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The high priest’s shoulders trembled as if he had been struck by lightning. The same was true for Hellion and the high priest of Asylus.
“Ugh… God Nedesmer!”
When Celia walked out to the drawing room carrying the divine beast in her arms, she was startled that the High Priest of Asylus fell to his knees. Although the carpet in the parlour was soft, his knees appeared to be bruised at that speed.
The Divine Beast sighed and spread his wings at the appearance of Hellion, who shivered and got up from his seat. The pattern known as the God of Heaven was carved on the upper as well as the lower parts of a pair of light wings.
The two high priests appeared ecstatic to see him soar away.
The Divine Beast was both a being that communicated God’s will to humans and a being that symbolised God’s love for humankind. They couldn’t help but feel thrilled that such a being had appeared on the continent again.
― I know the time of agony must have been excruciating. God knows that you have tried to keep many people from slipping into the abyss.
When the flying divine beast said these words, Helion shed tears. Celia was taken aback when she saw the tears on the face of the high priest. The Divine Beast, on the other side, looked calm.
―The God of Heaven chose her as the saintess of this generation.
Hellion looked at Celia with a look that seemed like ‘as expected’. Celia sensed that she was being burdened for nothing, as the high priest of Asylus also had the same glance.
―The God have also pointed out Leonis Cardian as the Holy Knight and the one who will defend the continent, so you will have to help them.
He had heard Leonis being called a Holy Knight before.
It wasn’t a very convincing argument, but considering that the goddess had brought Celia back to life so that she might be his wife, it seemed only natural that he should have been selected.
“What do you want us to do?”
― There is no need for the denomination to show support for the Duke of Cardian right away. It is a threat to those who currently hold power, and it will bring great danger to the believers.
There wasn’t much dignity in the sight of him flying around with his little wings fluttering, yet the high priests of Helion and Asylus were watching and listening with eyes as focused as laser beams.
― But borrow ‘it’ from the God of Heaven for Leonis.
“Are you sure about that? But……”
It seemed that Hellion knew right away what the divine beast was referring to. Celia became very curious about what it was.
“What is that, po?”
She tried to speak informally as usual, but the presence of the High Priest was burdensome. Helion opened his mouth when asked while looking.
“It was a piece of armour that the hero wore one thousand years ago. It was used during the Shinma War, and now it is a relic with only the back plate remaining.”
― I am saying that he needs it for a reason; therefore, both of you should bring it back right immediately.
When the Divine Beast solemnly said this, the two high priests bowed their heads.
“I will take your word.”
“I will take your word.”
The two high priests answered at the same time. The Divine Beast flew to her arms as if his business was over.
✦ ✦ ✦
The gigantic monster that was shackled had the power to make the area around it quiver with the lightest breath it exhaled.
It wasn’t a real dragon. It was a mythological entity said to have been extinct during the Shinma War thousands of years ago.
That was why it was only a spoof that looked like a wyvern mixed with various monsters. As confirmation of this, it didn’t know how to fly, even though it had wings like dragons.
Its wings could not support its weight because they were too weak.
However, the size of this monster could be said to be intimidating. If it appears in the middle of a city, that city will be destroyed.
The breath mixed with poison flowed from his mouth, and the black flames that spewed out were no less than a curse in and of themselves. Being alive was an unbearable monster.
‘Then what do I do? That it can’t fly…’
Michael looked at the demonic dragon bound by magic with eyes that seemed irritated. Fake imitation. It occurred to him that his own twists and turns were just right.
Rumours about the divine beast were already spreading, even in the capital. He implicated the Duke of Cardian as the person responsible for the deaths of the two princes and Amelia, but no one seemed to care about his accusations.
Rumours circulated that the Duchess of Cardian had become a saintess, that the divine beast was protecting the Duke of Cardian, and that the divine beast had bowed its head under her feet.
“The Duke of Cardian will save us!”
To claim it was an immature child’s remark sent shivers up Michael’s spine. He knew that public opinion in the capital was not good.
The problem was that, excited by the incident at the imperial banquet, he released monster knights and soldiers to capture Giel. He did it because he had a grudge against Giel and he wanted to pay him back, but he didn’t know that they would react that way.
They could wield immense power by attaching monster cores to humans and transforming them into monster knights or soldiers, but there was a reaction that caused them to crave human flesh if they used too much power.
It wasn’t too difficult to get Giel’s or Amelia’s heads. That was why they didn’t know that they would suddenly change and attack the courtiers of the third emperor’s palace.
They slaughtered or devoured almost all of the people working in the third prince’s palace as they obediently followed Michael’s order to deliver the heads of Giel and Amelia.
Michael tried to keep this a secret, but the frightened others in the palace couldn’t keep their mouths shut. The people of the capital were already aware that Michael, not Phil, was the one who commanded the monsters.
Prince Michael framed Prince Phil and killed him.
Because it was a story that was right before and after, what was announced afterwards was useless. The aristocrats who survived the imperial palace banquet would be talking about backing the rumour as well, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they were pulled out at any time.
Those who followed him were just terrified of the monsters he controlled.
Only the magicians who had dedicated their hearts and souls to monster study were on Michael’s side.
‘How come things are like this?’
Death is nearer.
It was Michael who thought he would have everything in the world after stealing the emperor’s power and making it his own.
He clenched his teeth because he was sure he had flown above the clouds and then crashed.
‘It can’t end this way!’
The Divine Beast. Michael burned with hatred at the presence of a saintess who wasn’t even in his calculations.
When he thought about something, everything went wrong after he married Celia.
On the night of the raid, Leonis should have killed Celia with his own hands as well as his party.
And on the day she returned from the capital, if Celia had been kidnapped by Phil and died in his palace, everything would have worked out as Michael had planned.
Michael couldn’t control his rage after being convinced that she was alive and had ruined all of his plans. Then the flames rose again in his body, and he had to gather his thoughts for a long time to subdue the madness brought on by the curse.
He wants to kill Celia, but he needs her.’
It was clear that she had pulled Leonis’s curse from the fact that she had placed it on him, or from the fact that everything had changed since she married Leonis.
Since Celia was said to be a saintess, Michael thought that this guess would have some validity.
Then it would be possible for Celia to remove the curse from his body.
‘Even if they refuse to accept it, I am the rightful heir to the throne!’
Since the emperor officially recognised him as his own child, in principle, it was possible for him to inherit the throne even if he was not the emperor’s biological son.
Unless there are other blood relatives in the imperial family.
Except for Leonis, who was the most threatening being, Michael thought of the other five dukes. He already felt his stomach churning when he thought of their lofty-appearing faces.
‘All of them….I’ll just kill all of them.’
It was enough to kill them all so that he would be the only one left alive. It was enough to kill the people of the capital who were making loud noises, as well as the aristocrats, who were staring at him suspiciously.
The empire was still wide, and those who supported him were not alone.
Michael’s lips curled into a grin as he stared into the darkness with blazing eyes. He saw the gigantic monster dragon slowly blinking its yellow eyes and looking at its master.
‘Yes. I thought of how I could put this to use.’
Michael turned around with a low laugh. As he moved his steps, the black aura of the curse rose from his entire body like a haze.
✦ ✦ ✦
“Wh-why are you asking them to bring something that is part of the armour?”
The Divine Beast raised its head and gazed up at Celia when she asked. The divine beast was currently sitting on Celia’s lap and extending his front paws.
Celia was soothing herself with the fluffy, soft things.
― Leonis, while he is a paladin, his evil energy is stronger, he does not suit the title of a paladin!
― As a messenger of God’s word, I can exert power on His behalf! If they bring me a piece of armour, I can repair it to the point where it can transform a scoundrel into a knight simply by having them put it on.
‘Isn’t that overkill?’
Leonis would look great in the beautiful Paladin armour, but becoming a Paladin was another story. He hadn’t even given her permission to become a saintess.
“You keep calling me a saintess. Am I a saintess?”
― It is because you were revived by the choice of a goddess.
“Then I… Am I the saintess of the goddess?”
―The goddess of harmony does not choose an apostle. Because if she gave power to an apostle, the balance of the world would be easily disturbed.
Seeing Celia’s expression, the Divine Beast added a comment.
―You have been chosen as a saintess by Nedesmer, the God of Heaven. It is its existence that will open the eyes of the Paladin Leonis, and he will be the one to save this land from destruction.
She had heard about it before. However, Celia did not know that she had been chosen by Nedesmer.
‘I thought I was chosen because I was betrayed by my fiancé.’
―The God of Heaven sent you to Leonis to protect the new imperial family from corruption. So, when the foundation of the empire is laid, you should first consider having children…