Time passed quickly and the morning of the prayer meeting came.
“It’s been noisy since dawn.
Were you able to sleep comfortably, Saintess?”
I nodded with a bitter smile at the question of the priest who came in to wake me up. All of the priests who saw me like that have an expression of understanding on their faces.
Far from sleeping comfortably, I stayed up all night with my eyes wide open.
From a few days ago, the sound from people gathering in front of the Great Temple could be heard across the wall even at dawn. When I asked the priests, they said that there are a lot of people who came even from the end of the continent just to wait for the prayer meeting.
“It’s an event that everyone wants to attend once in their lifetime.”
“I’ve heard that there are a lot of people who carried their children on their backs, and a lot of people who brought their parents whose lives were numbered.”
“They said there’s a huge fight over the seats for the blessings of the Saintess that will be held last at the Central Square.”
Every time I heard the news from the priests every day, my heart became heavy. More and more, I was able to feel how great this prayer meeting was.
“Come this way, please.”
When I went to the bathroom under the guidance of the priests, there were already dozens of people waiting for me. And an hour later, I was able to put on my robe, completely washed and polished. As I became more and more perfect in the mirror, I sighed more and more.
I promised myself that I could do well until yesterday.
“So far, I’ve met a limited number of people in limited places….’
Lying in a hospital in my previous world, I have never experienced such a thing in my life. No matter how long I am enduring it with just Yvelina’s memory, I feel my neck hardening as I thought of trying to finish the play safely in front of thousands or tens of thousands of people.
I keep imagining bad things. The image of people suddenly gathering and shouting ‘That’s fake!’ is haunting me.
I was trying to avoid my death which will happen two years later, but what if my efforts also change Yvelina’s future. On the contrary, wouldn’t it be possible to get worse unexpectedly? If so, wouldn’t it be much better to just wait for death instead?
I shook my head as I was immersed in the thoughts of constantly falling into the abyss.
‘I have to do it properly.’
It seems that my mind is tense because of the big event ahead. Since possessing this body, I have been doing well without making any major mistakes. No one has noticed that I am not Yvelina yet. Thinking so, I pressed the tip of my finger firmly. Then my gaze met with a priest. She looked at my behavior and nodded as if to reassure me.
“Don’t worry too much.
It ended well last year, so there won’t be any problems this year.”
I think that she could see that I’m nervous. I felt like I was caught inside, so I avoided her gaze without saying anything. Then the priest went out for a while and came back with a cup of tea in one hand.
“Usually, it’s much better not to eat anything, but if you drink something warm, you’ll feel a little relaxed.”
In fact, I’ve been in a light fast for the prayer meeting since last night. I took the tea from the priest and swallowed a sip, careful not to remove my makeup. The warm energy spread through my body, and the trembling hand finally stopped.
‘This is just the beginning.’
A lot of things happened to Yvelina until Iris came to the Great Temple and became the Saintess. Of course, it was all about losing her reputation. Although this prayer meeting may be the largest in scale, there is a line of more troublesome and frustrating events, and I could not withdraw from here.
‘You can do it.’
As I made dozens of resolutions inside my head, the door opened and a priest came in with a troubled expression. He whispered something to the priests around him, and the faces of the priests who heard him hardened.
What on earth did he say that made them look like that? I put down my tea and observed the priests. My question grew even more as the priests continued to whisper as if they didn’t want to be heard by me.
When I couldn’t stand my curiosity anymore and tried to ask, a priest approached me and said cautiously.
“Saintess, if you don’t mind, how about changing the schedule of the prayer meeting a little?”
“…Reschedule? Why and how are we going to change it?”
This can’t be happening. Over the past few days, I memorized the schedule of the prayer meeting and spent several times practicing the prayers. Now you’re just suddenly going to change the schedule, and on the morning of the exact day at that?
“Or let’s skip the blessing of the people in Central Square for now….”
I gasped at those words. At the end of the prayer meeting, the Saintess goes out to Central Square and gives a blessing to the general public who came to the temple. It was also the most important schedule of the event. But you’re saying to skip the schedule? However, the priests around the area responded as if it was a relief. I asked with a stiff face.
“…What’s going on?”
He has a nervous look on his face when he came in, and the way he was talking with the other priests; something must have happened.
The priest looked troubled when I asked him.
“Don’t try to hide it and just tell me.”
The priest, who hesitated as if his mouth couldn’t open, closed his eyes and said.
“…Groundless rumors spread to those who were waiting in front of the temple.”
“They said that the Saintess… inside the temple… every day with some men….”
The priest said and then bowed his head. Oh My God. At his words, I touched my forehead. Even if he didn’t say anything more, I could fully see what rumors were circulating outside.
‘It’s not groundless rumors though.’
Because Yvelina really did those things. The real problem is, why does it have to come up in people’s mouths right now? Why, of all days, today?!
“So the atmosphere is not good?”
That’s impossible. They are the priests who acted as if it would be a big deal if they skipped anything from the ceremony. It meant that the atmosphere outside was really bad if they asked to skip the most important procedure.
“You’re saying that because of that little thing I can’t do the most important ceremony of the prayer meeting?”
“What exactly is going on out there?”
When he hesitated, I beckoned to the priests standing nearby to go out. When there were only the two of us left in the room, I told him again.
“Tell me exactly what you heard. I don’t intend to hold you accountable.”
Upon saying so, the priest opened his mouth again.
“A very malicious rumor has spread among the crowds. Among them, there seem to be those who blame their sickness or bad luck on the Saintess. They said they were sick because the Saintess did something atrocious in the eyes of God… So to the Saintess….”
“…They’re going to harm me. Is that it?”
“…That’s right. It is clear that the heathens at the end of the continent are spreading rumors on purpose. Or maybe the wizards. Even if people who enter Central Square are searched for, it is difficult to prevent those who have decided to hide something. If anyone comes up with a weapon and harms the Saintess… Besides, without Commander Latban this year, it is more dangerous….”
The priest who was talking quickly shut his mouth. He seems to have been more surprised by the name he accidentally uttered. Every time Latban’s name was mentioned, Yvelina reacts very nervously, so it is no exaggeration to say that he’ll be surprised.
‘What am I supposed to do anyway?’
The atmosphere must be so bad that they think something will happen, stopping me from attending the event.
‘Yvelina was already steadily building her notoriety.’
I know that the insults to Latban have also spread outside the Great Temple. It was at this prayer meeting that such accumulated notoriety quickly spread throughout the continent.
I could see the dreary future in front of me. Even if I attend this prayer meeting or not, will it eventually flow as the book says?
At that moment someone whispered inside me.
‘Why are you trying so hard to change the future?’
I’ve already died once. My current life, which started when I opened my eyes to Yvelina’s body, is like a gift I have never expected.
‘Then you can just stay still until the end comes, right?’
Wouldn’t it be better to leave it alone if it doesn’t change whatever I do? After all, there are only two years left before Yvelina dies. Compared to the times when I was unable to do anything in the hospital, the two years that I can enjoy with a healthy body will be like heaven.
I looked up at the priest’s voice. He was waiting for my decision.
If we remove the last procedure in front of the people, there weren’t many parts I would attend at the prayer meeting.
No, in fact, I won’t have to attend the prayer meeting anymore at all.
‘In the book, Yvelina refused to attend the prayer meeting, saying she was not feeling well.’
For that reason, it was known all over the continent that she was a Saintess who had abandoned her duties. But that didn’t mean that Yvelina’s life was threatened like right now. Until Iris appeared, Yvelina had lived as a Saintess inside the temple. So, it wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t do all these now and live as the story itself unfolds.
I could just do nothing, live comfortably, and wait for my end. To live quietly and wait for the book’s ending to come.
‘I don’t want to.’
I didn’t want to live like that. If I were going to live like that, I wouldn’t have had to come to enter this body.
The ‘me’ who once died, was grateful for this opportunity given to me. And I don’t intend to just enjoy this luck I was given. As long as I have this luck in my hands, I wanted to try to hold onto it for as long as possible because I didn’t know until when I would be holding on to it.
I walked and opened the door. Then all of the eyes of the people standing outside focused on me. Between them, I saw the long dark corridor with no end in sight that I have to walk on. It looked like the future I had to go to.
Now I have to walk that road alone. The moment I tried to take a step while thinking so.
“Let me escort you.”
Suddenly, a big hand approached with a familiar voice.
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