Translated by iseuli
Edited by Delishnoodles
The month that had followed, Raelia had been severely punished again by her father.
Her father had not wanted Ashlea to even visit her room.
So, she had not called for Ashlea at all the two weeks which had followed. Even when Ashlea had visited her, Ashlea had been sent away with excuses that she had been feeling ill. She had done everything to maintain her distance with her sister.
Ashlea had not done anything wrong, but Raelia had feared her father would come to absolutely loathe her.
When Raelia felt better, she received permission to leave her room, and thought to visit Ashlea for an hour or two.
Raelia let out an empty laugh remembering the very day.
‘I had gone to surprise her, but who knew I would be the one to be surprised that day.’
– She called for you again? I already sternly told her not too!
She had been about to knock, but had paused upon her father’s angry words.
– Sister is ill. She is always alone, so she is just lonely. Father, I’m really okay with it.
– Being ill is not an excuse to behave in whatever way, Ashlea. You always act okay, so Raelia thinks it is okay to act this way, even going as far as ignoring my words.
‘I didn’t. I didn’t call for her? Why are you telling such lies?’
She had intended to barge in. She had wanted to resolve Ashlea’s and Father’s misunderstanding.
She had been about to open the door, but had lost all her strength due to the angry words from within the room.
– Sister is a pitiful person.
It had been Ashlea’s very words.
– It’s only natural that Sister has many shortcomings. What can we do that she was born this way? Sister is doing her best too.
Her sister’s voice had sounded as lovely as a song.
– I will work hard for what Sister cannot do. So Father, please don’t be so harsh to Sister.
Ashlea had always spoken to her with a soft voice, ‘Why don’t you come find me? I hope Sister would not feel burdened to ask for my help.’
Her hands had dropped from the door knob. Raelia had given up visiting Ashlea that day and had returned to her room in silence.
‘…It’s fine. Don’t think about it.’
She shook her head to shake off the memories of the past.
Everything had happened in the past. If she continued to dwell in her memories, it felt like all the emotions and memories would swallow her whole, so she tried her best to put her mind elsewhere.
Raelia walked over to her desk and took out the Holy Scriptures. She had read it more than a hundred times, she read the thin worn pages while remembering all the Saints that had passed.
Saint Mora who had passed three weeks ago, had been the 246th Saint. She had been her closest and best friend in her life.
Since young, she had visited the Saint at least once a month, or at the very least, once every three months to receive treatment through the Saint’s divine powers.
The divine powers of the Saint’s had not been strong enough to completely treat her, but once treated she had been able to find some peace to rest without suffering from pain for a long while.
Her father had never given her an ounce of love, but had always donated a grand amount of money to the church for her to regularly receive treatment from the Saints.
This had been the only thing she felt grateful to her father for.
Thanks to her father’s efforts, she had been able to become very close to all the Saints these past 10 years. She had been especially close with Saint Mora because they had been very close in age.
Raelia ran across the Holy Scriptures with her fingers.
Nobody had been aware, but Mora had been very strange in her last few days of life.
She had said repeatedly that she could see things she should not be able to. She had never described exactly what she had seen, but Mora had appeared to have been fearful of her life as if she had committed a grave unforgivable crime.
Raelia had carefully consoled Mora the best she could.
She had suggested that Mora might have been seeing things due to the other’s weakening constitution, and had advised her to seek professional help. However, Mora emphasized that nobody else must ever find out, and earnestly had requested for Raelia to keep quiet about this.
Raelia had promised not to tell anyone. But, after a mere few days, Mora had passed away having been unable to endure her worsening condition any longer.
That had been just three weeks back.
Once a Saint passes on, it would take a month’s time for a new Saint to appear in this world. It was as the noble ladies stated, the new Saint Candidates would soon be announced.
‘I wonder if I would be able to get along with the new Saint?’
She had never become close with the Saints intentionally all this time. She had always gone to visit the Saints for the sake of treatment, and now that she had fully recovered, she had no reason to visit them any longer.
She respected and loved the Saints not just because of their ability to treat illnesses with their divine powers. She had hopes to become close with the new Saint once again.
However, she would become the center of attention if she tried to befriend the Saint like she had done all this time.
Raelia had a very clear life long goal. She hoped to live a quiet, peaceful, and normal life! She had never wished to die a day in her life. The more ill she became, the more desperate she became to live. Now that she made a full recovery, her hope for a long life had gotten even stronger.
Raelia truly hoped to live a long and healthy life with all her heart.
Her ideal life was to live out her days normally without standing out. People often said that a normal life was boring. But this was something only healthy people could say.
This was the reason she always quietly endured even though she wished to bash her own head listening to the young noble lady’s nonsense chattering. This was the reason she endured and kept quiet even though her younger sister went around spouting nonsense to ruin her reputation.
All her allowance had been funneled to her treatments, and now that she had her own pocket money again, she was accruing quite a bit of money.
It may not appear to be a grand amount of money in the eyes of others, but if she worked hard and saved for two more years she would be able to get married and live without worrying about money. Raelia planned to endure everything for just this much longer.
She planned to live the most normal life once she could escape this place. A noble woman’s life? Status? She never hoped for any of that in the first place, so what did she care?
She just had to endure a mere two years. Just this brief moment. Once she turned twenty, she could leave this crazy house and live on her own. She no longer needed to isolate herself to her own room, so two years would pass by very quickly.
She took the Holy Scriptures to bed once again, and fell asleep in the midst of reading her book.
That night, she dreamed of living a happy life living alone in a small cozy house.
Any noble lady would be horrified by such dreams, but to her this dream was so sweet and full of bliss.
Raelia woke up to someone shaking her awake.
“Did you fall asleep while reading again? I placed a leaf as a bookmark and placed it on your desk.”
“HAaa~ thank you. But is there something going on?”
Once she got to her senses, she became curious about her current situation.
She had lived all her life with an illness, and had never been woken up so early in the morning.
“You are allowed to have breakfast together with the main family.”
“Breakfast? With my family?”
Raelia asked curiously.
Father, Step-Mother, and Ashlea always had breakfast as three, and she could not join them.
It felt like she would feel nauseous eating with the family, and had chosen purposely not to eat together out of her own free will.
Even if she were to eat together with them, she would be given nothing but cold soup.
Once she recovered, she had made efforts to mend ties, but even after a few days of constant effort, her family had continued to treat her like a ghost.
Honestly, it would not have been strange to say she did not exist as a daughter to her father and mother.
Yes, they had such a loveable cute daughter, Ashlea. Why would they want to turn their attention to a sickly depressing daughter?
When Raelia conveyed that she wished to eat alone, her father easily accepted her wishes without any harsh objections. Though he did say he would call for her from time to time for meals to share a few words….
‘But up until now I had not been invited even once.’
If she had not purposely went to find her father, they would not converse very much at all. In the first place, they did not have much of a reason to meet.
He had never visited her room, and they had not ever run across each other through the hallways.
‘Several days had passed till I was able to meet him yesterday.’
This had been the reason why she had been shocked when he had started a conversation with her.
That person had started a conversation with her, and he had even invited her to join them for breakfast. It couldn’t be helped that Raelia felt curious.
“What’s this all of a sudden? Without any prior notice?”
“I have no idea either. They had informed me just now, and came running. Today they had ordered us to prepare breakfast an hour earlier than usual.”
“I ran here to the point my feet were on fire. You must hurry and get ready for breakfast.”
“Ugh… would the world have ended if they informed me of this yesterday?”
“That’s what I want to say! But if I escort you late, my world might really end.”
She could not afford for her only maid’s world to end, so Raelia sleepily got up from bed.
She stood up and stared at Chessyre for a moment. She was quite short, but Chessyre was even shorter.
When Raelia first met Chessyre, she had originally thought that her Father wanted to spite her by pairing her with a child for a maid. She had no idea that this maid was the same age as herself.
She had cycled through many maids before she met Chessyre.
Raelia didn’t have a difficult personality, and the job was not particularly difficult, however her assigned maids had never stayed for long thanks to Ashlea.
The maids always had a tendency to remain more loyal to their assigned master rather than the family.
So naturally, if the assigned master does not have a good relationship with the family, the family servants would make life difficult for Raelia’s.
The maid assigned to Ashlea was the family’s head maid’s daughter, Matilda, who held the most power amongst all the maids hired by the family.
This alone should explain it all.
As soon as any maid had been assigned to Raelia, the maid had instantly become a target of bullying.
At first, many innocent young maids had volunteered unknowing, and had left the job crying.
The next few times had been those who were desperate for any jobs to make income, even in the face of bullying. However, the bullying would always escalate to an unbearable point and nobody had the courage to remain for very long.
The most depressing part of all this had been that Raelia was always blamed and punished whenever maids would run away.
Whenever a maid left, nobody suspected bullying by fellow maids, but blamed the assigned master’s horrible twisted personality. ‘So preposterous.’
She had gone through more than ten maids, and the last maid that the head maid brought was this child, Chessyre.
Chessyre had a very tough spirit, contrasting to her appearance. She had endured any sort of bullying that had sent more than ten maids running away in tears.
At first she had not even made an effort to talk to Chessyre because she had assumed the maid would also run away and give up quickly like all the rest. However her new maid’s amiable and persistent personality had completely won her heart over.
Now that Mora had passed away, the only person Raelia could open her heart to was Chessyre.
“Ugh, I’m so tired. I should take a nap after breakfast.”
“Miss, it’s not good for your health if you lay down after you eat!”
“Then I’ll take a nap one hour after I finish my meal. It’s fine right?”
She made small talk with Chessyre as she walked to the dining room, but quirked her head seeing the shut door.
When it was meal time, the door remained open. She was a little earlier than the promised time, but she was only 10 minutes early.
Her spirits suddenly fell.
She should have known when she was told breakfast would start two hours earlier than usual, but she had just woken up and could not process the information so quickly.
Raelia let out an empty laugh and looked to Chessyre.
“Chessyre, who told you that message? The head maid?”
“Ah…no, it… was Matilda…”
Chessyre seemed to have realized and replied hesitantly. Hearing the name Matilda, she understood what happened at once.
“My apologies! She had come running and told me it was urgent… I couldn’t confirm her orders ahead of time…, it…..!”
She let out a sigh. The spring one-piece dress she wore felt heavier than usual, mostly because at this time she was usually in her pajamas.
‘Ah, so frustrating.’
She had no intentions to vent her frustrations on Chessyre. If she had been in Chessyre’s shoes, she would not have had the time to confirm the head maid’s orders either.
“Would you like to return to your room…?”
Chessyre carefully asked. Raelia wondered for a moment, then shook her head. She had originally planned to nap after a meal, but she was too angry to return to sleep right now.
She had already done her hair and dressed up, so it would be better to go on a walk.
“Let’s go to Equindum. Can you make the preparations for me?”
Chessyre apologetic spirit seemed to fuel the maid to move faster as she moved about preparing for their outing. Raelia left the house without any knights and just someone to drive the horse together with Chessyre.
Equindum was a large territory in the west of the city, it was oftentimes called a large temple rather than a territory.
Raelia headed to the Great Temple built in the center of Equindum. She was very familiar with the place because it had been the place Saints always resided.
She was going to visit today not for treatment, but to offer her prayers.
Raelia entered the chapel and sat in one of the seats by the wall. She had always been very close with the Saints, and an avid reader of the Holy Scripture, and thus her faith was very deeply bound.
If not for the Saint’s divine powers, she would have died long ago. It had been Elea who had gifted divine powers to the Saints, so it would be strange if Raelia, whose life had been saved through divine powers, did not have a strong faith.
It was very irritating that she had gotten up so early this morning, but her heart felt at peace being able to offer her prayers this early.
She planned to attend worship for about an hour, then she could visit the bakery to have breakfast together with Chessyre. Afterwards she could drop by the library to spend the rest of the day. She silently followed along the prayer of the priest while planning her trivial trips. Everything had been nice to that point.
“Have faith. Elea is always with you. Always pray. Prayer is not just for when you are tired, when your days are difficult, and when you are in pain. You should pray when you wake up, before you eat a meal, and before you go to sleep. So that Elea can always be with you.”
‘… What is it that I am seeing?’
The accident had come forth without warning. Everyone experiences a moment like this, when something happens without any warning or moment to prepare.
If she hadn’t been forced to wake up so early, she would have never visited this place. Raelia blinked her eyes. Blink. Blink.
‘It will disappear.’ She rubbed her eyes. Once and twice.
“Let us pray. Elea will save you from the hands of evil. Do not remain complacent. The devil is always waiting to prey on you when you are weak.”
‘Ah, yes. Let’s pray. Pray.’ Raelia closed her eyes and bowed her head down.
‘Calm down. Empty your mind and you will not see anything. Calmly…’
‘…Of course that would not work.’
She looked around. She wasn’t sure whether to feel relieved or worried that the only person that could see ‘that’ had been her.
She wasn’t sure whether she was the only person that could see it, or it was the fact that it was in the corner and people had not noticed it yet.
She wanted to shake the person next to her and ask if they can see it too. But of course that was not possible.
She looked down, anxiously. She looked to the Priest praying, then to her own surroundings.
It was at that moment, she made eye contact with it.
Raelia held her breath. ‘Ah, ah, you idiot! You should have pretended not to see!’
She had no idea that it had not yet discovered her. If she had realized this, she would never have looked over to it a second time.
If she had pretended to be oblivious, the moment could have passed by just as a suspicious chance happening.
She could feel it staring at her. Yes, its eyes were locked into her direction. Its focused stare into her direction was intense to the degree that it became hard to ignore.
‘Ahh, Elea. What sin have I committed to be seeing things I should not?’
She could not be sure of the reason, but she was sure she did something wrong. If not, there was no way ‘that’ would have appeared in plain sight before her.
Raelia continued to pray to God, and slowly opened her eyes to peek, but quickly closed her eyes again.
It was because the thing she feared had come closer to her.
It had black hair and shining blood red eyes. The part which stood out the most was his pointed ears and foreign skin color.
She expected its voice to sound horrendously fearful, but the voice was rather soft. She did not even breathe and slowly opened her eyes as it continued to talk.
“You can see me, can’t you?”
The Devil smiled.
She could not move. The minute and one second of eye contact with the devil felt like an eternity.
Raelia did her best to maintain her faltering senses.
‘It’s okay, everything will be fine Raelia. No matter how the Devil tries to tempt you, it will be fine as long as you hold yourself together.’
She looked forward and looked around. The man who was sitting not far from her didn’t have any particular reactions.
It wasn’t just the man, none of the people taking part in the morning worship had any particular reactions. Though this scene should have been beyond strange.
Then, she was able to conclude that she was the only person in this church who could see the Devil.
She became sure of herself when the devil asked if she could see it.
They were staring at one another, and it would be strange to think otherwise.
She bit her lips. ‘I should have pretended to be oblivious from the start. It’s too late to turn back now, and try to convince it otherwise.’
It wouldn’t be wise to haphazardly try to run away from it. Raelia held a strong gaze and answered in a firm voice.
The devil who heard her answer, elegantly smiled. She closed her eyes tight. ‘Am I going to die? Will it kidnap me here and now?’
In the Holy Scripture, it was written that those who either didn’t hold a strong faith, had a weak heart, or those who have committed a grave sin would be able to see the Devil. Raelia wasn’t sure which of the three Raelia was a part of.
“I wish to talk.”
The Devil spoke in a smooth eloquent voice.
The way it carried itself seemed so harmless, that she felt a sudden urge to ask whether it was truly the Devil.
She thought it would viciously threaten her. If anyone had read the Holy Scriptures, anyone would know the vicious nature of Devils that was recorded all throughout the book.
She stood up from her seat, and quietly left the space, being careful not to disrupt the others.
The Devil followed quietly behind her. Even at this point, she continued to contemplate and wonder.
‘Should I ask for the Priest’s help? But I’m the only person who could see the Devil.’
She was the only person who could see it due to an unknown reason. If she thoughtlessly blabbered to others that she could see the Devil without proof, then she would be treated like an insane person.
She imagined people calling her a witch and getting executed, and fearfully shook her head to shake off the thought.
It was too early to talk to anyone about this. It wouldn’t be too late to see how the situation unfolded first, before seeking help. At least she hoped that it wouldn’t be too late…
“There’s no need to be in so much fear.”
The Devil quietly following her said. It seemed to have noticed how scared she felt.
‘Even if you tell me that, there is no way this fear would suddenly just disappear on its own.’
She glanced shortly to the Devil which quietly followed her. It didn’t look to immediately harm her from observing its expression or words…
Chessyre who had been waiting outside, rounded her eyes in shock upon seeing Raelia. She had never come out so early like this before.
It was a matter of course, but Chessyre could not see the Devil either. She had a little tiny bit of hope, but of course that would not be the case. But at this point, nothing could surprise her.
“Why have you come out so early?”
Raelia let out a sigh.
“There is someone… I promised to meet.”
“Oh my, oh my, which youngman from which noble household?!”
“It’s nothing like that.”
She instantly denied, but Chessyre seemed not to believe a word. Raelia felt wronged.
This was not unusual of Chessyre, and it was the first time she rather preferred for the other’s words to be true.
‘How great would it be if only it was just a normal young man that I was off to meet…’
It was not any man from whatever noble house, it was not even human. Chessyre just tauntingly smiled, and even had the audacity to wave while telling her to have a good time.
‘What was there to do well? Make a good deal? Come out alive?’
Raelia desperately regreted laughing at the book titled, ‘How to survive the Devil.’ If only she had read it.
She looked around the Temple for an empty worship room. She wanted to close the door before the Devil could follow her in, but she felt she should cherish her life.
She immediately closed the door once the Devil stepped into the room. It would be bad if someone were to pass by and witness the conversation…
It was a terrifying thought. How crazy would she seem? To others, it would appear as if she was talking to herself.
“What is your name?”
The Devil asked.
‘Hey, wait. Is it okay to tell it my name?’
She paused confused, and a single scripture passed her mind.
When Devil’s requests for a contract, they would ask for the other party’s name. In the past, she had thought it to be very cliché. But actually experiencing it happen in person didn’t feel that way at all.
She momentarily wondered whether it would be a better idea to lie or tell the truth, and hardened her heart to rebel.
She had never read that a Devil would be able to tell a human was lying…. ‘It will be fine, right?’
‘Miss Soba, I’m sorry. I will borrow your name for a moment.’
The Devil crossed its arms and repeated the name.
The Devil stared down at her, and she was scared it would see through her lie and so she didn’t dare to raise her head.
‘Ah, so scary. I’m so scared. I lied just once, but I’m so scared. His eyes are so scary, and the low tone of his voice is scary too.’
She never knew she was a person who would be so easily frightened. She wondered if he saw through her lie. She was convinced it had. The more time passed, the more sure she became.
The Devil began to talk once again.
“Am I scary?”
‘Of course.’ Raelia nodded very slightly. He hummed once, as he stroked his chin. Every small movement from the Devil made her heart shrivel smaller.
‘Are you reading my mind right now? If you will spare my life, do so faster. If you wish to kill me, do it quick…. No. How much have I endured to survive all this time? I only have two years until I reach marriageable age, I can’t die now.’
But most of all, she had never even once got to slap Ashlea’s face!
“My name is Dion.”
‘What’s with the introduction?’
“I think you are being too cautious of me. I heard that it was basic etiquette between humans to exchange names upon the first meeting.”
“You are on your guard. Isn’t that why you’re trying to scam me by telling me a false name?”
‘Hey, if you come out like that how am I supposed to respond? I wasn’t trying to scam… ‘ She swallowed dryly. She wondered how he saw through her lie, and wondered if she was truly such a bad liar.
Dion quirked his head. His smooth black hair swayed along.
“Am I wrong?”
“…You’re right, yes. You are completely right.”
Raelia quickly acknowledged. Dion laughed lightly.
“Good, Raelia Vitel. Let’s promise not to exchange such blatant lies. I much prefer honest humans.”
She was about to nod along, but froze.
‘Had I spoken my name before? No, I don’t think so? …How? He is a Devil, there was no way it would know her name.’
‘No really… huh, how? Do I need to keep pretending? Haha, who is Raelia? I don’t know such a person!’
Of course such lies would not work. Maybe it might work once, but it will never work twice. It looked merciful now, but who knew how fearful it might flip when irritated?
What were Devils? It was an existence that would spread pandemics for the sake of enjoyment and cause people to go insane as a side hobby.
She bit her lip.
He appeared satisfied hearing her obedient complacent attitude.
“Before I begin with the real topic in question, you are probably very confused so feel free to ask me any questions.”
His voice sounded very tender and smooth, but his gentle voice made him appear much more frightful.
Raelia dryly swallowed. She wondered what the real topic in question would be. She couldn’t help but feel this whole situation was too much to bear. She just barely managed to tear away her gaze from the floor and looked up.
“Are you the Devil?”
She was asking a question, but Dion would probably not know she had already made her decision on this. He answered matter of factly.
“It had been recorded in that way in the Holy Scriptures written by humans.”
“Why have you appeared before me? Did I, by chance, commit a grave sin? Maybe I am about to die?”
“I was there from the start. The only thing that has changed is the fact that you can see me now.”
“Why… am I able to see you all of a sudden?”
Dion paused his words. Raelia felt nervous upon the sudden silence. He had always given instant responses to all her questions.
It didn’t appear like he was unsure of the answer, so she didn’t try to pry any further and waited patiently. She just hoped the answer would not be anything bad.
“You have already answered your own question.”
Raelia appeared puzzled. ‘What have I said up until now? Ah, so …. Oh.’
She blinked in confusion.
She had not said many words, and she could easily deduce the catastrophic answer. She had not spoken any positive comments up until now.
It would have been better if Dion explained much slower. However, he did not pause.
“Yes, you are about to die.”
“You, Raelia Vitel.”
The Devil smiled.
“You will become the next Saint.”
Raelia could not find any words to speak. She couldn’t understand what this Devil was saying.
‘Who? Me? Raelia Vitel will become a Saint?’
It would have felt more credible if she was told that her body had fallen weak due to her illness, or she had a split personality and had summoned the Devil in her sleep, maybe she committed a grave sin in her past life time.
It did not feel like reality, she did not believe this. Raelia finally decided to speak once again.
“Um… Mr. Devil, I think you’ve misunderstood…”
“My name is Dion.”
‘Even if you tell me such things, there is no way I would call a devil by their given name.’
“Yes, D…. Anyway. You say that I will become the next Saint?”
“…How can I believe you?”
She had no idea, but she was the type to lose any type of fear when dumbfounded. She felt thankful that Dion did not appear angry at her rebuke.
“I don’t really expect you to believe me. I simply answered your question. It seems it was not the answer that you sought for…”
He gazed back at her.
His eyes appeared calm, however his eyes seemed to hide a deep grudge.
“Was there an answer that I hoped for in the first place? I can see how much you loathe me.”
Raelia shut her mouth. He had been right.
“…Still I cannot believe I will become the next Saint.”
“I will tell you again, I don’t really care whether you believe me or not.”
“The important part is, Raelia Vitel, you will become the next Saint…”
His red eyes stared on more sharply.
The Devil grasped a strand of Raelia’s silver hair and lightly kissed it.
“…and as the next Saint, you will need my help.”
Raelia blinked. It was not in her plan to get to the point of this meeting so quickly. It didn’t seem as if the Devil had planned this meeting ahead of time, and he was speaking from the top of his head.
Dion’s eyes fell. His eyes appeared bathed in thick murderous intent.
Raelia blinked once more. Upon finding out she would become the next Saint, she wondered if she was truly going insane.
‘Yes, I must be insane. I am insane. If I’m not insane, the Devil must have gone insane.’
“Please help me, Saint.”
How could the Devil appear so desperate?
Dion, who finished saying all he had to say, let Raelia leave. She was surprised she would be able to escape from him so easily.
She wondered why the Devil assumed she would become the next Saint. She couldn’t imagine how she could help a Devil.
The first thing that Raelia did when she got home wasn’t reading up about Devils in the Holy Scripture, or praying…
She used three different types of shampoos to wash her hair which the Devil’s lips touched.
She ignored Chessyre who was asking if the man who she met said her hair smelled, and got lost in her own thoughts.
Her silence made Chessyre assume the worst, but she didn’t have the energy to pay her any mind.
‘I shouldn’t go to Equindum for awhile.’
She had thought of it over and over many times in her carriage. Maybe it had been a very detailed dream? She hoped she could wake up from this dream quickly, if it were true.
Sadly, this was not a dream, and she needed to think of a solution for her future.
The first thing in her plan was to stop her visits to Equindom for the time being.
This wasn’t because she thought attending church more often would increase her chances of becoming a Saint.
If it were so easy to become a Saint, every pregnant mother who wished to turn their life around would push their children to the temple everyday.
‘I’m sure the Devil is lying just to trick me.’
The only negative point to becoming a Saint was her shortened life span, other than this a Saint lived a very well off life. Actually, it might be rather problematic because they were so powerful.
The con of a shortened life span was grave, but other than this the status wasn’t too bad. Rather, the status of a Saint was more than good. The Devil might not understand humans well, and might have assumed the Saint’s high status was of use somehow. If not, why must he have chosen the Saint in this world full of humans?
‘It’s a relief he wanted to talk of topics related to the Saint.’
Stupid Devil! He shouldn’t make a deal like becoming a Saint, he should offer a lifetime of health and endless riches. If so, she might have been tempted just a bit.
It’s a relief that Raelia could easily deny him any agreement with a contract. It would not be difficult to chase the Devil away.
The future of any humans that hold hands with a Devil is obvious.
Of course they would not be able to become a Saint, and would become a useless puppet. Just a quiet death would be sparing for a Devil.
‘Good. I will not visit Equindum until the new Saint is announced.’
If she does not go to church, perhaps there could be another person that falls victim. However, it would be the other person’s fault for falling for a Devil’s trickery.
She did not dare to speak to the Pope about this, as just being able to see the Devil would become a sin.
She could not afford to live the rest of her life in prison. If she was simply imprisoned that would be for the best. At worst, she would be executed. She cherished her own life very much.
She washed herself once again that day, and changed into a new set of clothes before leaving her room. Her trivial tasks of going to the bakery for breakfast and dropping by the library had long become a dream.
She thought she would not be able to feel better until she could eat a delicious meal by their house chef.
She let out a light sigh, she felt anxious as it was, she didn’t need Ashlea to add oil to the fire. Raelia turned around to the voice.
“Ashlea, good afternoon.”
“I heard you left to go somewhere early this morning.”
“I woke up very early thanks to somebody.”
“I heard Matilda was just joking. Sister, your maid is a bit lacking. How could she wake Sister up without even confirming anything? Did you punish her accordingly?”
There was no way for a maid to joke without the master’s orders. That was the main problem at hand right now. Raelia didn’t respond, and Ashlea chuckled.
“You haven’t, have you? Sister, you are too kind. I’ll punish her for you.”
She easily talks of punishing someone else’s maid, this fell out of proper etiquette on so many levels, the oncoming future felt dark.
To make it worse, Chessyre had been standing next to Raelia all this time. Can’t you see her shaking in fear?
“Did you punish Matilda yet?”
“It was, just, Matilda’s playful joke between friends.”
“It’s just a joke for a maid to tell a lie about their master?”
Ashlea quirked her head confused upon hearing Raelia’s words.
“Sister, why are you being so serious? Today you look sensitive. Did something happen during your outing?”
As Raelia had stated, this was a serious mistake. If the Head Maid were to hear word of this, they would be severely punished.
Ashlea understood the gravity of this situation, but equally understood Raelia as a person.
If the Head Maid was to get word of this, their Father would come to learn of this incident. Ashlea was very sure that Raelia would not behave in any way that would make herself stand out.
“Sister, nothing happened…. Yes, as you said maybe I’m just being sensitive. I’m just tired after leaving the house so early.”
‘As I thought.’ Ashlea sneered hearing Raelia’s answer.
“It’s good that nothing happened. Were you on your way to have lunch?”
“Have a nice meal. Oh right, Father said the next Saint would soon be announced, soon the candidates would receive their letter.”
She covered her mouth and softly laughed.
“It would be good if Sister could become a Saint, don’t you think?”
Raelia’s expression froze. Wasn’t her words a bit too much? Isn’t she blatantly saying she hoped she would just die? She was sure she wasn’t reading too deeply into her words.
“What’s wrong? Doesn’t Sister love all the Saints.”
She was aware that Ashlea hated her guts, but she never knew she was hated to this degree. It would be a lie to say that she wasn’t shook hearing these words.
Ashlea studied Raelia’s reaction, her eyes twinkled, and she let out a soft elegant laugh. She took a step forward, and whispered quietly so that Chessyre could not hear.
“Why? You loved the commoner Saint so much, but you don’t want to become one yourself?”
“You’re right though, the Saint position is too good for you. I’m glad you’re aware. It would be an eyesore if you didn’t know your place. You’re sick anyway, isn’t this a good way to help our family’s reputation for once?”
The position was not open for just anyone who wished to volunteer. The reason Ashlea was telling her this, was to hurt her feelings.
Raelia let out a sigh.
She learned that Ashlea’s personality was much worse than she originally thought, and that had been it. She was a bit shaken, but her feelings were not in any particular way hurt.
Raelia lightly pushed her sister away.
“I’ve woken up early and have become famished. I should be on my way to eat now. It would be rude to hold up your hungry sister any longer, don’t you think?”
Raelia had been the one to push her away, but Ashlea took several more steps like she was the one to walk away.
“That was thoughtless of me. I hope you have a nice meal. It seems you are very hungry, please don’t rush and take your time eating, you might have a stomach ache.”
It felt like Ashlea was hoping for her stomach to hurt.
“I wouldn’t rush no matter how hungry I was.”
Raelia smiled. ‘I will chew my food carefully. I will chew my food fifty or even one hundred times and make sure not to give myself a stomach ache.’
Her mind was already full of problems related to the Devil, and she might really get an upset stomach if she wasn’t careful. If Ashlea hears that she really got a stomach ache, her sister would laugh in hysterical happiness as her poisonous words affected her.
‘I will never let myself suffer.’
Thankfully, she finished her meal and she didn’t suffer from an upset stomach. She let Chessyre who had suffered alongside her today, go have lunch, and headed to the house library.
Raelia took all the books that had historical records of the Devil and started to read them.
She didn’t have any plans to meet the Devil again, but she had to have a back up plan. It would be helpful to have a bit more information in the case of an emergency.
She spent the rest of the day reading, but she could not find anything helpful at all.
“You’ve been waking up very early these days.”
Chessyre who was helping style her hair said. She thought for a moment, and realized her sleep schedule returned to normal. Not long back, she felt troubled because her hours sleeping had increased.
“Hm, you’re right.”
“I’m glad. I was really worried. No matter how much I tried to wake you, you wouldn’t wake up at all… Oh my, even the wounds on your arms are gone.
Raelia looked down her own arms to confirm Chessyre’s observations.
As Chessyre said, the mysterious wounds that appeared on her arm one day were gone. It was a wound as if a needle had pricked her, it wasn’t anything serious but it appeared randomly one day and she couldn’t help but feel worried.
‘Wait, the wound disappeared?’
She felt a suspicious feeling in her stomach. It couldn’t be, it just couldn’t. There was no way recovering from a needle wound was proof of a Saint’s regenerative ability….
“Why are you zoning out so much? I’ve finished fixing your hair.”
“Ah, yes. Thank you.”
“This is my job, after all. This time they really have called you for breakfast. The Head Maid informed me personally!”
She wasn’t particularly worried that it had been a lie. Ashlea rarely ever pulled the same prank twice, and the Head Maid had informed Chessyre a day in advance, there was no way for this to have been a lie.
Raelia headed to the dining room for breakfast with her family. Her Step-Mother and Ashlea were already at the table.
“Did you sleep well, Mother? Ashlea, good morning.”
Raelia greeted them as she sat down, but the two did not acknowledge her greeting and continued to chatter with one another. When Father or someone else were present, the two would pretend to be very nice, but when there were no eyes, they would treat me like thin air.
The maids all served under the two, so nobody would dare betray their master. There was no way to fit in together with the amiable mother and daughter pair as a third wheel, but even if there was a space to sit alongside them, she herself would refuse.
The current Viscountess was not her real mother. Her real mother had given birth to her and passed away a few days following.
So, since young I have been persecuted by my father as the daughter who murdered her own mother.
He had loved her mother very much, but still he remarried and had a child, Ashlea, almost a few days following her Mother’s passing. She could not understand at all.
When she had been young, she had assumed perhaps adults could not endure living alone, and had to marry. After growing up, none of it made any sense. There were many well off adults living by themselves.
Father was a very respected teacher. Raelia always firmly told herself whenever she was faced with her twisted family, ‘I will never grow up and live like them.’
Father entered the dining room, and everyone began to eat, but she did not have much of an appetite. She was forcing herself to eat bit by bit, but someone called her name.
‘Huh?’ Raelia was a bit curious and nervous as she looked up. Father would never call for her unless he had some kind of important business with her. This meant there was some kind of business… and that business had never once been something to be happy about.
“Have you heard that the new Saint would soon be announced?”
“Ah… yes, Ashlea told me about it yesterday…”
“We have received a letter from His Holiness.”
Raelia’s eyes grew wide in shock. The only reason the Pope would send them a letter at a time like this was business related to just one thing.
‘It can’t be, no matter what Ashlea had said the day before, it couldn’t be true.’
“It is a joyous day. Raelia, you are a candidate to become a Saint.”
It felt like someone hit her head with a club.
“For the last ten years, only commoners had been promoted as new Saints, so I didn’t pay it much mind, but His Highness had given word that you are the most likely candidate to become the next Saint.”
“Oh my, if it’s words from His Highness, it is very credible!”
Ashlea responded brightly to her Father’s words. It had been a very long time since she had seen her family so happy.
‘How long ago had it been?’
It had been a few years ago when their personal house doctor had been chased away over Ashlea’s crude joke. That time, she had the same exact expression.
That day, she had whispered one thing to her.
‘This is the end for you.’
“This is such great news, Sister!”
It felt like she could hear the same words from years ago, Raelia could not help but let out an empty laugh.
Who would benefit the most if she became the next Saint? The Pope? The Saint? The people who were sick?
They were all the wrong answers.
The people to benefit the most were the family directly related to the Saint.
The Saint’s life would quickly end, however the honor would follow the family and continue well past her death.
As long as the foundation was set, even if there was not another Saint from within the family, they would be able to live a lavish and wealthy long life.
It was a sight to see the whole family celebrating a Saint would come from their family, while the person in question was in front of them.
The Duke had stated the chances were high, but her family was celebrating like she had already been promoted.
She deeply realized just how little her family valued her life to the very core. She thought this was probably the same feeling as being left alone on an island.
“Sister, are you okay?”
Ashlea asked worriedly, and approached Raelia to hold the other’s arm. The arm held by her Sister hurt a lot. She wondered if Ashlea had always been this strong.
“Why is your expression so bad? Sister are you feeling unwell?”
“You will become a Saint. This is our family’s greatest honor, you should be grateful.”
Her whisper sounded like that of a snake. However, would it sound like it to others? Her parents would probably be moved watching Ashlea worry for her older sister.
Raelia pulled away her arm from Ashlea’s hold. She had just slightly pulled away, but Ashlea acted like she had been shoved and tumbled on the floor.
“What are you doing?”
Her Father angrily shouted, and her Mother stood up at once. Ashlea was being helped by a family maid, but could not get up. It was laughable. Raelia stood up from her seat.
“I’ve lost my appetite. I will return to my room first.”
“When I become a Saint!”
She shouted back for the first time. She had endured all this time, but she could no longer endure it.
“It would become our family’s greatest honor. I am bringing so much honor for our family, can’t I have the freedom to even skip a meal?”
“Do you think I am angry because of that? How can you do that to your little sister-.”
Raelia let out a sigh. She was about to answer, but Ashlea cut her off.
“I am… fine. Father, Mother. Sister was just shaken up about the news.”
‘How thoughtful and kind my sister is!’ Raelia hollowly laughed. She turned around and looked to Ashlea. Their eyes met.
Her little sister smiled. The smile was clearly a sneer.
Raelia briskly turned around and left the dining room. Chessyre who had been anxiously watching silently since the beginning quickly followed behind Raelia.
“I wish to be alone, you do not need to follow me.”
“Must I repeat myself?”
Chessyre anxiously stood wanting to follow, but remained back. Raelia returned to her room and locked her door.
The dark room fell to complete silence.
When she finally got to be alone, she fell to the floor by her door.
She felt anxious.
Everything around her was making her feel anxious.
She had always been able to endure her family’s bullying because her hope for a long life had been stronger. She was sure that if she endured through it all, a day when she could live comfortably would soon come.
But if she became a Saint?
Everything was over. There had never been a Saint that had survived longer than two years.
She was but a candidate, but she felt so anxious. Maybe she was just a scaredy cat….
‘Meeting the Devil, and even the words from the Duke.’
Once would be just a chance encounter, but a second encounter meant it would be inevitable. It was natural for her to feel anxious.
Raelia looked up. There was something off about this situation.
‘Raeli’ (t/n: short for Raelia)
She had heard the story one day from Mora.
‘This is not officially recorded in the Holy Scriptures available to the market, but the Saint does not truly become a Saint on the day of the ceremony.’
Mora had told her while laughing smartly.
‘Things related to candidates are just extra fluff. Up until the 30th Saint, there had never been more than one Saint Candidate.’
‘It seems one of the Saints feared dying within two years and ran away before the ceremony, and she committed grave sin to run away. The law had not changed… but that had been the reason why the Saint Candidates had been increased. If there were many candidates, they would not believe themselves to be the actual Saint.’
She searched her room for a paper knife. This was the sharpest item in her room.
‘On the day prior to the ceremony, I hurt my hand by accident, but after a mere few hours my hand was perfectly healed. I had not been sure back then, but thinking now I already had the power of regeneration.’
Power of regeneration.
The power which only the Saint wields.
If she was really a Saint, and if Mora was right that Saints had already long been selected, then she should already have the power of regeneration.
Raelia didn’t hesitate and cut her arm. It was the first time she purposely hurt herself, but she didn’t feel scared at all.
It was more scary to become a Saint with only two years of life left.
Drip, drip. Blood dripped onto the floor.
She felt a wave of relief fall over her body, and let out a sigh. She felt strength leave her legs, and fell onto her bed without paying any mind to the blood that would be left on her bed sheets.
All the Saints she had known until now had the power to instantly heal any wounds. Her blood was still flowing, so it meant that she was not a Saint.
Raelia got up with a lighter heart and felt the wound on her arm.
‘Yes, as expected I am not a Saint. The Duke really is a jokester, even the Devil spouted non….’
She was about to wrap her wound with some cloth, but her hand froze. Her wound was disappearing. Blood continued to flow. But.
‘…it’s slowing down…?’
She could not control her strength well and had made quite a large wound on her arm. But her wound had visibly reduced by a large degree.
It could not be logically explained. Actually there was one answer to this.
The power of regeneration.
She heard someone bang on the door. Raelia snapped back to her senses. This wasn’t the time to be zoning out. She looked around her room.
Blood, and a wound. She decided to hide all the evidence. Raelia wrapped a cloth around her arm, and rolled down her sleeve to cover the cloth. She wiped her paper knife, and returned it to its original place. Then, she roughly flipped her bed sheets over to the other side and lazily rolled it into a ball.
After cleaning up her room, she irritatingly opened her door.
“Chessyre, I said I wished to be alone.”
If it had been any other maid, she would have given a harsh warning, but Chessyre was more than just a maid, she was an irreplaceable friend.
“But I just can’t leave Miss alone when Miss is so anxious and scared…”
Most of all, she understood Chessyre was feeling the exact same way. If not, there was no reason for Chessyre to disobey her orders.
As soon as Chessyre came in, she locked the door behind her. She worriedly watched over her master. Raelia let out a sigh.
‘Could I trust her? I have to trust her.’ The only person worrying for her in this entire mansion was Chessyre.
“The only person I trust is you.”
Chessyre eyes grew wide. Raelia rolled up the sleeve, revealing her messily wrapped arm. Chessyre jumped shocked at the sight.
“MISS YOU’RE HURT??”
“Look at it.”
The hand pulling the cloth, trembled. She felt nervous like a person crossing a bridge of no return. However she had no choice but to do this.
Her wound was almost fully recovered now.
“I hurt myself just now.”
Raelia spoke in a calm manner as if she had never felt anxious all this time. However, this calmness was artificial to hide something.
Chessyre couldn’t understand, and stood watching silently. She carefully unrolled her bedsheets. The sheets were covered in a mess of blood.
“I made a fresh wound, just before you arrived.”
There was no answer. Raelia continued to speak.
“I wanted to confirm if I had the power of regeneration.”
“But Miss, you’re not the Saint yet…?”
“I’m not. But it means I will become one.”
Chessyre could not understand. How could a Saint Candidate who had not gone through a ceremony have the power of regeneration? Such a case had never been heard of.
Raelia who paused took a deep breath.
Then continued to speak.
“Help me, Chessyre.”
“H-how could I help…?”
“I don’t know, but Chessyre. You know. How much I…”
Her words muffled.
“How much I…”
Raelia covered her eyes with her eyes. Her voice shook. The calmness she tried to maintain was no more, and her whole body shook.
She didn’t want to die.
Yes, the calmness all this time was but pretense. She was absolutely terrified and dying of fear inside her heart. Her calmness had been a shield she had put up to hide the weakness she held within herself.
Chessyre had known this all this time.
“I WILL HELP YOU!”
She shouted and held Raelia’s hand tight. Raelia’s eyes grew wide in shock at her strong resolute attitude.
“I am not sure how I could help you, but I will do everything in my power to help you. Miss, I will help you!”
“You said that I was the only person you had. Was that a lie?”
“No, it’s not but-”
“I also only have Miss! So, let’s find a solution together!”
Chessyre shouted. Somehow Chessyre looked more motivated than Raelia. ‘Is it my imagination?’ Still, this greatly comforted Raelia’s heart, and allowed her to breathe a bit more comfortably. She let out a light sigh and laughed.
And so, Raelia’s and Chessyre’s escape plan for her time-bound life commenced.