The next morning, Carr made his way back to the temple again. At the front of the gate, he spotted Dan and Bishop Hales talking to Senia, seeing her off.
“Are you leaving already? You can stay as long as you want, saint.”
“Ah, no. I am leaving the city tomorrow, but today I’m going to stay at the same place as my escort. There are many things we need to discuss about our trip.”
“Ah. Then please stop by one more time before you leave tomorrow.”
“Of course. Deacon Dan knows the location of the inn, so if you have any trouble please come and find me.”
Anyone that witness the interaction would think it heartwarming, but as Carr approached Senia, he tried very hard to hide his displeasure. The conversation he’d overheard yesterday had left a sour taste in his mouth toward the bishop.
Senia who sensed someone else’s presence turned around and smiled lightly at the sight of Carr. That smile was enough to melt the displeasure he felt and warmed his heart. Hales and Dan gestured toward Carr in a silent greeting once he was closer to the group.
Carr noticed a scarf that he’d never seen before wrapped around Senia’s neck.
“Is the wound really okay?”
“Ah, y-yes! It’s okay! I-It’s doesn’t hurt anymore!”
“Oh, did you get hurt? Do you want me to cure it with a blessing?”
“No! It’s really okay. I just got a little scar after falling down. It’ll heal soon.”
‘Did she fall last night?’
Carr knew that Senia could be clumsier than she looked, but he hadn’t noticed a red mark on her neck. A kiss mark perhaps? He coughed, looking away from her which startled Senia. She quickly pulled the scarf tighter around her neck and flushed slightly.
He didn’t mean to leave a mark on her, but seeing the evidence of their activity last night made him feel better for some reason.
“Well, I’ll see you soon then…”
“Oh, I almost forgot one thing.”
“Actually, I heard some gossip in the square yesterday. It was rumored the God of the Moon’s saint was in the city.”
“The Moon Saint?”
“She is not the type of person to go to the temple voluntarily, so the Church of the Moon asked us to persuade her to come to the temple if we encountered her on the street.”
Senia frowned slightly. She remembered the face that she passed by on the street yesterday. It was a familiar face.
“Perhaps it was her…” she mumbled quietly.
“Did you perhaps encounter her?”
“Ah…. No, but I will tell you if I see her.”
And just like that, Senia brought their farewells to a close and left the temple with Carr. Now, that the festival was over, the streets had become much quieter. Carr noticed that Senia was deep in her own thoughts, staring blankly at the ground while walking.
‘Is it because of the story of the moon’s saint?’ Carr wondered and tapped Senia’s shoulder gently.
“Oh? What did you say?” Senia jumped slightly and turned toward Carr who looked at her in wonder. The saint smiled awkwardly once she realized that she was lost in thought. “Ahahaha… I’m sorry. I was thinking about something. Anyway, did you have breakfast yet?”
Carr shook his head and watched Senia’s smile grow bigger. Apparently, she hadn’t eaten as well. Carr knew that Senia was trying to change the topic from the moon’s saint, but for now, he decided not to press the matter.
Once they reserved a room for Senia at the inn and finished with their meal, the two went around shops in the city to stock up for their trip. Despite all the street stalls disappearing after the festival, it was still easy to obtain quality items as they were in a large city, especially Carr’s travel equipment. They managed to find canteens, lanterns, and ropes in good condition to replace the old ones.
And as expected, it was comfortable to be a human even if it was just his appearance. Carr could walk around town without being cursed at or attacked by the people. This was something he could only experience because of Senia.
“What’s wrong?” Senia asked suddenly while they rested on a bench, after shopping. Carr, who was overwhelmed with emotion, stared at her blankly.
Carr tilted his head, not sure how to explain what he was thinking. He turned his gaze toward her locket instead.
“Ah, you mean this?” Senia chuckled slightly, realizing that she hadn’t managed to tell the story yesterday. An old gold locket hung from her neck by a silver chain.
Senia wrapped her hands around the locket, “It’s a keepsake of my mother’s and also a medium for my power as I give people blessings.” Her voice was wistful and she smiled softly before looking at Carr, “You don’t really need a medium to use divinity but it’s useful in many ways, such as reducing the power needed for a prayer or shortening the prayer time.”
A medium could only work on one thing that priest considered as special. Senia chose her mother’s locket and Arte had no reason to ban his precious daughter-in-law’s [ This doesn’t seem right but I cant remember how they are supposedly tied together]jewelry.
Carr watched as Senia closed her eyes, hands still holding her locket and paid a silent tribute. A peaceful breeze caressed her face and in that moment, bathed in the in warm sunlight, she looked ethereal.
“To me, it is a priceless treasure.”
Carr didn’t have any memories of his parents, but seeing Senia talking about her mother, he couldn’t help but think that she must have been a wonderful person by how much Senia cherished that locket.
The two finally rose from the bench and resumed walking leisurely around the town. Now, that they had bought everything they needed for the rest of the trip, they could enjoy themselves and just explore. Senia who enjoyed looking at the pretty dishes, cute frilly dresses, and tea leaves, seemed no different from other village girls. Carr on the other hand managed to garner people’s attention because of his unrivaled beauty and the cold almost noble aura. The two looked like a lovely couple.
‘It’s only natural….’
Carr thought as he noticed another person looked through their way, especially at Senia. He remembered Arte’s words that Senia naturally attracted people to her, not just because she was a saint, but due to her nature. She was always kind and showed a lovely smile to everyone they met.
If he didn’t know any better, he would think that Senia was perfect. She was exactly what you would imagine a saint to be. However, he knew that everything she’d done, laughing for others and giving up on her own desires – those were her performing her duty and she sometimes struggled with it.
“Sir Carr? Is there anything else that we need to buy?”
Carr blinked and he came out of his trance and quickly shook his head at the question. Looking at her at this moment, she almost looked like a white rabbit with big round eyes – he couldn’t help but laugh quietly.
“Ah… d-don’t laugh like that all of a sudden.” Senia suddenly bowed her head, hiding her face with her hands.
The words were so muffled that Carr had trouble deciphering them. He tilted her head about to pat her shoulder when there was commotion near them.
The sound came from two women holding shopping baskets, standing not too far from them.
“A small town in the east was attacked by a group of demons a few days ago!”
Senia and Carr stood in silence as they tried to listen to the women’s conversation.
“Oh, my god…. What about the people?”
“All the adults were killed. God…. I feel sorry for them….”
“Those demons! When the Holy Lady was alive, none of them would have died!”
Carr let out a quiet sigh. It wasn’t a good thing to hear, but at the same time he understood those women. In all human history, demons had always created havoc and attacked people. He couldn’t help but feeling depressed after listening to the conversation.
“Shall we go back and rest?” A soft smile and gentle hand on his arm stopped Carr from thinking more about the situation. He nodded lightly at the question and Senia tangled their fingers. It was a small comfort that melted the lump in his chest.
“Oh, I….” Senia cleared her voice, “Tonight… I-I will visit you. I spent a lot of my power helping around in the temple this morning.”
Even if she hadn’t told him, he was already thinking about visiting her. Carr nodded his head and squeezed her hand with his strong grip as Senia continued talking.
“A-And… please refrain from leaving those in places that stand out!” Senia blushed as she managed to utter the words while fastening the scarf around her neck.
Carr looked awkwardly into the air, apologizing inside his mind for causing Senia trouble.
‘I’ll have to be more careful then.’
Unfortunately, the pledge he made was easily broken that night.
Once the sun went down and the city was surrounded by the moon and stars, the inn, which was so lively yesterday had become quiet. The time that the two had been waiting since they arrived at the inn earlier today finally came.
Carr opened his door intending to go to Senia only to find the saint in the hallway wearing light outdoor clothing and about to knock on his door. They hadn’t set the exact time or place for their coupling, so ended up running into one another on their way to each other’s room.
“Ah.” Senia smiled shyly at the situation while Carr felt a sudden burst of desire upon laying his eyes on her.
Carr quickly made his way toward Senia, ready to cup her face and pull her close to him when sounds of footsteps echoed through the empty hallway.
Dan ran toward them from the staircase, heading straight toward Senia and Carr before falling down on the floor out of breath.
“Deacon Dan? What brings you here at this hour… is everything all right?” Senia knelt down and helped the boy up.
“T-There’s a big problem! Please come to the temple right away, Lady Saint!” Dan was practically crying, still not believing what he had just seen.
“The monsters…. The monsters are attacking the city!”
Upon hearing those words, both Senia and Carr returned to their respective rooms – quickly changing their clothes before rushing to the temple.
All the city’s lights were lit up, indicating the seriousness of the situation. Men with torches were running around in a hurry, families were hugging each other in fright. The tranquil and peaceful afternoon was only a memory now. The news about the monsters must have just spread around the town. If that was the case, there was a chance that it was just misunderstanding.
‘I hope it ends as misinformation.’ Carr wished as he looked at the anxious Senia.
The temple of Acronix – the sun god, was crowded with many people. Inside the chapel, priests and guards from the rest of the denominations gathered together to come up with a solution to protect the city.
“Oh! Saint Senia! You are here!” Hales, who was talking with the rest of the priests, ran out to greet Senia when he spotted her.
“What?! Saint of the sun?!”
“You were in the city?! Oh my god! This must have been true guidance from the gods!”
“That’s a relief! Everyone will be fine now!”
At the sight of Senia, the priests celebrated and prayed for the mercy that the gods had sent. At this very moment, the sun, moon, star, fire, water, wind, and earth churches were united.
Looking at them, Carr frowned slightly. It was hard to trust men who only prayed without coming up with a plan to resolve the situation. Of course, he knew that Senia had a strong power but even then….
“I’m sorry….” Senia bowed her head in front of all the priests. “My power… is not yet normal. It still in a recovery state after the curse. It won’t be enough to be the main power source.”
Many people shouted simultaneously, as if trying to break the sky. Senia covered her ears reflexively, hunching away from all the shouting. She couldn’t help but feel miserable that she couldn’t do anything. She felt like crying.
“I… I think it would be possible if I acted as support, but I want to hear the situation first, if that’s okay?” Senia mumbled, glancing to the side.
“If that’s the case, I’ll explain.”
A guard, armed with iron armor, stepped outof the larger group. He was young captain of the city, probably around his mid-20s. Hales on the other hand, dismissed the rest of the priest after Senia requested to have a meeting about the situation. In the end, only Carr, Senia, the captain, and bishops from each denomination remained.
“Half an hour ago, security at the East watch tower discovered a monster and reported it. I sent a scout to confirm the legitimacy of the report. There are many monsters currently on their way to this city.”
“What’s the total?” Carr asked the question calmly causing the captain to give him a strange look. After all, Carr was neither a priest nor a guard.
“In total, there are about fifty. The problem is that the group is made up of several different types of monsters, so it will be difficult to deal with.”
“Did you manage to find out all of the types?”
“Yes. The majority of them are undead, but the rest are trolls and wyverns.”
Carr clicked his tongue. Those were indeed types of monsters that were difficult to handle, but there was a bigger problem than that.
“It seems that someone had to have summoned them.”
Senia’s eyes became round at the statement. It was just a group of monsters attacking, right? She turned her gaze from Carr to the captain and Hales, but found that both of them were surprised by the statement. They demanded an explanation.
“It’s common for the undead to attack a city where people live in search of life, but unless there is magic involved, they won’t come in large numbers. The undead didn’t appear from the direction of the graveyard did they? As for the trolls, they rarely join hands with other monsters. It’s also strange that there haven’t been any report about flying Wyvern. Near the east gate, there’s a forest so the person who controls those monsters would likely be hiding there.”
“Hmm. When it comes to summoning monsters and controlling them…. That’s a demon’s specialty.”
“It would have to be quite a powerful demon to lead such number of monsters by himself.”
“What is your opinion, Lady Saint?”
“Oh? That’s…” Senia, upon being called out, tried to remember her previous encountera with demons in a fight. “Even if they are being led by a demon, we don’t have to worry about fighting the demon unless additional support comes. Demons tend to be more careful, so they won’t involve themselves in a fight as much as possible. You don’t have to worry about the demon giving direct orders.”
“I see. As expected, it is different when you have experience handling the matter.”
There was more chatter after Senia’s explanation. No matter how powerful people were or how much divinity they had, it was natural that they wanted to be comforted during a battle like this, especially when they never had any experience.
There was a divinity invocation to kill monsters, but not everyone could use it. There were other divinity invocations that could be used to control or restrain monsters, after all it was the original duty of the believer to protect the people.
In the past, it was the Holy Lady that managed to end the war with the devil while at the same time creating a miracle to save the people. In the present, it was the responsibility of the archbishops and the saints – however none of them have the same amount of power as the Holy Lady. This is why it took a long time for them to win the war three years ago.
Carr watched quietly as the priests and bishops tried to figure out which holy invocation could be used to beat the monsters. The guard, on the other hand, settled his gaze on Carr.
“You know allot about this kind of stuff. Are you a monster hunter?” The captain asked with admiration.
“My job is roughly similar to that.”
“No wonder! Then can you tell me how to stop those monsters? We don’t have much time and our guards have only ever dealt with goblins and robbers. We’ll need a strategy or else many of them will die.”
“Sir Carr, please do me a favor and help the guard.” Senia interrupted their conversation, her hand gently grabbed Carr’s.
“Is it okay to leave things to an outsider like me?”
“Of course, you must be a reliable person if you are travelling with the saint. People’s safety is more important than their pride. If the defense of the outer wall breaks….”
The captain frowned as he thought about the bleak future. Carr glanced at Senia, seeing her blue eyes’ pleading earnestly with him. He truly didn’t want to get himself in trouble but he didn’t want to see Senia sad either. And there’s also the fact that Senia would be in battle, taking her place as a saint. He let out a small sigh, knowing that his decision had already been made.
“Then I’ll help. If you want to reduce the casualties, please follow my instructions entirely. Will that be a problem?”
“No! Don’t worry!” The captain saluted before he hurried down the hill to gather his people for the fight.
The moonlight and torches would be the lighting they hwould have during the fight. It would be a difficult fight and Carr couldn’t help but feel bitter about the fact.
“It would have been much better if I had recovered my power in advance… I’m sorry about this, Sir Carr.” Senia who was still standing next to him, looked down at her feet with regret, “You don’t have to be sorry about my situation.”
Even if Senia had restored her full power, Carr would have been there to protect her. It was his contract with Arte. He didn’t like that Senia kept apologizing for something that was out of her control and he didn’t know how to convey that thought to her.
He didn’t like seeing Senia dispirited and wondered what he could do to console her. Carr looked around, noticing that no one was paying attention to them and raised her hand, gently placing a kiss on her knuckles.
You can fill your power later. You don’t have to worry about it.
It was not appropriate for her, the Saint of the Sun, to blame herself and lose hope. Carr hoped that the kiss would be enough to convey his thoughts and feelings.
“Ah….I— I’ll work hard to assist you!” The sorrowful expression was now replaced with a flushed face. It was a much better sight than before.
“We can do this, Sir Carr.”
Carr nodded. His heart was no longer heavy now that the defeated look had left her eyes.