When the young boy first came to Avalon, he had thought the sight of the weak and poor people gathered in the slums was the same as what you would find in any other city.
When some enemies called the Crusaders arrived, he had left the village of Kuar with his family – And after that, only hell awaited them.
His dependable father was crushed to death. His kind mother was torn to pieces. The older brother he idolized was shot, and he watched his adorable younger sister disappeared in a fiercely burning flame.
Even so, he has experienced even more painful things, and these tragedies of the past remain only as memories.
He has nothing that he can call a memento from his parents. If anything, the memento from his parents is his healthy body, where their blood runs through his veins.
But with no other relatives, that alone was insufficient for him to live a happy life again.
At least, that was the conclusion that he came to as a child in Spada, and it was not necessarily an incorrect conclusion.
The surviving refugees were busy living their own lives, and the important societal notion of mutual aid had been forgotten. Nobody had thought to help one powerless boy – no, it was financially impossible.
The leader of the refugees, the chief of Kuar village, had suddenly disappeared. So it was impossible for them to unite into a single group again.
Even so, the boy had left Spada holding onto a tiny bit of hope, and ended up wandering to Avalon.
Of course, even here, there was nowhere for an orphan to go but the slums.
The boy understood that no matter where he went, he was trapped in this dark, dirty, crumbling labyrinth that he could never break free of.
Spada, Avalon – Knowing the countries’ names did not change anything; the slums were the same anywhere – This is what he first thought.
「Yo, what’s up with those oranges?」
The boy is holding a basket full of oranges, missing only one, and another boy calls out to him. The other boy is turning fifteen next year, well on his way to adulthood.
He has spiky, dark blonde hair, odd pegs attached to his clothes, and a large, menacing dagger in his fist.
It is the usual clothing and weapon that one would see on a hoodlum around here.
Behind him are two more boys of similar age and appearance, with smiles on their faces.
Stealing and extorting from the weak is an everyday occurrence in the slums.
「I stole it from a heretic.」
「That’s a good attitude you’ve got, priest-sama will be happy, too – Actually, he should be coming soon, follow us.」
The boy was acquainted with these three young men.
They are his friends who live in the same orphanage, run by the Church of White Light.
The boy and the three young men are all wearing cross-shaped accessories on their bodies, showing that they are companions that share the same belief.
「There’s preparations for tomorrow’s ceremony, so don’t get in the way.」
「I know that!」
The boy replies like a cute little brother, and the other three laugh.
The boy is not shy of them; he idolizes them and speaks openly with them.
「Well, we’ve got some other stuff to do, so see ya later.」
As they part, the boy takes an orange from the basket and tosses it to them.
「Be grateful for the Holy Mother’s Blessings!」
With that, the boy clutches his basket that has lost yet another orange, and runs into the dirty alleyway.
His expression is not that of someone who is tired of seeing the ever-unchanging slums.
The scene reflected in his eyes does not change, but to him, this filthy townscape feels bright, as if it was being bathed in a pure, white light.
This causes a ray of hope to shine in the boy’s heart.
The one that gave him this light of hope is –
The boy reaches his destination.
This worn-down two-story apartment made of stone right in the middle of the slums is the Church of White Light’s orphanage that he lives in.
At the entrance is a pair of large, half-rotten wooden double-doors. There was a small crowd in front of the gate.
The people gathered there are children living at the orphanage like the boy, but they are all very small children, younger than him.
In the middle of the children is a young man, shining with a pure white light, wearing a dazzling priest’s robe.
「Ah, welcome home.」
The young priest’s blue eyes turn their distant gaze towards him as he welcomes him.
Just that is enough to fill the boy’s heart with an indescribable joy.
The priest is only a year or two older than him, but the boy holds greater respect and affection for him than he did his own parents.
The priest saved him and guided him – Yes, guided him – along the true path of belief that all humans should walk. He is the great person who showed him the「Guidance of the White Light.」
「Ah, that looks super-delicious! Where did you get those?」
The red-haired girl who is always by the priest’s side raises her high-pitched voice as she points at the basket of oranges in the boy’s hands.
He inadvertently begins stuttering, not because of the girl’s revealing clothes that would stimulate sexual desires even in a child, but because of the direct gaze of the priest’s eyes.
「I can eat these, right? Well, I’m eating them!」
Before he realizes it, she has taken the entire basket.
「Hey, it’s time for a snack!」
She disappears into the orphanage, and the crowd of children gathered around follows her inside like a cheerful storm.
It is possible that the boy would not even get a taste of the oranges that he has obtained. The children of the orphanage are always hungry.
He lets out a small sigh with a sad expression as he realizes this, but –
「You did the right thing.」
He raises his head at the sudden voice, and the beautiful, white face of the priest is right in front of him.
「Blessings are upon us, the Children of God, while the Heretics must atone.」
The boy is still a child, ignorant of the true meaning of that phrase. He does not even know what some of the words mean. But he knows what he should say in response.
「May the White Light guide your path.」
As the boy recites the phrase, the young priest disappears into the orphanage.