I stayed at Eleris’s store for a while longer, even after I finished writing the letter.
“Eleris, do you know about the Demon Gods’ Church?”
I wrote a scene in which remnants of the Demon Gods’ Church appeared, but I never specified what the Demon Gods’ Church was in detail. I just popped in some incident about the remnants trying to do something but ending up clashing with Ludwig—who was traveling around for his vacation at that time—and getting completely destroyed.
So I didn’t actually know much about them as I didn’t properly set up their organization.
At my question, Eleris tilted her head slightly as she looked at me.
“Why are you curious about the Demon Gods’ Church so suddenly?”
Her attitude of asking why I was suddenly so curious about something like that showed that she seemed worried that I thought about building my power by using the Demon Gods’ Church.
“No, it seems like the Demon Gods’ Church is rising again because of what we did or something like that.”
“Aah, is that so?”
Eleris placed her hand on her chin and revealed a subtle smile.
“Your Highness, there is no such thing as a demon god.”
“…It doesn’t exist? Not at all?”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Did those gods turn into a non-existent concept because I didn’t set it up properly? So, did that mean that the believers of the Demon gods’ Church believed in gods that didn’t even exist?
However, when I described the clash with the remnants of the Demon Gods’ Church, I clearly wrote that they used divine powers. How could they use divine power if the god they believed in didn’t even exist?
This bordered on cognitive dissonance.
Eleris began to explain further while still wearing that subtle smile.
“There were some religions in the Demon Realm, although there were only a few believers, so there were also priests. In other words, the religion the demons in the Demon Realm believed in ended up being called the Demon Gods’ Church by the humans.”
What? So the demons had religion as well, but if demon gods didn’t exist, did that mean that the demons believed in non-existent gods?
“…But you said that demon gods don’t exist? So do the demons believe in gods that don’t exist, then?”
“No, that’s not it.”
Eleris shook her head.
“There are two gods the demons believe in that are actually quite well-known by the humans—Suiran, the God of Slaughter, and Nox, the God of Darkness. Other than those two, there is the God of Corruption, Kier, and the God of Conflagration, Tallard. There’s also the God of Hatred, Egrsian, but he isn’t that well known.”
Although I had learned about the Five Major Churches in my divine studies class, they didn’t tell us about the existence of the gods the demons believed in. Therefore, that was the first time that I heard those names.
“So what do you mean by there not being any demon gods?”
“They are getting misrepresented.”
What did she mean by that?
“There are Five Major Churches represented by five gods. The God of War, Als, The God of the Sun, Salaam, The God of the Moon, Mensis, The God of Purity, Towan, and the God of Courage, Ritter. These are the five, right?”
“Slaughter and War, the Moon and Darkness. The Sun and Fire, Hatred and Courage, aren’t these concepts rather similar? Of course, Corruption and Purity are opposing concepts.”
The God of Slaughter and the God of War.
The God of Darkness and the God of the Moon.
The God of Conflagration and the God of the Sun.
The God of Hatred and the God of Courage.
The God of Corruption and the God of Purity.
They were either the opposites or had a similar feeling to them.
Didn’t they actually correlate?
Eleris looked at me and smiled.
“The humans didn’t want to admit the demons believed in the same five major religions they believed in, so they started by changing the gods’ names. They serve the god, Als, but that Als is actually Suiran, the God of Slaughter. The Mensis they believe in is actually Nox, the God of Darkness. And in the case of Towan, they turned their concept completely upside down.”
Some humans who found out the demons’ faiths did not want to admit that they actually believed in the same gods as themselves; therefore, they changed their gods’ names as they wished.
“And after the communication between the two Realms was cut off, they began to change the belief system of the demons and called it whatever they wanted. As a result, this became the truth to the humans. There were even some humans who started believing in that false faith. These are the believers of the Demon Gods’ Church.”
The Demon Gods’ Church had nothing to do with the demons’ actual faith. Among the demons, those who had faith actually believed in the Five Major Churches and didn’t even know what a demon god was supposed to be.
Humans didn’t want to admit that they worshiped the same gods as the demons, so they wanted to make their gods distinctly different from the demons’. Therefore, they created that artificial existence, the demon gods.
Like that, they were able to call the demons’ gods evil ones and their own gods true gods. However, there were some people who started following the false demon gods after seeing that fabricated truth. They would form the Demon Gods’ Church.
“…So, the Demon Gods’ Church is actually unique to humans.”
“That’s right, Your Highness. We actually believe in the same gods.”
There were no demon gods.
Those who believed in Als, the God of War, and those who believed in Suiran, the God of Slaughter, ultimately believed in the same entity. Nox and Mensis were no different, either.
“So the reason people who believe in the demon gods can use divine power is because they ultimately still believe in Nox or Mensis, Suiran or Als, and so on. They received their divine powers from the other gods using the demon gods as a type of proxy.”
“Yes, you’re right. However, the nature of this power changes depending on how it’s used.”
So, in the end, even if they used the same divine power, if they used it for wicked causes, it would turn into an evil power. Even if they served the same being, the way they manifested their divine power could be completely different.
The divine power of the Demon Gods’ Church and its priests expressed themselves like that.
“Then there’s actually no reason to oppress the Demon God’s Church, right?”
“Basically, since they actually worship the same gods, but do you really think that will happen?”
Eleris tilted her head, wearing a vague expression.
“The humans will never admit that the demon gods they created were actually the same entities as their Gods. So no, that probably won’t happen.”
If one were to slander or deny the demon gods, that would actually mean that they insulted their own gods. Humans, especially priests and paladins, would never admit to this truth.
“Also, most of that Church’s believers gained strength by praying to an entity disguised as a demon god for no virtuous reasons. There is no guarantee that they aren’t dangerous.”
No one would join the Demon Gods’ Church with good intentions in mind. In fact, they would turn into very dangerous people after they actually gained power—they would be willing to use whatever underhanded and evil method there was.
“Therefore, while the demon gods as such don’t exist, they might as well, with how things are.”
They weren’t real, but they might as well be.
The demon god were concepts created by humans, but it still affected the real world. So even if it was the Five Major Gods disguised under the title of demon gods, it wasn’t actually that much different from them actually existing.
“Even if their doctrines were well-intentioned, that didn’t necessarily mean that holding faith in them was a good thing.”
Their laws might be good, but faith in those laws wasn’t necessarily good.
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Eleris’ words were deeply engraved into my heart.
Eventually, the illusions called the demon gods led to the creation of the very real Demon Gods’ Church.
“Yes, it’s a rather complicated matter.”
In the end, the humans’ desire to separate themselves from the demons gave rise to the demon gods that didn’t exist beforehand, and because of that, the Demon Gods’ Church—which served these gods for impure reasons—emerged.
This was actually all the humans’ doing, but they ended up falling on their noses. If the believers of the Demon Gods’ Church actually happened upon demons and they told them what they actually believed in, those believers would probably react as such: ‘What are these bastards talking about? Who the hell are Nox and Suiran?’
In the first place, if the gods actually cared how their divine powers got used, the believers of the Demon Gods’ Church wouldn’t even be able to use these powers. However, they didn’t care—just as Olivia had concluded in her desperation.
The Five Gods lent their power to whoever believed in them, but they didn’t care what they used them for; that was why corrupt priests and this organization called the Demon Gods’ Church could exist.
“They are gods, and yet they just randomly give out their power to whoever believes in them. Isn’t that too irresponsible?
“What do you want to do about it? They probably were created to be that way, to begin with.”
After all, the holes created by my complacency got filled like that. It explained why corrupt priests could still use their divine powers and how the Demon Gods’ Religion could exist even if I hadn’t properly set up those demon gods. There were also parts in the original where those corrupt priests made their appearance as well, not only the believers of the Demon Gods’ Church.
How could corrupt priests use divine powers?
=The Gods don’t really care about humans or what they do.
What is the Demon Gods’ Church? Why aren’t you explaining their belief system clearly?
=Actually, they believe in the same gods, yep.
In the end, that shitty situation got created because of my irresponsible story writing.
The person to blame for all of it was me.
Everything I did actually came back to bite me.
It was all my fault.
It was a really big mistake.
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Translator – KonnoAren
Proofreader – ilafy
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* * *
I had just casually asked about the Demon Gods’ Church and actually found out the rather shocking truth. The artificial creation of the demon gods because of the humans’ misrepresentation of the demons’ religions. Although there were only a few among the demons that followed a religion, they actually also believed in the five major gods.
That misunderstanding had grown deeper to the point where no human actually knew the truth anymore. And if someone claimed such things, then not only the Knights Templar but society as a whole would want that person dead. Accepting something like that as the truth was the same as denying their entire religious history.
Humans would never admit that they had the same belief system as the demons.
So, in conclusion, I ended up agreeing with Eleris that while there is no such thing as a demon god, they still existed. The Demon Gods’ Church was already a very dangerous force, after all.
If the believers of the Demon Gods’ Church, who wished for the world to fall apart, believed in the Gods in such a twisted way, they absolutely had to be prevented from achieving what they wanted to do.
I handed the letter from Valier over to Charlotte, who returned to Temple around Sunday evening.
“…Have you seen him in person?”
Charlotte seemed to be wondering if I actually met Valier.
“No. I only got this reply from that person.”
“I see… Yes, thank you, Reinhardt.”
Charlotte returned to her dormitory with the letter cradled in her arms as if it was the world’s most precious treasure.
I felt like I had a thorn stuck in my heart. It seemed like I hadn’t grown numb yet.
It sure stung.
* * *
I didn’t really know where to start with Charlotte, who wanted to search for the rumored believers of the Demon Gods’ Church and members of the Revolutionary Forces inside Temple. I decided to wait for Charlotte to approach me first.
It was already June.
It was definitely summer by then.
Which meant the development that would fit certain peoples’ delusions happened.
Monday. When it was time for our common classes…
“As the weather is getting hotter, we will replace your P.E. classes with swimming lessons from today onwards.”
According to my personal opinion that swimming lessons were indispensable in the summer for a novel of the school life genre, Mr. Epinhauser announced that all P.E. classes would be replaced with swimming lessons from that day on.
The one most excited about the development was Kono Lint. The reason for his exhilaration was rather obvious, so that earned him some glares from the girls, ending in the guy just awkwardly scratching the back of his head. It seemed like that guy couldn’t be helped but get disliked by the girls.
-Swimming classes would be easier, wouldn’t they?
-Is that so?
-…I can’t swim.
Of course, the female students of Class A seemed rather satisfied with the fact that the hellish physical training got changed into swimming class. All except Ellen, who had a combat talent.
Wasn’t swimming actually the most exhausting out of any other exercise?
We wouldn’t just play around in the pool; it was still training, you know?
* * *
We had P.E. after lunch.
After everyone changed into their swimsuits, we gathered at the outdoor swimming pool. P.E. classes were jointly attended by both members of Class A and B, so there were 22 first-year students gathered there.
Anyway, I had heard they used gathered rainwater as water for the swimming pool, so did they gather it little by little up to then and use up everything in one go? There wouldn’t be any problem with the quality of the water because they regularly used purification magic on it, or so I had heard.
It seemed like they cleaned and reorganized the whole poolside before swimming classes started. They removed the sunbeds, but there were some shade-throwing umbrellas.
Both the teachers and assistant teachers that were in charge of our P.E. classes wore swimsuits as well—they’d probably act as something like lifeguards from then on.
The boys’ swim pants were of a square cut, and the girls’ swimsuits were also just ordinary swimsuits; they were both navy blue in color. They were just simple swimsuits with a plain design; there was nothing special about them, and yet there were some among the male students who turned to look around unconsciously.
Among all of us, there was one who stood out the most.
“Miss Grantz, I believe you have heard that it’s forbidden to wear your personal swimwear.”
The P.E. teacher singled out Liana de Grantz, who stood out quite a bit—she was wearing a white tube-top bikini.
She was even the last to come out of the changing room.
It looked good on her, but she sure stood out by being the only one wearing something like that.
“…The one I was given was too small, and I couldn’t wear it. So I brought my own one from the dormitory.”
Ah, so that was why she took so long.
When they heard that the swimsuit was too small for her, both the male and female students started to stare and Grantz. Her lips trembled slightly, seeming a bit embarrassed.
Yeah. It probably was too small. That was plausible enough. Still, it was given to us at the start of the semester, but it was already too small for her…? Was she still growing that much?
The P.E. teacher was slightly flustered when he heard that her swimsuit was already too small for her.
“… That’s, ehem. You should get a new swimsuit in a size that fits later. I’ll allow it only this once.”
Eventually, swimming classes started with Liana, who was the only one wearing a bikini.