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  • Writer's pictureSHADOW EGG

Episode 23: Almeria's bell rings for the obituary 7

Three days ago, at the Vilano Monastery in the northwestern part of the Kingdom of Almeria──





The time when the night is still not over.

Skinny boots step by step along the corridor made of gray bricks.



"The swaying of the ocher bell, even the reverberations of the sound emanating from that bell, seems to sway eerily."



The girl walking down her corridor hums the words she sees in her book in her mind.

She can hear it right now, listening to the bells ringing at the top of Vilano Abbey.


Before I knew it, the gospel bell had become to announce the time.

Almost no one knows the original meaning of the sound, which has become a mere custom, and even who makes it.


However, today, only the bells ringing here now may be the sound for the original gospel.

And the subtone is directed at himself.

The sound of the bell was so clear that I wanted to think so, only today. Perhaps that is why a passage from the book of the literary scholar Rourich suddenly crossed her mind—



"Ceremony of Ritsushi"



──It is said to be a time-honored ceremony performed by the prince of the Almeria royal family in order to obtain qualifications to prove that he is a member of the royal family.

In that ceremony, a sacred beast known as the guardian beast of Almeria is summoned to this land, and it is said that members of the royal family follow the contract with their blood, courage, and will. A young girl was about to perform a ritual.


The girl's name was ─ ─ Setina La Almeria.



She walked through the long spiral staircase to the normally closed basement of the Vilano Abbey, and came to a cathedral so large that it was hard to believe it was underground.

She looks like she's remade a cavern with a large rusty bell-coloured wall, and a ceremonial altar in the distance.

In the depths, a large statue of a sacred beast like a phoenix existed as if to symbolize this land.


When Setina looked to the side at the cathedral's entrance, she met an adult woman's eyes.

Her nun-like figure smiled and nodded slightly, keeping her hands folded in front of her own body.

Without even changing her expression, Setina looked at her again, and with her demeanor as a princess, Rin step by step walked towards the altar of the cathedral.


A princess walking slowly among carved wooden banquettes lined up to pray in this cathedral—the composition is like an illusion of a road made for the king by prostrate people.

The footsteps echoed again and again in the silent cathedral.


In front of the stairs in front of her altar, Setina stopped her foot――



"The day has finally come."


The four priests and the dignified bishop on the altar spoke to Setina.



“──Yes, Mother Elea.”


“It’s been a long time. It’s been three years since Setina-sama came to study at the Vilano Monastery──

I won't be teaching her any more, but to be honest, I still want to be close to Setia-sama and watch over her growth. But this is also Festia-sama's practice and guidance.

Vilano Monastery, the last special individual exam as a graduate student──Are you ready? Sera"


Sera is the student name of Setina who attends here at Vilano Monastery.

Mother Elea called Setina Sera until the end, not as a princess, but as a student.

As Setina swallowed Mother Elea's slightly sentimental words, Setina raised her chin slightly upwards, closed her eyes, and took a small breath from her.

Her long, light blue hair tied up in her Setia swayed as if suspended, and with the palm of her right hand she held the handle of the rapier she was wearing on her waist.



(……It's okay. It's okay Setina=La=Almeria)



Grasping the handle of her rapier, Setina opened her eyes and sent a calm look at Mother Elea, answering her question straight.


"Yes, my heart is already"


Through her silence, Mother Elea stared at her taciturn Setina.


"...I understand. Well then, everyone, thank you very much."


The four bishops nodded slightly at Mother Elea's voice.


"Sera, follow the procedure I taught you."


"Yes, Mother Elea."


"Then, from now on, we will carry out her missionary rite for Setina La Almeria."



In the space behind the altar, a pentagram composed of non-Festian characters written in what looks like black shadows was written on the ground.

Each priest and Mother Elea stood at the tip of the pentagram, and Setina stood in the center.

Mother Elea struck the ground with her ornate staff, and the sound rippled across the cathedral.


"Cera"


When Mother Elea gave that signal, Setina hit her own fingertip with the tip of her rapier, and a small, plump dome of blood formed on her.

Her blood dripped at her own feet, and Mother Elea confirmed this and began chanting her verse—


"ancestor is the mediator"


Following Mother Elea's words, the priests chanted the words together.


"We are mediators. Our ancestors become strings and guide us to the dusk, our friends become arrows and guide us to heaven. These are the three treasures. Pure will. Therefore, wedges were set up. But imitation of sin." ”



When Mother Elea poked the ground again with her cane, the shape of the pentagram magic circle, which looked like a black shadow, was repainted with etheric light, just like light ink traced from the feet of the priests. To go.



"Condemnation - the law of the disconnected cycle. Merciless eternity. Unable to connect the peculiarity to that seal."


When the magic circle drawn with the etheric light emerged, the light spread widely inside the cathedral as if it were bursting around.

It was as if the light had shattered to the point where it seemed like it had a shape—the scattered circles of light were fragmented, as if something had chopped them into shape.

The innumerable pieces of the formation that did not fall to the ground were scattered over Setina's head and were once again moving chaotically──




The ripples that spread around Sera stopped everything except Setina and Mother Elea.

There was no sound, no color, and everything but Setina and Mother Elea was in a gray world ─ let alone the ether floating in the sky, it was as if even the flow of time had been isolated.


“Join, Besdiedrei──Armede.”


── Kon.


When Mother Elea hits the ground with her wand again--everything that had been stopped begins to move, and the fragmented wreckage of the magic circle converges and reassembles, falling down to Setina as if it were wrapped in an invisible sphere. It's here.


"a……"


Like a ball rolling down a slope with bad footing, the sphere of the magic circle turned wildly and irregularly, and the light became even stronger, and the glare enveloped the cathedral──


When the priests slowly opened their eyes, the etheric light was gone—along with Setina.



"... Elea-sama"


"Yes, let's wait quietly. That's what we do."



────────────




(──I wish I hadn't been born into a royal family. I don't have a clear mark that could be called destiny. I wish I hadn't been born into a woman. I shouldn't force my selfish expectations and selfish despair on others.)



White. A white world that just goes on and on.

It makes you feel that true nothingness is not black, but white.


(As long as I wear a mask on my heart, everything will be fine. Don't wish for anything. Because I'm a doll──)


Setina was walking slowly in a white world where she didn't even know where she was standing on the horizon.




"White world... is this real? Or is it a dream?... Elea-sama didn't tell me about this."


Her feet stopped—and lowered her head, Setina stared at her own feet and thought.


"Are standing……"



(Where ──?)



Setina, who was looking down, put some strength into her lower lip──and whispered in a small, very small voice.


"The world of the dead... I wonder if it's more divisible."


Setina's expression, which seemed like she was laughing somewhere and gave up on something, was ironically shrouded in shadows in the white world.



(No!)



"eh!?"


Setina looked back behind her in surprise, but there was nothing but the same scene as in front of her.


"... Milly's voice?"


Thinking it was just her imagination, I looked back in front of her again, and realized that she felt uncomfortable.

Putting her own middle finger and her index finger against the corner of her eye, Setina felt the moisture on her hand.

As she scooped up her water and stared at her fingertips, her expression seemed a little surprised.



"--I see--that's your true nature--"


"picture……"


Neither Millie nor Mother Elea. A low voice that Setina didn't know reached her ears, not an auditory hallucination.

Setina's expression, which she had loosened for just a moment, returned to a cold expression again.




"I understand the mind. … Then what about the body?"


Three ominous black mists hang small in front of her setina's line of sight.

As the three black mists began to take shape, they looked like beasts, and Setina calmly made a battle decision when she saw that form that should not have taken shape turned into a tangible being.


(──Demon Beast)


As soon as the black mist took on the shape of three wolves, Setina quickly pulled out her rapier and hurriedly shifted her center of gravity to her hind legs, her elbows and rapier straight in front of her. and extended.

At the same time as the Black Mist Witch Beast jumped, Setina quickly stepped into it.

As if she was wiping away the darkness in her own heart in a white, cold world──

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