56-In the Holy Fountain

 I'm coming with Sonia to the Sacred Spring.
 At the top of the stone stairs, the terrain is wide open, and a circular fountain spreads out before us, hidden by the forest.
 Behind the fountain is a huge statue of a goddess with her hands clasped in front of her chest.
 The space was filled with serenity.

"Then--let's get started.

 And then Sonia said, and began to take off the clothes she was wearing. As she did so, she began to take off her clothes. Her feathers fell away, and her immaculate white garments fell quietly to the ground.
 She had no clothes on at all.
 The blue light of the crescent moon overhead made her naked body stand out in the darkness.

You're not surprised, are you?
 Sonia said, looking at me.
'No. I'm surprised. No, I'm surprised, I'm just not expressing it," I said. I'm just surprised you're not showing more emotion," I said.
I'm not too young to be ashamed of my body.
 Sonia's body was lean and beautiful.

 Her breasts were firm and firm.
 Her hands and feet were as sharp as blades.
 Her body was toned and free of excess flesh.
 She certainly had something to be proud of.
 In the moonlight, he was as mysterious as a statue of ice.

"So you're not looking away, are you?
"I'm an escort. I can't take my eyes off Her Royal Highness.
"Hmm. Zeke. You're either a big man, or you're a very dirty man.

 Sonia's mouth parted in amusement as she said this.

"You're still good. You are too good to be left as a guard. I want you to swear allegiance only to me as my bodyguard.

"Your Highness. I appreciate the sentiment, but ......
Sonia is fine.
You don't have to call me Your Highness or Light Maiden.

 I see, said Sonia.

You will address me by my name from now on. From now on you will address me by my first name, which I do not allow to anyone else.
Thank you, sir.
Come on. Call me by my name.
Yes, sir. Miss Sonia.

 Sonia smiled a small smile of satisfaction.

"Feast your eyes on my body during the ceremony. It's your privilege.

 She said happily and walked towards the fountain.
 No, I didn't mean anything like that. .......
 In front of a sacred ceremony, such insolent thoughts do not bubble up.
 I'm just going to be her bodyguard and see to it that her ritual is completed safely. But I'm sure she was joking, and she knew it.
 When Sonia reached the water's edge, she slowly touched her toes to the surface of the spring. When her white skin touched the border of the blue spring, it gently melted and blended with it.
 She stood in the center of the spring. She was submerged up to her waist. A gentle arch runs from her neck to her back.


 Sonia meditates and clasps her hands together in front of her chest.
 The way she prayed to the goddess statue was simply pure.
 There is no cloudiness, no stagnation, no superfluous thoughts.

 There was only purity and righteousness.
 Soon, the body of the praying woman began to glow with a faint light. From the bottom of the fountain, particles of light began to rise.
 A swarm of light rising into the sky like fireflies filled the sacred spring.

 I gasped at the fantastic sight.
 Sonia turned around and looked straight at me. I was impressed by her clear, honest eyes, enveloped in light.

There's still some time before my body is full of power. In the meantime, I'll talk with you to pass the boredom.
If it's all right with you, I'll go with you.
Very well. I like things that are true to me.

 Sonia said with a small smile on her lips.

"Zeke. I have a question for you.
What is it?
Why are you willing to risk your life to protect it? Why are you willing to risk your life to protect me, a priestess of light, the Orb of Light, and the people of this city? Are you motivated by the cause of saving humanity? Or is it because it's your job? I'm interested in you as a person.
"That's .......

 Why would you risk your life to protect it?
 I was about to answer.

I'm protecting the Orb of Light because that's what I'm supposed to do.
 "I protect the Orb of Light because it is my mission.
I was born with the blood of a priestess of light, and I had no other choice. My life was predetermined from the moment I was born. When I was placed in a convent at an early age, I was forced to undergo a long period of training to awaken the power of the light priestess.

 From the moment she was born, she was destined to live as a priestess of light.
 She is forced to live not as Sonia, but as a princess, to fulfill her role as a priestess of light to save mankind from the hands of the Demon King.

So I have no desire to protect humanity whatsoever. I have only done so because I had to.

 No," Sonia denied her own words.

I rather hate humanity. I even wish that the Demon Lord would return and the world would be destroyed.
"Are you serious about that?
I'm not so cheap as to try to get people's attention with falsehoods. I am not a cheap woman who tries to get people's attention with falsehoods.

 Sonia's mouth twisted into a gloomy smile.

I told you because you're the only one here. I can't tell the others about this, I'm afraid.
You don't think I'm going to tell anyone?
You would never do such a trivial thing. I've seen a lot of people in my life. I know that much.

 Sonia said.

"The royals and nobles only care about protecting their privileges and lining their own pockets. They are like vile pigs. The lower classes are all fools who blame others for their current circumstances, only complaining and refusing to do anything about it. The people outside of this city know that our lives are being spent to maintain the Demon Lord's seal, and they force us to do all the work and live freely. Pretend you don't see it. ...... I don't think they are worthy of protection.

 But," she continued.

I am a priestess of light. I was born with a mission to protect humanity. There is no escaping this role. My life is spent protecting those I deem trivial and unworthy of protection. But not you, Zeke. You're not as crippled as I am. There are plenty of other options out there. So why are you risking your life to serve in the Guard?

 Like clinging.
 Or as if praying.

"Zeke. Answer me.

 Sonia looked me straight in the eye and said...

"Is this world, these people, worth protecting? Are they worth risking our lives to protect?
 That's what she asked me.
 There was none of her usual bravado in her appearance.
 She looked as if she was about to burst into tears.
 Like a cracked ice statue.
 Like a cracked ice statue, threatening to shatter into pieces if you touched it too hard.

 I spun the words.
 Sonia must have been living in conflict all her life.
 She was born with a mission to protect humanity.
 But is the human race really worth protecting?
 Everyone thinks only of themselves, and pretends not to see the weak and discards them. They're all selfish fools.
 I'm sure this is what she wants to ask me.
 Is it because of my job that I'm a dangerous guard?
 Or is it a sense of duty to protect mankind from the hands of demons?
 If it's the latter, then...
 If it's the latter, then this human race is not worth protecting.

I became a guard because I was expelled from the party I was in. The Adventurer's Guild offered me a job, and this is what I got.

 After being expelled from the Red Fang, I lost my job, and the receptionist at the Adventurer's Guild introduced me to this guard position in King's Landing.

So, I didn't have any sense of mission. I was paid a salary, so I was going to work for it.

 That's all I wanted to do.

After I started working, I began to feel a sense of mission. If I allowed the enemy to enter, the Demon Lord might return and the world might be in danger.


I don't continue to serve in the Guard because it's my job, or because I feel the need to protect humanity.
Then why?
I just want to protect the people I care about. I just want to protect the people I care about, my colleagues in the guards, my former comrades, the people of the city.

 I said.

There are people I don't like. There are a lot of things I can't stand. There are things I don't like about them, things that make me wonder if they're worth protecting from the perspective of humanity as a whole. But in order to protect the people I care about, I've decided to protect humanity from the hands of the demon race.

 If humanity is destroyed, the people I care about will also disappear.
 In order to protect the people I care about, I need to defend the Orb of Light from the hands of the demons.
 That will in turn protect the entire human race.

I see. So you're saying that humanity is just a stopgap. That's an interesting way of thinking. I've never thought of it that way.

 Sonia, who had been pondering for a long time.

"Hmm. You've always been beyond my imagination.

 And now she was smiling happily.

"Zeke. I have one more question for you.
Am I among the people you want to protect?
Of course.
...... Even if I were to lose my light maiden powers. Would you still risk your life to protect me?

 Sonia asked me in a more formal manner.

"I'm not a light priestess or a princess, I'm Sonia.
I will protect her. If that's what you want. Even at the cost of my life.

...... I see.

 I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not.
 In the event that you're not sure what you're looking for, you'll be able to find a lot more information on the web.

It's a great way to make sure you're getting the most out of your vacation. ...... Zeke. I'm not sure what to do, but I'm going to do it.