༺ The First Letter (48) ༻
The next morning, I visited the temple once again.
Coincidentally, the Saintess was in charge this morning yet again. Recently, my encounters with her have become particularly frequent. Though we only knew each other by names.
Of course, this stalemate was entirely because of me.
The priest’s job is to heal the wounded. For the last month, no one has been in need of medical attention as often as I have. It was a circumstance in which I had no choice but to interact with the Saintess frequently.
Frequent encounters accompany the feeling of liking someone. It was the basics of social skills that I read about during my childhood. Yet for some reason, the Saintess’ gaze today seemed cold.
Her rosy eyes alternated between my face and my hands, which were covered in blood and pus.
I uttered excuses as I naturally lowered my head in a servile manner.
“I’m sorry, Lady Saintess. Still, isn’t this also an event orchestrated by Aru…?”
“You shalt not take the name of thy Lord in vain.”
My nonsensical gibberish was rapidly suppressed by the Saintess’ icy voice. I immediately returned to my stiff posture and glanced at the Saintess.
She shook her head and let out a deep sigh.
Her voluptuous breasts swelled, then subsided. I gazed at the scene as if possessed, then immediately averted my gaze and came back to my senses.
No, no. I could be punished for having these thoughts. Only the daughter that the heavenly deity Arus cherishes the most can ascend to the position of a saint.
It would be absurd to even hold a grudge against someone as noble and pure as her. She is an unattainable rose. If she had never enrolled in the academy, chances are she would’ve gone her entire life without ever becoming acquainted with me. The difference in our status was simply enormous.
Even so, I felt blissful at that moment.
The beautiful Saintess was personally treating my body. Her silvery hair with a subtle glow, her rose-colored eyes, her voluptuous breasts, her immaculate and transparent skin, as well as her delicate features.
She served as proof that even the heavenly God Arus favored someone, and that someone was her. Like a beautiful painting, her appearance was in perfect harmony.
Her feminine curves captivated countless men.
If the beauty of this holy maiden proves the existence of the heavenly god Arus, her body was indicative of the existence of the music god Omeros.
From her nape to her thigh, her curves possessed both smoothness and elasticity. Of course, the degree of curvature was also a crucial attribute. Her beauty was so great, it was absurd to think that someone who was meant to be pure was gifted with such a lustful body.
It has become a running gag now that the male students in her theology department have significantly increased their quantity of repentance prayers ever since her admission into the school.
It was an honor for such a woman to examine my hands anxiously with her attentive eyes. To have the pleasure of her examining my hand is enough reason for me to have enrolled in the academy.
If you were to visit a certain rural village, there were countless individuals who knew of the miracles of the saint. She could cure any disease with just the touch of her hand. Even so, very few were permitted to receive treatment from her.
This scenario was only possible because we both attended the academy as students. Upon arriving at this realization, I tried to calm my anxiety.
It was strange. I was unsure why, but at times I felt a sense of fear when gazing at the Saintess.
Although she was famous for her benevolence she was known for her innocence and kindness toward all.
There was nothing that should have induced this feeling of fear. Even so, I often felt like a rat in the presence of a cat when I stood before her.
Me extending my hand timidly was understandable with this context. The Saintess gently removed the bandage from my hand and widened her eyes in response to the sight that was formerly concealed.
The state of my injury was much more serious than she had initially thought. It was not only a penetrating injury, but also a wound combined with complex burns. The pain that permeated from the wound was indescribable.
“Brother Ian, it’s hard to imagine your injury is this severe… What took you so long to visit the temple?”
I rested my hand on the back of my head as if embarrassed by her words. She spoke in a rather proud voice.
“Ah, I didn’t want to disturb the priests in the middle of the night for personal reasons… Ah!!!!”
The Saintess’s reaction was completely outside of my range of expectations. “Puck”. She slapped my forearm with her palm. Her strength was greater than I expected and the shock permeated my body. My wounds stung and a scream leaks out of my mouth.
I gazed at the Saintess with regretful eyes, but the Saintess only let out a deep sigh. She questioned me with an upset expression.
“Piercing wounds, burns. The wounds had been charred with intense heat, so at least it didn’t bleed. Still, the pain must have been unimaginable…..”
“No, well, it was more bearable than I anticipated?”
I immediately shut up as a glare reflected in her rose-colored eyes. Making unnecessary comments while a priest spoke would only hinder the treatment.
She was never afraid to speak her mind. As I became silent, the Saintess began to reprimand me in earnest.
“Brother Ian, didn’t you state you would value your life before?”
“Y-Yes I did. But as time passed, many situations……..”
“Isn’t it unnatural to return to the temple after less than two days have passed? And, this injury… It’s not of a degree that occurs from mistakes. Who did you quarrel with this time?”
I couldn’t help but cower in fear due to the Saintess’ nagging.
Ordinarily speaking, conversing was not one of my areas of expertise. It didn’t help that I was apologetic due to visiting less than two days after I promised to take better care of myself.
Even while the Saintess was reprimanding me, she faithfully tended to my wounds. Befitting the title of ‘saint’, her holy power was other-worldly in both quantity and quality.
New flesh slowly began to sprout from my festering wound. It was a strange sight to witness. Wizards also learn magic for healing purposes, but that only serves the purpose of accelerating natural regeneration.
Priests with holy power were the only individuals who were capable of healing severe burns or regenerate severed body parts. This was likely why their holy powers have been named “God’s power.”
While the Saintess’ admonition lingered, my hands had become so pristine that it was difficult to believe that not too long ago, it had been torn apart and burnt. . At best, only minor pain remained.
“…… Now then, please take better care of your body from now on. Brother Ian’s life is not yours alone. It belongs to all those who care about you.”
As always, I let the Saintess’ continued sermon flow in one ear and out the other, all the while nodding my head to her endless droning. Sometimes, when I feel like I’m being too quiet, it is sufficient to utter just a single word.
“I see, Brother Ian, you know the crucial portion of this tale. You’re correct. When the heavenly god Arus created humans in the genesis of the world, he promised infinite life and glory…….”
The Saintess continues to speak in an excited tone, and if I could endure boredom, nothing would have been easier. Her excitement was adorable to watch.
This was a temple, and the patient always existed. Even if it was a Saintess, she could not allocate all her time to me. In other words, it is indicative of the eventual conclusion of the Saintess’ long sermon.
The Saintess, who had been preaching to me for a long period of time, glanced at her watch to check what time it was. The sight she witnessed resulted in her sudden return to her senses. She looked startled, her body trembling and her eyes widened.
“Th-This much time has passed……?”
“Uh, Lady Saintess. I really enjoy my time with you, but I wonder if other patients are waiting……”
In response to my words, the Saintess’ complexion turned pale. She stuttered as she spoke, a very rare occurrence.
“Y-Yes, th-that’s right… See you next time, Brother Ian. Immanuel.”
Liberation has arrived. Feeling a great sense of relief, I stood up and headed towards the exit of the temple without hesitation.
If it hadn’t been for the Saintess’s last question.
“…….By the way, brother.”
My steps toward the exit came to a grinding halt. Glancing behind at her with doubt in my eyes, I saw the Saintess staring back at me with serene eyes.
She questioned me with a coy voice, as if the previous bewilderment and stuttering was all an illusion.
“What happened last night?”
I was silent for a while. Last night….
Stained with blood, the pain that was engraved into my brain, and the bliss I felt in regards to the end results.
I remembered the crimson eyes staring blankly at me, and the silverish flash that was deflected downwards in a vertical line.
As I stood there blankly while recalling the events of the previous night, the Saintess smiled bitterly as if she knew my answer.
“……After all, it’s a secret.”
The Saintess uttered in a similar fashion.
“These days, you have far too many secrets for someone who’s so popular.”
Referring to it as ‘mysticism’ or something similar, I left the temple after such trivial jokes.
The sunrise had passed, and the sun was now shimmering warmly in the sky. It was morning. Crowds of students aggregated to hear the announcement that indicated the beginning of the academy’s day.
The students who passed in front of the temple looked startled as soon as they noticed me. The footsteps of those passing by came to a halt, and their gazes focused on me as if I was some spectacle.
Even so, it was only for an instant. They continued on their path towards their destination, and the academy returned to its usual routine.
One thing was out of the ordinary however, their whispers and muttering.
“It’s him, it’s that person. The ‘Hatchet Master’… Last night with Senior Delphine…”
“No way, he attacked Delphine Yurdina… Heup!”
As my golden eyes gazed at each of the students, the tumult around me came to a sudden conclusion. All I could do was let out a deep sigh.
As expected, the speed at which rumors spread in this academy was bizarre.
Delphine Yurdina recalled her memories of the previous night.
It should’ve been a fatal blow. There was absolutely no way to avoid it. At least, that’s what she thought. As she stood with brilliant confidence that she would win again, blood splashed through the air.
It was a man’s hand. The hatchet was stuck in his grasp and couldn’t proceed any further. The blade in this man’s other hand, however, was not under such constraints.
It was a memory of the day when the hatchet was inundated.
You should check out the illustrations on our discord server: discord.com/invite/JnWsEfAGKc
You can rate this series here.