The flag of the cross which symbolised the White God fluttered on the Daedalus royal castle and showed who ruled this land.
And right now, the fact that the authority of the precious ruler Gaevinal had completely disappeared,
“You may leave now.”
Was proven by the young white girl sitting on the throne.
“Yes, then excuse me, Your Excellency Sariel.”
Sitting on the throne that had been painted white as per the style of the Syncrea Republic, the supreme commander of the Crusaders, 7th Apostle Sariel sent off the sister who had finished her duties.
Beside her was an empty envelop which had the seal of the holy cross insignia.
“This really was surprising. To think that the [White Hero], 2nd Apostle Abel, would be coming here.”
The contents of the envelope were in the hands of Sariel’s aide and vice commander, Archbishop Liuchrome.
The two had read the letter sent by the Pope and, though their faces didn’t show it, they were extremely surprised by the matter written in the letter.
“Do you have any idea why Lord Abel would be coming here?”(sariel)
In the letter it was basically written that they needed to receive Abel cleverly since his visit is supposed to be a secret.
Sariel asked so to her aide thinking that maybe he, who was much more intelligent than herself, might have realized the reason behind this sudden yet secret visit from the contents of the letter.
“No, I do not know anything. Whatever it is, the reason must be something very appropriate considering that Lord Abel would leave Elysion. It’s definitely not simply a whim.”(liu)
Unlike someone, his voice seemed to contain a tinge of sarcasm.
Although sporadic resistances were occurring all over Daedalus in opposition to their occupation, the Crusaders had already reached to all corners of the territory and overall the situation was favourable to them.
In terms of conquering, there were no problems. If it was something else, then that would be the disappearance of the 11th Apostle Misa.
In any case, she should be currently on the Magic battleship Gargantia while listening to the complaints of 12th Apostle Mariabelle and watched over by 3rd Apostle Mikael’s saint-like smile.
By the way, 3rd Apostle Mikael had also almost stranded away somewhere but luckily she was found wandering around in Daedalus and they were able to avoid creating an uproar.
But even considering such situations regarding Daedalus, just as Liuchrome said, neither of them were a problem big enough to make the 2nd Apostle Lord Abel take action himself.
“I see, that’s true.”
Sariel also agreed.
Except during battles, she was completely on the top position as a decoration in terms of politics etc but since she did hear the minimal amount of info, she could also agree with Liuchrome’s words.
“Since the details have been hidden, we should not make any useless inquiries either.”
“Yes, something done by His Holiness the Pope and Lord Abel is the same as the will of God. We should simply prepare for his visit as stated in the letter.”
Understood. Like an experienced butler, Liuchrome accepted Sariel’s words.
In the letter, Lord Abel’s visit was to be treated as a complete secret so it was instructed that only Sariel and Liuchrome should be privy to this matter.
Abel’s outward stance is that he is simply an envoy sent by the Pope to examine the situation in Pandora, of course, the fact that he was an Apostle was not declared.
His objective was to investigate to report back to the Pope and so the Crusaders were ‘asked’ to tell him whatever info he may require.
“Archbishop Liuchrome, would you be kind enough to leave for some time?”(sariel)
To Sariel’s sudden request, without crumbling his calm face, Liuchrome answered in the very next second.
“Then, I shall take my leave now. I’ll ask the guards to take a rest a bit earlier as well.”
Without even asking for the reason, he simply acknowledged Sariel’s demand to ‘clear out the people’.
Even if it was a mysterious order, he had no right to stop an Apostle from doing something. A mere ‘human’ could only abide by her orders without retorting or suspecting her.
“Thank you, we’ll continue in the afternoon as usual.”
After respectfully bowing once, Liuchrome left the throne room.
For the next one hour, no one would enter the throne room nor would anyone suspect what was happening inside it. The room was treated as a perfectly sealed room.
Alone, in the throne room, Sariel softly muttered.
“You can come out now.”
But that voice which should have been received by empty air certainly reached someone.
“Well, sorry about that, looks like I made you worry.”
In the throne room where no one else should have been, a single girl appeared from behind a thick pillar.
Blonde twintails, a thin shirt and miniskirt, and a simple leather breastplate and boots as equipment showed that she was not a civilian.
If one were to describe it in few words, she looked like a newbie adventurer.
There was no atmosphere around her that an experienced adventurer who had crossed countless battles to the death would have. She really looked like an innocent girl but her identity was,
“Welcome to the Pandora Continent, 8th Apostle Ai.”(sariel)
Sariel welcomed her, without showing any sort of surprise against the fact that the apostle that roamed around the world freely had appeared here.
“You’re cute as usual Sariel-senpai! But if you’re going to so ‘welcome’ then do so with a smile!!”
Sariel’s face twitched slightly on Ai’s words
She wasn’t angry, she was trying to smile actually.
“Sorry, Sariel-senpai is fine as she is.”
Seeing Sariel’s moving efforts that bore no fruit, Ai seemed to be reflecting on her words.
“So, what business do you have?”(sariel)
Sariel who returned to her expressionless face, without even trying to try and chat with her junior who she met in a long time, directly cut to the chase and asked her that.
“I thought Misa would have already told you that I was here on Pandora so—-“
That was a fact.
After Misa returned back to the Royal Castle with an unpleasant face, obviously she had told everything, where she had gone, what she did, etc.
And obviously, the fact that she had met the 8th Apostle Ai also came.
“—-I thought I should come and greet you properly at least.”
Just for that reason, she had infiltrated all the way to the innermost room of the royal castle that was protected and guarded by soldiers all the time.
If a human had done so, it would have been a shocking news but if the people of republic were told that ‘an Apostle did it’, everyone would find it easy to understand.
Especially since it was Ai, who was specialised in hiding herself, that did this, Sariel found it even easier to accept. Since she is here right now, it was already a true fact after all.
“Ah, but I also have a request, will you hear it?”(Ai)
Ai clapped her hands in front of her chest and gave a wink looked just like a daughter trying to beg her father for something.
“What is it?”
Sariel who wasn’t really affected by that gesture asked very curtly.
“Hurry up and build the Daedalus branch of the Adventurer guild!”(Ai)
Even Sariel who didn’t really excel at thinking could figure out what was the reason behind that request.
Ai had been acting as an adventurer who existed all over the Republic, no, the whole Arc continent.
And this place was also not exception either. She had come to know, while hiding in Virginia, that a large network of adventurers also existed on the Pandora continent as well.
Naturally, an adventurer guild also existed in the capital city Daedalus as well but it was not working anymore obviously because of the occupation done by the Crusaders.
The Guild that Demons used and the guild that the humans of the Republic used, though both had the same names, they were completely different organisations.
In Daedalus, that had already become the territory of the Republic, a Guild with the rules of the Republic will be created.
At least for Ai to work as an adventurer here, she’ll need the republic’s adventurer guild to start operating here.
And, Sariel accepted Ai’s demand instantly.
“Yay! I love you Sariel-senpai!!”
Ai ran towards her with arms wide open and Sariel had to resign herself to receiving her as well.
“The start of……the adventurer guild will……be needed soon….after all.”(sariel)
As Ai continued rubbing her cheek with Sariel’s, Sariel continued her explanation praiseworthily.
The occupation known as an Adventurer didn’t limit to just going into dungeons and looking for treasure.
In this world filled with monsters, they were also an important existence to protect the people at every place.
Of course, dealing with monsters is the job of the army but they alone can’t deal with it perfectly.
From the point of view of the regular civilians, adventurers are closer to them and protect them by clearing out the monsters near their homes.
And that’s not all. Gathering herbs, personal escorting, delivering items, etc are also jobs that they take which are dangerous to normal people.
And furthermore, the adventurers also supply items to adventurer guild, merchant guild and even directly to workshops and blacksmiths as well.
And since they are an existence which is indispensable for the civilians, adventurers existed both on the Arc continent as well as Pandora continent and was one of the most common occupation taken by people.
Then naturally, even without the explanation of Sariel, it was obvious that they needed to start adventurer operations in Daedalus quickly.
However, Ai was currently busy enjoying Sariel’s soft white squishy cheeks and didn’t listen to the explanation at all.
“Will you be staying in Daedalus for a while?”(Sariel)
Sariel asked so to Ai without showing any sort of reluctance towards her excessive skinship.
“un, I’ll stay as an adventurer here till everything calms down here. Actually I wanted to become a Pandora Adventurer but then I’ll be unable to do my only job of ‘world reformation’.”
Ai, the 8th Apostles, actions were famous and supported by the civilians of Republic as a ‘good deed’.
Defeating monsters that were causing trouble to even armies, judging corrupt officials and merchants; there was no way her actions would be criticised.
But, she could only take actions like that inside the territory of the Cross, i.e. inside the Republic.
Basically, she couldn’t ‘save’ a person who was not a believer of the Cross.
Ai moved almost completely independent of the influence of the church but her actions of saving the believers of the Cross in itself was an act which could be said to be correct as an Apostle.
“If you’re going to be here, then Daedalus will be safe as well.”(sariel)
Hearing such pleasant thing from Sariel, Ai tried to kiss her mouth-to-mouth but as expected that was probably no good for a believer of the Cross and Sariel blocked her gently with her palm.
“There’s one thing I want to ask.”(sariel)
“Wha~t is it?”
Maybe she was still attracted to Sariel’s lips, Ai was pouting like an octopus.
“Did the ‘devil’ who brought out huge damages to my Crusaders in Alsace really call himself Kurono?”(sariel)
Due to the case with Misa’s independent actions, Sariel was also aware of the battle at Alsace.
Inside the favourable territory of Daedalus, to have lost more than a thousand men, it was a hard battle that was now well known not to just Sariel but to the whole of the Crusaders.
This battle alone was not called as ‘resistance by demons’ but was a clear cut ‘war’.
And since Ai had appeared in that battle, it was normal for the supreme commander Sariel to ask her about it.
But to ask just about a single man named [Kurono] was truly incomprehensible.
“Huh, could it be that senpai is acquainted with Kurono-kun?”(Ai)
Ai asked Sariel with a grinning face.
It looked like a girl bullying another while asking the name of the man she liked but the contents were serious enough that it might turn into an interrogation.
Sariel answered with silence. She was unable to lie after all.
Ai, who took that as a ‘yes’ to her question answered the original question with a satisfied face.
“We did name each other after all. It’s not some rumour or misunderstanding. He had a rare combination of having black hair and black eyes and he was wearing full black clothes as well so he stood out. aa, also a super cute fairy and a pretty witch were also with him.”(Ai)
Do you know something about it? On Ai’s such words, Sariel could only answer back with silence but,
(“No doubt. That was truly Kurono Mao.”)
Sariel confirmed inside her mind.
The black magician that killed countless Crusaders and was called a ‘devil’ was without a doubt the same man that she had let go off twice.
“It’s rare for Sariel-senpai to show interest towards an individual person, or rather, isn’t this the first time?”(Ai)
That truly was correct.
The girl called the 7th Apostle Sariel was indifferent to her surroundings, anyone who had been concerned with her even a little was well aware of that fact.
She would simply defeat her enemies and complete the mission given to her by the shurch. In a way, she was truly an ideal Apostle but that made it difficult to judge her humanity.
Such a girl tried to confirm whether the name of the man she knew referred to the same man that faced the Crusaders.
Such a simple thing was a proof that the existence called [Kurono] was a special existence towards her.
“nee nee, could it be that you’re worried for Kurono-kun? Or could it be that was your ex?”(ai)
~kyaa with a sound like that, Ai seemed to be getting excited by herself but,
“There’s nothing like that.”(sariel)
The girl was a doll. Let alone human emotions, she did not even have the survival instincts of a living being in her.
She was completely unrelated to the womanly emotion of falling for a man, she simply could not understand that emotion.
“fuun, is that so?”(ai)
Ai, maybe she sensed the atmosphere, decided not to pursue it any further.
“Well whatever, ah, this is my new guild card so if ‘something’ happens request me through the Guild.”(Ai)
Saying that, she handed over a card to Sariel.
On it was the very common name Ai along with her class and other such personal data along with her adventurer rank.
On the Pandora continent, metal plates were used but on Arc, such cards, that too the type that were printed in huge number so that one could give them to people like a business card, were used.
“About Kurono-kun, if I get to know something, I’ll tell you. After all I do owe a favour to Sariel-senpai. I’ll use this chance to return it back.”
“No, I am—–“
“So see ya! Work hard Sariel-senpai!!”
And after throwing words of farewell one-sidedly, she grandly left through the door and Sariel could only silently see her off.
Sariel’s muttering, this time finally didn’t reach anyone’s ears.
(“I should not have let him run away.”)
The feeling she felt in her heart was without a doubt, regret.
Sariel was the supreme commander of the Crusaders. Her job was to kill the enemies, not to have pity on them.
As the leader of an army, she had a duty to limit the losses of her army to a minimum.
And, Sariel whose raison d’être was her work as an Apostle, to have caused damages to her army due to her ‘personal actions’ was not something forgivable.
Thus she regretted, she should not have done that at that time. Everyone has such a regret and Sariel also suffered from it.
(“Uneeded casualties were created because of me.”)
For Sariel, what was important wasn’t who died, but the fact that ‘someone died’ in itself.
She was not sad for the death of people, she could simply not forgive that she had made useless losses to the army.
Conversely speaking, it was nothing more than that.
For Sariel, a person’s life and death wasn’t important. What’s more important was the success or failure of a job.
(“Then, it would be ideal for me to deal it with it.”)
And thus, Sariel resolved her heart towards the man called Kurono Mao that was hated by her Crusaders.
(“If I meet him again in the ‘next battle’—–“)
No, there was no ‘if’ in that. That man would definitely appear on the battlefield, she was sure of that.
Thinking about that time that will appear in the near future,
“—–I will kill him with my very hands.”
As if telling herself, Sariel spoke those determined words.
But what ruled her heart was not anger towards Kurono that was the reason behind her ‘mistake’.
She simply felt anguished to the fact that she would have to kill the man that she had hoped would be salvation, hope for the experimental humans.
Yes, after becoming the 7th Apostle, Sariel felt ‘melancholy’ for the first time.