Chapter 18. Looking For Isabelle (2)
“We’ve received a report from our agents stationed near the border. The party has crossed the border a little while ago, sir.”
“Is that so?”
A man in looking to be in his mid-forties nodded his head. His face stiffened slightly as he entered the carriage standing next to him. An old man with snow white hair sat in the carriage with his eyes closed.
The middle aged man’s face reddened with excitement as he lay his eyes on the old man.
“The bastards have just crossed the border. They will arrive here very soon.
The old man’s eyes snapped open.
The middle aged man felt a shiver run down his spine. The light in the old man’s eyes were terrifying to behold. A cold voice passed through the old man’s lips.
“Finally, I can ask for debts to be paid.”
“The price for my granddaughter’s life.”
“Earl Wellington, without a doubt, your vengeance is important to us as well. However, it is critical that we are able to take away the girl from Lea Marquisate, who has the potential to become a Saintess.”
Earl Wellington’s, the old man’s, eyes settled on the middle aged man’s face.
“Bishop Rain. I am aware of the situation of your church. However.”
The light in earl Wellington’s eyes gradually became fiercer.
“Is it not possible that the girl will refuse to become a part of a foreign church, just as my granddaughter Lena did?”
Bishop Rain shook his head immediately.
“The possibility of that is slim. According to our reports, the girl from Lea Marquisate is adamant in refusing to become a Saintess of the church of Flora. The only reason she is currently being escorted to the church of Flora is because of the House of Lea’s strict lord.”
“Even more so then, she would not be open to joining our church as well.”
“It will not be so.”
Cold sweat formed on bishop Rain’s forehead as he continued to persuade Earl Wellington.
“The girl from the House of Lea has a fiancée. He is the reason she is so adamant about refusing to become a Saintess of the church of Flora….”
“Enough. Regardless, I will only ask her once. To forsake the church of Flora and become a Saintess of our church or not, and should she hesitate or stall her answer…”
Killing intent spilled out from Earl Wellington’s eyes.
“I will seize vengeance for my granddaughter, Lena.”
“Archbishop Aznan was the one who planned for the kidnapping of your granddaughter, the girl from the House of Lea is not the target for your vengeance.”
“The mere life of Archbishop Aznan is nowhere enough to fulfill the vengeance of my granddaughter. Just pray that the girl will answer the only time I will question her.”
Bishop Rain shook his head at Earl Wellington, who closed his eyes dismissively.
‘What crime did the lady of the Lea House commit, to deserve this? She was sold out by her house.’
Although the Bishop remained skeptical, he could also understand how Earl Wellington felt about the whole matter and sympathized with him.
‘Of course, he did lose his precious granddaughter whom he doted on ever since she was a child, the vengeance is rightfully consuming him.’
Rain was a Bishop of the church of Maal. He was also responsible for discovering Lena’s, the granddaughter of Earl Wellington, talent in holy power five years ago.
Lena had been a faithful member of the church of Maal, and had gladly accepted Bishop Rain’s attempt to enlist her in the service of the church.
“All right, I will do so.”
The church of Maal had been wrapped up in festive moods as soon as Bishop Rain had reported his success in recruiting Lena. It had seemed like a blessing from the gods that the church of Maal, so few in number and lacking in high-level priests and priestesses, would receive Lena.
Rain had sent the holy knights sent by the church to escort Lena to the main temple of the church of Maal. Bishop Rain was also supposed to escort Lena to the main temple, but had needed to stay behind to help care for the victims of a sudden plague that had popped up.
Later on, Rain had received the news as he was preparing to embark after Lena. The escorting party had been annihilated in an ambush by unknown forces, and Lena had also been discovered as a corpse.
Bishop Rain had collapsed on the spot when he received the report.
“Thi-This.. can’t possibly be.”
Bishop Rain had tried fiercely to get to the truth of whoever was behind the ambush. He had discovered that the ambush in question had been set up by the church of Flora.
“The hateful bastards!”
Unfortunately, it was extremely unwise for the church of Maal to bring up the issue publically with the church of Flora, which had tens of times more worshippers than the church of Maal.
Bishop Rain had spent every day suffering both mentally and physically due to the issue when someone paid him a visit. It was Earl Wellington, a warrior from the Sis Empire who had newly reached the level of aura master.
He had received his status as a high noble and a large territory once he had surpassed the limits of humans by becoming an aura master, and asked only one thing when he met Rain.
“Do you remember a girl named Lena?”
How could bishop Rain possibly forget the name of Lena? The words that followed were enough to shock the bishop.
“Lena was my granddaughter.”
“Is-Is that true?”
“Yes. I was undergoing training behind closed doors, without food or any contact, so I have been unable to see her since she was young.”
Earl Wellington’s eyes were burning with a desire for vengeance.
“Who was it? The killer of my granddaughter…”
“Our main suspect is the Archbishop of the church of Flora, Aznan. We do not have any solid evidence.”
Earl Wellington had heaved a sigh upon hearing that there was no solid evidence to call into play. He wanted so desperately to avenge his granddaughter, but the Archbishop of the church of Flora was not a figure that could be touched without definitive evidence. Not even by an aura master.
“Screw it all…”
Bishop Rain had watched on sadly as Earl Wellington walked away, defeated.
The chance for vengeance, however, came soon after. The news that a woman talented in holy power had been discovered in Hansel Kingdom and that the church of Flora meant to take her in, and raise her as a Saintess found their way into the ears of Bishop Rain.
Even better, the person in charge of escorting her to the main temple of the church of Flora was Archbishop Aznan, the target for the vengeance of Lena.
“Yes. This is the time to act.”
And what a vengeance it would be, to snatch a possible Saintess from the church of Flora and to make her a member of the church of Maal.
Of course, the church of Flora would be on guard, and send a large party of holy knights to escort the girl, but the Bishop did not worry. He had on his side someone who had surpassed human limits, an aura master.
Bishop Rain had approached Earl Wellington immediately.
“Is that true?”
Earl Wellington had jumped up from his seat the second that he heard that Archbishop Aznan was in command of the escorting party.
“All right. I will take care of it.”
“You must prepare an alibi carefully. That you left your territory cannot be found out by anyone.”
“Do not worry. Knowing how to create alibis are a necessity for a high noble.”
“We will do the deed in a foreign country, so without solid evidence, the church of Flora will not be so quick to bring up the issue.”
“I am an aura master. No need to worry about such things.”
This was the reason that Bishop Rain and Earl Wellington was sitting in a carriage now, in a country far away from their own. A holy knight knocked at the door of the carriage.
“The bastards have approached us. We should make preparations.”
Earl Wellington opened his eyes once again at the words.
“Have you prepared the hershion?”
“Of course. It’s brand new, without any engravings on it yet.”
“Good. Take it out.”
Bishop Rain pulled out a large wooden chest from under the seats of the carriage. He opened the wooden chest to reveal a shining silver armor.
“I am convinced of the influence of your church. For you to be able to actually procure the rare hershion.”
“It was procured with difficulty, with the donations of our hard working church goers.”
Earl Wellington gingerly took out the armor from the wooden chest and put it on.
“It must function the same way as the one I use?”
“Yes, we had it ordered so in secret from a mage tower.”
Earl Wellington pushed a burst of aura into the armor. To manifest aura outside of their bodies was an ability only used by aura masters. An amazing thing happened next.
The armor began to expand rapidly, and spread out to cover the entirety of Earl Wellington’s body. Hershion was a name of a magic armor that automatically wrapped around its user when aura was pushed into it.
A little while later, Earl Wellington stood covered from head to toe in silver armor.
The armor seemed to be thinner than the armor usually worn by knights, but it was not a problem for an aura master. With aura backing it up, hershion was almost impossible to penetrate when compared to regular steel armor.
Earl Wellington unsheathed the sword from his waist.
“Hm, very good.”
A satisfied smile crept up on Earl Wellington’s face. The sword was well balanced, and was weighed just like the sword he was used to using.
“You’ve prepared well. Good. I will go now.”
“Please, take into consideration the will of the church.”
“I have already told you, that it depends on the girl’s answer.”
Earl Wellington walked on after answering.
Two horses fiercely galloped along, raising a thick cloud of dust behind them. Luke and Kurotan rode upon the horses, having rode nonstop in a pursuit of the escorting party of the church of Flora. Their bodies were covered in dust.
After they had departed from Lea marquisate, they had not stopped other than to rest the horses. They had literally wrung out the last of their stamina to chase after Isabelle.
Luke’s face brightened when he saw the building marking and regulating the border.
“Finally. We can find out whether or not the church of Flora has crossed the border if we ask the soldiers guarding the border.”
Luke slowly reined his horse into a slower pace. The horse was foaming at the mouth and seemed to be close to passing out. Kurotan also slowed down behind him.
“Whoa, whoa, slow down.”
The two horses’ sides heaved as they slowed to a stop. Kurotan remarked in admiration.
“Truly, their stamina is far more enduring than a wolf’s.”
Luke did not retort, as he had no energy left from riding the horses so hard. After drinking from a water pouch, he poured some out into his hand for his horse as well.
The horses lapped the water up, and their breaths slowly began to grow calm. Luke threw Kurotan a piece of jerky he had pulled out from his bag.
“We cannot rest long. Let’s start off once again when the horses are recovered.”
“All right. What is the plan for when we finally do catch up to the escorting party?”
“Try to negotiate first. To allow me to meet Isabelle.”
“Do you think they will let you see her?”
Luke smiled bitterly as he shook his head.
“As a potential Saintess, the probability of them letting me see her is low.”
“First, to let Isabelle know that I am here. It will help her to not lose hope…”
Kurotan chewed his jerky as he cocked his head in curiosity.
“This is too complicated for me. Anyway, tell me if there is an opportunity for me to fight. I have recovered my aura, and I will swing my axe for you…”
Luke stared at Kurotan.
“Kurotan. There are thirty holy knights. It’s not a force that the two of us can handle.”
“I do not know such things. I will fight when you tell me to.”
“Ah, as simple as an orc.”
The horses recovered soon enough, and the two set off. The soldiers patrolling the border far away seemed to spot them, as they raised their spears in preparation for their arrival.