16 – Devil
The silver light rapidly flashed as it pierced through the air.
He grasped a dagger which gleamed in a silver light, as he slowly took out his hand from his pocket.
The dagger shone as it reflected the sunlight.
At the same time the dagger slashed out at Calcedonia from point blank range, which she easily dodged.
With light footwork, Calcedonia distanced herself from him, while one of the female believers gathered there let out a high-pitched scream.
Someone suddenly slashing out with a dagger in broad daylight within the bounds of the temple courtyard wouldn’t seem strange, if the people who saw it wouldn’t have screamed out in panic.
“Everyone!! Please, hurry up and leave this place!!”
Without taking her eyes off him, whose eyes gleamed in a sinister red light and was preparing his dagger, Calcedonia told everyone to evacuate.
Because of the sudden development, while dumbfoundedly staring at Calcedonia and the other person, they suddenly realized that violence was about to take place, and started to run away screaming.
If the believers make this much of a ruckus, then the priests and clerical knights should be able to arrive soon.
That’s why, Calcedonia was intending to clean up the mess before the clerical knights arrived.
If she could just somehow exorcise the <Devil>, that possessed the person before her, she should be able to return the person into the kind and caring man she knew since childhood.
Due to the person being possessed by a <devil>, his slashes were more powerful. As she lightly dodged them, she recited the aria for the spell with her beautiful lips.
After pouring all the water Tatsumi transported into the bathtub, he once again headed back to collect more water.
As he made his way back to the rear garden where the water well was, he noticed a youth standing before him.
“Hmm, Master Morga?” (Master as in young master)
It was Morganeich, the <<Freedom Knight>>. He was standing there staring at Tatsumi as if he was brooding over something.
“Lord Tatsumi. Pardon my rudeness for this question. So I request for you to answer me honestly. You… just who in the world are you?”
Tatsumi had a blank expression as he pointed at himself. Well, anyone would react the same if someone suddenly asked who the hell they were so seriously.
“At first I thought you were an important personage coming from another country after hearing his Holiness Lord Chrysoprase went out of his way to send Calsey to welcome you. But you…I have more or less watched over you for a few days, but you…If you were such a personage, then why were you doing some odd jobs here and there, which someone of high birth would never do without voicing a single complaint. Certainly it is said that as long as you join the temple your origins don’t matter, but the temple has it’s own unspoken barrier.”
Though the temples are organizations that freed themselves from a nation’s reign officially, it was as Morganeich said. It was simply an official stance.
If someone of noble or royal birth joined the temple, most of the time he would receive a high position like a regular priest or acolyte. That’s why, if a noble becomes a priest then they wouldn’t perform a task meant for Junior Priests.
Even though at first Morganeich viewed Tatsumi as a noble from a foreign land. After he saw Tatsumi performing some odd jobs without voicing any complaints, he realized he didn’t comprehend Tatsumi at all.
“Even if you were of common birth…Please forgive me for stating it like this but…I do not understand the reason why his Holiness Lord Chrysoprase has his eyes on you. Apparently you do not excel at magic either.”
Morganeich was also a magician. Right now, he could only sense a slight bit of magic strand rising from Tatsumi and nothing else. With only this much mana, at most Tatsumi could somehow use elementary magic.
“I myself am quite bad at expressing myself. So I will ask you frankly. Lord Tatsumi, Who exactly are you? And….And what is your relationship with Calsey?”
The gaze form his reddish brown eyes filled with sincerity shot through Tatsumi.
And within his earnest gaze also contained the hot feelings the <<Freedom Knight>> had for the <<Holy Maiden>>. And Tatsumi could feel that clearly.
And that’s why Tatsumi decided to answer him honestly. That she was the most important person for him right now.
But in the end he wasn’t able to tell that to Morganeich.
Just as Tatsumi was about to speak to Morganeich, a priest clad in arms, in other words a clerical knight rushed out from the temple hallway and ran to Morganeich.
“L-Lord Morganeich!! B-Big trouble!!”
“What is it?”
Morganeich sent a stern gaze with a different meaning towards the clerical knight who rushed in.
“Currently, We were informed that someone possessed by a <Devil> is currently on a rampage in the courtyard.”
Instantly, the <<Freedom Knight>>’s eyes gleamed with a light different from before. If one had to compare the 2, before he was in [Everyday Life] mode and now it changed to [Battlefield]. And even Tatsumi who had nothing to do with battles could clearly notice it.
“Who is it? Who exactly got possessed by a <Devil>? Was it a believer who came to worship?”
“T-That is…The one who got possessed i-is….Supreme Pontiff lord Chrysoprase’s aid…Lord Baldeo!!”
Calcedonia kept dodging the dagger.
And while she did so, she continued reciting the aria. If it was a normal magician, then he would probably fail at the reciting because of the slightest disruption to his concentration, but when one reaches Calcedonia’s level, they could calmly maintain the spell while performing various evasive maneuvers just like her.
Calcedonia was someone who had plenty of experience as an Exorcist. It was very easy for her to dodge a dagger swung by an amateur.
In order to counter any possible offense, she had also practiced martial arts. Just like Morganeich, Calcedonia was one of the leading Exorcists of the Temple of Savaiv.
While stepping back lightly, Calcedonia stared at his —– Baldeo’s ominous red eyes.
Calcedonia had known Baldeo for a long time.
The first time she met him was when Giuseppe adopted her. Baldeo who was at that time an aide apprentice of Giuseppe, often looked after Calcedonia.
Baldeo, who was chosen as aide apprentice of the Supreme Pontiff when he was in his mid-teens, was someone others had great expectations for.
He was also a diligent person, who being of common birth, was able to take the position of aide of the Supreme Pontiff, and a High Priest after piling up hard work.
And for that Baldeo to be taken by a <Devil>! Even now while Calcedonia was looking at his red eyes, she still couldn’t believe it.
“…..Please wait just a little bit lord Baldeo. I will immediately exorcise the <Devil> possessing you.”
A resolved light flashed in her ruby eyes as Calcedonia recited the last verse of the spell she was preparing.
And the moment she completed the aria the atmosphere around them started to vibrate.
No, it wasn’t the atmosphere.
Even though there was no wind, what started to vibrate were the trees and shrubs planted in various places of the courtyard.
The weeds and vines rapidly grew and launched their green tentacles towards Baldeo.
The trees were rocking their branches and with a strange creaking sound they extended it towards Baldeo.
The branches and vines of the trees, weeds and shrubs were trying to entangle Baldeo. Right now the magic Calcedonia invoked was one of the <Plant> attribute called <<Botanic Shakles>>. Just like it’s name, it was a magic which used the branches and vines of trees and weeds to seal the target’s movements.
Baldeo swung his dagger towards the various tree branches and vines that were launched his way.
But no matter how many times he cut them, they just simply grew back.
Even though his physical abilities powered up because of the <Demon>, he, who had little fighting experience, couldn’t hold out.
The vines and branches cut down his strength little by little, and finally it succeeded in completely restraining him.
After confirming that Baldeo’s movements have been completely sealed, Calcedonia once again started to chant an aria.
The spell she was reciting now was of the <Light> <Holy> attributed <<Exorcise>> spell. It’s a spell to tear apart the connection between the <Devil> and the possessed.
It was difficult to lock onto to a target using <<Exorcise>> when the target was moving around. That’s why before using the spell <<Exorcise>> one had to restrict the movements of the target for a certain amount of time.
Usually, when she was paired with Morganeich as an Exorcist it was him, the <<Freedom Knight>> who kept the target’s movements in check.
But right now he wasn’t here so it was necessary to use another spell first to seal Baldeo’s movements.
Baldeo who was entangled in the branches tried to free himself over and over again. But since the plants coiling around him were very resilient, it was impossible to free himself even though he was using all his strength.
Calcedonia continued to chant the spell as she looked at that Baldeo.
Inside her body, <Holy> attributed mana started to gush up. And maybe he felt it. Baldeo— No the <Devil> which was currently possessing him tried frantically to free itself from the seal as it sensed it’s natural enemy <Holy> attributed magic.
But it was too late.
Just as Calcedonia finished her chant, a calm gentle silver light gushed out from beneath Baldeo’s feet.
After hearing his subordinates report, Morganeich’s stern expression loosed a bit.
But on the contrary to the <<Freedom Knight>>, Tatsumi’s expression became pale.
“C-Chiiko’s facing off against a lunatic with a knife!?”
For a split second, an image of a bloodstained and stabbed Calcedonia lying on the ground lifeless flashed in his mind.
*Splash* Tatsumi dropped the water buckets and the shoulder carrying pole on the pathway.
And after abandoning them there, he was about to rush off frantically. Of course, his destination was the courtyard where Calcedonia was.
But Morganeich prompted him to stop with a calm tone.
“There is no need to hurry, Lord Tatsumi. There is no way Calcedonia would lose to Lord Baldeo who had only taken basic combat practices, even if he was possessed by a <Devil>.”
“B-But still…!!! J-Just in case something were to happen!?”
Tatsumi raised his voice unintentionally which wasn’t like himself, but Morganeich calmly continued.
“Of course I am not tell you to not go and help. But what exactly do you plan to do unarmed?”
Being told that, Tatsumi was taken aback.
Like a normal Clerical Knight, Morganeich was wearing metal plated armor and had longsword hanging from his waist.
Compared to that, Tatsumi was in a normal Priest Uniform. And of course, he had no experience on martial arts.
“At least, you should take a weapon which is enough to protect yourself.”
Morganeich borrowed a short spear from the knight who came to report and threw it towards Tatsumi.
“You aren’t going to listen even if I tell you not to come along, will you? Then at least you should be able to protect your own life with your own hands.”
Tatsumi firmly nodded to Morganeich’s words while being subtly startled by the sharp shining tip of the spear.
The silver light which seemed like it could vanquish all evil slowly faded away.
And after all of it faded, what remained there was a Baldeo who was standing there stock still with a stupefied expression on his face.
Calcedonia observed Baldeo’s situation with caution.
Her <<Exorcise>> spell was of course very powerful but it wasn’t like it could always be a success. In cases where the <Devil> was more powerful than normal, then it could resist the spell.
And since the duration of <<Botanic Shakles>> was also over, Baldeo wasn’t currently in restraints. Calcedonia examined Baldeo and his surroundings carefully all the while concentrating so she could start reciting the aria instantly if necessary.
After about five minutes (according to earth’s time measurement) Calcedonia confirmed that there was no longer any red glint in Baldeo’s eyes so she finally relaxed.
“Lord Baldeo? Are you alright now?”
Baldeo’s eyes which were aimlessly looking at the sky finally focused on Calcedonia.
It seemed like he was okay. But just as Calcedonia sighed out in relief.
Baldeo suddenly yelled in a sharp voice.
“R-Run! Calcedonia!! It’s still…The <Devil> is still….Inside of me…..!!”