41: The sinner and the sacrifices


The port town Doruas was illuminated by the afternoon sunlight.
We were at the mayor's higher situated mansion.

We walked through the mansion guided by the mayor's son Jean.
We came to a place like an underground warehouse.
Shelves and tools are jumbled around.
There was a door with a drawn magic circle.


"The sinner Fal is kept inside"
"Is that so-- Minya, please watch over this guy"
"Understood"
Minya, who is still carrying the large bag unsheathed a kitchen knife.

I opened the door.
The room was about the size of 15 tatamis with a fence surrounding the center.
It felt like a prison.


A girl wearing a habit was inside the fence. She's about 15 years old.
She sits on the floor and is quietly sewing.
She was embroidering a bag.

I go to the fence and talk to her.
"You are Fal? What are you doing?"
"Hyai!? ... A, hello. Who might you be?"
"I am Keika. I'm a hero."
"He, Hero-sama!? Ni, Nice to meet you! I'm Fal"
"Don't be nervous. I only came here to talk."
"To me?"
Fal tilted her head. There is no cloudiness in her eyes and she looks straight at me.

I return her gaze.
"Do you want to be saved?"
"No, I'm fine already."
"How come?"

*Hmm*, she breathed with a resigning sigh.
"It's strange, isn't it? Although I work for god with everything I have, I'm still a sinner."
"It's not strange. Rather, it's correct."
"Is that... so?"
While playing around with the inside of the embroidered bag, she casts her gaze down.


"If you have a wish you can ask me anything."
"There's someone I couldn't tell farewell. ...A, but"
"But? What is it?"
"Because I couldn't see my big brother, please give him my best regards. He worked hard for us both."
"What's your brother's name?"
"It's Leo. He's a very gentle and wonderful brother."
"Oh, a young man with blue hair?"

Fal's brown eyes are opening wide.
"Yes! Do you know him?"
What can I say?
I guess it'd be a shock if I'd say that her brother has become a sinner.


I gave a more vague reply.
"Well, I only met him once in the kingdom. He was healthy.
"Is that so?... well then, please send my regards. Now I won't have any regrets anymore.
"You're resolute, aren't you?

Fal holds the made bag and the sewing needle.
"I have to work hard and make bags."
"What are you doing?"
When I asked her, she lifted the bag.
"This? The monastry I was in is poor, so we are assigned to do handwork every month.
"...Although you don't have much time left? Shouldn't you at least enjoy your last hours"
"But, the poor people need the money. They are definitely waiting for it."
Fal smiled while saying this. Her words came from heart.


I was speechless.
Even though she'll die soon, she still thinks of other people. Such a beautiful heart.

Unconsciously I let out a deep sigh.
"A god who doesn't save someone as devoted as you isn't a god."
"Ah! That's too much. The sea goddess Lilille is..."
"If you change your god, I'll save you. So, please believe in me."

Fal was surpised but relaxed her cheeks with a puff.
"Thank you. I'm happy just by receiving your feelings."
"Well, is that so. It's impossible to suddenly change your tenets. But your god isn't here at the moment."
"Such a... you're right. Do gods really exist?"
"They, exist. So, because the god you believe in isn't here, you should believe in me, who will save you."
"Eh?"
"I'll become a god. A Valor God."
"Hero-sama..."
Her eyes first show discomfort, then happiness and then enthusiasm while looking at me.


I put my hand through a gap in the fence.
"Let me see your hand for a moment."
"A, yes"

She raises her body onto her knees and stretches out her hand.
I grabbed the hand and looked at it with "Truth Sight".
And then, I rewrite her status.
--------------------
[Status]
Name: Fal
Gender: Female
Age: 15
Race: Human
Job: Nun
Class: Healer Lv12 Crafting Lv30
Attribute: "Water" "="
--------------------
I deleted the sinner and light.
But her crafting level is simply ridiculous.
Even though you don't need to defeat any demons to raise cooking and crafting, you still have to work contiuously.


Her hand was quite rough. It was the hand of the worker.
It was full of warmth.

"E, ehem. What's the matter?"
Fal was puzzled by me holding her hand in silence.

I released her hand with a smile.
"No, nothing, you've worked hard. I just thought that it was a good hand."
"Eh...thank you very much"
Fal clutched her hand as if hiding it and her cheeks were blushing.


"By the way, didn't you know that you were a sinner? It should've been confirmed beforehand when you entered into priesthood."
"There was no reaction when I was a child, but the new sinner checking device judged me to be a sinner..."
"I see"


-- The Demon Lord is constantly raising the accuracy.
Well, it also didn't work on Leo I guess. But it's not bad. Maybe I can later make a deal with Fal to believe in me when I saved her brother.


*Haa*, Fal sighs.
"Am I causing you trouble?"
"No, that's not it. The one at fault is the Demon Lord."
"Huh?"
"Well, I'll come again."
"Ah, yes. Hero-sama."
Turning my back to the Fal's warm voice, I left the room.

Jean and Minya were waiting outside the warehouse.
Jean said with a troubled face.
"Hero-san, you said that you'd rescue her. But that would cause lots of trouble, lots of trouble."
"No problem. I won't crush the flashy show. I plan to make it even more flashy."
"I was afraid of that..."

"Well then, next I'll meet your father. Guide me."
The flesh on Jean's cheeks is shivering.
"P, Please don't! If my father knows it he'll kill me! kill me!"

Minya flashes the kitchen knife held in her hand.
"Then,--become a candle?"
"Higii!"

Jean screamed like a pig.
It seems that the existence of Minya has become a trauma.


Jean guided us to the second floor of the mansion.
We stand in front of a thick door.
"Fa, father. It's the hero"
"Please enter"
A cheerful voice came from the interior.

We entered and the inside was very spacious.
There were an extravagant table and sofa and expensive looking pictures were hanging at the walls.

A desk is facing a large window and a middle-aged man is standing next to it.
He was of average build without any distinctive traits.

He greets me with a smile.
"Welcome welcome, thank you for your visit. I am Frank, the mayor of Doruas."
"I'm the hero Keika"
We meet halfway and shake hands.

From close, his smile looked like a standard business smile.
--As expected of the mayor who governs this big city.


I was guided to the sofa and sat down. Minya sat next to me.
Frank and Jean sat in the front of us.

Frank smiled and spoke up without any delay.
"So, what's the reason for your visit today?"
"Let's talk about some casual things for now."
Saying that, I caught a glimpse at Jean.
Jean shrunk which made his fat body sink into the sofa.

Frank speaks after watching his son by his side.
"What do you want to talk about?"
"About how the sinner will be executed at the last festival day."
"Even at the request of the hero, that sinner is --"
"I know, I won't destroy the main event."
-- The wishes of people in the town should also be respected.
I'll lose them as believers if they're disappointed.

"Is that so? I'm relieved to hear that."
"She is supposed to be executed on the lighthouse next to the embankment standing out from the harbor?"
"Yes, I tried to suppress the damage by the recently appearing demons by offering the sinners to the sea."
"Is there any effect?"
"Of course! The damage of demons drastically decreases"
"I see"
-- I guess the Demon Lord gave out such instructions.
Therefore, the humans are cooperating.


"When will be the time of the execution?"
"It starts the day after tomorrow in the morning"
--So I have to finish Lapisia's training tomorrow...
That's tough.

I looked to the east with "Clairvoyance".
Lapisia flutter kicks while holding onto a beat board in the cove's shallow water.
The speed is slow, almost the same as the walking speed of Celica who's accompanying her.
--It'll take quite a while.
Should I think of another way?

Inicidentally, when I was looking at the bay's opening, Ieturia was standing there between the waves probably as a countermeasure against jellyfish.
A sharp light could be seen in her red eyes as she was on guard with a stern face.
--Isn't there a better way? She seems to have a hard time.

I turn to Frank.
"How does the ceremony on the final day proceed?"
"Ah, that's--"
The mayor greets the visitors, there is an orchestra performance, there are also prayers by the priests etc.
I memorized the schedule.


"So, next comes the punishment for Jean."
"Hii!"
Jean's face became pale and his fat body was trembling.
Frank looks at his side with a stern look.
"Jean, did you do something?"
"It's this-- Minya, please take it out"
"Yes"

Minya took out the crane and the demon's hand with the crest from the bag next to them and laid them onto the desk.
Frank gulps.
"Thi, this is...?"
"You'll understand it when you examine the slave crest. Jean dealt with the demons who gave him demons to enslave as repayment for leaking intelligence. At your villa."

"N, no way! Jean and the demons!?"
"I understand that you don't want to believe it, but the reason the merchant ships were attacked even though the route was changed was because of him. The deals were made at the villa."


Frank glares at Jean next to him.
"That was why he had asked me to give him the villa! --This... idiot!"
He hit him with all his strength.
"Higyaa! --Sorry, I'm sorry! But the demons let me do all the fun things I wanted--Gyaa!"
"Didn't you understand their aim? You idiot! Idiot!"

He beats him without mercy. Jean continued to scream like a pig.
--Hmm. He's having a hard time with such a son I guess.
He's seriously beating him, but since I'd like to punch him myself I don't intervene.

I stopped them after looking at that for some time.
"Well, leave it at that for now"
"Hero-sama, I am really sorry. I don't mind if you kill him."
"Dad! Don't treat me like that! It's me!?"
"Shut up, you idiot of a son! Don't you relize what you've done?"
"I'm sorry! But I still like the demons~~, *uwaaan!*"
He bursted into tears while his ugly face distorted even more.


I ignore them and say.
"I din't kill him because he might still be of use. It's not a matter of mercy. All those ships were exposed to danger because of Jean."
Although they probably would've sunk the same number of ships without the information.

"My son is sorry. But how could he be of any use?"
"Jean will leak information as usual. --However, this time it will be misinformation.
"I, I see"
Frank had his eyes wide open when he said this.

Jean's cheek fat is shaking again while screaming.
"If I do that the demons will kill me!"
"Ah, that's right. Furthermore they'll torture you to death. They have some great techniques so the traitors won't die easily during the torture. You'll have to live with the fear until you're found out."

"Higii!"
At last, the pig's eyes went white and he fainted.
When they weren't needed anymore, Minya expressionlessly put the crane and the demon's hand away.


Frank stood up from his chair and kneeled down on the floor.
He put his forehead on the floor while doing a dogeza.
"I am truly sorry, Hero-sama. My education is at fault. I'll do anything. I will accept any punishment. I will quit my mayor's job, so please forgive me."

"Raise your head"
I saw Frank in his eyes.
--He doesn't lie. It comes from his heart. ...but he's hiding something.
It seems that he's satisfied even if it ends with his death here.


I looked around the mansion with "Clairvoyance" and "Attentive Ears".
There were a maid and a butler. Then a lady who looks like his wife is in a separate room.

And then, there was a slim boy in a children's room.
He has short blonde hair and a neat shirt. And intelligent eyes.
While sitting at a desk at the window side, he was reading a book and occasionally put his hands on his back and sighed.
"Haa...it's so boring"
He sighed, stood up, went to the bookshelf, opened a book but immediately closed it again.
He threw a ball but quit right away.
Finally he took some sweets from a basket made of braided twigs and began to munch on them.
--If it continues like this, he'll become a second Jean I guess.


I nod and turn my eyes back to the mayor.
"You like your children, Frank?"
"...Yes. It's precisely because of my children that I can work so hard. The children are my treasures."
It seems that he works too hard for his children and as the result he neglects the childcare.

"Do you have other children besides Jean?"
"Yes. I have a 12 year old son called Lionel"
"Well then, execute Jean and Lionel along with the sinner."


Frank quickly raised his head. He clung to the hem of my clothes.
"A, Anything but that! Lionel didn't do anything!!"

"The sinner didn't do anything as well. Also, didn't you say that you'd accept any punishment? --Whatever. I'll tell the people what Jean did. Because the damage was huge they will surely riot and assault you. Then the employees and family members will be massacred."

"Uuu, aAA!!"
Frank's face distorted as if he was stabbed into his stomach.
He tries to say something but that only makes his lips shaking without actually saying anything. There are only tears spilling from his eyes.

Finally he heartbroken places his hands on the floor.
"Understood...Hero-sama. I will sacrifice Jean and Lionel."
"Is that so. Well said. Because you didn't try to pay with money instead, I'll leave it at that."
"Yes...?!"
"Actually... no, I won't say it in advance. Suffer in agony until the last day of the festival. That's your atonement."
"I understand...Hero-sama. I will deeply reflect upon this."
He was aging about ten years with a single swoop.



Then I went to Lionel's room alone.
The boy is delicate like a girl.
The young but well-balanced face was gloomy and sunken in.

He greets me with a cheerful and bright voice.
"Hello, Hero-sama. Can I help you?"
"Ehm, nice to mee you. Lionel, you'll be sacrificed together with the sinner."
"Is that so... I understand"
"I'll be blunt. Don't you hate to die?"
As I asked, Lionel raised his beautiful brows and groaned with a *hmmm*.

"I'd hate it, but living is also boring. It might even be an interesting place."
"Oh. what would you like to be if you were born again?"

As if giving in, he crossed his thin arms and puzzled over it with a *hmmm*.
"A traveler maybe...? Just travel to a lot of places, see new sceneries and it might be fun to meet with people."
"You can still do it though."


Lionel shook his head with a tired smile. His straight blonde hair is silkyly reflecting the light.
"Because I can't use swords or magic, I can't protect myself."
"You're smart though."
"I am only good at studying, but I can't learn anything in this town anymore... it's boring."
Lionel sighed like an adult.
"You're like a bird in a cage, huh?"

Then, Lionel is suddenly raising his head.
His brown eyes are sparkling childlike while he speaks.
"Yes, I want to become a bird when I'm reborn. I want to fly far and see the world!"
"Is that so."
I hit Lionel's head with a *tap tap*. I feel the body warmth of a child.

"Well then, Hero-sama, see you again."
"Yeah, see you again"
By the time we parted, Lionel's tired face returned.


Then I picked Minya up and we went back to the inn.