Chapter 1 - Prologue
Lina cried as she walked aimlessly along the dark trail of the barracks.
It was still snowing heavily and there were no people around, which was a relief at least. Now she really wanted to be alone.
‘Why does he keep asking me to go to places I don’t want to go?’
‘Why does he keep getting angry every day?’
‘He’s so mean, really…’
Why did the High Priest Amos punish the poor knight when all she wanted to do was show him that Seria was just like her?
It was hard to tell how far she had walked before she felt the cold. Lina wrapped her body with her hands. Then she looked down at the bandages wrapped around her arms.
“Yes, I am. I’m a saint,” she said. “I have yellow bruises all over my body from the collision of too much divine power, but this is still proof that I am a saint.”
“I wonder how strong my divine power is if my body gets bruises like this. When this divine power blossoms, will no one be able to ignore me then?”
It was then.
Lina looked around in bewilderment. But there was no one around. Scared for a moment, Lina snapped back to return to the barracks.
The voice was clearer than before, and the unfinished words came to her ears like an illusion. Lina shuddered.
“Who are you? Who are you? Who is it?!”
[Your divine power…….It’s not enough…]
Lina was startled to the point of fainting. She was sure it was because the voice came from nowhere. It was a very listless and yet oddly angry voice. Lina stepped back.
It felt like she had to leave her seat now, but strangely, the words lingered in her ears that she lacked divine power.
[You have to get it.]
A black, sinister darkness appeared before her. Lina suddenly felt thirsty. She didn’t know why. The next thing that crossed her mind was the spirit that this darkness was spewing was a spirit that she had felt somewhere else.
It was shining with gold and rubies, the necklace that she had mysteriously wanted. It was the necklace that made her visit Seria for no reason and ask her over and over again.
Lina caught the darkness as if possessed. A satisfied laugh sounded in Lina’s ears.
“Yes, I’ll take it.”
The pitch-black darkness disappeared completely through Lina’s skin. The light came into Lina’s blank eyes a moment later.
“Lina, is that you? What did you just say…..?”
Lina’s heart was pounding. She shuddered and turned around. Seria was standing there with a bewildered look on her face. Here in the blizzard, they stood speechless for a while. The world seemed to have paused around them.
Seria’s eyes shook like never before.
Lina stepped back. She broke through the fence around the barracks and ran out.
“There really is a lot going on.”
Lesche tossed the papers onto the bed.
“Did the Saintess go missing because she was saved from the clutches of the demons? Are you messing with me now?”
“I’m sorry. Grand Duke Berg. But really….”
The high ranking priest who came to Lesche for help in the middle of the night was frightened.
“What about the High Priest Amos?”
“He has already gone to find the Saintess himself.”
High Priest Amos was an older man. Lesche couldn’t believe he went out to look for Lina directly in such a severe cold. It seemed that he wanted to freeze and martyred himself together.
“Thank you for letting me feel three years’ worth of frustration today.”
Lesche rang the bell roughly. The attendant hurried in. He handed him a pair of boots, and that was when Lesche cursed in a low tone.
The barracks door suddenly opened with a snap.
It was Seria, who showed her face. Lesche’s red eyes ran her up and down. Seria was dressed as if she was going to find someone in the freezing cold for all to see.
“I’m going out with Alliot and Abigail!”
“Where are you going? They’re in the barracks.”
“But they’re both already wearing constellation gold armor, aren’t they?”
“…wait. I’ll be right out.”
Seria nodded and quickly left. Much faster than before, Lesche put on his boots and glared at the high-ranking priest.
“We’ll discuss the damage to Berg specifically at a later date.”
“Yes. Of course, Your Highness ….”
The high-ranking official could only reply, “Do as you please,” to Lesche’s snarling words. He nodded with a pale face.
It was inevitable. The fact that the Saintess had gone missing was a big deal. She sneaked out of the house like an immature tomboy. This was a place where the defeat of the demons was not completely finished.
All of the priests staying in this barracks were already prepared to be reprimanded.
However, the entire continent could turn its back on the High Priest if God’s anointed saint was badly injured by the demons.
The messenger of God was eaten by the demons. How would those who desired a savior endure their helplessness? The disbelievers would overflow, and the honor of the Grand Temple would be ruined.
The high ranking priest clasped his hands together and prayed earnestly that nothing would happen.
Lesche immediately formed a search party with Seria.
“We’ll divide the search into three groups from here. I’m afraid the traces for the High Priest Amos will be erased from here.”
The snow was so heavy that the footprints quickly disappeared. And it was the middle of the night, which made the tracking that much more difficult.
“The Saintess is a Stern, so the Holy gold armor allows us to keep track of her location to some extent. Knights, you should concentrate on the change of your body temperature.”
The knights moved in unison.
The knights in the procession away from Seria Stern soon began to feel the gradual freezing of the Holy gold armor.
Their limbs slowly began to cool, and their breathing became white and shattered. Although the theoretical distance protected by Stern was a 5km radius, it was truly a distance of last resort.
With every kilometer, the temperature of the gold armor would drop sharply. The further away they were away from Stern, the more they really felt the cold.
Therefore, the tracking groups, which moved away from Seria and got closer to Lina, would be able to locate her by the change in their body temperature.
“Run! Don’t stop!”
Dozens of horses kicked and ran across the pure white earth.
“Saintess, this way!”
Eloise Hedon hurriedly shouted.
After struggling all day, she was in a state where she and her knight had decided to run away. It seemed a bit reckless but romantic.
There was also a practical calculation. Because now she had a very expensive wedding gift to give to the Grand Duchess of Berg. If she sold it, she would have enough to use as a living settlement.
Taking advantage of the night, she slipped out of the barracks with her lover, the knight, and on the way to escape, she saw Lina running alone as if she was scared. Lina looked very pale as if something had happened to her. She was running incessantly across the snowfield as if she just wanted to be far away from the barracks.
Eloise had heard Lina complain that she didn’t want to go back to the temple full of stubborn people and that she wanted to rest a little longer in the Haneton estate, so Eloise had an idea right away.
The Saintess was a blessing from God, a sign of good fortune. It seemed to imply that things would go well in the future. Eloise Hedon was inwardly relieved.
“I will take you to Haneton territory!”
They were quickly moving away from the barracks.
Just as they were about to flee, someone behind them called out for Lina. Amos gasped. The cold air mixed with snow seeped deep into his lungs. Amos finally managed to stall Lina.
“Stop right now!”
He wondered how Lina was able to leave the barracks so quickly. She had escaped on horseback with the knight and the lady.
Lina was still new to riding and could not ride alone. The young lady was riding the same horse as Lina. He saw a few strands of her platinum hair through the cloak, and the knight exclaimed with a horrified expression.
“Young Lady Eloise Hedon.”
Eloise, who was accurately called by name, shuddered.
Eloise and the knight’s faces turned bright red.
“How dare you try to kidnap a saint!”
“Kidnap?! It was never like that!”
Hedon’s knight shouted in panic. He was too confused to move because his retreat was already completely blocked by the holy Knight’s swords. (*the knight who was with Amos)
The holy knight howled and lifted his sword.
“Bring the Saintess to us at once! Or I will retrieve her with force.”
The Hedon’s knight looked at his lover, Eloise, confused.
“I’ll let her go! I’ll let her down!”
Amos rushed over himself and grabbed Lina’s wrist.
“Saintess! How in the world did you get here! Did I scold you for doing so? No matter how reckless you are, how are you going to handle the consequences?”
Lina turned around, holding onto Amos. Amos was momentarily distraught. Lina’s face was pale. By all accounts, she looked terribly frightened. Even though she had been through a lot in the past, she didn’t look like this.
Something was wrong.
“Saintess? Why on earth are you like this? Did something happen in the barracks…?”
“Knight! Go with the Saintess!”
Amos’s words were cut short.
The holy knight gripped the reins and turned. A cold sweat began to flow from his body. A chill ran down his spine.