When Senia turned glanced back with tears in her eyes, Carr was no longer in his position. She didn’t feel Carr’s presence but when she looked back at the unicorn, Carr has already wrapped his arm around its neck – strangling it.
The startled unicorn raised its front foot and neigh loudly while Carr quickly wraps a rope around its’ neck.
“Calm down, I don’t want to hurt you. I was going to watch the whole situation but…. what the hell did you say to her?”
[There was another human being? It’s rude for you to treat me like this. I just asked her if I can confirm if she’s not a virgin.]
“….no, you are just being rude. Just stop resisting.”
Carr should not be surprised that he was able to hear the unicorn’s voice and even replied to it, after all, Sacred Beasts were known to have the ability to read into people’s minds.
[No matter how much I am easily captivated by the scent of a beautiful woman, I can’t sense your chastity anymore. But I can sense that you are a good person.]
“I will take that as a compliment. Anyway, we will leave you be if you hand us the purified water.”
[That won’t do. Purified water is the reward for pure girls. It’s a thank you gift from our soul. You can’t break the rule. It is an exchange.]
“I know that, but…. There are some people who have come all this way to this place to heal a sick person. Can you not make an exception this time?”
Senia put her hands together, pleading with the unicorn. Her eyes that filled with desperation just made her look pure and vulnerable like an animal enough to waver the heart of the sacred beast. Moreover, the unicorn was a sacred being able to read people’s mind and knew that she was sincere with her wish.
The unicorn, who had lived for hundreds of years, had never met a human being as selfless as Senia and he couldn’t help but be impressed by her.
[That’s not going to work.]
“If it didn’t want to give it. I’ll just cut the horn,”
[Wait! There’s always an exception to things!]
The unicorn quickly added before Carr could do anything or move.
Senia whispered dryly at Carr, her eyes still on the unicorn,
“Are…. all sacred beasts act like this?”
[That’s just a misunderstanding. It’s only we, unicorns, that like virgins, mysterious, and shy women.]
“You on the other hand have no modesty at all. That’s just different from what I imagined… honestly, I can’t keep up with the situation.”
[Anyway, you just need purified water, right? Are you perhaps a saint?]
“Ah, right, I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Senia, the saint of the sun god, Acronix.”
[I see. I didn’t want to face God’s beloved this way, so can you untie this stupid rope?]
“Get the purified water first.”
Even if it’s called an exchange, Carr had met too many beasts that are more cunning than clever humans. It was also common for unicorns to break their promises to humans to save themselves. Even if a pact were made and sworn on it, unicorns would still break it because they have don’t uphold promise in the first place.
Carr had made it his priority not to have the unicorn escape from his grasp.
[Well, even if you cut the horn, I wouldn’t have let you get away with it, but because you are a saint then it is an entirely different story. If you do me a favour, I will give you the purified water.]
“Yes! I’ll do whatever I can to help.”
Senia smiled enthusiastically that the unicorn can’t help but look at her with fondness. Despite his appearance noble appearance as a white horse, it exudes a mysterious aura, but on the inside, it was that sly middle-aged man. His looks can be very deceiving as it is possible to conceal what he thought.
However, Carr managed to deduce what the unicorn about to do and stopped it when it tried to lick Senia’s cheek.
“Then… what do you want me to help you with me?”
[Well, I want you to clean up the lake in my territory.]
“What? Isn’t purifying unicorn’s specialty? That’s what your horn’s power after all.”
[Just like he said, unicorns’ horn is specialized in purification, but they are powered with mana. You can’t compare its power to that of a saint who is loved by God and able to create a miracle. The pollution in my territory was nothing like normal. It’s almost like poison?]
Senia looked worried at the ominous words and instead of explaining further, the unicorn moved aside slightly.
The ivory horn sparkled brightly as the ray of light shone upon it before a sharp sound of glass cracking came from the space in front of it. There was a portal-like window in the previously empty air showing part of the forest where the trees were black, the sky was dark, and the ground was dirty. It was like an apocalypse at the end of the century in the Bible.
[There, right in front of you. I’ll keep this passage open, so you don’t have to worry about the way back. You only have a few hours to do it, saint.]
“That’s a very convenient magic.”
Carr mumbled while Senia went to write a simple note and left it on the rock where she sat earlier. It just a precaution if they didn’t return in time.
Once ready, Senia put on her robe and looked at the open portal, weary about crossing into an unknown forest. The place was full of poison and death very similar to the land that had been contaminated with pollution by the war against the devil three years ago.
Of course, the forest in front couldn’t be the same after all the purification was done by all the seven saints after the war. However, the poison that pricking into her skin gave off the same feeling as that and it only made her chest became stuffier.
Carr stared at Senia worriedly once he saw her face hardened. He wanted to ask why but instead; he offered his hand toward her.
“Ah, thank you.”
Senia was startled by the hand that came into her line of vision, she blushed slightly before slowly took Carr’s hand.
The tension Senia feel was slowly lifted away with that simple gesture. Having Carr to lead and accompany her as they cross the portal was reassuring and she couldn’t help but feel like she could depend more on Carr than on the priests and bishops who supported her three years ago.
The anxiety that was creeping into her heart melted away despite the damp and heavy air of the wasteland wrapped around their body. They carefully walked across the dirt, looking at the dead forest that life could not live in anymore.
The unicorn called them toward the lake that was not far from them. Its size was similar to the clean lake at the previous forest, but the content was a black, thick unidentifiable liquid. It was definitely not water.
Senia squatted on the edge, dipped her fingertips inspecting the content,
“…need a purification-based miracle. I think a very strong poison has accumulated over a long time.”
[For us, water in our territory is like the source of life. To compare it to human beings, this lake is like parents. I don’t you to revive the whole forest, just to purify the lake to keep it clean.]
“If we don’t get rid of the source, don’t you think the lake will be polluted again someday?”
[I’ll think about it when it happened again.]
“Well, I will purify it. It won’t be as fast as the water’s saint, but I will try my best.”
Senia wrapped her left hand around her locket, eyes closed, as her right hand soaked in the water. When she began to recite her prayer, white light spread out from the part where her hand was soaked.
The water, which was touched by the sun-like light, slowly lost its dark colour revert to its original form while the poison was cleansed away. At first, it started small but as the light continued to spread wider, more of the lake began to be purified.
[You’re also a saint. At this speed, it wouldn’t take an hour for you to purify the lake].
Carr looked around and wrapped the rope connected to the unicorn’s neck to a tree stump that was still intact. The unicorn, looking at the source of the rustling sound, came to his side in a slight panic.
[Are you tying me up? You are very disrespectful about this whole exchange.]
“Maybe it’s because I never taught about it. If you don’t want to get your horn cut, stay calm.”
[Oi, where are you going?]
“Exploration. I won’t go far.”
Carr said, quickly make sure the sword was on his back, he then started to make his way between the trees.
The poison in the air was thick that it would cause difficulty of breathing on any ordinary human being, however, it did not affect Carr’s body. Although, he was a demon he wasn’t particularly resistant to drugs or poisons, which is why he is easily affected by Lu’s aphrodisiac drugs a while ago. This odd situation only made him even more curious about the forest.
His footsteps echoed through the quiet forest. All the dried-up old trees barely maintained their shape while the black, rotting ground was all soft and sticky as if trying to swallow his leg pulling him down. Carr had almost tripped and fall a few times, clicked his tongue in annoyance when he stumbled upon another uneven ground. It also didn’t help that the sun does not shine in this forest, causing him difficulty to navigate.
“This is a terrible place.”
He huffed as he looked around, noticing that there was no path, let alone footprints. It was devoid of any signs of life or human beings. From what he can surmise it at least had been a few decades since there was any trace of animals and territorial marks. He calculated that the place had been in this state for a few hundred years by now.
“From the perspective of this forest, aren’t we the most suspicious creatures for appearing out of nowhere?”
Carr mumbled before returning to where he came from. He was worried that there might be monsters lurking around because of the poison, but that didn’t seem to be a problem.