I was so tempted to prolong the agony for these nobles who were acting all high and mighty a minute ago but were screaming in pure terror now…
But at the same time, I wanted to let them know that I was the only one who could help them. I got up from my seat and looked outside.
The demons stirred and moved, leaving nothing in the paths traversed by their red lumps.
The beautifully decorated temple was getting destroyed. The forest, full of thick trees and grasses, was covered in red fluid, unable to maintain its shape.
I hadn’t received any oracles this time, but I knew enough to know. A demon like this…
“It must be a man-eater.”
When I mumbled that, the conference hall immediately fell silent.
At the same time, a scream incomparable to before, smothered my ears.
I couldn’t help but get a headache, seeing all these people running towards me without any dignity and asking me to quickly get rid of those things.
It wasn’t even just one demon; it looked like ten of those red lumps had appeared. And I could see dozens of smaller demons.
Why do things keep happening one after the other, these days? From the hunting competition to the falling chandelier, then the conflict with the nobles, and now these demons are attacking the temple.
Reneben quietly walked up to me. I lowered my voice so that the nobles couldn’t hear me and ordered him.
“Reneben, I’ll stay in the temple while you lead the other priests outside the temple to prepare for any possible damages.”
His face sank slightly. He looked like he wanted to stay in the temple and help me, so I spoke again.
“If those demons get outside, things will get far worse. Evacuating the people outside the temple is our priority.”
He looked visibly conflicted but, in the end, he only had one choice. He nodded his head with determination on his face.
After most of priests had gone outside, I let out a deep sigh.
The red lumps were still erecting their thorns, blocking anyone from approaching. With every move they made, their surroundings slowly melted.
Suddenly, my eyes met with Duke Cassian. He was so quiet that I forgot about him for a while.
Duke Cassian stared at me, and I asked him. “Do you want me to help?”
“Please deal with them already!”
“Your Holiness has to do it, who else can?!”
I was asking Duke Cassian, but a bunch of noisy nobles butted it instead and I stared at the Duke.
“Do you want me to save you?”
“…You’re the only one who save the people here.”
“You’re right. Without me, it is impossible.”
I had to strengthen my resolve because they couldn’t be saved without me. I was about to be covered in injuries to save them.
“Lord Duke, if I asked you to help me…would you help?”
The Duke’s eyes trembled.
The gazes of the nobles had turned to the Duke at some point and seeing that, they sneered. It was natural for the temple to save people. But the duke had no obligation to save others.
“I merely jest. That said…”
I flung the windows wide open.
The cold wind blew in, and the familiar smell of demons dung into my lungs. That fishy smell mixed with all sorts of rubble niggled at me.
“Do not take my sacrifices for granted.”
As much as they wanted to hide behind me, I wanted to hide too.
“There might come a time where I cannot help you all, and at that time, your life will be in your own hands.”
To the ones who were trembling in fear as I spoke, I decided to say one more thing.
“…Regardless, since you have come to the temple at my invitation.”
So that no one will get hurt…
“I will ensure that you are sent home without harm.”
* * *
I stared at the situation outside.
The demons seemed to move slowly because of their huge bodies, but they reeked and the sight of them melting everything as they moved was unnerving.
I wrinkled my nose and a thought suddenly occurred to me, making me sigh.
“Jessie, help me figure out if there are any knights or magicians among the nobles.”
The demons couldn’t get out of the temple, probably because of the high outer wall. Although it seemed to me that they were gravitating towards the center of the temple, or rather, to where I was.
Most of the people in the conference room were among the highest ranked individuals in the Empire.
So, there ought to be knights or magicians among them but the nobles, who only gathered out of duty or to question why the temple hadn’t been catching demons, whispered among themselves about this bombshell.
“Wait, Saintess, what do you mean…”
Jessie had many useful skills, one of which was her memory. I considered myself as someone with pretty good memory but even I couldn’t keep up with Jessie. The way I discovered this skill was unexpected, but I was so happy at the time.
Since you never know, I gave her a document containing the personal information of the nobles attending the meeting today, and she memorized everything in half an hour. For this memory alone, I even noted to myself to never make Jessie an enemy.
At my urging, Jessie faltered and hastily opened her mouth. She raised her hand to her chest and recited the names of about 20 magicians and nearly 100 knights while folding her fingers.
I stepped on the windowsill lightly and gently closed my eyes before reopening them.
The people who were called looked petrified with fear. Of course, there were also people who were calm like Duke Cassian, whose name was mentioned as a knight.
He calmly rose to his feet and glanced outside.
“Those whose names were called by my little one should come with me.”
I had sent a message to the Imperial Palace, asking reinforcement within 5 minutes but that was close to impossible. The palace and the temple were quite far from each other, and the magicians couldn’t teleport or fly because they needed to conserve their mana.
They would likely ride on horseback like the knights. So, at the earliest, maybe 40…or 50 minutes.
The demons moved so slow that one would think that even snails moved faster. If you thought they didn’t seem dangerous because of that, think again. Their bodies were covered with sharp thorns that screamed danger.
To kill a demon, I had to touch it, then inject it with my divine power, but with these things which were huge enough to swallow people…
I had to wound them and thrust my hand inside before I could get to work. Just imagining it was horrible.
“We can’t waste any more time.”
I was determined to do this but the nobles were hesitant. Fortunately, Duke Cassian stepped forward first and stood beside me. The hesitation of the nobles looked funny to me, and I unconsciously gave an dodgy smile.
“Thank you, Duke. I will not forget what happened today.”
“I don’t mind if you forget. Supposing my rudeness last time is forgotten as well…I would appreciate it.”
“Or your funny jokes.”
I covered my mouth and burst into laughter as if I heard a really funny joke. Thanks to that, the atmosphere was a little more relaxed.
But that was all.
The nobles were still trying to hide and only the calm-looking ones like Duke Cassian stepped forward.
I raised my chin slightly and swept my hand over the window railing. “If you will not heed my request, my hands are tied…”
I had to forcefully move the ones who were visibly stiff. The blood circulating through my body felt hot. Speaking to an audience always felt weird, but my chest felt a little heated.
“I will order you as the Saintess, you, who reside of this world.”
How could they bear the title of a knight but offer hesitation? When they are supposed to be the protector of people, like me.
“Help me. The temple will not forget your kindness, and your grace will be repaid.”
Come to think of it, the Nestro Ducal family did not attend this meeting. They were the only high-ranking family that was obviously missing. It would have been nice if Ducal Prince Nestro was here. I only learned this recently, but apparently, his magical prowess was unrivaled.
While lamenting the fact that he wasn’t here, I lifted my head.
“For the magicians, please bind them, and for the knights, I ask that you injure them.”
I sent the priests outside as a contingency plan. Unlike them, the paladins were still in the temple.
The swords that were taken away from the aristocrat knights when they entered the temple was returned to them.
They must be scared too.
I knew how they were feeling. Because I was always scared.
I stared at the nobles and spoke without breaking eye contact. “You only need to take care of the smaller ones. That will be enough.”
“…It’s dangerous. We could die with the slightest mistake.” In the silence, one of the magicians, probably the youngest, mumbled.
The knights who were going to be at the frontline hadn’t said a word, yet you, a magician was speaking up. It was a little disappointing but…
“You’re right. You could die with the slightest mistake…”
“But since we do it every time, don’t you think you can help out this time?”
Only then did the young magician shut his mouth. He was faintly trembling, and I gently took his hand.
“But do not worry…no matter what happens, I will protect you.”
* * *
Sure enough, it was a difficult process to injure them.
It was also very exhausting since I was the only one around here who could get rid of these man-eating cursed things.
The red fluid created by the demons was similar to the thick slime that snails usually leave behind. Furthermore, I was the only one who could step on it and be fine.
I was glad to see the nobles expending their body after my veiled threat.
Other than my arm being a little worn out and my body smeared with demon blood, I wasn’t really injured.
“Saintess! Watch out!”
It happened just as I got rid of the third demon. I was hit with the blue-green fluid when the demon exploded. As I wiped the wetness from my eyes, a loud scream pierced my ears.
 She calls Jessie ‘my child’ but I think ‘little one’ is a better fit. It’s used more as an affectionate term than as a literal child.
**Should I use ‘wizard’ or ‘magician’? I don’t know which is better for this world’s setting, but I’ve been using magician since that’s usually what I translate the word ‘마법사(mabeobsa)’ to.