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What did I just say? Agh, this mouth.
I pressed my lips together and shook my head, Ian laughed as if he heard some nonsense and eventually backed away after a while.
“So, this is how the Sez knot should look.”
I looked down at my shoulders and gasped, his knot was formed perfectly geometric.
‘I can’t believe you were able to perfectly recreate the image in the manual book.‘
“I will strive to improve, Commander.”
“I-I will practice too!”
Dame Joan and Annette, were watching intently with admiration. I would feel similarly but it seemed impossible for me to be able to replicate the knot even if I practiced for a hundred days.
“Then, let’s get going. Everyone will be waiting.” Ian said, glancing at the clock.
I took a deep breath and nodded. I’m ready. The only thing left was the actual event.
The moment has finally come where I have to make a perfect debut as a ‘fake’ Saintess.
* * *
“There are so many people!”
I turned pale, surprised to see the magnitude of the crowd already flocked within the auditorium where the ceremony will commence.
“Oh, is that Lady Irene?!”
“Pink hair and sacred clothes! Definitely, Lady Irene has arrived!”
“She came with Sir Ian!”
People who recognized me started turning their heads one by one. The crowd’s movement created a wave-like sight. I gulped and swallowed my saliva, then slowly straightened my shoulders.
‘Now, let’s be confident. Although this is when I have to trick so many people, stand with confidence!’
I am a Saintess!
A Saintess with the power of foresight!
I fully indoctrinated myself and walked among the crowd, Ian slowly bent down and whispered.
“Are you nervous?”
“How can I not be?”
We spoke quietly enough so that no one could overhear us.
“There’s nothing to be nervous about. As I said, we both have a perfect reputation anyway.”
“Thank you for your support.”
This guy’s words were meant to help calm my nerves but came to bother me instead. I clenched my fists in anger and tension.
Ian might think I was being stiff because so many watching eyes were focused on me, but that wasn’t the biggest problem.
‘Success, I need this to be a success.’
The back of my right hand has been twitching for no apparent reason. The magic circle made with ingredients obtained by Rizzello had been drawn on top of it. It ended up drying transparently, effectively becoming invisible to the naked eye.
A meek-faced bishop greeted me as I approached the end of the auditorium.
“Welcome, Lady Irene Grace, it’s a great pleasure to meet you. My name is Bishop Kennen Brion.”
“It is an honor to meet you, Bishop Kennen.”
I concealed my tension and greeted him. This person, Bishop Kennen, will be in charge of verifying my status as a Saintess.
“The Verification Process is simple – just dip your hand into that Holy Grail.”
I looked in the direction that Bishop Kennen was pointing. It was a beautiful Holy Grail filled with water.
There was an angel sculpture that seems to have been meticulously crafted by the best craftsmen, and a large purple jewel nestled in the middle.
Please don’t tell me an angry god will strike me, a swindler, with lightning as soon as I dip my hand in!
‘God of this world, please forgive me for what I am about to do. I just want to live.’
Besides, I didn’t even want to come here in the first place. I am just trying to fix the accident that you created!
‘Then, please forgive me!’
I held my breath and submerged my hand into the Holy Water. Fortunately, I didn’t hear any thunder.
“Good job, now close your eyes for a while and breathe comfortably.” Bishop Kennen said with a gentle expression.
I closed my eyes and could hear Bishop Kennen reciting sacred words in a hushed tone.
I’ve got to do it now. I started reciting a cirrhic poem in my mouth.
As I faintly mumbled the incantation that Rizello had written down on a paper envelope, an exhilarating sensation ran over the back of my right hand, where the magic circle was drawn.
At the same time, exclamations rose from all over the place.
I opened my eyes and looked at the stoup. For a moment, I stopped breathing without realizing it. There was an enchanting golden bubble rising over the stoup.
“It’s the sign of a Saintess.”
“It’s a sight I haven’t seen in fifteen years.”
“Exactly. It’s been 15 years since the last one appeared. She is a new Saintess!”
I lost all my strength.
‘It’s do… ne.’
I was able to grab hold of my faltering body.
“What a beautiful golden color.”
Bishop Kennen looked at me with a pleased smile.
“You have been verified. The Lion sent by God Elune after fifteen years.”
There was no doubt in Bishop Kennen’s clear eyes as he looked at me. I felt a prick of conscience again.
Bishop Kennen has no idea that the person in front of him is a con artist who made a deal with the Master of the Magic Tower.
Bishop Kennen’s test was simple yet clear. When a person with Divine Power dips into Holy Water, bubbles of various colors appear depending on the power of the person who came in contact with it.
Orange if you possess the ability to heal, blue if you have prowess towards swordsmanship, etc…and when the Saintess dipped her hand, a golden bubble is produced.
It was like a certain hat from a novel set in a magic boarding school or a litmus paper used in science classes.
The reason I knew about the Verification Process in such detail was simple-
‘Because it was described in the original.’
The Verification Process is not a once-and-done, the believers had a tradition of being verified on a regular basis to ensure that one’s divine power was not abnormal. In the original, the heroine falls into a villain’s trap once and in an accident, loses all her divine power.
‘Of course, it was a temporary phenomenon as she is both the heroine and a real Saintess.’
The problem was that I also have to undergo a regular verification in just a few days.
In the original, when Rizello notices the female protagonist’s concerns, he suggests that she should try all means to pass, even offering to help her pass the test through cheating.
The idea was simple in itself, find a way to temporarily block the power of Bishop Kennen, who acts as a litmus paper.
The problem is the former.
‘It was such a difficult task that even Rizello had struggled discovering magic to bar divine power.’
Eventually, Rizello, who has always been interested in divine power research, succeeded to find a way. The method was now drawn on the back of my right hand, in the form of a magic circle.
“Lady Irene, are you okay?”
Bishop Kennen was looking at me with concern when I regained awareness.
“Oh, I’m fine. I guess I was just a little nervous.” I said with a shy smile. It was a blatant fib even when I heard it.
Then Bishop Kennen responded with a smile.
“I want to reassure you that you have nothing to be concerned about, but now, the most important procedure remains.”
I was already aware.
The Saintess Appointment Ceremony, only after that will ‘Irene Grace’ be recognized as a true Saintess by the denomination.
“The Holy Cardinal is waiting for you.”
Ian escorted me like a knight who accompanies a Lady.
Inside the auditorium, the normally locked wall began to open on both sides. A beautifully carved wall opened up, revealing a spacious space within.
I couldn’t help but feel admiration.
It was as if the room had been designed solely for sacred purposes. The interior is white with sculptures of gods and angels adorning the walls.
There was an old woman in the middle of the room.
I could tell who she is without listening to an explanation. That person was Anna Grace, the current Holy Cardinal of the Elune Church.
With the support of two priests, the Holy Cardinal addressed me. I was nervous, and my heart was pounding as I walked up to the Cardinal. I would have stumbled back and forth if Ian had not been there to escort me.
…A close encounter with the Holy Cardinal, who left an indelible impression on me. It’s like seeing a Buddha statue that has been around for hundreds of years.
“I heard of your appearance earlier but please forgive me for only just greeting you now, I have not been feeling well.”
“No, Her holiness Cardinal, it is an honor to see you now.” I said politely, taking a courtesy.
A faint smile appeared on the Holy Cardinal’s face which was like a Buddha statue.
“From now on, you, Irene Grace, who has been called by Elune, will serve as a benefactor of the denomination.”
The auditorium fell silent as if my surroundings had died when Her Holiness Cardinal spoke solemnly.
“Irene Grace, would you like to share with us the gift you received from Elune?”
“Yes. I will gladly do so.”
When I answered, a congregation held out the crown of the Saintess to the Holy Cardinal. The Holy Cardinal took it and put it on my head.
“May the grace of God Elune be with you always.”
A heavy crown pressed down on my head. A number of strange feelings intersected with the weight. The biggest emotion among them was this, the realization of what I really just did.
‘A petty bourgeois, Lee Seoyeon, you’ve grown a lot.’
[TL/N: 소시민 or a petty bourgeois means small citizen.]
In the end, I ended up deceiving so many people. Then Ian approached me.
Receiving the crown from the Cardinal and the oath of protection from the Commander of the Holy Knights was the procedure for the Saintess Appointment Ceremony.
Ian knelt down on one knee in front of me. I looked down at him, his face was graced with an unfamiliar expression. He looked up at me for a moment, then kissed the back of my hand. A warm tingle ran down the back of my hand and spread across my entire body.
“I, Ian Esteban, swear to protect you with all my heart.”
His eyes, blue like the sky, were intently focused on me.
* * *
Right after the ceremony, a banquet was held to commemorate the Saintess’ Appointment into the church.
I was exhausted from my nerves, but I couldn’t find a place to rest by myself.
As I entered the banquet hall, many people greeted me.
“Huck, the Saintess came in.”
“There’s Lady Irene.”
My face heated up a little after hearing everyone whispering about me. This kind of attention was unfamiliar to me.
I noticed someone familiar walking through the crowd at that precise moment.
I’ve only met her twice, but it felt like I’ve known her for a long time. The people in her path quickly moved away as if it was natural to give way to her.