Chapter 176 At the House of God

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◇◆◇ (Gevaudan point of view)





 Natsuki returned safely to get Abigail's message.
Dangling from her hand was a bag of hot tapioca as a souvenir.





She seemed a little nervous about receiving the message, but she was excited to play like a spy in the movie.





Natsuki entered a place called Valhalla, took a seat, put down her bag that has Diamond on it, and was immediately asked by the sexy waitress, “What can I get for you?”




Natsuki nervously replied, “Ge, Gevaudan is ……” then cake and tea were served, with an envelope attached to the bottom of the teacups.
A rather classic method.





 It was an envelope with a flower stamped on it.
When he opened it, he found it was a locked memory card.
I don't know the password.




 I was in such a hurry and was wondering what to do, but before I knew it, Yakumo had unlocked it for me.
It seems the password was “Clientes”.
I see.




Yakumo didn't show off or boast about unlocking it.
He was eating cheesecake at the table, leaving the unlocked screen behind.
This kid is so cool.




 The designated rendezvous point was the church.



 – I see.
There are no security cameras in God's house.
Good choice.




 The church was directly below a high-rise building.




Since religious buildings like this remain unintegrated into structures, they stand alone in this densely populated fort.





 It was surrounded by tall buildings and looked like a rundown house of a stubborn old man who refused to be evicted.
In fact, it is not a waste of space, as it also functions as a park, and during the daytime, it is a place of relaxation and comfort for the people of the fort.




Today, there is supposed to be a New Year's celebration fireworks show.
The upper floors will be opened and many people will go up to the top of the buildings.
On the other hand, those who are indifferent will either stay at home or party in the bars.
Even people walking on the street lookup, attracted by the fireworks in the night sky.





 While everyone's attention was focused upward, there were almost no people on the ground.
It was dark below.
I could easily reach this church near the center of the Fort by paying attention only to the surveillance cameras.




 There was no one in the church.




 At the end of the year, the church is empty.
The more faithful would spend New Year's holidays at home with their families, thanking God for their survival, while the less faithful would be engrossed in fireworks, having a big party outside, or hustling in their beds.
It was part of the culture.




 The interior of the church was dimly lit, with only the candles lined up in front, behind, and to the left and right, flickering in the darkness.
There were several large tapestries hanging in the chapel.
They are preparing for tomorrow's New Year's Mass.




There are much more areas in the chapel that are in total darkness among the flickering candles.
The atmosphere created by such a spectacle made it seem as if this space was the border between the world of the living and the world of the dead.




From far away, I could hear buzzing, cheering, and popping sounds.




 When I looked up, I saw a shadow reflected in the stained glass.
The shadows of trees and birds resting on its branches.
Since the Fort is all concrete, birds are surprisingly concentrated in such a green place.
But still, the owl like this is quite rare even in here.



 The stained-glass windows flashed.




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Shortly followed by the sound of an explosion that pierced through the deafening silence.



 Fireworks began.
The new year had begun.




–In the past, what did I used to do to celebrate New Year's Eve?




 –What am I doing now?




I looked up and saw an idol of God looking down at me.




It was a benevolent face, but I had no idea what he was thinking.





 I hate him.




 God, I never knelt on my knees to you, but I wonder if I had believed in you and prayed for you, I could have easily passed away without suffering this.





 I never understood the soldiers who fell on the battlefield while holding a cross, but I do now.
Because I, too, have found a goddess to believe in.





 When you believe, you can cover up your weakness such as anxiety and hesitation, and affirm your path from the bottom of your heart.
Thanks to this, I have gradually come to accept my butcher's body, which I used to hate.




It's actually quite good, this body.





With it, I will please her and destroy all of her enemies.
If I think of it as a way to selflessly serve her until she dies, it's totally possible.





 I don't know if I can call it a new life, but what's done is done.
I will fulfill my true duty as a butcher.




 I guess this is also what she has in mind for me.





I'll take it with gratitude.




I may destroy this place sooner or later, but if you have the power to redeem and guide mankind, then stop me.
Bring the Messiah.
I don't know what they look like, but in the end, it's violence that will bring justice.
We'll decide then who is right, human savior or my goddess.




While I was immersed in a dialogue with God like this for a while, I heard the sound of small footsteps in the chapel.





 It was coming from behind.




 I turn around.




 A figure steps out of the darkness into the realm of light created by the candles.




But the figure stopped just when their feet were visible.




 I'm in Skin Disguise.
The person must be sizing me.


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 The person's upper body is hidden in the shadows.
The person is wearing jeans.
The silhouette of the slender legs is that of a woman.




 I see that she is holding a bouquet in her hand.




I know that one.
It was a Christmas rose, the same flower stamped on the envelope.




 So I held up the letter and snapped my fingers.
It's been quite a long time since I use Morse code




It means welcome.




 She took a deep breath and slowly stepped through the curtain of shadows





 Then a warm orange light reveals the figure.




 –Cute as ever, isn't she? Casual cloth, I like them.




 It must have only been a little over a month since we've been apart, but she seems a little different.
Maybe it was the flickering candlelight.
Or maybe I myself had been affected by the atmosphere of God's house.




“—- this flower is commonly known as the Christmas rose.”





 As I remained silent and fascinated by the way she stood there, she smiled and held the bouquet in her hand to her chest.





“But scientifically, Its name is Helleborus Nigel.” (*Helleborus Niger   ヘレボルス・ニゲル = Hereborusu・nigeru)




 Abigail began to speak quietly.





“On a cold, snowy night, The night of the birth of the Messiah.
A poor shepherd girl received the news and went to the hut where the baby was born.”




“When the girl saw the people assembled there giving the baby gold and other lavish gifts, she wept, lamenting the fact that she, a poor girl, had nothing of value to offer.”




“When her teardrops fell on the snow, beautiful white flowers bloomed from it.” 




“The girl heard the voice of an angel saying, 'It is not gold, silver, or treasure that should be offered to the birth of a Messiah who will save the people, but the pure flower that blooms through love, faith, and devotion.”




“That old legend is what gave the flower its name, the Christmas rose.”




The flower has the characteristic gloomy and somber look with the petals turned downwards like it hangs its neck down.




“But the word “Helleborus Nigel” means .
It is a poisonous plant.”





“So you don't forget those flower language.”




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 Abigail took a deep breath.
For some reason, she seemed nervous.





“–I had a sister who was once separated from me.
She was born on a snowy night and was already dying when I found her.
I ran to the church with her in my arms.
There, I found this flower arrangement in the chapel.”




 Saying this, she thrust the bouquet forward.




“They hung their heads and looked as if they were praying for her safety.
So I prayed with them.
And that's when they gave her a name–“




“The name came to mind as naturally as if God had told it.”




“A hazel, appealing gaze looked straight at me.”





 She fell silent.





 —-What's all of a sudden?




This whole process is about getting me to ask for that little sister's name, right?




 –What is that girl's name?




But my first spoken word should be something much more memorable.




Before that, there's something I really want to do.










 She perked up and widen her eyes.





 She was speechless with a startled look on her face.
Surprise succeeded. 








“―――― Fu” 



Abigail's expression softened.




“How did you manage to get the voice?”




“Not quite”




I walked over and stroked her beautiful blonde hair and she pressed her head into my hand.




“I was glad you were safe.”


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“You too.”




I hug her shoulder.





 Then Abigail put her arms around me tightly, and I responded by putting my hands behind her back.
I missed the good old days, the good smell.
I was getting a little erect.




 From her shoulder, a mini-tarantula peeked out, a nostalgic mini-tarantula.
One stripe on its back.



“Oh, Niblo.
How are you?”





Niblo's multiple eyes seemed to be moistening as he clung to me in the same manner as Abigail.





“I didn't expect you to come to the Fort.
I'm surprised you made it here in one piece.”




“But Abigail told me to call.”





Why didn't just use the board from some random colony?




“I don't remember much about the board.
I didn't understand what you meant.
I couldn't understand what that meant, so I decided to meet you in person.
You see, I can change my face like this.”




I poked the face of the guy that I was wearing on my head.



“What's up with that face?”




 Abigail looked into my face anxiously.




“Someone from Ft.
I ate him and ripped the skin off his face.”







She wants to say something.




Well, I know what she wants to say.
If I do it too flashy, I'll get caught.
We have to be careful not to kill too many people.





 But I've already killed so many people, so I guess it's too late.




“I don't care.
I'm a butcher, and I'm a monster who butchers and massacres and eats everything.”



 I said with self-mockery.
Abigail looked at me with a stiff smile on her face.




“Stop talking like that”




I frowned.




It seems like I've offended her somehow.


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