“From now on, the holy mother Millia-sama and our messiah, Luke-sama, will be the core of the kingdom, nay, the world’s faith!”
For Aldera, Cain had said an incomprehensible thing.
The subordinate he knew of in the past had completely changed, and that prompted a chill to run down Aldera’s back.
Even so, he forced himself to shout something.
“You’re a high-ranking priest, yet you allowed yourself to be brainwashed by some heretical priest!? Do you even realize how much I’ve helped you throughout the years!?”
“Brainwashed? Fufufu, no, that’s not quite right. My heart has been sullied ever since I joined our faith. Yet now, my heart is the purest it has ever been! It is not my brain that is ‘washed’, it is my heart!”
After watching Cain loudly declare so, Aldera was even more convinced that his subordinate has been brainwashed.
“Now, everyone, seize the Cardinal.”
Upon Cain’s command, the holy knights moved to capture Aldera.
On closer inspection, Aldera realized that those holy knights were the same ones that went with Cain to investigate the wasteland. That led him to conclude that everyone in that team got brainwashed as well.
The brawny knights proceeded to carry Aldera’s large body. Before long, they were in front of a staircase that led underground. There wasn’t supposed to be a staircase at that place though.
Moreover, at the bottom of the stairs was a path that seemed to stretch endlessly.
“Where are you taking me!?”
“There’s no need to worry, Cardinal. By no means are we going to pass judgment on you. We are simply giving you a chance to be born anew as a pure and proper person, just like us!”
Cain declared so with a fiery blaze within his eyes.
On the other hand, Aldera felt fear the like of which he has never felt before.
“L-let go, let go of me!!!! Please…I beg you…! Spare me from thaaaattt!!!”
◇ ◇ ◇
“Luke-sama, he has been rehabilitated and broken in…err, educated, I mean.”
“Huh? What are you talking about, Millia?”
I think she just said something troubling…
“Well then, enter please.”
Upon being invited in by Millia, a man who seemed to be in his sixties entered the room.
When the man saw my face, he quickly became teary-eyed. It even felt like he murmured something like ‘ahh, this is him…how truly divine…’, but that could just have been my imagination.
And then, almost as though he was diving toward the ground, the man knelt down with great momentum.
“It is an honor to meet you, Luke-sama…Village Chief Luke, I should say. I am Aldera, the Cardinal of the Grand Cathedral of Areisler.”
The very same leader of the cathedral that governs all the other churches in kingdom???
According to the rumors though, the Cardinal has grown so fat that it was difficult for him to walk all by himself. The person before me looked quite slim.
After I unconsciously tilted my head, Millia came to the rescue with an answer.
“He did used to be fat, but we have asked him to trim down.”
The Cardinal(?) followed up while still hanging his head low.
“I did not believe it was right of me to stand before you in such a form. Thanks to a rigorous exercise routine and diet, I’ve somehow managed to be this thin.”
“I think he has lost over a hundred kilograms in a week’s time.”
“A hundred!? In just a week!?”
No matter what kind of strict diet he does, I don’t think it’s possible to lose that much weight so quickly.
“*(As long as it’s for Luke-sama, this is nothing!)*”
While I was amazed like that, the Cardinal looked at me like he wanted to say something. His eyes were also so full of passion that it scared me.
“Ahm…Mister Cardinal, is there something…?”
Could he have travelled here to complain about how we were performing blessings left and right without their permission?
It didn’t seem like it, but I also couldn’t rule it out.
And then, Cardinal Aldera declared something.
“By the powers vested upon me as the Cardinal of the Grand Cathedral of Areisler, I hereby recognize the church in this village to be an official church. *(I would rather declare that the church in this village is the new center of our faith…but, sadly, we have do these things step by step…)*”