༺ Week of the Midnight Sun (1) ༻
A time that felt both long yet brief had passed.
Speaking of the time spent waiting for the Saint… Indeed, it could be considered a long time.
Although the time passed was not short, her face and voice are still engraved in my mind like a painting, and reminiscing about those memories from back then quenches my thirst every passing moment.
Vera wanted to leave right away to find her, even though he only knew she might be somewhere in the ‘Horden Kingdom.’
However, the reason why he couldn’t do so was because he wasn’t confident in himself at all.
This was because he thought he had not yet become someone worthy enough to meet her.
Vera resigned from his position as an apostle and for the past four years served as Vargo’s attendant.
He followed him earnestly to learn about the sword that guards those under its shadow.
He spent quite a bit of time as an attendant, but unfortunately, there was nothing significant enough to be called an achievement.
Vera still didn’t know about the sword that guards.
Vera’s tainted sword still stood tall. He enjoyed attacking rather than guarding, and it was a sword that showed more vehemence than reason..
Vera still didn’t understand faith either.
Vera had yet to articulate the meaning of faith.
For Vera, faith was still a challenge, and the stigma, a useful tool.
For four years, Vera had refined his divine arts, which he called ❰Sanctuary❱, trained his body, and achieved unspeakable visible growth, but his inner growth remained slow.
The only realization that dawned upon Vera in these past four years was that he was an arrogant and ignorant being.
Time was merciless and did not wait for Vera’s amble steps.
Early morning, in a chapel of the Great Hall.
As it had been for the past 4 years, Vera, who came out to pray along with Vargo, opened his eyes when he called him.
At the end of his gaze was Vargo, an absurd man best described as a monster.
Looking more frail than their first meeting.
One day, his figure, which he could barely make eye contact with by looking upward, no longer felt big.
It happened because just as Vargo’s waist bent in a more and more curved form, Vera grew taller.
Now they stood at the same eye level and were looking at each other, but Vera couldn’t directly face him because, for some reason, he didn’t feel good in doing so.
Therefore, whenever he answered Vargo’s call, he always bowed his head.
So, while Vera was waiting for Vargo’s answer with his head lowered, Vargo continued speaking.
“…How is the practice of the philosophical laws going?”
“There is still room for improvement.”
“You have been at it everyday, yet you’re still lacking?”
“I feel ashamed.”
Vera lowered his head even deeper when he heard Vargo clicking his tongue.
Realizing his own inadequacy, Vera could only learn humility after following him.
Like any other paladin in the Holy Kingdom, he was able to pay tribute to him.
“So, you’re going to keep chasing after me? Huh? How long are you planning to waste away like this?”
Subsequently, those words had already been repeated for a year.
Vera then realized that it was time to say something different than what he had been saying till now.
It was necessary for him to achieve independence, which had been delayed in order to attain enlightenment.
Vera clenched his teeth.
‘In what way should I say this? How can I convince Vargo to assign me as the Saint’s escort?’
It was a worry that tormented him all the time. So he barely came up with a solution.
“Your Holiness, can I meet Sir Norn?”
“Huh? Why him?”
“I want to be independent.”
After saying that, Vera raised his head and made eye contact with Vargo.
Glimmering eyes whose depth couldn’t be fathomed. It came into Vera’s sight.
Eyes which were eccentric, peculiar, and even wicked, but Vera could now see that it was a depth that carried the passage of time.
“…I’d like to organize a procession.”
“What kind of procession?”
“Do you remember what I said that day?”
“Yes, how can I forget you crawling around while saying you wanted to chase after someone?”
Flinch. Vera’s body trembled at Vargo’s sarcastic remark.
He had been hanging around with him all this time, but he still got irked whenever he heard Vargo’s sarcastic tone.
Vera, who sighed, continued speaking while suppressing his emotions.
“…Yes, I want to create a procession for that.”
‘There was a time when I struggled to hide or speak about my regression.’
However, no matter how much he thought about it, he couldn’t come up with a proper tactic, so he finally chose a straightforward method.
Of course, he would not directly say that he regressed and knew that the Saint would appear, nor would he say that he was arranging a procession to escort her.
‘He’s not such a meddlesome person.’
Vargo, who he has seen for the past four years, was not a person to pry deeper about such a story.
According to the masses, the ‘Father’ of all Paladins was truly a person who embraced the priests of the Holy Land with a fatherly understanding.
Even though he was such an archaic old man that annoyed him, he still possessed courtesy.
While Vera kept thinking for some time, waiting for an answer, Vargo, who had a troubled face until then, picked his ears and asked a question.
“Is it because of a girl?”
Vera’s expression hardened.
“Guess I am right. Eh, tsk. Just looking at Rohan makes me irritated, and you’re no different. You think with your lower half.”
“…You’re being too harsh.”
“Seriously, this gloomy guy, going to have fun playing around.”
Crack. Vera clenched his fists.
“So, can you give me permission?”
“Will you back down if I refuse?”
“…I apologize, but I can’t.”
“Mannerless guy. Do as you wish.”
Vargo, saying so, rose up and left the chapel alone.
“I’m going to take a walk or something, so you let Norn know.”
“Thank you very much.”
Vargo then walked away with his mouth shut. There was no response back.
Vera heaved a deep sigh of relief as Vargo passed through the door of the chapel and no longer was visible.
‘I did it.’
Finally, I was able to achieve my original purpose.
‘Three days left.’
On the day when the continent is exactly halfway through the year, the week of equinox will begin, so will the white nights.
The miracle where the Lord’s sacred stigma appears on the continent.
The celebration of the Gods to bless the new saint.
That is where it all starts.
‘During the week of the midnight sun…’
The continent will be in a situation where it would be right to call it the melting point of chaos looming on the horizon.
This was because the entire continent would then move to seize the Lord’s power from the Saint.
Because the ability bestowed by the Lord’s power was well worth it
“The power to weave fate.”
The power to interfere with the providence itself and rewrite the destiny set in stone.
With the Saint’s power, even a farmer from a village could become the Emperor of the Empire.
Even the most miserable hunter could be the richest man on the continent.
Even if someone was on their last breath, where death was imminent, they could gain a life span of a hundred years.
Of course, one couldn’t use that ability without any cost.
The Saint couldn’t change her own destiny.
In addition, if the size of the inflection point caused by the use of power exceeds the total amount of divinity held by the Saint, she was forced to bear the burden alone.
For example, if you do something like changing the entire history of the continent like making a farmer into the Emperor, the soul of the Saint, who could not bear the burden, would shatter.
In other words, the Lord’s power was the ability to use the Saint’s soul as collateral.
It’s a very dangerous ability, but… sadly, she was not an important factor for those who would gain immense benefits from her power.
Why not? Because in the end, it was not the beneficiary but the Saint who bore the burden.
For them, the Saint was a Goddess that could bestow immense glory upon them at no cost whatsoever.
Following the trouble, Vera recalled those who had moved in search of the Saint in his past life.
‘The Emperor will move.’
The Emperor, whose position as of now was in danger, would directly move to make the Imperial family glorious again.
‘The Tower Master will move’
The Divine providence. She will move to attain enlightenment.
‘The Union Leader, the tribal leader of the Dragonians, and the Followers of the Night will move.’
All of them would move to seek the Saint.
Each of them wasn’t an easy opponent. But Vera wasn’t scared. Vera also had the ability to keep up with them.
There was the stigma. There was power accumulated through training. There was also the Holy Kingdom behind him.
There was no excuse to not be able to protect the Saint.
Suddenly, in Vera’s head, a Saint who lived without power in a corner of the slums flashed through his mind.
A scarred visage. A lonely death, with no one to mourn for her.
An event that would inevitably happen if no one interfered.
‘I won’t let that happen this time.’
I will never let the Saint face such an end.
I will be the most sturdy barrier so that no one dares to look at her the wrong way.
I’ll put her in a position where she’s praised for her nobility.
And as such, I’ll stand by her side for the rest of my life.
I will fulfill the oath engraved in my soul, and the promise to myself for the rest of my life.
How confident I am…not confident at all.
I’m still arrogant and ignorant. I don’t know what faith is. My swordsmanship was still akin to a beast, and a human being who couldn’t be said to be a good person even as a joke.
However, I couldn’t afford to lack confidence and hesitate to stand by her now.
Time won’t wait for me to become ready.
The week of equinox marked with white nights would begin even if he didn’t want to, and in the midst of it he had to stop numerous enemies who were after the Saint.
‘I won’t run away.’
I won’t run away from the responsibility of the oath I made on my own.
I will gladly accept the consequences of my arrogance and ignorance.
I will gladly carry the weight of blood from the sword that only knows how to kill.
I will not say that the world I saw through my shallow eyes is right.
Only I will shoulder them and live on for the sake of that oath.
Vera’s eyes turned to the mural of the nine gods painted on the wall in front of the chapel.
‘Whatever you guys want, it’s none of my business.’
‘If it matches with what I want, it would be nice, other than that I don’t care.’
‘I’m not going to solve the difficulties you throw at me.’
From the last moment of that repulsive life, there was only one thing that mattered to him.
‘All I want is to protect the Saint.’
The light that shone upon him during his final moments.
‘With my life, it is enough to protect it.’
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