“The Demon Gods’ Church?”
Ceres looked at me as she asked Charlotte.
I obviously remember that there had been a senior talking about the Demon Gods’ Church when I visited Grace. At that time, Ceres gave everyone a strong warning to not talk about it so carelessly when outside.
She probably looked at me like that while interrogating Charlotte because she thought I had told her the details.
Of course, I hadn’t.
“A while ago, I stopped by the newspaper club called Royal Class monthly or Monthly Royal Class or something. Among the articles they released in previous issues, there was an article about rumors about believers of the Demon Gods’ Church being in Temple.”
“…Ah, the monthly newspaper of the Royal Class?”
Charlotte hadn’t gotten that information from me but from the members of the newspaper club.
When Ceres confirmed that I wasn’t the source, she looked at me rather apologetically and then frowned.
“I told them to not spread useless rumors…”
Ceres sighed as if dumbfounded.
Except for the article that covered me, it seemed rather clear that no one was reading that monthly newspaper. It seemed like that was her first time hearing about that article.
Of course, Charlotte wouldn’t just let go of the matter.
“Do you know anything?”
“Ah… No, I don’t… know anything about that.”
Ceres did know something, but she didn’t want to reveal anything, which was obvious. She had previously said that if we talked about the Demon Gods’ Church carelessly, people might get severely punished or even die.
Since the Imperial Princess was digging about this matter, it was clear that the student council president wouldn’t want to tell us anything else.
Of course, Charlotte didn’t seem to believe her.
“Ceres, there’s no point in hiding this from them.“
However, before Charlotte could even say anything, Olivia opened her mouth.
“Pre-president! What are you talking about!”
It seemed that not only Ceres knew something about it, but Olivia as well.
“Don’t underestimate the Princess; if we don’t tell her, she’ll find out through some other means.”
Even if they hid it, the Princess would find a way to get to the bottom of it. It was completely meaningless to hide anything from us. Ceres’s face turned red as she immediately got caught lying in front of the Imperial Princess.
“I know what you’re worried about, so I don’t really mind that you lied… As long as you tell me what you know.”
Charlotte seemed to have roughly guessed that Ceres was worried about innocent people getting taken in by some inquisitors and ending up dying.
As Olivia already revealed that she knew, Ceres just sighed, wrote something down on a notepad, and handed it over to us.
“Here, it’s really not such a big deal, so you don’t have to worry about it.”
That was what Ceres wrote down on the note.
* * *
After Ceres and Olivia left, we just sat quietly in the cafe.
“This really seems like nothing, but it’s incredibly suspicious.”
Of course, we had been told some bizarre information about the club.
“They only get together on Saturday nights, and—except for the president—the members don’t know each other’s identities.”
Club activities were often held during weekends, but club members of any club would also usually meet up during the week as well.
It was incredibly suspicious. It was supposed to be nothing? Even if they weren’t believers of the Demon Gods’ Church, they could easily be misunderstood as some.
That seemed to be the name of this club that got misunderstood as part of the Demon Gods’ Church by a great number of people.
It gave off the strong impression of a closed-off secret society.
It had been said that the club’s purpose was to ‘study special phenomena’, but I didn’t know what ‘special phenomena’ was supposed to be.
There were just too many suspicious points about that club.
“They aren’t accepting any new members… so we have to disguise ourselves as one of their members.”
Charlotte seemed to think that there wouldn’t be any reason not to infiltrate it, as it was very suspicious. It seemed like she was already planning on how to investigate the club.
“I could ask the Temple student council president to give me their roster, but… That would be a bit daunting.”
“Even if I’m the Imperial Princess, I’m just an ordinary student in Temple, so I have no authority to order around Temple’s student council president. Of course, I could put pressure on them, but in doing so, other problems might occur if we anger them.”
Since matters regarding clubs were under the Temple’s student council’s management, teachers weren’t allowed to touch that information carelessly. Even Ceres wouldn’t be able to get their roster, as it was a regular school club, not a club of Royal Class.
In fact, Ceres had told me that she had heard “from Temple’s student council president” that the club wasn’t anything dangerous. In the end, Ceres didn’t investigate the club personally.
So, Charlotte wouldn’t have any justification whatsoever for asking Temple’s student council president to hand her that roster. Temple students were granted autonomy, so such an event would show that the Imperial Family was infringing on that.
Therefore, if we angered the president of Temple’s student council, they would end up in a big conflict with Charlotte right then and there. They were the student council president of more than 100,000 students, so they had more than enough justification and the right to do so.
Anyway, it wasn’t like she couldn’t do anything about it, but it wouldn’t end well. The president seemed to respect the autonomy of that club called Exodium.
I crossed my arms and sighed.
“You say it isn’t anything suspicious? There’s hardly anything that is not suspicious about them.”
“That’s what I’m saying…”
It was impossible to just join and spy on them. It was rather unlikely that it would be seen as reasonable to ask for their roster and look through the club’s members.
“Based on what we found out, they’ll have a gathering somewhere in the club building on Saturday night, right?”
Charlotte nodded at what I said.
“Then how about we just go there and eavesdrop on them?”
“I have pretty good ears.”
My hearing enhancement should be enough to eavesdrop on what they were discussing in there.
* * *
Translator – KonnoAren
Proofreader – ilafy
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Friday passed, and then it was Saturday.
“Are you ready?”
The sun had already set, so the two of us got ready to leave. Both Charlotte and I were wearing hooded capes.
It had been said that Exodium’s club room was located in Temple, which had a building exclusive for clubs. Since that building was used by more than 100,000 Temple students for their club activities, it was probably rather big. However, I had never come across it.
Charlotte and I got on the tram and headed to the club building. It was late at night, so most of the tram passengers were staff members with only a handful of students.
“I sure hope this is nothing, like the seniors said.”
“It should be.”
There were more than one or two clubs that seemed rather suspicious. The best-case scenario would be that the club was harmless.
If they were found out to be real worshippers of the Demon Gods, the club and Temple’s student council president would have to be held accountable.
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The tram soon came to a halt in front of a cluster of club buildings. Charlotte seemed slightly surprised as she saw the club buildings occupying a large area.
“Hmm… I don’t think that club will be the only one that holds their club activities at night, right?”
There were some sports-related clubs that practiced at night, so there were quite a few students practicing in the stadium, which was flooded in light.
In fact, I could see many rooms inside the club buildings with their lights turned on. I even heard singing and the sound of instruments getting played from some places.
There were many people passionate not only about their life at Temple, but also their hobbies. I know I’d that Temple is a vast place, but my main focus usually lay on the Royal Class, and I hardly described anything about outside clubs and such.
Therefore, that scene was like some additional setting I had never planned out.
It was a really strange feeling.
“Supposedly, Exodium is located on the third story of that building over there.”
Charlotte pointed towards one of the buildings and walked towards one that looked similar to our class building.
“Do you see them?”
As the time for Exodium’s club activity drew nearer, we could vaguely make out some students in robes entering the building.
Charlotte seemed like she was thinking about something as she looked at those figures covered in robes.
“What’s the matter?”
“Hm? N-no, it’s just… I thought that all of them looked so small.”
As Charlotte said, the people wearing these black robes, hiding their appearances, actually seemed pretty small.
The place was a three-story building, structured similarly to our class building, but it somehow seemed completely different as well—perhaps because it was one of the club buildings. Not only were miscellaneous unidentifiable pieces of furniture lined up in the hallway, but each door had the name of a club written next to it.
It was one of the places some of the 100,000 people pursuing their hobbies gathered, so it was only natural that there were multiple buildings and that their interiors were kind of messy wasn’t really surprising either. Some people were definitely pursuing their club activities at night, but things seemed a lot calmer than they would be during the day.
Charlotte and I went to the second floor, not the third.
We planned to eavesdrop on them from right below Exodium’s clubroom.
Fortunately, there weren’t any club members present in that second-floor room.
“I think it’s nearly time… How is it? Can you hear any sounds?”
I could hear that people were gradually gathering above us. I could clearly hear footsteps around the hallway above.
I heard something like a conversation.
A short one made up of only single words.
After a while, I heard the exact same words.
Since the conversation had been repeated twice, I had an idea about what they were doing.
“…What are those bastards up to?”
I was speechless, and Charlotte looked at me, wondering what had happened.
“They are using passwords or something.”
Those guys made passwords for some simple club?
At the word ‘password’, Charlotte also went speechless for a bit.
“I can’t hear anything from that room. I don’t think they are talking.”
Not only that, but they didn’t seem to utter even a single word during that gathering. Whenever a person went in, I could only hear the password back-and-forth.
It was already past the time their activities were supposed to start. I could no longer hear anyone say the password again.
“…I can’t hear anything anymore.”
Charlotte tilted her head at my words.
“They gathered together but aren’t saying anything?”
‘It’s been a while, but they aren’t talking? What’s the meaning of this?’
Charlotte didn’t seem to understand.
However, that wasn’t it.
“…No, I don’t think it’s like that.”
I didn’t know how many people were already in the room beforehand, but I did hear the password conversation five times.
That meant that there were at least five people in there.
“There are more than six people in there, but I can’t hear anything… no dragging of chairs or even a cough.”
There was no sound at all coming from the direction I presumed the club room to be at.
“…I think they cast noise canceling magic on that room.”
It was clear that they had cast something like that on the room to prevent any of their conversations from leaking out.
‘Why the hell did no one find this suspicious?’
Charlotte’s expression distorted.