FSAHE - Chapter 12

 

Translator: Yessha


'Huh? How did I get back?'

I blinked as I looked at the painting on the ceiling I had now become accustomed to. The paintings that no matter how many times I have seen, will never disappoint.

'I don't remember coming back here.'

Obviously, the last thing I remember was me accidentally falling asleep on the garden bench last night. When and how can I wake up already in my own room?

Slowly, I got out of the bed and examined my body. A blanket covered the clothes I was wearing. And as I fumbled over the blanket, I muttered unknowingly.

"It's a bit different."

I remembered grabbing something in my sleep. It was soft and warm. I didn't want to lose it, so I held it tightly. I thought it was a quilt, but this texture was quite different from what I remembered.

'What did I even hug last night?'

A knock and the voice of a priest outside the door snapped me out of my thoughts.

"Saintess, may I come in?"

"Yes, come on in."

The door opened, and the priest stepped into my room.

"I'm sorry, I didn't know you were awake."

She bowed her head in dismay at my rather disheveled appearance.

"It's alright. But, what time is it now...?"

"The ceremony Saintess has to attend is still a long way. You may take your time to prepare."

I remember this. Fortunately, my schedule for attending the ceremony on the second day of this prayer meeting was at noon.

"You look much better than yesterday. It looks like you slept well last night."

Is that so?

I suddenly felt relieved to hear that. My body ached all over when I was still lying on the garden bench last night. Now, there was no particular pain when I stretched out.

'There is no way anyone could have used their holy power on me.'

In fact, it will not work out if other priests are using their holy power on this Saintess' body. Well, it might work out if they use pretty strong force, but who would do such a meaningless thing? Then, I remembered that I was trying to remember how I got back to my bed.

"Who brought me into the room last night?"

"Yeah? Last night?"

"I must have fallen asleep outside..."

"That is not possible. Saintess hasn't gone out since you fell asleep last night..."

The priest's voice gradually blurred. Her eyes wandered as if I went out again to meet someone last night. I shook my head hastily at the priest's suspicion.

"No, I must have had a dream. Never mind."

Seeing me try to defend myself, the priest's face grew suspicious. But she quickly moved and erased the suspicion from her face when another priest came rushing her to prepare for today's ceremony.

"Huff..." What a relief.

I looked at the bed where I was sitting. No sign of anyone else who brought me here last night. It was too impossible because several priests always guarded the front of my room in turn. Without pause. If no one knew I had gone out, I must have returned using the secret passage inside.

'Maybe I got back on my feet somehow.'

I don't think anyone else knew about the secret passage. Besides, it seemed only I who could open the passage door.

'Now, let's just focus on today's work.'

So, I lightly pat my cheeks. To my surprise, the feeling that somehow lingered in my palm did not go away easily.


✧ ✧ ✧


Just because the ceremony was scheduled to start in the afternoon, it didn't mean I could relax. After getting ready and dressed up in the formal robe, I went to my office followed by several other priests. It was a place I had visited twice or thrice after possessing this body. I took a step inside, but stopped at the very different sight from my memory.

"...What are all these?"

Is this an office or a warehouse? Last time I visited, this was a well-organized long large room. Now a lot of things were stacked up to the ceiling. They were not ordinary items. The things piled up on the desk and the floor were boxes full of splendid decorations—as if outwardly telling that they were valuables.

Because I was still standing, overwhelmed by the things in the room, the priests who followed me began to explain.

"Many countries have sent tributes for the prayer meeting more grandly than last year. And after the prayer meeting, delegations from those countries will greet you, so please take a look around."

From the priest's explanation, I realized what boxes these were. In the novel I read, this was only mentioned briefly. Tributes to the prayer meeting.

A very old tradition.

The existence of the Saintess made this continent safe from the monsters' attack. Of course, not all lands were safe. The farther away from the Great Temple, the more vulnerable the land was to the threat of monsters. Therefore, the Great Temple sent their knights or high-ranking priests to those lands, so the people were safe from the evil beasts. Occasionally, the Saintess would also go by herself.

These were a gift dedicated to the Great Temple, as a token of appreciation for their help protecting the lands. Over time, this has become a tradition for countries across the continent, sending tribute to the Great Temple in a prayer meeting.

The tribute was largely divided into two categories.

First, a tribute to those who had come and flocked outside the Great Temple. Most are food for those who stay here for two days. But not necessarily food. There were also herbs and fruits.

The other one is a tribute to the Saintess, the owner of the Great Temple.

'They sent a lot.'

Among a lot of countries, some of which sent exceptionally many tributes. It seemed that the further away the country was, the more tributes they would send. It means they want the Great Temple to send more frequent holy knights and higher priests to their country.

'I didn't expect they would send to this extent...'

The book I read said that the number of tributes increased several times after Yvelina ascended the throne as a Saintess. It was none other than because Yvelina sent more holy knights and high-ranking priests to the country, which also sent more tributes.

At first, I thought the Saintess wouldn't discriminate against countries based on the tributes given, but sending tributes became competitive as the years went by.

'This is the result.'

Sighing, I picked up a small wooden box nearby. A piece of paper with the word "Larus" was written on it. When I searched my memories, it was a small country far from the Great Temple. I wonder what they had sent?

"This..."

I opened the small box without much thought. Inside, a red jewel the size of a child's fist shone brightly. I have no knowledge in this area, but I knew it instinctively.

'This is insanely expensive!'

Very carefully, I laid it down back with a shaky hand. This time my eyes fell on a slightly larger box. The hard, fragrant black wooden box was adorned with very delicate carvings. I could feel it even before I opened it. What's inside must be bigger than the jewel I have just seen.

And sure enough. I was instantly at a loss for words when the box's lid opened.

"Woah..."

Only pure exclamation came out. Is this a diamond? Inside the box were a necklace and earrings set with hundreds of transparent jewels. It reminded me of a museum in a distant country I once saw in a book.

Closing the box, I quickly opened the next one. Most of these boxes contained jewels and ornaments. Only some were gold bars and gold coins.

"This isn't some jeweler's shop..."

Rather, it would make more sense to engrave biblical phrases on a gold plate or send paintings depicting the achievements of the Saintess in a colorful frame. But all the tributes they sent were...

'They meant only for an individual.'

It has absolutely nothing to do with religion. Everything was meant for only one Saintess.

A priest who had been watching and fascinated by the boxes I opened from the side immediately bowed his head and said,

"This year seems to have been well taken care of, as the Saintess had told them."

"...As I told them?"

The words rushed through Yvelina's memory.

'Oh my God.'



PREV   ≪≪   TOC   ≫≫   NEXT