Translated by iseuli
Edited by DelishNoodles
‘Since even I had a hard time trying to remember Saint Selene, I’m sure most people are not even aware of her existence.’
The last few pages of the 33rd volume wrote about Saint Selene’s life. She had minimized her social activities to the bare minimum of jobs which had related to healing and necessary meetings related to ongoing politics, and had instead spent the majority of her remaining life mastering archaic languages in order to study the Holy Scripture during her period of Sainthood.
Saint Selene reminded Raelia of herself, she wondered if Saint Selene had also tried her best to research the methods to extend her life span. She thought her hypothesis would not be so far off from the reality of the situation.
She began to read through the pages of the 34th volume with much more focus than ever before. She didn’t dare skip even a single word.
The Saint dedicated the entirety of her first year to studying.
However, it seemed Saint Selene did not figure out anything. If she had discovered anything, she would have attempted some sort of intervention. During the first year, she spent all her hours studying. Then the second year, she did nothing more other than peacefully fulfilling her role as a Saint.
Realia got the impression that the Saint had given up.
Saint Selene had put forth so much effort into studying. It seemed as if she had made a conclusion after all the research. If she felt any sort of hope, she would not have given up even two years into her Sainthood. Raelia suddenly wondered why the Saint had suddenly given up. She pondered on the possibility of Saint Selene meeting the Devil.
Raelia had been fervently reading and suddenly paused, which perked Ru’s interest.
“What are you thinking?”
Raelia suddenly realised he had been staring at her all this time. She offhandedly thought that this man had way too much free time on his hands.
“It’s nothing much, just…”
Raelia paused. She suddenly remembered the person next to her had photographic memory.
It felt like lightning struck her mind.
She wondered why she had not thought of asking for his help sooner. She wasn’t sure how much of the Holy Scriptures he had read thus far, but asking him would not take long, and it would be worth a try.
She would be able to narrow down the volumes of Holy Scriptures she had to research a great deal. It would be more efficient than going through the stories randomly based on her own preferences.
“Ru, could you help me with something?”
Ru stroked his chin seeing Raelia’s shining eyes and predicted the type of help she needed.
“If your advice is of help to me, then I’ll be more than happy to help you out with one thing as well.”
Raelia clasped her hands together and beamed her hopeful eyes.
She was praying that her stunning looks would help move Ru’s heart, but it was fruitless. If he yearned for beautiful people or objects, looking at himself with a mirror would be much more satisfying than looking at Raelia.
“I don’t think there would be anything Miss would be able to help me with… but I am interested to hear what you have to say.”
Thankfully, he still agreed to help her. He continued to speak without pause.
“I don’t really like how you phrased, ‘If your advice is of help to me.’ The trade is much too favorable and subjective on Miss’ end. You’re the one asking for my help, aren’t you?”
‘He figured it out?’ Raelia quickly changed her phrasing as soon as he caught onto her real intentions.
“I misspoke. Whether your advice is helpful or not, of course I will return the favor and help you.”
Ru was sure that she had not misspoken, but he let it go.
“I don’t really need any help, but I do have a favor to ask from you.”
“What is it?”
“I will let you know after I help you. Let’s take care of the urgent tasks first. How could I be of help to you?”
Raelia paused to think for a moment. She could not directly ask him if he had any knowledge on information to extend a Saint’s life, so she tried her best to phrase it in the best roundabout way.
She looked across the library. She intended to move to a more private location if there were people around, but nobody was around. She once again spoke very carefully.
“I am researching unusual peculiar incidents relating to the Saints. I wish to read about the Saints who passed on quicker than two years. Or Saints who came across de-”
She was about to ask if any Saints had seen the Devil, but was able to quickly catch herself.
“Saints who may have seen hallucinations.”
Ru was caught off guard by Raelia’s question and thought for a moment. She had not asked any direct questions relating to the Devil, but she still felt a bit anxious.
Ru finally broke his silence.
“I have not fully read all the volumes of the Holy Scriptures, however give me a piece of paper.”
Raelia gave Ru the quill pen and paper that she brought. He jotted down a series of bullet points in archaic format.
She wondered if it was necessary since she did not ask him to write in archaic format. Ru, who noticed Raelia’s curious eyes answered her question while continuing to jot down various references on the top of his head.
“The information is not restricted, but I think it would be a better idea if Miss is the only one who could be able to read this note.”
Raelia felt thankful for his thoughtfulness. If someone found such a strange list, it would not be good on her side.
“I already agreed to help you, so I am writing this down for you. But why are you researching this? Is your master a Saint Candidate?”
Raelia became speechless at his keen senses. Ru continued to speak.
“Your expression tells me all that I need to know. You should learn to hide your expression better if you don’t want others to figure you out. Still, this isn’t really anything you NEED to hide.”
His quill didn’t stop at all as he continued to speak.
“Miss might not be aware, but many Saint Candidates come to search the Holy Scriptures. Everyone remains secretive, however it is a very common and understandable practice.”
“Still, why are you searching for Saints that have experienced hallucinations? I’ve never heard of any such incidents.”
“…Is that so?”
It was surprising. Mora had seen the devil, and she, herself, had seen it as well. She was sure that she would find incidents of other Saints experiencing similar episodes with the Devil.
Even if nobody outright explained they could see the Devil, she thought she would be able to find a small trail which hinted at the idea of seeing strange things.
Raelia peeked over his paper. She was aware that he had perfect photographic memory, but seeing him pack the page with all the information was amazing.
It took a long while before he put down his quill.
“This is all that I know. I’ve written the volumes of the Holy Scriptures I had read thus far, so you can use that as reference as well. I don’t know of any Saints that have seen hallucinations. At least not in my memory. Have you heard of any such incidents?”
Ru seemed fully invested in Raelia’s business. Raelia shook her head.
“No, this…much, is more than enough, thank you!”
Raelia bowed and attempted to take the paper from him.
“No, we have not finished our trade.”
Raelia pulled on the paper. The paper didn’t budge even a bit.
“You have to listen to one of my requests as well.”
“Ah… right now?”
“I’m thinking. Honestly, I can’t think of anything on the top of my head.”
“Then I’ll listen to your request the next time we meet.”
“Do you think we will be able to meet again?”
All his suspicions were well grounded. But even if he had such suspicions, she could not promise a specific date for a second meeting.
Raelia pulled on the paper once again. The paper still refused to budge. She was afraid of ripping the paper, so she waited patiently while trying to convince him to give up.
“What is it that you want?”
“What I want…”
He trailed off, and continued to speak.
“My problem is that there is nothing that I want.”
“Can’t you just do me this one favor then?”
“It’s not my practice to make unprofitable trades.”
She did not know what to do. Raelia just barely managed to keep herself from snapping in irritation.
“I plan to be here tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow. I plan to be here all week, so if you drop by this place, you will be able to find me. All you need to do is come to the library to find me.
Instead of answering, Ru let go of the paper. He seemed satisfied with her answer. Raelia didn’t want him to take the paper back so she quickly packed it up.
“I need to go now. I have made plans for the afternoon.”
“Is that so?”
“You seem very happy.”
‘You noticed?’ Raelia cleared her throat and lightly coughed. She was happy that he helped her, but his character toward the end of their meeting wasn’t very pleasant.
“When do you plan to leave today?”
“I plan to leave as soon as I finish reading volume 34.”
“Okay then. Let’s meet again next time.”
Raelia nodded. Ru smiled and stood up to leave.
“The next time we meet, you can drop the honorific speech.” (t/n: He dropped his own honorifics and spoke in casual form here.)
“I’m a maid.”
Raelia lied with a straight face.
“So what? You’re not a maid employed under me.”
She wondered what was wrong with this person.
‘Just how much has he taken a liking to me? In what way specifically?’ She wondered if he would take offence if she truly dropped all the honorifics when she conversed with him.
“I just want to be friends. Have you seen friends converse with one another with honorifics?”
Ru said. His voice was very chipper through to the end. He continued to wave as he walked off.
“I need to be going for real now, see you next time.”
Raelia stared blankly, simply blinking without any particular thoughts.
She was momentarily lost in her own thoughts. She wondered if she could truly become his friend.
She felt a little hopeful to become his friend. Her only friend in this world had been Saint Mora, and she had passed on a few weeks back.
She had Chessyre, but Chessyre was her maid, and their status was not exactly suitable for a friendship.
She didn’t have any spare time for friends. She would be at death’s door in 2 years time, what good would friends be? They did not even know one another’s true name or status.
It was laughable.
‘Let’s just continue to read.’
She wanted to confirm the information that Ru organized for her, but she could do that at home. So Raelia prioritized reading through Volume 34 of the Holy Scriptures first.
She remained in the library all day, reading, and as a result, her body felt very stiff. She closed her book, and stretched. She didn’t realize how quickly time had passed while she read.
‘I should head home.’
She wished to stay and continue to read, but she needed to return home before dinner. If she emptied the house for too long, the guards would strengthen their surveillance, and she would only end up suffering for it. She had many more days ahead anyway.
She exited the library, and catched a carriage to return home. She could not return home using the front gate, so instead she got dropped off not too far from home, and walked around the back side fence of her home.
‘It should have been around here…’
It was harder to find the dog hole from the outside, which was probably the reason it had never been blocked off. She cut through the wild bushes and grass and managed to find the dog hole again after some time. She quickly rushed to crawl through the hole.
The day was very dark by now. However, enough light remained so she could still make out the people walking around the garden.
The garden had been very quiet, and so Chessyre immediately took notice of Raelia.
“Why were you so late?”
“Did they find out?”
“No, they did not find out…”
“Is that so?”
She thought her family would most likely notice that she left the house, and the news surprised her a lot.
The guards were not allowed to enter her room, and she thought it would be very suspicious for her room to remain quiet for such a long period of time.
In another perspective, people in her household did not care about her to even accidentally come to find out she was gone. She wondered whether she should be happy about this or not.
“How about you? Did you visit the doctor?”
“No, I told them I had always suffered from chest pains, and they just went with whatever I told them. They didn’t want to pay for my medical expenses to begin with, so they wouldn’t force me to go through with a medical examination.”
They chattered with one another until they reached the back gate.
They would need to be much more careful from here on. Raelia liked this point of Chessyre the most.
The two entered through the back door of the kitchen. This was the perfect time to return because the two could pretend to deliver dinner together, and peacefully make their return to their room without anyone suspecting them of any crime.
“Please wait here for a moment.”
Raelia waited quietly in a dark corner of the kitchen.
She did not have to wait long, Chessyre returned with two trays of food.
Raelia looked to Chessyre with eyes of amazement.
“Have you been practicing acrobatics?”
“I brought two on purpose! Miss, please take a tray of food. That way nobody will suspect us.”
Her reasoning was well based. She didn’t imagine that Chessyre would plan everything so elaborately.
Raelia hurriedly took one of the trays of food.
The two headed up to Raelia’s room on the second floor. The guard appeared very bored, and had been leaning against the wall, and only stood up properly when he saw the two maids walking to his direction.
“This is dinner for Miss.”
Chessyre explained, and the guard nodded moving aside. Raelia was afraid he would notice her, and walked in with her head bowed low.
This noblehouse did not staff many maids, but the guard didn’t appear to be familiar with the maids yet and didn’t suspect Raelia’s identity.
She knocked, but nobody answered. Nobody was inside, so of course nobody would give any response. Chessyre called out while being wary of the guard.
“Oh my, she seemed to have slept the entire day.”
She knocked twice more and opened the door. The guard didn’t appear interested in the two maids at all through this entire process.
There was a long silence after they closed the door and set the table.
They exchanged excited looks with one another in total silence.
Raelia quickly took off her wig and slipped into her pajamas. After all this time, the food had cooled down quite a bit. Raelia admired her food before starting to dig in.
“Chessyre, why don’t we eat together?”
They had carried two trays of food so there was a lot more food than usual.
It was not two servings, but the two never ate huge servings so it would be enough for the both of them.
Chessyre shook her hands.
“Me? How could I dare eat at the same table with Miss?”
“But you helped me the most today. Ah, when you quit your maid position here, what do you think about working in a theatre? I will help you look for a good place.”
“I will be Miss’ maid forever though?”
She answered sharply without hesitation. Raelia felt very happy hearing the word ‘forever’, and didn’t chase this conversation any further.
“…Anyway, I’m okay. We don’t have enough cutlery anyway. But thank you for your thoughts.”
She could not force this any further and nodded. When she finished her meal, she sat on her bed and began to think.
“How do I leave again tomorrow?”
She had managed to slip by today, but they could not use the same method everyday. If it worked, that was another problem in itself.
No matter how much they didn’t care to pay for their maid’s medical expenses, if the maid fainted twice a visit to the doctor would be unavoidable. Even if they did not care to check on them, if Chessyre fainted twice, someone would drop by for a visit.
“How about if we explain honestly?”
“You are leaving the house to read the Holy Scriptures. They will think you are studying for your Saint position. I think the master would be very happy.”
“He would be happy. However, the problem is that I am reading the second edition of the Holy Scriptures.”
Surprisingly, the only person who was aware that she could read archaic languages was Chessyre. If she were to be perfectly honest, Saint Mora had also been aware.
She wasn’t putting much effort trying to hide this at all. She had mastered much of it by the time she had been 11 years old. No 11 year old would be smart enough to hide this sort of achievement. It was simply that her family did not care about her at all.
‘When I first finished reading a volume of the Holy Scriptures, I went to brag to my father. He brushed me away saying he didn’t have time for my jokes.’
After all this time, she realized it was the right thing that she hid her talent from her family. Nothing good would come out from letting her family know that she had mastery over archaic languages.
Saints were considered of equal status to the Pope, however all the Saints she had known thus far had been treated like healing slaves. Maybe Saints who had mastery over Archaic languages were simply servants who could read.
Raelia had seen the priests snickering and belittling Mora who could not read at all. The incident had not happened just once or twice.
‘A Saint who had mastery over the archaic languages.’
She wondered if it would help her as a Saint at all. Still, she planned to keep her talent a secret until it was absolutely necessary. This was not the time for her to reveal all her cards.
For this reason, she put much effort to keep everything a secret.
The terrace of Raelia’s room caught her eyes. They had kept the terrace door closed all this time, and never once opened it.
“Why don’t we have a peek out onto the terrace?”
Raelia seemed to comment out of the blue.
“Let’s go have a look.”
She got up from her spot, moved the curtain aside, and opened the door. The winter evening air was very chilly, but she didn’t hesitate and stepped outside to observe the railing.
Her room was on the second floor, and was quite a distance from the ground below. Chessyre chased behind her with an overcoat.
“Miss, don’t even think about that! If you get hurt…!”
“I will heal.”
Her room was all the way in the back corner of the mansion, and the garden below was also well out of everyone’s sight. Though, there was still a small chance that someone might discover her jumping off her terrace.
Raelia was just giving this a thought, but this truly seemed like a better plan than Chessyre’s luring method. As she had stated, she would heal even if she got hurt. She would only need to suffer a moment of pain.
Chessyre understood her master was simply looking out the garden, but she couldn’t help but feel anxious. If someone discovered them, they might mistake Raelia for someone who wanted to kill herself by jumping off the terrace.
“Calm down. I’m not saying I’ll jump out without any thought.”
Raelia returned to her room and fluffed her blanket.
“Hmm… can you bring me blankets from outside? If you tell them that I spilled my drink on my blanket, they will give you an extra blanket without suspecting you of anything. I think it will be a better idea to bring a different blanket, one that isn’t too thick.”
“You’re not planning to jump out after sending me away, are you?”
“What kind of person do you think I am?”
Raelia retorted surprised. Chessyre retracted her suspicion and collected the tray of food. After neatly piling all the food, it was easy to carry everything by herself.
She heard Chessyre talking to the guard outside. It seemed he became suspicious when only one maid came out of the room.
However, he didn’t question her very much after hearing Chessyre’s excuse.
It would be suspicious if the maid never left the room, however the guard rotated shifts three times a day, so it was easy to slip past suspicious eyes.
Soon, Chessyre returned with an arm full of blankets. Raelia knotted the end of the blankets together. The knot was done over and over until they felt assured.
“It will be okay. I just want to check the length.”
She tied the blanket to the railing, and looked down. The blanket rope didn’t reach the ground, but it was low enough to jump from.
“Where did you learn tricks like this?”
“I learned it from a book.”
Raelia had Chessyre help her to retrieve the blanket rope. Her terrace was visible from the other rooms of the mansion, so she quickly retrieved the rope and hid it under her bed.
Chessyre surrendered herself to Raelia with a blank expression. Raelia simply smiled.
The next day, Raelia finished the breakfast that Chessyre brought, and put on her disguise once again.
Chessyre who was brushing her wig suddenly stopped and spoke.
“I heard this from Mary yesterday night, but it seems the capital is a bit chaotic these days.”
“People seem to be going missing. Thus far, four people have disappeared.”
“If they’re missing, it could simply be by chance, don’t you think?”
“All the missing people are females in their teens. Originally, this kind of event wouldn’t cause such a fuss, but one of the young ladies that had gone missing is from a noble family, and the incident blew up.”
Once her silver hair was covered by the brown wig, she didn’t stand out as much. Raelia, who had been calm, turned furious.
“The culprit has not been caught yet?”
“That’s why the city has been in disorder as of late. Miss, you must be careful. You’re wandering alone and it makes me very nervous.”
“I always take a carriage on my way, and I only travel in places with many people so it’s okay.”
“You can’t be assured just because you’re on a carriage! Regardless of anything, it’s not good to be alone. The young noble lady had also disappeared when she had been alone!”
Raelia took out her blanket rope from under her bed and fastened it tightly onto the terrace railing before throwing the rope down below.
Once the time arrived, she felt her muscles tighten with nerves, and swallowed dryly. She checked whether the blanket rope was securely fastened countless number of times. She managed to work up enough courage after some time, and jumped over the railing at once. She held on tight and slid down.
Chessyre, who could only watch, worried whether her master would be discovered or hurt, but she worried for naught.
The rope was very strong, and jumping down from a meter height did not cause any injuries at all.
She got some burns on her palm, but her injuries healed quickly and so she barely felt any pain.
‘My regenerative ability has become quicker.’
Her healing ability had been much slower than this in the past, seeing this, the reality of becoming a Saint sunk in once again.
This was her second escape, but the thrill still felt the same. She still felt nervous, and Raelia could not calm down until she hopped onto a carriage.
She could only sigh in relief after she got onto a carriage. She got off at the same street in front of the market, and began to walk. Her outing was very peaceful and safe.
Until she met ‘him’ once again at the same spot.
She managed to muffle her yelp of surprise by clamping her mouth shut. She nearly screamed pointing at an empty space.
‘Hasn’t he been satisfied with the apple from yesterday?’
‘What is the reason? Why?’
The only difference was that he was leaning against a wall, instead of staring at the apple.
Raelia slowly took a few steps back. She didn’t want to make the same mistake from yesterday.
She thought it would be better to take a detour to the library today. It would take a little longer, but she wouldn’t need to talk with the Devil which would assure her safety by a hundred folds.
When she managed to escape a good distance, she quickened her pace to a dash. The city’s streets were formatted into squares like a chessboard so she didn’t need to worry about getting lost.
After some time, she found a new path to the library.
Raelia felt relieved and slowed her sprint to a leisure walk. When she was about to turn the corner-.
“Why are you running away?”
Raelia froze in place. The Devil was staring at her with his red bloody eyes.
She wanted to return the question to him.
‘Why are you following me?’
She suddenly felt all her efforts were futile. If she was going to be discovered, she would have stuck to the same path.
“…If you were following me, you should have said something. I didn’t know you were following me.”
She suffered for nothing. She felt she used up too much of what little stamina she had.
“I didn’t know you would try to run away.”
“You’re aware I was trying to run away because I didn’t want to meet you, right?”
Dion nodded calmly. Raelia truly hated the Devil’s nasty nature.
‘Of course the D-devil would know…’
Endure it, endure it. Endure thrice, and avoid a lost life. In this case, the life referred to her own.
“Do you have any business with me?”
Her tone remained placid. She assumed he had followed her for the sake of his original request. That had been the only reason the Devil had needed her.
Of course she didn’t have the slightest intention of helping him. The reason she asked at all was so she could reject him, and then be on her way.
As expected, Dion didn’t waste time.
Unsurprised by his request, Raelia was about to reject, when he interrupted.
“Can you buy me an apple?”
She watched him with her mouth gaping open.
This was the sound of a Devil enjoying an apple.
He truly seemed to enjoy his apple, although she already had breakfast she felt hungry again watching him eat.
Raelia was a generous noble. So this time, she bought him a basket full of apples. Currently, he was enjoying a great feast on this peaceful street.
Although there was no trash can around, Dion didn’t dare litter. He placed the core of the apples in his basket, the sight was very strange.
‘What exactly is that devil?’
The more she got to know the devil, the more she felt like her common sense was failing her.
She wondered if his original request wouldn’t be anything grand afterall.
‘Though I highly doubt that.’
If his original request wasn’t anything grand, he would have plainly asked. Just like today when he asked her to buy her some apples.
‘He knew I would help him.’
However, he refused to reveal the truth of his original request until she agreed to help him. In other words, if she knew the contents, it would be a task related to something she would absolutely refuse.
He is truly a cunning Devil.
Dion accompanied her to the library again. If he was not a Devil, the atmosphere would not have been so bad.
Before they said their goodbyes, Dion lifted his basket.
“I will repay you for this at our next meeting.”
“No, that’s fine.”
Raelia said flatly. She decided that she would travel a different path tomorrow.
“Then please be safe on your way home today.”
‘It would be nice if you could just go away already.’
On the surface, the two appeared like they were on a date. She felt grateful there wasn’t anyone around. If anyone was there to witness the scene, they would think she was crazy.
When Dion walked away, she sighed in relief. She showed her proof of identity and fee to enter the library, Raelia paused her step.
She realised the Devil did not bring up his original request from their first meeting on this day.
Ru was not at the library today. She looked around the library to be sure, but she could not find anyone who resembled him, nor anyone sleeping.
‘Were my hopes too high?’
She thought she didn’t have anything like hope in her heart, but finding herself feeling disappointment, it seemed she did hope a bit after all.
‘I should know my place…’
Raelia mocked herself. If nobody was there to distract her, that was for the better. It wasn’t like she felt lonely without his presence.
She found a comfortable place to sit and looked down the list that Ru had made for her. She had reorganized the list which prioritized the Saints she found the most suspicious.
Her focus of study was narrowed down a great deal, so she thought today would be much more productive than yesterday.
She put all her attention to reading the Holy Scripture. Nobody was there to bother her, so her focus was absolute.
After a long while, she checked the time, and realised she would need to return home.
She didn’t take a single break from reading today. Still, she didn’t find anything useful. She understood this wasn’t something she could solve in a single day, so she didn’t feel disappointed at all.
She used the same method to return to her room, whatever the pair were worried about, was not a problem in the least.
“I should leave the house in the same way tomorrow.”
“Oh, I have something to tell you about that… tomorrow you cannot leave.”
“Huh? Why not?”
She wondered if she had some business, or if her outings were discovered by her family.
“Tomorrow the dress designer sent by the Temple will visit to fit you for the Saint’s Ceremony.”
‘Ah, if it’s this then…’
Raelia nodded. She had wondered why this task had not been mentioned sooner.
She felt a bit irritated that her family had let her know only a single day before the appointed time. It could be they didn’t feel the need to tell her since she was under self isolation, or they forgot to tell her. It should be due to one or the other.
She didn’t feel happy with any one of the reasons.
The color white represented Elea, and so only the royal family, priests and Saints were allowed to wear pure white uniforms.
The only exception to this tradition was during weddings. It had been allowed for the husband and wife to dorn themselves in all white to receive proper blessings from the Gods.
The exception also included all the Saint candidates. This was also the reason why the designer was dropping by for a consultation.
Boutiques did not make dresses that were not allowed to be worn, so all the Saint candidates were required to set an appointment with the designated church designer.
Earlier this afternoon, she read in the second edition of the Holy Scriptures that in the past, the church did not send dress designers for the Saint candidates. However many commoners could not afford such luxurious dresses, so the tradition had been adjusted in this way to let everyone participate in this tradition regardless of their social class.
Anything related to Saints of commoner status, had always been excluded from the third edition of the Holy Scriptures.
“Did they let you know what time they would arrive?”
“No they didn’t tell me any other details…. Oh, I did hear it would be in the afternoon.”
“Is there anything that will be done properly for me?”
“My apologies Miss…! Oh, shall I go ask? If I ask the head butler-.”
“It’s fine. I’m not faulting you.”
She understood that none of this had been Chessyre’s fault. She wasn’t trying to vent her frustration on Chessyre either.
If the dress designer’s visit was in the morning, she could leave for the library in the afternoon. Sadly, she had no idea of the exact time the designer would drop in.
Tomorrow, she would need to remain home all day.
She would be the one to suffer the consequences if she risked leaving the house without proper knowledge of the appointed time. Raelia felt tired reading all day, and decided to go to sleep early.
The next day, she had a leisurely and slow breakfast, and read through the third edition of the Holy Scriptures until late afternoon.
She had already read the third edition of the Holy Scriptures until the pages were nearly worn, but reading through this one more time while referencing the newly learned information from the second edition, felt refreshing and worth the effort. It was actually a great help rather than not.
“Miss, Madam Ocent is here.”
The door slammed open as soon as permission was given. Many people marched into the room. As soon as Chessyre entered, she trotted over to stand next to Raelia.
Raelia had washed her hair in the afternoon and had fully dressed in formal attire for this occasion.
Raelia lightly held her dress, and gracefully bowed. The madam gave a lazy quick nod of acknowledgement.
‘…What? Were they usually this disrespectful? It couldn’t be. She is Madam Countess Ocent, the other party had a high reputation of proper etiquette.’
“We don’t have any time to waste so let’s quickly get over the dress situation.”
The madam said in an icy tone while frowning in displeasure. Raelia wondered if the designer had behaved in this way with the other Saint candidates as well.
“The measurement of this dress will fit Miss Vitel well. If you pick one amongst these, we will send you the properly fitted dress on the day of the ceremony. So, which do you prefer?”
Her father must have informed the designer of her own measurements ahead of time. She would have been happier if her father had let her know that he would be sending measurements to the dress designer, but everything had already passed and complaining would not resolve anything.
The madam carried on with a harsh tone throughout the appointment. It might have been her own imagination, but she felt she was being looked down upon by Madam Ocent.
Her face plainly read, ‘I don’t like you.’ And Raelia was not sure how to respond in this type of situation. She wondered what she did that was so wrong.
Raelia thought for a moment. She wondered whether she should start a fight or not.
‘…I’ll endure for now.’
No party was losing out from this meeting, so she decided to remain interested in what the other party could do for her.
It could be that the other party had met all the other Saint candidates the entire day, and maybe the madam’s patience had run short. She tried to muster all her efforts to be understanding.
The madam showed her a total of four dresses. Raelia compared the dresses, and all of them looked very plain and bare.
“Will it be okay to try them out?”
Raelia looked to Chessyre. She instantly understood Raelia’s intentions through her eyes, and helped her master.
The dress fabric was very strong and luxurious. She wondered if the quality would be poor since they were also made for the sake of commoners, but it was only her prejudice. This service was done from the temples side and felt a bit more proper.
The dresses were pre made according to her measurements, and the sizes were nearly perfect. Raelia stood in front of the mirror and carefully looked over her dress.
The overall design was quite plain, but there were many layers of lace which made the dress appear very full. The sleeves had a nice comfortable give and fit well, even though she was skinnier than the average noble lady.
She thought a dress such as this was not bad at all. She didn’t feel she had to try out any other dresses, and decided she would make do with this dress. They were both busy, so there was no reason to drag out this meeting any further.
“Then I will choose this dre-.”
“Wow, Sister! Are you choosing a dress?”
Raelia couldn’t finish her sentence. Ashlea had welcomed herself in, and smiled while starting small talk.
“Oh my! Madam Ocent, you’re the head dress designer chosen by the Temple this time?”
Ashlea started a conversation with Madam Ocent.
“There is nobody else more suited for the position than Madam. I’m always struck in awe when I see the dresses made by you, I’m so jealous of my sister.”
She continued with nonstop small talk. Honestly, Raelia felt this sight was a bit strange. Even the Madam’s response felt odd.
“Ashlea! Honestly, I thought I would be meeting with you when I saw that my appointment was with the Vitel Noblehouse.”
The frost of the madam’s expression was no more, and she was brightly smiling. All the mysteries Raelia had were solved in an instant.
The designer had a close relationship with Ashlea. They weren’t merely close, but were on first name basis.
Raelia tossed the little bit of understanding she tried to maintain in her heart.
‘I give up!’
“Ashlea, your face…”
Madam Ocent worriedly said. Raelia observed Ashlea’s face.
Ashlea’s cheeks were covered in many bruises. She had covered her bruises with makeup, but it was still faintly visible.
‘A very good effort.’
It appeared as if she made the best effort to cover up her bruises to the best of her ability.
Raelia was very curious how Ashlea would exact her revenge against her since their last fight. Ashlea acted as if she didn’t want the others to discover her bruises while dropping in for today’s visit.
“A-Ashlea… what are you doing here?”
Ashlea and Madam Ocent’s body turned upon Raelia’s words. Ashlea hesitated to speak, and smiled brightly.
“What do you mean? Sister is choosing a dress for the Saint’s Ceremony, of course I need to come in to help you.”
She turned her gaze downwards, and imitated the behaviors of a modest person.
“Sister, you told me that you didn’t have an eye for picking nice dresses. So I was just worried…”
She was pretending to be the pitiful little sister who dropped by to help her sister, disregarding her own ill condition.
It had been a matter of course, but after Raelia grew up she had not once requested for help from Ashlea. To add, Ashlea was not someone who would help just because she was asked to.
Ashlea didn’t give Raelia a chance to speak.
“Huh? Why is your expression like that? Ah! Are you worried about my body’s condition? I’m really okay. I was bedridden for only two days, I’m nearly in perfect health now.”
As Ashlea spoke, she rested her hand on her cheek, and winced in pain.
“Ack! Ah, I’m sorry… I still get a bit sore after speaking too much… But really, I’m okay. You don’t need to worry…”
Her sister’s acting was enough to paint Raelia as the evil cold blooded devilish sister.
“Ashlea! What in the world happened to your face?”
“Ah, my Sister… Ah no. It was due to my own mistakes, so-.”
“Did Miss Vitel do this to you?”
“That, that is…”
Ashlea looked to the ground pitifully. Everyone became speechless watching her sadness.
An abusive sister who physically hurts her little sister, even though they were nobles.
“…Chessyre, can you get me some water? I need a very cold cup.”
Everyone was waiting for an explanation, but Raelia remained silent as if she was part of the audience watching a play. She asked for a cup of water like she had been an outsider.
Chessyre didn’t look like she wanted to leave this room, but Raelia was her master, and her words were absolute. She tearfully left the room to fetch some water.
Ashlea’s eyes narrowed in suspicion when Raelia sent away the one person who was on her sister’s side. Raelia opened her mouth to speak.
“You didn’t need to force yourself to come visit. I appreciate your sincerity, Ashlea.”
Her tone sounded very warm, but Raelia didn’t appear apologetic over the incident at all. The eyes of everyone in the room chilled.
All the staff of Madam Ocent glared at Raelia as if she was the enemy of enemies.
Raelia saw the corner of Ashlea’s lips curving up for a moment, before returning to a frown.
“Are you going to pick that dress, Sister.”
“Yes, I like this one.”
“That’s good! It’s very plain, but it compliments Sister so well. As expected of my sister!”
In other words Ashlea was saying, ‘Sister is amazing for pulling off such a plain dress.’ or ‘The plain dress goes very well with your plain nature.’ Ashlea’s tone expressed the former, but her true heart was telling another tale.
“Thank you. Then Madam-.”
“I really can’t do this.”
The madam spoke.
“I wasn’t happy with this appointment today… but I never knew you even abused your own little sister. I can’t have an abusive person like you wearing any of my dresses.”
Her words were firm and strong.
Even if she saw Raelia apologizing over the inflicted injuries, her heart could not have been changed.
Everything had already decided ever since the two smiled brightly upon the presence of one another, so Raelia was not surprised with this turn of events at all.
Raelia looked over to Ashlea. Ashlea’s eyes were opened wide in shock, and she bit her lips as if she was trying to keep the pain from being outwardly displayed. The flow of events made it seem like it was the end of the world for Ashlea, however Raelia had known her little sister for too long.
This was the face of her little sister rejoicing with all her heart.
Before Raelia could say anything, Ashlea screamed.
“Madam, please take your words back! Sister was only trying to educate me…!”
“Oh my heavens, Ashlea, I knew you were very kind hearted… but there is a line that must never be crossed even between members of the family. Education? What kind of education? In what age are we living in to be educating others through violence? Do you think that makes sense?”
The madam did not back down, and Ashlea gripped her fist.
‘Aren’t you happy? I bet you want to dance right now.’
Raelia stood contemplating. If Raelia threw away her pride, then Madam Ocent would one hundred percent back down.
This was a very well thought out scene of a play.
She couldn’t be sure from what point this play had been scripted.
It could be that the two made up their minds even before coming in for a visit today, or maybe they could have had a short meeting at the front door. Though this could also all be by chance.
But there was one thing for sure, the ending of this scene had always been calculated.
This scene would end with her own apology.
If she apologized, the other would regretfully forcefully back away. Ah, she would be given a warning to never treat Ashlea like this again.
‘Is that why she did this?’
Raelia laughed within her heart.
This was a job directly ordered from the church. The candidates usually prepared months before the official ceremony.
It was an honor to design clothes for a holy ceremony led by the church, and the position was coveted by many designers. Thus, there was no reason for a designer to have power to withhold a dress from a candidate for their own personal opinions.
All Saint candidates were dressed in complete white.
This had been a long tradition, and nobody would assume someone like herself, who had so much faith in Elea, would reject participating in this tradition. The Madam and Ashlea took the outcome of this incident to be a matter of course.
‘But what to do?’
‘I don’t have the tiniest bit of heart to follow according to Ashlea’s wishes.’
She wondered if she could find a white dress to wear for the ceremony with only four days remaining.
It was impossible. If it were any other dress, all she had to do was buy it, however it was a different case with white dresses. No dressmaker kept a stock of white dresses since nobody was allowed to wear it except in certain circumstances.
Dress makers had to make the dress from scratch, it was a mystery if there were any boutiques that had the ability to make a white dress for a Saint candidate within four days time.
If Raelia had a bit of intelligence, she would apologize. This would be the reaction of any normal person.
“There is no helping it since you feel so strongly. Please leave.”
However she was not a normal person.
The reaction was hilarious to see. Madam Ocent pretended to have a firm position over this for Ashlea’s sake. Raelia covered her mouth with her hand.
“You said I don’t have a right to wear your dress, so you can leave.”
Madam Ocent froze, speechless. Ashlea stepped in and spoke.
“Ma-Madam! It’s because Sister doesn’t know better. Sister! If you don’t get a dress today, you will not have enough time for another dress! You should just apologize to Madam, and wear this dress-”
Madam Ocent stuck her nose to the sky upon hearing Ashlea’s words.
‘As expected. This stupid girl is always in bed, so she has no idea how difficult it was to make a white dress.’
“Yes, Miss Vitel. To save Ashlea’s face, if you give an honest apology I will forgive you just this once.”
The madam said fishing for an apology. Raelia smiled.
“No, she deserved to be hit. I don’t wish to apologize just for the sake of wearing your dress.”
Hearing that she deserved to be hit, Ashlea couldn’t hide her true expression and stared with her mouth gaped open. She quickly adjusted her own expression, and quickly changed the course of her plan seeing that Raelia was speaking the honest truth.
Raelia could hear the gears of Ashlea’s mind ticking.
Raelia was greatly entertained.
“You can leave. You’re not even going to fit me for a dress, so why are you in my room?”
“How can you say she deserved to be hit? Ha, it seems you have a back up plan that you believe in, but if you don’t change your attitude, you will find that you will never have enough time to get fitted for a proper dress for the Saint Ceremony.”
“Is that a threat?”
Madam Ocent had her own pride. As long as the other did not apologize, she will never hand over her dress for Raelia.
However, there was no reason to accept a dress from someone Ashlea was on friendly terms with. Raelia quirked her chin to the door.
“I said, you’re free to leave.”
“Miss Vitel, you will regret this.”
“That’s strange. Madam, it is you who refused to give me the dress. Why do you make it sound like I am the one who is refusing to wear your dress?”
The Madam viciously glared at Raelia. She promptly turned around.
“What are you doing? Miss Vitel asked us to leave. Everyone pack the dresses, we are leaving!”
The staff all packed the dresses. One of the staff approached Raelia.
“I don’t have my maid with me, I will take off this dress and send it to you. I’m afraid I might rip the dress if I try to take it off on my own.”
“Ah, yes of course!”
“Miss, what happened?”
Speak of the devil, because when she mentioned her maid, Chessyre came running in.
“Ah, Chessyre, you’re here?”
Raelia calmly greeted her maid. However, Chessyre could not remain calm.
“What in the world… Why is the Madam leaving? What regret? Does this mean that she will not help you with a dress?”
Chessyre asked, panicked. Ah, it was a pity. Chessyre’s response was exactly what the Madam and Ashlea were hoping for.
Raelia had known that Chessyre would respond in this way, and had made her leave the room ahead of time.
Ashlea glared at Raelia while gritting her teeth. Her little sister approached her.
Raelia took the cup of cold water that Chessyre brought.
Ashlea drew closer so that the other maids could not hear what she was about to say to Raelia.
“What are you thinking…KYAA!”
It only took a moment for Raelia to splash the cup of cold water into Ashlea’s face.
She didn’t ask Chessyre to bring the cup of water for this specific reason, and if Ashlea didn’t come to bother her like this, she would have just drank it like a normal person.
Ashlea had brought this onto herself.
Raelia placed her hand on her cheek and spoke in a soft voice. This was an imitation of Ashlea’s best acting.
“Oh my Ashlea, what do you mean calling me ‘you….’ You should be calling me Sister.”
Her little sister looked like she wanted to drop the honorifics of her speech, but there were maids in the room, and so she could not act irrationally.
The maids saw Ashlea as nothing more than the most lovable Vitel Noblehouses’ youngest daughter.
It was amusing to see Ashlea suffering due to her own fake disguise.
“Sister… why are you doing this to me?”
Ashlea looked like the saddest person who was on the brink of tears. She was so despicable, but this was very amusing.
Yes, amusing. She never knew how fun it would be to behave in this way in front of a person who took great pride in her own image.
“I wonder too. I’ve been enduring everything for so long, it’s a wonder how I’ve lasted this long.”
“Is there anything that I’ve done to make Sister so upset? I’ll fix my mistakes if you tell me, Sister.”
“I don’t think you’ll be able to fix your own mistakes just because I tell you with words. What use are words of warning this late? You should just continue to live like that.”
The maids whispered amongst themselves. She could already tell that today’s story would snowball into something bigger, and her reputation would be greatly tarnished.
It would be such a joy if Saints could be fired over a poor reputation, however Elea had personally picked the Saints so that was not possible. It would have been great if it were that easy.
Ashlea glared at Raelia for some time. She bit her lips as if she was trying to endure her sadness, and turned around to leave.
She resembled the leading female protagonists who pitifully and sorrowfully left the room.
“Miss! Why are you being like this…”
Chessyre said after everyone left while holding Raelia’s dress. Her voice wobbled like she was on the brink of tears.
When Chessyre held her sleeve, she suddenly realized she had to return the dress.
“Oh, right. Let’s change out of this dress first. Won’t you help me?”
“Can’t Miss go out to apologize so you can wear this dress to the ceremony? You are so beautiful in this dress….”
“No. I already sent them away, how could I do that? Now then, we don’t have any time. Help me get this off.”
Chessyre sobbed while helping her out of the dress. After Raelia changed out into a different dress, she held onto the dress and simply stared down at the dress.
“What will you do now?”
“Your dress. You don’t have any replacements…”
“I will leave to buy one tomorrow.”
Chessyre looked shocked.
“You will buy one?”
Her expression appeared puzzled wondering how her master would manage that. Raelia smiled.
After the Church hired designated dress designers for the ceremony, the tradition had never been broken, however it was very common for Saint Candidates to attend the ceremony without proper dresses even as recent as 60 years back.
There were many Saints who had been promoted even though they did not wear white dresses.
‘There will be no problem.’
The dress didn’t affect the Saint’s Ceremony in any way. In the first place, the tradition of white dresses did not start because of Elea’s instructions but due to the members of the church.
The Saints who wore yellow, red, brown, and even black dresses all lived out their full two years life spans.
If the position was easily kicked away just because of a white dress, then Raelia would not have a reason to read through the giant 50 volume collection of the Holy Scriptures.
“I will wear a different colored dress.”
“Isn’t that a form of blasphemy?”
“That, I mean…”
Chessyre couldn’t think of an answer. Raelia quirked her head.
“A pure white dress is indeed very special. This is the representation of Elea. It’s nice to wear a special dress that could only be worn on special days.”
“But nowhere in the Holy Scripture does it require a Saint to wear a white dress. They just ‘allow’ us to wear a dress that we normally aren’t allowed to. Everyone chooses to wear a white dress since they normally can’t, and through time it became a tradition.”
“Is that so?”
Raelia’s reasoning was very logical, but Chessyre couldn’t completely believe in Raelia. Raelia suddenly had the urge to tease Chessyre, and so she quirked her head and mumbled.
“Well, if there are any problems, it can’t be helped?”
-end of Chapter 2-