The end of my lonely battle  

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※Told from Lily Lilium’s perspective.

After we briefly talked about how the church managed its finances and works to alleviate poverty, Rei-san stood from her seat for a break.
Lily continued her conversation with Claire-sama over tea, but when the tea ran dry and the nuns tasked with serving us never returned with a new pot, Lily decided to go to check on them.

“Did you hear about Lily-sama? This time it’s the daughter of our kingdom’s finance minister!”
“How unpleasant… Truly repulsive.”

Lily did find the nuns responsible for the tea, but having overheard some of their conversation, she pieced together the context and hid herself.

“I knew it, I heard that Lily-sama was a lesbian, but it was true after all.”
“Even though she’s already engaged to Yuu-sama, how scandalous!”

It was just as Lily feared.
It was normal that the others gossiped behind Lily’s back like this.
Considering her age, it was an unprecedented irregularity that she held the rank of a cardinal, so their envy likely fueled the rumors as well.
The most common rumors concentrated around the gender of the people Lily loved.

For some reason, Lily had only ever loved other women.
She herself could recognize that wasn’t normal, and yet… Back when Lily was but a regular nun, unable to hold her feelings back, she confessed her feelings to an older priestess.
The result―wasn’t something that Lily wanted to remember.
Since then, labeled a heretic, Lily felt as though she lived life teetering on a knife’s edge.

“Despite her perversions she’s made it all the way to the rank of a cardinal.
Just because she’s the Prime Minister’s daughter.
Really, she must have it so easy!”
“And that’s not all.
I’ve heard that there are voices calling for her to become the next pope!”
“She’s dragging the church’s authority through the dirt.”

Not everything that they said was true, but at least some of it hit the mark.
If it wasn’t for Lily’s father, Lily would never have become a cardinal at her age.
It was also true that her concept of love did not mesh well with the values of the faith.
Lily thought that it couldn’t be helped that others would look on at her with scorn.

―That’s right, that’s what Lily thought, but…

“Don’t you think saying all that is a little too one sided?”

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The one who interrupted their gossip was Rei-san.

“Uhm, and you are…?”
“Claire-sama’s maid, right? Is there something you’d like to say?”

The nuns seemed puzzled as they looked in Rei-san’s direction.
Their expressions held no guilt.

“Is homosexuality really so wrong?”
“To the very least, I don’t believe it to be natural.”

Having realized that it would not be possible to dodge the subject, one of the nuns shrank back while the other showed they had no intent to change their opinion.
Perhaps that reaction too was inevitable.
Nuns were by no means of low social status.
To the very least, they stood well above that of a commoner who served as a noble’s maid.
There were even girls from renowned households who had fallen due to political strife now here as nuns.
These girls had no reason to hold their tongue.

“Just what do you mean by natural?”
“I mean, isn’t it obvious? Homosexual couples cannot give birth to children.
It’s just counterproductive to life.”

Whenever others had made this point to Lily in the past, she was unable to offer a proper rebuttal.
In a heterosexual relationship, the pair could have children contribute to expanding their family line.
Homosexuals simply couldn’t do that.
Lily thought that it was only obvious that others would see it as a selfish form of love, where the participants were entirely absorbed in one another.


“If having children is a requirement for a proper love, doesn’t that rule out heterosexual couples that can’t have children?”
“And before that, if you claim that only what is natural is right, then do you refuse medicine or other treatments when you fall ill? Strictly speaking, medicine strays from nature as well.”

Rei-san’s words were something that Lily had never even considered.
Lily had never considered what the requirements were for love, or tried to apply that line of reasoning to how she thought of love.
Rei-san’s point that looking at things from the perspective of childbirth did also rule out some heterosexual couples also made sense.

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Furthermore, Rei-san’s response to what the nuns had defined as natural was very eye opening to Lily.
There likely were some counter points to be made, but in a sense were someone to fall ill, letting that illness play out its course would be the most natural.
Rei-san made the point that trying to “treat” those illnesses through human made remedies was not strictly natural.
The nuns’ stated line of thought directly denied the infirmaries that the church itself offered.

The nuns must not have expected such counter arguments.
In response, their faces reddened and they pursed their lips shut.

“Such pedantics…!”
“Please tell me specifically what you find to be pedantic.
If you can’t do that, I’ll conclude that your claims are emotional.”
“No matter how you argue it, homosexuals are far from normal, they’re a heretical minority! They should recognize that they aren’t normal and know their place!”

This was another statement that Lily didn’t have a response to.
No matter how well put together one’s arguments were, the fact that homosexuals were in the minority did not change.
Just what could Lily, and others in that minority, have to say to the overwhelming majority?

“I will admit that homosexual individuals are in the minority, but so what? Is someone in the wrong just because they are in the minority?”
“Isn’t that more than enough proof that they aren’t normal?”
“While it may be true that being part of the majority makes one ‘normal’, what I want to know is, what’s so wrong about not being ‘normal’?”
“Well that’s… I mean…”
“Just because you were born with a sexual orientation that matches the majority doesn’t give you the right to attack those in the minority.
That only leads to a tyranny of the majority, and certainly cannot be considered just.”

Rei-san held firm and offered a clear response.
Just being in the majority was not reason in and of itself to attack those in the minority.
Lily couldn’t help but feel rejuvenated as she listened to Rei-san’s points.

“I couldn’t care less for such reasoning! It’s just disgusting!”
“At the end of the day, that’s the real issue, isn’t it.
You can’t understand.
You don’t want to understand.
So you get defensive.”
“So? Just what’s so wrong about that!?”
“Don’t you see? At that point, all you’re doing is discriminating against others.
Don’t the church’s teachings say that under the Great Spirit, all are equal? Wouldn’t that mean that your stated values go against the church’s teachings?”

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This time, Rei-san’s counterpoint did cause the nuns to shrink back.
As nuns who should be steadfast to their faith, there was a fear of straying from its teachings.
That all were equal under the Great Spirit was one of our faiths’ foundational tenets.
To these nuns, to these devout adherents, the thought that they might have strayed from something so fundamental must have been difficult to bear.

Lily was sure that if Rei-san wanted to, she could continue to talk down to them.
However, she made a different choice.

“I’m not here to try and win some argument or look down on you.
I simply want to free you from your prejudice against homosexuals.”
“I won’t demand that you understand, but, could I ask that you don’t outright deny us and show us respect?”
“… Are you a homosexual as well?”
“I am.”

Rei-san showed that she was willing to compromise.
Rather than denying them, she asked for their respect.
If the argument had just ended there, Lily was sure that the nuns would have held onto a lingering dissatisfaction, but that’s not what Rei-san had done.

The aggressiveness within the nun arguing with Rei-san had subsided, and she too showed that she was willing to compromise.
These girls were by no means bad people.
They simply shared the same common opinion as many others in this world did.

“I don’t think I could… Not right away.
However, I do think I can understand what you’re saying.
Let me think about it.
If I come up with another counterpoint, I might bring it up.”
“Thank you, that’s more than enough.”

The nun spoke those words as though she had just swallowed something bitter before taking the other nun with her and leaving.
Lily just stood there, unable to do anything but look on in amazement as the chain of events unfolded.

Rei-san then noticed Lily, looking at her before giving a startled look.

“Lily-sama!? W-What’s the matter?”

Before Lily could realize it, she was crying.
For the first time… For the very first time, Lily had met someone who could understand her suffering and offered her affirmation.
To Lily, who had always lived following the faith, her faith was absolute.
And, for every day of her entire life, that faith had continued to deny her.

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Lily had finally met someone… Someone who affirmed her for the lonely battle that she had fought until now.

“… You.”
“Thank… you…”

The next moment, Lily found herself leaping into Rei-san’s chest.
Rei-san panicked to catch her.
As Rei-san was taller than Lily, Lily felt a sense of security wash over her.

“… I’ve always thought that my own feelings were sinful… But for you to…”

Lily couldn’t speak properly, her words were broken up and in pieces.
Just how long had Lily been waiting, longing, for the words that Rei-san had just said.
It was impossible to describe how much the exchange Lily had just witnessed saved her.
Lily wanted to convey that, and yet, her tears and her quivering body made forming words almost impossible.

“R-Rei-san, you’re the… first person to have ever affirmed Lily’s feelings in this way.
Rei-san, the way that you kept steady as you stated your thoughts, was so cool…”

Managing to collect herself and say that, Lily looked up at Rei-san, her eyes wet with tears.
Rei-san looked surprised, but Lily found even that to be attractive.

Lily felt that this was a moment of destiny.

“Lily thinks she may have fallen for Rei-san.”

The moment Lily spoke those words, she could hear the sound of something falling to the floor, but none of that mattered to Lily.

Lily knew that she mustn’t let go.

That was the only thought that occupied Lily’s head.

Translator Note: I’m really glad we got to see this chapter from Lily’s perspective too.
It’s destiny Lily, don’t let her go ;~;

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