The town of Rhodiane was famous for its medicine.
This town was close to the front line during the war against the demons, so medicine was in high demand, and the ones making said medicine were the priests that worshiped the god Medlar in the temple of Medlar.
In this temple priests offered their prayers to god, and studied healing magic and medicine. Among them was the intermediate level priest, Sem.
“Mister Sem! I picked some medicinal herbs!”
A girl barged into Sem’s medical treatment room.
“Hello there Mirulu, thank you. Here’s a little something for you.”
Sem pat a happy Mirulu on the head, who ticklishly twisted her body.
Sem was a big man and Mirulu was thirteen, but shorter than most girls her age, so even though their ages were only ten years apart, they looked like father and daughter.
“Is there anything else I can do to help you?”
“No, I’m fine.”
“Are you making medicine? I can help!”
“No, it’s alright. Leave it to me.”
Sem smoothly dodged Mirulu’s proposals.
Mirulu was still young, and Sem was about to start mixing chemicals.
Hygiene was very important, he had to measure precise amounts, and sometimes he would have to handle poisonous flowers. Sem had no intention of letting a child help with such dangerous work.
“Ehh… I can do it too.”
“I’ll teach you when you become a bit better at calculations.”
“Tch. You always say the same thing.”
“Don’t worry. You’re a good student when you put your mind to it aren’t you?”
“Don’t treat me like a kid… Mister Sem, do you hate girls that aren’t good students?”
Sem was used to dealing with kids.
The temple was also an orphanage, and the older kids took care of the younger kids. Sem was an orphan too, and spent a lot of time looking after the kids in the orphanage. He wasn’t going to be swayed by a little girl that was growing into a pretty young woman.
Sem had decided to dedicate his life to serving the god Medlar, so he had no intentions of having a girlfriend in the first place.
“Nevermind what I like, you need to work hard for your own good.”
“It’s always the same thing! I know what you’re talking about Sem, but I’m a girl. One day, I’m going to get married, and it’s wise not to meddle in a man’s work.”
“If you’re worried about my future…”
After saying that, Mirulu put her arm around Sem and stretched her lips, but…
Sem stopped her, and his stern voice and expression made Mirulu feel like he was scolding her.
“…D-Don’t make a scary face like that.”
“Ahh… Listen Mirulu, I’m a priest and I have no intention of going out with anyone.”
“But there are married people too!”
“Those are people that either married before becoming a priest or quit the temple to get married. You can’t get married while you’re a priest, and I have no intention of quitting.
“…What if you found someone you like? Are you saying you would stick to that decision?”
“Priests can’t ‘like’ girls in the first place.”
“Liar! No one is like that! Everyone is going out with someone in secret!”
Mirulu then threw the basket with the medicinal herbs at Sem, and ran.
Kids that age are complicated. Sem sighed on the inside.
Sem was popular with girls.
He was tall, had a nice face, delicate chestnut-color hair, and a quiet, calming voice.
He was like the idealized image of what a priest should look like, come to life.
He was very serious about his work, very straight-laced, didn’t keep any personal possessions, didn’t take any bribes, and was very fastidious. Not many girls his age saw him as a possible future husband, but girls that didn’t think about marriage, like older women or girls Mirulu’s age, fawned over him.
Sem was used to receiving people’s affection, and he didn’t notice the malice and jealousy directed at him.
Mirulu felt dejected.
To young girls, helping Sem wasn’t a bothersome task, it was a privilege to be complimented by him. Mirulu did all she could think to obtain this privilege. She threatened, bullied, and coaxed girls her age into joining her side, and secured the position at the top of her group. Finally, she had the right to stand by Sem’s side and wait upon him, and she was going to use it. If Sem wanted, he could have more than her lips, she was ready to offer her body to him.
Sem, as an adult and a priest, did not change his stance on the matter.
It wasn’t just this approach that Sem evaded, whether or not Sem knew about how social circle of girls in the orphanage, Sem didn’t treat anyone differently, not even Mirulu.
Mirulu didn’t think this was fair.
All the girls that were in love with Sem were engaged in uncouth tactics and were constantly tormented by feelings of jealousy, and yet, Sem kept his pure stance as if it had nothing to do with him.
He wouldn’t look her way no matter how hard she tried, so…
“I’m starting to hate Sem.”
Mirulu was especially beautiful among the other girls.
When she turned ten, all the boys started fawning over her, and everyone would do what she said.
Even the adults would listen to her if she flattered them a little, excluding Sem.
He was not only the man that would not become hers, but also the most beautiful man in town.
At first, she was just interested in him, but after getting closer and talking to him, it developed into pure feelings of love. His words were kind and his attitude fair, he was the ideal adult.
But now, that love was turning into something else.
As Mirulu started approaching him with lust, that lust started turning into despair.
In fact, she was starting to feel Sem’s lack of understanding of emotions like lust was terrifying, but Sem was a man, and he would succumb to lust sooner or later.
Just like her, he would do some evil deed for his own good sooner or later.
While impatiently waiting for that day to come, Mirulu kept trying to seduce him, while her wicked love kept developing.
She spent a lot of time in front of the mirror when she was going to meet him, would use suggestive words, casually hold his hand, and pretend she was falling just to hug him. But still, Sem would not look her way.
If Sem would not fall to depravity, Mirulu was going to end up becoming self-aware.
She didn’t see herself as a little devil or anything, she was just a human soiled by lust.
Mirulu didn’t want anyone to see her face so she headed to the temple’s backyard.
The people managing the temple always neglected the backyard, so it was always empty and it was a perfect place to talk in secret.
“…Seriously, that stuffy guy is being promoted to high class priest?”
“The chief is being weird too. Why does he keep favoring him? I’ve never heard of someone in their twenties becoming a high class priest.”
“If only there was a way to trip him up… Dammit.”
Mirulu just happened to hear the intermediate class priests talking, and noticed their jealousy.
If Mirulu was a little younger, she would have despised them.
What an ugly group of people.
If Mirulu was a little older, she would have wanted nothing to do with their problems and ran away.
There’s nothing to be gained from getting involved in other people’s jealousy.
But Mirulu was at an age where she lost her childish innocence but was still not fully developed as an adult. So, she was a dangerous girl.
“Hey, you guys.”
The intermediate class priests were flustered, and Mirulu licked her lips in her mind.
“Can you tell me more about that?”