Volume 2 — Chapter 2: The Saint and the Father
Upon hearing the Saint’s imploring voice, the priest’s expression softened, and he begrudgingly lowered his scythe. The Saint breathed a sigh of relief, and faced me.
“You…saved us, didn’t you? You threw knives from up in that tree, didn’t you? If you had not come to our rescue, we would now…” The Saint turned red and looked down.
Tears welled up in her eyes, and they wavered anxiously.
“Milady Saint…my deepest apologies. Under my watch, no less…!” The priest spoke with deep regret in his voice, and he had completely lowered his scythe. With one swing, the wickedly large curved blade folded up, turning the giant scythe into a staff of decent length.
The lot over at the Church sure do have some interesting toys, huh…
Anyway, it seemed we were safe. The priest apparently no longer wanted to turn me into mincemeat, and the bandits had never been anything worth worrying about. With knives through their feet, they were even less so.
Even the last one, who the priest had taken care of, seemed healthy aside from a shallow cut to the foot.
Did that mean that I was the only one the priest had actually tried to kill?
He showed mercy to the bandits, the perpetrators, while attempting to kill me just for being present…he must have had personal feelings toward the matter. Like scorn for fallen beasts, for instance. Or hate.
Either way, I should probably keep my sword out. It seemed that I might be killed at any moment.
“Mercenary, are you alright?!”
Zero ran up to me, suddenly reaching toward my neck.
With her pulling on my fur, I had no choice but to bend down.
“Don’t pull my fur, stupid! Ow!”
“Ah…I knew it. You’re injured.”
“There is a wound on your neck.”
“No way,” I touched a hand to my neck.
The scythe’s blade had gotten very close, but I knew I had stopped it.
Nevertheless, there was indeed a cut on my neck. I felt the slippery feeling of blood on my fingertips.
It had cut me even though I had blocked it, huh. The scythe was curved, so its tip might have grazed me. The moment I noticed it, the cut began to sting. I lightly clicked my tongue and tore Zero away.
“It’s just a flesh wound. It’ll heal ’n no time. More importantly…hey, ya bloodthirsty priest! Don’tcha got somethin’ ta tell me?”
I kept the Saint’s chastity safe, and you attack me? Apologize and weep, ya lady killer.
However, the priest’s expression did not change into one on the verge of tears, but instead one of clear contempt.
“Out of consideration for milady Saint…I shall spare your life. Now get that filth-covered, repugnant figure out of milady Saint’s sight at once.”
And the discrimination was out in the open now. I’d heard this sort of line before.
This guy was one of those who truly believed that fallen beasts were trash by birth. He was probably one of the fanatics who believed that fallen beasts should be killed the moment they were born, when they were babies. There were many of them in the clergy, but I hadn’t seen many this blunt recently.
As I stood there in astonishment, Zero strode forward.
As she walked, she looked over her shoulder at me, and smiled gently enough to make me shiver.
“Mercenary, give me a moment. I will return after ‘slaughtering’ that man.”
“Wait, wait, wait! Ya can’t just say hair-raisin’ stuff like that with such a sweet smile on yer face! He’s a priest, just calm down a bit!”
I hurriedly grabbed Zero by the nape of the neck and dragged her back.
“Even if he is a priest, what right does he have to ridicule my mercenary? I am extremely displeased.”
“This world gives ‘im the right to do so! I’m a fallen beast, after all.”
A whiff of sweet fragrance wafted by.
When I looked up, I nearly jumped from seeing the Saint so close.
An injury, she probably meant to say, but the last part was so quiet that I couldn’t make it out. Pushing away Zero, who was still intent on killing the priest, I turned my back to the Saint.
“Don’t worry ‘bout it. It ain’t even a scratch.”
“No!” An unexpectedly strong voice addressed me. I turned back around in surprise.
With a somewhat frantic look on her face, the Saint took a step toward me.
“Um…even if the wound is small, sickness can…I’ll treat it…for you.”
Did she mean to use a miracle—or magic?
In that moment, Zero and I traded looks.
Zero looked slightly bewildered as well. At any rate, she was better than the priest.
“Milady Saint! Do you mean to use your power on someone like him—!”
The Saint jumped in response to the priest’s angry yell.
“Is that…not alright? But, he saved us…and his injury was because of your misunderstanding, Father…ah, no, I did not mean to blame you, Father…! I just, that…”
The Saint’s eyes gradually filled with tears.
“I’m sorry. I’m a fool…this is all my fault…I, I should…”
The Father instantly turned pallid.
“I-I understand! I understand, so please, please do not cry! It was I who was wrong! Look, you beast! Be thankful for mine Saint’s benevolence and allow her to heal that scratch!”
“I kinda rea—lly don’t want ‘er ta heal it for me though…”
“I get the feeling,” Zero grumbled in agreement.
But this was a great chance to see one of the Saint’s miracles up close. I obediently let things proceed.
Seeing that the Father approved, and that I wasn’t resisting, the Saint looked relieved and less tense as she took another step toward me.
The Saint reached out and touched my neck with trembling hands. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
A gentle glow gathered, and the area around my neck grew warm.
As the Saint took her hands away, the light faded and the stinging pain likewise vanished.
“There, all cured.” The Saint smiled.
I put a hand on my neck. The wound had indeed vanished. —All without chanting a spell.
In that moment, I truly began to believe in miracles.
But when I caught Zero’s eye, I understood that she was confident that it was magic. Then did that mean that the Saint was so experienced with magic as to not need to enunciate her spells?
This spacey woman?