Chapter 70: Selected Members
Having come out of the Hearing alive, I let my legs carry me back to the third level of the temple, to the meeting room I had been in until my impromptu summoning.
Just as I had though, that room had been created as the fourth level to the Evil God temple. I should make it as soon as I went down the stairs.
I wasn’t sure what kind of method had been used to transport me to that room in the first place, but it wasn’t hard to assume that I had been subject to some form of authority.
Still, it must have seemed to the people there as if I had been erased from existence. It must have seemed the same way to Tena. Once I came back, they were sure to be surprised…
“Anri-sama?! Thank goodness, you’re alright… You disappeared into thin air and left me wondering why you’d left…”
Once I had shown myself, Tena came and engulfed me in her embrace with wet eyes.
I made her worry, did I? Sorry…
It was their fault, all of it.
“Sorry, I just got a call from up top.”
My finger pointed upward to consolidate my answer, and Tena’s eyes followed the indicated path, tilting her head to the side once her eyes rested on the ceiling.
“They’re lending out a few heads to stop the Idols. We can start planning our countermeasures when we’re all gathered.”
“Um, alright. I understand.”
Tena really didn’t seem as if she did, but she had accepted my explanation nonetheless.
“Also, just what kind of people will be coming?”
Now that I thought of it, I never asked. I had no idea. Not even how many would come.
Both Sophia and Anbar had gone to people over, so it was safe to assume that two newcomers would arrive, at the very least. Was that all of them, though?
I couldn’t afford to bide my time, either. Just when would they get here?
I greatly doubted that they had much time to spare themselves, so I’d like to have thought that they wouldn’t be that late.
While I was immersed in my own thoughts, a somewhat reserved voice called out to me. I turned to the source, and was met with the sight of a young girl with light purple hair.
It was Orlain, that carpenter’s apprentice…
“That’s no it! I’m not an apprentice carpenter! I’m a hero, alright?! I’m the Hero of the Holy Bow, Orlain!”
Damn it. I’d thought out loud.
Orlain showed her resentment to being called an apprentice by raising her voice and letting her face go red.
Still, since she didn’t have the proof of her position as a hero – the Holy Bow – on her person, coupled with the fact that I had seen her practice the art of carpentry, I didn’t think that my initial impression was too far off the mark.
Then again, I was the one who had the Holy Bow…
All that aside, the heroes – Orlain included – were supposedly assisting in the construction of my mansion. But why was she here? Depending on the situation, I may have to cut her pay…
“Why are you here, then? Playing hooky?”
Orlain shook her head at my inquiry.
“Nothing like that. The Holy Goddess told me to come here.”
Sophia told her to come here? Then that meant…
“You really are playing hooky, aren’t you?”
“Why’s that the first thing you come up with?!”
Well… I was her employer, after all. If some other person – well, divine creature, but I digress – had given her reason to abandon her post, then what else could it be?
But I supposed that the girl, hero of justice that she was, could do little to go against Sophia’s command. Timing and all considered, she was in all likelihood one of the new members of the Evil God Countermeasure team that had just come in conversation. There was little reason to hold it against her, then.
Her reactions were hilarious, though. Just a but more teasing would be fine…
“You’ve gone and accepted the orders of someone not your employer. You left your position; that’s just skipping out on work. It doesn’t matter if the Goddess of Light herself ordered you to do that.”
“Eh? Well, that’s…”
“I could have called for you and given the Holy Bow back, but if you left your work on the side of the road, then…”
“T-That’s not fair…!”
Orlain went pale at my words. Thinking that she may never get the bow back, the girl did her best to find a justification, already half panicked.
“P-Please, give me a second! I’ll get back to work! So please, give back the Holy…”
She waved about in a panic, flipping herself around and trying to depart.
I was taken aback a little, admittedly. I may have laid it on a little too much. She’d really leave if I didn’t pull myself together.
“I’ll be right back – BUGYAH?!!!”
Not even perceiving my flustered voice, Orlain broke out into a run and headed outside, but never made it. An encampment created from magic emerged in the sky above her and something fell down, almost flattening her in the process.
“W-What was that?! What just happened?!”
What had crushed Orlain with their rear wasn’t a thing, but a person. Her voice and features seemed rather familiar, too… It was Leonora, who had gone her separate ways in demon realms not too long ago.
As if chasing her, the cursed Tena doll jumped onto her head.
While she had gone her ways a while ago, we had still been communication quite recently. It really didn’t amount to much of tearful reunion.
“Anri…? Why are you in the Demon Realms…?”
Leonora had asked me directly, her eyes finally reaching me as they searched their surroundings. It didn’t look as if she realised that she was in the Holy Lands.
“Short time no see, Leonora. And you’re not in the Demon Realms anymore; this is a temple in the Holy Lands.”
Her mind was still on its way to catch up with what I had told her, and her mouth was wide open.
“Well, for now…”
I pointed my finger below her as she tilted her head and repeated my words.
“Don’t you think you should move? For her sake?”
“Huh? What the…?!”
Finally noticing that she had crushed Orlain – whose eyes were still spinning – beneath her, she grew flustered and stood, immediately rushing to bring her back to health.
◆ ◆ ◆
“That was awful…”
Only a few minutes later, Orlain had somehow managed to come back to us thanks to Leonora’s efforts. Sure, she was still clutching her hips and crying, but she had recovered. Mostly.
“Yeah, um… Sorry about that.”
“Huh? Oh, no, it’s not your fault…”
Leonora tried to apologise by bowing her head, but Orlain stopped her short. True, Leonora had been dropped off here against her own will, so she really didn’t hold any of the blame.
Whoever dropped her in the first place was at fault, clearly. And there was more of a good chance of it being Anbar.
In other words, just as Sophia had sent Orlain, Anbar had sent Leonora.
It was a pretty lazy method of sending someone over, though…
But if I were to be honest, I’d have to admit that I was grateful that they had decide to send them along. It was much easier to handle someone with a more familiar disposition.
“Leonora, do you know what’s going on?”
“No, I was dropped here without warning… I can’t tell left from right.”
They didn’t even bother to explain. Ever heard of intentional negligence?
Expecting an explanation from the slothful Anbar might have been too much to ask.
With no other options, I opted to explain it all myself. It was a good thing that Leonora was already aware of the details concerning the Evil God Idols, that didn’t put too much of a demand on detail.
I explained that we had been tasked by the Three Gods to stop, that they had sent their chosen for this task, and that she herself was one of those people.
“I see. Then there’s no reason why I shouldn’t help, even less so if the Dark Goddess has ordered me to. Although… I do wish she would have given me a warning, at the very least…”
“So that’s what’s going on, huh…”
While Leonora gave a consenting nod, Orlain, who had been listening to our conversation at her side, nodded as well. Did she even get an explanation from Sophia?
“Did the Goddes of Light fill you in?”
“Huh? Oh, no. The Holy Goddess only told me to come here, and that I was supposed to ask how things would go on from there…”
In any case, if Leonora and Orlain were chosen sent along, then we’d have to make do with them to capture the Evil God Idols. Once again, I turned to them and spoke up.
“I know that the road may be tough, but please, lend me your stre –”
Another voice from beside me cuts my own short. I turned to be greeted with the sight of a certain blonde youth, the Jolly Pope himself.
“Just as Anri-sama has ordered, I shall assist Anri-sama from here on out!”
What was he going on about?
“Please, command me as you see fit.”
Well, I couldn’t say I knew what he was on about, but as long as he was willing to help…
“Make us some tea, please.”