Chapter 1 - Prologue
In a flash, Kalis rushed towards Seria and stood in front of her. Clank! With a sharp sound of clashing metal, he managed to knock the demon down.
The knights rushed over and joined Kalis.
“Stern! We must evacuate to a safe place!”
“Seria! It’s okay……”
The conversation did not last long. While Seria was contemplating, the demon grabbed Kalis’s arm and pulled him towards it.
For a moment, not knowing what to do, his arm was scratched by the demon. Fortunately, his arm was still intact, but red blood gushed out. When Kalis finally managed to strike the demon, a cold white blade came out of nowhere and killed it.
In the blink of an eye, the demon stopped breathing and crashed down the hill.
The second-in-command knights rushed to the scene.
“Stern! Are you alright!”
The priests also came running over. But it wasn’t their swords that killed the demon.
Kalis shoved his sword into its case.
“Your Highness, the Grand Duke of Berg.”
Lesche Berg, the master of the sword and the master of the Central Territory, appeared in front of them.
“Can’t you take care of one person?”
“I was not good enough, sir.”
“It would be better if you knew. I don’t want my wife to bleed.”
Kalis silently glared at Lesche. Of course, Lesche Berg was not a man who would ever avert his gaze just because someone else was glaring at him. Even though he appeared to be relaxed, he was actually looking at the other person with cold eyes as if he was about to kill them.
The holy knight, who noticed this sharp, tense atmosphere, stepped in with wary eyes.
“Your Highness, Marquis Haneton has just saved Stern from the clutches of the demon.”
The knight was trying to soften the mood.
However, it was better if he didn’t. Lesche quickly clenched his teeth.
“Are you out of your mind?”
“What were you all doing? Were you mesmerized? How is it that the precious Stern almost died but your limbs are undamaged?”
“Um, Your Highness…!”
“One of the demons is dead, but you’re so fine, you’re amazingly negligent.”
The knights’ faces turned pale as Lesche approached him with a chilling energy.
“Lesche, please stop.”
Seria’s voice casually calling the Grand Duke of Berg by his name horrified Kalis for a moment, as if she had cut his chest.
When Seria told him to stop, Lesche turned to her immediately.
“How did you get here?”
“I had a feeling that my wife was going to die.”
“I’m not dying. Please don’t kill a decent, living person.”
“If you were dead, the people who sent the call for help would be buried alive here.”
When did Seria and Lesche become so close for her to call Lesche’s name so casually?
Kalis suddenly felt strange. Seria didn’t seem to know, but Lesche’s red eyes, looking down at her, had softened distinctly in an instant. For a moment, Kalis was incredibly jealous.
It was then….
“Kalis? Kalis! What’s wrong with your arm!”
It was unknown when she came back, but Lina covered her mouth with both hands. Her face turned pale with shock.
Kalis’s arm was dripping blood, but somehow he felt no pain. At that moment, a priest rushed over and gave first aid to Kalis’s arm and bandaged it up.
A high-ranking priest ran over to Lina, stamping his feet.
“Saintess, you’re not supposed to be here! Please go back to your original post.”
“Lina, come with me. I’ll take you back.” Kalis said.
That night, Lina was severely scolded by Amos.
“Saintess, what the hell…..! You’re Stern! Stern! I know you haven’t finished formal education yet, but didn’t the priests teach you anything?”
Amos was furious. Even though Lina knew he was strict, she had never seen him this angry before, she was scared.
“From the beginning, since there are two Sterns, we aggressively planned the battle to defeat the demons! Ten staff members stuck around and stayed up all night! Saintess is Stern, you must be there, and yet you’re doing your job in such a dogmatic way!”
“Um, I was just worried that Kalis was bleeding, that’s all.”
Amos’s angry voice made Lina flinch.
“How many times have I told you? Stern is the star of the battle to defeat the demons! I’ve always made it known to you that you can’t leave your position at will!”
Fortunately, the area wasn’t large this time, so no knights froze to death due to hypothermia. But if there was even one such casualty, and if it was a knight of the Berg Order….
The problem would have caused Amos a great deal of trouble as well. Because of the complications in the affair, Lesche Berg became Seria Stern’s husband, but that’s all. Even if his wife was not Stern or a saint, Lesche Berg would still protest harshly to the Temple.
The reason Grand Duke Berg was so good to Stern was because he demanded so much of her duty. Obviously, it was Stern’s fault, and Amos had no idea how Lesche felt about what happened today.
“Plans have already been made to deal with all of those demons tomorrow! The scope should be even larger than today, so please just stay put tomorrow!”
And the next day, Lina was deadly quiet, unlike her recent behavior.
A familiar voice rang out to Lina, who was sitting in her assigned seat at the behest of High Priest Amos, wearing the sparkling ceremonial dress of Stern.
“Are you not feeling well?”
Lina looked at the knight who was speaking to her. He was a knight that Lina felt comfortable with as he admired her and was kind to her.
“Hey, it’s about yesterday….”
Lina’s mouth twitched as she talked about being scolded by Amos. “He has no compassion,” she said. “And he scolds me every day. Surely Seria would act as I did.”
After mumbling that much, Lina raised her head and sighed.
“I’ll show High Priest Amos.”
“Seria’s personality is similar to mine. So, surely, if she was in the same situation as me, Seria would leave her seat and come running, right?”
“Oh no…but you can’t hurt the Grand Duchess. Saintess.”
The knight flinched as he saw Lina’s lips quiver. He thought of comforting Lina and giving her some insight about fighting demons.
“Well then, what about the others?”
“Let’s take that knight.”
“Abigail? She’s Seria’s loyal knight.”
“But…..I like that knight.”
Lina liked Abigail. She admired Abigail’s sharpness, which was different from other knights.
“Saintess is a compassionate person, but Abigail Orrien was a sinner detained in the temple.”
“Abigail? A sinner?”
“What sins did she commit?”
“She killed many people. She was on death row.”
“Then, how did she…..?”
“Stern saved her. Otherwise, she would have been decapitated along with other death row inmates.”
“Why did she kill those people?”
“I heard that she testified that she killed them for fun.”
“Fun? She killed for pleasure?”
The blood drained from Lina’s face.
“Why would Seria have such a bad person as a knight? I feel sorry for the people who died….”
“Well, I don’t know much about Stern because she travels a lot.”
“Is that so?”
“Don’t talk about it outside either, Saintess. The temple kept this story hidden for a reason.”
“Yes, I understand. But if she is such a bad person, don’t you think she should be punished too? It won’t be a harsh punishment, of course. And she’s a knight that Seria cares about.”
“Of course, but…”
The knight intended to talk Lina out of it, but Lina grabbed his hand.
“Then will you do me one favor? I don’t want anyone to get hurt either. I just want Seria to understand how I feel.”
Then, Lina whispered to the knight.
“Thank you for the details.”
Lina smiled and the knight’s neck was red. It wasn’t difficult to ask for a favor.
Bang! The sword made a sharp sound as it collided with the metal-hard skin of the demons. Abigail swung her sword and breathed heavily. Before she knew it, the corpses of the fallen demons had begun to pile up around her.
It was cold as her body was wrapped in the Holy gold armor.
She shifted her gaze towards the hills. She saw two Stern’s ceremonial robes fluttering about, and the green head on one side was more visible. The problem was that it was so much further away than before. Somehow Abigail crossed the safe line.
A knight nearby shouted out.
“Abigail! On your right!”
Abigail, who seemed distracted, mercilessly swung her sword. The demons that were running on the right were pushed back.
At that time, there was also a demon running on the left side. However, because the knight shouted with one tempo too late, Abigail could not completely avoid the attack. She retreated, but it was a little too late. A considerable amount of blood burst from the thigh that was scratched by the demon.
Abigail quickly lifted her sword and jumped to the ground. The sharp sword stabbed the demon in the neck. The demon’s neck cracked and fell to the ground with a thud.
“Abigail! Are you all right?”
Abigail didn’t answer but looked at the top of the hill. Seria, who was sitting down earlier, stood up quickly. Her face probably looked pale.
Abigail walked with large strides and suddenly grabbed the knight by his chest who was helping her defeat the demons.
“What are you talking about?”
“I have exceptionally better eyesight than most people. I saw it earlier. You were looking at the Saintess.”
Abigail glared at the knight with murderous eyes as if about to devour him.
“Why did you keep pushing me outside the borders of Stern? Why did you pretend to help then obstruct me from fighting the demons? Did the Saintess make you do it?”
The knight’s face turned pale.