Standing within the school’s courtyard, Poppy waved a goodbye to Di Qi Ju. Even though he had already left the premises for a while, she didn’t return to the compound yet.
In that short alone time they had together just now, they didn’t talk about anything special in particular nor did they do anything special. All they did was share a light hug while he told her what happened. She then encouraged him a little and that was the extent of their meeting.
It was an understanding that was simple, peaceful and warm as you would expect if she were a family member. It was the same warmth he experienced when they had first met.
After comforting him, Poppy bid her farewells to Di Qi Ju under the pretext that she still had to something to do.
Truth be told, she didn’t have anything in particular to do right now. Ever since coming to Reitdarke, the main thing she did was wait. Waiting was all she needed to do and Di Qi Ju’s actions would give her the breakthrough she needed.
Poppy: It’s really late huh…
Within the empty courtyard, Poppy muttered to herself.
Poppy: I thought that the Divine Hall would find me on the first day but instead they took this long to do so.
Poppy: You followed him, didn’t you?
??: When I decide to find you is my own business, there’s no need for me to follow him.
As that voice rang out, a clergyman walked around the corner of the school gate and revealed herself.
Even without looking at her face, there was no way Poppy could ever mistake this person for anyone else; there was no way for her to falsely identify a person’s voice after all.
Poppy: I believe this is the first time we met in private isn’t it…Hilda Karlyle?
Hilda Karlyle: You can say that.
Hilda Karlyle pulled down her hood, revealing a head of short, blond curly locks that framed a bland and expressionless face. She was merely here as a clergyman and a representative of the Divine Hall; there was no personal emotions involved in this decision at all.
Poppy: What’s the matter? Are you here to enroll in theology classes?
Hilda Karlyle: ……
Hilda Karlyle: Since you set down roots so close to the Divine Hall, I thought that you intended to return to your post after a round of contemplation…
Hilda Karlyle: However, it seems like Di Qi Ju has refuted this assumption.
Hilda Karlyle: Your actions so far have been ridiculous, whether from the perspective of the ordinary men or God.
Hilda Karlyle: Exactly what are you planning, clergyman of “Speech”…Poppy. (TL: I think I used another term previously but I’m switching to Speech.)
Poppy: Rather than me, the one who should called strange here is you, Hilda Karlyle.
Hilda Karlyle: …?
Poppy: Since you knew of my presence here long ago, why didn’t you just bring me back to the Divine Hall directly?
Poppy: If you truly thought that I was going to return to the Divine Hall after some reflection, why did you assign that test to Di Qi Ju?
Poppy: You seem to want to let me off hook yet don’t all at the same time…
Poppy: —ah, I get it.
As if she had thought of something, Poppy smiled thinly and with head lowered, approached her provocatively.
Poppy: It’s because you don’t have the ability to capture me isn’t it?
Hilda Karlyle: When have the clergymen ever acted alone?
Poppy: But aren’t you standing alone before me right now?
Poppy: Don’t tell me you really believe that words alone can make me change my mind?
Poppy: Let me think about this for a second, what other ways do you have to threaten me…
Hilda Karlyle: …what do you think?
Poppy: Are you trying to implicate him in some kind of scandal?
Poppy: That won’t do, that won’t do at all.
Poppy: You can’t blackmail me just by doing that, I’m fully aware of what kind of powers he has.
Poppy: Hurting him is basically impossible.
Hilda Karlyle: Haha.
She laughed disdainfully, finally revealing a shred of her true thoughts.
Hilda Karlyle: Then what if I blackmailed him instead?
Poppy: That’s true impossible too.
Poppy: Don’t you know? My wish ability allows me to communicate directly with him. Whatever lie you concoct will be exposed in an instant.
Hilda Karlyle: ……
Poppy: In this world, there are some things only I can give him.
Poppy: He will tirelessly toil for me till my wish has finally been fulfilled just like how I’m willing to do anything to satisfy him.
Poppy: He belongs to me and no one can take him from me. At the same time, no one can take me away from his hands.
Poppy: That feeling…it’s like if you clergymen formed the bond of your dreams with Westrealm; the feeling that there’s nothing in this world that can stop your wish from being fulfilled.
Her face reddened from the uproarious laughing while Hilda Karlyle stood quietly by the side watching, temporarily at a loss for words.
If it was merely a fight between the two, the clergyman of “Bounty” might win against the clergyman of “Speech”. (TL: Bounty will be used to describe Hilda Karlyle from now on.)
However, that’s only true if they went all out. Doing that won’t bring her back to the Divine Hall at all.
Besides, Poppy still had a trump card in her hands. A trump card known as Di Qi Ju.
Hilda Karlyle knew exactly how much she could accomplish with this trump card obeying her. In that case, there was only two options left open to her.
The first option was to test how strong this trump card was. Was this boy really that strong that Poppy could ignore the Divine Hall’s sanctions?
However, based on her previous assessment, Di Qi Ju doesn’t seem all that willing to divulge what his wish abilities were. That could only mean two things. One, that he was weak and his so-called regenerative abilities were nothing but hot air. Two, he was so strong that he could stand up to the Divine Hall or the God they believe in.
Unless Poppy had gone mad, it was most likely the latter. If that’s true however, testing Di Qi Ju was going to be a difficult matter…
The second option was to sever their connection by using Poppy as the breakthrough point…in other words, get her to give up on Di Qi Ju.
It was a tall task to be sure but this was the best option Hilda had right now. It was precisely this reason that led to her visit today.
Hilda Karlyle: Did you truly believe that I would resort to such underhanded means to settle this problem?
Poppy: Alright then, how about you enlighten me about this visit then.
Hilda Karlyle: Given your close relationship with the boy, I’m sure he had told you about the task I set him already.
Poppy: Catching a criminal isn’t it, what about it?
Poppy: Hmph, to think you actually need someone to do your job for you, some clergyman you are.
Hilda Karlyle: Hah, I set that up on purpose.
Hilda Karlyle: I gave him that task under the pretext that I knew who the criminal was already.
Poppy’s mocking stare disappeared in an instant.
Poppy: What do you mean?
Hilda Karlyle: Maybe you might think that I’m merely out to get him but…in truth, I’m just giving him an opportunity to clean up the mess.
Hilda Karlyle: After all, that criminal was the mess you caused yourself when you left the Divine Hall.
Hilda Karlyle: ……
The two glared at each other silently. To Hilda, this had to be the longest few seconds of her life.
She knew, that this was the decisive moment when victory was decided.
Poppy knew exactly who she was talking about so she definitely knew of the implications of this task.
That was the biggest reason why she left the Divine Hall and also the reason why the Divine Hall was pursuing her till this day. There’s no way she wouldn’t know of this.
According to her gut feeling, Poppy was probably trying to craft the image of an ideal woman in Di Qi Ju’s mind. Warm, understanding and worthy of his reliance. Yet what he didn’t know was that she wasn’t such a woman at all.
From birth, she was a woman that was cursed and will never be able to have an ordinary life. She could give a person the sweetest of pleasures but also the deadliest of poisons. Thus, she was “Poppy”.
Seeing the change in Poppy’s expressions, her mood changed as well. Slowly but surely, things were beginning to progress in the way she wanted.
Poppy: …Hilda Karlyle.
Hilda Karlyle: Mhm.
Poppy: …that guy, he has shown himself again?
Hilda Karlyle: That’s right.
Hilda Karlyle: Recently, he has been rather active in Skills and Reitdarke.
Poppy: …you really sent Di Qi Ju after him?
Hilda Karlyle: What’s wrong with that? For all we know, this might be the best chance for him to understand you. The real you.
Hilda Karlyle: If your relationship is truly as you say, then doesn’t he have the right to know what the real you has done before…
Hilda Karlyle: If you can’t even allow that, then your relationship with him is merely superficial, a passing dream that’s merely nice to look at but nothing substantial in the end.
Hilda Karlyle: That wish of yours would be nothing more than a castle in the sky.
Hilda Karlyle: Poppy…there are some things in this world you will never attain.
Hilda Karlyle: Those things you were born with…those secrets, we clergymen know about it.
Hilda Karlyle: The Divine Hall is the only place you can spend the rest of your life. There’s no home to be had anywhere else.
Hilda Karlyle: Only Westrealm can accept your entire being…
It was a rapid but heavy breathing. Her face had changed completely now. It was one of unease, violent and frenzied; completely unlike the calm and confident look she had.
Looking at her face, no one would doubt what kind of tragedy would ensue and yet, Hilda merely smiled.
It was a thin smile that clearly reflected the triumph she felt right now.
Hilda Karlyle: That’s right…that’s the look.
Hilda Karlyle: That’s who you are; the real Poppy.
Hilda Karlyle: That’s the curse you are born, you’ve finally revealed it.
Hilda Karlyle: You should know of this already, but only by staying in the Divine Hall will you one day be able to rid yourself of this curse and become a normal, happy human being.
Hilda Karlyle: Even if that process takes up your entire life…
Hilda Karlyle: But that’s still a lot better than randomly destroying a person’s life! Isn’t it Poppy!?
Poppy: Is that so?
Poppy: So that’s your plan?
Poppy smiled, instantly reverting back to her warm and elegant smile as if her lips were a flower that was in the midst of blooming, bewitching and fragrant. Yet, beneath this enticing exterior was a danger that no one knew of.
Poppy: I permit you to try, Hilda Karlyle.
Poppy: To try if I’m a person who can be blackmailed that easily.
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Special thanks to Kaung Thant Win Naing!!
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.