Chapter 62: Religious beliefs

Hillian and I didn’t have the best start, so I wasn’t sure what kind of person he was.
Lord Balk had appointed him as the negotiator, so I trusted in his abilities, but I didn’t know much about him.
I was unsure of how to approach him for a consultation.

As I was trying to figure out what to do, Hillian pulled out a soft white glove from his pocket and put it on.

“May I touch the stone for a moment so I can communicate with it? I promise not to harm it,” Hillian said.

“…I had a feeling from your appearance.
Are you from the Sinn Fe country?”

I had learned about the Sinn Fe country from history books and materials, but it seemed like there was more to the relationship between Randy and Hillian that I wasn’t aware of.

I was curious about Hillian’s claim of communicating with the stone.
Did he have a keen eye for gemstones, or was he just making grandiose statements?

Randy-sama noticed my curious expression and glanced at Hillian.
It seemed like there was something that Hillian needed to explain to me.

I followed his gaze and looked at Hillian.
He looked back into my eyes and I could tell he was thinking, ‘Do I need to explain it?’ because I wouldn’t understand what he meant unless he did.

With a sigh of resignation, Hillian began to explain.

“Sinn Fe is a country that worships the Four Gods.
You probably already know this, but the Four Gods are said to be the gods sitting in the dragon veins located in the east, west, south, and north.
I won’t go into too much detail, but you’re already familiar with this?”

“Yes, I know.
The Faithnum Empire is monotheistic, but they didn’t force their religion on their subordinate countries.
To prevent rebellion, they had a policy of not touching the topic,” I replied.

I personally don’t believe in the existence of gods, I said.
I see religion as more of a political tool.
Like in the Baratonia Kingdom, each country recognizes its own religion, and the Faithnum Empire doesn’t force anything upon them.

Having a shared faith helps to unite people’s hearts, but invading someone else’s heart only leads to rebellion.
This is a lesson that the Faithnum Empire, with its history of rebellions, has learned.

“The places where the four gods are worshipped are referred to as ‘shrines’ or ‘jinja,’ and there is a priest who offers morning and evening offerings to the gods, arranges the seating, and sometimes listens to the wishes of the people.
Although the priest’s expressions may seem fake, it’s just part of the culture.”

Randy-sama supplemented Hillian’s words, saying, “For Princess Claire, the gods are not very familiar.
But in the Kingdom of Dragnate, there is a priest in the temple, and stones are offered as offerings.
People who have cultures close to nature often believe in gods or something beyond human understanding.
Fishermen from the Kingdom of Baratonia also pray to the sea god before going fishing.”

I have not talked to fishermen, so I did not know, but I can understand the idea of having faith in something that one does not sense their existence, even though I cannot fully empathize with it.

I then reflected on the fact that my meeting with Gauche as siblings in the Kingdom of Baratonia might also have been a result of such faith.
This idea touched my heart and I felt a sense of connection to it.

“I was raised as a priest’s child serving in the Azure Dragon shrine among the Four Gods,” Hillian continued.
“Since I had many older brothers, I decided to leave my home country and work in Baratonia, but I received some training from my childhood.
Please remember that the Azure Dragon is the same as the god of the Dragnate Kingdom.
I will explain it properly later.”

“…In other words, you have the ability to communicate with stones, like a priest from the Dragnate Kingdom?”

“Yes, that’s right.
Do you believe me?” he replied, feeling uncertain.

Hillian was probably aware of my lack of confidence, but my curiosity overpowered my doubts.

“I believe you,” I said.
“I actually have a problem with three stones myself.”

“Which stones?” asked Hillian.
“Has a stone enchanted you?”

The last one was probably excluded because it was the only one Hillian could get.

“The ‘Deep Sea’, ‘Spring’, and ‘Eternal First Summer’.
I need to choose two of these three.

“I understand.
May I proceed, Marquis Bogwarts?” asked Hillian.

“Yes, I’ll leave it to you, as a priest of the Azure Dragon,” replied Randy-sama.

“Thank you very much,” said Hillian.

The Azure Dragon, one of the Four Gods, seemed to differ from the religious beliefs of the Dragnate Kingdom, which worships the sun god, but Hillian didn’t say anything about it, as it was said that it would be explained later.

“Claire-sama, I don’t know how this will appear to your eyes, but please don’t raise your voice if you feel something strange,” warned Hillian.

I nodded silently, understanding his concern.
Perhaps something that can only be seen by those with faith might happen, or maybe I, being aware of my lack of faith, wouldn’t be able to see anything strange.

With that, Hillian gently retrieved something from the “deep sea”.

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