eemed miraculous, but I realized it was just magic.
Since I’ve lived in a poor village far removed from magic and magical items, they are common in cities, and more so in the royal capital.
I assumed that the paper is some kind of magic tool.
Of course, it was my first time seeing or touching one.

As soon as I was struck by the fact I would be touching magic for the first time, it was my turn.
There was no one behind me.
In other words, this was the end.
After all that, it seemed there was no saint in this village.

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Just imagining the trek to get here, I felt sorry for the men who’d come all this way for nothing.

“The next person… Are you the last?”

“Oh.”

When I answered with a slight nod, the man’s expression became slightly cloudy.
His mouth remained smiling but his long eyelashes cast a shadow down his cheeks as his eyelids drooped.
Even though he’d come a long way, he seemed to be seriously worried there wasn’t a saint.
He must have been a man with a strong sense of responsibility.

When I touched the paper as instructed, letters gradually appeared. Zeph.
42 years old.
Gender: Man. The level displayed was three digits, and the physical strength and magical power were both four digits.
… I wasn’t sure if this was high or low.
I wondered how much everyone else had.
Even while I was tilting my head, more letters appeared.
In the category of attributes were [Holy], [Light], [Earth], and [Water].

… Maybe I could use magic? Don’t crops benefit from light, soil, and water?

“… Saint…”

“?”

The man muttered something while looking at the paper, right? I turned around.
Obviously there was no one else in the room.
I wondered if I was the saint now, but was I misunderstanding? There’s no way a saint would be in such a village.
Then, was it a disappointed mutter from not finding the saint? Oh, poor knight.
When I turned back to him with pity, I met the man’s gaze firmly.

What??

His face was too composed and it was hard to read his emotions, but his gaze spoke volumes.
It was looking directly at me, not some villager, but as if I were holding something important back from him.
…I didn’t know what I would be holding back.

“You’re here, right?”

“What?”

“I’ve been searching for you all this time, Saint.”

“…Huh??” I asked him, face full of confusion, but the knight seemed unfazed.
Regardless of my words, he knelt down and bowed his head in a single graceful motion.

…Um, what kind of situation??

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Even when I checked behind me again, there’s no one.
Even when I look at the mayor, standing off to the side, his eyes are staring widely right back at me.
I’m sure I look the same as I always do.

…Someone please explain!

Well, that’s what happened yesterday.
In summary, a knight came all the way from the royal capital and certified that the saint was a forty year old man.
That’s all.
You don’t understand what it means? I’m not sure I do either.

He told me that while most saints aren’t men, it can happen very rarely.
Specifically, five of the fifty-two saints.
Which makes me the sixth man to be so blessed.
The distinguishing mark of a saint is the use of the [Holy] attribute.
It seems [Holy] magic can only be used by a saint.
The quickest way to find a saint is by using Status Appraisal.

My status… as it was written, holy.

It’s been over twenty years since I started hearing they couldn’t find the saint.
I had wondered why finding her was so difficult, what was taking them so long.
All because I hadn’t been Appraised.
Furthermore, because my village isn’t on any map, it had been omitted from the temple census.
Maybe it was included back when we had a priest, but since then it was completely forgotten.

Due to such unfortunate coincidences, my village had been excluded from the search so far, but after hearing a rumor about the village, the knight had come with some half hope of success.

“That’s why I want the saint to come to the capital as soon as possible.”

“I’m a saint… that doesn’t seem right?”

“Impossible.
The Appraisal confirmed it, and I heard from the mayor that the damage caused by demons to the village was unusually small.
Demons instinctively avoid wherever the saint is.”

Well, the saint’s power is useful but how long can it last to protect against the demons? If not indefinitely, then going to the royal capital is pointless.
I heard that our village, deep in the forest, has suffered great damage from demons in the past.
If it’s because of me that the village is safe now, I can’t possibly go to the royal capital.

It’s said that the saint plays a special role in the royal capital that calms all the demons, but it takes a month by carriage to get from here to there.
If something happened to the village in the time it takes for me to arrive, I would be devastated.

The knight smiles a little when I fervently, albeit poorly, explain my concerns.
I don’t know the reason for this smile, but it makes me shift uncomfortable in my seat.
He squints at me as if looking at something dazzling but the only thing in front of him is an old man.

Get a grip.

I may be a saint (maybe), but staring like that is too much!

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“Please be assured, If you place your Yorishiro on all four sides of this village, they will be just as protected.”

“Yorishiro?”

“Hair, blood, etcetera.”

“Huh?”

Must it be hair? I’m not bald at the moment, but my hair has become less energetic as I’ve gotten older.
Even though I pay close attention when I wash my hair, I wonder if I’m pulling it out myself.

No good!

The knight explains that hair is better because taking it doesn’t hurt your body, and that old hair previously fallen out isn’t good because the spiritual power is weakened.
But I don’t care! I have no intention of giving away my hair.

There would have to be four strands at all four corners of the village.
That’s a number I won’t pull out of my scalp!

“It’s blood.
It’s blood.
I’ll only use blood.”

“But that would create a wound on your body!”

“If blood won’t work, I won’t go to the royal capital.”

I think the work of the saint is important, but I don’t want to go if they’re going to demand all my hair.
I’m still skeptical that I’m a saint.
Four hairs, though they may not be useful, are too high a price to pay.
I’ll tolerate the long trip, but no one takes my hair! If I pull it out, it may not grow back, how could I give it out so easily?

The knight concedes with the feeling that I will never give up as he watches me stare resolutely at the knife.

My hair is protected.

 

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