It was a time when waiting turned into annoyance. Diet was unusually surprised and taken aback by the unbelievable news.
He stared at Noel for a long time before slowly blinking his eyes.
Knowing about the illness. The priest found out about the illness that he couldn’t even find out. He instinctively thought that it was impossible.
If others knew, they might criticize Diet for underestimating Noel.
But Diet had overlooked one fact in his complicated mind.
When investigating the illness due to his resentment towards the temple, he intentionally avoided connecting it to the temple.
But in a world where medicine has not developed, the most relevant thing is the temple. No matter what disease it is, people always went to the temple.
So, there was no other place but the temple that could have an overwhelming amount of information about diseases.
Diet realized this fact only now. He had missed what he could have known if he had judged it calmly, and was blaming himself for his foolish choice while letting out a small sigh.
* * *
Noel, who was observing Diet’s changes, thought it was enough by now.
“It’s because of the spirit.”
“Spirits are not beings that harm humans.”
The origin of spirits is nature. Good and evil cannot be applied to nature. Therefore, spirits also do not have the concept of good and evil.
So it makes no sense for them to spread a life-threatening disease–
Diet’s eyes sparkled with determination as he finished his thoughts.
“So it wasn’t intentional.”
“Yes, it’s just unfortunate misfortune.”
It could also be considered as an enormous stroke of luck, but for the person involved, it would be closer to misfortune.
Diet adjusted his posture and asked Noel to explain in detail. Noel did not hesitate since he had already planned to do so.
“They say that the quality of being an elementalist is innate.”
“Natural affinity cannot be acquired through effort.”
To become an elementalist, a certain level of natural affinity is necessary. Natural affinity is literally the intimacy with nature, and natural affinity becomes the ability of an elementalist.
However, natural affinity is something that is innate. Although it can be developed to some extent through training, it cannot be created.
Therefore, the number of elementalist is extremely small.
“Do you know what happens if that quality is too much?”
“If there is too much natural affinity… “
Simply put, it’s an advantage. If there is a lot of natural affinity, it means that contracting with high-level spirits is also possible.
But what the priest was pointing out was not an increase through development but rather a case where the quality of being an elementalist is excessive from birth.
Since the number of elementalist is already small, Diet had never encountered such a case. He could make some guesses because he had lived for some time, but…
If someone was born with such vast natural affinity─
“The body wouldn’t be able to handle it.”
Even if they were born safely, they would die soon after. They exceeded the limit of what their body could contain.
Diet spoke his thoughts indifferently before furrowing his brows.
Wait. Noel said that he came because of Estelle.
Then no way… As Diet’s gaze, which had been directed at the desk, shifted to Noel, his body froze as if his intuition had been proven correct.
“Is it because of this that Estelle’s body is not well?”
That can’t be right. Diet instinctively denied it. He couldn’t think of a solution no matter how hard he tried.
“In such cases, wouldn’t there have been symptoms from birth?”
What Noel was talking about was a congenital case. However, Estelle’s symptoms appeared recently.
Although the timing can vary slightly from person to person, it was certainly strange for symptoms to suddenly appear in her adult body.
If it was dangerous, it would have been when she was a small and fragile infant. Although he tried to understand it, he couldn’t just pass over that point.
“How are you going to explain this?”
Diet narrowed his eyes.
As expected, he was suspicious. Noel had prepared an answer and immediately presented it.
“Estelle is suffering from the same symptoms.”
Noel didn’t believe it right away either. He recognized Estelle’s symptoms by comparing them with other diseases.
No matter how much he looked into it, he couldn’t find any more of those symptoms. So that means Estelle has the same disease.
Diet could have blamed Noel for being too casual in his judgment. But in his opinion, Estelle’s symptoms were not ordinary.
Because they were so unique, Noel concluded that it couldn’t be any other disease.
To help Diet understand, Noel conveyed the information I had heard.
“Estelle said she sees a strange object that looks like a cotton bals in front of her.”
“It’s various colors like blue, red, and yellow.”
Diet immediately confirmed the color. Noel hesitated for a moment but continued speaking obediently.
As suspected by Noel, Diet immediately realized it. He grabbed his throbbing temples.
The elementalist who had shown him something similar before appeared in his mind again.
“Look at this, isn’t it cute?”
Pointing to a large pile of dust, the elementalist found it adorable. Diet refused to react.
“Isn’t it cute? It’s so fluffy and shiny!”
He gazed at the yellow creature and said it couldn’t be any more adorable. In response, the yellow object glowed.
Is this madness? Diet came to the conclusion. If that thing was cute, how could daily life be possible?
He had to leave quickly. Diet grabbed his leg without hiding his desire to leave.
“So what is it?”
“Don’t you see? It’s a spirit! A spirit! Doesn’t just looking at it make you happy?”
The conversation ended there. There was no point in talking to the clearly insane elementalist anymore.
But the appearance of the spirit he saw then was very similar to the form described by the priest.
“I see. Does it emit light too?”
“You know it well.”
“Ugh… it’s a spirit.”
“That’s right, it’s a spirit.”
While Diet let out a nervous sigh, Noel acknowledged it calmly.
Spirits could only be seen by elementalists. To be more precise, they were beings that could only be seen when summoned by an elementalist.
However, Estelle was able to see spirits without summoning them.
“So that’s why she sees too many of them.”
“You’re right. With most natural affinities, you can’t even feel or see spirits.”
That’s why most people who couldn’t see spirits didn’t have an interest in them, and there were no people who just tried them out as a hobby like shamanism.
One of the reasons why elementalists were so rare was because of this. Diet tapped the bookshelf with his index finger as he organized his thoughts.
“How is Estelle still alive?”
But there was still a question that had not been answered. He didn’t mean that Estelle should have died.
It was just a pure question that was connected by a sentence that could be misunderstood.
Fortunately, Noel, who was quick-witted, decided to skip over it instead of getting caught up on it. It wasn’t the time to get caught up on trivial things.
“I don’t know about that.”
“So, what do you think, Diet? Do you still think I’m wrong?”
Noel looked straight into Diet’s eyes with a relaxed smile.
He wanted to laugh at his baseless confidence, but he couldn’t do it now.
He couldn’t deny it. The evidence was already sufficient. Estelle’s symptoms were definitely due to the spirits, even though he didn’t know how she had been able to cope with them until now.
If Estelle couldn’t handle the excessive amount of natural affinity in her body, her life would be threatened.
“Have you found a cure?”
Instead of explaining one by one, Diet asked another question.
It meant that he indirectly acknowledged Noel’s words.
“There is no cure.”
“…The place where you found out about it must have been the temple, and the temple is where the mentally ill people who believe in holy power gather.”
“Throwing your words right back at you. Isn’t that place also for magic users like you?”
Noel couldn’t stand the rude tone. But behind his gentle smile, he could sense his anger.
He didn’t have good feelings about the temple either, but he didn’t want to hear the unfounded criticism of a wizard who didn’t even know what he was talking about.
Seeing that he wasn’t denying it, he realized that he knew about it too. But instead of denying it, he just chuckled.
“If it’s the temple, they will try to hide the disease that can’t be cured with holy power. The best way is murder…”
“There have been several such cases.”
Noel was aware of the existence of the Shadow Corps. As their name suggests, they were responsible for all sorts of dirty work, so murder would be simple for them. Noel was able to link the Shadow Corps to the suspicious points related to death found in the records.
Seeing even a priest like Noel affirming this, Diet dismissed his hypothesis that the temple knew a cure.
“Those people wouldn’t know a cure.”
“Yes, the book I found seems to have been written to conceal it.”
Information was necessary to conceal something systematically. Most of the methods described in the records were about how to hide things more perfectly.
They were disgusting people. I wasn’t much different, having belonged to such a place, but still…
Above all, the pupils that resembled light were dyed in the pitch darkness.
As a child, I had felt nauseous at the dirty interior of the temple and learned submission and avoidance as I grew up. I couldn’t erase the guilt that choked me no matter what…
I couldn’t afford to feel guilty for pretending not to know.
“I don’t know much about spirits either. I came here hoping to find a cure–”
“I didn’t expect that.”
When Diet raised his head, the thick darkness retreated in an instant. Noel spoke firmly with a habitually gentle smile.
His very natural attitude didn’t raise any questions in Diet’s mind.
The temple wouldn’t have been unaware of the cure if Noel knew it. When it comes to illness, not even the most powerful and experienced masters can keep up with the Temple.
If the temple knew, it would have written it down in the book. It’s much easier to pretend to cure with holy power than to kill.
That wizard was firmly mistaken. There was nothing he could do. Noel opened his mouth with an attitude of kindness.
“I came to ask you to convey this fact to Estelle.”
It implied ‘Why don’t you say it yourself?’
Diet’s persistent gaze was directed at him as if he had to read his blackened heart.
Noel’s normally flat face furrowed slightly.
“It wouldn’t hurt you either, Diet.”
Noel didn’t want to explain the reason. He responded sharply without humor.
Diet’s suspicion could only deepen with such an obvious evasion. In the meantime, he remembered something he had missed.
“Are you trying to cover up that incident?”
“Your delusions are excessive. I wouldn’t say it anyway.”
Noel pouted incredulously. The authoritative smile that had reappeared on his face became stronger.
‘That incident’ was the attack of demons on the Magic Tower. Diet knew who was behind it but he remained silent.
He had no intention of revealing that the temple was the culprit. Even though Mikke was furious about the sudden termination of the case, Diet remained tight-lipped until the end.
“I should have cut off one arm back then.”
That’s what he thought until a little while ago.
“So much for the savage wizard.”
Noel lifted one corner of his mouth. He didn’t hide his laughter even when he saw Diet frowning.
A clear tension was swirling in their gazes.
Both were in a situation where they wouldn’t back down even an inch, ready to explode at any moment.
Diet wanted to snap that neck right now. But he couldn’t do it, not when he thought of Estelle.
He desperately suppressed his urge to boil over.
Even if he wasn’t precious to Estelle, he would have killed him right away.
Fortunately, Estelle was the only control device for Diet, who wasn’t afraid of retaliation. Thanks to its powerful effect, they were able to avoid the horrific scene of bloodshed.
“Ah… just leave when you’re done.”
“I was going to do that anyway.”
Noel also had to endure the rising tension. Unlike Diet, who wasn’t afraid of retaliation, he wasn’t afraid of his own death.
But Noel had to endure it as well. After seeing Estelle smiling next to Diet, he had no choice but to hold back.
“May God’s grace be with you.”
He couldn’t hold back the remaining bitterness, but he managed to close his mouth.
He stared straight at Diet and finished his speech before leaving the room gracefully.
“It’s been a while since I wanted to kill someone this badly…”
An unusual chill surrounded Diet in the hot summer weather.
Diet was someone who scorned God. Speaking that in front of such a person was a clear mockery.
His pupils burned brightly. The veins in his neck bulged. It had been a long time since he had felt such anger.
He had regretted not killing that priest the moment he saw him.