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We’ve Moved! If you notice any missing, empty, or incorrect chapters, please leave a comment below, and we’ll fix it as soon as possible. Regular updates will resume on June 10th. Thank you for your patience!

Complete Chapter

When I get home, the first thing I do is open every door, drawer, and lid in my room. The box under the bed, the closet, the mirror… well, not that. And I check them one by one.

My dull chestnut hair tied in a bun on top of my head is frayed, and my proud emerald eyes look cloudy now. That’s all because… no, there’s no point in saying it.

“I hope nothing is missing today.”

My room is so small that I can reach the walls with just five normal steps. There’s only one shelf and the check is over quickly. But when I opened the drawer of my desk, I gasped. Something was missing.

Next to my desk, the ghost of my late father, who looked a lot like me, crossed his arms and looked troubled. Yes, a ghost. But I’m used to seeing such things, and that’s not the problem now.

“Sonia! Do you know where the money on my desk went?”

I ran down the narrow and steep stairs, and my twin sister Sonia, who was drinking tea at the kitchen-cum-dining table, gave a vague “hmm” in reply.

She brushed her neatly brushed golden hair behind her ear and opened her mouth, narrowing her blue eyes that looked like stained glass in the church.

“Today, the bishop is coming to the church, so…”

“Don’t tell me you donated it? I told you we were saving it for new boots, didn’t I?”

I’ve been wearing shoes that are so worn out that they could break at any time, and the soles are peeling off, for three months. I thought I could finally buy new ones soon, but Sonia gave it to the church.

“But that money will save a lot of people, you know?”

“So you’re ignoring the fact that your sister needs that money, and the shoemaker who has to fix them for cheap?”

“There are kids who don’t even have shoes that can break! Hey, never mind that, I’m hungry. Today, I did some weeding at the church as a volunteer…”

I swallowed my sigh and put the bread I got from the bakery where I work on the table.

My sister Sonia is not only beautiful in appearance, but also in heart. She devotes herself to volunteering every day, and helps anyone who is in trouble… and that’s what everyone says. Sonia must be the “saint”.

But the trouble is that the burden of her help falls on me, her older sister. Neither the world nor she herself realizes that.

“Oh, what about the soup I made yesterday?”

“I took that to the church too.”

“What! Then we only have bread today?”

“This is also for the sake of the world and the people. Can I take the leftover bread tomorrow?”

“You’ll take it even if I say no.”

In fact, when I walk outside, I often get thanked by people who say they were helped by my sister. I can’t tell her to stop doing such good deeds, but I can’t vent my frustration either.

On such a mundane yet not-so-mundane rainy day, an unfamiliar man came to the cafe space of the bakery where I work.

It’s not far from the capital, but it’s not a transportation hub, so outsiders rarely come. So strangers stand out anyway, but on top of that, he’s so handsome that he attracts a lot of attention.

There are women peeking in from outside, and the mistress of the bakery whispers “He’s a good-looking guy!” in between her work. I think her husband, who boasts of his muscles, is also nice, though.

…Indeed, his porcelain-like skin and silver hair tinged with blue are shiny, and his practical muscles are visible through his clothes. He looks like a statue of a saint in the church, and he doesn’t seem real. His gaze is also captivating as he stares out the window.

“Sorry to keep you waiting. Coffee and croissant, right?”

As I brought the order, he took his eyes off the window and looked up. His violet eyes narrowed softly and his well-shaped lips moved to say “Thank you”. Then he pointed outside the window.

“Look, the rain has stopped and there’s a rainbow.”

“Ah, you’re right! I was depressed by the mud, but if there’s such a reward, the rain isn’t so bad.”

He chuckled and took a sip of coffee. I was fascinated by his refined movements. I can’t laugh at the mistress now.

“Are you from this town? What do you know about the rumor of the saint here?”

“Ah… Are you here to see the saint?”

The rumor of Sonia has spread outside the town, and sometimes people come to look for the saint. I don’t know if they want to meet her as a worshipper, out of curiosity, or to seek salvation.

Maybe he felt my probing gaze. He straightened his back and opened a paper he took out of his pocket, whispering.

“You know that if she’s real, the country will protect her, right?”

“Oh, I see…”

I couldn’t see what was written, but there was a royal crest on the paper in his hand.

He must have come to pick up Sonia. He’s dressed like a commoner, but his clothes are well-made. Maybe he doesn’t want to hide his status, but he doesn’t want to stand out too much either.

They say that the saint of our country can talk to spirits. She can predict big events like natural disasters, or ask the spirits to exercise their power. The exercise of power is something like praying for rain. But in return, she has to offer prayers to the great holy tree in the capital.

The country won’t perish without the saint, but she is certainly the support of the people’s hearts.

“A new saint was born somewhere in the northeast of our country, that is, this town, the Yael Mountains to the north, and the Zehan Port to the east. The revelation came seventeen years ago. The power of the current saint is gradually weakening, and the protection of the next saint is urgent. If you know anything, I want information.”

“I’m sure, probably, no, definitely, she’s at the church. The saint that everyone acknowledges! Please take good care of her!”

I bowed my head vigorously, and he looked taken aback. But soon his smile widened like the sun coming out of the clouds.

“I see. Then I’ll go there later. Thank you.”

His way of speaking had a natural air of superiority. As expected, he’s only fit for the mission of protecting the saint… He must have sent someone of a decent position so as not to offend the saint. And his expression, which doesn’t know how to doubt anyone, is just like a saint. Could he be the reincarnation of a saint?

I bowed to him and returned to the counter from the cafe space.

I felt my cheeks relax as I thought of my sister going to the capital as a saint. After all, I can say goodbye to the daily routine of checking for missing items, wearing old clothes that I patched up, and living on bread that was going to be thrown away!

And above all, if she is protected by the country, I don’t have to live to protect her anymore. Anyway, she doesn’t work and does volunteer work every day…

I hummed a tune as I arranged the bread, and smiled at the grumpy old regular. I saw off the handsome man who seemed to be heading to the church. Today, I’ll buy not only the discarded bread, but also some fancy bread with the employee discount!

It was getting close to evening, and I switched jobs with the muscle-bound manager of the bakery. The manager makes the bread for the next day from evening to midnight. The mistress bakes it early in the morning, and manages the shop. The only day off we have is once a week.

I bought two breads with Danish dough and lots of berry jam, and also got some discarded bread as usual, and went out the back door.

I was thinking of stopping by the shoemaker and asking him to fix my boots before I went home, when…

As soon as I opened the door, there was a rustle and a small footsteps ran away. I knew without checking that it was an orphan stealing the discarded bread. The shop owners didn’t say anything, so I usually ignored it, but today was different.

That’s because, as the culprit ran away, there was a terrible crash from that direction. I ran over and saw that the boy had tripped over a ladder and fallen hard. All the discarded bread had rolled into a puddle.

“Oh dear. The bread is all muddy. And so are you. Come on, can you stand up?”

He was about seven or eight years old, I guess. I reached out to him, and he turned away with his cheeks puffed up and his mouth clenched, and got up by himself. He looked like he was bluffing because he thought he would be scolded. But he glanced at me and whispered his thanks.

“…Thank you.”

“Didn’t you get any bread from the saint at the church today?”

The boy denied it in a small voice, looking down.

“She’s not a saint. She’s not nice to us kids, she just makes us work. But all the adults are on the saint’s side, right?”

“Is that so? Maybe there’s some misunderstanding.”

Did something happen with the volunteer work? But I don’t understand what he means by making the kids work. Maybe Sonia’s intention was miscommunicated…?

But the boy raised his face, frowning as if to hold back his tears.

“See, the adults don’t believe me!”

“Oh, I see, ah, yes, indeed. I’m sorry, that was my fault.”

I felt guilty for making the child cry, or rather, almost cry. I cleaned up the muddy bread and took him to the water place.

It’s where the ladies in the neighborhood gather to do water chores. I also bring my clothes there on my days off and wash them diligently, but there’s no one there at this time of the evening, not even people who wash vegetables.

“Come on, boy, take off your clothes.”

“My name is Sasha.”

I wrapped a shawl around the boy, Sasha, who was in his underwear, and borrowed a soap that the lady had left behind, and washed his clothes. Sasha sat on the edge of the water place and looked into the distance as he opened his mouth.

“The saint makes us work for bread and soup, and she gets the money for herself.”

“What do you mean?”

“Weeding, cleaning, and other things. We help the people in the town. They give us some coins when we have no food, but the saint gets a lot more money.”

“Does the priest know about that?”

Sasha nodded vigorously.

“Most of the money the saint earns is donated to the church, so the priest doesn’t say anything, and the people who pay her just praise her for being good.”

I understood the trick.

The bread I brought home was not donated to the church, but given to the orphans as a reward. The work she reported to me as a volunteer was all a service that involved money. But most of the fee was donated to the church, so the people in the town were happy and didn’t complain…

I was suspicious about her clothes, too. She said she got them from the old clothes that were brought to the church, but that was doubtful.

That’s not a saint at all. She should at least pay the children a fair wage.

Sasha looked at my silent face with a worried expression.

“How long will it take to dry? I have to go back soon, my sister is waiting.”

“Hmm, I wonder. Should we ask the wind spirit to dry it quickly?”

There was a clothesline near the water place where we could temporarily hang the washed things, so I hung his clothes there. We stood side by side and clasped our hands and prayed to the wind.

A warm breeze blew. I saw the ghost of my mother smiling and shaking Sasha’s clothes. I don’t know if it’s a ghost, but I’ve been able to see the figures of dead people since I was little.

After my parents died, when I said I could see their figures, Sonia cried bitterly and said “That’s not fair!” So I stopped talking about this vision. Come to think of it, maybe that was around the time she became obsessed with good deeds.

As the surroundings slowly darkened and I could hardly see around me, the ghost of my mother waved her hand and disappeared. His clothes seemed to be completely dry.

“It looks like it’s done. The wind was strong, so it dried quickly. It’s dark now, shall I take you?”

“Thank you!”

We held hands and headed to his home, the slum.

“You know, I’m a little acquainted with the saint. I’ll talk to her. Please be nice to the children, okay?”

“Hmm. …Ah, this is fine. It’s a bit dangerous for you to go any further.”

“Hehe, you’re cool. Well, here you go, eat this with your sister.”

“Wow, it looks delicious! Thank you very much. I don’t care about the fake saint anymore. We just have to endure it. It would be bad if you were looked at weirdly by other adults. Well, thanks for today!”

I gave him the berry Danish bread and said goodbye near the slum. He waved his hand with a smile at the end, so I wanted to think that I had atoned for the sin of not believing his words. The berry bread… well, it was a bit of a pity, but it couldn’t be helped, it was compensation.

Well. I think there was some misunderstanding or mistake, but when I get home, I’ll talk to Sonia. I can’t let the children say they have to endure it and do nothing.

But what if she goes to the capital? I wonder if I don’t have to worry about that.

As I turned back to go back the way I came, I felt a presence watching me from behind the building. It was near the slum, and I couldn’t help but hold my breath. But the other person came out without hiding.

“Sorry if I scared you. I saw you when I was walking nearby.”

It was the handsome man who had breakfast at the bakery this morning, looking for the saint. I greeted him with relief, and he came closer to me with a guilty look on his face.

“Is your home nearby?”

“No, no, it’s the opposite direction.”

“Then let me take you. Even I, who don’t know the area, can tell that this is not a place for a woman to walk alone.”

“Um, then to the church.”

“Heh. Being cautious is a good thing.”

I could walk without any trouble thanks to the light from the windows of the houses around me, the lanterns hanging from the eaves of each house, and the starlight. But I guess it wouldn’t be the same in the slum, and Sasha’s advice was right.

My home is in a very ordinary residential area, neither rich nor poor. Of course, in this town, that is. Thanks to the land and house that have been passed down for generations, we were able to survive somehow with my sister after our parents died. I wonder what would have happened to us if we didn’t have that house.

The man who walked slowly beside me, matching my pace… I didn’t even ask his name. He opened his mouth as if he remembered.

“The saint was indeed at the church, and as you said, everyone said that Sonia was the saint.”

“Right. Will you take her to the capital?”

“I’ll have to take her to the capital first and then confirm whether she’s a saint or not.”

“How can you tell if she’s a saint? Prophecy or something?”

“No, no, praying to the great holy tree is like a training for the saint. She can’t do things like prophecy without doing anything… apparently.”

We saw the light of the church ahead. We stopped walking as we ran out of things to talk about.

“Then, how?”

“After some training, she’ll make the lantern fire bigger or smaller? I don’t know the details.”

“Haha. That could be a fluke, you know. No wonder it’s hard to find a saint.”

He smiled wryly and nodded to me, and I tried to go home. But for some reason, he followed me.

“Um…?”

“Oh, I’m invited to the saint’s house tonight.”

He held up a paper bag in his right hand in front of his face. The tip of a bottle was sticking out of the mouth of the bag. In other words, alcohol.

“What? What did you say?”

“Huh? No, the saint invited me for dinner. If your house is close, let’s go together.”

“What did you say…”

That Sonia! How dare she decide that on her own!

Besides, she hardly ever prepares the meals herself. And there’s no food to serve to someone who’s obviously not a commoner. We only have the usual discarded bread tonight!

“Did I say something to offend you?”

“No, you didn’t do anything.”

We started walking again, and arrived at our home soon, partly because I was so angry that I walked fast. The handsome man who was supposed to send me, or rather, wanted to send me, looked at the house and me with confusion.

“This is the saint’s house, I heard.”

“Yes, it is. It’s the home of the saint Sonia, and my home as well. Sonia is my sister.”

He was about to say something, but the words never came out. Sonia opened the door with a bang.

“Welcome–oh, sister, you’re back too. I didn’t expect you to come back together.”

“Ah, yes. I didn’t know she was your sister.”

More than anything, I was curious about the smell. As soon as I opened the door, I was greeted by a hunger-inducing aroma, and I hurried into the house.

There were many dishes on the small table in the kitchen-cum-dining room. On the other hand, there was no sign of use in the kitchen.

“How did you get this food…? Oh, could it be!”

I ran up the narrow and steep stairs to my room and pulled out a box from under the bed and opened it. This is where I keep the living expenses until the next payday…

“It’s gone! I knew it!”

I had been thinking of preparing a key so that Sonia couldn’t steal it, but I couldn’t afford to buy the key and kept putting it off until this happened. It wasn’t the first time, but I warned her a lot last time, and I believed she wouldn’t touch the living expenses anymore!

I sat down in a daze, without the energy to get angry, and Sonia came up the floor with a creak.

“Sister…? Let’s eat?”

“You know this is the living expenses, don’t you!”

“But, but, it’s for me to go to the capital, right?”

My butt stuck to the floor was cold. But my neck and cheeks were very hot. I was shaking not because I was cold, but because I couldn’t vent the emotions swirling in my stomach.

Looking closely, Sonia’s clothes were brand new, and it was obvious that the living expenses were not only spent on food. My boots were still ragged, and I had just lost the money to repair them, let alone buy new ones.

I took a deep breath, and I felt like my body’s core was cooling down at once.

“Right. Well, let’s have dinner.”

I got up and went downstairs with Sonia.

The handsome man’s name was Celestan, he said. We introduced ourselves again, opened the wine he brought, and the family gathering began.

Most of the conversation was about Sonia asking questions about the saint, and Celestan explaining vaguely.

“Is it true that the saint often marries the prince?”

Sonia asked with sparkling blue eyes. I heard that the current saint married a childhood friend, because there were no single royals of the same age when she was protected.

Celestan shook his head with a wry smile.

“The princes are both engaged. Basically, that won’t change.”

“Really?”

Sonia pouted her lips. I was shocked to think that she, a commoner, thought she could become a queen. Even if she could meet the nobles, she showed a remarkable recovery, and Celestan looked at her with a serious expression.

“I explained at the church, but the confirmation of whether she is a saint or not will be after arriving at the capital. I’d like to leave as soon as possible tomorrow morning, if possible. What do you think?”

“Of course!”

Sonia answered without any confirmation from me, and I ate silently. The food was from the most prestigious restaurant in town… well, it might be like a diner compared to the capital, but still.

“Delicious…”

It was very delicious. But it wasn’t worth spending the living expenses.

I felt relieved when I thought that Sonia would be gone tomorrow, and I sighed deeply. I don’t feel guilty about having such feelings as a sister, but the joy of being free from tomorrow easily overcomes that.

We saw Celestan off to his inn, and Sonia turned to me.

“I can finally get out of this countryside.”

“You’re talking big when you don’t even know if you’re a saint. You used up all the living expenses. You can’t come back to this house if you’re sent back.”

“I don’t care if I’m not a saint, I have a living guarantee for the time being, and I’m going to marry a rich man with this beauty!”

“Yeah, yeah, having confidence is a great thing, but. That was a long-term plan, wasn’t it?”

I couldn’t even sigh anymore. Did she struggle for years just to marry a rich man, is that it?

“Shut up, you don’t understand how I feel, sister.”

Sonia ran up the stairs and slammed the door. She could have helped me with the cleaning.

I didn’t feel like sleeping right away, so I went outside with a lantern. The road from my home to the church was wide, and there were a few oil lamps on the street. So I used to take a walk to clear my mind on nights like this.

My late father’s ghost stood in front of the house with a grim expression, as if to say “don’t go”. But I want to take a walk to clear my mind.

Because I think I’ve reached my limit. Or rather, it felt like the reason I had been holding on to was cut off by the loss of the living expenses.

I hope Celestan will take her to the capital as soon as possible. Then I’ll buy new boots, and add a slice of meat and soup to my daily meals. I want to replace my ragged clothes little by little, and fix the pot with the broken handle.

As I walked for a while, thinking about such things, I felt someone walking from the front. He was in a place where the street light didn’t reach, so I couldn’t see his face or figure. I know most of the people in this town, and I’m not afraid, but it’s late, so I’m on guard.

“Sonia-chan…?”

Someone called out from the darkness. He couldn’t tell the difference by the street light or the lantern, and he mistook me for my sister. I’m not very aware of it, but people often tell me that we look alike because we’re twins. Maybe it’s because of the hair or eye color or personality, but Sonia is more glamorous and popular.

“No, you’re mista–“

“You’re going to the capital? Leaving me behind?”

He came closer and closer. I could see his figure from the bottom up.

“No, no, I’m not Sonia.”

“I just bought you new shoes the other day, why!”

The person who came to me quickly was the son of the only doctor in town. He was plump but always neat, and I heard he was studying medicine to succeed his father.

He grabbed my arm.

“Wait, you’ve got the wrong person!”

“Sonia-chan, why!”

“No, I said no!”

The more I tried to escape, the stronger his grip on my arm became. It hurt, and I was scared, and angry. Why do I have to suffer because of Sonia?

As my vision blurred with tears, a cold metal cut between me and him.

“Let go of that hand right now, or you’ll have to change your dominant hand.”

A low voice came from above. I recognized it. Or rather, it was Celestan’s voice, the one I had been listening to until a while ago. And the metal that reflected the light in front of my chest was a well-polished sword. If he swung it down, the man’s arm that was holding my hand would…

“Hi, hii!”

The doctor junior ran away into the darkness like a rabbit.

The night was quiet again, and I heard the sound of the sword being sheathed and Celestan’s sigh.

“Walking around at night is a crime.”

“Then are you a criminal, Celestan?”

I asked, and he chuckled. As soon as I saw his smile, I lost my strength and collapsed on the spot. He squatted down next to me and his hands wrapped around my cheeks. His violet eyes looked straight at me.

“Are you hurt? I’m glad you’re safe.”

“Thank you…”

It’s true that you cry when you feel relieved.

He took me to the water place and we sat on a bench side by side. He stayed by my side without saying anything while I was crying, but it had been a long time since I felt such kindness, so I cried even more, and it took a while.

When I finally stopped crying, he handed me a wet handkerchief and told me to put it on my eyes. I think he’s popular.

“Are you sad to leave your sister?”

“No. I just wonder what I was to her. I wanted to live with Sonia and help each other, but in the end it was always me…”

I was about to say it was always me, but I shut my mouth.

If Sonia’s actions were judged to be un-saintly, her plan would be ruined. I can’t wish for my sister’s happiness, but I don’t want to ruin her plan to marry a rich man.

“I meet a lot of people in my position… but brothers and sisters are often more hostile than I thought. Some noble families even kill each other. So don’t worry about feeling or being resented.”

“Do you have any siblings, Celestan?”

“None. I had a sister, but she died of a plague.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s natural to ask in this context.”

He chuckled in his throat and looked up at the starry sky.

I thought he was a different world from me, because he was a person of some status who served the country. That hasn’t changed, but he’s much kinder and more empathetic than I thought. My heart beat faster at his profile, but I moved my eyes to the night sky as if to hide it.

“The stars are beautiful, aren’t they?”

“Yeah. It looks like it’ll be sunny tomorrow. Too bad there’s no rainbow.”

“Fufu, a rainbow is a reward after the rain. A sunny day is a reward in itself, don’t you think?”

“I like people who can live peacefully every day.”

My heart, which had begun to calm down from the sudden compliment, jumped again. I think he’s popular. I want to oppose his unconscious womanizer.

I washed the handkerchief briefly at the water place, being careful not to show my reddened face, and checked the temperature of my cheeks with the back of my hand before turning to Celestan.

“I’ll return it to you when you come to pick up Sonia tomorrow. It should be dry by then.”

“You don’t have to worry about it, but no, thank you.”

He stopped me from saying goodbye and offered to walk me home. Well, after what happened earlier. I don’t hesitate to take his word.

I still felt reluctant to part with him when I arrived home, and as I was fidgeting without saying “well then”, a young girl appeared in my sight. The girl with violet eyes smiled innocently and bowed.

There was no doubt that she was a ghost, glowing faintly. She introduced herself as “Stella” and pointed to the southwest…

“Is something wrong?”

Celestan tilted his head worriedly, and I shook my head with a start.

“Ah, no! I’m sorry, I was just spacing out.”

“You must be tired from everything, you should rest well. Good night.”

“Good night, see you tomorrow.”

I parted with him, returned to my room, and prepared for bed.

The girl from earlier was a ghost.

I often saw the ghosts’ figures, but it was the first time I heard their words. She told me her name, and then she looked a little troubled and said to me, “It’s going to rain heavily tomorrow.” She pointed to the southwest and said, when it rains…

The southwest is where the capital is. In other words, the direction Sonia and the others are going.

I don’t know how reliable the ghost’s words are, and maybe the ghosts are just my delusions. And I just talked to Celestan about how it’s going to be sunny tomorrow. What should I do, I wondered as I fell asleep.

Early the next morning, I was woken up by Sonia in a good mood and helped her get ready.

“It’s just a trip, so it doesn’t matter what your hairstyle is…”

“But I’m going to be with Celestan for a long time, right? I want to look cute next to such a handsome person, don’t you?”

“Oh, yeah.”

As I braided her hair and put it up to make it look glamorous, Sonia nodded with satisfaction. Then I heard the sound of a carriage approaching and she ran down the stairs.

I wonder if she’s considering Celestan as a candidate for her rich marriage, and I felt a little pain in my chest. If this was my first love, I was a terrible face-eater.

I went downstairs as the guests arrived.

There were people in knight’s clothes who I didn’t know where they had been. They were busy carrying Sonia’s luggage to the carriage.

When I went outside from the entrance, Sonia was already in the carriage. She left without saying goodbye, as usual.

I sighed softly and Celestan came to me with a big stride.

“Good morning, Giselle. It’s such a nice weather that you can think of it as a reward.”

“Good morning, Celestan. Please take care of Sonia.”

“Yeah, leave it to me. We’re going to stay overnight after crossing the Taran Valley, and then another night in Irnossa and head to the capital.”

“Is that so. Taran Valley…”

I’ve never left this town, so I can’t imagine the scenery by hearing the names. But from what I’ve heard from people who know the outside world, or the bishop who sometimes comes, the Taran Valley is a land that cuts through the mountains, and as the name suggests, it’s a valley and prone to floods.

“Is something wrong?”

“It might rain from this afternoon? So it might be better to consult the weather on your itinerary.”

“Rain…?”

Celestan looked up at the sky and tilted his head. It’s such a nice weather, of course you wouldn’t believe it.

I don’t believe it either. Yeah, it was just a hallucination and a hallucination. It’s because of fatigue, surely.

“No, it’s nothing. Don’t worry about it. Please be careful on your way.”

And just like that, Sonia left the place where she was born and raised for the capital. Without looking back, without waving.

“Ah. Ah, I did it.”

When I returned to my room, I found Celestan’s handkerchief that I forgot to return on the desk.

I remembered it when I woke up, but I forgot it while helping Sonia with her preparations. I’ll never see him again, so maybe I’ll keep it as a souvenir of my first love.

After that, I returned the dishes and pots I had washed to the restaurant and went to work at the bakery. My daily life begins. Well, I have to borrow my salary in advance, so it’s far from normal.

It didn’t rain in this town, but I saw thick rain clouds in the west around noon and I was nervous. I hope Sonia and the others can move without any trouble!

The regulars reported the impact of Sonia’s disappearance one by one.

I was going to ask her to clean, but what should I do, or the orphans who didn’t know the situation were waiting for Sonia in front of the church. What surprised me was that the men who were competing for Sonia started a fight. They thought they were Sonia’s lovers.

Judging from the doctor junior’s situation last night, she must have used the favor of multiple men. My sister is a scary story. But they were all dumped, so I hope they get along.

I asked the landlady if I could have all the discarded bread, and she said yes without asking anything. She must know that one or two breads are enough for me now that Sonia is gone. She must also understand what I’m trying to do. I like her for not saying no.

As I walked from the church to the slum, I saw the orphans huddled together in a vacant lot. They couldn’t get any work from today. They worked hard to pull weeds for a little bread, but now they have no way to get even that little bread.

In that sense, Sonia’s existence might have been necessary.

“Sister!”

One of them ran up to me with a bright face. The boy I talked to at the water place yesterday, Sasha.

“I wanted to talk to the saint, but she’s going to the capital. I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault, it’s not sister’s fault.”

I held up two bags of bread and called out to the children in the vacant lot, “Come on.” I handed out one bread to each of them, and they all smiled and bit into it.

“I’ll give you this today. But I can’t do this forever. You’ve been working and earning for yourself until now, so you can live on if you work together, right?”

They were too busy eating or lacked confidence, and no one answered. What should I do? As I pondered, Sasha gave half of his bread to a young girl and smiled defiantly.

“I’ll do something! We were the ones who worked, and I think there are people who remember our faces, so we’ll get some work.”

“Wow, you’re reliable.”

“Sister encouraged me like this. You’re the real saint for me. Thanks!”

“Then, let me give you some information as Sasha’s saint. The metalworker’s wife seemed to want to ask the saint to clean.”

“Alright! I’ll go check it out later.”

I left the vacant lot with the children’s farewell and returned home. As usual, I pulled out a box from under the bed and came to my senses, and ate bread in the dining room. It’s scary how habits become part of your life.

“Quiet…”

The night without Sonia’s complaints was a mix of loneliness and relief.

She’s a saint, huh.

I always thought Sonia was a kind girl who could act for others even if she didn’t care about her family. But now that I know her truth, I can’t call her a saint.

A saint doesn’t have to be pure, I guess. Surely, once she becomes an official saint protected by the country, she won’t do such bad things.

I was thinking about such things, listening to the wind, and it seemed like a lot of time had passed. I prepared for bed, turned off the lights on the first floor, and headed to my room on the second floor.

I turned off the light in my room and relied only on the starlight coming in from the window to go to bed. I was sleepy because I got up early. I was dozing off and dreaming, and I heard people talking outside.

“That bitch, she tricked me. I’m gonna get back what she owes me.”

“Did they take everything? What will we do if they didn’t? And, I wonder if Giselle will let us in her house.”

I was surprised to hear my name in their not-so-peaceful conversation. Were they the people who were deceived by Sonia? Even so, there’s no way they would be welcomed into the house at this hour, what are they thinking? I can’t calm down even though I’m sleepy.

“We’re not asking her to let us in, we’re going in. We’re the victims here. If they don’t have anything, we’ll make Giselle pay for it.”

“I don’t want to scare Giselle too much. I like Giselle, she’s cute.”

“Then go home… no, wait. You’re right, Giselle is cute. Her chest is not much, but her butt is tighter and perkier than Sonia’s. Maybe we can make her show us some sincerity with her body.”

“What do you mean?”

Really, what do you mean? I had a bad feeling and got out of bed quietly. My ghost parents guided me to the kitchen as I panicked and looked for a hiding place.

Soon, the front door started to shake and a man’s voice said.

“Giselle, it’s urgent. Open up. Hey.”

I don’t think they’re trying to get me to open the door, and I can’t go out because I’m already hiding. I hope they give up.

When I didn’t answer, I heard a sound like they were ramming the door. I curled up and trembled in the kitchen’s underfloor storage, clutching the handkerchief of Celestan that I accidentally brought with me when I left the room.

Why do I have to go through this because of Sonia? I don’t have any money, and I don’t care what they take, I just want them to leave. There’s nothing in this house anyway.

The men who broke the door and entered the house went upstairs slowly, holding their breath. They’re making enough noise by breaking the door, why do they need to be quiet?

“Hey, hey, don’t you think someone will come if we make so much noise? I think Giselle is awake too.”

“The old man on the left is deaf, and the one on the right is visiting his daughter’s in-laws. We’re fine. That’s why I said we only have tonight. Well, it’s a hassle if Giselle makes a fuss, so let’s talk to her first.”

I heard that conversation. They were on the second floor, looking for me.

The sound of opening the doors of my and Sonia’s rooms, the sound of checking the closets. They seemed puzzled because I wasn’t there. And they came down the stairs, creaking the floorboards.

“Maybe she went out somewhere.”

“No. The lamp was still warm, so she was here until a little while ago. The front of the house is a single road, and we would definitely notice if she went out after seeing us, so she’s hiding somewhere.”

“This house is not that big. There’s nowhere to hide.”

“Just look around. We broke into the house, so we have to settle this or it’ll be trouble.”

The sound of opening the narrow bathroom with only a bucket, and the closet with cleaning tools and other junk. And at the same time, the sound of walking slowly around the house.

—Creak… creak…

The sound of the floor creaking got closer and closer, and the board above where I was hiding bent slightly. Every time the sound rang, my heart tightened painfully, and I couldn’t tell if I was breathing properly. I didn’t know the order of inhaling and exhaling. I just covered my mouth with the handkerchief so I wouldn’t make a sound. Even if I tried to speak, I could only make a raspy sound like a dog’s breath.

“I found her.”

The footsteps stopped, and instead I heard a man’s humming.

The board that was the lid of the underfloor storage was slowly lifted. Was it the lantern they brought? The dark storage was lit up and I closed my eyes tightly, scared and dazzled. I hoped they would mistake me for some other luggage and made myself smaller. I didn’t make a sound.

Gradually, the amount of light I felt through my eyelids increased, and I felt like I was swallowed by fear. When the board was about to open completely, it was suddenly closed and my surroundings became dark again.

And what I heard was not humming, but the sound of furniture being knocked over and something being hit. There were also groans mixed in, and I couldn’t tell what was going on. It didn’t seem like they were fighting each other, but…

The noise didn’t last long, and it soon became quiet.

“Giselle, are you there?”

The first thing that echoed in my quiet house was a low but warm voice of Celestan. I was confused why I heard his voice.

“It’s okay, don’t be afraid. Can I open it?”

I couldn’t answer, and after a while, he said “I’m opening it” in a gentle voice. The board was lifted and I covered my eyes with my arm, still dazzled.

“Are you hurt? Take your time and show me your face. Won’t you reassure me?”

His soothing voice calmed my nerves and breathing a little, and I lowered my arm. When I looked up, I saw Celestan’s face, which looked very painful.

“Cele… stan. Why?”

“The explanation is later. Can you stand?”

His arm stretched out and lifted me up, rescuing me from the narrow underfloor storage. From his arms, I saw the figures of two men lying on the floor. They were the moneylender and the general store owner.

He let go of my body and wiped my cheeks and eyes with his thumb, exhaling deeply.

“I’m glad I made it in time.”

“Thank you. I thought I was done for.”

My fingertips were still trembling. He draped his jacket over my shoulders and pointed to the entrance with his hand.

“The door is broken. Let’s stay at the church with me tonight.”

The church we were taken to was also in a mess. The priest had been captured by the holy knights.

The holy knights are an organization of the kingdom formed to protect the saintess, but they also have duties such as investigating heretics and regulating clergy. If they were captured by them, it means that the priest had used his position as a clergyman to do evil.

I was guided to a room in the church and sat on a sofa facing Celestan. It seemed to be a reception room, and I tightened his jacket on my chest and took a deep breath.

“What’s going on?”

“The priest was using the name of the saintess to demand donations and offerings from many people, and he was putting them in his own pocket. I was here to investigate that.”

“What? Then what about finding and protecting the saintess?”

“In the course of the investigation, I found out that there was a real existence called the saintess in this town. I don’t have the means or the qualifications to verify if the saintess is genuine, so I decided to take Sonia to the royal capital.”

“I see.”

I thought it was strange that he said he didn’t know the details of the verification method when he talked about it, even though he came to look for the saintess. But I see. If looking for the saintess was not his original duty, it makes sense.

The assistant priest prepared tea for us in a fluster, and I felt alive again after taking a sip.

He opened his mouth with a serious face as I exhaled.

“But everyone was excited by the information that the next saintess might be found. The selection officer who had been wandering around the country for the sake of finding the saintess came here urgently. And, luckily, we were able to meet the officer near the Taran Valley.”

“You said it was urgent to find the saintess. You must have been looking around. And then you came back for your original duty?”

He shook his head slowly. His slow movement seemed to indicate that he was struggling to tell me something.

“No. Actually, as you said, it rained. Thanks to that, we didn’t suffer much damage… In other words, you made a prophecy.”

“What? A prophecy?”

“When I think about it, you were using the power of the spirits to dry the orphans’ clothes. I witnessed that, but I didn’t notice until it started raining…”

“Wait, wait, what are you talking about? The saintess is Sonia, right? You said you met the officer, right?”

If I take your words literally, it sounds like I’m the saintess.

He sighed with a tired face as I couldn’t catch up.

Then, there was a knock on the door. A man in a white robe came in, followed by two knights. And Sonia was also there, sandwiched between two knights. She looked sulky and turned away, not meeting my eyes.

“Hello, I’m the selection officer you heard about! Here, take this!”

A man in a white robe came over to me with big strides and handed me a pure white branch. It was about the length of my arm from my fingertips to my elbow, and it had white leaves on the two branches that split off.

“What is this…?”

“It’s a branch of the Great Holy Tree, isn’t it amazing? Try praying to this branch. You can wish for anything, like being healthy or rich.”

The saint usually wishes for the prosperity of the country or something, but it doesn’t matter if you pray for something you don’t really care about, the man in the white robe kept talking. He didn’t seem to care about my reaction, so maybe he was the type who talked to himself a lot.

I looked around and saw only expectant eyes directed at me. Only Sonia seemed to be looking somewhere far away, and she didn’t look very happy. From the fact that I was given this branch, I guess Sonia wasn’t the saint.

I held the branch with both hands, feeling the pressure of everyone’s gaze, and wished that the current situation and the mysteries that I didn’t understand would be revealed. No, I was about to wish that when I met Celestan’s eyes, and I couldn’t help but think, just a little bit, that I wanted to get along better with him.

“Wow!”

The man in the white robe exclaimed.

I was startled by his voice and looked closely, and I saw my parents and a girl with violet eyes standing around the branch I was holding. They were touching the branch like I was, and to my surprise, the branch was glowing. It was emitting a faint and pure light, like a marble statue reflecting the sunlight.

“Wonderful! As Lord Celestan said, Giselle is the saint!”

“What do you mean! My sister is not a saint, that’s a lie!”

Sonia was struggling to shake off the knight’s arm, but the two knights didn’t budge. Sonia was cursing with dirty words that I didn’t know where she learned. I didn’t understand half of what she was saying.

“It’s a scam! There’s no such thing as a saint or a spirit, but everyone is so stupid that they’re fooled!”

“Stop it! You’re tarnishing your own deeds and the people who called you a saint with those words!”

“What are you talking about? You know you’re not doing any good deeds, don’t pretend to be a good girl, it’s disgusting! I’ve always hated that about you!”

“It doesn’t matter how you do it, you’ve helped a lot of people. Whatever your purpose, your donations have become someone’s livelihood. You’re doing something more valuable than justice by mouth, and that’s why I didn’t say anything.”

“I really… hate you.”

Sonia shut her mouth and the knights took her to another room on Celestan’s orders. According to Celestan, Sonia was suspected of fraud, such as pretending to be a saint and getting money from others.

As far as I remember, Sonia never said that she was the next saint chosen by the Great Holy Tree, so I told him that.

The man in the white robe bowed his head deeply to me and said, “Finally, my journey is over,” and left the room with unsteady steps. The journey to find the saint must have been very hard. Thank you for your hard work.

And then I was left alone in the room with Celestan.

I didn’t know what to say, just like last night when I couldn’t say goodbye. But Celestan seemed to remember something and opened his mouth.

“I found this when I was looking into the priest, but the view from the attic of this church was pretty beautiful. Do you want to see it?”

He was a born superior, and he always spoke with confidence, but now his voice was a little subdued. Maybe he was being considerate of the awkward situation between Sonia and me.

I gratefully accepted his invitation and went to the attic with him. The church was rather large for the size of the town, but the attic had some old beds and shelves that seemed to be for the believers who lived there. The place was clean, but there were no sheets or quilts, so maybe they hadn’t been used for a long time.

“There’s only one window on the west side here.”

The window was bigger than I expected, and it was dirty and foggy, but when I opened it, I could see the whole town.

“Beautiful…!”

That was the only word I could squeeze out.

There was no cloud in the west, even though it had rained, and the stars were shining brightly. Under the starry sky, there was a tall building shining in the distance. Was that the castle? The area around the castle was also sparkling like the stars in the night sky.

“The clock tower near the Taran Valley and the lord’s mansion of Illnossa are not in the way. There aren’t many places where you can see the capital so clearly.”

“Is that the capital? I thought it was a big lake reflecting the starry sky.”

“Ha ha! That’s too big. …There’s a Great Holy Tree near the castle. You can’t see it from here, though.”

He said that and looked closely at the castle, and I saw a faintly glowing part. I wonder if the Great Holy Tree is there.

“Everything is beautiful. I didn’t think I could see such a view from this town. How can I thank you?”

There must be many other things in this world that I can’t even imagine. And I was able to see one of them like this.

I squinted my eyes in the wind that came in through the window and gazed at the glittering capital. Then I heard a chuckle from beside me.

“I’m glad you’re holding that handkerchief all the time, even though it’s embarrassing.”

“Eh… um, ah, this is, that…”

I looked down and saw a wrinkled handkerchief in my hand.

I was embarrassed, but I felt like I was saved by this handkerchief, or rather, I got courage by holding it tightly. But it was still embarrassing.

“I was going to return it, but I made it so wrinkled… I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, I’m happy if you keep it as it is.”

It was strange to put it in my pocket, and it was also embarrassing to squeeze it with embarrassment, so I just focused on smoothing out the wrinkles of the handkerchief. It didn’t stretch.

Celestan smiled and looked away.

“I like you, who can feel happiness in trivial things like the starry sky or the rainbow, who prioritize your sister’s life over your own, who treat the orphans without discrimination…”

His words made my heart beat faster. He’s handsome and he says such things that make me nervous.

In the corner of my downcast vision, I saw a small foot swinging. I was surprised and looked closely, and there was a girl with violet eyes sitting on the window sill, looking up at Celestan.

“Ah, no. I mean, that’s how a saint should be, I mean, not in a deep sense.”

He added words to me who couldn’t speak. He meant don’t misunderstand, right? I understand. I understand, but the girl’s ghost puffed up her cheeks. She was angry and said, “You’re not honest.” But who is this girl…

“But I can’t believe I’m a saint. Isn’t it a mistake?”

I mean, I’m a person who can see ghosts like now. If people find out, they’ll say I’m a poor person who’s lost my mind.

He shook his head slowly.

“You used your power to dry your clothes in an instant, and you predicted the rain. And the Great Holy Tree chose you, so there’s no mistake.”

“It was windy yesterday, and the rain was Stella’s…”

Stella. That was the name the girl with violet eyes gave herself last night. I blurted out her name and covered my mouth with my handkerchief.

But it was too late, and the air around Celestan changed. It wasn’t scary, but there was a sharp air that filled this small attic.

“What did you say?”

“No, it’s nothing.”

“No, you definitely said ‘Stella’.”

Stella stood on the window sill in front of me and gently stroked Celestan’s head. Her eyes were the color of mercy.

“…You might laugh at me for being crazy, but I’ve been able to see ghosts since I was little. The story about the rain wasn’t a prophecy, it was a ghost girl named Stella who said that. Maybe I’m sick. I thought I was seeing hallucinations, but yesterday I heard her voice. Maybe my illness is getting worse.”

“No. Giselle, please calm down and listen.”

Celestan turned to me and wrapped my hand holding the handkerchief with both hands.

“Stella was my sister. She died before she turned ten.”

“What… did you say?”

“The saint communicates her will and receives prophecies from an existence called a spirit. That’s what the remnants of the souls of dead humans gather to form. The remnants usually forget themselves and drift around, but sometimes the souls that left strong feelings for their loved ones keep a faint ego.”

“Stella is now… stroking your head.”

Celestan, who widened his eyes, slowly raised his hand and placed it on his head, where my gaze was directed. Stella stretched and held his head with both hands, rubbing her cheek against his hand.

“Resty, you’re doing a good job and you’re amazing… she says.”

He whispered, “I see,” and his eyebrows tightened as if he was trying not to cry.

“Only Stella calls me that.”

“Then this ghost is not a hallucination.”

“I don’t know the definition that separates ghosts and spirits. But Stella is definitely here, and you can see her. Like a saint.”

Celestan knelt down and took my hand again. He looked like a knight from a story that girls admire.

“Celestan de Tanvie swears to be the sword and shield of the next saint, Giselle Chiore, to fight and protect her.”

“Eh, what?”

He kissed my fingertips, barely touching them, and looked up at me.

Wait, his name is…

“Ta, Tanvie? I’ve heard of it. It’s a ducal family. They’re very important people.”

“That’s right. My father is a duke, and I’m working hard to follow his path.”

“I’m not a person who deserves to be sworn by such a great person…”

“You are a saint.”

Stella nodded and clapped her hands, agreeing with his words.

“I want you to be protected by me.”

“…!”

That’s why the way you say it!

He always says things that make me misunderstand. That’s why he’s popular!

After that, I left for the capital with the farewell of everyone in the town. I helped with the reconstruction of the flood damage in the Taran Valley on the way, but fortunately the damage was not severe and I arrived at the capital without much delay.

Half a year later.

Sonia was convicted of fraud, but she was not guilty of pretending to be a saint, so she was ordered to do volunteer work for a year. This was the result of the unfortunate coincidence of her ambition to become famous as a saint and go to the capital, and the priest’s desire to make money using the name of the saint.

The baker’s couple offered to let Sonia work for them, and Sasha said he would let her work at his place. I hope she will live a decent life.

As for me, I am learning the duties of a saint and the manners of the social world under the guidance of the current saint. It’s very hard for a peasant like me.

That’s why I still feel like a peasant, and sometimes I sneak out of the castle and stroll around the town…

“Giselle, are you escaping again?”

“Yikes!”

A low voice from behind me as I looked around near the servant’s entrance. I turned around and saw Celestan in a peasant-like outfit, looking scary.

“How many times do I have to tell you to take me with you?”

“But”

“But nothing.”

I always get caught by Celestan when I try to sneak out. But he doesn’t stop me and comes with me, and I secretly feel happy that it feels like a date.

“Have you prayed to the Great Holy Tree?”

“I’m done!”

“Then, shall we go?”

He was arrogant, but his tone became polite, and I got used to the relationship between the saint and the knight. My first love is still growing steadily, but as long as he holds my hand naturally, he shouldn’t have noticed this feeling yet. I thought so and took his hand today, and squeezed it a little to let out some of the love that was about to overflow.

We’ve Moved! If you notice any missing, empty, or incorrect chapters, please leave a comment below, and we’ll fix it as soon as possible. Regular updates will resume on June 10th. Thank you for your patience!
If you are looking for a saint, it is definitely my sister. Please take her away, right now.

If you are looking for a saint, it is definitely my sister. Please take her away, right now.

My sister, who goes to the church every day and does charity work energetically, is praised by everyone as “she must be a saint”. But thanks to her donations, our household budget is always on fire. I have to do something about the worn-out boots and the pot with the handle broken off, but my sister even donated the money I saved up. A handsome man who appeared in front of me, who was at a loss, was a messenger from the kingdom, looking for a saint.

“She is at the church. The saint that everyone acknowledges! Please take good care of her!”

If my sister goes to the royal capital as a saint, I won’t have to survive on leftover bread or mend old clothes anymore. Please, by all means. Take her away, right now.

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