d to do the job.
And so it should work on a first come, first serve basis, and the saint who’d already arrived should stay.
I felt bad for the knight who went to the trouble of bringing me this far, but begging won’t change anything.

On the other hand… The gatekeeper scratched his head roughly and sighed loudly.
When the knight asked so desperately for me to come with him, I felt guilty refusing.
If he didn’t know about the real saint, then he didn’t know, and he’s been traveling with me for over a month.
Deep down, I don’t want the knight to be in trouble because of me.
Not after he attended to me so thoughtfully.
So thoughtfully that I felt uncomfortable, but this man is not at fault.

“I understand, I understand, raise your head.
I’ll let you handle this.” The knight expressed relief at the reluctant words of the gatekeeper… I hope this is the right choice.

According to the knight, who had gone to gather information, a few hours before we arrived, a person claiming to be a saint appeared.
A composed and pretty twenty year old? A beautiful young lady? She apparently was aware she was the saint but said she’d remained in hiding because she didn’t want to be separated from her sick mother.
But now that her mother has passed away, she has revealed herself.
The story is enough to make me cry, like something from a fairy tale.

“There must be no mistakes, so now both of you will meet with the saint of the last generation.”

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“Will we be Appraised again?” I asked.

I don’t know the exact details but saints have a unique way of identifying other saints.”

“I see.”

It seems that saints can use techniques they don’t understand, even without basic knowledge of magic.
The knight explained that we would perform the ritual to take over the duties of saint right away.
I didn’t know the details but I’d heard it could take up to a week.
I’m not good at sitting still, give me soil any day.
Well, I’d just think of it as working off my travel fees so far.

I followed the knight through maze-like corridors of white walls and white floors.
Every inch had been polished and as we walked through it, there wasn’t dirt to be seen.
How on earth did they clean this place? The ceiling was high and the door was big enough for a knight taller than me to pass through without needing to bend over.
There was minimal decoration, creating an austere aura.

The knight told me to go through the door which led into a room larger than the entire church building in my village.
The lack of furnishings made the room seem even more expansive but I suspected this was still an antechamber of the temple.
I had passed through other rooms on the way here: a nave which could accommodate over a thousand worshipers, a waiting room larger than my house, a strange bed large enough for three grown men which I didn’t dare touch.

What caught my eye in this new vacant room is the statue of a god sitting in the back.
The light shining from the ceiling illuminated it, casting a warm glow to the stone.
Even if I grew up in a village that wasn’t very religious, this was still a god who inspired prayer.

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I’d forgotten how to pray.

While I was staring at the statue in the center of the room, a sudden noise caught my attention.
Looking behind me, I realized it was caused by a beautiful girl accompanied by three knights.
I’d heard she was twenty-six but she was more of a cute girl than a sexy woman in appearance.
She was wearing an airy, undyed dress, already looking the part of a saint.
She walked to the middle of the room, knelt and prayed.
I was impressed.

She… She and her knights were glaring at me, I must have stared too long.
I’m sorry that I’m an unscrupulous old man.

I heard that the Head Knight discovered a saint.
Is this him?” asked one of the knights.

“It is,” replied my knight.
In the face of the grinning trio, my handsome escort remained unfazed.
Staying calm while being ridiculed is good, but isn’t this man taking it too far? He wasn’t upset at all when he was told that another saint had appeared, nor when he saw the girl who even looked like a saint.
He still treated me with care as if I were really the saint.

The door opened again, this time the elder saint came in, accompanied by a knight in a dark blue uniform.
Her face was wrinkled with age and her eyes were filled with a soft, warm light.
She walked steadily but she appeared to be older than any of the elders of my village.
I naturally knelt down and bowed my head at her benevolent presence as she slowly approached us.

“Hand,” she commanded.
Both the beautiful girl and I knelt before her.
The saint, standing in front of me, reached out her hands relaxedly.
Though she had a dignified air and gave clear instructions, I hesitated to extend my hands to meet her small, wrinkled ones.
Though I hadn’t been in the fields for a month and any scratches had healed, my palms were still thick and rough from years of calluses.
I wiped my hands off on my cloths before offering them to her.

“The knights, come closer,” she said.
I felt the knights behind me step closer, disturbing the air.
What happens next? As my anxiety and tension grew, my consciousness left me.

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