༺ Question ༻
A week later, the flower bed in the outdoor garden.
Renee sat down opposite of Vargo and spent her tea time ruminating.
‘It’s awkward… !’
An appointment with a cycle of about 10 days. It’s a place where people would converse about their own life and the work in the Holy Kingdom.
Although this was their second meeting, Renee still had the thought that it would be difficult to deal with Vargo.
Such was the status of the Holy Emperor, and such was the quarrel with Vera. His imposing demeanor made it difficult for Renee.
Because of that, she didn’t know what to say, so while she was fiddling with the teacup for a while, he noticed Renee’s behavior and took the lead in the conversation.
“How is your life in the Holy Kingdom?”
“Ye-Yes! Thanks to you, I’m having a good time!”
Renee, who shuddered, replied as such. Vargo burst into laughter upon hearing Renee’s loud answer and then continued to speak.
“That’s fortunate. It must be difficult because it is an unfamiliar environment, so I apologize for not being able to take better care of you because I had other matters to take care of.”
“Ye-Yes! Thanks to you, I’m comfortable!”
Again, she replied loudly. After Renee had finished talking, she thought that if she kept her mouth shut like this, the situation would become awkward, so she racked her brains and thought of what to say.
“Huh… Sir Knight helps a lot, Hela helps too, and oh, Sir Trevor is also good at teaching divine arts, so I’m doing really well!”
“Oh, you mean THAT Trevor?”
“Yes! He is a very kind person!”
Renee answered with a smile on her lips.
From Renee’s point of view… It wasn’t wrong. Trevor was very kind and friendly towards Renee. In fact, there was a big reason why he was like that. Vera would stop him with a wink whenever Trevor showed strange signs, but Renee, who was blind, didn’t know that.
Vera heaved a sigh of relief as he saw Renee telling the story about Trevor with a bright face. It was because he recalled the actions Trevor had shown in front of Renee.
His stomach twisted, remembering how after seeing Renee’s white divinity, a creepy smile spread all the way to Trevor’s cheeks, or how occasionally he would covetously steal glances at Renee’s forearm where the stigma resided.
Sooner or later, it’s necessary to have another training session with him.
While Vera was taking a deep breath as he recalled those incidents, Vargo saw Renee’s expression and asked a question with a smile on his face.
“I’m glad. Do you have any questions for me?”
Renee was in deep thought upon hearing Vargo’s question as she recalled her troubles.
However, there was one thing she was curious about while living in the Holy Kingdom.
“While I was here, I noticed that the Holy Kingdom doesn’t organize any prayers. Why is that?”
“Ah, were you curious about that?”
“Yes, I remember that the village priest arranged for prayers every Sunday.”
She was shocked when she found out about this. It’s the Holy Kingdom, but isn’t it strange that there is no time for worship?
Even when she asked Hela, she wondered if Hela didn’t inform her because she was being considerate of herself. However, she replied, ‘Prayers have never been arranged in the first place.’ When the same words came back, she wondered why.
Vargo sipped tea and nodded at Renee’s question. He then answered solemnly.
“Because force can never instill faith. That’s why we never built a separate place solely for worship. Prayer is something you can do anytime, at any point in your life, whenever you feel like it.”
“Huh… Is that so?”
“Hmm, how should I explain… .”
He raised his arm and gently stroked his chin as he continued to ponder. He then raised his eyebrows and said.
“… Yes, let me put it this way. Saint, you feel grateful to Hela. right?”
“Yes, that’s… right?”
“Is that feeling still in your heart?”
Renee nodded. Vargo also nodded in response to her answer and continued explaining.
“However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you live with that gratitude in your heart in every waking moment and every situation of your life. When you meet Hela, or receive her help, you feel grateful.”
It was a matter of course. How can a person keep the same feeling in her heart while doing various activities when they are awake?
“Faith is like that. You are grateful to the Gods for their grace, but there is no need to praise them all the time. It is enough to offer a brief prayer with sincerity whenever you feel like it at any moment in your life. It can be seen the same as not holding a banquet to express your gratitude to Hela.”
“Well, it sounds more simple than I thought.”
“Faith is not a grandiose thing. It shouldn’t be grand in the first place.”
“Why not? Aren’t we praising the Gods?”
“It’s because the moment it becomes grandiose, your faith begins to falter.”
It was a series of incomprehensible words. It could be said that it was quite far from the common sense she knew.
Upon hearing that, Renee’s head tilted to the side, and Vargo answered Renee in a gentle tone.
“Who do you think has the most faith in the world?”
It was a difficult question. Not to mention, it was a question that shouldn’t have an easy answer to begin with.
“I don’t know….”
“Those who have nothing. Those who have no strings to hold on to, and simply put, they are desperate to survive ‘today.’ The role of faith is to become a ray of hope so that they can live and rest in anticipation of tomorrow.”
Vargo said that and looked at Renee’s expression. She opened her mouth and said, ‘Ah,’ as if she realized something.
“So it shouldn’t be too grand. Poor people can’t afford to offer something grandiose.”
A smile grew on Vargo’s lips. It was because Renee’s expression was bright as she answered.
‘She’s a kind person.’
The girl chosen by the Lord is a girl with a warm heart. How difficult it must be to not show a distorted appearance. To make a bright face, and to be considerate of others even in such a situation as her.
If you put that girl on the scale of good and evil, the scale of good will most likely lean toward her.
Vargo, who has distinguished the good and evil of others all his life, continued speaking while assessing her in his mind this time as well.
“So, as much as we think of faith as those people, the Holy Kingdom does not offer a formal prayer.”
Renee nodded slightly in response to the reply, expressing her understanding.
“Well… I’m still not sure.”
She didn’t understand it completely.
For Renee, the Gods and faith were the worst evils in the world that ridiculed her, and even after listening to him, she cannot engrave his explanation deeply in her heart.
Even though she desperately wished for salvation, she was still blind.
Renee was skeptical of the prayer that could not be answered because she knew the misery of the moment when her life’s earnestness was betrayed.
Seeing Renee’s expression getting darker little by little, Vargo guessed what Renee was thinking and continued speaking.
“Of course, what I’m saying may not be the right answer, so you don’t have to get too caught up in it. Faith is a question whose answer every believer has to seek on their own.”
Renee nodded. She fiddled with her fingers for a moment, then she barely uttered a question from the depths of her throat.
“That… You said that faith exists for those who are in need.”
“Yes, I said so.”
“Then, if we can’t be saved by faith, won’t those who believed in it live in misery?”
“What do you think?”
“You have to believe in God to be saved. But if you don’t even get that salvation… .”
No further words were spoken. However, Vargo clearly knew what Renee was trying to say.
Maybe it’s a topic about herself.
“… I think I can say this for sure.”
“What do you mean?”
“Faith is not salvation. Faith plays the role of a supporter who empowers its believers to reach salvation on their own. However, salvation is still something you have to seek for yourself.”
Renee turned her head in the direction where Vargo was present upon hearing his words.
“What if there’s someone who can’t save themselves?”
“Faith is what holds them up so they don’t fall apart.”
“Even if they can’t get better? Even though there is a cliff in front of them. Even though there is no support to lead them forward… That’s wrong.”
There was a hint of frustration in Renee’s voice as she said that.
Vera glared at Vargo intensely upon hearing Renee’s emotional tone. Vargo snorted ‘Heng!’ at the sight, then uttered a few more words to Renee.
“Then we have to go the other way. Instead of jumping off the cliff, we have to seek a detour.”
With a blank look, the expression on her face suggested that she still felt complicated.
Vargo looked at her face and spoke in a gentle tone like always.
“I also had a similar conversation with that dull bastard over there. Well, this is exactly what I said when he was your age.”
Vargo’s words referred to Vera. Upon hearing him, Renee remained silent and listened to Vargo.
“Gods don’t show the way. They just observe. The way must be found by the Saint.”
She was about to utter an objection. However, she didn’t finish.
Renee knew. Even if she poured out her words to Vargo like this, the truth would not change.
Even if she said anything now, all that would come out were words filled with resentment against the Gods.
Rene bit her lips and bowed her head slightly towards Vargo to express her apology.
“… I apologize. I got too emotional.”
“You don’t have to worry about it. After all, isn’t deliberating the way for a human being to grow? All you have to do is think hard to approach the answer. You are doing very well.”
There was an awkward silence. Renee bowed her head, blaming herself for not being able to control the emotions that almost burst out at that moment, and Vargo smiled broadly at Renee’s appearance and apologized.
“I apologize that this old man has troubled Saint.”
“No! Not at all!”
Renee was surprised and answered.
Vargo smiled softly at Renee’s restless appearance and said.
“Today, let’s stop here and get up. The breeze is slowly turning chilly.”
Vera approached Renee upon hearing Vargo’s words and held her hand.
Vargo looked at him with a smile on his face.
On the way home. Renee thought about whether she had been disrespectful to Vargo and walked with an anxious look.
She thought she looked like a fool. She has to work hard. Until now, she thought she had done well, but she couldn’t control her emotions, and lost her temper.
At the thought that occurred to her, she heaved a deep sigh.
Vera opened his mouth, feeling his anger at Vargo rising at the sight of Renee sighing.
“You don’t have to worry too much. It is because the Holy Emperor has slowly developed dementia.”
Renee’s fingers trembled.
“Hey, you can’t say that….”
“Human beings are the ones that curse at another person when they are not around? I am a human too, so this is unavoidable.”
Renee felt a laugh bursting out upon hearing Vera’s rigid tone as he jokingly tried to comfort her.
“… Thank you.”
“There is nothing to be thankful for. I was just telling the truth.”
The moment she said that, Renee felt surprised as she became relaxed upon hearing his words.
Renee, who pursed her lips as an unfamiliar feeling penetrated deep inside her even though those words were nothing special. She then asked Vera.
“What do you think, Sir Knight…? The words that the Holy Emperor said.”
“I think it’s nonsense coming from an old man with a foot in his grave. As I said before, I don’t believe in the glory of the Gods.”
“Is that the answer you found?”
She asked as such. Hearing that, Vera pondered for a moment, then spat out an answer.
“The answer.. No… However, I can say that I am still in the process of getting to the answer.”
“Is that the light you spoke of?”
“Yes, I believe my answer is there. I believe in the light, not in the Gods.”
Renee nodded slightly in response to his words and continued the conversation.
“I’m jealous. I don’t even know where my answer lies yet.”
Why do I have to be blind? What caused the stigma to be bestowed upon me? It was a thought that occurred to her as she watched Vera, who was already looking for his own answer, unlike herself, who didn’t know anything.
Vera looked at Renee, who lowered her head after saying those words, feeling a little nervous, he pursed his lips and said.
“… Saint, you can find it. I will help you, so there is no need to rush.”
Clichéd words of consolation. But it was the only thing Vera knew how to say.
There was no follow-up answer. It was because Renee concluded the conversation by nodding her head at Vera’s words.
A question crossed Renee’s mind as their conversation ended. This question arose in her mind after a certain moment.
What is that light, and what does it have to do with the stigma that has been given to her, for him to treat her so well?
The reason for this question to arise in her mind wasn’t clear, and it was also a question that made her feel stuffy.
Emotions began to boil over again.
Renee felt as such as she tapped her cane on the floor.
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