Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 18: An Avenger Desires Not God’s Forgiveness
After a commoner’s candy binge in the royal capital, I went back to the church in the royal capital as scheduled and returned to regular duties the next day. While I worked as Doctor Claude’s assistant, Father Michael suddenly appeared.
“Erin, after the afternoon bell has rung, there’s a task I wish to assign you.”
“U-understood, Father Michael!”
A task he wishes to assign me, eh. Judging by how high-spirited Father Michael was, it’s probably not some sort of charity work. I almost sighed without thinking, but currently, I was Erin. I saw the retreating Father Michael off with a respectful gaze.
“…Your duty is that of an apprentice nurse. Don’t go around imitating a sister, alright? …Keep that really, really firmly in mind.”
“I understand, Doctor Claude!”
Erin, who could not completely hide her happiness, probably understood nothing, Doctor Claude thought, brows furrowing.
Hoho, but I do understand. That Father Michael was attempting to use me, whom he looked down upon as a convenient, foolish pawn. I knew at least this much… Really, what an awkward doctor.
I worked alongside him for a few months, so getting a grasp on Doctor Claude’s personality was par for the course. Doctor Claude was strict, feared by both the nurses and patients. However, he simply and absolutely would not make compromises in his capacity as a doctor. It was a matter of fact as a doctor responsible for the lives of others, so he naturally demanded the same from the nurses who were responsible for those same patients’ lives; he was even willing to play the role of the bad guy for the patients’ sake. Moreover, he was truly a sensitive and kind, if awkward, person, to offer advice to an assistant nurse whom he had merely worked with for a few months. Of course, the thick-headed Erin would not say such things, hence there was nothing for me to convey to Doctor Claude.
“Everyone, please stand in line!”
Erin’s voice resounded through the church in the royal capital’s great hall. I was currently selling indulgences to the devotees who came to worship. Although I said “selling”, it wasn’t as if there was a price attached or money being transacted. I received the donations called offerings from the believers and handed the indulgences to them as a show of gratitude towards pious devotees; such was the framework upon which the sale was conducted.
Indulgences—regarded as one of the holy relics of the goddess Luwell—was rumored to pardon its possessor of any and all sin… Of course, manipulation of information was probably involved in those rumors becoming rumors in the first place.
At the end of the day, was there such a thing as a human who has never sinned? If lying was a sin, just about everyone would be a sinner. That’s right; whether to a greater or lesser degree, humans were beings who sinned. Even if it was a minor one, a sin was a sin. If the head of the priests were to say something like,”The Goddess Luwell does not forgive you,” there would be many among the devotees—especially the commoners who had not received higher education—who would be deceived. Consequently, indulgences were rampant, as devotees frantically forked out cash in order to obtain them; it probably wasn’t wrong to call it a scam.
This time, the indulgences were small bottles that contained holy water. Even though it should be water, the color was a clear green… What exactly did it contain, I wonder? For an instant, I wondered if it could actually be holy water but swiftly perished the thought. It was unthinkable that that money-grubbing priest would hand out the actual thing. As I laughed bitterly in my heart, I stealthily slipped a bottle into my pocket.
“You’re very capable. I’ll be counting on your assistance again.”
After the sale of indulgences, I went to Father Michael’s office. It appeared that he had a highly doubtful nature. Whether it was the people who carried out the sale of indulgences like me, or his close associates, the common factor that both groups shared was genuinely worshiping Father Michael. Although not blatantly, as Erin, I, too, acted like a dog wagging its tail at its owner and constantly spewed phrases like, “It’s an honor to be praised by Father Michael.” Contrary to his superior position, Father Michael had few associates by his side, though it was probably why such an opportunity could even land in the hands of an apprentice nurse like me.
Abruptly, a certain phrase surfaced in my head.
“House Lewis has no need for incompetents.”
Those were the words my father would repeat to me over and over in my youth. No matter how much I tried to engage in conversation befitting of father and daughter, Father would never say the words I wished to hear.
After promising Father Michael that I’d help out again, I returned to the White Dormitory while biting my lip.
To think that the reward for my free labor would be Father Michael’s words of appreciation… It really doesn’t pay, does it?
Having returned to the White Dormitory, I searched my pockets and brought out the small bottle that was my bounty as the pawn of the second prince.
After uncapping the bottle and taking a whiff, I dipped a finger into the liquid, then licked it.
“It emits a refreshing fragrance. However, it’s just colored water, eh…”
It didn’t seem to contain any elements that would act particularly on the human body.
Ah, how boring. I’m disappointed.
Having lost interest, I tossed the bottle haphazardly onto the bed.
Just as I was thinking of calling it a day, knocking sounds reverberated throughout the room. Opening the door and wondering just who it could be at this time of night, I found Anne standing there.
“Good evening, Miss Erin.”
“What’s the matter this late at night, Anne? Is there an emergency?”
“That’s not the case. I really just couldn’t sleep… and I thought I’d like to chat a little if you’re fine with it. I also wanted to hear about your date with your boyfriend the other day, after all~.”
Although I’d been thinking of calling it a day, it wasn’t as if I was tired… I didn’t see any particular problem with it.
“Yeah, sure. Come on in… Ah, should we get Miria as well?”
“Miria’s on night duty, so she’s not around~.”
“Then, it’ll be a secret girls’ night with just the two of us!”
Although it was a personal room, the interior was cramped. The two of us naturally found ourselves sitting on the bed.
“Oh… what’s this bottle? What a pretty liquid.”
Anne had found the bottle I had thrown on my bed earlier and was staring at it.
“I was helping out Father Michael earlier today and received that!”
I couldn’t honestly declare that I’d stolen it, so I casually manipulated the truth as appropriate.
“So that’s why you weren’t around in the afternoon~. What exactly does it contain?”
“Holy water, apparently; it has a fresh scent. If I recall correctly, your childhood sweetheart is a pharmacist. Is that why you’re curious?”
“Well, he’s a medicine collector… I’m different, though?”
“I want to know about Anne’s boyfriend~.”
“Fufu, I’m the one asking the questions tonight~.”
“Ah, Anne— ngh, grnh—”
Her composed smile vanishing, Anne shoved me down on the bed. Before I could yell, something was forcibly poured into my mouth.
Although it was a thick, cold, and bitter-tasting liquid, the moment it went down, my body heated up as if it was boiling.
My vision swam and the world twisted, my thoughts slurring as if my head was filled with fog.
My instincts were blaring out a warning that something wrong was happening, but in the next instant, even my body had lost its strength.
“Instantaneous, as usual~.”
Anne’s normal, leisurely voice echoed in my head. In my blurring field of view, Anne was laughing while holding a bottle of dark green liquid that was different from that of the indulgence.
“Miss Erin, I believe you were unaware… but I really hated you. Foolish, frivolous girl… but at least be of some use to me, hm?”
Anne straddled me, brandishing a knife that she’d probably concealed at my nape.
“I probably have no need to threaten you, but it’s for safety’s sake. Fufu, what you ingested is a strong truth serum; it has a strong paralyzing effect and subsequent memory-wiping effect. So, don’t worry and tell me everything… The filthy First Father’s favored Miss Erin, please tell me everything you know.”
Anne looked down on Erin gleefully, and made a request.
“I… Wh-at I… kn-ow… issss—”
I twisted Anne’s right hand, which held the knife, upwards. Seizing the opportunity during which Anne was seized up from the pain, I twisted my body, and with my freed legs, kicked her in the gut. Perhaps because she’d underestimated the situation and assumed that an opponent drugged into submission would not be able to fight back, Anne’s hold on me was loose and barely counted as a restraint.
A trickle of blood flowed from Anne’s neck, possibly from her thin skin having been lightly grazed during our tussle. I politely caught the spill and smeared the blood onto the frightened and trembling Anne’s purple lips with elegant movements, as though I were coloring them red.
Involuntarily, I let out a laugh.
“Fufu, I did know, that is, the fact that you hated Erin… However, ‘I’ really liked you. Did you know that? Hmmm, Monica Anthrone, daughter of a fallen baron?”
As if whispering sweet nothings to a lover, I softly whispered in Anne’s ear as Julianna.