The Black Demon King 483
The Priest’s Work
Edited by Enki
Gloom Moon Day 27th. Today, my life as a priest begins.
After waking up, both Sariel and I began taking care of our appearances and the first task of the day was about to start.
“Errmm, should I make it ring three times?”
That’s a bell you ring to indicate the time. At the Theological School in Spada, there was something very similar, this kind of system is used to tell the time everywhere in this wide world.
That would be the role of the church in Sinclair. The cross symbol on the spire on the top is also for this purpose.
While looking up at the large bell that was about the size of three floors, I hung on a rope and pulled it in the morning to inform the 202nd colony of the time. It is currently 6 am.
“Kuroe, good morning.”
I rang the bell without incident and we had breakfast in the dining room, though it was more like a living room. As we headed there, Reki and Ursula gave me cheerful morning greetings.
Seeing that they were already wearing their habits, they didn’t seem to have woken up when the bell rang. Both of them seem to get up earlier than that.
I was already carrying Sariel on my back. If I don’t carry her, she can’t move a single step out of bed as she doesn’t have her legs.
She may be bedridden due to her body’s circumstances but I’m not going to leave her sleeping all day.
The main reason is Sariel’s follow-up is indispensable for acting as a priest, of course, but I also need to keep my eyes on her. Even if it’s a little hard, I’ll carry Sariel with me.
“The food will be ready soon.”
“Oh, I see. Thank you, I’m counting on you.”
“Cooking is the work of Reki and her friends! Kuroe should be happy to be able to eat Reki’s meals every day!”
It seems she’s good at cooking. Reki ran back to the kitchen bouncing her dog-ear-resembling hair.
Sariel and I can’t do much for the time being, and we can’t do much to help Reki. We’re going to relax and rely on their skills for now.
There is something I have to ask before that. Ursula, who was following Reki, started walking slowly and I called out to her.
“Are you on your way to your morning worship?”
Ursula nodded with a vague face. That kid’s appearance reminds me of Fiona. Their expressionlessness is very similar but I hope their eating habits are different.
“After you’ve finished eating your breakfast, gather all the people here.”
“All the villagers?”
“Umm, only young people with energy, around thirty years old.”
“Got it. I’ll get ready for that.”
After seeing off Ursula nodding, I muttered with sweat on my cheek.
“… I’m glad I asked her first.”
The reason I think that is, I heard from Sariel that there’s a ritual in the Cross Church where you confirm if they’re doing their worship in the morning.
The reason I asked her about her morning worship is that Sariel advised me to do so when I woke up.
If Sariel wasn’t paying attention, I’d have eaten breakfast while asking myself what a priest is supposed to do normally. Gathering a lot of people around 30 years old will surely not be quick. I’d like to avoid not knowing how to mask my character as much as possible.
I carried Sariel to the table and decided to discuss our plan beforehand.
“Hey! Breakfast is ready!”
Soon after, Reki appeared while lightly carrying a huge pot and then put it on top of the dining table, as dense, white steam rose to stimulate our appetite.
This is the main dish, and there are a lot of solid black breads as the staple food. Ursula quickly prepared the bread and the tableware on the table for us. It’s a very simple breakfast but I’m not bourgeois enough to complain.
I still think about how grateful I am to be able to eat anything other than Gero’s experimental soup.
“Oh, it’s delicious”
“Hmm, today’s soup has gorgeous meat in it!”
“Armored bear is delicious”
Ah, is it the meat of that human-eating armored bear that Sariel killed?
Normally, the monster would be sold to the adventurer’s guild and that would be it. But in the current village in development, there is neither a guild nor any other purchaser to begin with, so monster meat is used to supplement the village’s supplies. That’s also why the bear was quickly dismantled by the villagers as soon as I brought it in; it was made into meat, fur, and shell.
Well, the fur and shells may be transported and sold somewhere if there is an opportunity, or they may be bought by a merchant. Either way, there’s no other way but to eat the meat part.
Actually, yesterday’s dinner was also prepared with this armored bear meat.
“Kuroe caught it for us? Thank you!”
“After all he’s our savior”
The two were overjoyed because they were still poor in the development town, and they could eat meat in the middle of winter. Seeing their smiles, Sariel may also feel praised for doing a good job.
“Then, let’s eat it before it gets cold.”
The moment I said that, Reki and Ursula stared at me with open-mouthed faces.
“… The prayer before meals”
The moment Sariel muttered next to me, I realized.
Ah, that’s right, there were words of prayer before meals in the Cross Church.
Come to think of it, I remember that there was such a thing in Christianity. Thank you for your grace. It’s probably something similar to that.
Dammit, to have failed at such a trivial thing… You, White God, set up a cunning trap for me…
“Prayer before meals is not something I do at home.”
“Ehh, is that right?”
“No, I’m not bound by customs, because keeping tradition isn’t the essence of faith.”
I don’t know what I’m saying, but for the time being, that’d be Priest Kuroe’s policy.
“Done, I hate it because it’s a little long.”
“Yes, it’s important to eat the food quickly before it gets cold. That’s also a courtesy to the people who cooked it. Thank you, Reki and Ursula. I’ll eat with deep gratitude. “
“Yess! Well then, it’s time to dig in!”
“Thanks for the food.”
It seems they are convinced, for the time being, and they said so with a slightly different intonation.
Apparently, I succeeded in pushing through my incomprehensible theory… If they weren’t children, it might have been useless.
“.. .I’m sorry”
“No, don’t apologize”
Sariel apologized to me without them noticing, and I let it pass as I extended my hand to grab some food.
The cheap black bread is hard and dry, I haven’t eaten it in a long time; the last time was when I lived in Ils village previously, and honestly, it’s not delicious at all. However, the hot armor bear soup tasted like pork soup and was quite delicious. If I find one of those in the forest, I’ll try to hunt it too.
“Our God in Heaven”
The morning worship advanced without a hitch.
In the Cross Church, rituals are like a daily routine, so the content is not that difficult and it doesn’t take long to be completed.
Its pattern is very similar to yesterday’s funeral ceremony, starting with the usual prayer and reading a passage of the Bible in front of the crowd.
The passages of the Bible you have to read are already stated and it’s natural for the official priest to read it aloud. However, it seems the act of reading the Bible itself has some kind of meaning, so as long as I confidently turn over the pages and read it aloud, no one would look at me with suspicion.
Thanks to the rehearsal we did in advance, I knew the place where I was expected to read thoroughly. Then I had to greet the villagers, and it was over. I was able to finish the worship without any problems thanks to Sariel’s support.
“Well, then we have the class…”
The priest’s work is to be present at important ceremonies and other such occasions. Such priests are, of course, important for the Cross Church ceremonies, but in this village with a population of around 100, events such as weddings and funerals are not held every day.
A mass funeral was just held yesterday. Incidentally, the only people that came to work on the reclamation of this land are young and in good condition, so there are only a few old people in this village. Today I heard that Mayor Randolph is the third elderly person from the top.
In other words, no one is going to complete their natural life for a while. The only fatalities are accidents such as being attacked by monsters.
By the way, there have been no plans for a wedding ceremony for a while. Most of the young men and women in this village are already married so there won’t be another marriage until their children grow up. Of course, at that time, I’ll already be away from this village.
And, of course, the only event that will be held this year has already been decided. By the way, as far as celebrations of the Cross Religion go, the next event to be celebrated is the ceremony called “New Year’s Worship” on New Year’s Day; that is, on the 1st of the month at dawn. Today is the 27th, so it will be held only 5 days from now.
Personally, I only have the impression that another year is over. If you ask Sariel about “New Year’s Worship” and prepare for it, you should be able to clear it without any problems.
As for me, the only thing that happens is that another year will be over. If I ask Sariel about “New Year’s Worship” and prepare for it, I should get it done without any problems.
Now then, about today’s work, the class I have to do.
As you can imagine from the word “seminary”, religious facilities have played a role as educational institutions that have taught academics since ancient times.
However in modern times the seminaries are just a remnant of the idea of a school. Even in Spada, Sinclair, and the Elysion Magic Academy Fiona attended, it is no longer an era where the churches are responsible for all education.
But that story is only limited to urban areas with a large population and good development. It seems that the church is still the only school here in the countryside. Therefore, teaching basic things such as math, reading, and writing are typical jobs for a priest dispatched to a rural area.
That being said, according to Sariel, even in Sinclair, the literacy rate is not that high in rural areas; so it seems that the basic education system of the church isn’t all that useful.
In the first place, a person who wants to study hard will just leave the village whereas if they continue their life as a farmer, they don’t need to study at all. Farmers are farmers, and there is always plenty of work to do.
Aside from those general educational circumstances, it seems that in the case of this village the classes will be more strict. Randolph told me that the previous priest, Nikolay, used to be enthusiastic about education and was trying to educate the sisters Reki and Ursula as well as the children of the village and even adults, if they wanted to learn.
In that case, I have to do the same thing. At least, doing so would enhance my reception here.
“… Honestly, this is the thing that makes me most nervous.”
“If you have knowledge up to the second year of high school, you wouldn’t have any problem teaching.”
“Well, I know basic math, reading and writing, but teaching it to others is another matter.”
Moreover, I’m going to be teaching children. Even if I don’t do anything, they’re probably going to start crying just by looking at me.
“Well, would you rather not do it?”
“No, I’ll do it.”
“Okay, so let me take care of history and deciphering the Bible.”
“Yes, I’m counting on you.”
Then, I prepared the blackboard in the chapel and I felt an air of tension as though I was preparing for a challenge like a trial of monsters as I waited for the invasion of young students.
“Wow, are you going to give the lessons after all?”
“Study is important. Do your best to avoid falling asleep today, Reki.”
Despite my preparedness for this decisive battle, the only students who appeared were Reki and Ursula.
Well, of course, parents wouldn’t want their children to take classes and be alone with a suspicious priest who appeared out of nowhere with a devil’s face.
“Well, let’s start the class.”
With slight tension, I became a teacher for the first time in my life.
By the way, Reki fell asleep when we started studying double digits. Let’s do our best.
After ringing the bell to announce it was noon, I had lunch. Then in the afternoon, I decided to leave the church and go out.
As for the priest job, Nikolay seems to have already done the same thing, the study of the Bible, Light Magic, and the training of Healing Magic are the obvious choices. But for me, I don’t have any idea about any of those. If I had at least a very basic level of Healing Magic I’d fill the role of a doctor, but I can’t even heal myself without Physical Compensation.
There is no other choice but to leave all the treatment of the sick and injured to the doctor of the village. By the way, the doctor is the second oldest woman in the village. I just keep praying that we don’t have to hold her funeral while I’m still here.
The class was already done in the morning and I didn’t have any priest work left to do in the afternoon, so I’d go outside and get to know the village. In short, I’ll exchange greetings.
After seeing their faces over and over, I’ll naturally become acquainted with them, and by idly talking, some information can be gathered. If you get along well with them, they may tell you something from their side.
Besides, if they have any problems or requests, I can do that too. That’d be trying to do the same things I used to do as an adventurer back in Ils village. I repaired fences, carried heavy luggage, and did a variety of other chores at that time.
I think that by repeating that kind of thing over and over, I was accepted as a member of Ils village.
However, this time I don’t really need to gain their trust; I just have to make sure the Crusaders never find out about all this, as I don’t have any good intentions.
“I had high expectations, but after all this harvest wasn’t very good.”
Well, I went around the small village for about an hour actively calling out to the villagers, and then sat Sariel next to me. I was tiredly looking at the temporary graveyard on the outskirts of the village, and I muttered,
“No matter how you think about it, we managed to avoid it.”
The conversation didn’t proceed much. It wasn’t because I lacked communication skills but that I didn’t feel like talking much about it.
“We had a proper reaction at that time.”
I also thought that a conversation where you just ask questions persistently all of a sudden was not a good idea, so I just asked a few things that weren’t annoying. For example, what kind of crops they grew in the village, how often merchants came, what kind of work they usually do during the winter, and so on.
By the way, the answers we received are as follows.
Their crop is mainly wheat, which is the staple food and is also used as tax payment, and the others are the same that were grown in Ils village. The soybean-like beans that were in the armor bear soup this morning are one of them.
My scorched earth operation was incomplete and burned only one conspicuous building, so the field could be used as it was. Given the difficulty of reclaiming those lands, I couldn’t use them.
The merchant comes once a month. However, they said that if the Daedalus colony develops, they should come more often.
Forestry was the main work in winter as there is a vast fairy forest garden with large, splendid trees nearby. As you can see, snow piles up in Daedalus like in Hokkaido, so you need to have a horse sled. The men in the village enter the forest early in the morning and work on logging.
After that, it is the same as in every rural area with weaving as the main job of the women. If you ask in more detail, it seems that people choose to weave something that sells.
Also, livestock is bred all year round.
In the Pandora continent, Norfolk farming and efficient farming comparable to crop rotation have already been established, and breeding livestock only in winter was stopped hundreds of years ago. That is why the Ils village was blessed with food despite the fact that it was in the countryside.
It seems the reason why this advanced agricultural method could be established is the same as in Sinclair. The fact that there is a Crusader population with great forces requires securing a large food supply.
However, in this magical world, the existence of crops that grow in large quantities over a surprisingly short period of time is one of the major reasons why it is so easy to obtain food. Even if it looks exactly the same, the yield is very different from that on earth.
Animals also boast magical fertility so that no matter how much an adventurer hunts a monster, it cannot go extinct.
Even in such small villages in development, if you survive the first year when you just settled and there is no harvest, you can deal with it. I experienced spring and summer in the Ils village, and I know the climate of the Daedalus territory is good enough to be cultivated without problems, so I can’t say those speculations are out of reach.
Anyway, what I learned from these greetings was that it was clear that this village in development was just an ordinary rural village.
However, that wouldn’t change much. It would be useful for the repatriation of Spada right now, as there isn’t any important news from the Crusaders.
“Did you notice anything?”
“More than half of the villagers were second-class gods’ villagers, which is not unusual for a colonial village in development.”
“Second-class gods’ villagers?”
“The people of the countries conquered by the Republic of Sinclair are classified like that.”
I heard from Fiona before that the Republic of Sinclair is a huge religious nation that controls the western part of the Ark continent.
But, of course, you can’t have such a huge territory right from the beginning. The origin of Sinclair is Elysion, its capital and sanctuary. From there, it took a thousand and several hundred years to expand the territory, and hence the sphere of influence of the Cross Church, and that still continues to this day.
How many countries were swallowed in the process?
“The areas conquered more than a hundred years ago have been purified and indoctrinated and are no different from normal republican territories. Currently, 80% of the second-class gods’ villagers population are made up of former citizens of three countries: Barbados, Evram, and Dragunov.”
All of those are country names I’m not familiar with. I don’t have any idea.
“The Barbados people have golden hair and red eyes. The Evram people have silver hair, blue eyes, and brown skin. Those are their characteristic features.”
I didn’t see any Dragunovs in this village nor in Daedalus in the middle of the east along the coastline when we were doing arrangements. However, I remember seeing some around the materials in the military headquarters. Sariel explained those things to me before but I couldn’t listen to the complete story.
“Hey, then Reki and Ursula are…”
“Barbados and Evrams.”
“… Is that the reason why they couldn’t find a caretaker?”
“That may be it. Many Cross orphanages refuse to accept second-class gods’ villagers.”
It was such a depressing story that I regret I had to listen to it.
“Well, that wouldn’t cause a rebellion.”
“The republic’s assimilation policy is sophisticated and has a very strong and long history, but it cannot prevent rebellion completely.
“Oh, by the way, that was your job.”
And with that, the conversation was over. It’s no longer an atmosphere where we can talk with each other and get along well. We don’t have that kind of relationship to begin with.
I recalled that Sariel was an apostle. It has been only three days, but I may have been forgetting those things as she stayed by my side.
However, I hate this situation where we cannot keep our distance. The question of what I should do begins to circulate in my brain again.
I spent some time relaxing as I vaguely gazed at the scenery where the cross grave markers were standing in the middle of the pure white snowfield. It feels like the sounds of life in the village echo from a very distant place.
As expected, I feel empty. After all, the world is filled with lies that feel like that.
“Would you like to go back to church?”
I asked that but carried Sariel’s body without waiting for her to reply.
I was already familiar with carrying this girl on my back. Sariel is like a rucksack for me now that I have this kind of useful backpack.
Then I started walking, and just at that time…
“Hey, Priest, so you were here?”
A man appeared standing with his arms crossed.
He had a large battle axe slung on his back and wore a beast hunter’s coat, while sporting perfectly slicked-back blonde hair.
“Hello Ryan. Do you need anything from me?”
I faced this threatening man that had a huge smile on his face that I just met yesterday.
I wonder if he’s returning from his logging work. Behind him were a lined-up group of vigilantes that I saw yesterday and some other men I didn’t know.
“Oh, just a little, could you lend me a hand?”
I didn’t have a very good premonition with this Yankee-like dialogue.
However, I can’t refuse.
No matter how you think about it, I could feel the same atmosphere as when I was involved with Nell’s guards at the seminary.
“Hey, it’d be quick and it helps me a lot. Follow me.”
I decided to obediently follow Ryan who had a ferocious smile on his face.