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The Shrine, which administered the Dragon God Faith in Palcemith had a relatively simple structure.
From the pavement so level that even carriages could easily ride through, extended a stone staircase. Climbing up the stairs, one would be greeted by an arch-shaped gate that imitated a gigantic dragon. This was the entrance. Surrounding it was a grass-covered outer courtyard. The altar for the believers to pray was a place where the floor was much more elevated than elsewhere and was deep inside the building. The building was separated, by white pillars that held up the roof, from the place of worship. Passageways extended from both sides of the place of worship. The tiny rooms that dotted the passageways at regular intervals served as waiting rooms for nobles as well as important people. And it was in one of these rooms that Lutora stayed. If one went up the stairs to the second floor, there was a corridor where you could see the place of worship in one sweep.
The passageway extended further behind the small rooms and led to a U-shaped building. This was the residence of the Priests, the ladies-in-waiting serving the shrine, and the orphans. Enclosed by the three-story building was a courtyard with a fountain. The Dragon Priestess was allotted a well-lit room facing this very courtyard.
Accompanying Malacia, Lutora stepped in the courtyard of the residential building. What he saw were ladies-in-waiting with bandages on their hands and feet, dull and tired expressions on their faces, all beaten black and blue. At the same time, the shrill shrieks of a young girl reached his ears.
As he approached the Dragon Maiden’s room, the shrieks grew louder. When he stood in front of the closed door, he could clearly discern the words to be unbearably filthy utterances.
“No! I don’t want it! What did I do wrong? You are all scum! Bastards!”
“Lady Priestess…! Please, please calm down.”
“Shut up! You whore! Die! Die in my place!”
As Malacia wordlessly opened the door with a frown, the scene that unfolded before their eyes was akin to hell.
A young girl with disheveled hair was stomping on the flanks of a fallen lady-in-waiting. She mercilessly threw a clay vase at the other ladies-in-waiting who were coming to her rescue. The one who had her stomach stepped on was groaning, while the other one, whose head the vase crashed into, silently fainted.
“Ahahahhaha! Maggots! Mealworms! Ahh, feels so good!”
Her bloodshot eyes seemed to pop out of their sockets, and as she looked down at the injured lady-in-waiting, the corners of her mouth foamed as she let out out a vulgar laugh. There was no mistaking the proponent of this repulsive behavior. It was the one whom all of Lutora’s allies were worried about, Melia Laturi herself.
“…You must be joking.”
Lutora doubted his eyes, but that was understandable. There were no traces left of the beauty that had made Melia and Nasha look like two peas in a pod. Her cheeks were sallow and her ribs were visible. She was skinny like a withered tree. Her bruised skin seemed dry and flaky with countless red scratch marks on it.
One of the ladies-in-waiting noticed the two standing like statues in front of the door. She walked up to Malacia and kneeled, revealing her legs that had nothing but bruises. Malacia immediately got down on his knees and cradled the woman’s hand that seemed pitiful with all the fresh wounds.
“I a-apologize… she was calm till now, but…”
“It’s all right, Nemo. It’s not your fault. What about the healers?”
“Early in the morning, the last one ran out of magic. We planned for them to work in shifts, but as Lady Melia was unwilling to wait, we were unable to do so.”
Malacia gave a long sigh.
“I’ll do it instead. Lutora, follow me.”
Accompanied by Lutora, Malacia approached the bed as quietly as he could. No sooner had she recognized him, Melia let out a piercing shriek and spit on his unblemished face.
“Demon! Go to hell!”
“‘O spirits of water, I beseech you with this prayer. I worship thy name, grant me with the miracle of healing…”
“You piece of shit! Son of a bitch! Go fuck yourself!”
“… ‘O light, overflow. Fill this prayer of mine.”
No sooner had Malacia uttered the words, a faint blue light filled the room. The moment she was enveloped by the light, the hysteric Melia’s expression seemed a little calmer.
As Melia slumped down to her knees, Lutora rushed past Malacia to grab her in his arms.
“Melia! Get it together!”
He lightly patted her cheeks, not minding the snot and drool on her face.
She heard a familiar voice.
Melia’s seemed barely at the edge of sanity as she raised her head.
Ascertaining the one who had caught her, she scrunched up her face and sniffled in her snot as she turned teary-eyed.
“Did you… come… to… rescue… me?”
“Hur…ry. Hurry, take me away… I don’t want… Dragon Priestess…”
Seeing the debilitated Melia, Lutora was at a loss for words.
At that time an unconcerned voice sounded.
“Lady Melia cannot resign from the duties of the Dragon Priestess until we find a replacement.”
“I’m sorry, but the seat of the Dragon Priestess cannot be left vacant till the Sacrificial Priestess is offered to the dragon.”
“You son of a bitch…!”
“I don’t want this… this pain, this suffering, no more…! Lutora, take me away from this place… Sigurd, come save me…!”
Melia shook her head and clung to his clothes as Lutora held her in his arms, as if to shield her, and glared at Malacia.
No matter how naive Lutora was, he understood that Malacia’s words were right.
Palcemith was born out of the dragon’s grace. For the sake of the kingdom’s existence and for the sake of the ancient dragon’s survival, if a single girl has to endure pain, it is justified. The one chosen as the holy maiden, the Sacrificial Priestess, was to offer her flesh and soul to the dragon on the day of the reckoning.
He knew that fact. But still…!
Seeing the girl, he knew so well and thought of as a friend, suffering in pain and wretchedly going crazy, he could not simply stay silent.
And that was why.
“Why… Why don’t you let Melia use the [Medicine]?”
Lutora asked Malacia.
Not realizing that it was the beginning of the elaborate trap Malacia had set up.
“Lutora. You ought to know how dreadful Suimo is.”
Wiping the spit off his cheek, Malacia deeply gazed at Lutora.
“I know it…! But wasn’t Suimo made for the Dragon Priestesses in the first place?”
“Yes, that is true.”
“Then why can’t Melia use it…? Melia is the Dragon Priestess now!”
“It is exactly because it is a powerful medicine! Won’t Lady Melia become Sir Sigurd’s wife in the future?”
At Malacia’s inconceivable shout, Lutora opened his eyes wide, at a loss for words.
“Certainly, Suimo shows strong tranquilizing and analgesic effects. But due to the strength of those effects, there is a possibility of it eating into the body’s health and potential. These effects manifest in different ways in different people. As a result, it is difficult to judge an optimal dose. Therefore, I decided not to give Lady Melia Suimo on my own judgment. If she can endure the pain for half a year, at the very least, she won’t lose her life.”
“A medicine… that will… give me relief…?”
Nestled in Lutora’s arms, Melia, who heard the story, looked at Malacia with her dull eyes and reached out her arms towards him.
“Quick, give it… to me. Quickly.”
“Lady Melia, we cannot do that. Suimo is…”
“Shut up! I’m telling you, give it to me! Quick! Fucking idiots!”
As she leaned against Lutora, Melia raised her heel high and struck Malacia hard in his sides. Giving a sidelong glance to the groaning Malacia, she brushed aside Lutora’s arm and threw herself onto the bed, with a canopy, roughly. From the basket placed on the side table, she grabbed a ripe peach and squeezed it.
“Hurry up… and do… the preparations. If you don’t, your precious subordinates might meet this fate…!”
Grumbling, she dug her nails into the white peach.
The flesh escaped through the gaps in the torn thick skin; a sweet scent wafted through the room.
Lutora hoisted up the paling Malacia who was holding his stomach from the back and dragged him out of the room. Vulgar laughter sounded again in the room. Along with it, the sound of something being hit filled his eardrums. Crouching with his back against the walls of the corridor, he began trembling.
When a person felt strong pain and agony, their true nature surfaced.
Her true character hidden underneath her brilliant smile was by no means beautiful.
“Lutora… I’m sorry.”
Sidling up to Lutora, Malacia hung his head. His face was still pallid.
“Why are you apologizing?”
The one who was threatened was Malacia.
Even if Lutora said that, Malacia remained silent and shook his head.
“I prohibited the administration of Suimo to Lady Melia, thinking that it was for the best. But because of that, she showed you such a state today. Your worst self isn’t something you can show to any random person. To say nothing of a friend that you trust.”
“I’m truly sorry to both you and Lady Melia…”
As he lightly bit his lips, he somehow seemed powerless.
Peeling off his shell, what lay beneath the calm and collected Head Priest, who always gave a lecture, was a weak and weary man.
Before he realized it, Lutora reached out his hand and put it round Malacia’s back.
As he drew closer, he noticed that the body hidden underneath the loose dalmatic robes1 was thinner than his expectations.
A small voice full of confusion sounded out.
Lutora hadn’t yet forgiven him.
It was an unmistakable truth that the medicine that this man, Malacia, had spread, killed his loved one.
But that person… his beloved Fiona, couldn’t have possibly taken the leftover Suimo in the house, could she?
Objectively thinking, Fiona, who was sixteen at that time, should not have the money to buy the expensive Suimo.
It was most probably secretly acquired by her family for the sake of her uncle, who suffered from an incurable disease.
He did not know what the reason was.
Fiona may have self-medicated, taken the wrong dose by herself, and died.
And now in front of his eyes; a close friend of his,the younger sister of the one who awoke his slumbering love, was suffering.
If that is so, he would bear the [Sin].
Hearing the reply of the one right beside his face.
Whispering, Lutora made a request.
“Please give Melia, Suimo. I beg of you.”
Did I surprise you…!?
Is. This. Perhaps!
A B and L starting with a Lutora X Malacia (kinda development)…!
Huh, you saw through it?(。・ω・。)
Translator + Editor Notes:
Say hello to the new editor Vnovember! Vnovember’s gonna help with all the chapters other than the smut (So please come join us as the smut editor owo)
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Please spare a coffee for the editor as well, thank you.
Psst, I just released a chapter of When She Becomes a Witch~ It’s super fun~