Side Story: The Maid and the Archbishop

I don’t pray to God.

There is no God anywhere.

There is only ta——sin here.

The afterglow of dusk casts a shadow on the stone floor.

The place called the cathedral is dim for some reason. It is not only during the daytime, but also at night, that the true darkness closes in.

The cathedral, which should call the mother goddess light, contains darkness…Once upon a time, I was only a child who was frightened by the darkness.

But now I am an inhabitant of that darkness.

Clad in a heavy holy robe with gold and silver threads sewn into it, sprinkling the rose incense of the goddess and leading her people to peace…only then did I realize that.

It is because of the darkness that the light of the mother goddess’ guidance shines even brighter.

It is only because it is in the darkness that it looks so beautiful.

I see, the cathedral is the house of God on earth. There are many ways to make an effective impression.

How to guide the human heart…I learned that in this darkness.

But this cold is the only thing I’ll never get used to…

I don’t mind the dimness, the high ceiling, and the noise, but I can’t stand this chill that seems to freeze me to the core.

The building is made of stone, but because it is a cathedral, the height of the ceiling cannot be ignored.

This is a cathedral attached to the crown prince, and there are almost no users. There is no fire in the chapel, which is probably the main reason why it is so cold.

“…Your Highness…No Your Eminence.”

A secret voice calls out to me.

I look up with a small smile on my face as I wait for the person who is coming.


“Thank you for your patience.”

“No, it’s fine.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen my milk sister (same nanny), and she looks much more vivacious than before.

“Are you incognito this time?”

“It’s not like that. It’s just that I don’t feel like seeing my father or mother right away just because I came here.”

As you know, I’m not very good with mother.

When I say this, Lilia gives me an embarrassed look.

“Let’s just call this time a snubbery. Because right now I’m just a messenger of Supreme Cardinal Julius.”

It’s a secret, and when I gently put my finger to my lips, Lilia nods slightly.

Nevertheless, my brother must know that I entered the royal palace.

Since I entered here through the gates, even if I could evade my father’s and mother’s eyes, I wouldn’t be able to escape my brother’s eyes.

It’s not that there’s a problem with setting foot in the royal palace. Even though I’ve already left the royal family, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m a prince.

I have let go of the privileges that princes have…the secular one, and I have gained the sacred privileges instead. It’s hard to say which is better, in general.

The Archbishop—it’s an incredible position, considering my age. After all, even the holy church cannot be separated from the secular world.

I’ve been called a clergyman, but I still don’t believe in God.

“I am glad to see you are well. Please let me see you more often. Have you been eating properly? Do you like or dislike it?”

“Always the same, Lilia.”

Even though she was only two months younger than me, Lilia treated me like she was a big sister from a very young age.

Lilia has always taken much better care of me than my own sister, Alienor.

“It’s been three years since I’ve seen you.”

Was that before you went to Gihinia?


From the time I can remember, until I entered seminary, we were always together.

It never occurred to me to leave …… until my nanny and Lilia’s mother, Baroness Hartley, died.

Congratulations on your move to Gittice.

Thank you.

I would still be in a provincial city in the north of the country if I had not become Archbishop of this Diocese of Gittice, which includes the royal city of Al Greya.

It is highly unusual for a man of my age to take the archbishopric, but up until now, the diocese has been a city that seems to be close to the provincial frontier, and there has been no one who would openly oppose it because I am the son of a king born to the First Queen.

But when the diocese is Gittice, it doesn’t go as it used to.

The Archbishop of the Diocese of Gittice is also known as the ‘Archbishop of the Royal Capital.’ He has much more power than a normal cardinal.

“…I’m think it’s my brother’s intention.”

When I just call him older brother, it means the eldest brother, the crown prince. Because I call my second brother by the name, Al.

I have no doubt that my brother’s will is at work regarding my transfer to the parish.

Al described my older brother as someone who ‘even uses the dead,’ and he was right. I think my brother has had enough of me being a tightwad and a recluse in the North.

My brother hates laziness. He doesn’t allow cutting corners or skipping work.

And the closer he is to people who are close to him, the harder he is on them.

“He trusts you.”

“I don’t know. I’m sure he believes in me, but I don’t think they’re relying on me…”

“it can’t be helped. Master Shion is a spoiled, selfish child.”

“Because I’m the youngest.”

I have half-brothers and sisters, but I don’t know much about them. I joined the church before I had any contact with them most of the time, so I didn’t realize I was their brother, and I’ve always thought of myself as the youngest.

“By the way, what’s that?”

I was curious about the basket Lilia was carrying from earlier.

“Oh, this is Her Royal Highness’…”

“Her Highness…? Princess Arthirea?”

“Yes. When I asked for permission to excuse my presence, I mentioned that I would be meeting with Master Shion… and then she gave me this.”

“What is it?”

“…It’s a snack for you.”


“It’s a snack. Her Highness has taken an interest in baking these days.”

“Hey…is it edible?”

There are a few ladies who make pastries as a hobby. But whether or not they can produce something edible are two different things.

Well, the edible ones are often made by the confectioner or the cook, without the knowledge of the person who thinks he or she is making them.

“Please try it. If it’s Master Shion, you’ll want to ask Her Highness to marry you instantly.”

Giggling, Lilia laughs.

Because she knows I still have a penchant for sweet treats.

When I was little, I used to mess around by saying that I was going to marry a confectioner who made my favorite apple pudding. I thought that if I married her, I would be able to have apple pudding every day.

Lilia spreads a deep green striped cloth over the congregation pew and brings out the contents of the basket.

“Here you go.”

Steam rose from the cup that I was handed.


I’m a little surprised. Even if it was put it in right before I came in, I’m surprised it’s been able to keep this warm.

“Here it is. There’s a large canteen in this cloth, like the ones used by the army.”


“Her Highness made a cover to keep it from getting cold.”

Military water bottles are made of plain metal. They are too hot to hold intact. In the winter, they are sometimes wrapped in a cloth and used as hot water bottles.

I looked at the cover of the canteen in a pensive manner. It is filled with a thick layer of cotton and is the perfect bag for a water bottle. I’ll have the church make one for me next time.

“…Delicious. What is this?”

I found out that the drink was twist on tea.

It’s slightly sweet and has a very strong tea and milk taste. It was accompanied by cinnamon and something fragrant.

“Her Royal Highness said it was ‘chai.’ It’s a drink found in old literature and arranged in a Dardinian style…Her Highness knows a lot about old literature dishes and such.


It was a drink that warmed me to the core. The taste of cinnamon and honey is exquisite. And it doesn’t smell like milk at all.

“This is a cookie and a pancake sandwich.”

“Pancake sandwich?”

“She baked smaller pancakes and put cream between them.”

I receive a pancake sandwich wrapped in thin wax paper.

It was a neatly rounded pancake with some yellow cream stuck in between.

I took a bite as recommended.

Although I was born into a royal family and still have to be careful about poison even now that I’m a high ranking archbishop, there was no mistaking what Lilia was recommending.


The words honestly spill out.

The cream tastes of eggs and milk, with a little bit of liqueur drizzled over it. It’s the accent that makes this pastry special.

“The cream tastes different.”

“Yeah…I see, this is kind of awesome. Definitely makes me want to propose.”

If I could have this taste every day, I would consider marriage.

Many high-ranking clergy in the State Church are celibates who have taken monastic vows, but marriage is not separately forbidden. In the Luthia Holy Church, marriage is holy. It is a blessing of the Mother Goddess.

However, there is a rule that children of high clergy above the rank of bishop are not allowed to be ordained as long as their parents are in the priesthood. In other words, children of high clergy cannot be ordained to the clergy. It’s a system that doesn’t allow for hereditary succession.

“It’s a waste for someone like my brother.”

I really think so. My brother isn’t a tastemaker, but he’s not a person who cares much about food. I’m sure he has no idea how wonderful this truly is.

…After all, he is a man who is willing to eat all three meals on military portable rations. In fact, he is the kind of person who would eat all his meals on portable rations and water if it were not a dinner party.

“That’s why I told you it tastes like something that would make Shion want to propose to her.”


Upon closer inspection, it seems that there is something about the dough that gives it a fragrant flavor.

“They look the same, but there are three different flavors. I’ll have to check them out later.”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

The drink is poured into the cup. Lilia also takes a refill.

“Would you like these cookies now, too?”

“Just one.”

When I held a large baked cookie in my hand, I felt my cheeks loosen up.

When I eat something sweet, I feel relieved. Maybe that’s why I like sweets.

“What is it?”

“No. I just thought that I hadn’t seen you like that in a long time.”

“I can’t help it…I like sweets.”

It was said that our taste buds would change as we grew up, but my taste for sweets remained the same.

The fact that the churches are filled with sugary gifts may have contributed to this.

I’ve been to several cathedrals and I’ve never had a shortage of sweets as the nuns and monks made their own sweets and jams from discarded sugar and sold them.

When I was a little boy, I used to be happy with just the sweetness, but now I’m probably a little picky now that I’ve learned about all the different flavors.

The cookies I got were not so different in appearance from the simple cookies baked as a snack substitute at some farmhouse.


But as soon as I mentioned it, I knew it was something else entirely.

“It’s really such a waste.”

I can’t help but sigh.

With all sorts of cereal and nuts and dried grapes, it looks like I’m going to be very hungry.

It is very heavy for a cookie. The cookie parts are crispy baked with cereal, and the savory nuts and sweetness of the dried grapes are perfect.

“You should eat some Lilia.”

“No, because I already got a lot of them when she was making it…The cookies will be good for about a week. The pancakes will be good until tomorrow or so, so please bring the rest with you.”

“Thank you.”

“…If you give it to anyone, please don’t tell them that it was made by Her Highness. She’s been in the kitchen to make this.”

“Yeah…my brother is going to be upset if he finds out.”

“Yes…And if you know what she was wearing in the kitchen…”

Lilia’s gaze swam.

“What? Did she dress like that? I don’t know how you got a cook of the crown prince to be in your kitchen.”

The kitchen of the crown prince’s palace must have been closed off due to a commotion when I was still in the palace.

The number of cooks of the crown prince would be small since my brother is the kind of person who uses portable sustenance to get most of his meals, but it would still be difficult to put the princess in the kitchen.

“I believe the head cook is Her Highness’s new maid. She was dressed just like a servant girl who was washing up in the kitchen.”

“That’s…a bad idea…”

“I know. It’s only this one time, of course. I won’t let anything happen.”

My stomach hurts, Lilia sighs.

I’m sure my brother would be angry if he knew. That man is overprotective in a weird way.

Al blurted it out the other day, but when the princess was returning home to the Elzevert territory, it was apparently very difficult. I know it’s unnerving because there was all sorts of information about the fall, the unconsciousness, and the attempted poisoning, but no one was able to say anything because of the fear of his rage.

My brother doesn’t have any special interest in the princess, but he thinks she’s a pitiful child and he’s determined to protect her. If that person is hurt, he will surely not be able to justify his actions.

Apparently, he almost yelled at the princess when she came back unscathed, but his iron-clad wall saved him, and it would have been absolutely traumatic for a 12-year-old girl to be yelled at by my brother. I’m willing to bet.

“You’re doing well.”

I chuckle. It’s a secret that there’s a mixture of loneliness in it.

Even though I know that Lilia is my absolute ally, I still have a childlike possessiveness like this.

“Of course…and I would like to say that if Her Highness hadn’t lost her memory, it wouldn’t be like it is now. Because of the loss of her memory, Her Highness has become a lot more cheerful.”

“Should I say good or bad…”

We had filled in the missing minutes of our meeting with letters, so I knew at least the general situation.

In the first place, I had a slight idea of why Princess Arthirea had become like a doll. I wasn’t sure, but…

That’s why I sent Lilia to the Crown Prince’s Palace.

I couldn’t say anything to anyone—I had fled the palace without being able to say it, and there was little I could do.

The only person who could give me what I wanted without saying a word was Lilia.

“Take care of the princess, Lilia…If anything happens to her, Dardinia will be in civil war.”

“Yes, I know.”

Lilia nodded deeply.

That was no exaggeration.

It is almost certain that Princess Arthirea was the provisional heir of Elzevert.

The throne is a boy-first inheritance, but other titles are often gender-neutral, with a few exceptions. If a princess has two children, one of them can always succeed the Duke of Elzevert’s throne.

In reverse, if the princess doesn’t give birth to a child, the dukedom is up in the air.

“I wonder how many people understand…how dangerous the situation is right now.”

Elzevert in the east, Feldies in the west, Grachies in the north, and Alhanes in the south…the four great dukes, each of which is also the ally of a coalition that unites the local lords of each of the four from all sides of Dardinia.

The question of succession for the dukes is not a matter of one house or one family, Elzevert.

When considered within the framework of a nation, Elzevert is the ally of the East, and when considered against the royal family…it is the keystone of the double duchy.

This is why the royal family would like to have close ties between Elzevert and the royal family through the child of Princess Arthirea, but they cannot annex Elzevert as a royal territory.

“The most dangerous time would be when the current Duke of Elzevert dies and a state of affairs emerges in which Her Royal Highness has yet to bear a child, so it’s still better.

“Thank you for the less-than-exciting remarks.”

To tell you the truth, I think it would be best if Princess Arthirea and my brother divorced and the princess became the heir of Elzevert…Although my father would never allow that to happen because of that man.

“It’s strange, but if Her Highness were to pass away now, who would be the heir?”

“Purely in accordance with the law of nations, it would be the brother and sister of the Duke of Elzevert. But, as you know, the Duke’s own brother and sister who remained in the country are dead and had no legitimate children. If it was a common child, there was the Archbishop of Lazas, but he is a bastard, and has no right of inheritance. Then, the Duke’s own brothers and sisters who went back another generation would be eligible. They’re already dead, and so are their children…And then, your father, the current Duke of Grachies, and the previous Duke of Feldie would be eligible. Of course, these three can’t take over the dukedom because each of them has their own family to inherit. But their legitimate children are all equally entitled to it. It’s because of that there would be a civil war.”

Equality is the problem. They fight each other for equality. And if you go back to the point, there are too many targets.

It’s the human heart that can tolerate its own failure to take over, but not to allow others to get it.

“…I’m not sure”

“Well…if this were any other noble family, they would crush the house and give back the title. It could be called a threefold division of the territory and assets, but the four dukes can’t do that…So if Princess Arthirea were to die now, the duke would have no choice but to divorce and have a child, no matter what his will.”

And if the duke died without being able to have a child, the civil war course would be straight back up again.

Lilia knew what I was suggesting, so she didn’t say anything.

“That’s why I say the man is the worst. Everyone says he’s competent, but that man isn’t doing his minimum duty in the first place.”

Making an heir is the minimum duty of a man born into a noble family. If you think about it calmly, every family has done many inhumane things, and such stories can be found everywhere.

The reason why my aunt’s story is so famous is because she was able to bear an heir, but was neglected.

“I agree, Lilia. I don’t care that the Duke of Elzevert caused the death of my aunt…Princess Efinia in grief…I don’t know my aunt well, unlike her older brother. Because, you know, think about it. I’m sure you’ll find that the story looks terrible from my aunt’s point of view, but from Luciella’s point of view, he was the best man who pledged his absolute love to her, against all odds.”

He overcame the opposition of his family and society, and overcame the difference in status to officially make her his wife. It’s like a trendy romance novel in the making.

“That’s the world of women’s fiction…but I don’t care about that. It’s just a private matter. But that man has sown the seeds of a country’s civil war for a single woman. We are in this situation now because that man put his personal affairs ahead of his responsibilities, and failed to do his minimum public duty. At the very least, that man should live a long life. At least until the princess gives birth to two children.”

If you’re going to say you’re in love with someone, you should do your duty before you do that.

“But what’s most infuriating to me is that the greatest danger to the princess is the total disregard for such logic…”


…Probably a danger unknown to anyone but me.

The princess is certainly a target.

For example, there may be assassins from other countries…per empire, or she may be targeted by other houses of the four dukes over the succession of Elzevert.

But I can assure you that it is not those that are the most dangerous.

In truth, if only I could talk to my brother, most of the problems might be solved.

But I can’t even talk to him about it.

Because I’m afraid.

I’m afraid to say it out loud and make it true.

“Lord Shion.”

Lilia called out to me as if she’d made up her mind to do something.

“What is it, Lilia?”

I smile. A smile that I’ve always been able to put on since my ordination.

I felt nauseated when I realized how much it resembled my mother’s.

“The poison that killed Ellucia was the same one that killed my mother…”

Lilia tells me in a muttered voice.

That fact that was never written in the letter.



“Do you still need to talk to me?”


The darkness that resides in the royal palace…is the starkness that stirs in its depths.

I know it, but I don’t understand it, and I don’t know who understands it.

Maybe no one else can understand it.

But the sin is there, and it is also my sin that cannot be charged.


I felt abandoned, and when I looked up, Lilia was laughing at me.

“I won’t force you to listen to me. I’m sure there is a reason why Shion-sama can’t talk to me, because he just can’t…Please don’t worry about it.”

I was relieved to see Lilia’s smile, and I immediately felt uneasy. It’s unlike Lilia to give up so easily.

“Lilia, what’s dangerous is…”

“I won’t do it…I’m just helping Her Highness. Maybe that will lead us to the truth.”

“What are you going to do? You know what I mean. I don’t know where or who’s watching.”

“I’d never do anything dangerous.”

“You’re not the one who decides if it’s dangerous. And you can go to…”


A strong look in my eyes prompts me to speak.

I am no match for Lilia.

“You must not get any closer to Princess Arthirea.”

Lilia doesn’t answer. Instead of answering, she smiles.

This smile means she doesn’t agree. I don’t need to put it into words to know that much.

“Lilia, it’s really dangerous!”

“A contradiction, Lord Shion. It was Lord Shion who first asked me to protect Her Highness. And yet you saying not to come any closer to her…I am the Princess’ lady-in-waiting.”

“I know it’s a contradiction. I know… but…”

Lilia gives me a look that seems to be for a spoiled child.

“Lord Shion, I am Lord Shion’s milk sister.”

“I know.”

“But I am also Princess Arthirea’s lady-in-waiting.”


“My love for Lord Shion will never change. I will always think of you…We are milk siblings.”

“If so, then—”

Lilia laughs beautifully. Then she interrupts my words with a shake of her head.

“The master I’m serving right now is Her Highness Princess Arthirea…Lord Shion.”

I laughed, as I always do. I didn’t know I could laugh so well.

“…I wonder if I’ve been abandoned by you, Lilia.”

“No, Lord Shion.”

“If so, why…?”

“I’ve always been on the side of Lord Shion. I want to do everything I can to help you…but my priority is Her Highness.”


“Because Her Highness is in more danger than Lord Shion.”

“I was a little distracted by that answer.

“Is it dangerous?”

“Yes…She doesn’t know what’s dangerous and what isn’t, because she’s lost her memory. Also, she has a strange ability to act.”

“Strange ability…”

I couldn’t help but laugh at Lilia, who looked truly troubled.

“It’s no laughing matter. She promised to stay out of danger, and she have a composure, thoughtfulness, and discretion that I can’t imagine coming from a twelve year old, but I can’t help but feel that she’s in danger.”

“…The Princess has changed a lot, hasn’t she?”

What a strange thing for a princess ,who was called a doll princess, to be called that way.

As I know that Lilia had been paying attention to the princess who had become a doll in the shadows, I should probably be glad that she was rewarded.

“Yes. Maybe…but it may not really be a change or anything.”

“What do you mean?”

“Due to the loss of memory, the fetters that bound Her Highness have simply been removed…I believe that her current state is her true condition.”

“Oh, so she’s just returned.”

“It doesn’t really matter much anymore…because Her Highness is Her Highness.”

Then Lilia laughed and added.

“Just as Lord Shion, whether he is a prince or an archbishop, is still Lord Shion.”


I am relieved that I haven’t lost Lilia.

My simplicity is both silly and lovely.

As long as Lilia tells me so, I will not abandon myself.

—Even if at times I feel nauseated and disgusted.

“I’m going to go back now. Lord Shion is going to join His Highness the Crown Prince, isn’t he?”


Lilia finishes cleaning up quickly and pushes a pack of sweets at me. I tuck it into the bosom of my holy robe. The loose-fitting robe, stitched in gold and silver thread on white with scriptures and crests of the Mother Goddess, has plenty of places to hide things.

“I’ll go first.”


No one would wonder if Lilia and I had met in this little cathedral in the Crown Prince’s domain.

However, I hadn’t planned to go to my father and mother’s place to greet them today, so it wouldn’t be a good position for Lilia if they find out that I had met with her.

“…Yes, yes, Shion-sama, you can’t. You shouldn’t fall for this kind of guidance so easily.”

Lilia turned back as she stopped at the entrance to the sanctuary.


“The crown prince is asking for trouble at this time of year with the new Archbishop of Gittice, a messenger from His Highness Cardinal Julius.”


Even though I thought I was a full-fledged inhabitant of God’s country, walking around in the gloom of God’s country, I’m still not as good as Lilia.

“I’m glad you’re forgiving me, but please take care of yourself.”


“I’ll spread the word among the ladies after tomorrow. I heard that Lord Shion came to beg His Highness the Crown Prince for his help in his new position.”

“What should I ask for?”

“How would you like to pay for the renovation of the Gittice Cathedral’s congregational pews? Last year, when I was here on behalf of Her Royal Highness, I was amazed at how old the benches were.”

“Yeah. Then we’ll do that.”

Since Lilia says do, my brother will use it without saying anything.

It’s not that he doesn’t believe in God, but that doesn’t mean he’s a stingy person who spares no expense. He’ll give you the money you need if you have a good reason. If you’re refurbishing the congregation table, I’m sure he has no problem with that.


I stop Lilia from putting her hand on the door.


Lilia turns around in the afterglow of dusk coming through the door.

I squint at her, dazzled.

“…Do you believe in God?”


A quiet voice sounded.

“…Do you believe, Lord Shion?”


An answer that would not be typical of a clergyman.

We had a small smile for each other.

I don’t believe in God.

There is no God anywhere.

But—only my prayer is here.


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4 thoughts on “Side Story: The Maid and the Archbishop

    1. Yeah, for my current translations (this is an older post) I try to add extra POVs (even if they aren’t in the original story) to make things easier. This story also happens to be confusing even in Japanese though. Often the case with web novels over light novels 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe because I used to read regular novels. There isn’t always names after each person’s comments, so I don’t have a problem with it. What I find difficult is when there are incomplete sentences which doesn’t happen here at all. I’ve been finding this a joy to read very smooth and easy.


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