Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 27: Charm
“No matter what the reason is, it’s your sin to cooperate with a superior demon, my child.” The monk still had a soft voice, and the genuine concern in his words made Nemo feel a little creepy. “You have to repent so God can forgive you. Do you know what happens to the usual demon warlocks? You still have a chance to live cleanly, for which I’m sincerely happy.”
Nemo took a step back. No, this person is not like Old Patrick at all.
“I’m the one who was attacked.” He lowered his voice. “I don’t think I have committed any crimes.”
“But you have a choice, don’t you? If you were really attacked for no reason, you have many ways to preserve your spirituality as a human. You can cut your own throat with a dagger. You can bite off your tongue. You can let the despicable demon have no time to make a deal and die gloriously for God. Of course, I’m not condemning you, my child. People have always had times where they are confused. Look, aren’t you coming before me now?”
“But I’m not loyal to your—” Before he could make his position clear, Ann covered his mouth.
“May the glory of Zenni last forever,” Ann said solemnly. She let go of Nemo and wiped her hands on his robe. “Thank you again, speaker of divine grace. He’s just a little shocked. We’ll persuade him.”
Oliver also nodded with a flat face. He firmly grabbed the twisting gray parrot and left the perfume shop with Ann. The shop door closed automatically behind him, and the bell on the door made a pleasant sound. The monk made a prayer gesture on his left chest, picked up the soft cloth, and continued to wipe the delicate glass vial.
“…What he meant just now is that it was better for me to commit suicide immediately when I was attacked by Bagelmaurus?” After confirming that they had gone far enough, Nemo inquired in surprise.
“He really thinks so. I know that the Laddism Church* has little influence in Roadside Town… This is already the softest stance of the Wodenist Sect. If it was an older sect, they wouldn’t even ask for the reason. It’ll be the most ‘glorious’ just to kill you directly.” Ann made an ugly face. “You’d better be mentally prepared. At least independent monks are civilians who practice voluntarily, unlike the Knights of Judgement, who have been brainwashed since childhood. Cross is the Chief Justice. You can imagine it for yourself.”
*Clarity: I originally thought that Laddism and Wodenism were different religions, but it seems like the case is that Laddism is the main religion of humans and Wodenism is a denomination of it (akin to Christianity & Catholicism). Note too that any translation of holy church is also a reference to Laddism.
Nemo refused to imagine.
“But he did come up with a good idea,” Ann said.
“What idea? Wait, let me declare first—I love my hands and don’t want to dedicate them to any gods.”
“You see, the people in the Church of Penitence must know something about Cross,” she said, “and we have Oliver.”
“Me?” Oliver, who was fighting with the gray parrot, raised his head in confusion allowing the gray parrot to pounce on his head. “How can I help?”
However, Ann didn’t tell him until they had found a good place to stay. Even though she got Mrs. Edwards’ deposit, she didn’t enjoy it lavishly. The inn they stayed at was probably the cheapest grade, but Nemo and Oliver thought it was more exquisite and tidier than any rooms they had ever seen.
The sheets and pillows had the scent of sunlight and had been folded up neatly. Fresh fruits were stacked on the wooden trays that still had drops of water on them. Fresh flowers were placed in vases near their beds.There were no remnants of suspicious hair on the floor or even dust. In front was a huge bay window composed of oak and marble, and the greenery outside the window left a blurred reflection on the smooth marble surface. There was even a small altar on the table with a statue of Zenni, the God of the Laddism Church, who had long curly hair and a beard, with the unique majesty of an old man.
Nemo fully demonstrated his adventurous spirit. He sat down by the bay window, leaning on the soft cushion, unwilling to move any longer. Oliver showed a regretful look as he sat down on the edge of the bed and was startled by how soft and sunken the mattress was.
“Charm.” Ann pulled over a chair and sat down with her legs crossed. “This could work.”
“What?” Nemo straightened up. “Who? Oliver?” He failed to contain the gloating in his voice.
Oliver frowned, seemingly not liking the idea.
“Don’t think too deeply about it.” Ann grabbed a fruit and bit into it inarticulately. “Young men, I won’t ask what messes you two have seen, but in short, charm is not what you’re thinking it is.”
The two looked away at the same time.
“’Alita on the Bridge’ is a masterpiece,” Nemo protested in a low voice.
“The author must not have known much about magic,” Ann said. “Come, let me show you—”
She swallowed the fruit she was chewing on, rubbed her hands together, and walked up to Oliver.
“Look me in the eye,” she requested.
Nemo could see clearly from his angle. Ann’s iris lit up instantly, emitting a golden shimmer. Oliver blinked and looked at her puzzled. “Then what?”
A knock on the door interrupted them. Ann smiled slightly before opening the door. A maid dressed in a long black dress walked into the room with a clay pot full of fresh milk.
“Madam…” As soon as she opened her mouth, she gazed into Ann’s eyes, which were still twinkling. She stared at them in a daze, and the smile on her face gradually turned into a natural look.
“Sweety, how old are you this year?”
“Nineteen years old,” the maid replied mechanically in a calm voice.
“Where are you from?”
“Kenyatta in Garland. My mother is Albanian, and our family moved from…”
“Enough.” Ann smoothed out the young girl’s curly blonde hair before the glimmer in her eyes dimmed. The young maid didn’t seem to notice what had just happened. She blinked and placed the clay pot next to the fruit tray, then she bowed slightly and left the room.
“That’s it.” Ann poured herself a glass of milk. “This is charm.”
“But Oliver wasn’t affected.”
“That’s right. It can only dominate people who have a lower level of magic than themselves and are mentally unsuspecting,” Ann said. “Oliver’s magic level is higher than mine, so it doesn’t work on him. The lower the target’s magic level is, the better the charm effect, and the less likely it will be discovered. Lifting it is also easy. Just a touch on the object affected by the charm. My magic may not be able to overwhelm a leader of the Laddism Church, so only Oliver can do it.” There didn’t seem to be any remorse in her tone.
“…But the other party is a confessor of the holy church. Would he be that unprepared?” Oliver asked uneasily.
“When important information is transmitted, it’ll be mixed with hints of spells to resist charm, but I don’t think anyone will spend this kind of effort on gossip. Besides, the magical level of the Laddism Church has always been high, and their will is very firm. They generally have no trouble in this regard.”
“Wow. Dear Oliver, you’re going to charm the old men of the holy church!” Nemo cleared his throat and recited his speech like a bard. “May the glory of Zenni shine on you, and I’ll write a hymn for you—”
Oliver grabbed the pillow on the bed and threw it at Nemo’s face.
“Fine.” He covered his face and let out a sigh through his fingers. “Teach me.”
Oliver learned very quickly. In less than five minutes, he began to look at Nemo with gleaming golden eyes. “Frog dance around the room,” he whispered solemnly.
Nemo dug his ear in. “Your eyes look beautiful, Ollie. It’s worth ten laps,” he said sincerely, “but I’m very tired today, so I can’t jump.”
Oliver shifted to a different target in disappointment. “Bagelmaurus, get out.”
The gray parrot looked into Oliver’s eyes in a daze and rolled obediently on the table. The lively smile on Ann’s face disappeared. She stared at Nemo, who was about to hit Oliver with a pillow and held her breath.
Nemo Light wasn’t on guard. He didn’t even show a second of confusion, which only meant one thing. His magic level was much higher than the monstrous power of Oliver’s Ramon. Bagelmaurus, who should have been the source of his power, wasn’t as strong as Oliver, so this didn’t make any sense.
Was the monk’s conclusion correct?
She took a deep breath, squeezing almost all of the air from her lungs, hoping that her decision was correct. Ann closed her eyes and prayed for a few seconds, hoping that her soft heart would not lead to a terrible disaster from the Abyss.
The process of practicing charm was simple and enjoyable, but when they arrived at the Church of Penitence at dusk, Oliver’s and Nemo’s faces were as stiff as stone slabs.
“Can’t we do it tomorrow…? I think I should practice some more.” Oliver’s eyes were soulless.
“You’re proficient enough.” Ann ruthlessly rejected his request.
“…Will we be recognized? Even though we have black badges, the warrant wasn’t revoked, right?” Nemo rubbed his face.
“The holy church in the capital of Garland will not care about some third-rate wanted criminals on the border.”
“Will I really not be killed on the spot? In case… I mean, in case—”
“You just went to a consult today, remember? This is not a butcher shop in the market. They won’t chop off your hands with machetes. They will do a bunch of things first before that.” Ann grinned. “I don’t know which bishop you’ll meet, but a bishop’s magic level is similar to mine at best. Even if Oliver drinks too much, his monstrous magic won’t let the other party discover his charm! Hell, do you want me to say it any more clearly—” It didn’t feel good to admit that she wasn’t as good as the younger generation.
However, the two younger generations still looked worried.
“I’ll wait for you outside. I’ve been in this business for so long that they may recognize me. Now go in!” Ann pushed the two from behind.
The two swallowed their saliva together and staggered to the door. They opened the door in a heavy mood and squeezed into the huge church through the gap in the door. As a result, even the two who had no faith were so shocked by the solemn scenery in front of them that they almost forgot to breathe. The afterglow of the setting sun passed through the stained glass, casting countless light marks on the wooden floor. In the middle of the wall facing them hung the emblem of the Laddism Church; three white feathers connected end to end, forming a beautiful triangle. The huge statue of Zenni was much more exquisite than the one in their room. The statue spread its upper arms and posed as if it was hugging a visitor.
Several priests were wiping rows of benches. They looked up at the two of them when they heard their movements.
Nemo said “uh” a few times, but he didn’t succeed in squeezing out a word. Oliver was the first to calm down. “Please… Excuse us. Is the bishop here?”
“The two of you are…?”
“My friend was attacked by a demon. We need to confess to the bishop, uh, repent,” Oliver narrated the prepared remarks. “I have to make sure he is not too severely corrupted by the demons.”
Although Nemo, who was looking around, didn’t look unusual, the pious priests accepted this unconvincing statement. One of them politely led the two to a corridor on the left side of the church and told them to wait in front of a wooden door.
“The bishop is receiving guests at this moment. Please wait here for a bit,” the priest said as he made a ritualistic salute.
The corridors were bright and clean, the floors were spotless, and the wooden doors were decorated with beautiful reliefs. Without the blood, screams, and pine oil torches in the dark, Nemo breathed a sigh of relief.
But he wasn’t able to relax for very long.
There were footsteps and conversations at the end of the corridor, mixed with a strange but frighteningly familiar noise, like wooden wheels rolling across the smooth floor.
Nemo turned his head abruptly. The old man, who looked like a bishop, was walking towards them, but he wasn’t alone. Cahill Edwards was sitting in his wheelchair with a gentle smile on his face.
“What a coincidence.” He nodded to them. “We meet again.”