Chapter 62: Agreement Within the Temple

Damario sat in his office as he looked over the supplies for the upcoming war, but his thoughts would stray away to the missing girl: Lady Nira. Damario cursed under his breath as he slammed his fist into the desk creating a small dent. He couldn’t understand why his thoughts strayed to that girl when he barely knew her. It wasn’t like she was a lover, so he asked himself repeatedly “why”…Why was he thinking of her like this? He began to wonder if he should have killed her to prevent these thoughts. He then began to blame these thoughts on the priestess for even suggesting that he marry Lady Nira.

Damario lifted up his feather pen to try to continue to work, but his door was suddenly slammed open by Molech making Damario nearly yell out a slur of curses.

“Molech, what are you…”

“We have located the missing girl.”

Damario shot up from his chair asking, “You found Lady Nira?”

Molech nodded, but then had a complicated look making Damario look at him with narrowed eyes.

“Is there something wrong?”

“Well, we found her near the dead body of the priestess.”

“The priestess is dead?”

Molech nodded.

“That can’t be right. I spoke with her in front of the shrine not too long ago.”

“I am aware of that, but it looks like she was slain after you had left.”

Damario cursed again realizing he now had to find a new priestess, but his thoughts of this were paused when Molech suddenly said, “What is strange is that Lady Nira says that she is the new priestess.”

“…She claimed to be the new priestess?”

Molech nodded as he began to frown.

“The priestess is dead and she claims to be the new priestess…something is just not right.”

Damario also found it strange, but shook his head and then asked, “Did she say anything else?”

“She wants to speak with you at the temple.”

“Then I will go. I need to see if what she says is truth,” stated Damario as he stood up to leave, but Molech stood before him saying, “I don’t think you should see her.”

“Why do you say that?”

“The priestess was killed and she was the only one present. She might have killed the priestess and she is now aiming for your life.”

Damario frowned realizing that Molech had a right to be suspicious, but he just couldn’t envision Lady Nira as a person that would kill another, so he pushed Molech aside and said, “I will still see her. If she is the killer then I will execute her personally.” Molech gave a reluctant nod as he bowed before Damario and then watched him leave the room.

Damario walked all the way to the shrine where soldiers stood in waiting. He noticed a sheet that covered the bloody priestess and frowned.

“Is that Priestess Sapphire?”

One of the soldiers nodded. Damario ordered the soldiers to take the body away to prepare for burying and then looked at another soldier still present and asked, “Where is Lady Nira?”

“She is inside the temple, your majesty.”

Damario nodded and then ordered the remaining soldiers to leave. They seemed reluctant, until they noticed the seriousness in Damario’s eyes and practically fled, except for Grian, who remained as he approached Damario. He knelt on one knee as he faced Damario.

“Your majesty, I know that it looks like Lady Nira killed the priestess, but she is innocent. She was with me this entire time, so she could not have…”

Damario suddenly kicked Grian in the face making him fall over with a bloody nose.

“I told all soldiers to leave. That includes you.”

Grian was shaking as he stood up, but then faced Damario again and stated, “Lady Nira is innocent, so please spare her life.” Grian then ran off hoping that Lady Nira would be all right.

The moment Grian was gone Damario walked into the temple, but a frown was on his face. He felt anger when he heard that Lady Nira was with that soldier during her disappearance. It almost made him want to kill the soldier, but he pushed that thought aside as he entered deeper into the temple.

As he journeyed deeper, he began to hear the chiming of small bells like it was wind chimes shaking in the wind. He turned into the room where the sacred golden statue of Rheolis Kingdom stood and immediately saw Lady Nira kneeling before the statue ringing a small bell before her with just a tap of her fingertips. Damario was familiar with this ritual to ring the bell in the temple. It was a sign of asking for the blessing from the spirits to heal the soul of the kingdom and to ask for good fortune. This ritual could only be completed by the priestess of the kingdom. Damario was puzzled over this, wondering if Priestess Sapphire had told Lady Nira of this ritual and how to complete it before her passing.

Damario’s thoughts were interrupted, when he heard the bell fall silent. He focused his gaze on Lady Nira, only to see her stand up, place the bell at the foot of the statue, and then bow by the waist.

“May this kingdom be blessed.”

Yanira bowed one more time and then turned around, immediately taking notice of Damario. She was taken by surprise, but then bowed before him saying, “Your majesty, you have come.”

“You did ask for me to come, Lady Nira, so tell me: My captain told me that you claim to be the new priestess of Rheolis. Is this true?”

Yanira nodded and said, “Priestess Sapphire gave me her blessing before she passed and I accepted.”

“Is that right? Well my captain also holds suspicions that you were the one who killed the priestess.”

“I am aware of his suspicions. He was the one who ordered me to remain in the temple with guards surrounding it, so I can only guess that he believed I was her assassin,” stated Yanira and then looked at Damario asking, “Do you believe I am guilty?”

Damario was silent for a while, before shaking his head and stated, “It is hard for me to envision you as the killer and Priestess Sapphire did want to make you her successor, so a motive for murder is not present.”

Damario’s eyes suddenly grew serious adding, “But I do believe that you know who killed the priestess, if you were able to hear her give you her blessing before she passed.”

“You’re correct your majesty. She told me she was killed by a Cursed One.”

“A Cursed One?”

Yanira nodded and added, “Sadly I don’t know who the Cursed One is.” Yanira then touched the statue before her.

“I made a promise to the previous priestess to locate her killer and bring the Cursed One to justice. To do that, I do need your help, so I accepted the position of priestess, but only temporary.”

“Temporary?”

“Yes, I don’t plan to remain a priestess here for very long. When it is time, I will look for a new priestess to take my place,” stated Yanira and then faced Damario again, “As a priestess, though temporary, will you support me?”

Damario’s mind in truth was greatly bewildered. He learned that the priestess was killed by a Cursed One, which was believed to be extinct, and then he learned that Lady Nira was a priestess as a temporary one. The information seemed overwhelming to him, but when he looked into Yanira’s golden eyes, he felt that everything she said was correct.

“You have my support. I will clear your name of this murder and find the Cursed One, but during that time, I expect you to remain as priestess. As for the search for the new priestess, it will remain on hold until the Cursed One is located.”

“I can agree to those terms,” stated Yanira with a smile. Yanira turned away from Damario as she faced the statue and stated, “I will remain here, until you inform your captain of this information. He was the most suspicious towards me compared to the other soldiers.”

Damario nodded and turned to leave, but then he remembered Grian’s words and turned back to Yanira asking, “When you went missing, were you truly with the soldier named Grian the entire time?”

“…Yes, he was kind to lead me back here.”

Yanira felt at that time that it was unwise to mention the fairies’ test to Damario. She suddenly felt a slight chill and glanced back at Damario only to see a dark expression on his face.

“Your majesty, is something wrong?”

“…Nothing, please continue your blessings on this kingdom. I will be back shortly.”

Yanira nodded as she took the bell once again and began to ring it with the tips of her fingers as Damario left, but she wondered why his expression was so dark before. It was as if he was ready to kill someone.

Damario exited the temple staggering. He felt like he was drunk after hearing that Lady Nira was with the soldier. He couldn’t explain it. He felt at that moment that he wanted to kill Grian with his own hands, but he knew it was illogical, since Grian did help Lady Nira return. There was no reason for him to feel this hostile toward Grian.

Damario shook away his dark thoughts and walked forward with a goal to clear Lady Nira’s name with his Captain and to locate the Cursed One. He also knew that he had to announce to his kingdom that a new priestess had appeared.

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