138. Faith and delusion (3)
Little birds flew over the trees and the fresh smell of grass was wafting.
There were several stylishly designed buildings rising all over the forest.
‘This is really… .’
Estelle felt a shiver run through her body.
It was a real forest, not a model.
A forest that I had only seen in books and thought I would never see with my own eyes.
But she soon noticed something strange.
‘It’s underground, but how is the sky… ?’
There was a blue sky.
The clouds flowed and the sun shone.
The warmth was transmitted and the wind blew, making me feel like I was actually outside.
Estelle, who stood blankly, followed Cain as she headed into the forest.
“Where the hell is this place?”
With a question, Estelle reached out towards a branch passing by.
Surprisingly, the hand went through the branches and leaves in the opposite direction.
Estelle bumped into Cain’s wide back. Raising his head, Cain stopped walking and stood there.
“Prepare your mind.”
In front of Cain stood a pillar at chest height.
And in front of him stood a tall tree, which was simply not enough to say that it was huge.
It could be several tens of meters high.
No matter how much I looked up, I couldn’t see the top.
It was the overwhelming size and height of the world tree that I once read in a book.
“This is Leica’s residence. A sanctuary might be a better term.”
Cain inserted the necklace of Utahs into the groove on the pillar.
The pad appeared with the light, and I entered the password without hesitation.
“And at the same time.”
As soon as the last digit of the password was entered, a strange resonance began to resound throughout the forest.
The entire space began to shake as if an earthquake had occurred.
Estelle, who was very nervous, grabbed the mace and was vigilant in all directions.
“… … !”
And as I watched the trees and bushes gradually fade away, I couldn’t shut my mouth in amazement.
The vibration stopped, and nothing was left in the place where the forest had been.
A few buildings I’ve seen for the first time.
And except for the gigantic mechanism that remains in place of the World Tree.
Estelle felt her stomach churn.
Hundreds of tubes extending from the ceiling and floor were connected to the mechanism.
Coffins gurgling incessantly as if they were sucking in something.
They were the branches and roots of the World Tree that stretched out toward heaven and earth.
For a moment, a thought flashed through Estelle’s head.
One of the conspiracy theories about the denomination that I once heard. I thought it was really absurd nonsense.
My heart started beating like crazy.
He fell to the floor and vomited what was inside. He continued to vomit until nothing more came out.
My whole body throbbed as if the world had turned and I had a fever.
It felt like someone was throwing a bad joke at me.
Estelle looked up at Cain with tears in her eyes.
A long delayed word escaped his mouth.
“It is also a place where the ugly face of the church is hidden.”
* * *
“There is a thing called regularity in the soil. It is the source of all things in the world and the power that makes life spring.”
Cain’s soft voice echoed through the underground space.
“All living things are endowed with a certain amount of energy from the soil at birth.”
Every word pierced Estelle’s chest like a sharp wedge.
“If you are born in a land lacking vitality, you will suffer from all kinds of diseases. Examples are petrification and insomnia.”
My eyes were blurred by tears.
He shook his head desperately.
“If you are born in a land that is completely depleted of your energies, you will be engraved with the marks of death from which you cannot escape.”
It can’t be.
It can never be.
“And the world calls it a horseman.”
All kinds of thoughts rushed through Estelle’s head like a storm.
After a while, her lips gaped open, and a bewildered voice came out.
“Then the goddess… ?”
“It absorbs the spirits from the ground and transmits them here. All the goddess statues on the continent are a kind of transmission tower.”
Cain turned to the mechanism.
“Elemental is converted into a high concentration of mana by this device. Mana is sent back to each goddess spread across the continent.”
Estelle shook her head.
I wanted to shout out a lie right now.
But the ‘eye of truth’ trait was telling her that everything Cain said was true.
“Have you ever questioned the use of divine magic?”
If you’ve never questioned it, that would be a lie.
Divine magic has always been at the center of the agony of faith.
How to use magic with willpower.
Why doesn’t the power of magic change even if your faith is shaken?
Maybe the reason the circuit’s mana is not consumed is because it really borrows the power of God.
There were a lot of things that the denomination just couldn’t explain.
“One of the uses of the mana generated here is holy magic.”
The moment the puzzles in his head were intertwined, Estelle was upset once again.
Only a clear liquid came out.
She breathed heavily.
‘After all, the magic I’ve been using… .’
Whenever his faith wavered, he prayed in front of the statue and strengthened his will.
Holy magic is proof that God exists in the world.
It is his mission to use that power to spread the will of God to the world.
Without a doubt, he traveled all over the continent and built a new statue of the goddess.
But in the end, all of that was an act of devastation and increasing the incidence of horse disease.
She struggled to open her mouth.
“I am the perpetrator.”
“You are the victim.”
“No, I am the perpetrator of an incurable sin. Every divine magic I have ever used has come at the cost of someone’s life.”
Why didn’t Cain tell the truth sooner when he knew all the truth?
A brief thought crossed his mind, but then he shook his head.
‘It’s a truth I should have known someday.’
He would not have been able to reduce the shock by any means, and it was his responsibility to endure it.
“Do you really think God exists?”
Rather, I thought that Cain was considerate.
I have been hammering my faith by deliberately asking questions and creating uncomfortable situations.
“The cure for horse disease is simple.”
Cain manipulated the pad to open the terminal box in the center of the mechanism.
A blue crystal floating in the air with a strange light.
Cain roughly ripped off the thin tubes that were tightly attached to each other and took out the crystal.
“It is a crystal of regularity. The amount of spirit that should have been born with it was far beyond. If you swallow this, you will be freed from the demon.”
I hadn’t made up my mind yet, but things were going so fast.
The moment Estelle took the crystal with trembling hands, a voice came from the side of the stairs.
“Estelle! His words are false! You must not swallow it!”
Elder Utahs quickly emerged from the darkness.
It looked like he had seven coats of blood all over his body.
I couldn’t get closer to the two of them at a certain distance in an instant situation.
He looked at Cain and said.
“The report that the name Estelle came out of the mouth of a warlock was true. To deceive the priests of the church, what kind of magic did you use?”
Cain threw a mockery.
“The entrance must have closed pretty quickly, but the dragon also came in. It’s great with an old body.”
Yutas shook the corners of his mouth and shouted at Estelle.
“Estelle! come this way! I don’t know what that wicked man will do!”
Estelle looked at Cain and Utahs alternately with a pounding chest.
“Estelle. Swallow the crystal.”
A momentary gap occurred when Cain’s gaze turned to Estelle.
Utahs threw a bladed restraint ball at Cain, while simultaneously kicking him off the ground.
The restraint ball was hit by a bullet and fell to the floor.
Soon after, Cain’s ‘gust’ hit Yutas’ left shoulder.
Utahs had no choice but to stop rushing and kneel.
The left shoulder and upper arm had disappeared without a trace.
In excruciating pain, Yutas’ whole body convulsed.
His armor was awarded directly from the church headquarters, and it boasted a far superior performance than that of other heresy inquisitors.
It was confirmed that the magic of the maximum output used by the Matop professors was resisted five times.
Five times is enough time to blow your head with a mace. It was like that when I was active duty, and I thought it would be like that now.
“Do not disturb. This is not the moment for you to intervene.”
Cain’s gaze turned to Estelle again.
“Swallow the crystal. You can get out of the magic.”
“no! I must never swallow it! It must be put back in place! Otherwise, great things will happen!”
Estelle’s eyes fluttered.
He knew Cain’s words were true.
But simply in terms of how long they’ve known each other, Elder Utahs’s was much longer.
It was a difficult truth to digest the reality of the church and the goddess statue at the same time.
In the endless confusion, she had to make a decision.
“Let me help you a little. In the end, every choice you make has a meaning.”
Cain put the gun in Estelle’s hand. Then he took her hand and brought the gun to his heart.
“You know what Utahs said is a lie. You have the power to distinguish between truth and lies. But if you still want to believe in Utah, pull this trigger.”
“… … !”
“Estelle! pull it! hurry! Has your mind been deceived by the warlock?”
When the confusion increases.
The words of Elder Utahs from the past flashed through Estelle’s mind.
“Priest Adele lost her life at the hands of a cultist while performing a mission with me in Area 114. It’s sad. I am very sad too.”
think I hope.
think there is a possibility.
She quietly parted her lips.
“Elder Utahs. Did you kill Priest Adele?”
“What suddenly… ! I can’t do that, can I? !”
The moment she heard the answer, her face hardened coldly.
Why didn’t I ever think of asking this question? Were you afraid of the truth you would ever hear?
Pulling the trigger, she looked at the opponent with a blank gaze.
Elder Utahs had fallen to the floor and had a hole in his head, a pool of blood pooling beneath it.
Estelle immediately swallowed the crystal.
A halo enveloped her and disappeared.
“… … .”
The moment she lifted her clothes and confirmed that the horseman’s mark had disappeared from the ship, she floundered into her seat.
The tears that I thought had already dried up continued to flow without knowing the end.
“I, what should I do now?”
achieved the goal
But the religions and beliefs that were the biggest part of life were taken out.
Along with the unbearable emptiness, all kinds of negative emotions rushed in.
Looking down at Estelle like that, Cain said softly.
“The oath is complete.”
The condition for completing the oath is the treatment of horse disease.
The sign of the pact that had been engraved on their hearts disappeared as black smoke.
“Tell me, Cain. What can I do now? How should I live? You know. I know everything, so please—.”
“You can do anything. You just have to live the life you’ve always dreamed of. Now that the oath is over, you will no longer have to obey my orders.”
It would be a lie if he said he didn’t love Estelle more than anyone else.
Colleagues with the longest time.
Since I had suffered a lot so far, I was going to leave the choice entirely to her after the oath was completed.
‘It would be nice if she stayed, but it’s not to the point that it’s going to interfere with my future plans.’
Cain looked at Yutas’s corpse and then looked at Estelle again.
“The choice is yours. Whether to tell the world the truth of the denomination. Whether to leave the city and recuperate for a while. I’ll even give you an amount of money you won’t have to worry about for the rest of your life.”
Her spirit is strong.
He is not a person who will ever sit down like this, so he will be able to live his own life according to his will.
“The choice is mine.”
Estelle’s shoulders shook, and laughter mixed with sobs continued.
after a while.
She took a deep breath, her face filled with dried tears.
And he said, looking straight at Cain with his eyes swirling with emotions.
“I will follow you. Even if the oath is over, it will continue.”
“Is that your choice?”
“You have already ruined my world. If you leave it like this and run away, I will not forgive you.”
“You may regret it. There will be a lot of hard work ahead.”
“I have no regrets.”
He seemed to know what she was longing for now.
Close the distance.
reached out to her
In the silence, Cain’s voice resounded.
“I will be your new god. A God who will never betray the priests.”
What she needs is an object of faith and will.
And it was a new goal to carry on with life.