The first thing I did was ask the mage to put the child to sleep, I can only hope she doesn't have any nightmares for now.
Sister Thea was trembling in my arms, despite her being over a head taller than me, she felt so painfully small at the moment.
"Can you talk now? The child is asleep so no need to worry." It took a couple of minutes for her to stop shaking, her tears dried up while embarrassment showed on her face.
"Y-yes, I'm better now." She composed herself and dried her tears, her appearance was that of a vulnerable beauty and even now she exuded a pure aura that calmed everyone in the room. This kind of aura was something that many devout people of their faith had: monks, priests, nuns and others. It was cultivated through their daily life, it made others feel calm and relaxed in their presence, this was the same in his past life but even more so in this one where devotion would give someone powers.
"Sir Pyre was someone sent by the head priest, he was rather arrogant but his conduct was fine otherwise. When I was feeding those children next to the inn, he suddenly started recommending us to drink something. I let my guard down... he, h-he... he put concentrated Stardust in our drinks *sob*" The self-blame in her voice was clear, and it wasn't hard to understand why.
I already heard she was a highly regarded nun due to her knowledge of the use of herbs and other plants for medicine; she felt like she had failed her fellow nun and the little girl.
I was confused at the start only to notice that I hadn't even bothered to find out that bastard's name; he is the second child of a Viscount family. The Pyre family specialises in producing military talents, but the second child didn't join the military and instead became a Holy Knight and joined a church. This was regarded highly by his family as it spread their influence and becoming a Holy knight was harder than getting a good rank in the military.
After the heel-stomping mage introduced the Pyre family, I was sure that unless the head of the family was someone who put the law and justice first, which was not very likely, I have 80-90% of leaving a grudge in his heart after I've finished dealing with his second son.
'I already have a strong financial backing that also has a wide range of contacts and a decent information network, let's see... I need an ally in the military and in the king's court. I should also find a representative on the church's side of things since I don't need anybody to give me authority there. Sister Thea is currently my biggest candidate. Also, while the Apicius family can be found in many places outside the kingdom, I might also need influence in non-human kingdoms... not the time to think about this, one step at a time.' I forcefully brought back my wandering thoughts and looked at the poor nun.
"That is not something you should be blamed for as it was clearly his fault for doing something so disgusting. At most, take this experience and remember to be cautious so nobody is harmed in a similar way in your presence in the future." I wanted to sit down next to her but it was a little awkward, my manhood was just too disproportionate to my body so it was easy to spot if I sat down. I wanted to wipe that feeling that she was a lesser woman after this experience, if I wait till later she will find it much harder to recover from such a negative mindset.
"Before any of you ask, she acted the way she did for the child's sake. A lot of the time, a child will use an adult's reaction to gauge a situation. If they make a mess they will watch their parent's faces to understand if they did something very bad or just bothersome, they realise the weight of their actions instinctively. It is like a child tripped but wasn't hurt, but if all the adults get a fright and act scared and worried, the child might cry because they feel like that painless fall was much worse than they realised." I looked at each of them in the eye; as knights, they will run into many situations and I hope they learn something that can avoid problems in the future should they ever run into something similar.
"If that child was looked at with pity as if she had become dirty and sullied, she might just believe that really is dirty for the rest of her life. She might never treat herself preciously because she feels like she is someone unclean and unwanted just because of this day. A child will learn from the adults around them and it is your duty to watch your actions carefully because let me say this: they are not dirty or sullied at all! They were hurt! They are the victims and have done nothing they need to be ashamed of! So correct that mindset. Even as she was looked at like she had lost something as a woman by all of you, she still held in her pain and grief for that child's sake." My chest burned with respect and pain as I thought of just how much this kind and pure nun must have endured in this short period of time.
I turned to her and said, "Sister Thea, your actions for the child are the greatest proof of your purity. Your pride and dignity as a woman are something I wish all women had. Many women sell their bodies but some sell them to buy a luxury coat or to be the concubine of a rich man while some do it to buy medicine for their parents. Something like your virginity doesn't define you, to be a virgin is simply proof and something that represents that a woman is giving herself wholly to someone, the virginity itself holds no meaning."
She looked at me with wide eyes, I wasn't someone with high EQ but even I knew she was hoping for someone to acknowledge her. Her eyes were begging for someone to tell her she was as wonderful a woman as before. I reached out and stroked her head, "From the bottom of my heart, I feel like you are a wonderful woman and any man would envy the one you dedicate yourself to."
"Knights! Pay your respects!" The sudden shout made me jump on the spot, the door wasn't soundproof so all the knights outside heard everything. That voice belonged to the lead knight who escorted me back then, he must be a captain.
All the knight drew their blades and held the blade facing downwards with their hands against their chest, they all stood at attention, including the two knights inside and the mage; she used her battle-wand instead and shouted in the union. "We, the Apicius knights pay our respects!"
Tears spilt once more from Sister Thea's eyes, her hands covered her lips but unlike before, there was more life in her eyes and her back was no longer bent. She sat tall and proud, the inferiority that started to sprout was pulled out before it could bloom. She looked at this beautiful demon and felt like her heart was going to burst from her gaze, 'She really is just looking at me in pity as a victim and not as someone who became less as a woman because of what happened... would she want me?'
Honestly, the way her gaze changed as she looked at me made me feel strangely shy as well as happy that she no longer looked like she was hiding away from everyone's eyes. I felt like she was ready to confront the issue so I didn't delay.
"Sister Thea, I'm planning to go and see if that bastard Pyre has confessed everything yet. How about you tell me of any clues that come to mind as we walk? Are feeling ready to confront him and overcome him? He might say some very painful things just to feel better about his predicament out of spite. If you can't then-" My words were cut off by her resolute response.
"The quicker I overcome him and move on the better, I feel like it will be harder the longer I wait."