The Imperial Capital, Filas Filia, the largest city in the Empire, is famous for having erected an enormous crystal sculpture of the goddess in the Filas Filia Cathedral and for possessing the largest library within the three nations, the Imperial Library. Furthermore, it hosts the Spellcaster's Academy and Magic Research Center that's jointly maintained with the Aster Kingdom and Sardius Alliance. This is a colossal city contending for number 1 or 2 in the world.
Dwellings made of wood and ash-grey bricks occupy the city's outer edge. The houses within the town are built from red bricks. Their crimson hue creates a gentle atmosphere. The aristocrats in the upper sections of the city have their mansions made from fine quality scarlet bricks. The brilliant bricks they use create an impression of unity. The reason so much red is used is because a previous emperor before the fifth generation liked that color.
This knowledge comes from an extension of Suimei's personal hobbies, but in the other world, red is the chief color used in Europe. The tradition derives from Saints shedding their blood during ancient times. It also invokes the image of combat by imitating the color knights had their mantels woven from. Even in a different world, red is respected within the capital of a militant country. Truly a curious development.
Suimei looks upward while entertaining those thoughts. The Imperial Capital has many tall buildings. This is thanks to the tall walls protecting it. The higher they protect, the higher the inner structures are allowed to rise.
Aster Kingdom's capital city Metal failed to give Suimei such a grandiose impression. Even though Metal had a large variety of people, Filas Filia has a much more modern image. Both cities have shops and public parks, but this one also offers maintenance services along with water and sewage facilities. They are testaments to its advanced development and organization.
However, not even the lovely cityscape colored with children splashing in the water can clear the gloom from Suimei's heart. He gives a deep sigh, "I can't believe I let clean up fall to Reiji and his party…."
How many more times will he repeat that to himself?
A traveler back at the customs office mentioned the story. Reiji lead the kingdom's troops to battle on his way back to Aster from the Empire. He not only took down the Mazoku General Rajas, but 10,000 of his soldiers.
Needless to say, Suimei was blindsided by the story. His current mood is whirlwind of frustration, annoyance, and regret.
Lefille voices her concern at Suimei's grim expression. "Suimei-kun, it's still just a story spread along by travelers. We don't know for sure if they defeated Rajas or not."
"That's true, but we never actually saw Rajas die. Now we're hearing Reiji's name appear along with that mazoku's. In nine cases out of ten, that guy wasn't someone you could beat with a single blow…."
That's the reason for Suimei's troubled sigh. He's in down spirits because of the burden he left for Reiji's party. That development is a major blow to his pride as a magician. He fully committed himself against Rajas and exhausted all of his magic within that spell. Maybe it's a question of time, but to his frustration, his holy lightning failed to exterminate that mazoku.
"I'm so incompetent. All that boasting, yet I failed to defeat that mazoku."
"Don't be stupid. You might have failed in killing it, but you still dealt it a lot of damage. I bet that's the only reason your friend was able to beat Rajas. Think about what might have happened if you didn't face Rajas first…."
She's right, their lives would have probably ended. Still— "Yeah, I guess. Well, nothing we can do about it anymore… Haa."
"Do you want to make it a fact that you failed to defeat Rajas? I understand your feelings, but sighing out like that is no good. That gloom you're scattering around is going to drive everyone away."
"Ah, you're right." Suimei reflects upon his actions at Refille's rebuke. The phrase, "Sighing out will drive everyone away," has the same meaning as "Sighing out will let happiness escape." People carry happiness. If people don't approach one another, then others won't be able to receive happiness. She's absolutely right. There's no point in mulling about this forever.
"All right, time to stop talking about this. Let's move onto something positive."
"Yeah, that's the spirit!" Lefille, while saying, "All right-" releases a composed smile while raising her fist. Cheerful attitudes are the perfect match for times like these.
"—So, Lefille, I've told you were I want to go, but what are your plans?"
"Right, I'm going to the Salvation Church."
—-Cute star that I still don't know how to make—
Lefille's request is acceded to. Even though are many Salvation Churches within the Imperial Capital, the one they find is near the outer wall gate.
This is the first time Suimei visits a place of worship in this world. It gives him an impression different from everywhere else he's been. The brick road gives way to semi-buried cobble decorated with well-kept flower beds and a small pond midway through. Many trees planted close to one another in row give the illusion of being in a forest. Green seems to be the favored color here.
This verdant sanctuary must be sacred ground. A small bird can be heard chirping by straining the ears. At the far end is a white building. The path invites visitors inside. The closer Suimei gets, the grimmer his expression grows. "The church… Seriously, a church…."
"Something wrong? You've been muttering to yourself while making a strange face for a while now."
"No, it's nothing…. Just, is coming here really alright?" Suimei asks while hiding that he's unable to acclimatize himself to being near a church.
"What do you mean? This place is fine."
"Aren't there fancier cathedrals within the Empire? The kind where outsiders stop by for sightseeing?"
"The Filas Filia Cathedral. I mentioned it earlier….. but honestly, I don't want to go to such a large place." Lefille's eyebrows drop. She's fully convinced that going there would be troublesome.
"Because there's always a high priest in those places, one with a very powerful blessing from the goddess. You're probably better at gauging just how strong that person's blessing would be…. Anyway, I get the feeling such a person might be able to discern my true identity."
"Oh…? Is being able to discern a spirit's identity that big of a deal in this world?" Suimei also asks because of a story she once mention, one concerning this world. Apparently, spirits are more intimate with people here. He even once felt spirit energy from Lefille before. That's why he doesn't think this is such a big deal, but maybe there's more to it?
Lefille knits her eyebrows together as she frowns. "I fight with the power of Shakti, the Spirit of the Scarlet Tempest, in my blood. Shakti, according to Al Sharia mythology, fought against the evil god Zechariah as the Alshna's right arm. The point is, she's the goddess's direct subordinate. That means… So, I'd appreciate if you could understand the gravity of my situation. Really, you must understand."
"I see. Back in Noxias, everyone understood you were like them despite being half spirit. That, however, is rendered moot in places of strong faith like the Salvation Church where they can see the truth." Is Lefille imagining such a situation? Whatever she's thinking, it must be horrible. Her face paled and she's shaking. It probably can't even be compared to religious cults. Her being treated like a real god probably isn't too farfetched. She'd definitely find such treatment troublesome. "Hahaha, isn't the problem something else?"
"This isn't something to laugh about! Day after day, people would come pray to me, thankful devotees would follow me around crying tears of joy, some would even ask me to divine their future or help them make sense of their lives! It depresses me more than it frightens me!"
"I see. Well… such treatment would be unpleasant. Pfft, hahaha…"
While fury envelops Lefille's heart and Suimei laughs at her plight, the church's door squeaks open. From it steps a man. A strange aura surrounds him, one Suimei can't comprehend. The image this man depicts conflicts with those associated to a church. He is neither slim nor in good physical condition. Ash grey can be seen mixing within his combed back, long, black hair. Finally, even though the eyes on his strict face are shut, he walks with a purposeful gait leaving the hem of his formal like outfit to sway in the breeze.
He gives Suimei and Lefille a light nod as he walks past them on that narrow lane. Lefille turns her head to scrutinize the man's back. The sharp stare she gives him isn't one imaginable from someone who looks so young.
"Suimei-kun, that man."
"Who was he?"
"Not sure, but I think he's a master."
A master? Suimei didn't sense any excess magical fluctuation or any mystical ability when he passed by. He'll have to take Lefille's word for it. "Would you say he's— a swordsman?"
"That's right, but….. didn't you notice? You're a swordsman too."
Lefille speaks as though the situation is obvious, but it isn't for Suimei.
"I can use a sword, but I'm not so skilled as to discern a person's proficiency with a glance. The strong conceal a lot within themselves and I'm a long way off before I can pick up on those subtleties."
However, this just speaks volumes to Lefille's capabilities and that's not including the fact that she's part spirit. Unlike Suimei, she can discern a person's capabilities with a glance. A similar event happened in the customs office. "You did the same with Liliana too. That's really impressive."
The young witch known as Liliana Zandark gave off an impressive amount of magical power. Even in hindsight, the amount she gave off was amazing. Doing that much without a magic furnace really shows her level of mastery.
"Liliana Zandark, there isn't that much information about her. She gained her alias, the Empire's Human Weapon, during several skirmishes against a southern nation."
"That's a disturbing title."
"It was bestowed upon her due to the thoroughness in which she completed her missions. Although, the lack of emotion she displays may have also been a major factor."
True, Liliana's emotions didn't fluctuate much back at the customs office. Then again, Suimei only exchanged two or three words with the girl, so he doesn't have much to go off of.
"—But now isn't the time for such a conversation. We have to hurry up and pray." Lefille leaps forward the moment she finishes her sentence, and with some quick steps, proceeds up the white stairs to the door. However, upon entering the church, she doesn't dash towards the goddess's statue.
A sigh of devotion…. No, since the goddess Alshna exists for people of the world, there might be some differences in what's considered proper decorum. Suimei looks up towards the high ceiling as he too enters the church's nave.
A cathedral of the Salvation Church, unlike popular churches from the other world, this one doesn't have any stained glass or pipe organs. A peaceful atmosphere does appear to decorate the statue.
Windows on the ceiling allow broken rays of sunlight to shine down onto the floor. Magic illuminates and warms the areas unreached by the sun. As can be expected, a sparse amount of people are scattered about inside. There aren't any wealthy visitors, but small children, calm older woman, and tidy elder men raise their prayers towards the goddess's statue. It's an impressive cathedral.
A woman greets Suimei from the side while he admires this world's church. He turns around to respond, "Oh, hello… aah!?" The rest of Suimei's greeting gets caught in his throat due to his surprise. Along with a strange cry, his eyes unintentionally turn black and white. (I do not know what that expression means. Is it like saying his eyes bulge forward?)
The young woman— Sister, tilts her head a little at his actions. "Is something wrong?"
"You- your ears!" Suimei is unable to recover from his surprise.
"I'm pretty sure ears are normal to have. Don't you also have a pair?"
"No, not that… It's just… They… They're…"
"Ah, by some chance, is this your first time meeting someone from the beast race?"
–She's a beastman. Of the many races within the Empire, she is of the beastman. It's a tribe of beings unique to this world who are more powerful than humans and born with animal features.
Suimei finally gets used to her appearance. If she's of a race that's a mix between humans and animals, then having animal ears makes perfect sense. Her habit may be peculiar to the Salvation Church, but blue frills decorate the habit wrapped around the Sister's body. Underneath her veil is light, wavy, pink hair. Needless to say, cat ears poke out through it.
Her expression as he gazed at her face is a gentle one. The atmosphere it gives off is one full of patience and wisdom.
"You're ears surprised me…. Please excuse my discourtesy."
"Really? Shouldn't we consider your reaction perfectly normal? This is your first time encountering a beastman, after all."
The Sister giggles to herself. Her maturity makes Suimei feel ashamed of himself. Regardless, the animal eared Sister strikes a finger to her cheek and tilts her head. "Are you not here to pray?"
"No, I'm accompanying her." Suimei turns towards Lefille who kneels before the goddess's statue in prayer.
The Sister smiles at the sight. "Ara, you have a very small sweetheart."
"Hah? What are you saying—"
"But you really mustn't. The Empire rarely approves of men your age associating with girls that young."
"What?— No, that's completely wrong!! She is a girl friend, but not that kind!!"
"Fufufu, just kidding. I know what you mean." The Sister admits that she's messing around with a charming smile. No man who sees it would be able to get upset with her. It's a perfect image, one that leaves Suimei's shoulders sagging. She then turns towards Lefille, "She's quite the devoted child."
"…Yeah. Upon entering the Imperial Capital, she insisted that the first thing we do is visit a church… She went so far as to tug on my clothes so she come here and pray."
"The goddess-sama's teachings are something to be cherished. She's had a good upbringing despite her age."
"Ahaha….. please don't mention her age in front of her."
The Sister's ears twitch as she's left wondering to his allusion. Lefille will be quite pitiful if she doesn't return to normal soon.
A cracking sound occurs behind Suimei as rows of people appear near Lefille. Everyone stands before the priest as he finishes his sermon. The hope they carry shines on their faces as they await something. He asks the Sister, "The service ended, why are they lining up?"
"After praying, Alshna-sama's oracle, our bishop-sama, receives our goddess-sama's divine revelation. Although, most of the time nothing happens."
"Hmm…." Suimei, while also wondering if this is some sort of evangelical scan, thinks to himself, So, that's what made Lefille do all those strange things.
The priest approaches the goddess's statue with a tome held against his chest and mutters something. Suimei can see something appear during the ritual if he looks close. It's neither a magic formula nor the flow of magic power, but instead mana from the goddess. Most likely, the priest receives the goddess's message by uses his body as a medium. The real oracle is his book.
Suimei gasps as he sees through the truth of the oracle. The Sister, however, makes a strange sound.
"At any rate, to not know about the oracle, that's pretty surprising. Every cathedrals should have something similar…."
"That's because Salvation Church's influence doesn't extend to where I'm from."
"Ara, how strange. Then again, the goddess-sama's faith didn't reach my village either. My, how nostalgic." The Sister clasps her hands together at the unexpected coincidence. Her gentle smile coupled with the twitching of her ears creates a soothing atmosphere. "With that said,"
"Is today your first time in Filas Filia?"
"You can tell?"
"It's just a thought since today appears to be the first time you've met someone of the beast race."
"Well…, my ignorance exposed me." Suimei's interest in his surroundings, common everyday activities, created the suspicion that he's from the country side.
Even though he brushes off his ignorance with a joke, the Sister worries she might have been a bit rude. "Ah, no, please don't worry about such a thing…"
Suimei, to that concerned girl, puts on a refreshing smile while also releasing a mischievous atmosphere. "—Would you be so kind as to give this ignorant visitor some helpful advice?"
"Haa…. Yes, of course. I'll give you important information, but it might not be useful."
"Is there something?"
"About 2 or 3 things. Which do you want first, the good or the bad?"
"The bad, please. Hearing the good afterwards will help lift my spirits."
The Sister says, "Yes," to Suimei's explanation. Her gentle face gradually turns grim as she says, "You mentioned that you just arriving at the Imperial Capital, so be careful when you go out at night. Troubling incidents having been occurring."
"Troubling? What do you mean?"
"Of course, for maybe about one month now, people throughout the city have been turning up in comas during the mornings. A growing sense of fear is starting to take hold of the people."
"In comas? That sounds dangerous. Are they being attacked by delinquents?"
"Maybe, magic seems to have been used, so there's no doubt that this is a crime."
"…. Quite a bit of time seems to have passed since this trouble began. Is it that difficult of a case?"
"The military police is doing its best, but the criminal doesn't leave many clues. The magic used is very effective, no one's been able to figure out what its attribute is either." She looks down in regret. In line with her gentle appearance, she appears to worry about the victims and the people surrounding them.
Even so— "Sister, you're very knowledgeable."
"Yes, my ears pick up quite a lot from the people coming to the church." The Sister's ears twitch as she mentions the confidence she has in her hearing.
Touching them would feel amazing. Suimei's heart trembles at the idea, but he suppresses the rude desire.
The Sister claps her hands as she switches to the good news. "However, Yuusha-sama will also be joining this case, so the matter ought to be resolved soon."
"Yes, the Yuusha-sama summoned by the Holy Office of El Meida is currently residing in Filas Filia."
"Yes, the general public hasn't been informed yet, but the Empire's administration and the Salvation Church will soon be making an announcement. So, is that good news?"
That's good news? Rather than being good news, it's an interesting story. The Holy Office El Meida is a neutral theocracy south of the Empire. Just because another Yuusha like Reiji was summoned is no reason to get worked up. Suimei is more interested in where the person came from and what kind person he or she is.
"I've also heard that the Yuusha-sama from the Sardius Alliance is also active."
"Speaking of which, there are four Yuusha, right?"
"The Yuusha-sama summoned by the Sardius Alliance seems to be a beautiful girl. Her swordsmanship is very reliable. In testament to her skill, she was able to overcome both the Alliance's sword corps and the first prince who's known as the Sword King."
So the third Yuusha is a girl? Just what standard are the Yuusha held to when summoned? At any rate, being a man isn't one of them.
"….A really strong girl…. Just what is going on….?"
"….Did you say something?"
Suimei's mutterings, which are borderline complaints, seem to have been heard. He dismisses the Sister's inquiry with, "Nothing." He very likely may never receive an answer.
The Sister clasps her hands together before her large breast while Suimei has such thoughts. "Wouldn't you say we're making progress in the war against the Demon king and mazoku?"
"Yes, that is good news."
While Suimei agrees, the priest gives Lefille her message from the oracle. She then shouts, "Wha- What!? - Ah, n- no, tha-that can't be true!?"
She stands up and clings to the priest before anyone realizes what she's doing. Her confusion and impatience trouble the priest at first, but accustomed to such situations, he soon takes charge. Lefille expression tightens as she quiets down and nods.
"No way!" Everyone can hear Lefille's shriek as what she's told isn't what she wants to hear. She hurries back to Suimei to tell him the bad news. "Su- Suimei-kun!! Wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-what should I do!? This is serious!"
"Lefille, slow down. What's wrong?"
"Everything's wrong! I- I don't know what to do!"
"What to do… first tell me what happened. Then, we can go from there."
Despite his words, Lefille loses her cool and resumes shouting. "The oracle! The oracle gave me another command!"
For Lefille to lose her composure like this is rare. Just what kind of unreasonable request did that goddess give her this time?
A/N: Finally, this chapter is up. Sorry for the delay, I normally work on my translation during the weekend and at night, but I've been a bit tired these past two weeks and going to sleep earlier than usual. I also have some bad news. I counted all the chapters that are out and there's a little less than 140. That means it's going to take at least 100 weeks to catch up, and that doesn't count for delays or new releases. In other words, two years from now. Well, my capabilities should improve so maybe I'll be able to cut down on that. The good news is that I'm not dropping this translation just yet. Were any of you worried that that is what I was going to say?? To be honest, part of me wants to skip to the chapter where Hatsume shows up and start from there.
Anyway, about my question at the end of last chapter, two majorities came up. The first is that most of you are fine with me using different words to differentiate Suimei with the spellcasters of the current world. The second is that most of you want Suimei keep his title as Magician. So, Suimei will remain as "Magician" while everyone else will be called "Spellcaster".
Now, about the chapter. This place reminds me of Ba Sing Sei. Did anyone else think that?? Also, here's a discrepancy between the LN and WN. Suimei in the LN talks about how churches and magicians don't get along before Lefille's explanation about Shakti. Speaking of which, the author seems to get a lot of names from Hindu mythology. Al Sharia means Islamic law and Zechariah is Hebrew though. Anyway, I get the feeling a lot of the names will be coming from around that section of the world. The only problem with that will be in figuring out who he's talking about. I'll do what I can to match the names to the appropriate god or goddess, however, my knowledge over the mythologies from that region of the world is lacking, so I may mess up.