Side story 09 – A Certain Founder’s Faith
When I was young, the world seemed filled with colour.
At the time, I had never doubted the flowery lifestyle I had been born into as a noble.
I wasn’t the eldest son so I couldn’t inherit the household, but because our family was high ranked I assumed that I would be wedded into some other family, and in fact that was what my father was thinking about.
In the Kingdom of Fortera, the nobility were split into three rough factions. The first was the Royalist Faction; a gathering of nobles that pledged their allegiance to the king and royal family. The second was the Feudal Lords Faction; a faction that pushed for the benefits of nobles, and occasionally opposed the Royalists Faction. Finally, was the Church Faction; a gathering of nobles with deep connections to the Church of Sacred Light, and took a neutral stand in the scuffle between the other two factions.
The power of the nation was roughly divided into 4 parts Feudal Lords, 3 parts Royalists, 2 parts Church, and 1 part for all the other factions, as well as those individualistic nobles that didn’t join any factions at all.
Because my family was a powerful family within the Church Faction, I had joined the Church of Sacred Light when I was young, and often met with people from the Church. When I was young I had just simply believed in what I was taught, and worshipped the Sacred Goddess, but as I grew older and came into contact with the Church more and more, I began to see reality.
Widespread bribery and debauchery, fat ministers who thought only about exploiting the believers; a vulgar situation unlike the public image.
By that time, I was old enough to know that there wasn’t any meaning in screaming ‘this is wrong’. The upper echelons who were foremost in this injustice would surely pay me no heed. The nobility in the Church Faction weren’t pious either, and were a group of nobles who wanted to use the Church’s backing to gain profits, and people who actually had faith were the minority. It was obvious that trying to expose this unfairness would just fall upon deaf ears.
Being afraid of isolation, I decided to keep my feelings locked in my heat. And before long, my faith had left me.
My colourful world had been a grey world painted in falsehoods.
Now that I had found it bothersome to deal with nobility or the Church, although I kept up appearances, I would occasionally sneak out of my house. Having said that though, it wasn’t as though I had anywhere I wanted to go. I just wanted to see a world with colour, and so I spent my time walking around town dressed like a commoner. Unlike the world of nobles or the Church, the town still seemed filled with colour.
It was around this time that I hid my identity and registered as an adventurer. To begin with, as a noble of the Church Faction, I had been brought up in the use of a mace. Because of that, I immediately distinguished myself in the Guild. Before I knew it, I had made companions to do the requests with, and as I spent each day having fun, the colour came back to the world────up until my companions died from wounds during a request.
They were heavy wounds, but by no means were they heavy enough that they wouldn’t be saved. If they were carried into a church and received the healing of a cleric, they should have been able to live longer. The problem was that the bishops that could use high level healing magic were all occupied with the Noble Faction, and healing for just an adventurer was left for later. Once you excluded the bishops, the Church only had young clerics, and you couldn’t hope for proper healing from them.
Had I used my family name, I might have been able to give them priority, but at the same time it would mean exposing my background and it was clear that I wouldn’t be able to spend time with them like we had been. In order to save my companions, I had to cut my ties with them; because of this decision, I couldn’t come to a decision. By the time I had finally decided to expose myself, my companions had already stopped breathing.
The world once again returned to grey.
For my own conveniences, I had abandoned my companions. Because of that, I couldn’t live the way I had been anymore. I lamented and regretted, but my companions wouldn’t return.
I stopped showing up at the Guild, and spend my days drinking cheap liquor in a tavern.
One day, a man I knew from the bar invited me to a certain gathering. The group didn’t have a name, but having originally been close with the Church, I immediately realised who they were────a gathering of those who worshipped the god that the Church referred to as the Evil God. The past me would probably have scorned them and stayed away, but having half given up on myself, I participated in the gathering.
And then I came across my second, and final faith.
In the gathering, they talked about the injustice of the Church of Sacred Light, as well as the God that opposed the Sacred Goddess.
The former were things that I had always thought about, and kept hidden in my heart without talking to anyone about. Having found a place where people sympathised with me for the first time, I rejoiced.
As for the latter, although the Church of Sacred Light had spoken about that god as well, they taught that that God was an evil being that wished for the meaningless destruction of the world. No, I’m sure the truth was that the Church of Sacred Light simply couldn’t tell why they wanted to destroy the world.
When the people of the world fall into depravity, the true God will save them through destruction. To the depraved Church of Sacred Light, it’s obvious that such a god would be bad news for them. Because the Church, as well as the Sacred Goddess they worshipped concealed their depravity, they persecuted this god as the Evil God.
I had found a being truly worthy of my faith.
While secretly using the authority and assets of my family, as well as my connections with the Church that I shunned, I elevated myself within our Faith.
There was a rumour that the god that we worshipped had descended to a certain dungeon. It was information I had obtained from the Church of Sacred Light, but because this was a matter of importance to them as well, it was hard to think that these were lies. If it turned out to be true, we needed to welcome God at all costs.
Having been recognised for my contributions to the cause, I had been left in charge of this area, and so I directed my fellow believers to Riemel where the dungeon was.
Because the believers of the Sacred Light would get in the way if they found out, we decided to split up and head for the dungeon entrance, and meet up once it was time. Fortunately, there didn’t seem to be any adventurers visiting the dungeon at night, so there was nobody but us.
Because there was a large room on the 1st floor, we decided to hold the ritual there. The believers set up the fire, cauldron and altar whilst I meditated until the ritual began in order to heighten my concentration.
After a while, all the believers had gathered, and the ritual began.
We burnt an incense that uplifted one’s mind, and heightened our concentration to call forth God. Because I was the one managing things I was wearing a priest’s outfit, but the other believers removed their bothersome clothes to cast off their ties to the world. There were also believers who lay with each other to offer that lust to our God.
Feeling the surge of piety and that everything was progressing smoothly, I walked to the middle of the room, and raised my right hand. The frenzied believers immediately went silent, but they were as feverish as ever… No, that feverish enthusiasm had increased.
“We now begin the ritual of offerings!”
Together with my shout, the believers all raised cries of joy.
They prepared a stone altar, and lay atop it the girl that had been bought as a sacrifice.
It pained my heart to see the girl struggling in tears, but this too was for the sake of our faith. I believe that her soul will be retrieved by our God to serve as the cornerstone of the new world.
“O god of ours, please accept our humble offering.”
With those words, I brought down the raised dagger towards the girl’s heart.
I felt the feeling of cutting flesh that I had experienced in my adventurer days, together with a splash of fresh blood… That’s what should have happened, but the next thing that I felt was the sensation of stabbing at something hard, and the sparks that came with it.
The dagger than I had swung downwards had faintly marked the stone altar, and snapped at the tip. The girl that should have accepted the dagger with her body was nowhere to be seen.
What-, just what was going on!?
Where had the girl sacrifice gone?
Although I had fallen into confusion from the sudden events, I immediately realised what had happened.
The girl was tied up before me; she had no means to escape on her own, and there was no way I wouldn’t have noticed had somebody else rescued her.
If there was someone who could do such a thing, then it could only have been our God!
We had always been faithful until now, but the power of our faith was insufficient, and so we had never received a response from God.
However. However! This time, for the first time, God had shown a response to our ritual!
Aahh, the rumours were true! Our God had truly descended!
In my joy, I made an announcement to the believers.
“Have you all not seen it yourself!? Our God has accepted our humble offering.”
Perhaps my words had finally made them realise the situation because cheers of joy rang all around. Satisfied, I faced the direction that I believed our God was watching from, and waited for Their words.
However, the words that came to me were much too unexpected. What’s more, the voice was that of a female, still young. The sex of our God had never been recorded, but was She a goddess?
No, I can worry about that later. If She wasn’t satisfied, then as her faithful servants, we needed to apologise.
“Eh-? Ah-… Please excuse us! Umm, did it not suit your esteemed palate?”
『Humans, demons, unpalatable. Oxen, pigs, chickens, goats──animals recommended.』
Oohhh, God of ours. Are you asking us to go buy you meat from the butcher?
“U-, Understood! U-, Um… I am truly sorry to trouble you, but is there no mistake in that you are our God?”
I know quite well that it was insolence to ask such a thing, but I couldn’t help but do so. We had been granted the humble chance to exchange words with the god who had been silent thus far. This was something I needed to determine, even at the cost of my life.
“Oohhh! Receiving your words is the acme of honour!”
It was. It really was our God!
I could feel my body being filled with joy and emotion.
『Although it did not suit my palate, it is true that you have done me service with your offering. As such, I bestow this staff.』
Together with this unexpected praise appeared a single staff atop the altar.
A jet black staff that seemed to house all the darkness of the world; simple though it looked, it was a staff with a polished design, and even without touching it, I could feel an incredible power emanating from it.
“T-, This is!? T-, To think that I would be granted a divine weapon-!”
This overwhelming power was unmistakably a divine weapon.
I took the presented staff in hand, and trembled from joy.
Aahh, I was born all for this moment.
『Continue to be zealous in your faith.』
Of course. You needn’t even say it. My faith and devotion is all for your sake.
Raising the bestowed staff into the air, I turned towards the believers and shouted.
“As of this moment, I declare myself as the Founder of our Faith who will guide everyone on their path! This staff bestowed from God is the proof of my faith! Those who object, speak now!”
It was as good as declaring a supersession within the Faith, but even the previous leaders of the Faith could not deny the truth that I had been bestowed a divine weapon from God. No, rather, I would not allow them to deny it.
God told me to continue to endeavour in my faith; even if they were the “Former” Founder, I would not allow them to get in the way of my faith.
“As Founder Harvin, I declare that we will build upon this place a temple to worship our God!”
Now then, things are going to get busy from now on.
Aahh, the colours of the world are brighter than ever!
Later on, the “Former” Founder and leaders from various areas reproached me for naming myself Founder, but as proof that God had directly acknowledged my faith, nobody could stop me from becoming Founder any longer.
After all, apart from myself, nobody could hold the divine weapon, and even if I let it out of my hands, it would return to my side. There was no doubt that this was proof that I had been chosen.
Oohh, God of ours! I shall follow you to the end!
TL: There’s a line that reads ‘中には信徒同士交わることでその陰気を神への供物とする者も居ます。‘ but I’m assuming 陰気(melancholy/gloom/Yin) here was a typo for 淫気(lust). Normally I’d say this for sure, but then this is an Evil God and everything, and there’s a tiny chance that I’m overlooking some cultural thing.