‘What was that?’
Carr’s hand, which had been relaxed, was now clenched into a tight fist. He couldn’t believe what he’d heard. Everything in his whole being trembled in anger.
‘That…. There was nothing fun or easy about her situation.’
If Senia didn’t have any charity, Carr would not be alive now. Hales had completely degraded Senia’s sacrifice or even the existence of a demon who was innocent. She didn’t deserve to be treated like this.
“Oh? Sir Carr? What are you doing here?”
Dan, who was cleaning the temple’s front yard, spotted Carr.
“Where is she?” Carr asked in an unpleasant tone while trying to control his expression.
“Eh? Are you talking about the saint?”
“Uh… she is in the innermost prayer room. There’s a door behind the main temple, but she won’t be able to come out because of the origin prayer.”
“I’m picking her up.”
Dan chased after Carr who entered the temple without hesitation. The boy even forgot to put down his broom.
“Wait! What do you mean taking her with you? If the bishop finds out, there will be chaos!”
“Fuck off.” Carr shook Dan off his arm as the boy tried to stop him from going farther.
“What origin prayer, tsk. She’s forced to do it because she was born as a saint, isn’t that it?”
“B-But…. Isn’t that her duty? God would also wish for the saint to be the one praying.”
“Did you hear it from God himself?”
Carr glanced at Dan, who shut went silent at the question, and continued to march on. He knew Senia wanted to see the festival. She’d said so with her own lips and for Carr that was more important than some god’s wish. Furthermore, he didn’t want her to sacrifice her time for that bishop or whoever that man was.
However, the moment Carr stepped inside the temple, pain rushed over his body. It was a familiar pain and for a moment Carr regretted his decision. He remembered Senia’s explanation about the protection ward on the temple and what it would do to him.
‘Is it because of her divinity? Clearly no demon should be able to approach the temple. Even with divinity it still hurt.’
It was only because of Carr’s past experiences with torture that he managed to hold back the groan that threaten to come out. He needed to avoided arousing Dan’s suspicion. There might not be any evidence of the effect of the holy protection on his body, but the pain was attacking his nerves directly. Every step he took increased the agony, as if with every push forward a new blade imbedded itself into his body.
He truly wanted to reach the prayer room as soon as possible, but the temple was huge and if Dan didn’t tell him Senia’s exact location, he would soon be lost.
At the end of the grand temple, stood a 5-meter-tall statue of the sun god. The god watched over the chapel, as if observing the prayers. Behind the statue there was a small prayer room separated by a curtain. The interior of the room looked nothing like the grand chapel. In fact, it could be called shabby.
“Oh, uh… sir Carr? Why are you here?!” Senia turned around toward the curtain he yanked open, surprised to see Carr.
Instead of replying or waiting for more questions, Carr grabbed the kneeling Senia by the arm. Once she was on her feet, he led her out of the room eager to get out of this hellish place.
Senia, who was still confused about the sudden change of situation, followed Carr without question. She wanted to ask him for an explanation but remembered that he wasn’t allowed to speak. It must be painful for Carr to be in the temple since he was a demon. So, for now she only followed him with the expectation they would stop in the temple’s yard, but Carr kept walking.
A few moments later he let out a sigh and his body visibly relaxed. He stopped walking and Senia remembered that she had left her duty. She blinked and stared at Carr’s back before her eyes dropped to where their hands were joined tightly.
“Wait a moment, Sir Carr. Did something urgent happen?” Senia asked, her cheeks flushed slightly. “I’m not supposed to leave the temple today.”
Carr looked at Senia, opened his mouth to say something, but quickly he realized that he couldn’t respond. He’d wanted to take her to the festival and had dragged her from the temple without asking for her permission. Now that he thought about it, it made him uneasy.
Before either of them could say or do anything else, Dan caught up to them.
“Lady Saint! Sir Carr!”
Senia tensed and tried to pull her hand out of Carr’s, but he wouldn’t let go.
‘You didn’t even care about this yesterday.’
Carr frowned as he watched Senia attempt to pull away from him. Senia had let Dan hold her hand as he guided her along the street. Carr couldn’t understand why there was a sudden change when he was the one holding her hand, but then he realized that it was probably because it was him.
He was a demon. Of course, Senia didn’t want to be touched by him. Carr sighed at the realization and released Senia’s hand.
“Ah, Deacon Dan. I apologize for coming out without saying anything. I’ll be back inside soon.”
“Ah, n-no!” Dan shook his hand violently when he saw Senia’s pretty smile, which was barely reflected in her eyes. The boy’s hand, which had been holding a broom, now held a cloak.
“Actually…” Dan glanced between the two. He looked at Carr first before turning to Senia and holding out the cloak. “Please take this!”
Not only Senia, but also Carr looked at Dan in surprised.
“I-I apologize if I’m being nosy! But Lady Saint, you didn’t look happy earlier today when you started the origin prayer. It was the same expression that I have when I don’t want to do something. Not that I’m saying you’re anything like me!”
“Anyway, I will finish the prayer in your stead. I know that I can’t replace you, but one day…” Dan’s voice trailed off as he wondered if he’d crossed a line and would be scolded by the saint herself. Or worse yet, perhaps he’d be kicked out of the temple. There were many possible scenarios that could happen to him.
Nevertheless, Dan decided to do this because of Carr’s words from the other day. He couldn’t stop but observe Senia more closely and compared her to the rumors that he’d heard.
The saint was beautiful, gentle, and a selfless person. However, she wasn’t happy. It was and unfortunate tale and he didn’t like the sound of it one bit.
“Then…” Senia looked at Dan and turned to Carr, noticing for the first time that the man was facing toward the heart of the town with a calm expression. She realized that the two shared the same thought and it warmed her heart. It was something that she could have never imagined before today and it made her want to cry out in gratitude.
“It’s something that I can’t really refuse, is it?” Senia gave a low laugh as she accepted the cloak and wrapped it around her body. “Thank you.”
Dan quickly lifted his head and smiled. When he noticed Senia smiling brighter than before he couldn’t help but grin even more.
“I’ll be back before the festival is over. If this is known that you took my place, there will be trouble. Please take care,” Senia said as she pulled the hood over her head, still smiling at Dan.
“Don’t worry. Enjoy yourself!”
Senia’s heart beat loudly as she walked away from the temple with Carr, leaving Dan behind. She’d never been able to join a festival before, but would finally be able to tonight. She planned to enjoy all the various entertainments and felt like a bit of a rebel. She’d never dreamed of doing something like this before, but Dan’s kindness as well as the journey to resurrect the Holy Lady were the push she needed. However, those were just the secondary, Her main reason….
Senia’s cheeks flushed as she looked at the main reason why she had abandoned her duty. Carr, who’d suddenly entered the prayer room, grabbed her hand, and led her out of the temple made her feel like she was a princess being rescued from a tall tower. It reminded her of a fairy tale, especially when she thought of the pain he must have felt as he walked through the temple. Her heart filled with gratitude.
“Why would…” Senia started to ask the question, but quickly stopped herself. Even if she asked for an explanation, he couldn’t respond. Instead, she reached out and grabbed Carr’s sleeve to express her feelings.
At the sudden tug on his sleeve, Carr stopped and looked back at Senia. She stepped back, embarrassed, as if she had done something wrong.
“Ah, a-apologies. I didn’t mean to bother you.” Senia mumbled, her courage gone, “I just did it without thinking.”
‘Do I look that scary?’
Carr, who hadn’t interacted with many people in his life, couldn’t help but criticize himself at the sight of Senia cowering before him with hunched shoulders. The hood hid Senia’s shy expression from him, so he just grabbed her hand again. Her white hand was soft and small, as if it would break if he put too much force into his grip. Her hand fit perfectly in his, warm against his cold touch.
As they headed closer to the main street, increasingly larger crowds of people wandered around. Senia stopped walking as she took in the sight. An excitement bubbled inside her that left her feeling like a 10-year-old child again. Sky-blue eyes anxious, she looked around every corner of the street, from the band dressed in the usual manner to the puppet show.
Carr, who had been watching over her – tried to catalogue every expression she made, stopped next to her. Senia blinked few times, shaking her head slightly.
“Nothing. I thought I saw someone I know.” She turned her gaze toward Carr, smiling gently.
The tension between them from the night before slowly disappeared due to the festival atmosphere. He wanted to tell her that last night had been a misunderstanding, but there was nothing he could do about it and it seemed that Senia didn’t care.
“Oh, Sir Carr. There is cookie with strange shape over there.” Senia grinned and pulled Carr forward to explore the town. Senia did most of the talking. There was no trace of disappointment or regret in her expression regarding leaving her duty behind. Rather, she wore a bright smile, the most genuine one Carr had ever seen on her face. It seemed she was finally smiling for herself, not for others.
Carr continued to hold Senia’s hand and sometimes she reached out for him first. There was no trace of awkwardness and that made the time even more enjoyable. At some point, some men tried to flirt with Senia. However, she didn’t ask Carr to intervene and he had no idea what to do. After all, he didn’t have any reason to stop her from talking to others. However, the sight of other men talking to her made him uneasy.
Without their knowing, a pair of eyes watched them quietly from a street corner as they passed.