Protagonist Knows Everything - Chapter 40: False Faith
We soon returned to our Inn. It was very uncomfortable to walk because Kasha was clinging to me the whole time. We went into each of our rooms without much of a conversation.
“To each room… Huh?”
“This is my room, Why are you coming in here?”
“Tay. Should I sleep?”
“You should be able to.”
“I know that Tay didn’t sleep in the wagon last night.”
I was a little surprised. How did she know?
Looking at my face, Kasha said, “I heard it from the coachman.”
The coachman wasn’t ordinary that’s for sure.
“Why didn’t you sleep?”
Instead of answering, I scratched my head. I didn’t want to say that I couldn’t sleep because I was busy putting my hand on her nose every 30 minutes.
However, Kasha said, with an expression that said that she knew everything, “Was it to check my condition?”
“Now sleep comfortably. I’ll be there this time.”
Kasha grabbed my hand and dragged me to my room.
“Huh. Shall I sing a lullaby?”
“I don’t know what you’re thinking but don’t worry about it and go to your room. It’s all over now.”
“I can’t sleep comfortably if someone is next to me.”
Then Kasha let go of my hands.
Then after fidgeting for a long time she asked, “Then, can I stay here till Tay falls asleep?”
‘Didn’t you just hear a single thing I said? I can’t sleep comfortably if there is someone next to me.’
I was too tired to deliver that reply so I just said, “Do whatever you want.”
“Huh. I’ll do whatever I want.”
I lay in bed and closed my eyes. It was true that when someone looked at me, I couldn’t sleep. But thanks to that eventful day I fell asleep quite easily.
Just before falling asleep I heard Kasha’s vague voice, “I’ll keep my promise. I help you with whatever you want.”
“I’ll listen to anything you have to say. Thank you so much. Tay.”
The next morning I woke up from my peaceful sleep…frightened.
“Ugh! Ahhh! What?!.”
It’s been a while since I’ve been so surprised. I had no other choice, it was that kinda situation.
Kasha was staring at me with her face right next to mine.
“Aren’t you overreacting a bit?”
“You couldn’t have been here the whole night, right?”
Then Kasha shook her head to the point that she got dizzy.
“Not really. I just came in.”
What?! It felt like we had a similar conversation before but this time the speakers are interchanged. ‘Is this déjà vu?’
I got up and washed my face. Kasha just sat there and rubbed her face as if trying to imitate me.
Then her reddish face sank a little and she said, “Anyway, Tay. Now let’s go back. Elena and Ms. Sain must be worried.”
“I still have work to do.”
“Anyway, didn’t you say you’d accept any of my requests yesterday?”
Then Kasha nodded her head as if she had been waiting for this specific moment.
“Yep. Anything. Do you have anything particular in mind?”
“Okay. I’ve been on a business trip so far away, but I have to get one more thing done.”
“First of all, I’ll explain my strategy.”
I opened my mouth and explained the plan. Kasha listened to me like I was telling a really interesting story. But it only lasted for a few moments. When I finished explaining, she wore a slightly bored expression.
“What is it?”
“If you do that then you’ll almost be like the demon king.”
“Am not praising you!!! What are you trying to pull off? You’re just deceiving a god like that.”
“This plan was approved by the goddess herself.”
“You’re making it sound like you already know the goddess quite well.”
“Anyway, are you going to help me?”
Kasha hesitated for some time, then let out a sigh, “I will help. Naturally.”
“I’ll help you with this just this time. I won’t listen to requests like this anymore.”
“Yeah that’ll do.”
When I turned to her after that answer, she wore a somewhat frustrated expression.
“You don’t really understand anything!”
“Huh? No, I really mean it. I am ok with just this favour.”
“You don’t know. Anyway, I’m going to help you with this and keep the request hanging.”
‘You’re trying to get me into debt?’
Avoiding further conversations we proceeded with the plan.
The plan started with Kasha on my back. As I wrapped her in a blanket and tied it tightly around my back, from my back she said.
“Hmmm… You seem familiar with this.”
“Because it’s my second time carrying you like this.”
Kasha cocked her head, burying it into my back
“You carried me to Jeriel’s home just like this right?”
“It was heavy wasn’t it?”
“No. You’re light. So much so that it even made me worry.”
I gave the most suitable answer that wouldn’t embarrass Kasha, but she started rubbing her head in the blanket even more.
“Oh… th- thank you.”
“I don’t know what you’re thanking me for, but… Can I start now?”
“Ugh… this is quite embarrassing considering its morning right now.”
“Then go to sleep. When you sleep, you won’t even know what’s embarrassing and what’s not.”
I added a few words more, “You couldn’t have slept at all yesterday while watching me.”
“Right I didn’t. Ah.”
We headed to the Temple of Parmel, while having useless gossip. As the temple got closer, Kasha’s voice disappeared.
And as soon as we reached the entrance, she said in a subtle voice, “Then… I’ll start now.”
“Yeah. I’m counting on you.”
At the end of my answer, Kasha once again buried her head on my back.
She started acting like she’s sleeping. I smiled and then quickly corrected my expression. And with extreme anxiety, I approached the temple. If everything was as I predicted then it should be the worshipping hours.
With that I banged the temple doors open. And just as expected. The eyes of all the priests and nuns present there turned to me.
I gasped and shouted deliberately, “Please. Please help! My companion is cursed.”
Surprisingly, Lorelia stood on the podium while holding her hands together. Maybe she was praying like the Indians.
Lorelie turned to me and calmly said, “What is it? This is the time for worship.”
“Sorry. I will apologize later. But please listen to me now.”
“My companion is cursed. The Secreed’s curse. The same curse originating from the demon king 300 years ago!”
For the first time I had realized that I had quite the talent for acting.
Just the words ‘Secreed’s curse’ were enough to change all of their expressions.
Rather than the curse they seemed to be more nervous about the demon king.
‘The demon king sure was notorious.’
At that time, someone jolted out from the crowd and turned towards me and approached me.
It was Jeriel.
She glanced at Kasha on my back and said.
“What did I say? You should’ve come to Lorelie-ssi right yesterday!”
“Oh, now come this way. Lorelia will definitely heal her. I assure you.”
She took me in front of Lorelie while feeling burdened with the gazes of all her people, the so called nuns who couldn’t even recognize the saint among them.
Lorelie slowly descended from the podium and said, “Did you say it was the curse of the Secreed?”
“How did it appear in these times?”
‘Ask Von for that. Or maybe Nortel. It’s a good question anyway. Let’s move it up a bit.’
I approached Lorelie and whispered to her, “Nortel Rhime.”
Lorelia’s face hardens like she had seen a ghost. Celia had a similar expression when I mentioned that name.
‘Apparently only a few people knew about that name.’
In other words, just me knowing that name was proof that I was associated with him.
I said, “I came here as Nortel’s messenger.”
Lorelia’s reaction was quite unexpected. She, as if I was a messenger of the gods, suddenly raised her two hands politely towards her belly, bowed her head and said.
“Yesterday I didn’t recognize…”
‘What is Nortel to this woman?’ I wanted to ask but decided not to.
“I didn’t tell you, of course you didn’t know.”
“Anyway, let’s get to the point. This girl is afflicted with the Secreed curse.”
Kasha was lying on my back like a log, almost like a real cursed person.
‘She’s not really sleeping, right?’
Even I was confused, either she was a really good actor or she actually fell asleep.
“Really? I can’t feel anything.”
“When I met you yesterday, I clearly felt the power of the curse. But today not at all…”
‘Well, she certainly is an A-class priest.’
Then I brought up Nortel’s name, everyone who met him strangely believed in him too much.
“Nortel-nim said it himself.”
Then as expected, Lorelie let go of her doubts.
“No, it’s not that I didn’t believe in you.”
“Fine. Anyway, he has a message for you.”
” ’Resolve the curse,’ he said. It can be said that this is a kind of test.”
Then Lorelie’s face grew anxious. But soon it changed to determination. I had no choice but to swallow up my laugh.
‘She was more worried about Nortel’s test than her goddess herself.’
I realized why Parmel was calling her a scammer. The goddess must’ve been displeased from her lack of faith while performing the miracles.
Lorelie then whispered to me, “What if I fail the test?”
“He will be disappointed. And….”
“You’ll have to give those relics back.”
Those words were a gamble for me.
The Saint’s relics that Lorelie possessed. There was a minute chance that those came from Nortel himself. But I was sure of that possibility.
‘Von Lebeck couldn’t have acquired the Secreed stone himself. Nortel must’ve handed it over to him.’
In the same way, Lorelie’s relics may have come from Nortel. If so, it wouldn’t be suspicious if I said that he’ll want those back in case she failed the test.
And my gamble paid off.
Lorelia replied, while biting her lips, “If he wants to take them back, then I have no choice. I’ll return them.”
“I will accept the test. Please sit down for now……”
“What are you talking about?”
“Please do it right here. You have nothing to be afraid of, right?”
“If you have confidence in your faith then it shouldn’t be difficult.”
Lorelia glanced at me. She looked at me as if she had a problem.
After a while, she said, “Okay.”
I slowly put Kasha off my back. Then I turned and shouted at the priestly nuns.
“Lorelia-ssi has offered to lift the Secreed curse!”
Lorelia Ein, who was reputed to be the next saint, had offered to lift the demon king’s curse. Needless to say the crowd of nuns and priests responded just as I had expected.
“It’s a miracle. A miracle is about to happen now!”
“Alas. Lady Parmel and Lorelie will show a great miracle.”
The louder their cries grew, the darker Lorelie’s expression became. But soon she shook her head. Then she put her hands together and started praying.
But she wouldn’t be able to overcome the test.
She was fundamentally flawed. To her Nortel was more important than her goddess. Exactly as I thought.
‘It doesn’t make sense if you prayed to your god for overcoming a test given by a human whom you hold more dear than your own god.’
After a while, Lorelia opened her eyes. Then she put her trembling hand over Kasha’s head.
“Goddess Parmel. Please cleanse your subject of the filth that lingers upon her. Show pity and save your children.”
The hall fell into silence. I could even hear my own breath.
Of course, needless to say, Kasha didn’t even budge.
‘You’re awake right?’
Lorelia prayed again, panicking.
“Goddess Parmel. Please listen to my prayer. Your believer is in danger.”
“Goddess. Wake up this girl and make her curse disappear……”
“Isn’t that about it?”
Cold sweat formed on Lorelie’s forehead and she said, “Goddess.”
“That’s it.”, I said in a grim voice.
“Oh no… Please, not yet…”
Lorelie clenched her bible tightly
While clenching her 300 year old relic, she said, “Goddess. Please……”
“You don’t have to listen to my prayers in the future. Please, for now, please!”
She was clearly panicking. Those weren’t even prayers anymore. I crossed my arms, wanting to watch the drama unfold a bit more.
“He… he gave me this test. I must pass.”
“Please lend me your strength. Give me the power to overcome his test!”
She was saying things that would definitely displease her goddess. She asked the goddess to lend her the power so she could pass ‘his’ test.
It wasn’t Parmel that Lorelie wanted to please, but it was Nortel. She wanted to please Nortel, too much indeed. And her confession was all it took. Other priests and nuns here must have heard her confession of faith.
“Now it’s done.”
Then Lorelia opened her eyes to see if the curse was lifted.
“This! What I said just now… “Give it. The relic.”
I changed my tone. Lorelie was amazed and quickly bit her lips.
“No! I can’t give it back!”
She shook her head like a child holding onto her candy.
“This is from him. Nortel-nim believed in me!”
“Wait. I can still do it. Goddess will listen to my prayers. As always!”
The hall was silent. Lorelie knew something was terribly wrong.
I tried to say something more. Then someone stepped in.
“What are you talking about? Lorelie-ssi”
It was Jeriel.
Jeriel was staring at Lorelia so sharply that her usual clumsy appearance seemed like a lie.
“I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’m sure what you were saying just now isn’t right.”
“Why are you interrupting! You don’t know anything!”
Crude cries came out of the usually composed and graceful Lorelie’s mouth. The apprentice nun, Jeriel, who was usually holding onto Lorelie’s hairpin, must have felt it.
(T/N: The thing Jeriel mentioned in previous chapters.)
However, Jeriel was dead calm as she said, “I don’t know who Nortel is, but as far as I feel, Lorelie-ssi seems to believe in him quite a bit.”
“More than Parmel-nim.”
“Oh, no. That’s not right.”
Suddenly Jeriel screamed.
I heard someone flinch and from behind, another scream
“You’re just lying!!”’
Even I, who made the plan flinched a bit.
“Everyone sees it. Are you putting an ordinary human on top of Parmel-nim right now?”
“No. Not like that…”
Jeriel’s faith was real. Unlike Lorelie who could perform the miracles only with the help of that relic. The one who accompanied the first saint was upset with Lorelie’s false faith.
Jeriel cried out again, “I love and respect everyone here.”
“But no one takes precedence over the Goddess. That the first doctrine of nuns and priests. It’s the most basic rule.”
“Then why were you praying for that man? You clearly held him more dear than our goddess!!!”
Jeriel suddenly lashed out. Lorelie flinched and fell down on her back.
It was my time to step in.
Phase 1 of my plan was over so I had to move to Phase 2.
“That’s great. Jeriel.”
Jeriel looked at me.
I calmly said, “It seems to me that you are a lot better than the fake ones here.”
“Please pray again. Yesterday you failed, but today you will definitely succeed. The goddess will listen to your prayers.”