin
People…..no, all living things are under the influence of the Goddess’s first song, The Hymn to All. This song acted as a curse that greatly reduces our strength.
However I already heard from Lapris back in my room at my parents’ house that by defeating a violent monster, that commandment would be gradually released and your strength would increase as a result.
Presently Rose-san was considered an orange rank adventurer.
She received her topaz coloring from Aronda-san’s certification in Soletta Ritta’s church.
That was early spring when you could still feel the chill of winter. Since then, Rose-san has fought against the Carbuncle great spirit and now the ancient dragon Sanz Wanz.
Both were inhabitants of the ‘primordial world’, the world that existed before the current one the Goddess had brought about.
So with those results, how would Rose-san’s color change? Everyone gathered here in the chapel, including myself, strained our eyes to make out the results.
[Iris]: “White to green, green to yellow. Well, obviously.”
The holy water inside the silver cup changed color little by little.
From yellow to orange.
At that moment, a quiet murmur ran through the temple. I almost forgot. Not many people have ever managed to reach the orange rank.
Many of the adventure novels I like to read feature orange rank adventurers, so you might think they’re more common than they are. In truth though, if they’re playing an active part in an adventure novel, it would be pretty reasonable to assume they’re strong.
*Dong* Marie-sama hit the base of her scepter against the floor. That tiny little noise had a ripple effect that silenced the rest of the noise in the room.
[Iris]: “…..Lapris, what color does that look like to you?”
[Lapris]: “Red, definitely.”
With the chant of the priestesses remaining as the only noise in the room, the water continued to change color…..to a deep and vivid red.
Once again a murmur, louder than the one before, filled the quiet temple. That was the proof that our eyes were not playing any tricks on us.
The sound of the scepter hitting the floor sounded twice this time. Yet the din of those gathered here did not subside. The people’s turmoil permeated across the building like the ripples spreading inside the silver cup.
It had been a long time since that red color, like the deepest shade of wine, had filled that cup. And that red color now converged in the center.
Keeping its vivid shade, the water gathered together and grew upwards. A tiny ball formed at the top of the stream, and as it continued to grow, leaves spread out from the side. Finally that tiny ball formed into a bulb, and……a bouquet of red flowers bloomed.
Tikarodeka, the holy flower.
The symbol of the Illyrian church and the sacred flower etched onto Rose-san’s shield.
There were thirty of them in all. Immediately after the ruby tikarodeka came into full bloom, the cheers of the public rose to a volume that drowned out the chants of the priestesses.
Each and every single person celebrated the birth of a new red corundum adventurer.
For a while, the cheers and applause of those gathered continued on without stopping. Even Marie-sama, the priestess in charge of the ritual, clapped her hands and congratulated Rose-san.
[Iris]: “The reaction for red rank is amazing…..”
[Lapris]: “Hah? Duh. It’s the same level as Ashel who these people all call a hero. Be more aware of your rarity.”
(I see…..that means Rose-san will become even more famous from now on. She will play a more active role in the world and become a name everyone knows…..)
Feeling Lapris’s gaze on me, I looked at Rose-san.
Then Rose-san turned towards me.
For a short instant, I felt embarrassed because I had been caught peeping. But then, the knowledge that Rose-san had been thinking about me at that moment made me so happy I thought my heart would soar into the air.
So I leaned a little further outside the curtain so I could stick out my hand and give her a wave.
Then Rose-san waved her own hand, which had just been soaked inside the silver cup, back at me. She had a shy smile on like a flower.
[Iris]: “Wow, did you see? Hey, did you see that Lapris? Rose-san just turned around towards us.”
[Lapris]: “Hah? Oh, y-yeah I saw…..what are you so happy about? You see her every single day.”
[Iris]: “Well, true. But….so what? It’s good, isn’t it? It’s how it is, right?”
[Lapris]: “My god you like Rose”
[Iris]: “Of course I like her. Rose-san is so kind. You like her too right?”
Rose-san pulled one of the ruby tikarodeka out of the silver cup and pinned it to her chest.
Silver armor with peach-colored hair. A single red flower blooming on her chest. What a picture! An appearance like that with each gesture reeking of sophistication, this is what we call an extremely natural beauty!
[Lapris]: “Well, Rose is definitely better than that damn Taso/Caro pair of devils. I sure like her, but….”
[Iris]: “Of course you do. She’s an incredibly nice person. She’s kind, beautiful, cute, strong…..an amazing person you can’t find any fault in.”
My gaze fell on the sacred flowers still blooming inside the silver cup.
[Iris]: “Those surplus tikarodeka…..what is going to happen to them? I wonder if I could get one for myself.”
[Lapris]: “……But I don’t think she’s any more amazing than you.”
[Iris]: “Huh? Oh, I’m sorry. Did you say something just now?”
[Lapris]: “Nothing. Just that the ritual’s going to be continuing.”
The cheers and applause finally died away, and a melodious voice swept over everyone in the church.
[Marie]: “Priestess Rosalith Cuulbacall. Archbishop Marie Arone Escriva hereby recognizes you as a level thirty adventurer of the red corundum rank.”
Those words echoed clearly throughout the cathedral, overshadowing the priestess’s chant to reach every corner of every shadow in the room. This is where the ritual would usually come to an end. But this is not meant to be a baptismal rite.
This is Rose-san’s investiture ceremony. And Marie-sama continued speaking as a matter of course.
[Marie]: “…..and so I promote you to the highest rank of priesthood. You who have already been approved to become a grand priestess and who has now gained the additional achievement of subduing Sanz Wanz. I hereby grant you the title of paladin.”
[Iris]: “Wha-, eh!? Did you hear that Lapris!? A paladin! Rose-san is a paladin, so amazing!!”
[Lapris]: “Oi, hol-……stop hitting me!! Even if you’re trying to hold back it still hurts!!”
Lapris starting slapping my finger because I kept poking her head. Ouchie.
[Iris]: “Ah, sorry sorry!! But…..it’s just so amazing!! Somehow……I’m not dreaming am I……?”
The pain in my finger let me know I was in fact not dreaming as I watched Rose-san get blessed by Marie-sama.
Paladin. It is an honorary rank in the church similar to archbishop.
It is a priest/bishop’s job to hold ceremonies and perform rituals, and an archbishop is an honorary rank given to one of those priests. In the same way, a paladin is meant to be an honorary rank for warrior priestesses whose job it is to spread the word of the Goddess to the people while also protecting her believers.
It is a title only bestowed upon those warrior priestesses who are said to perfectly embody the Goddess’s teachings while also making a great contribution to the church.
A warrior priestess that people around the world, including myself, adore and respect. It is the end goal all warrior priestesses long for and look up to.
Rose-san is now that paladin.
The eyes of the Goddess Knights including Lanselva-sama, Milius-sama, and Ruruka-sama who are all in attendance have their eyes focused on Rose-san’s back.
I could feel my chest getting hot, and I couldn’t stand still, so I started jumping up and down where I was.
[Rose]: “Thank you. I shall continue to devote myself to acting as a knight worthy of the honor.”
Rose-san put her hand on her chest and gave a deep bow.
With a new position and title bestowed, the investiture ceremony came to a quiet end, but each individual attendee had a raging excitement burning in their chests.
[Marie]: “…..now then, to each and everyone in attendance today. Let us recognize the name and countenance of someone we all wish to know.”
But while that underlying energy still permeated the air, Marie-sama once again raised her voice.
[Marie]: “She who was chosen by the Goddess Illya to become a mage and granted ownership of the Goddess Knights.”
[Marie]: “She who only recently arrived at the capital. She who received the greatest merits in the slaying of the dragon in Relton Village and in the battle against the ancient dragon Sanz Wanz.”
[Marie]: “The dragon slayer. The red-haired mage. Our little hero…..”
[Marie]: “The one who stands at the top of all who serve Illya!!”
[Priestesses]: “”IRIS CALVAFON-SAMA, PLEASE APPEAR!!””
Dozens of priestesses took over to yell out the last part of Marie-sama’s words.
The thousands of people inside the chapel naturally heard the words of the chant, and soon a thunderous round of cheers and applause rose to the highest peak.
But in sharp contrast, the only thing I could raise from my mouth was a shrill scream.