So rather than focusing on the fact that ‘someone intentionally dropped the chandelier to harm the saintess’…
“When I was injured after the chandelier fell, was there anyone else apart from you and a few servants who helped?”
Reneben sucked in a breath.
I recalled the dangerous situation earlier and continued speaking. I didn’t want this to happen again. And I want to ensure that the temple, which was my home, was no longer disregarded.
“If the person injured was the crown prince instead, how would the nobles react?”
The nobles were simple. With just a few words from me, an ordinary person could become a heretic. If I pointed to an innocent animal and called it a demon, then that animal would become a demon. They firmly believed that I would never harm them.
“Not a single noble bothered to rebuke Duke Cassian for saving the Princess instead of me when the chandelier fell.”
As a knight, the Duke should have protected me since I had a higher status. But despite his failure to do so, he was neither criticized nor rebuked.
They looked at me bleeding on the floor, like it was a normal occurrence, and offered empty words of concern.
Reneben’s face turned pale.
“To them, the temple is simply like a ‘drug’ that is easy to handle. Or perhaps, like an existence that comes running when they say they have a simple cold.”
As I said that, my mouth felt bitter, and I couldn’t help but laugh.
“So, I am putting restrictions on the temple. That way, we can reject their requests.”
“Nothing that says the temple cannot do that. Isn’t that so, Reneben?”
Reneben lowered his head again. I grabbed the candy jar and put another piece of candy in my mouth. The sweetness slowly spread in my mouth.
Reneben’s gaze changed slightly. He seemed to realize something and at the same time, he conveyed his opinion to me with a worried look on his face.
It was very late. Reneben already went through so much trouble with me today, so I sent him back to his room then I lay down on the sofa in the drawing room.
On days like this, the best thing to do was to watch tv or play on yout phone but this place had nothing like that.
After a few more candies melted in my mouth, I picked up the candy jar and pondered to myself.
A late-night snack probably wasn’t very good for my body, but it was just a few candies. With that thought in mind, I grabbed a few more.
* * *
The nobles kept sending trivial requests to us, but they were all rejected as previously stated.
They probably thought, ‘it’s just the temple.’
It is just the temple, anyway. They only made that decision based on a moment’s anger. Eventually, they’ll come around.
They judged us as pushovers who would do any requests sent our way.
Crackle—I flipped over the luxurious box containing the letters and let it all burn.
“Some nobles are even angry with us for not helping…I can’t imagine why.”
While I was watching the letters that I just read burn and shaking my head, I heard a knock on the door.
“Saintess, I’m coming in.”
It was Reneben, who I had been waiting for. I was practically buried in the chair, so I sat up.
“Come on in.”
Seeing Reneben’s slightly haggard face, I scrunched my forehead and sighed. Looks like I was not the only one who could not sleep.
“Are you okay?”
“I am fine… and you, Lady Emilone?”
“I’m fine of course. Except for these annoying letters that keep coming in.”
I waved the last letter over the candle, and it quickly burned away.
“They are only acting like this because they are suffering more damage,” I mumbled like I was talking to myself as I looked at the pile of burnt requests.
Then I caught a look on Reneben’s face and frowned, “Why do you look so guilty?”
“Is it because you should help those in need, but you cannot?”
Reneben fell silent and seeing that, I sat up half-way and snorted.
“Even though you say that Reneben, you are mainly thinking of the nobles.”
I moved towards where Reneben was standing and sat myself on the table in front of him and smiled.
(Emilone)“Now that we have reduced the manpower for the nobles, that manpower had been redirected to the slums.”
Reneben’s shoulders stiffened.
(Emilone)“The nobles depended on us to handles demons that even they could handle by themselves. All I did was tell them to deal with those demons.”
Reneben gently bit his lower lip and ran a hand through his hair.
“Instead of just looking at one thing, let’s look a little further. Reneben, you are the high priest, are you not?”
Reneben’s pupils shook slightly, and I stared straight into his eyes, not avoiding it.
“The nobles are not the ones that you should feel guilty about right now.”
“It should be our wounded people that you have neglected all this time.”
“…I have not neglected them.”
“…My mistake. They were not neglected but ignored.”
The more I spoke, the more scattered his breathing became and his lashes trembled.
“I know. The common people cannot speak out for themselves, so they are overshadowed by the nobles who apply constant pressure and complain of their situation.”
Reneben’s shoulders began to tremble.
Seeing that, I decided to stop here.
“If the problem is funds, we already get a steady amount from the emperor. The payment from the nobles is important as well, but…”
The temple already had an incredible amount of money saved up. And that money would provide a good foundation for what I wanted to do in the future.
I slowly brought up the main point to Reneben, who could not calm down.
“…Frankly, I wanted to use this to create an opportunity.”
His eyes which had been glued to the floor looked up at me. It felt important now that he was staring straight at me, so I straightened my shoulder and wiped the sarcastic smile off my lips.
“Before anything, we must look forward. Because the future is what we are going to face…”
Reneben seemed to agree with me because he didn’t say anything at first then he nodded intensely.
(Reneben)“This opportunity…what is it?”
(Emilone)“An opportunity that the nobles cannot refute.”
Reneben looked like he didn’t understand.
(Emilone)“I have been here for about a year, and I think that is enough time for me to understand what is going on and how things are run.”
I took off my shoes and walked onto the carpet. I enjoyed the soft sensation under my bare feet.
I walked up to the brown bookshelf on the carpet and took out the third and fourth book.
“Noblesse Oblige. Everything we have in this position came from somewhere and we have to be able to repay them properly.”
I held the corner of the book right under my lip and smiled while Reneben’s expression turned serious.
* * *
I prepared simple tea and sat down.
Reneben sat opposite me. Currently, he was the only person that I considered one of my ‘people’ so I slowly opened my mouth.
“Reneben, how many orphanages does the Empire currently have?”
“…what is that?”
Although I expected that answer, I still felt a little bitter. I twirled the tips of my hair absentmindedly.
“It is an entity that takes care of abandoned children using national funding.”
“If that exists… I think it will be very helpful.”
I smiled at those words, feeling the potential even more vividly.
“Reneben, starting now, I plan to use my position as a Saintess to achieve three things.”
He looked at me, waiting for me to continue.
“Set up an orphanage, install medical facilities, and lower taxes.”
“Is something the previous saints could not do…am I right?”
Reneben’s head fell solemnly.
“We are not at war right now, nor is there any new public construction but the taxes remain the same as before. Isn’t that funny?”
“…But the nobles.”
“If they oppose, I’ll say we won’t catch any demons. What can they do?” I shrugged unabashedly, “I have already gotten a chance. A chance to show them that I am different from previous saints.”
When they faced me, they thought of previous saints and didn’t care about any threats I made. They only thought, ‘it’s just the temple,’ and acted arrogantly.
But not anymore.
The temple does not move without my command. And through this incident, the nobles will clearly understand that the person who gives the orders here is someone who does what they promised.
“A little dip in their luxury of fitting new dresses or buying new jewelry would be enough to lower the taxes of the people.”
The reason the previous saints could not establish orphanages or install medical facilities was simple. They simply did not have that kind of knowledge.
They wouldn’t even have thought of orphanages, let alone medical facilities.
The priceless asset known as medical supplies belonged only to the aristocrats.
Even with the uninformed doctors in the villages, the people did not have a place to receive proper treatment.
However, only the nobles can be a member of parliament.
“It seems difficult, right?”
“That is why I am trying to do it. It is not enough to just act good, we must do good things too.”
“How…did you come up with this?”
I slowly got off the carpet, put my shoes back on and threw a shawl around my shoulder.
“Usually… even in the temple, all the people you can meet are nobles. Even if you think about the people, it is all centered around nobles.”
“Stop!” I clapped my hands loudly to interrupt Reneben, “Don’t say such depressing things.”
Reneben studied me and seemed to hesitate for a moment, then he shook his head.
(Emilone)“And I don’t know what is making you think so hard but don’t worry too much.”
I fixed my red eyes on Reneben.
After telling him not to worry, I brought up the Princess who was going to be very helpful with this matter, “Because Princess Ronella will help us.”
“I will bring her to our side.”
Of course, even without her, things would proceed the way I wanted. But I knew it would go a lot smoother with her around.
Knowing that I’d have to write a secret letter to Princess Ronella this evening, a faint laugh escaped my lips.