Olivia readily agreed when a junior that she had never seen before showed up and asked to talk to her; she didn’t show the slightest amount of reluctance, suspicion, or disdain towards me.
We ended up deciding to talk in one of the empty clubrooms on the seventh floor.
“No one should be able to hear us here. Are you okay?”
She dragged over two chairs before sitting down on one. She was probably about 170 cm tall. Why did her face seem so small? Even if she hadn’t been religious, her benevolent expression made her seem like she would have been a great and successful person.
It was the first time I felt so intimidated just by facing someone.
It wasn’t because I was afraid of her or anything but instead came about because of her appearance. It was the first time I had felt that way, so it was especially bizarre.
I sat on the chair across from her and finally forced myself to make eye contact.
“Well, I heard you talked with Bertus.”
“Ah, the Prince. Yes. I did.”
“I don’t know what you were talking about exactly… But I know the general situation.”
Her expression darkened slightly when she heard my words.
“I see. But before that, do we know each other from somewhere? I’m really sorry… Although I have heard about you, Reinhardt, this is my first time meeting you… I was a little surprised when I was told that you were concerned about me.”
She seemed quite surprised that a junior unfamiliar to her was concerned about her.
“Well, it’s not me really… Adriana is the one worried about you. She seems worried about what’s going on with you, senior, but was hesitant to ask in case she appeared to be rude, so I tried asking around in her stead.”
“Ah… Adriana… Okay, I understand…”
As I spoke of Adriana, Olivia lowered her head with a miserable expression on her face, making it clear that she knew what I was speaking of.
“I think I’m worrying far too many people…”
Regardless of her intentions, it seemed that she found it difficult to bear having caused the people around her so much worry.
“I don’t know you that well, senior, but I heard that many people expect great things from you, and there are many that see you as their idol. I know this might be out of my place to say, but… Won’t you change your mind?”
Even while hearing such things from a young junior who appeared out of nowhere, it was enough evidence for Olivia’s great personality that she didn’t even flinch at that.
Olivia continued to look at me.
Her eyes were still gentle, but they showed a bit of stubbornness.
“If I were to change my mind… Do you mean that I should just put up with everything and let it go?”
“That’s not what I’m trying to say, but you shouldn’t act so hastily until you reach a position where you can actually cause some change. If you decide to act up now, your safety will also be compromised…”
“You’re saying the same things as the Prince.”
My words seemed no different from Bertus’s.
Reach a position influential enough to cause change and then make it happen. What you’re doing right now will only put yourself at risk, and you won’t be able to change a single thing. You’d cause a brief uproar, but in the end, you won’t be able to achieve anything.
Put differently; it was quite the arrogant remark. Telling her that all she had to do was get appointed and she would be able to eliminate any absurdities in the organization. However, I couldn’t think of anything else to convince Olivia with.
“You’re called Reinhardt, right?”
Olivia looked at me quietly.
“Justice knows no compromise.”
I could see now why Bertus called her an idiot.
What would a writer who wrote down such cheesy things be if not a fucking idiot?
Of course, her mindset in itself was admirable, but that didn’t change the fact that she was an idiot.
“After making one compromise, I would just end up making another. While I acknowledge and realize that this is realistically impossible, if the scope of these compromises becomes broader and broader, I would eventually end up having to give up on a lot of things, and I would only start resembling those things I want to change.”
Once things become difficult and I just keep on enduring it, I’d become similar to the ones I so desperately wanted to change—all in the name of being realistic.
“Senior, if you call those that keep on compromising cowards, then those who can’t compromise would be people that end up doing terrible things.”
Those who had excessive confidence in themselves would end up becoming the most fearful people in the world, regardless of whether their initial intentions were good or bad. How much harm did people like that do to society?
Olivia Lanze seemed like one such confident person.
Wouldn’t even more terrifying things happen if someone like her silently became the Pope or the Commander of the Knights Templar? She might even end up carrying out a widespread purge.
A completely different question rose up in my mind.
If that were to happen, what would I do?
“You sound like you’ve already seen someone like that.”
I knew of many such cases. It was just that they weren’t part of this world.
“Reinhardt, I think I know what you’re trying to say. You think I’m an extreme fundamentalist—someone who can’t tolerate even a little bit of injustice and thinks that all priests should be part of a one and only true religion.”
She didn’t tell me that I was too young to even comprehend what she was trying to do.
She was trying to talk to me properly.
“Reinhardt, although justice knows no compromise, this is the only compromise I was willing to make”
Olivia understood what I was trying to say.
She said that her current behavior was a compromise already.
“If I were to endure this to save the rotten tree from its roots, I would end up becoming one of two things. Either by acknowledging reality and keeping on compromising, I would become like the people I want to change. Or I might end up sacrificing many people in the name of changing everything the right way.”
Olivia was an idiot, but she wasn’t stupid.
She wanted to show me that she had already contemplated deeply about it, as it was her own problem.
She knew that there were only two paths lying before her: the path of a fallen priest or the path of a slayer covered in the blood of millions in the name of Reformation.
“I want to become neither of the two.”
She only wanted to escape both these inevitable futures she would have to face if she went on in the same manner. It wasn’t just a decision made out of her disillusionment with her faith or disappointment in the Knights Templar—she had put in much more thought.
She made her decision while considering that she might turn into a monster. It was a problem to fall to corruption, but it was also one to not fall to it.
The decision was a necessary one for herself and many others.
Olivia eventually made a compromise that she wouldn’t bend on.
She would give up on everything.
Bertus and I had told her how she should compromise a bit and hold on for the time being but neither of us knew her well enough. We didn’t know that if she were to endure, only terrible things would happen to her.
“…I’m sorry for speaking out of turn. I… I think there has been a misunderstanding.”
I could only say that much.
I went overboard.
I could only judge someone’s thoughts and opinions with my own limited knowledge of the truth, but Olivia Lanze was a completely different person from what I had imagined.
She was already prepared for her own death. I knew this without having to ask her.
“No, Reinhardt, thank you for being so concerned with me, even though we don’t really know each other. I mean it.”
She hugged me gently as if she was truly grateful.
It felt like she had lost a lot of things.
It sounded like a final goodbye.
Olivia wasn’t someone that one could convince by just telling her that her life would be in danger.
In a way, I couldn’t deny that her choice was the best she could make for herself.
Would it be Bertus who’d take action, or would it be the other side?
I would see the results on the weekend.
After my morning training, Adriana and I acted the same as usual. I found out the truth, but I was still thinking about whether I should tell Adriana or not.
If she knew why Olivia made her decision, it would be a devastating blow to Adriana’s faith. She would be seriously shocked if I just bluntly told her. I didn’t know if I had the right to tell her those things, so I had no choice but to remain silent.
Both Adriana and I were both very low in tension. Adriana was depressed for her own reasons, and I felt guilty that I knew the truth but didn’t know whether I should tell her or not.
Then we saw something on our way back from training.
“Ah… Adriana. Reinhardt…”
It was Olivia Lanze, who had just come out of Temple’s dormitory; a man stood next to her.
She dragged around a large trunk as if she was about to go somewhere far away.
“Are they your acquaintances?”
With those words, the man’s identity was immediately revealed.
The Commander of the Knights Templar, Riverrier Lanze.
He looked at the two of us and briefly spoke up.
Adriana couldn’t say anything when faced with the Commander of the Knights Templar, there was also the fact that Olivia Lanze was leaving right in front of her.
However, I could clearly see that Olivia’s eyes were red, and her cheeks were a little swollen.
She wasn’t leaving on her own accord.
She said she would voluntarily quit, but it felt more like her getting dragged away than her voluntarily quitting.
“Goodbye, both of you.”
They looked like a prisoner and her jailer, rather than father and daughter.
Adriana was chasing the back of this girl who was about to get further and further away.
“Senior… Are you leaving…?”
“…I think so.”
“Senior, if I didn’t see wrong… I think you cried, didn’t you?”
Olivia said that she would quit Temple, but for some reason, she was getting dragged away in such a manner.
Bertus knew that he wouldn’t have to take any action. Of course, Riverrier Lanze would have known the condition Olivia was in, and he obviously would have predicted what she wanted to do.
In a way, the appearance of the Knights Templar’s Commander was an inevitable result.
If the Knights Templar forced themselves into Temple and tried to take Olivia Lanze, Temple would have the right to refuse.
However, they could not prevent her father from taking away his child.
Keeping Olivia Lanze, of whom he didn’t know what she might end up saying, in Temple must have been rather unsettling for the Commander of the Knights Templar.
So he decided to drag her away earlier than she originally planned.
Even though I only witnessed it for a brief moment, the coercive, vertical relationship between them was plainly visible.
In the end, even if it wasn’t the time she wanted to go, didn’t she still get what she wanted? But her expression looked so miserable while she was getting dragged away.
“What… What’s going on, junior.”
Adriana and I didn’t go back to the dormitory and sat down on a bench, staring blankly.
“Actually, I talked with Olivia yesterday.”
It seemed impossible at that moment to keep on hiding it from Adriana.
I wasn’t supposed to know the details of the incident, so I had no choice but to explain it to her rather vaguely. Olivia discovered the ugly side of the Knights Templar, so she concluded that joining the Knights Templar or the Church would hold terrible consequences for her and many others.
Adriana was stunned at my explanation as to why she decided to give up on everything. Was she shocked that Olivia told me everything but not her, or was she shocked that the Knights Templar she planned on entering herself had an ugly side?
Adriana couldn’t even imagine just what Olivia had to go through to come to such a decision. I believed she found out about the demon slaves, but they might have committed many other atrocities I didn’t know about as well.
“I’m so confused… I don’t know what to do anymore…”
It seemed clear that the Knights Templar took Olivia away to cover up their dirty secret. Adriana had lost focus in her eyes, perhaps because the values that had made up her foundation had been shaken.
Anyway, the conclusion was that Olivia would never return to Temple ever again. Riverrier Lanze had forced his own daughter to quit, dragging her by her wrist.
No, wait a minute.
Olivia Lanze served Towan, the God of Purity.
“…Which God does the Commander of the Knights Templar serve?”
“Huh? Ah… As far as I know, he serves Towan.”
“Aren’t priests of Towan unable to marry? How can he have a daughter…?”
She must have inherited the belief in Towan from her parents, but how could the Commander of the Knights Templar, who followed Towan’s doctrine, have a daughter?
“Senior is… his foster daughter.”
Olivia Lanze was adopted.
All the pieces fell into place.
She didn’t have strong divine powers because she was the daughter of the Knights Templar’s Commander.
She was adopted by him because she had such a strong talent. Her father had meant to foster the next Commander of the Knights Templar or the Pope.
The girl he raised for that purpose suddenly decided to give up on everything and even tried to damage the Knights Templar and the Church.
Wouldn’t the Commander get really angry in that situation?
“Junior, don’t tell anyone what you told me just now.”
Adriana muttered blankly as if she came to a conclusion.
“Regardless of whether this is true or not, you might get arrested by the heresy inquisitors for slandering the Knights Templar. Don’t even tell your seniors.”
We weren’t celebrities on the level of Olivia Lanze, so we wouldn’t be in any position to just open our mouths as we wanted.
Adriana jumped up from her seat.
She looked full of determination.
“I’ll have to follow her for now.”
“…Things won’t change, even if we go and see what’s going on.”
I decided to follow her because I felt uncomfortable not knowing what the situation was like.
“If we are to get caught, we’ll just say that we followed our favorite senior because we don’t want her to leave, okay?”
Even if they caught us following them, we could just act like stubborn children. Plus, if he really wanted to touch us, he had to be prepared to collide with Temple.
The Commander might be able to take his daughter, but he wasn’t able to take us.