1

Vol 6: Chapter 4 (1)

Cardinal Thomason

The royal capital of the Saint Knight Kingdom was the most beautiful capital I have ever seen.

The hexagonal city was surrounded by lush mountain ranges with well-organized townscape.

Located in the center of the royal capital is the castle where the Knight King resides, and several spire towers standing tall as if piercing the sky.

The royal capital church was located near the castle. It is called the “Great Holy Spirit Chapel” and is said to be the second largest after the main Church where the Pope, who is the head of the church, resides.

The “Great Holy Spirit Chapel” is the residence of the number two of the Church, the Cardinal.

「Who goes there?」

When Non-san, Mimino-san, and I arrived at the Great Holy Spirit Chapel with Riviera-san at the lead, we were called out while ascending the long stone steps to the entrance. Clean white stone staircase in a neat cityscape.

Wearing a habit to such a place would surely stand out. When we got off the carriage earlier, the surroundings became noisy.

(Does Riviera-san really belong to the Church?)

As that question formed in my mind for the 10th time—we were approached by a Temple Knight who guarded the Great Holy Spirit Chapel.

A chainmail with a grayish luster and a full iron mask. The apron was a combination of scarlet and white. There was not even fraying of the embroidery, let alone dirt.

Unlike ordinary knights, temple knights do not carry blades, but a scepter and a mace fastened to their waist.

「Why are you getting in our way? We have important things to relay to Cardinal Thomason. Rather, he’s the one who summoned us.」Riviera-san said.

「…His Eminence?」

The temple knights looked at each other.

「Do you have any proof?」

They don’t trust Riviera-san at all…….

Wasn’t she supposed to be a big-shot in the church?

「Proof? Just go ask the Cardinal.」

「But His Eminence is busy. Perhaps there is a misunderstanding…」

The temple knights were having trouble responding.

「Oh my, if it isn’t Riviera-sama. What are you, who is only ever seen in research buildings, doing at the main building?」

A priest with a solid build appeared. He seemed to be in his late 40s, carrying a leather bag in his left hand.

Blank face with blue, round eyes stared at Riviera-san in a displeased manner.

「P-Priest Regson.」

The temple knights saluted and Non-san knelt down to a knee. …This man seems to be quite the big-shot too.

「I came to meet Cardinal Thomason.」Riviera-san said.

「Meet His Eminence? With all due respect, perhaps there is some mistake?」

「I was just told the same thing a minute ago.」

「Hmm… you guys, it’s okay. You may not know this person since she is only ever seen in the research building, but she is called Riviera, the chief priest of the engineering department.」

「!」

The title of chief priest of the engineering department seems to be a bigshot as well, as the temple knights hurriedly bowed to Riviera-san.

「Let us go inside, then.」Riviera-san said.

「——Please wait. If you enter as you are, each and every temple knight inside will ask to prove your identity.」

「Send them all a notice then. Tell them “Riviera has come, clear the way”.」

「Please don’t ask for the impossible. The temple knights don’t exist just for your convenience. Rather, if you change your outfit, there would be no problem at all.」

「It is a big problem because I will lose my identity.」

If changing clothes could grant passage, I would change it right away… I suddenly felt a gaze and looked up.

The “Great Holy Spirit Chapel” is lined with spires like a castle, but one of the windows was open and a man was looking down. When he noticed that I was looking at him, he made an “inviting” gesture with his hand.

「Umm, the person above says, “Come”.」I said.

「Huh? —His Eminence!」

Priest Regson exclaimed, and immediately knelt on the spot. In a hurry, Riviera-san and Non-san also knelt in the same way.

「——Come up now!」

As the words echoed down, Priest Regson hurriedly led Riviera-san into the main hall.

**

The number twos of the Church assigned all over the world must surely be amazing. As we passed through open bulky doors with elaborate designs and entered the office, we were greeted by absolutely gorgeous stained glass.

Light passing through the glass shone on a display case housing antique sake sets, jewel-embedded letter boxes, and paper knives made of Mithril.

The display shelves were placed conspicuously in the space right in front of the entrance. So we went around to the back while admiring the displays. Behind it was a window which seemed to be the one I saw earlier. And Cardinal Thomason was sitting at the office desk placed in front of the window.

The fat Cardinal Thomason swept back his white hair, and placed a circular hat on top—similar to the Zucchetto hat found on Earth, but with a real leaf at the top—which was a similar dark red as his clothes. Gold embroidery on a dark red coloured cloth; the patterns were leaves and ivy, but there were no flowers.

「Why were you lingering at the entrance?」

The Cardinal asked moodyly, tapping the desk with his index finger.

「My apologies. Priest Regson was stalling.」Riviera-san said.

「Wha!? N-No. I was just a little doubtful when the Engineering Priest, who usually doesn’t even approach the main hall, asked to meet–」

「Priest Regson.」Cardinal Thomason called out.

「Your Eminence.」

「I recognise your enthusiasm.」

「Thank you for those words, Your Eminence.」

「Leave.」

「…Yes, sir.」

After Priest Regson left, Cardinal Thomason turned his sights to Riviera-san.

「Engineering Priest Riviera.」

「Yesss.」

「Fix your clothes.」

「Eh…? But this is my identity.」

「Fix it. If you don’t fix it, step out.」

「…………」

Whoa… Riviera-san’s face looks super sour. Is it really that important to her?

「I-It’s okay, Riviera-san. I can handle this myself…」I said.

I felt that Riviera-san’s identity was more important in this case.

「You are Reiji-kun?」

The Cardinal’s eyes turned to me.

「Y-Yes.」

My voice was unintentionally high-pitched.

This person has great authority. Authority which is different from nobles and knights. I feel like a student who was called into the “principal’s office”.

「You shouldn’t pamper the priest of the engineering department. While it might not matter to the person herself, it troubles the priests who are working under her. Because Riviera is the chief priest of the engineering department, people call the engineering department the “mating department”.」

「The ones who are complaining are the people in Regson’s “Law department”, right?」Riviera-san exclaimed.

「And what of it? The engineering department and the law department are all important institutions of the Church’s 7 departments and 12 bureaus. Is it okay to let them get a bad reputation because of you alone?」

「Uh…」

Riviera-san awkwardly fixed her outfit. While grumbling, “This person is getting more grumpy with each passing year”.

「Good, good. Now you look the part of a well-reputed chief priest. Do your best for the Church.」

「…………」

Riviera-san pursed her lips sullenly, but Cardinal Thomason paid no heed.