“I’m just an ordinary mercenary. I was offered this position because I have a good sense of direction and able to handle monsters. If you are still curious, you need to ask the archbishop why he chose me.”
“Ah…. Grandpa Arte? That overprotective person hired a man to protect his granddaughter? Death must be knocking on his door then.”
“Are you really a saint?”
Lu did not bat an eyelid hearing the rude question, she just stared at Carr while twirling the glass of red wine lazily.
“Then what is the purpose of your trip? What did you hear from the old man?”
She asked not averting her gaze from Carr.
“I signed a contract to escort the saint to the temple. I have heard about the Holy Lady.”
“He told the information to an outsider who had nothing to do with the church?”
Lu asked suspiciously before she mumbled quietly to herself after mulling over her question.
“No, she’ll let you know. She is that kind of person.”
“Yes, she is indeed like that.”
It was true that if it’s Arte’s decision, that man would not have told Carr about the journey, but he was only a messenger and Senia wanted him to know about the resurrection of the Holy Lady.
Lu looked at Carr, smiling slightly at his words that agreed so easily about her comments of Senia.
“Isn’t that what a saint supposed to be like?”
Carr frowned at the question, not sure what it was supposed to mean but then he remembered the mocking words and tone directed at Senia on the day they first met. That question seemed to have the same meaning and Carr held back his tongue, waiting for her to continue with the questioning.
“You know,” Lu, who rested her chin on the table while playing with her hair, let out a sigh seeing his rigid answers, “you’re a boring guy. Then what do you want? Money? Goods? Blessings?”
“Why do you ask that?”
“I’ll offer twice the amount of money. If it’s an object, I’ll offer the whole church of the moon. If it’s a miracle that you need, I can make it happen. So, just stay away from her.”
The unexpected answer was like a sheer bolt out of the blue.
Lu’s eyes dimmed, almost like the moon that was covered by clouds. Carr wasn’t sure whether if she was being sincere or jokingly. However, as she continued to talk her voice seemed to be clearer than before.
“You know if a saint has their power fully restored means it doesn’t need an escort? If the problem is because of her unstable divinity, then a priest or paladins would be selected to help. It’s much better than having a stranger with an unclear background.”
Carr knew well that it would be hard to convince Lu but at the same time, he couldn’t tell her that he was chosen because he was the only person that could recover Senia’s power through his demon seeds. That would disclose the fact that he was a demon or about Senia’s curse.
“I’m sorry, but that’s too much. I know I have no credibility because of my background, but I have my responsibility.”
Carr finally said after struggling to find the right answer.
“Hmm? Is it because you are the only person that is suitable for the job?”
“Lies,” Lu sneered.
“Can you confirm that there is no substitute for your position? You are not qualified for that position, there are many substitutes to replace you. I don’t know how long it’s been since you two have travelled, but don’t think that you are someone special because of her kindness.”
Each word was said in a soft voice, but they were like knives stabbing right on his being. A chill ran along his spine as the tension between them thickened.
What hostility is it that Lu had against Senia? Carr started to doubt his first assessment of the saint that sat in front of him.
“Senia must remain a saint until the day she dies as the six of us can’t follow her footsteps. She has to remain as a saint, not a human being or else she would go mad.”
“…What do you mean?”
Lu poured more wine into her now empty glass before gulping them down in one drink.
“Do you know the origin of a saint?” She asked.
Carr shook his head gently, he never really thought about it as it wasn’t relevant to his survival but now, he couldn’t help but be curious as it was something to do with Senia. This is where the condition of their deal being fulfilled.
“As a woman who is blessed by God themselves, a saint is always forced to sacrifice herself to pray to God, listening to revelations every day and giving infinite kindness and devotion. That’s the only start. All they had to do was follow God’s words, so they accepted the sacrifice without any doubt or anxiety. Saints are those that will give money when asked for money, perform miracles when asked for it, even if the people asked for blood…. they will give blood.”
“What do you mean by blood?”
“When God wanted a sacrifice, the first thing that will be offered is a saint.”
Carr’s face hardened at the explanation. It was a cruel story to reap someone’s life no matter what the excuse. As a demon, he was struggling to stay alive and yet he had to accept the fact that the life of a saint can be easily taken away in that manner. Carr was not happy about the fact; he didn’t care that the death of a saint would bring happiness to the people.
“Sometimes it’s better to die,” Lu murmured, her purple eyes dropped.
“That doesn’t make sense.”
“Unfortunately, it’s true. It is possible because I could hear the voice of God. I don’t have to be suspicious about the order and I don’t have to doubt my faith. Is there stronger brainwashing than that in the world?”
“You…. haven’t you been saying that since earlier?”
Carr asked dumbfoundedly as he looked at Lu who shrugged her shoulder.
“You don’t have to worry. My faith is love, but God won’t let me go. Well… I’m the most extreme out of the six of us, but the other saints feel the same way.”
“Where’s the voice of God then?”
Lu looked at Carr, nodded toward the bar instead of answering the question. Carr, who understood what she wanted sighing as he retrieved more bottles of wine.
Lu answered after taking another big drink of wine.
“After the death of the Holy Lady, Gods’ presence gradually declined. After the three generations of saints, we no longer heard the voice of God. Not to the oldest saint of earth nor the youngest saint of the sun.”
Lu glanced at Carr’s reaction as he still trying to process all the new information.
“Where do you think all her will comes from? Abandoning all of her desires, forgiving trashy sinners, her parents, her enemies even the great Devil?”
“I don’t care if I sound overzealous. The fact is, she is saintlier than the saints of her previous generations who could hear God’s voice. It makes even more special for her to do everything out of her own will, which is why she should never be considered a mere human.”
The silence that followed Lu’s words was heavy and it was then that Carr understood the origin of Lu’s hostility. It was a reprimand toward Senia’s helplessness. It was clear that Lu adored Senia despite not showing it. She had her faith in Senia just like the people’s blind faith toward the Gods. It was why, she didn’t want to see Senia, who shone the brightest as a saint, to be so powerless.
Carr hesitated for a moment before opening his mouth, “I know by looking at her that she is killing herself by doing everything that was demanded of her, but she is still human. She knows how to laugh, she still can be scared, and I wish she stopped denying her desire.”
Carr remembered that he thought she was a bit of an odd duck when he first saw her in the solitary cell. However, he then learnt how ridiculously a kind person she is. And now, he knew how soft, precious, and strong she was more than anyone else.
As Lu said, anyone could substitute his position, but frankly, he didn’t want to leave Senia’s side.
“Anyway, I’m more motivated to fulfill my duty and I’ll continue with my journey now. Let’s just say, I am not someone who gave up easily.”
“What bullshit,” the beautiful face quickly frowned at the answer.
Lu slowly got up and approached Carr,
“Duty? Motivation? That sounds plausible, but isn’t she what you are after?”
He couldn’t deny the accusation right away, after all, he wanted Senia. It just he didn’t know whether it was out of his pure possessiveness or just his greed.
Carr, who noticed the atmosphere change, jumped from his seat intending to run out the door as an ominous foreboding creep under his skin. However, Lu was faster and pushed Carr against the wall. Her purple eyes seemed to freeze Carr’s feet in place as her body pressed against him, stopping him from escaping.
Carr was self-conscious as he could feel her voluptuous bosom and her soft skin under her dress.
“Wait… What are you—”
“I’ll give you my body. I’m already tainted, but I’m still a saint, so it’s still worth it. So, get your dirty hands off the sun’s saint. Isn’t that what every man wants, all of you are the same after all?”
A cold hand slid underneath Carr’s shirt, causing the raven-hair to gasp reflexively before he pulled away causing his back to slam against the wall. Physically, Lu was a very attractive woman and Carr, who wasn’t confident that he could control himself, grabbed her wrist.
“Please, calm down! No matter how much you think about it, this isn’t right! You can’t be serious?!”
“I can pleasure you more compared to the inexperienced one. If you’re satisfied with me, leave her alone. Isn’t that enough?”
“I’m sorry, but I have to refuse!”
Carr quickly took Lu’s other hand that was approaching his crotch. She hadn’t done much, but he was already sweating cold bullets. Right now, he was facing a much smaller, more deceptive yet more beautiful monster than the usual ones, but the harder to deal with.
“Don’t joke around. If a demon got his hand on another saint, it won’t end with a simple death penalty!”
At those words, all colours left Carr’s face. It seemed that Lu had deduced his identity and correctly guess his relationship with Senia.
“I warn you… if you run away now, I will tell Saint Senia that you have touched me tomorrow,”
Lu threatened as Carr stilled.
“Seriously! Are you really a saint?!”
“Why don’t you just listen to me?”
Even with her arms seized, Lu looked up confidently at him with no fear. It was useless for him to argue even more, especially with her threat.
There was also the fact that there is no space between their bodies. The scent of flowers that came from her long hair filled up his nostrils, which is starting to intoxicate him. And if he looked down, he could see a part of the pale skin that her long dress didn’t manage to cover. It easily aroused him and the longer he was trapped in his current position it was harder for him to think rationally.
“What should I do for you to let me go?”
“Do you want to go quietly?”
“Of course, I don’t want to be hated for such a ridiculous thing and you don’t want to waste your time giving yourself up to a nobody like me.”
Lu’s gaze slid down from Carr’s face.
“Are you perhaps not able to get it up?”
“No. That’s not the problem here!”
‘There is only one woman I want to hold.’
Carr shut his mouth before those words slipped out, afraid of the consequences if Lu knew what he was thinking.
“Come back here at the same time tomorrow,” Lu muttered softly as she slowly backed away.
“I think there’s at least a reason for you to reject me. If you have a reason to stay by her side, I’ll listen to you tomorrow. Prove to me that you are a man that won’t be tempted by the saint of the sun.”
“Oh seriously. Why are you doing this?”
“I don’t have to explain it to you.”
Carr carefully let go of her wrists but still alert as he moved away from her. Lu just arranged the string of her dress, slowly turning away without saying anything else to him. He stayed, watching her go before he ran out of the inn. His heart was still pounding after the sudden proposition. He felt like he just loses ten years of his life.
At the sound of the door closing loudly, Lu stopped walking, “What a shame.”
She mumbled quietly, hugging herself.