IRNDGL - Chapter 103: Witching Period
Vincent wasn’t necessarily the strongest priest in this parish.
After all, his ability was only at Abnormal-rank and he wasn’t adept in combat and other such aspects.
However, he was the one with the most fame and highest reputation.
There were many reasons, but mainly it was Vincent's special edition 'holy water' that he got those help-seekers to sprinkle around their house daily.
His fellow colleagues were often frustrated at not receiving the gratitude they expected despite speedily resolving sources of 'hauntings' and instead being doubted or accused of deceit.
In normal circumstances, they would try explaining, but most of the time this was fruitless and would even upset them even more.
Some would even feel it beneath themselves to interact with the common folk and just leave, giving off an arrogant and cold image.
—Strangely, the latter seemed to garner good critique more often than the former.
Over time, there weren't too many willing to waste their breath on help-seekers.
However, the 'holy water first' practice of Vincent's actually saw an improvement in its effectiveness.
Letting help-seekers deploy holy water on their own would definitely help avert false alarms as well as calming down these help-seekers. Moreover, holy water really had a restrictive effect on evil spirits in the short term.
It was akin to killing two birds with one stone.
Of course, this simple method was replicated by some others, but nobody achieved the same level of success that Vincent enjoyed.
Evidently, his fellow priests only imitated one aspect but clearly didn’t grasp the essence of it.
For example, they didn’t know that his holy water recipe was an improved one.
Ordinary holy water only required four ingredients—Evening primrose, shadow flower, salt, and water.
The prescription that was sent out had 1g of pearl and 0.02g of gold leaf added in the mix.
Holy water by itself was made up of rather common ingredients. A combination and incantation later, this water would have the effect of driving away evil spirits. Although saying this would devalue it, holy water was really... cheap.
It took a long period of experimenting to come up with holy water suitable for the general public, and naturally, the churches took into consideration the costs that ordinary citizens could bear.
But clearly, most ordinary citizens wouldn't be that attentive.
They would wonder 'whether such cheaply-priced holy water was effective', or 'is this fellow just being perfunctory?'.
Thus, Vincent decided to make holy water a little more expensive.
Of course, Vincent didn't mess around. The quantity of pearl and gold leaf was minute, and he told those struggling financially to exclude these two ingredients, just that the effect would be slightly weaker and not a big issue.
And if that still wouldn't do, Vincent would say that he would bear the cost of the holy water and that it was his duty to help members of the parish drive off evil spirits.
To him and others of the church, this little bit of money wasn't a big deal. But doing so would often let him receive the cries of sobbing gratitude he hoped for.
It could be said that this minor change was unexpectedly effective...
And it brought him a lot of benefits.
For example, when common folk encountered anything out of the ordinary, the first thought would surely be to contact Father Vincent, and this resulted in an increased amount of jobs for him.
However, this also brought about some troubles, such as the criticism of fellow colleagues as well as the occasional requests that were beyond his ability.
Even though Vincent was the priest with the greatest reputation in the parish, he himself was only of an Abnormal-rank.
While an Abnormal-rank was already an existence that surpassed logic for most ordinary folk, there was still a huge gulf between them and othertranscendent beings in the APDS classification pyramid.
Dealing with some evil spirits or low-level dream beasts wasn’t an issue, but were Vincent to encounter something of a higher level, he might only be able to request for help since any lapse of judgment on his part could even be life-threatening.
Vincent would always lament, "Everything has two sides, good and bad. Just like how the bright and dark sides of the moon interchange. That is the enlightenment from the Moon above."
Amongst all transcendent beings, only the lower echelons of the churches were permitted to reveal their own abilities to ordinary folk.
One reason was the churches' need for faith, but the matter of Norzin being assaulted by the dream realm was unavoidable. Some larger matters needed to be covered up to not alarm the masses, but smaller incidents didn't have such a need.
Thus, low ranking ‘nobodies’ like Vincent had reputations that surpassed their own actual abilities.
The true higher-ups, the great entities that could save Norzin at any moment, were always obscure and little known.
It was nearly evening by the time Vincent arrived at 23rd Avenue.
The setting red sun covered by the clouds dyed the sky in faint saffron, and the ruins at the side cast large ominous shadows.
The hastily erected yellow police line appeared somewhat disheveled as it rustled continuously in the wind.
Evening... the start of the witching period.
He stopped cautiously at the junction. The street was dreadfully quiet, causing Vincent to feel a sense of unease.
Many incidents had occurred in this area recently. Even though his trip to receive baptism meant that he had missed these incidents, Vincent had still heard about the two most well-known ones.
However, those were matters concerning great beings and had nothing to do with him.
"I just have to do my job well... Hopefully it's really an evil spirit or ghost that made the past few days of rushing back worth it. Otherwise, I will definitely add some other stuff into this help-seeker's holy water recipe... Haa, I really shouldn't be thinking this way."
Vincent exhaled deeply as he pinched his nose to quash the inexplicable sense of apprehension in his heart.
Vincent wasn't sure why, but he was feeling more irritable than usual, and some of his thoughts had lost the benevolence and tolerance a member of clergy ought to have.
Even the baptism of the newly ordained apostle wasn't able to calm him down.
"Maybe I ought to take a few days off once this matter is resolved and pray to the Moon wholeheartedly."
He adjusted his attire, dropped a text to the help-seeker, Mr. Colin of the audio-visual store, then knocked on the back door.
The door cracked open slightly, revealing a pair of bloodshot eyes.
Following that, the door was opened wide and the person threw himself at Vincent.
"O Holy Moon above! You've finally arrived, Father Vincent! Please save me!"
If this lump of a human hadn't said these words, Vincent would have nearly used some mystical arts on him.
Pushing aside this greasy lump, he did his best to maintain a warm tone. "Hush, dear child. You don't wish to alarm the evil spirit next door, do you?"
Colin immediately nodded his head and quietened down, hugging Father Vincent as tears and mucus came into contact with the black priest robe.
Vincent seemed somewhat tired, but he had the solemn eyes of a priest capable of making others believe in him.
"So, I roughly understand the situation already. Now, you are telling me that just today, he hurt three officers from the Central District's Police Unit and even controlled the will of another one?
“And the holy water isn't effective and even made his actions worse?
"If what you said is true, I would need to have more adequate preparation and start the exorcism tomorrow night. I'll have to stay here temporarily for today."
Colin nodded at once. "No problem! Let me know if you need anything. I'll cooperate in any way I can!”
Not doing anything would be the best form of cooperation you can provide...
Vincent sighed and closed the door, isolating himself from Colin's incessant jabbering—The feeling of staying alone in this room wasn't too bad.
All these ignorant fellows are really annoying!
He wiped away the sweat on his forehead and took out a cigarette from his chest pocket.
He lit it, took a long drag, and exhaled a mouthful of misty smoke.