TLN: Changed Majin -> Demon to make the story flow better
Chapter 0274 Spirit Curse
On a normal day, the Central Temple in the Royal Capital always maintains a serene environment.
That day, however, it had been bustling with activity since morning.
It all started when a priest and a dual swordsman showed up with a languid companion.
“Hm? Zeke? Long time no…”
“Please, call the high priest immediately!”
“Uh? Sure, okay.”
Quite a number of priests were familiar with Zeke, who once trained in this Central Temple.
It was pretty obvious that Zeke, who always maintained a calm demeanor, was in a very difficult situation seeing how distraught he was, desperately calling for the high priest.
As soon as Harold was carried in, High Priest Gabriel turned up.
Without so much as a hello, he quickly took notice of the area near Harold’s heart.
“Could this… perhaps be, ‘Spirit Curse’?”
High Priest Gabriel muttered, and Zeke became alarmed.
He had never heard the term ‘Spirit Curse’, at least not while he was in the temple.
He had no recollection of learning about ‘Spirit Curses’ at the temple, not only in the Kingdom, but also during his time in the Empire.
In other words, it was not a common occurrence in the Central Nations.
“We need to dispel the curse. Start the preparation. Also, please send for Queen Rihya and Rashata.”
“Yeah. You’re in luck, Zeke. Queen Rihya is in the Central Temple right now.”
Gabriel nodded broadly as he said so.
Zeke knew that Queen Rihya was a ‘saintess’.
“<Dispel Curse> is a kind of magic unlike the usual. The more high-ranking priests working together, the better. And this one will be carried out by high priests and a saintess. This arrangement couldn’t be any better in the entire Central Nations. Don’t worry, Zeke. The Central Temple renders healing to all, to the best of its ability. So, rest easy.”
Saying that, High Priest Gabriel smiled.
Zeke had seen that smile many times when he was in the Central Temple, and each time it was soothing.
And this time too….
“Understood, thank you, High Priest.”
Harold was brought into the ‘Quiet Room’, in the northernmost part of the Central Temple.
It was a huge oval room with a radius of fifty meters, and in the center of it is the stairway to the underground tomb.
Harold was lying beside the stairs in the ‘Quiet Room’, on what appeared to be an altar.
It is said that healing in this room is the most effective, as it harnesses the sacred power of saints, saintesses, and high priests of the past that flow from the underground tombs.
The one examining Harold as he lay there was Viscount Rashata Debuo, the folklore officer.
He is said to be one of the best folklore officers not only in the Kingdom but also in the Central Nations, and as a special exception, he is even allowed to retain his peerage as a priest.
High Priest Gabriel approached Rashata and called out to him.
“Rashata, do you know what kind of Spirit Curse this is?”
“Unfortunately I don’t, Sir Gabriel. This Spirit Curse is unfamiliar to me.”
Rashata replied, shaking his head apologetically.
“No, you don’t have to apologize. In the first place, Spirit Curses are not that common in the Central Nations. Of course, there are some at the level of folklore, but this kind of supernatural… ‘Spirit Curse’ beyond the scope of human understanding is…”
High Priest Gabriel said, and Rashata nodded in agreement.
“High Priest, the preparation for the <Dispel Curse> is done.”
Queen Rihya, dressed in her saintess robe, announced to Gabriel.
Gabriel nodded and started walking.
Ten high-ranking priests, including Gabriel and Rihya, formed a circle around Harold.
After regulating his breathing, Gabriel began to chant.
“O Great Goddess, we bow down before Thee and implore Thee, our friend who is trapped by truth different from ours, and Thy child who is trapped by truth different from Thine, to return once more to the truth of this world, and to free our friend who bears wounds different from ours, and Thy child who bears wounds different from Thine, from its yoke, <Dispel Curse>.”
As High Priest Gabriel’s chanting ended, a light emanated from the ten people congregated in a circle and gathered around.
The light slowly enveloped Harold.
The warm and gentle light….
Failure in the dispelling of a curse in which high priests and a saintess participated… meant that, as it stood, no one could break this ‘Spirit Curse’….
After that, many priests, mainly from the Central Temple Library, began to dig into past records in search of clues to Harold’s Spirit Curse.
‘The Central Temple renders healing to all, to the best of its ability.’
The words of High Priest Gabriel are words shared and honored by all of the Temple priests…and they demonstrated that through their actions.
The news that Harold had fallen under some kind of ‘Spirit Curse’ and that even the Central Temple had been unable to break the spell, naturally reached King Abel immediately.
When Abel heard the report, he was crestfallen.
He could not find the right words to say.
Certainly, Harold is a troublesome person in many ways, as was the case when he was suddenly granted an audience.
He has a penchant for causing problems.
Nor can he be called thoughtful.
Eventually, he will become a duke and protect the Kingdom and the royal family, but at present, he’s still a long way off.
Even so, he’s still the child of his late brother.
If things were different, he would be the one sitting on the throne instead of him… and he’d be lying if he said he didn’t feel some guilt….
With such conflicting emotions jumbled up, he couldn’t find the right words to say.
In the end, all he could say was.
That was it….
It was probably a stroke of luck that Ryo was stopped for a chat that day.
Ryo was in the Royal Castle Library as usual.
Not from looking up stuff on Harold’s Spirit Curse… obviously.
He was just looking for a book to read at the ‘Café de Chocolat’.
So, he had even made a plan in his mind to order a cake set at Cafe de Chocolat as soon as he found the book.
“They said something about a new seasonal cake set, so maybe I should try it out…”
And perhaps because he was heard talking to himself or not… Ryo was approached.
“Sorry to bother you, Your Excellency.”
“Yes? Oh, hello Chief Librarian.”
The chief librarian, Gasparnini, is a good man.
So, Ryo greeted him with a smile.
But then it suddenly dawned on him….
Wondering if there was another book he had forgotten to return.
“Could I have forgotten to return some books again?”
At that moment, a cold chill ran down his spine.
However, the answer that came back reassured Ryo.
“No, sir, not at all. There are no long-term books yet to be returned.”
Ryo said from the bottom of his heart.
But other than that, he couldn’t think of any other reason why the chief librarian would call out to him.
Ryo then asked, tilting his head.
“So…is there something I can help you with?”
“Uh, yes. I would like to confirm this, but I’ve come across a rumor circulating in the royal castle right now about Master Harold, being afflicted by some kind of illness of unknown origin.”
“Harold? I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with the people within the castle…”
Ryo straight-up had no idea.
He probably would have recognized it if he had been told that he was the Mont Blanc punk or a party member of the capable priest Zeke.
“A C-rank adventurer swordsman, and a relative of His Majesty the King…”
“Ah! Mont Bl…ahem, excuse me. Master Harold, yes, he seemed to be searching for something. Do you know anything about it, chief librarian?”
Ryo wasn’t interested in Harold’s matter, but not because he didn’t want to help, since Rihya pretty much spends all her time in the Central Temple and Abel also seemed concerned, although he wouldn’t say anything.
“Yes, sir. As a matter of fact, Master Harold visited this library about half a month ago, read a book, and then went and made a partial <Copy> of it. Here it is.”
“Abel, I need to talk to…”
As Ryo was saying, he then realized that there was a guest ahead of him.
And it was a familiar face.
“Ah, Mr. Rashata, the folklore officer. What a pleasant surprise.”
“Mr. Ryo, no, excuse me. It has been a while, Your Excellency.”
“Nah, call me Ryo as you normally would…”
Saying that, Ryo remembered why he came.
“Abel, this is Mr. Gasparnini, the chief librarian of the Royal Castle Library. He has some information about Harold.”
“Hmm. Of course, I know Mr. Gasparnini. He’s been a librarian since I was a little boy. He helped me out a lot.”
“I’m undeserving of your kind words.”
Abel said, and the chief librarian Gasparnini bowed deeply and thanked him.
“So, what is this about Harold?”
“Yes, sir. About half a month ago, Master Harold read this book in the Royal Castle Library, and a part of it was <Copied>.”
Saying so, chief librarian Gasparnini presented a book titled ‘Those Who Seek Power: From Angels to Demons’.
“Hm? I believe the author of this book is…”
“Yes, Count Gusu.”
The chief librarian, Gasparnini, must have understood what Rashata was thinking.
He nodded and replied.
“Count Gusu’s book is kind of a mixture of wheat and chaff…”
“Exactly. Some of his works are dubious at best. This book, too, can’t exactly be taken at face value… by any means. But it is this page that Master Harold <Copied>.”
The chief librarian, Gasparnini, opened the page and pointed to it.
“…I see, obtaining the power of a demon… huh?”
Rashata read softly.
Abel peeked in from the side.
“Is this…the ‘Rupture Spirit Curse’? So this is the Rupture Spirit Curse… which means, what I saw was the Rupture Spirit Curse…”
Rashatha’s eyes widened and he brought his hand to his forehead, pondering.
“In other words, Harold sought that power, and instead, he fell under this Rupture Spirit Curse?”
Abel muttered with a frown.
“That’s probably the case, Your Majesty. There are several folklore about the ‘Rupture Spirit Curse’. It is rare in the Central Nations, but it is a well-known Spirit Curse in the Western Countries. I have never seen it before, and even though I knew the term ‘Rupture Spirit Curse’, I didn’t know what kind of state one would be in if trapped under the Spirit Curse, since there was no folklore detailing it…. But given the circumstances, it seems to me that Master Harold’s Spirit Curse would be the ‘Rupture Spirit Curse’.”
“Harold…that big fool… As if it’s that easy to gain power out of nowhere…”
Abel’s words were filled with bitterness.
But now other factors need to be confirmed.
“So, what is the nature of this rupture spirit curse? The book doesn’t say anything about the details of the rupture spirit curse.”
“No, it doesn’t. Dispelling the curse using magic is ineffective. As for the condition of the subject, in three more days the spirit curse will take root and the subject will regain mobility as before. Spirit curses don’t control one’s movement or emotions. However, as the name ‘Rupture Spirit Curse’ implies, the body will eventually rupture.”
Abel couldn’t continue after hearing Rashata’s explanation.
Neither could Ryo.
(It’s like having a time bomb in your body…how cruel…)
Ryo, who wasn’t exactly rooting for Harold’s misfortune, felt pity for him.
“You say it will eventually rupture, but any idea when?”
“Can’t say for sure. Only that it won’t rupture for a year according to the folklore…”
Rashata answered Abel’s question, shaking his head.
“So…how do we break the curse?”
Abel asked Rashata…the most important question.
Rashata’s answer was one that no one could have imagined.
“A drop of the Demon Lord’s blood on his forehead…”