The Boy With No Shadow and the Inquisition Officers
“There’s a child with no shadow?”
An old man was wearing a characteristically styled hat of a priest, a cape, and a white robe with a stand-up collar where the hemming was embroidered with gold. He was the head priest of the Guardian Church of the Wind; a Marseille parish.
This Head Priest had just received a special report from a parish priest. The Guardian Church was under the jurisdiction of a larger “Church” organization that could be found all over the continent, for each guardian deity it has its own Church. This Church had a guardian deity of the wind attribute.
“Yes, an orphan from the orphanage claimed to have witnessed it personally on the beach. According to the orphan’s story, the boy with no shadow had removed a portion of the seawater to help a drowning child.”
“What? Isn’t it just a made up story from child? Ignore it.”
The Head Priest didn’t pay much attention to it, simply signing the piled up documents with a quill.
“It would be great if that was the case, but. . .”
The priest began to explain in a very serious manner.
“Since the orphan was annoyingly noisy about it, the priest in charge of the orphanage’s religious affairs went with the child to the beach the next day. And then. . . it seems that divine power had accumulated in that area.”
Accumulation of divine power means that a powerful Divine Art had to of been used there.
“You said the next day, so it still remained?”
The Head Priest was doubtful. If a large scale Divine Art was used by a powerful Divine Art user on the level of Emperor, then some divine power will accumulate in that area. Though it would only remain for up to several hours. For it to remain for a full day, that was hard to believe right away.
“I’m certain that the accumulated divine power didn’t disappear. Many priests have confirmed it too.”
That’s abnormal, the Head Priest got flustered.
“The seawater was removed. . .? Did he use a Water Divine Art of the negative attribute?”
“Do you really think so? The orphan said that a column of seawater was removed. Can a Divine Art do such a thing?”
If it was true that the accumulation of divine power had occurred, then it was certain that the boy with no shadow had used a Divine Art. However, he had never heard of, nor seen, such a Divine Art. The Head Priest, who had finished signing the documents, began to grin unkowingly as he listened closely to the priest’s story.
Colorful lights were leaking in through the stained glass windows, causing a fantastical atmosphere to drift into the large room where the Head Priest was located. The flame of a nearby candlestick was wavering solemnly.
“Yet he had no shadow. Wait, what does that even mean in the first place?”
“Could he be an evil spirit?”
Nonetheless, evil spirits don’t usually walk in broad daylight, nor can they accumulate divine power since they haven’t received the divine blessings of the Gods. That was the conclusion the Head Priest had came up with.
“The boy they saw was said to have light blonde hair, and his skin was slightly fair. Within the diocese of Marseille, there isn’t a boy that has blonde hair and the negative attribute of water.”
It was a strange story. Even though the Head Priest had been in power for a long time, he didn’t remember anyone who would fit that description. First of all, the Head Priest had memorized all negative attribute users of every element within the diocese of Marseille, since negative attribute users were very rare.
“Does the orphan who witnessed still remember the face of the boy? It might be a Divine Art user from another diocese.”
The Head Priest began to press for an answer.
“They were quite far away, so the orphan didn’t get a good look.”
If he thought about it carefully, the child might have mistakenly seen that he had no shadow and can erase water because that person has a powerful negative attribute. The Head Priest decided to contact the upper echelons. He was afraid that a child with such a powerful ability might recklessly use their divine power in the city, because they are still immature. So that it would not turn out that way, centralized training from a special agency would be necessary.
“Get in contact with the Inquisition Bureau. And locate the boy.”
“As you command.”
The Inquisition Bureau of the Great Church. It was a bureau specialized in purging heretics and exorcising evil spirits.
A few days later, an order to search for the boy was sent to all the parish churches on the continent.
Such events were not known to Falma.
Falma and the gang finished their inspection of the Marseille Province and went back to the Imperial Capital. While they were gone for a week, the pharmacy had been closed. Upon their return, the business was reopened. Just as Falma prepared to go back to work, the Captain Knight guard from the pharmacy rushed over to de Médicis mansion.
“A wagon crashed into the pharmacy!?”
It happened while Bruno was having breakfast with Falma.
“Yes my Lord, the door of the shop and some products were damaged. Normally we guard using a two-person system, however, when morning came we opened the iron gate. It was then that two wagons with no coachmen rode through the gap in the gate and crashed in quick succession. We weren’t able to stop it, even though we were there. We are very sorry, my Lord. We also don’t know who the owner of the wagon was, as it didn’t even have a registration number.”
“What about the compounding room?”
The compounding room was located behind the counter, which meant that it was isolated. It was the core of the pharmacy, and Falma would be distressed if that room was ruined.
“The compounding room is safe.”
“What cargo was the wagon carrying?”
Falma could easily eliminate the spilled cargo if the chemical compound was simple, then he would be able to immediately reopen. Also, it was the day after the holiday break, so there were many patients who had been scheduled to come in and receive their prescriptions. Their arrival would hopefully make up for the lost sales they encountered while the pharmacy was closed.
“It was dirt and sands.”
There was uncertainty in the knight’s report.
Ah, I will have to temporarily close the pharmacy, and so Falma gave up today’s sales. Before the opening time of the store, he had to quickly create a notice.
“Oh well. . . It’s a good thing the wagon was unmanned when it crashed.”
His mother was concerned. When Lotte and Cedric came into the room, they understood the unusual atmosphere and kept quiet.
“Someone is trying to sabotage our business..”
When Bruno was done eating, he said the same words that Falma was thinking of.
“To some, a shop that sells strange medicines isn’t amusing in the slightest. They think it’s frightening, and there are even those who think that it’s harmful.”
It was practically impossible for them to do business. Rather, the shop looked so different that it made customers think that the shop was a dangerous place.
“Perhaps. . .”
He had a bad feeling about it. The saboteurs might attempt to do something similar to Medique.
“We have to reopen the pharmacy as soon as possible. Our customers will dwindle the longer we dawdle.”
“This is. . .”
“This is terrible. . . The shop is a mess.”
When Falma, Lotte, and Cedric went to the pharmacy, they were met with a horrible sight. Did the dirt from the cargo rot? The shop was filled with a terrible smell, and part of the interior was almost filled with both dirt and sand. Luckily, as the knight had said, the compounding room was safe. Since Cedric’s Divine Art was Earth of the positive attribute, it wasn’t possible for him to remove the dirt and sand using divine power. However, he was able to purify the contaminated soil.
“Purification (La épuration)”
Cedric held his wand and chanted the activation spell, purifying the soil.
“Thank you Mr. Cedric, the smell has disappeared now.”
“Tis the only thing I could do.”
Cedric sniffed in vexation.
“What is the meaning of this!?”
Without knowing anything about the situation, Ellen arrived at the pharmacy after having ridden a horse all the way from the Bonnefoi mansion.. Her shout resounded as she was about to get to work.
“Ellen, can you take the take the medicines in the compounding room over to Medique and start working there instead? I want to be able to send the patients there.”
Falma entered the clean compounding room that was separated by a wall, and began compounding all the medicines for the patients who supposed to come by today. After finishing, he entrusted the medicine bag and a list of the patients to Ellen. He also handed over the compounding set and vials.
“Here. . . This is only enough for all of the patients who scheduled to come today. So if a new patient comes in, I’ll write the prescription and send it over to Medique.”
“Uh, Uhm. Understood.”
Ellen had recently learned quite a bit from Falma, it was to the point where she could compound modern medicine by imitating Falma’s techniques. If she hadn’t learned information from Falma, then she wouldn’t be able to cope with diseases other than the standard ones. Although it was possible to prescribe medical herbs and the like using this world’s traditional pharmaceutical knowledge, Ellen believed that Falma’s medicines were more effective, so she switch her formulation techniques.
“Finally, Ellen, do not fully open the iron gate in front of Medique.”
“Why? Will that place also get attacked?”
“Just a precaution, please be careful. Also, I want you to bring along Lotte too.”
“Eeh!? I want to help you here!”
“I understand, let’s go Lottelita. You should listen to what the boss says.”
“If a suspicious person comes, I’ll drive them away with my Divine Art!”
Falma decided to leave it to Ellen since she was an excellent Water Divine Art user. He remained at the Diversis Mundi Pharmacy, and began formulating a plan for reconstruction.
“What the hell happened here. . . Who were the bastards that did this to my favorite shop!?”
Jean was an old man who always came first thing in the morning, before the shop even opened. After seeing the plight of the shop, he was outraged.
“I thought I could finally buy some candy today! So this means I can’t drink the water then eitherー!?”
Falma was unable to say anything after he heard the old man. He started to search for the “sailor’s candy” inside the shop; where all the products were scattered and buried inside the pile of dirt and sand. Fortunately, the candy was safe in a jar on the top of a nearby shelf, though it looked as if it could collapse at any moment. Falma took the jar and handed it to the old man, Jean.
“The jar looks dirty on the outside, but it’s clean inside. Because Mr. Jean is my best customer, I’ll give this to you. In addition, when the shop reopens, please do come and buy.”
“Wooooo. . .! So you are just going to give this to me for free!?”
Old man Jean’s sparkled as he ran away with the jar held in his hands. He ran in a way that Falma didn’t think it was possible for an old man like him.
“Sir Royal Court Apothecary, don’t be disheartened.”
“If there is anything that I can do, please let me help.”
“Let us assist him.”
The neighboring shopkeepers, who were all close to Falma, had come out to the street feeling sorry for the calamity. They said they would lend him their apprentices, to help remove the wreckage made by the wagon.
“Thank very much, you have saved me the trouble.”
Little by little, people who came to help increased.
Around the time when the pharmacy would normally open, the customers who were looking forward to doing business after a long time began arriving one after another. Falma was greeted several times as the newcomers saw that the shop was not ready for business. He just shook his head—- The patients who required medication were led to the second shop. As for the new patients, Falma wrote their prescription on the spot, and then told them to bring it with them to the second shop.
Numerous townspeople noticed what had happened and volunteered to help in cleaning up.
“Everyone. . . Thank you very much!”
Falma gave thanks as he bowed to the volunteers,
“It is because this pharmacy is necessary for us.”
The regulars who suffered from chronic diseases, smiled and laughed while sweating from work. Cedric said, “It looks like this pharmacy has already taken root in this region.” with passionate eyes.
“We will help too.”
After a while, old man Jean came back. He brought along 10 brawny men, who were muscular and half naked. Falma was taken aback.
“Who are these people?”
“They are young men from my home. This is payment for the sailor’s candy.”
Old man Jean motioned them with a flick of his chin to help out Falma. From the tattoos of anchors and port names on their arms, they appeared to be men of the sea. They looked as though they had absolute obedience towards old man Jean. Although Falma guessed that old man might be a retired fishing captain, he didn’t actually know much else about him.
Thanks to the new workers, they managed to pile the sandbags that were carried out from the store in a twinkle. Also, when the Empress had heard of their circumstances, she sent soldiers to increase the security of Medique. They also helped in putting everything in order. The Empress’ page, Noah, came to see the place.
“Her Majesty was angry you know. To make a mess of a shop that had been granted the Royal Charter seal from the empire. I was completely scared shitlessー”
Noah saw her fury and wanted to run away.
“What do you think will be done? Will she retaliate?”
“I think it will be a purge. Do you have any idea who was the mastermind?”
“There are many I can think of, but I really don’t know who.”
The Apothecary Guild was the most probable one, although he couldn’t say that with full certainty. Besides, there was no evidence anyway. If Falma carelessly said that it was the Apothecary Guild, then the Empress would most likely crush them. As such, he didn’t take any action, for it could lead to a false accusation.
“Her Majesty will send some craftsmen to fix the interior. If you can finish cleaning out the dirt and sand today, then we can have the shop l repaired by tomorrow and ready for business the day after that.”
As expected of her Majesty, she was quick to act. To have the Empress’ support was a fortunate thing, and Falma was grateful for it.
“Let’s take a break since it’s lunchtime. Everyone, thank you for your work. Truly, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“Yeah, lunchtime had arrived.”
“You are very kind.”
It was then that they took a lunch break. Falma and Cedric got down and dirty in the morning, so they changed out of their dirty clothes. They then went and ate their lunch at a restaurant across the street.
“Master Falma, it looks like we managed to finish just as dusk approaches.”
“It’s because everyone came to help.”
Just when Falma and Cedric sat down on a bench outside the shop to take a break, a voice called out to them.
“Sir Apothecary, we have a patient. Please help!”
A young woman in a panicked state approached Falma.
“My father who was working under the hot sun has fallen down. He won’t wake up! Please, he’s just around the corner!”
“Is it a heat stroke? I got it, let’s go.”
Falma went back to his shop and fetched his medical bag used for house calls, then mounted a horse. The woman also climbed up on the horse.
“Master Falma, are you going to be alright by yourself?”
Cedric called him out anxiously.
“If things get out of hand, I will return immediately to ask for assistance.”
“Well then, just leave this work here to me.”
Falma rode the horse while being guided by the woman. Soon, they arrived at the top of a hill on the edge of the Imperial Capital. If they hadn’t been in a rush, they could’ve enjoyed the great view overlooking the Imperial Capital. It should be nearby. . . Falma was immediately doubtful. The area was was a deserted and desolate place.
“Here you say?”
Falma got down from the horse along with the woman.
I wonder if there really is a person who had fallen down. More importantly, what is he doing in a place like this?
Falma wasn’t able to finish speaking before someone called out.
White clothed men riding horses climbed up from the bottom of the hill in formation. The woman had disappeared almost immediately.
It’s a trap!
Falma seemed to cringe after realising he was outnumbered.
Every man who was on a horse had a wand. They were clearly combat Divine Art users, and not just thugs who just bully.
“We are the Inquisition officials from the Inquisition Bureau of the Great Church.”
They all wore white clothes with many different features, most of which appeared to be for Anti-Divine Art use. They also wore the armband of the Church Holy Knights.
“Do you have some business with me?”
“By the command of the Great Church, we are searching for a blonde haired boy with no shadow.”
That’s me! How long have they’ve been looking for me!?
It seemed that other than Falma, there were no other children without shadows.
“It was careless of me to be walking so openly in broad daylight.”
“Why don’t you have a shadow?”
The sun was still out, and the sky was clear above the hill. Yet there was no shadow at Falma’s feet. If he had layered his clothing, there would have been some shadows due to the clothes. Though if he dresses lightly, his shadow disappears. Meanwhile, dark shadows fell directly at the feet of the inquisition officers.
“Are you an evil spirit?”
“I am not an evil spirit!”
At worst, I may be a ghost. But I shouldn’t be an evil spirit at least. Is what Falma thought.
“Then what is that!?”
One man grew impatient after they had been stumped by Falma’s reply.
“Raise your hands, and move 10 steps back.”
The man had called out with a threatening voice. Falma was told to move back 10 steps, to an area with flat ground and no grass.
A man shouted out as he jumped from his horse and stabbed his wand into the ground. Then he began e chanting a first rate anti-evil spirit barrier. It was a precise Divine Art magic formation that was etched to the ground beforehand, and then activated by pouring in divine power. Red light gushed out from the ground, and then a flash assaulted Falma’s eyes. However,
With a loud explosion, the barrier disintegrated.
“The anti-evil spirit barrier didn’t work!?”
“Uhm, I am not an evil spirit.”
Those words sounded goofy.
Another man quickly tried to find out Falma’s real identity,
“Reveal your true identity!”
”Storm Flame (Tempête de la flamme)”
As soon as he said it, his chant activated a flame which he then launched.
Suddenly, the battle began.
Falma threw his medical bag on the hill, raised his left hand, and chantlessly generated a large amount of nitrogen as he held his breath. At the same time, the surrounding oxygen was also removed from the area around the flame. He had received battle training for unexpected situations from Ellen, as preparation for being a noble. As for Falma’s body which had high defensive power, even if the attack was successful he would hardly be damaged—receiving at most a few minor scratches. Even with Ellen as an opponent, he didn’t shed a single drop of blood. Falma was worried as he murmured, “Will I kill my opponent if I go too far?” The flame disappeared before it could even hit him. In order to prevent fainting, he also removed the nitrogen.
“Wha. . . barehanded!? Negative attribute of Fire!?”
One of the Water Divine Art users fired off an Ice type attack, but Falma eliminated it the with the ability on his right hand without difficulty.
“Negative attribute of water too!?”
Normally, Divine Art users don’t have multiple attributes, so the men were confused.
Will scattering vaporized anesthesia make them faint? Ah, I would also faint.
Then, can I make them faint with light dehydration and hypoglycemia?
Falma was trying to explore and analyze how to somehow survive this encounter without hurting his opponents. Though, even if he let them go, as long as his position in the pharmacy was exposed already, the Inquisition will just come for him again and again. He could silence them here, but somebody nearby may have already seen them. Even then, killing them was not an option to begin with. However,
“The order was dead or alive. Kill him.”
The order to kill was given clearly by the man who had an armband with a double line, which signified that he was the leader.
Heretics must die. That was what was on their mind.
With this, it was highly unlikely to escape without one party getting hurt.