Chapter Three: Things are moving too fast!
(t/n: I’m moving all my future translations to this site but I’m still the original translator for the first two chapters!)
When I woke up, there was an unknown ceiling above my head. The ceiling… if you could call it that. Pillars extended up from the four corners of the bed, with curtains strung between them. Directly above me on the canopy was a beautiful, masterwork painting. I’d never seen such a painting before, could it have been done by angels? In other words, this place is too much. While thinking that, I sat up and casually moved the curtain aside to reveal the handsome knight. Ah, your face is too dazzling.
“Saint, are you awake?”
Saint. Yes, I am the Saint. I remembered meeting the Elder Saint for judgment and suddenly losing consciousness. I remembered feeling my body tip over and just when I thought I would fall to the floor, my body was firmly supported. There was only one person in that room who had the strength to hold me, the knight, but my memory stopped there. I worried about what happened after that.
Since I collapsed in the pure white room with the statue of god, why was I waking up on a bed somewhere else? Was it the waiting room that I had passed through earlier? Did someone really carry me so far? …There’s only one answer. I’m a grown man. I must have been heavy to carry and caused trouble.
“I’m sorry.” I don’t know what happened to the other girl but if she had been the one to faint, she would have been easy to carry. But a big man like me? It would be troublesome to load me onto a cart, if they even had one handy.
“No, if you’re safe, then don’t apologize.”
I couldn’t say anything to the knight with his relieved smile and rubbed my cheeks in embarrassment. Why was this guy still so friendly? Since the judgment is over, it should be clear I’m not the saint. Hmm…
Earlier, didn’t the knight address me as Saint?
I wanted to ask what happened after I fainted, but I was distracted by my hunger. A barley porridge was brought to me immediately and I ate it quickly. After, I was wiped down with a hot towel. Of course, I tried to refused the knight’s help. It’s pitiful to be taken care of my such a handsome knight. I may be an old man but I’m not infirm.
Though I was unhappy, I listened to what happened after I fainted and understood the reason for his actions. While I felt like I had only overslept, I had actually been unconscious for thirteen days. Well, it makes more sense to want to take care of a sick person than to be overprotective of an old man.
The knight recounted what happened while I was unconscious, each word adding to my headache. After I collapsed, the three other knights said, “Lady Emilia is the Saint!” and “Capture those two fraudsters!” The Elder Saint’s knights calmed them by telling them not to make a fuss in front of her.
The Elder Saint had apparently been standing perfectly still with her eyes closed until she spoke with great urgency. “This person is the next generation’s Saint. He has tremendous power so there’s no reason to worry.” She then pointed at my collapsed figure.
Therefore, even though I was an old man, I became a Saint and the beautiful saint-like girl was imprisoned for impersonating a saint. Her knights were also arrested for insulting the name of the Saint. Everything was happening so fast, I struggled to keep up. I may have been asleep for a while, but that’s a lot to happen in a short time!
“…And the Elder Saint left for God’s presence yesterday.”
“She left for you a letter. Will you read it?”
The Elder Saint was that dignified little old lady from before. Going to God… does that mean she’s dead? Really… We only met for a short time and we didn’t have a real conversation. Even so, her gaze was burned permanently into my heart.
Not knowing what to say, I take the letter and open it. It was written in a mysterious, angular script different from what we used in the village. The ‘Sacred Language’, I realized. I was also surprised I could easily read the letter. Why do I know how to read a script that I’ve never seen? How does someone know something they shouldn’t know?
The answer to that question was explained in the letter itself. Originally, I should have gone with the Elder Saint and she would have told me in person but with her death, she’d left letters and notes instead. Her knowledge as a Saint had been handed down from generation to generation through rituals. I would struggle to access that knowledge for a while but all the answers could be found within me.
Her letter ended with a plea to save this country which she loved so dearly. Her heartfelt words created a sharp pain in my chest.
…If I had been born somewhere else. I wonder if I could have known her better if I lived in a town where I could be easily appraised instead of a small village that wasn’t even on the map I wondered if I could have learned the role of the Saint slowly and carefully. If only she had lived a little longer.
My heart full of emotion, I couldn’t help but ask, “I would like to offer my prayers. Can you guide me?”
I stared at the hand that was held out and stood without its aid. I still didn’t know much about being the Saint, but the burden of the responsibility entrusted to me weighed heavily on my back.
It seemed the Elder Saint was being literal when she said all the knowledge I needed was already inside my head. I didn’t know how to pray, but my body performed the motions like I had been doing them all my life. The mourning rites and purification ritual of the country seemed to spring out of me by themselves.
My feet guided me back to the room from the other day so I could mourn the Elder Saint. What should have been a pure white room with a lone statue of God looked much different now that I had learned how to use the power of the Saint.
The light spread out like a map and jet-black darkness ate at it along the edges. The places where the two met represented the boundaries of the country. The only bright spot along the edge was my village. By purifying it before leaving, it shone as brightly as a star. But looking around, the rest of the country was a dark gray color. Though there was some variation, many places were almost completely black.
This was bad.
A place with white light was purified while somewhere in the gray darkness was corrupted. The darker the color, the stronger the contamination, and the more difficult to purify. In highly polluted areas, normal animals became twisted into demonic beasts that attacked people. Because of the danger, trade with other countries was suffering.
The power of the Elder Saint had faded considerably over the years. My generation’s Saint should have been discovered before the Elder Saint grew old and frail but was instead greatly delayed. She must have been forced to over extend her powers.
I stared down at the floor, trying to determine the order of purification. While it would have been nice to purify everything at once, that’s impossible. I’d have to do it little by little, started with the most polluted areas and around major trade routes. It’s the same as plowing a field, you couldn’t do it all once, you had to take it slow.
Then I wanted to use the power of purification but I stopped myself, thinking, ‘If you purify beyond your limits, you’ll be useless for the rest of the day. Or worse, you might fall asleep for a few more days. In that case, it would be better to deal with other troublesome things first.
“Ummm… Wieland, right?”
“Yes, Saint,” said the knight who had brought him from the village all the way to the Capitol. Until this, I felt it would be impolite if I, a villager, casually used his name, but I was the Saint now. There were many knights here, so it would be better to address them by name. At least, that was my though process as I addressed him.
Why was he smiling like that? Is he really so happy to hear his name from an old man?
Feeling bad for him, I continued to talk to him about what was on my mind. As I carefully expressed my hopes, Wieland’s eyes opened wide.