Saturday, August 13, 2022 @

Chapter 51 A Childhood Friend You Don't Know

 Zect's POV
 "Zect... it's not good. Let's get Ceres back, no matter the cost."
 "But to do that, we must convince the church..."
 "I don't care about appearances anymore. At this rate, we'll lose either Maria or Mel in the near future... and then we're screwed... I can take the blame, so please."
 "I'm asking you to do the same."
 "If it's like this, we can't do it anymore."
 Now I understand.
 I'm the Hero (Yuusha), and Lida, the sword saint, are the attackers, and Maria, the Saint, and Mel, the Sage, are behind us to support us with magic.
 Until now, Ceres has been protecting the two rear guards, so Lida and I could fight as hard as we wanted without worrying about our surroundings. Maria and Mel could use magic without worrying about their surroundings.
 But now...
 While they use magic, Lida or I have to protect them.
 So the attack becomes one person's attack.
 And since neither Lida nor I are used to protecting them, we'll be outnumbered.
 The other day an orc archer's arrow pierced Mel and Maria.
 The saint Maria's recovery saved the day, but it would have been the end if it had hit their vital spot.
 I tried to bring in other people... but it was no use.
 They could not work together and were useless as they interfered with Mel's magic and Maria's recovery.
 Now I understand Ceres' importance... He was the all-rounder that rarely existed... He would watch our situation, join the vanguard, or go into the rear guard defense when he thought it was dangerous.
 And since we've known each other since childhood... he knows all our habits and behavior patterns.
 He was the kind of guy who was there for us.
 Even if I asked at the Adventurer's Guild or the Church... no one could do that.
 And even if there were, it would be years before we could work together like we did in Ceres.
 I realize that...
 But will the Church allow us to return to Jimna village now that we have advanced further?
 Will they allow us to be selfish, having not even accomplished much in the war?
* * *
 "Are you sure you want to bring back Ceres-dono?" said the Priest.
 In other churches before, I was stopped by priests and sisters at the risk of people's life.
 Here too... it must be...
 "Everyone..." said the Priest.
 "I have a message from Pope Romulus on that subject."
 "Pope Romalis?"
 "Yes, he asked me to connect him when the Hero (Yuusha) arrives."
 If it's from the Pope's point of view... perhaps, we haven't had much success so far...
 Please don't talk about this thing...
 "I understand."
 Then, the Priest connects the Pope with a tool.
 "Zect the Hero, it's been a long time... I heard you have not been so active recently... is it because of Ceres-dono?" said Pope.
 Is the Pope even aware of this?
 If so, there's no way to fool him.
 "Yes... it's because of Ceres. He was a necessary asset for us. Without him, we can't work well together... and I gave up such a valuable existence... for my own ego."
 "We need Ceres!" said Lida.
 "Pope, I beg your permission to bring Ceres back to us," said Maria.
 "Please forgive us for asking that," said Mel.
 "Hmm... I've heard that Ceres-dono is a big deal, but can he be brought back so easily?"
 "What do you mean by that?"
 "The King himself informed me that the Dhamar Kingdom has officially bestowed upon Ceres-dono the title of 'Hero (Eiyuu)' for his achievements and has promised him a betrothal to the First Princess Mariane and a position as a nobleman, depending on his future successes."
 """""That's... no way...""""
 "In the Dhamar Kingdom, Ceres-dono is treated like other four main jobs, or rather as a Hero (Yuusha)... so to speak... But not only that, there are protests like 'Why are you twisting the law to treat those expelled as a separate unit while keeping their registry intact?"
 "So we can't bring him back now... is that what it means?"
 "No, I wouldn't say that, but I think it's safe to say that this will probably be your first and last chance... Good luck."
 If that's the case... we'll have to give Ceres everything we can to get him to come back.
 "So you will allow us to go to Ceres?"
 "As the Church and the Holy Land of Gandal, Ceres-dono is a necessary force to hunt dragon species with ease... but is also necessary to defeat the Demon King... So you could bring him back."
 "And now, as for the matter, we would like to ask you to negotiate with 'the Former Saint Cecilia' for Ceres-dono's engagement depending on his performance and to give him a knighthood depending on his performance in the Holy Church as well."
 From the Holy Land, we will not receive a knighthood.
 The reason is that the Hero and the three main jobs are already guaranteed the same status as a knighthood in this religious nation.
 Nowadays, we are below the Pope, but there was a time when we were treated as 'Messengers of the Goddess' and treated as equal or superior...
 But there is one thing that bothers me.
 Cecilia-sama is said to be a 'reincarnation of the goddess,' a blonde-haired, incredibly beautiful woman whom kings and nobles of various nations were competing for... However, Cecilia-sama was so worried about this conflict that she gave up love and became a nun to be united with no one. Indeed, she was known as one of the three most beautiful women in the world.
 But that was a long time ago... now she is in her late twenties, and no one will look at her.
 ※ The life expectancy in this world is estimated to be around 50 to 60 years old.
 A woman of that age... No matter how beautiful she used to be, she's not going to get a dowry or anything... because she's almost a mother.
 "Title aside... why Cecilia-sama? Sure, she's a dignified lady, but if Ceres married a woman, who has an age that almost like his mother's age, he'll be taken as a fool... or so they say... and he should pay a dowry too..."
 Suddenly, the Pope's face clouded over.
 "Enough... I'm sure you will not be able to bring Ceres-dono back... are you sure you've known him since childhood?"
 "I've been with Ceres since childhood... and I know him better than anyone."
 "I know him as well," said Maria.
 "Me too," said Lida.
 "Same for me," said Mel.
 "Then don't all four of you know what kind of women he prefers? Huff~ I'm disappointed that you don't have more human relations... Then, we, the Church, will negotiate with him in the Holy Land... We know Ceres-dono better than you do... So, leave Ceres-dono to us, and please continue your journey."
 What does the Church know about Ceres?
 But we can't say that.
 That's all we could say.

* * *
 The Pope’s POV
 The Hero (Yuusha), Zect-dono, did not know anything about Ceres-dono.
 If they had known each other since childhood and were friends, he should know his preference for the opposite sex...
 Because his mother died when he was very young, Ceres-dono looks for motherhood in his lover.
 He prefers a woman who is at least as old as his mother.
 But Zect-dono doesn't even know that? It made me think he was not his friend.
 Still, the Church is a step late behind the kingdom, but we have to start negotiating too.
 We can't afford to lose the power of the 'Hero (Eiyuu).'

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