「– May the White Light guide your path.」
This passage is recited in chorus by the voices of the underage boys and girls.
Wearing matching white robes, they are of course the inhabitants of the orphanage and followers of the Church of White Light.
They are in a chapel in the orphanage – though it is not something that was constructed solely for this use; it is merely another abandoned room of the orphanage that has been reorganized by hand.
It is a shabby room, but it is the result of the hard work done by these young believers of god.
One could say this is the form that religions should have. A large temple is not necessary to worship god.
They are offering their prayers to the large cross that has been erected here. They did this yesterday, they are doing it today and they will do it tomorrow.
「The rebirth ceremony for the new Guardians will now begin.」
On the stage facing the thirty believers, truly guiding them, is the young, blonde priest.
The uniformed girl, the red mage is waiting nearby. But this time, she appears to be able to read the atmosphere in the room, and stays quiet.
Standing on either side of them is a pair of masked giants known as Guardians. They are standing there like statues, not making even the slightest movement.
The darkness of night has already fallen on them, and in these slums that are filled with shadows, it is especially dark.
The inside of the chapel is lit only by the flames of some candles spread out around the room, creating a solemn atmosphere.
The vast presence of the young priest is even more mysterious here.
His white face is of unparalleled beauty. He produces the pure white jewel, 『Diamond Heaven』, from his breast pocket.
「Tonight, nine new Guardians will be reborn, now let us pray as their miraculous resurrection begins –」
A loud bang echoes out, interrupting his quiet speech.
The double-doors of the chapel open violently and the gaze of the boys and girls gathered here, including the priest, are drawn to it.
And the one who is making the noise that blasphemously interrupts this holy ceremony is –
「Ugh... Hel... Help me...」
It is the face of a well-known boy.
There are less than fifty children living at the orphanage. All of them are more than well-acquainted with each other; they are companions in their belief, with a strong sense of community.
This boy is a senior among them, and from his appearance, he looks to be nothing more than a juvenile delinquent. Even so, he is a good leader among the younger children of the orphanage; he takes care of them and loves them as his own brothers and sisters.
Now, he has been reduced to pathetically, frantically begging for someone to save him using a manner of speech that is difficult to understand.
But even more pitiful are the countless needles piercing his skull.
The needles embedded deep into his skull are releasing a white light fitting for a believer of the Church of White Light.
However, there is nobody who would be thankful for this.
In such an unusual situation, it would be normal for someone would rush over to help him. Yet everyone is holding their breath, unable to move.
And they are right to be staying right where they are.
「Ah, ah, AAAAAHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOO –」
As he screams, his head flies off his shoulders.
The needles of light exploded. The only one who is calm enough to realize this is probably the young priest.
The children who are unfortunate enough to be standing too close have their robes stained with black-red blood and spinal fluid.
In the next moment, panic and screaming begins in the chapel – or at least, it is supposed to.
The voice of a young girl even sweeter than the singing of a bird and a pale green light gentler than the morning sun enters the chapel. Their attention is once more focused on the door.
A single young girl stands there.
She is as beautiful as one would expect of the owner of such a voice – no, even more beautiful than one would expect; her beautiful face has a captivating charm.
She must be an angel, sent by the Goddess Aria herself to answer their prayers – or so they might have believed, if the boy’s head had not flown off.
Indeed; even the young children know that this girl surrounded in beautiful light is the one who killed him.
In short, she is an enemy.
「That appearance, you are a Fairy... What business does a heretic have in such a holy place?」
The first one to speak to her is their leader, the young priest.
His tone is flat as usual, but the red mage girl may have noticed that there is just a hint of hatred in his voice.
「I’ve come to punish the naughty children.」
「... An adventurer.」
The Fairy gives a joke-like response with a beautiful smile. But from just that, the young priest is able to get a good idea of the situation.
「Hmm, it seems that you have enough self-awareness to know that you’re a naughty child.」
Rather than calling him sharp for noticing so quickly, the Fairy speaks through her small mouth as if she is mocking him.
In short, even if he called it a religion or whatever, he knew himself that his actions were so criminal that it would warrant his extermination by adventurers.
In fact, every member involved in the extreme attack on the Elf merchant couple’s mansion the other day are all gathered here.
However, the young followers do not realize the meaning behind this conversation, nor do they notice the priest’s thin eyebrows twitch in displeasure.
「Heretics that oppose the guidance of the White Light must be judged –」
As if realizing that he does not have time to be exchanging words with the abominable Fairy, he holds the jewel in his hand up in the air.
Proving that it is not merely a precious stone, the huge, pure-white jewel releases a faint, flickering light from within.
「Obey my command,『Diamond Heaven.』」
The moment he recites the phrase needed to release the magic hidden inside the jewel, there is a blinding flash of light.
Bright enough that it could be believed to be the miraculous magic bestowed upon him by the by the Holy Mother Aria herself, the white light fills the chapel.
This light passes away after just a moment.
The chapel returns to its original dark state, lit only by the flames of the candles – no, now the sphere of light around the Fairy adds to the light in the room.
However, the room is definitely different now compared to how it was a moment ago.
The Fairy that killed their companion in such a cruel way is now under the young priest’s control, just like the Elf merchant who refused to donate to them.
Her consciousness is still intact, but she is completely unable to control her body.
It is his first time seeing such a beautiful girl – No, it is unlikely that a normal person would ever see such a beautiful girl in their entire lifetime. But now it would be interesting to see how long this beautiful girl could keep up her cocky tone from earlier.
Changing places with the priest, the mage girl does not even try to hide the warped smile on her face.
「Ah, I see, you’re able to invoke『Domination.』A troublesome ability; you would be able to turn the tables on most adventurers with that, but –」
As the Fairy speaks, she produces a small ball of light in front of her eyes.
「– It won’t work on me, you know?」
Along with her captivating, beautiful smile, the ball – no, bullet of light flies out in a straight line and –
As the young priest opens his eyes wide in surprise, it flies horizontally past his face and hits the cross that is positioned in a high place at the back of the chapel.
As if in a direct act of sacrilege against god, the white light explodes, causing the cross to crumble into pieces onto the floor.
As she sees emotion finally appear on the young priest’s face, the Fairy gives him a satisfied reply.
「Ufufu, it’s a secret.」
But he at least understands that the magic of『Diamond Heaven』that applies the Status Effect『Domination』is meaningless against this enemy.
「Destroy this evil heretic!」
Raising his voice, he lifts『Diamond Heaven』into the air once more.
The chapel is again bathed in a flash of white light, and this time the Fairy does not ridicule him.
「Kill the heretic.」
「Bring judgment to the heretic.」
「May the White Light guide your path...」
The young believers who were unable to do anything but watch this strange chain of events are now muttering lines from the scriptures and dangerous words while pointing their hostile gazes towards the Fairy.
「Making these children do such horrible things, you’re not a decent religious organization at all.」
「Silence. Detestable heretics must receive their judgment. This is the duty of the believers – Now, go and fight, warriors of god!」
As if answering this command, the children produce weapons from beneath their robes.
There are large knives like the one the dead boy was holding as well as smaller ones.
Other than knives, there are hatchets, hand axes, meat cleavers and the particularly small children are armed with scissors and forks.
As the Fairy sees the blades pointed at her, she realizes that these children have been ordered to have these deadly weapons on them at all times, in case an event like this were to occur.
「Because you’re a child, I was thinking I would let you go if you cried and apologized... But if you’re using child soldiers, I can’t have mercy on you, you know?」