A False Confession
“You said she ‘offered.’ The four of you had already received bread, and yet you had eyes only for hers and cornered her into sharing.
The word, ‘extortion,’ is much more accurate than the word, ‘offering,’ don’t you think? Ah, but surely it can’t be possible for the priests of Abnel to use extortion… You all were just momentarily confused, right?”
“It’s inconceivable that the priests of Abnel wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between an offering of goodwill and extortion.
No way, it’s truly impossible!”
As if perplexed by Lily’s outpour of words, they were stunned into silence.
As priests, there’s often discourse about the virtues one should adopt as a person who worships God.
No matter how different our religions may be, the most basic doctrines and core beliefs are usually similar.
Lily picked them apart one by one and performed a splendid twist.
While they were struck dumb, Lily took the bread back from Priest Varsi and finally laughed.
It was a sincere smile this time.
“I’m sorry that Priest Varsi is sick.
I hope you get better soon.”
“…Oh, yeah, yes yes.
Go, thank you.”
Priest Varsi stuttered and expressed thanks with a blank face.
Lily ended the conversation with slight gratitude, walked over to me, then turned halfway back around and expressed concern to them.
“Other people may not realize this, but please take good care of yourself.
As Priestess Renée exemplified earlier, if divine power is present in the body, self-recovery will naturally be faster… but it seems even Priest Varsi is slow to recover, so I’m worried about how others will fare if they get sick as well.”
Satisfied after delivering her final punch, Lily pranced away with an exceptionally light gait.
…Well, I need to remind myself never to cross Lily.
* * * * * * *
In fact, the reason why the childish harassment of the Abnel priests didn’t bother me was pretty simple: rather than having a resilient personality, I simply didn’t have the energy to get upset because the march was getting harder and harder, draining all of my stamina.
However, the day when a paladin was seriously injured finally came.
The mountain that we began climbing the next day became really rough, as Lily had predicted.
There were many places where Vios’s army could hide, so there were multiple surprise ambushes.
An arrow would suddenly fly out of nowhere, beginning an attack from the rear.
There were more and more knights returning with injuries as we went on.
Not just paladins were getting hurt now; even the Nickel Knights began returning with five or six injuries at a time.
So the healers were always nervous whenever they came back from the reconnaissance.
These have been the circumstances for the past three days, each of which had knights flocking to me all because of the one time that Elviniraz requested me directly.
My primary charge was to care for the critically injured units, but once I was finished, other knights would discreetly come to me and ask for treatment.
The other priests would already be depleted of their healing powers, so the knights would praise me for being relatively energetic, all the while carefully extending their injured limbs out to me.
I couldn’t exactly claim that I was out of commission and leave them, so I would end up clearing up the rest of the injured.
As a result, all the priests were exhausted at night.
Even after taking a break, the restoration of divine power became slower as we traveled farther away from the temple.
All too quickly, it appeared that the zombie virus was spreading.
Thinking of it now, I only just realized that Duke Willard has never been injured.
The Vice General of the Nickel Knights has yet to need treatment as well.
In contrast, the Vice Commander of the Holy Knights has been injured.
But like the Nickel Knights, Elviniraz, the leader, has never been hurt either.
In general, even on days when the knights’ wounds were severe, the leaders were never injured.
Of course, there were soldiers who have not been injured yet as well, but the generals were uniquely prominent characters, so I couldn’t help feeling a bit impressed.
“Thank you for the treatment, Priestess Renesha.”
It felt a bit stuffy being cooped up in the barracks, so I decided to walk around.
A paladin approached me carefully and started talking to me.
It was Gardiel, the paladin I had healed yesterday.
He had suffered a long cut on his shoulder, but fortunately it wasn’t deep, so the majority of the wound was cleared with healing.
Of course, healing with divine power doesn’t mean that the body will be okay instantaneously.
“Now, you have to go out to do reconnaissance again soon, right? Aren’t you afraid?”
I’m starting to get a little scared now… I was reassured in the beginning because everyone said that we would easily win, but every time I saw the injured knights, my heart constricted.
So it’s been a while since I’ve had a good night’s rest.
Despite seeing the other priests falling asleep, and even my own fatigue, I really couldn’t sleep.
I’m quickly descending into an advanced stage of zombie-dom.
“Haha… well even if I get hurt, the priestess will heal me, so I’m not scared!”
“No… it would be best to be proactively careful and avoid getting hurt at all.”
“If I run away from the battlefield, it becomes dangerous for the people behind me.
So for the sake of them, isn’t it better if I’m the one who gets hurt?”
Gardiel laughed playfully.
He spoke clearly in a light tone, but I couldn’t bring myself to laugh at the meaning behind his words.
Of course, that’s why he’s at the forefront.
I seem to have made quite a thoughtless remark.
I apologized with a heavy sigh, but the paladin jumped to my defense, saying I have nothing to apologize for.
Even among the paladins, he was an exceptionally lively person.
“Also, I’m not very afraid because the leader wipes them out so effortlessly.
The blessings of the light will definitely save us.”
Even though I’ve never seen Elviniraz wear the Holy Sword, I can imagine what effect it must have.
The sword’s sheathe alone is rare enough, as it’s decked out with various jewels around Abnel’s insignia, so the appearance of the sword itself must be even more extraordinary.
Not to mention the sheer size of the sword is intimidating.
I nodded blankly in agreement with him, but Gardiel bowed his head and whispered to me conspiratorially.
I didn’t understand his intention since there’s no one around anyway, but in the moment I ended up mirroring his secretive motions.
“And actually, the leader spoke about you, priestess.”
“He said that you must be here as ‘God’s Envoy.’ That means the priestess’s divine power is enormous.”
Somehow I became very self-conscious.
Gardiel laughed openly as I was only blinking at him, unable to say anything.
So, he continued his boasting, saying that with both myself and the paladin leader on his side, he’d be able to take care of Vios with no problem.
Even though I managed to get out my warning that I couldn’t save the dead, I felt like hiding myself in a blanket.
The person who most looks like a resident of the heavens speaks of me as, ‘God’s Envoy.’ The modifier was too generous.
When the name ‘Renesha,’ which was originally supposed give me a feeling of significance, followed behind the title of, ‘God’s Envoy,’ it suddenly felt shabby.
Abruptly, the thought of wanting to see that god-like man up close again flashed across my mind.
Ten days have passed already, yet I haven’t had any interaction with him besides the first day we spoke and the day I treated the injured paladin.
It’s a face I must see up-close at least once more…
Seeing him felt like the same experience as admiring holy effigies in a temple.
They’re impossible to take your eyes off of.
But, wanting to meet Elviniraz up close….
is it only possible if he gets wounded? If he’s seriously injured, I’d be able to heal him.
My thoughts flowed along quietly, but they suddenly turned callous, so I quickly canceled my thoughts.
Of course, no matter how far my wicked thoughts wandered, there’s no way he’d ever get hurt, right?
* * * * * * *
This, I can’t.
My heart is beating like crazy.
Did he really get hurt because of my thoughts, wishing he’d get hurt just once, for me? Did my powers really reach this ability without my notice? Even though I was always suspicious that this whole ‘power’ thing was a fraud in the first place?!
I can’t calm myself down.
My legs taking me to the barracks are shaking as if they’ll collapse at any second.
The whole thing started like this.
As usual, all the priests were waiting outside the barracks for the knights to return after finishing their stakeouts.
Since each wounded soldier usually requires two healers, everyone is busy getting ready.
Supplies necessary for maintaining basic homeostasis, such as warm water, clean towels, etc., are prepared in anticipation of the wounded soldiers arriving.
No matter how great a healer is, the blood flow of the wound has to be under control before the priest can begin their work.
It’s impossible to heal with excessive bleeding.
To give an example, a wound that would need ten days to heal on its own, would probably need only about four days after being treated by a healer.
However, that isn’t to say that the wounds could be taken lightly after treatment; healing is never immediate, only the bleeding is stopped and the healing process is commenced.
So as I was saying, everyone was preparing for the worst.
But fortunately this time there were only two wounded soldiers.
However, one of the men’s shoulders was in serious condition, and the face of Elviniraz, who was supporting him, was also pale.
As I approached him to heal the soldier’s shoulder, Elviniraz asked another priest to take over for me, and then told me to follow him to his tent.
In my distressed state, I tried to calm myself down before entering.
I’m sure my reaction was odd to him, but Elviniraz continued on into his tent without a word.
With his back suddenly in my view…
It was covered in blood.
After that image, I couldn’t move properly due to shock.
With that amount of blood, the injury must be severe.
Why didn’t he seek treatment right away? I’m afraid that if he turns out to be badly hurt, the morale of the entire Knights Templar will deflate.
If the person whom all the knights depend on the most is injured, then the whole group will feel overwhelmed by anxiety.
I stood outside of his tent and tried to steady my breathing.
It was definitely an attempt to calm down, but I couldn’t manage it without quivering.
Less than a few hours had passed since I thought, very, very profanely, that if he was injured, I would get to see him up close.
Surely he couldn’t really have been hurt by my thoughts… but why do I feel so guilty?
I finally walked through the tent entrance with trembling hands, only to stop again and gasp at the sight of the cloak drenched in the blood of Elviniraz.
“I- I’m so sorry!”
I shouted without thinking.
It sounds ridiculous, but as soon as that god-like face turned its gaze to me, I felt compelled to confess all my sins and pray for forgiveness.
At this moment, I understood very strongly why the church performs confessions.
“I, I had such disrespectful thoughts.
No matter how wrong they were, I really didn’t expect that the universe would grant it.”
A comforting warmth enveloped my trembling hands.
Elviniraz, who bent down in front of me, looked down at me with a confused expression and said calmly.
First, please calm down.”
Have I died and found God? I think he told me to calm down, but when I see someone shining like gold right in front of me, it’s impossible.
His looks alone are a danger to my heart.
Despite my overreaction, the effect of his warmth was great.
I slowly came to my senses and realized what nonsense I had just spouted.
Oh, it quickly became shameful.
I lost my mind for a moment.”
“Oh? But…how were your thoughts disrespectful?”
Ah, he actually heard me.
Even more shameful.
But as this man who’s considerably larger than me held my hand asking me to calm down, then tilted his head slightly and asked what happened with such concern, any resolve I had melted and my mouth opened to speak on its own.
One of Elviniraz’s skills must be the power of, “True Penance.”
In the end, I bowed my head and began to stutter and repent in front of Elviniraz’s open expression.
“…I thought, it would be a good thing if the leader were to get hurt.”
“That’s… so that I’d be able to see the leader up close.
Bu-but please don’t misunderstand.
I don’t have any weird intentions, but it’s just that the leader looks so divine, so I thought it’d be nice to see you up close.
It sounds really selfish…”
I completely self-destructed.
I really have no one to blame but myself.
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