Chapter 25: Saint Cahill
There were no log houses with stripped bark or rough stones mixed with grass mud. The buildings were all made of square stone bricks. The spires of countless towers pierced the sky, and the touch of gold from the giant bell on the church bell tower could be seen from a distance. People walking on the streets were brightly dressed, and from time to time they can see the reflections of satin and silk top hats. All plants in their field of vision were well taken care of, and the artificially cut shrubs were almost integrated with their stone carving bases, becoming part of a piece of art that no longer bore natural traces of life.
They moved early in the morning and the sun had just risen giving off the glow of silky orange red. The stone floor tiles of the square had been polished by the flow of people. At this moment, the afterglow of the rising sun was reflected, looking a bit like sparkling waves across a lake. Iris Square itself had a relatively high terrain and an amazing wide view. The scenery of less than half the capital rushed to the bottom of Nemo’s eye as he stood there in shock.
‘It was indeed like two separate worlds,’ he thought. In Noer, the difference between them and the residents was only whether they had hats or not, but now it seems that Ann blended in, while the two of them, who was only wearing linen clothes, seem to be incompatible with the whole city.
Ann expected this, and she thoughtfully didn’t urge them, waiting for them patiently to recover.
"See the bell tower over there?" Seeing Nemo finally move— he fastened the wooden buttons on his cuffs— Ann began speaking. "That is the Church of Confession, but I suggest you think clearly before making a decision." Ann added, "…Demon worshippers are fine, but if you’re really a demon warlock, you have to do your damnest to convince them not to kill you on the spot. Although the Wodenites are known for their kindness, there’s always a risk. I can understand if you don’t want to go, and there are also many free monks who you can consult—"
"I choose the free monks." Nemo replied quickly.
Ann was taken aback for a few seconds by his overly cautious, or rather, timid declaration.
"…You said you would understand!"
"I was just trying to be polite. You don’t really want to try it?"
Nemo shook his head decisively.
"It’s better not to go." Oliver’s face finally became less pale, and he rubbed his temples weakly. "The possibility that he’s a demon warlock is very high."
Ann looked Nemo up and down, sweeping her gaze from the mud spots on his deerskin boots to the short ponytail that was randomly tied up and then snorted.
"All right," she said. "Let’s go and meet Joanna Edwards. Who knows what’s going on in that head of hers."
Hailam was frighteningly large, and when they finally arrived at the address given by the client, the three of them had no strength left to be surprised.
"Looks decent." Ann, who had been lost for three hours, wiped the hot sweat from her forehead. "How really unexpected."
The house in front of them had three floors and a beautiful garden, like a scaled-down castle. Ann rang the doorbell, while Nemo looked around. The plants in the garden gave him a sense of intimacy as if he had returned to a small town. In simpler term, they grew freely and there wasn’t any sign they had been taken care of for a while.
The person who answered the door was an old woman with a cold temperament. She was wearing a long gray-blue dress. The corners of her mouth drooped slightly, and her silver hair was tightly combed into a neat bun behind her head. It didn’t look like a servant based on how she was dressed and the jewelry she had on.
Her sharp gaze fell on the black badges on their chests before she narrowed her eyes. "Who’s Oliver Ramon?"
Oliver hurriedly took a step forward.
"Please give me the black badge and the contract." Her tone was polite but distant.
"Are you…?" Oliver rummaged through Nemo’s backpack to find the parchment roll and even accidently tore a few feathers off the parrot.
"Joanna Edwards," she said succinctly before taking the parchment roll and confirmed the name behind the black badge. "Come in and we’ll talk." She stepped back a few steps.
The sun was shining giving off a strong aroma of roses in the yard. Mrs. Edwards took them through the garden and opened the door to the house. The decoration inside was also tasteful and elegant. There was a huge bookshelf in the living room, full of books, but it matched the decorations just right and didn’t feel out of place, but Nemo seemed to feel an indescribable sense of violation. This house seemed to have died long ago, as there wasn’t much breath of life left in it.
"Mother." As soon as they entered the door, they heard a voice belonging to a young man and the creaking of wooden wheels. A young man in a wheelchair moved closer to them from the other side of the hall. He had ginger hair that was half long and he looked a bit listless, but the smile on his face was very bright. "There are guests?"
"The Black Chapters I hired, Cahill." Mrs. Edwards frowned. "It’s still early. Don’t run around."
"Cahill?" Ann gasped. "Cahill Edwards?"
The young man nodded. "Do you know me?"
"Oh— Oh, yes." Ann’s tone was a little unnatural. "I’ve heard of…. Well, you know."
Cahill raised his eyebrows, but still had a warm smile on his face. "It’s okay," he said. "You guys talk first and I’ll prepare some tea."
He made a gesture with his right hand, then he turned his head and moved slowly in the opposite direction. After the shadow of the wheelchair disappeared behind the door, Ann finally exhaled the breath she was holding back.
"That child is so restless," the old woman said. "Please sit."
"Is your son Cahill Edwards, the ‘Battlefield Saint’?"
Mrs. Edwards pursed her mouth, as if strangely annoyed by Ann’s statement. Ann, who was aware of this, quickly shut her mouth.
"I want to see Adrian Cross, even if it’s only for half an hour," the old woman said calmly, ignoring Ann’s question. "I hope you can bring him. I think you should already know. He’s currently held in the dungeon or the Heretical Judgement Hall, where outsiders are not allowed to enter or leave."
"Why?" Seeing that Ann was holding back, Nemo speak on her behalf.
"He still insists that my son is a superior demon to this day," Mrs. Edwards said with a short smile. "Do I need a precise reason to see him?"
"Wasn’t Cross holding the transaction seal of a superior demon?" Oliver interjected. "He must have made a deal that hasn’t been completed. You may be in danger if you see him—"
"You don’t need to know that much." The woman’s sharp gaze swept over like a knife. "Just bring him. Can you do it? If you can’t, just give up the task and I’ll find someone else."
After that, she put a heavy and delicate purse on the round table.
"Deposit," she said. "One thousand gold coins, some of which have been converted into gold papers. After the task is completed, the rest will be paid, up to five times this, depending on your efficiency."
Nemo sat up straight for an instant and found that it might be possible to pay off Ann’s debts.
"It’s useless, mother." Cahill leaned back on the wheelchair. A tray full of teacups floated in the air and slowly rubbed against the table. "You won’t get any results from seeing him. He’s not the Adrian Cross you knew. Trespassing in the dungeon of the Heretical Judgement Hall is a felony. You can withdraw from the mission now—"
"Wanting to see someone is not something that can be held accountable. Besides, these people took on the task voluntarily. I did not force them. They can give up at any time." Mrs. Edwards said coldly, throwing a piece of sugar into the teacup.
Cahill sighed deeply.
"Then do as you want." He smiled softly and adjusted the direction of his wheelchair. "Excuse me, everyone. I’m a little uncomfortable so I’ll take my leave now so I can rest… Are you considering the failure rate? I’ll try my best to persuade my mother to adjust the content of the task."
What a gentle person. Nemo was moved. He picked up the teacup and accidentally knock over the small silver spoon use for the honey. He quickly bent over to pick it up. The spoon had rolled behind the tablecloth, and he touched dust with one hand when he went to grab it. He was stunned at the dust on his fingertips for a few seconds.
"That’s it. I have nothing else to say and there are no additional requirements." The old woman pushed the bag in front of Oliver. "The sooner the better."
"Hell, I should have pressed Fenrir to make him spew out more." After leaving Mrs. Edwards’ home, the hungry trio carefully picked a restaurant where the food didn’t look too expensive. Ann gulped down a whole glass of beer and then rudely wiped off the foam on her lips. Nemo was sipping on mead, while Oliver, who had a darken face, poured himself a few cupful of onion soup.
"Her son seems to be very famous?" Nemo asked.
"Quite famous in the past two years, but no one has mention him recently," Ann said. "The war hero of the Battle of Kandal. At that time, Garland’s nobles wanted to tie him to the flagpole to publicize— Well, he seemed better off than I thought."
Nemo looked at Ann in surprise, completely unable to understand how one could make a living when bound to a wheelchair.
"Back then, he couldn’t move from below the neck down. He himself was a healer… How miserable," Ann said. "There’s been calm recently on the Garland border, so no one has promoted the ‘sprit of war’." Her last sentence contained a sneer.
"Cross claims that he’s a superior demon?" Oliver put down the bowl of soup in his hand. "This is a bit…"
Nemo touched his chin and pulled the specimen-like grey parrot out of his backpack.
"Oh, yes. We have such a thing." Ann struck her palm with her fist.
"Bagelmaurus! Hello, Bagelmaurus!" Nemo pinched the parrot’s wings. The parrot turned its eyes and glanced at him weakly. "You were there just now. You should be able to feel it. Was that Cahill Edwards really replaced by the superior demon?"
The grey parrot stood up weakly and swallowed a few fried nuts from Nemo’s plate.
"That’s right," it said angrily. "What’s the matter?"
The author has something to say:
I have a few words to say about the setting.
At the beginning, when I was thinking about people, I seriously thought about personality issues. Extreme personalities may be more popular, but I don’t really want to write like this.
The protagonists grew up peacefully and soundly in a town by the border, and their personalities are very ordinary. Because they are not very old, they have limited experience. I don’t think that people with this kind of growth background can suddenly kill and decisively dominate and be the cool and handsome type that don’t even take killing seriously… Possessing power does not mean possessing the state of mind to control power.
From the perspective of potential force value, the two of them are indeed powerful, but mentally they are not. I want to write the story of ordinary people slowly growing into heroes.