A Saint who was Adopted by the Grand Duke - Chapter 77
Darwin reached for Judy as he jumped impatiently and demanded a hug. He then shook his head with a serious look.
“This isn’t going to work.”
Judy was far too large for Darwin to hold.
His back would break if he lifted him. Darwin patted him on the shoulder instead.
“Yes, there were monsters. The situation at the border is not very good.”
“Really? Wow… Tell me more!”
“Let’s head to the dining room first.”
It would take a while for him to speak, so Darwin skillfully led the children to the dining room.
The table was filled with a variety of dishes prepared with the utmost skill.
As soon as the three sat down, the food was placed in order, starting with the appetizers. There was also Esther’s favorite soup.
Esther focused solely on her dish with sparkling eyes the moment the meal began.
Judy could care less for the meal as he threw questions Darwin’s way.
“What kind of monsters were there? I want to fight monsters too. Can I go with you next time?”
“No. It’s far too dangerous.”
“I’m dangerous. There’s no kid my age who can beat me nowadays.”
Esther savored her soup while listening to the conversation between the two.
It’s been a while since Dennis entered an academy for a short-term class. He left for the purpose of learning something new.
The house seemed empty the whole month without the two. She wasn’t bored thanks to Judy, but the place felt vacant.
The spoon that was halfway towards Esther’s mouth halted in response to Darwin’s words.
“…So I reported the events to the Temple. Seeing that such a monster appeared, there appears to be a crack in the barrier.”
Esther’s spoon fell helplessly.
For the past year or so, she had been avoiding the sense of anxiety she felt. However, she could no longer overlook these bad feelings anymore, seeing as there was now a crack in the boundary.
‘The power of the Saint seems to have been exhausted.’
Esther bit her lips.
It was the Saint’s and Temple’s responsibility to preserve the borderline. This was the primary reason for the Temple’s tremendous power.
If there existed a problem within the boundary, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say the capabilities of the Temple weakened.
Additionally, the drought occurrence has been severe the past year, which added more weight to the problem.
“What’s wrong? Is it not tasty? Should I ask the chef to prepare something else?”
Darwin pushed a plate towards Esther as he noticed her absent-mindedness.
“No. It’s delicious.”
Esther quickly smiled and accepted the plate. She didn’t wish to worry Darwin after he just returned.
Esther had trouble falling asleep. She was far too troubled by what Darwin had said earlier.
She poured holy water into the basin and tried to connect with the Temple, but all that accumulated was a foggy mist.
Esther laid on her bed and stared blankly at the ceiling as she stretched out her right hand.
“I’m afraid my daily life will be disrupted.”
The small mumbling voice was filled with anxiety. Although Esther knew this happiness wouldn’t last long, it was so sweet and alluring that she couldn’t help but be immersed in the tranquility.
It seemed that misfortune was ready to strike her in return for the happiness she had enjoyed thus far.
Esther sighed and stood up. To calm her anxiety, she opened the drawer on her bedside table.
A letter and a diamond necklace were inside. She pulled the letter out and opened it carefully.
Although not every night, whenever she would recall the letter, she would read it like this.
Esther skimmed through the contents of the letter that she had memorized from reading so frequently.
「 I can’t go back, so I’m sending you this letter in a hurry. I think it’ll take about another year, but I’m already sad. I hope you’re sad too… You know, right? You’ll become happier every day. Stay healthy until we see each other again! I’m not by your side, but I’ll always be thinking about you. -Noah 」
Noah left a year ago, claiming he was heading for the Imperial Palace. He never returned, with only one letter delivered to her.
She didn’t know whether he was residing in the Imperial Palace or not. There have been no letters since then.
“It’s already been over a year. I hope you’re doing well.”
She wished to see Noah on days like today when her heart was troubled like this.
Thinking of the memories they had together made her feel slightly better.
Esther placed the letter back in the drawer and urged herself to come to her senses.
“Let’s just sleep.”
Shortly after forcing her eyelids down, the sound of Esther’s quiet breathing spread throughout the room.
The moonlight leaking from the bare window tilted towards Esther, and the sky gradually darkened.
It was then that the sleeping Esther twitched.
Her closed eyelids trembled. As Esther tossed and turned, the back of her right hand began to glow softly.
Saint Cespia appeared in her dream for the first time in a while. She was reaching for Esther.
Esther felt she ought to help her, so she struggled to hold her hand.
Then, at the moment she scarcely linked hands with Cespia, the dream slowly dispersed and Esther’s eyes opened wide.
She calmed her pounding heart and stood upwards. It was then that she realized the back of her right hand was shining excessively.
Esther’s pupils dilated.
Although she hadn’t been conscious, the stigmata shone vividly.
“Why isn’t it disappearing?”
There was no point in trying to erase the mark by force. She pulled off her blanket and left the bed. Everything felt strange.
She bewilderedly observed her reflection against the mirror on the dressing table. Even her eyes had turned golden.
‘What’s wrong with me?’
Esther pressed down on her pounding chest. She approached the basin where she previously poured the holy water before going to bed.
She wanted to check because something seemed to have happened to the temple, as well as the dream of Saint Cespia.
The fact that Saint Cespia appeared in her dream seemed to imply a major event at the Temple. She wanted to check.
“Please show me, please.”
She clutched the basin with trembling hands.
However, even now that her mana was fully activated, she could not connect with the Temple.
Instead, the color of the holy water suddenly turned a bright red. It was her first time seeing such a result. Never had this been taught to her at the Temple.
Esther, devastated at the sight, collapsed to the floor. Her heart wasn’t able to calm down.
In the end, she remained awake all night. It was only after the sun rose that her eyelids rested.
Around the same time at dawn.
Rabienne and Cespia were in the same room. Although Rabienne was looking at her one-sidedly.
In a year, Cespia’s face, which had dried up to the point where the bones were all visible, had a dark shadow of death.
The shadow of death was thickly cast against Cespia’s face. She had shriveled to the point where her bones were visible.
Although she was barely breathing, everyone thought of it as peculiar. How could she have stayed alive in this state?
Rabienne gazed at Cespia the way she would at a bug.
“You don’t have the energy to open your eyes anymore, do you?”
Cespia’s eyes struggled to move toward Rabienne. However, she couldn’t bring herself to answer.
“I endured everything for a long time. I thought you were going to die soon, but it’s already been over a year.”
Rabienne annoyedly swept her hair. She didn’t have to be careful with her words as Cespia was already almost deaf.
Still, the long wait had come to an end. Cespia had been gasping for breath for a few days now.
She was expected to die soon. The Temple had already begun preparing for Cespia’s funeral.
“How many regrets did you have to the point you can’t let go? You can leave everything to me now. Okay~?”
Rabienne stared down at Cespia’s face from above and spit forth her venom.
“You still haven’t told me anything until the end.”
All revelations regarding the next Saint must have been sent by now, but Cespia did not speak a word of it.
This irritated Rabienne, but nothing else mattered as long as she was appointed as the next Saint.
“This is the last one. Drink this and feel comfortable.”
Rabienne spilled the medicine she had brought down the dying Cespia’s throat.
Cespia’s lips tightly clasped in rebuttal. However, Rabienne forced them open.
The medicine flowing from her mouth was skillfully wiped off with a handkerchief. This wasn’t something she had done once or twice.
Cespia felt her consciousness begin to fade. She concentrated her last breath on the 16-year-old Rabienne.
‘Toxic one, you will never receive what you desire. At the end of your life, your limbs will be cut off and tears of blood will stream from your pretty eyes.’
She summoned all of her strength and cursed Rabienne wholeheartedly seconds before her death.
And, as if to fulfill her wish, Cespia’s long-lost stigmata gleamed from the back of her hand, her eyes glittering golden.
Rabienne jumped in surprise, startled by Cespia’s sudden wave of strength.
However, as if for the last time, Cespia’s eyes did not close. She glared at Rabienne breathlessly.
“Are you dead? Ha, amazing.”
Flustered, Rabienne swept her chest and pulled the bell beside the bed. The door opened with a loud bang.
The High Priests standing before the door rushed inside.
“Just now… She passed away.”
Rabienne put forth her sad act.
“This… I see. Did she feel comfortable till the end?”
“Yes. She asked me to take good care of the Temple. She was concerned for the Temple up until the very end. She was a person worthy of respect.”
Rabienne lowered her eyes sadly as she wrapped her palm around Cespia’s still warm hands. Thick tears fell from her eyes.
They sympathized with Rabienne’s appearance, mourning Cespia altogether. They would never have suspected it was all a ruse.
“I am glad Lady Rabienne kept her company in her last moments. I am sure the Saint was very happy.”
“I hope so. Hic.”
“Take your time and calm down. We will deliver the news and proceed with the funeral.”
Even if they prepared in advance, there were still many things to carry forth. There were hundreds of places to be contacted overnight.
As everyone busied themselves with their matters, the lights of the temple spire lit up. It was a bright red dye, indicating the death of the Saint.
Rabienne bowed her head as she listened to the bell’s entrancing ringing.
She couldn’t hold back the laughter that tickled her stomach.
The seemingly sobbing Rabienne giggled uncontrollably under her lowered head.
TN: You disgusting fool. May Noah savor your limbs with you alive. Continue grinning like a fool for now, you animal.
PRN: How can she have so much evil in that tiny body of hers?? She has no soul! Well then I can’t wait until I get to laugh uncontrollably too when she dies a horrible death!!! OFF WITH HER HEAD!!
TN: I KNOW RIGHT!? HUFFS