I gazed at Reneben contentedly, patted him on the back and walked out of the bedroom, feeling refreshed.
Once I arrived at the office, the pile of documents made me feel despair. I lethargically picked up my pen and after a while, I lost myself in work.
In the middle of it, I felt stiff and turned my head to move my neck, then I saw Jessie, one of the only people I knew with yellow hair.
I waved her over to me, and split Reneben’s work with her.
Reneben had come to terms with the fact that I never changed in the morning when I went to the office, but apparently, Jessie hadn’t.
She didn’t seem to expect that I would be in the office in my night gown so her mouth fell open in fright when she saw me.
It was called a night gown, but to me, it was just a dress, and it felt more comfortable than a priest robe.
(Jessie)“Lady Emilone, what if you catch a cold…change your clothes, first.”
(Reneben)“Jessie, the Saintess is immune to sickness.”
In front of me, Reneben appeared naïve, and that was cute but even though he might raise objection, he was a dignified high priest who took good care of people.
As I watched him placate Jessie, our eyes met and his eyes grew wide. He quickly stepped back and lowered his head all the way down. He also didn’t forget to cover his face with the document in his hand.
Hm? I looked down, only to see that my shawl had gotten slanted and my loose nightgown had been pulled down a little.
My shoulders were only slightly exposed, but Reneben looked afraid and the cuteness made me laugh.
I was just watching the both of them to heal my heart a little before my meeting with the nobles this afternoon and as soon as I fixed my shawl, Reneben gave me a document.
Thanks to that, my healed heart seemed to fly away to some distant world.
As I took in the never-ending pile of documents, I once again promised myself to win this fight against the noble.
* * *
I watched the nobles enter the conference room, one by one, as the setting sun hung high outside the window. I thought I would have gotten bored watching them, but apparently not.
Every single person that entered the room was dressed in such eye-burning fancy attire that I couldn’t even feel bored.
On the contrary, my eyes were so occupied with studying them in detail.
It might seem shabby to wear a simple white priest robe among those whose luxury represented power but…at the very least, I was the person in power today.
I felt like I could hear the echoes of a drumming heart.
The nobles rode in carriages pulled by horses that were well-cared for and well-fed. They strolled into the room, and greeted me, who sat at the highest table in the conference hall.
“I greet God’s blessing.”
I didn’t even offer my usual remark of ‘May God’s blessing be upon you’.
I merely nodded and the gaze of the nobles instantly changed. The nobles had to understand that this meeting was held for my sake, not for them.
The room was structured similarly to the imperial conference hall. I sat at the highest seat while several seats were placed to the left and right of me. There were rows of tiered seats arranged like a colosseum or university lecture hall so it could accommodate a lot of people.
I quietly leaned back in my seat and observed them.
Behind me, stood Jessie and Reneben.
The nobles all seemed taken aback by the situation—the Saintess’ cold attitude, alongside the fact that Jessie, a known criminal in the social world, was standing beside Saintess like a close aide—it made them confused.
They studied me while sitting down in their assigned seats.
“You have all come a long way.”
Once a priest confirmed that almost all the nobles had arrived, I got the meeting started.
I held onto the previous saint’s staff which was as tall as me.
“Thank you for coming.”
I kept my tone polite as usual, but the sharp look in my eyes remained. This made the atmosphere stiff because they were always used to my benevolence.
I smiled inwardly then I took the document that Reneben was holding out to me.
The faces of the nobles were littered with anxiety as they seemed to know what the document contained.
Meanwhile, servants walked in, carrying trays of tea made from flowers that only grew in the temple. Since I was not speaking, only the footsteps of the servants could be heard.
I liked this odd silence, in its own way.
Reneben served me my favorite tea. I gave him a smile as he set down the cup in front of me.
It might not be much, but I was grateful that Reneben paid attention to what I liked. Well…I also knew what he liked too though.
I lifted the cup filled with tea that looked similar to green too.
My fingers felt numb when I picked up the cup. Surprised, I almost dropped the cup of hot tea. At the same time, I felt an unpleasant sensation wrapping around my arm, crawling up like a snake.
I knew what this feeling was; I wasn’t that stupid. I thought of putting the cup down, but I changed my mind. I brought the cup to my mouth, taking in the tea’s scent. Then without hesitation, I tipped my head back and drank the tea.
Things was already off to an eventful start.
I put the cup down with enough force to make one jump.
Blood came out of my mouth. Before Reneben could scream, I raised a hand to silence him. I gently dabbed my mouth with the handkerchief in my hand. I had to admit it now.
There was someone not afraid of divine punishment. To attack the saintess without anyone knowing.
Someone was after me. At the same time, it meant this person was competent enough to target a saintess. To be able to poison a cup like this in secret meant that they were far from ordinary.
I did not hide my irritation as I wiped the blood flowing from my mouth. I fixed my gaze on the nobles, not concealing any of my emotions.
For some reason, the priests and the nobles looked more surprised than I was. To be fair, the drink did surprise me.
I felt slightly nauseous, kind of like how you feel after eating too much greasy food. I’ve tried different powdered poison before, and my reaction was the same as now.
When the blood stopped flowing from my mouth, my body stopped shaking as well. Thankfully, my body detoxified quickly.
“Lady Emilone, are you alright?” Jessie asked with a trembling voice. She took the bloody handkerchief that I was holding out to her.
Everyone in the temple knew that poison does not work on the saintess.
I caressed the rim of the teacup with my index finger. The tingling sensation from earlier was no longer there.
I placed my elbow on the chair handle and plopped my chin on my hand.
“Since it’s come to this, I will get straight to the point. I already mentioned this before, at the last meeting at the Imperial Palace.”
I squeezed my chin and tapped my cheek with my index finger.
“My opinion will not change.”
The room was quiet. I never thought I could shut all the nobles at once.
“As previously discussed, we are going to lower taxes and set up orphanages in each territory.”
“Well, that is all I have for today.”
I patted Reneben, indicating that I was fine. Even though I bled from my mouth, I was really fine since I wasn’t hurt and felt no pain.
It was only when I saw the nobles chatter with greed that my teeth shook.
Tears welled up in Reneben’s eyes.
The people who worked in the temple knew that poison did not work on me so they were calmer than expected.
I remained silent in front of the nobles, smiling if nothing had happened.
It was very likely that the culprit who forced Jessie to drop the chandelier, and the person who poisoned my teacup, were the same person.
And at the same time…this seemed suspicious.
He told me not to contact the princess.
Now, if you add his strange behavior to this convoluted situation, it made it seem like he knew something I didn’t.
I wasn’t happy at this lack of knowledge.
Just when I was about to bring up the groundwork necessary to carry out what I mentioned—.
The whole building shook loudly. Before coming to this world, I had been to Japan once. Thanks to my terrible luck, I experienced an earthquake.
The vibration of the building was similar to that, and it shook twice. Then a sphere fell from the sky.
The object was quite distant from the window but close enough that we could see a red mass falling with the sunset in the background.
Everyone was stunned by the red mass that fell from the sky. I stared at it for a while, mostly because there was nothing else, I could do.
The first person to react was Reneben. He strode to the window and pushed aside the curtains which covered half of the pane.
Thanks to that, we had a clearer view, and I could not hide my horror.
I can guarantee you…this had never happened in history.
No demon had ever attacked the temple.
I quickly sprang to my feet, my eyes fixed on the chestnut-shaped red lumps. Outside the window, under the beautiful setting sun, the red lumps began to wriggle and coil.
“It can’t be! It’s a demon!”
Yes, I am that very saintess, so they didn’t need to scream so much.
“Everyone, be quiet and stay where you are. Reneben, come here.”
The only reason I was stepping out to save them right now…was because I was the saintess. Because I was an existence praised to be such.
**I haven’t forgotten you guys, I swear. Just extremely busy 🙁