22 – Tatsumi’s Resolve
After hearing what Giuseppe said, both Calcedonia and Tatsumi went blank for a good few moments. But probably because Calcedonia finally caught on, she loudly yelled out.
“There is no way I will let Master do something so dangerous!! Why is grandfather trying to make master do something like becoming an Exorcist!?”
Calcedonia flared up at Giuseppe with a practically murderous attitude, which made Tatsumi continue putting up his blank face, albeit with a different meaning.
“Calm down and think for a second, Calsey. There’s no one as suitable to become an Exorcist as son-in-law. He’s a Sky Magician, an Outer Origin Mana user and is a perceiver. For <Devils>, he’s the perfect image of a natural enemy.”
“Certainly, I can’t deny that….. But grandfather, you aren’t thinking of conveniently using Master whenever you want for this matter, are you?”
Calcedonia drew near her grandfather with bloodlust unleashed. But Giuseppe himself was no pushover. He took on the bloodlust released by Calcedonia like a refreshing breeze.
“Good grief…..You always lose it when it comes to son-in-law. I just wanted to hear his opinion, nothing else. If he doesn’t feel like being one, then I wouldn’t forcibly make him do it either, you know?”
Sighing with amazement, Giuseppe once again faced Tatsumi.
“So, how about it? Well, I won’t tell you to go fight demons and devils right off the bat. First comes building up your foundation with training, and while piling that up I’d like you to get some combat experience bit by bit. You can do combat practice with the Clerical Knights, and as for magic, Calsey and I can help you with that. No worries, you can simply take it slow and train up your abilities. So, how about it? Won’t you give it a try?”
“Master…. Master, you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. You can just refuse.”
Giuseppe and Calcedonia waited for Tatsumi’s answer. Tatsumi thought it over while shifting his gaze between the two.
“…Well, you don’t need to answer right away. You can think it over slowly and—”
“No, it’s okay. I’ll do it. No, let me do it. Let me become an Exorcist like Chiiko.”
Tatsumi did a seiza on top of the bed, and bowed down towards Giuseppe.
Calcedonia showed a sad face to Tatsumi, who once again sat up freely on the bed after being urged by Giuseppe.
Tatsumi smiled at Calcedonia, and explained to her his feelings.
“Hey, Chiiko. I want to become stronger.”
“Yeah. I realized. That this world is far more dangerous than Japan….than the world I originally come from. And in this world, I need to become much stronger if I want to protect my precious family – if I want to protect you.”
After being called as his precious family so bluntly, Calcedonia blushed while her red eyes clouded over.
“And this time, after fighting the <Devil>….I’ve come to understand just how terrifying they are.”
If one were to say that in this world there were no upright and clean-handed humans, then that wouldn’t be too far from the truth. Everyone has one or two dark secrets they hold.
That goes for Giuseppe and Calcedonia, and Tatsumi, too. As long as one was human, then somewhere in the heart there will be dark desires.
And <Devils> stimulate those desires, and make them stronger. One’s beloved family or friend may one day suddenly transform into a demon. And that was exactly the most fearsome trait of the <Devil>.
Even two highly proud and noble humans such as Baldeo and Morganeich were also demonized by the <Devil>. Anyone could fall victim to a <devil> just the next day.
“If I possess the power to resist devils, then I want to make it even stronger. Well, I’m not saying something like I could save each and every person possessed by a devil in this world. But I can at least do that where my power could reach.”
Tatsumi suddenly lay down from his sitting position.
And then he turned his head towards Calcedonia, and showed an impish smile.
“….But, well, speaking truthfully. The one I’d really like to protect is just one person.”
Suddenly, Calcedonia’s heart jumped up with Badump! Right now, Tatsumi was gazing at her with sincere eyes. Just who was the person he wanted to protect? His eyes were clearly answering that question.
“I’m happy that Chiiko is worried about me. That time, when I went to the courtyard with Mister Morga to help you, you bluntly said I was a burden. But you purposely said that to me right? You wanted to make me leave that place, to go somewhere safe right?”
Right now, Tatsumi understood. He understood why at that time Calcedonia bluntly told him he was a burden.
“Certainly, from your point of view I was nothing more than a nuisance. But someday…someday for sure I will be strong enough to fight side by side with you. No, I will be strong enough to fight while protecting you like Morga did.”
Tatsumi could clearly remember the scene of Calcedonia and Morganeich’s perfect cooperation.
He didn’t know just when he could reach those heights, but certainly it was his goal.
“That’s why….I will become an Exorcist. I’ll become an Exorcist and protect Chiiko….No, I’ll become a man who can protect the girl called Calcedonia…!!”
I’ll become an exorcist. Tatsumi clearly stated his wish to Calcedonia and Giuseppe.
This was the moment, when the future great exorcist <<Sky Soarer>> made his first resolution about the future.
Giuseppe’s severe expression gradually turned softer, and he nodded in agreement.
“Your resolve, I’ve certainly acknowledged it. But…I can’t suddenly treat someone with no achievements at all as an exorcist. First, you’ll have to go through each and every kind of drills here at the temple, and then go get some real experience as a monster hunter in the town. Calsey here, and the <<Freedom Knight>> Morganeich…and all the other exorcists first start out as monster hunters to get enough combat experience.”
Certainly, it should be as Giuseppe said. First, one should try their hand at monsters who were a level lower than devils or demons, and then they should aim for the devils. It was a path that everyone followed.
“In this city of Levantes, there are numerous inns and bars where Monster Hunters gather. After becoming a bit capable, you should go there to receive requests and jobs.”
Including the kingdom of Larofiely, in the continent of Zoysalight there would be at least one bar or inn where monster hunters gather in each and every town and even in villages. And at those places, one could get monster subjugation requests. No, rather, because the requests came there, the monster hunters would gather.
According to Calcedonia and Giuseppe, it seems like, at first, Morganeich was just a simple monster hunter. But his ability was acknowledged and he joined the temple as an exorcist.
“Right….Now that you mention it…”
“Is something the matter?”
Seeing Tatsumi suddenly remember something, Calcedonia asked while tilting her head, along with her ahoge.
“I just remembered. What happened to Mister Morga and Baldeo after that?”
Morganeich and Baldeo were possessed by the <Devil> and were demonized. Tatsumi finally inquired about their status after all this time.
What happened to them? Were they punished of some crime because they were possessed by the devil?
Tatsumi, who knew nothing about the laws of this country, became a bit worried.
But then Calcedonia and Giuseppe’s expression clouded over.
“W-Wait….you’re not telling me they were accused of some felony….are you?”
“No, that’s not it. That’s certainly not it but…..yes, it became a bit troublesome. The reason I came to visit you was not only to check up on you, but also I wanted to consult with you about something.”
“Consult something…..with me?”
“Right.” nodded Giuseppe while showing his usual calm smile.
It seemed like, according to the laws of this country, as long as it wasn’t something too serious, then people who were possessed by devils weren’t accused of any crime.
Obviously, if one massacred a whole town, then he couldn’t go unpunished, but in those severe cases, a sentence of 10 years would be it.
Because demonized people could quickly be identified with their red pupils, if they did commit any crime, they would be pardoned saying, ‘Because they were possessed, they didn’t do it out of their own violation’.
From the surface, it seemed like quite the compassionate law, but there was one thing normal people didn’t know of.
A few generations ago, it seemed like the king of this country was quite the greedy person.
He was the type who would lose it if he didn’t get what he wanted, like some rare treasure or beautiful women, and he used to swing around his royal sword, abusing his power.
But because he was aware of his own avarice, he was afraid that one day he would be possessed by a <Devil> and turned into a demon, so he lived his days in fear.
But then all he had to do was keep his greed in check, no? But that kind of person didn’t do that.
He didn’t do that, but in turn he made a law stating that ‘People taken over by a <Devil> are to be pardoned. The one at fault is the <Devil>, not the possessed victim.’ And that was the origin of the current law.
In other words, it was a plan so he would not be charged with crime if he ever got possessed by a <Devil>.
But the others—especially commoners, took this as a kindhearted law and it was quickly accepted. To the extent that they even forgot the king was someone filled with greed, and some even praised him as a compassionate ruler.
Well, no matter the reason for implementing the law, it was a fact that the law was widely accepted, and even after that king’s death, it continued to be practiced.
“Though they were both taken over, there was no mental damage and they only sustained minor injuries. We can really judge them by law so they’re leading they are leading their lives as usual….is what I want to say, but…”
Giuseppe let out a feeble sigh.
“Certainly, the law should not be able to judge Morganeich, but the incident this time happened on temple grounds. A place out of the country’s authority, in our own backyard. And in that yard, his actions were quite rude and violent towards one of our own clergy, Calsey, and he, being one of us, too – we can’t really let him go unpunished here…”
“Eh? Then Mister Morganeich and Baldeo are…?”
“It seems Baldeo is reflecting quite a bit. He personally gave up his position as my aide and high priest, and is planning to travel all over the place for a pilgrimage in order to reflect and temper himself. Probably, he doesn’t plan on returning to this temple again.”
So, Baldeo plans of spending his whole life travelling, never to return to Levantes, to the Temple of Savaiv. That is how much he is regretting what he ended up doing this time.
“He’s someone I had great expectations of, but looking at how determined he is, it’ll be very hard to change his mind. So in the end, I let him do as he pleased.”
As he said that, Giuseppe dropped his shoulders. And Calcedonia who was standing beside him as looked a bit lonely.
For one, he was a trusted aide and subordinate, and for the other, he was like an older brother. Even though she was the primary victim this time, she held no resentment against him. From their lonely attitude, it looked like they were going to miss him quite a bit.
“…Well, Baldeo’s case was settled with that, but…the problem is Morganeich.”
Giuseppe let a deep sigh and turned around to face Calcedonia who was standing behind him.
“Can you inform Morga that Tatsumi woke up? And tell him to come here please.”
Calcedonia bowed to Giuseppe and Tatsumi and quietly left the room.
“Morga’s case is a bit more complex than Baldeo’s you see…”
As Giuseppe said that, his shoulders dropped even lower.
“Son-in-law, you are already aware that Morga is a celebrity in this temple…no, in this whole country, right?”
After Calcedonia left, Giuseppe continued to talk with Tatsumi.
A <<Free Knight>> that the temple of Savaiv, and the whole country of Largofiely, boasts of. His name spread far and wide, and even the bards and minstrels compete with each other to sing of his deeds along with the <<Holy Maiden>>.
“And if we suddenly announce to the public that the famed <<Free Knight>> was possessed by a Devil, then him losing his popularity won’t be the end of it.”
If they announced this incident to the public, then the authority of the temple of Savaiv will be undermined as a whole. In addition, there is no telling what sort of panic with ensue in the towns and streets if news got out that even someone of the <<Free Knights>> caliber was tempted by a devil.
“So….after consulting with the Royal faction, it was decided that this time’s incident, especially Morga’s case, will not be made known to the public.”
Well, the good news among all this bad news is that before Morga started the fight, he ordered everyone to get away from the place.
This was to protect Baldeo’s honour, but in turn it made it so the only ones who knew Morganeich, too, was possessed by a devil were Tatsumi and Calcedonia who were present at the scene.
Other than they, the only ones who knew of that were a small fraction of the higher ups of the Temple of Savaiv and the kingdom of Largofiely. In order to protect the authority of the temple, and to stop panic from appearing in the public, they decided to treat this matter as if it never happened.
There were a few eyewitnesses when Baldeo got taken over and attacked Calcedonia, but Baldeo himself, though being a high priest, wasn’t as prominent as the <<Free Knight>>. So his case shouldn’t affect the public much.
And also, since he was going on a pilgrimage to atone for his sins, they wouldn’t pursue his matter any further.
In conclusion, this incident would be announced as “A Priest was possessed by a <Devil> but the <<Free Knight>> and the <<Holy Maiden>> succeeded in purifying it.”
“As one of the party concerned, and as someone who sustained a life threatening wound from this incident, I know you might not be convinced with such a conclusion…..but… we have no other choice on this matter. Of course if I’ll handle this case as carefully as I can. I apologize, son-in-law, but can you please let this time’s incident pass with this?”
Saying so, Giuseppe bowed down deeply to Tatsumi.