98 – The Terrifying Person
News of the warrior’s death arrived at the Central Church in a letter.
The bishops were shocked, and the royal palace was turned upside down.
The knights were in turmoil, and the news of the warrior’s death spread like wildfire in no time.
But perhaps it was because the warrior’s achievements here were too great.
The confusion and shock did not last as long as expected.
“That trash of a guy, he wasn’t a real warrior anyway.”
“It’s for the best. The Goddess will surely bless us with a proper new warrior this time.”
“He caused trouble everywhere he went, and now look at him.”
That’s how people murmured.
It was the first time since the existence of warriors that one had died without conquering the Demon King.
But for people to truly grasp the seriousness of it, the Demon King would have to come rushing in from the Demon Realm immediately, and the memories of the atrocities committed by the warrior Cain were too vivid.
The royal palace ordered the bishops of the Central Church to find a new warrior.
Although this was an unprecedented event, they thought they could simply choose a new warrior through the oracle, just as they always had.
Whether it was truly possible or not didn’t matter.
The bishops in the royal palace accepted the command without any question.
Everyone began to accept it as a given that a new hero would be found.
No one dared to think that the goddess’s prophecy might never come again.
They didn’t want to consider the possibility that they might not be able to find a new hero.
This groundless atmosphere quickly spread through the royal palace, the knights, and the central church.
And Selena, the saint who had pointed out the failed hero Cain, was immediately dismissed from her position as a saint.
She had to return to being an ordinary worshipper in the church, but the bishops accused her of pointing out the “wrong hero.”
“Selena distorted the goddess’s prophecy and falsely accused the hero.”
“No, I didn’t! I didn’t distort the goddess’s prophecy!”
The bishops in charge of the Seven Goddesses’ Church held a religious trial to interrogate Selena’s crime, and Selena shed tears of injustice.
But the bishops had already predetermined that Selena was the cause of the hero’s failure.
The goddess would never give a false prophecy.
A true hero would never fail.
Therefore, Selena distorted the goddess’s prophecy and created a useless hero.
“It is blasphemy!”
Accusations against former saint Selena poured in from all sides in the religious trial.
Selena couldn’t understand.
She had only performed her duties as a saint with dedication.
She couldn’t understand why they were so confident that they could find a new saint and discover another hero.
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But the situation was already too unfavorable to voice her doubts.
“We shall banish Selena from the kingdom for distorting the goddess’s decree, blaspheming the divine, and selecting a criminal as a hero.”
In the end, Selena’s position as a saint crumbled into that of a witch, and through the trial, she received the punishment of exile from the kingdom.
And at that moment, the unwavering faith that had resided in Selena’s heart was shattered like glass.
* * *
As I swung the Dragonite Sword, the towering tree spirit burst into flames and fell.
It had been a while since I received an official guild request to subdue a monster, and this time it was to deal with the corrupted tree spirits.
Honestly, at this point, I could handle a silver-ranked mission from the guild with my eyes closed.
It wasn’t that I was in desperate need of money, but to remind myself of the thrill of being an adventurer and to rekindle my original passion, there was nothing better than taking on a request.
Lately, I felt the need to reclaim my identity as an adventurer, especially because I found myself getting involved in various matters.
“Your skills have improved a lot.”
After eliminating all the corrupted tree spirits and taking a moment to catch my breath, Milaia approached and spoke.
In fact, since early this morning when I received the guild request, she had been following me from a distance.
“Well, I’ve been through a lot too.”
“Even so, it feels like you’re not ordinary. You seem different from other adventurers…”
Milaia’s gaze shifted towards the Dragonite Sword I was holding.
I am indeed quite different from other adventurers.
Apart from talents in manipulating magic or the limits of magical conversion, the magic I wield is not entirely human.
I’m not sure if Milaia has noticed that much, but if she’s anything like her reputation suggests, she might have a discerning eye.
“By the way, Milaia, don’t you have anything else to do? You seem to have been following me all day.”
“Just… I just wanted to see you. Did I bother you?”
They say such unfamiliar words with a poker face.
Come to think of it, there was a time when they used to follow me around like this.
Back then, I tried to shake them off because they were a burden, always taking on tasks without permission.
But strangely enough, I didn’t feel as annoyed or burdened as I did back then, so I just let them be.
And lately, when I look closely, it feels like Milaeya is worried about something.
Although she is a woman with an expressionless curse, so you can’t tell from the outside, somehow I could sense it.
What could she be thinking?
Is it because of the hero’s death that she’s worried?
Or is it because she couldn’t see the end of her battle against her enemy, Bloodstain?
If Milaeya is worried to this extent, there must be a tremendously heavy and serious reason…
Just by listening, my heart feels heavy, but I couldn’t suppress my curiosity.
“It’s not bothering me… Do you have something on your mind?”
“Does it look like it?”
“Just somehow, I had a feeling like that.”
“Yunoa, you are truly amazing. Your ability as an advisor hasn’t changed at all.”
“[Milaeya was genuinely surprised that Yunoa had noticed her worries.
She felt once again that Yunoa was the only person who could understand her heart and give her genuine advice.]”
No, I just said it based on a hunch…
Somehow, it feels like Milaeya takes what I say to a much greater extent than what I intended.
Anyway, it seems like she does have some concerns.
“If it’s okay, can I ask what the concern is?”
Mireya hesitated for a moment before answering.
Just how serious and terrifying of a concern could it be?
What if it’s a tremendous concern that I can’t handle, and I asked for no reason?
I swallowed my dry saliva and waited for Mireya’s answer.
After a while, Mireya looked at me expressionlessly and spoke.
“Lately, people have been really scared of me.”
Huh? That’s not something that happened overnight.
Could this be the concern?
Now of all times?
“That must be because of Mireya’s reputation and strength as an adventurer, right? It’s not something that happened overnight.”
“No. It’s different from before.”
Mireya slowly shook her head.
Then she continued speaking with a blank expression.
“After seeing how well you get along with so many people, I started thinking. Maybe the reason people can’t approach me is because there’s something wrong with me. So, I’ve been trying to open up more and make it easier for people to approach me… but it seems like I’ve only ended up scaring them even more than before.”
I can’t honestly deny that there’s an issue with Mireya.
I feel like she can cut people down with just her gaze and expression.
But was this really the concern…?
To have such a cute worry is quite unexpected.
I couldn’t help but doubt my ears when I heard it just now.
“So… you suddenly want to get along well with people?”
“I’ve never really thought about keeping my distance from people.”
“It’s just that lately, when I see you, I think I can’t stay like this either.”
Mileia spoke with her usual expressionless face.
Yeah, it’s good to be self-aware and seek change.
Come to think of it, if Mileia can get along well with people, it’s a plus for me too.
She tends to follow me around.
And her exceptional combat skills will definitely be of great help someday.
So maybe there will come a time when I’ll do something with Mileia.
It’s not like the others who are always uncomfortable when we’re together.
If I think back to the atmosphere Mileia created in the same space as Mariel and Sylphy inside the carriage on the way back to Kubel…
And if I can get along well with people, maybe my unhealthy obsession and dependence on me will also improve.
“Alright, I’ll help you with that worry.”
“Milaea’s problem is clear. The reason people don’t approach her, it’s because she’s scary.”
“Am… I scary?”
Yeah, really scary.
I don’t know if it’s because of my peculiar nature or if I’ve just gotten used to it.
But judging by the way other people look at and react to Milaia, it’s as if they’ve seen a demon king and are scared.
Milaia trusted me almost blindly, if you could call it that.
In a situation like this, I felt like I was the only one in the world who could directly support and encourage her changes.
I was curious about how much she could change.
“First of all, that expression. Milaia, one of the reasons people find you scary is because of that expression.”
“I’m not making an angry expression.”
“Sometimes, a blank expression can be scarier than an angry one.”
“Is that so?”
Milaia was sincerely listening to my words, but her expression remained unchanged, to a surprising extent.
No matter how well she tried to get along with people, if her outward appearance was like this, it would be useless.
“Well then, Milaia. Can you try smiling? Let’s practice smiling.”
At my request, Milaia looked a bit embarrassed as she looked at the ground, the sky, and then back at me.
And slowly, she began to move the muscles in her face.
The smile that Milaia produced was extraordinary.
It made me feel like I had opened the lid of a cursed box that should never have been opened in this world.
I never thought such an expression would be possible for a human.
When I asked her to smile, her facial muscles twisted strangely, turning into an incredibly terrifying expression.
I unconsciously took a step back.
When I stepped back, Mireya returned to her original expressionless face.
“How was it?”
I couldn’t bring myself to answer honestly.
Perhaps I had stepped into an impossible dilemma.
* * *