53 Muriel’s Seal



「So? What about apples?」

「Emm. Before we talk about that……where did Muriel-sama go?」

「She’s probably playing with the children in the village」

「Un….Muriel-sama is a key point of this conversation, so I would very much like her to be present」

The moment Katie made a troubled face, Muriel coincidentally came back.

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「No ja. Marion came running down the hill in tears. Did you lot bully her?」

「Bully? We only licked her tail then she ran away」

「So that’s what it was. She’s surprisingly sensitive….mm? Are you that inquisitor, Katie?」

「Yes. It’s been a while, Muriel-sama. Actually, I might have uncovered the reason behind your loss of power. In order to confirm it, I came here to Silverlight Barony to ask for everyone’s assistance」

「No ja!? Are you speaking the truth!? You’re quite something」

「I’m honored to receive your praise!」

Hearing her praise, Katie’s face slackened.

「So that’s why you came here. I thought you just wanted an apple」

「Thought so too~」

「Katie is bad at talking. Were you to say that in the beginning, we would’ve listened with all due seriousness」

The moment Sheryl said that

「I didn’t have time to talk!」

Katie lashed out in anger.

「Everyone with their chocolate and licking…..you could’ve spared at least some attention to me!」

「Oh, good girl, good girl. You’ve been through a lot. Iris and Eclipse are both young. However, the only true Guardian Deity, which is This Mistress, cares about you」

「Uu…..Muriel-samaa……」

When Muriel patted her head, Katie clung to her pitiful chest.

Muriel must’ve appeared as the ideal goddess in Katie’s imagination.

However, were she to be present since the beginning, she would’ve said something along the lines of 「This Mistress wants an apple too」no doubt.

「So why did Muriel lose her powers?」

「About that. As I said earlier, it all revolves around apples! Baroness Sheryl. Are you aware that two hundred years ago apples were a specialty of Silverlight Barony!?」

「More or less. We had a rivalry with our neighbor, Cunningham Viscounty」

「Right! Cunningham Viscounty entered the apple market way before Silverlight Barony, which reduced their share. However, Muriel-sama suddenly lost her power two hundred years ago and Silverlight Barony became abandoned. Following these events, Cunningham Viscounty once again occupied the best position on the apple market….doesn’t that make you suspicious!?」

「…..Eh? That’s it?」

Iris questioned.

「What do you mean?」

「There is no actual proof, right?」

「The proof……I’m about to uncover!」

Katie answered as she struck a pose.

It’s nice to be motivated.

However, at that point, Iris has already lost interest in the conversation.

「Good luck investigating, Sweet dreams」

「Are you going to sleep!? Iris-sama is a Guardian Deity too! Do you not want to learn the reason behind everything!?」

「I want too…….but the success rate of your plan in a bit too low」

「I shall succeed! I believe in myself!」

「I do not」

「Those who believe shall find salvation!」

「…….I think it’s a god who should say this line」

「Don’t mind the details!」

「You shouldn’t forget about the details while investigating」

As Iris pointed out the flaws in her line of thought, tears welled up in Katie’s eyes.

「Big sister Iris. Bullying is no good~」

「That’s right, She worked hard to come up with the slightest of clues, let’s at least pretend we believe her. I’ll do my best to pretend!」

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「Pretending, Sheryl, you are……..」

Mentioning that in front of the person in question seems crueler than simply ignoring her.

Iris suspected she did that on purpose, but apparently, she is just an idiot.

The moment Sheryl noticed her slip of a tongue, she immediately tried to cover for herself.

「I’m not pretending. I properly believe. Cunningham Viscounty is suspicious」

「I’m grateful for your concern….but I’m fine. I have Muriel-sama! Muriel-sama definitely believes me!」

「Umu…….however, to sever a god’s power is not a feat normal people are capable of. That’s a god’s work. Which means This Mistress has to suspect the gods she’s acquainted with……umu」

Muriel folded her arms as she spoke in a troubled voice.

Which in turn made Katie feel troubled.

「Hey, hey. Unless we have a better clue why not accompany Katie in her investigation? We have nothing to do during winter anyway」

「Puni」

Hearing Eclipse, Punigami nodded saying「You’re idle anyway」.

「Well, we are…..we have too much free time…..but that’s the best situation for me…….」

「Stop saying something unreliable and properly investigate」

「You’re quite disobedient today, Eclipse. Are you out of sweets today?」

Eclipse, just as her looks tell, she is innocent to the core.

However, that’s only true when she has sweets.

The moments its effect fades, she turns into a biological weapon faithful to her mission.

The last time that happened, she took Sheryl hostage in order to bring Iris back to the Kurifot continent.

Her disobedience might be caused by the lack of chocolate.

「Sheryl. Chocolate please」

「Yes, here」

「Eclipse. Eat this」

「Yay…..munchmunch. Yummy! Don’t ignore Katie’s opinion please~」

「She’s like that even after she ate her chocolate….alright, if you insist so much」

「Good for you, Katie」

Eclipse smiled. Bright as a sunflower.

A goddess in the flesh.

Recently, she might have acquired enough faith from the villagers to be a real goddess though.

Iris too had some divine presence to her…..but not as much as Eclipse.

No, perhaps she was a goddess, after all, considering how she made forest and lake with her magical power.

「I’m not going to lose to Eclipse!」

「Punini」

「It’s a fool’s errand」Punigami couldn’t help but say.

Iris’ posture immediately deflated.

However, since she was aware of it herself, the damage wasn’t too great.

「Well, for starters. If someone interfered to steal Muriel’s power he must’ve left some traces behind. Like a seal or something. In other words, Muriel, come here. I’m going to investigate your body」1

「Investigate This Mistress’ body!? S-Should I take my clothes off!?」

「How did it come to that!?」

「But, you know, when This Mistress sees you beckoning with your finger on top of the bed and wanting to investigate her body, This Mistress can’t help but associate…..」

「I-Is that so…..no, don’t make careless assumptions!」

Seeing Muriel and Iris screaming at each other with red faces, Eclipse tilted her head.

「What did you imagine~?」

「Eh, well…..」

「No jaa……..it’s hard to explain….」

「Tell me~」

Seeing Iris unresponsive, Eclipse pulled on her pajamas.

However, she couldn’t honestly answer her.

It was too early for Eclipse.

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As she thought how to gloss over it, Sheryl came to her rescue.

「Eclipse-chan. Muriel-sama and Iris-sama must’ve thought something bad. They feel embarrassed and can’t tell anyone」

「Is that so? You can’t think bad things」

「「Yes」」

When once gets scolded one apologizes.

Problem solved.

「Back to investigation」

「No ja」

Iris put her hands on Muriel’s back and focused her consciousness.

When Muriel was only a soul, Iris discovered her with detection magic.

This time she used detection magic on her body.

The lesser the area the bigger the accuracy.

As long as there is something “else” she should be able to discover it.

「……Ah. There is something」

「No ja!? That came out of nowhere!」

Muriel jumped in surprise as she couldn’t stop with no ja, no ja.

After all, this problem bothered her for over two hundred years.

Iris discovered it by only lightly touching her back, of course, she would be surprised.

「There is an enchantment resembling a seal….pretty strong one too. I’m not able to solve it」

「Eeh!? Is there something Iris-sama can’t do!?」

This time it was Sheryl who jumped in surprise.

「Of course there is」

「Well, I guess I do know about your inability to talk to strangers and get up in the morning」

「……In other words, if I can’t undo the seal, there is nothing to be done about it」

「Undoing the seal seems harder than waking up in the morning after all」

Sheryl nodded as if convinced.

Sheryl’s interpretation was convenient for Iris, but she didn’t find this outcome satisfactory.

「I’ll also try~」

Eclipse put her hands on Muriel’s back instead of Iris.

「Un, un…….impossible. That’s terrible. Who did that to Muriel?」

Eclipse puffed her cheeks and spoke as she gave up.

She wasn’t frustrated because of her failure, but because there was someone out there who intentionally sealed Muriel’s power.

「I don’t know who did that…….but the spell receives a steady supply of magical power. From that direction」

Iris pointed with her finger.

Everyone looked in that direction.

They only saw the walls of the church, but Cunningham Viscounty was also in that direction.



References

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