I’m an Old Man but Also a Saint — Chapter Two
t/n: another long chapter! let me know if you spot any glaring errors.
Chapter Two: I Should Have Been Paid In Advance
I completed the ritual by staking a branch of the sacred sakaki tree at each corner of the village and then dripping blood over it.
Writing down how the ritual was done makes it seem easy, but needless to say, I was running around in a panic while doing it.
A child’s swing was hanging from the village’s sacred tree, and because it wasn’t pruned, it had grown quite tall.
As a result, it was hard to reach the branches and only the actions of the knight stopped me from desperately trying to climb up the tree.
In the end, I managed to get the branches of the sakaki, but the next problem was the blood.
I didn’t ask how much I needed for the ritual, so I cut a little too deeply.
As a result, my blood got everywhere.
The knight’s face darkened.
Why was he in such a hurry? Before, he’d seemed so calm.
An old man bleeding a bit isn’t something to get upset over.
He scolded me politely, even though I told him that most wounds heal quickly and it’s not a fuss.
To summarize his words, ‘Don’t hurt your precious body so easily!’ Though he said that now, until yesterday, I had been doing farm work, hunting, cooking, and cleaning, so I was used to minor injuries.
I usually don’t bother to take care of scrapes or bruises and I have countless old injuries.
So I told him not to worry but his face only darkened further.
He may think a forty year old man is free of scars and shit, but that’s not the case!
A saint, huh.
I had followed along for the time being but I still didn’t feel like I was actually a saint.
On the way to the royal capital, the knight insisted on acting as my escort and I was too exhausted to argue.
‘Are you tired?’ ‘Are you hungry?’ ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’ These are questions to ask of a fragile young lady, not an old man who is used to hunting and doing various jobs.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m a saint, but it makes me uncomfortable.
Please, let’s get to the royal capital quickly… Unless, maybe it will be like this wherever I go? Will I continuously be treated like this?
The journey to the capital took a month, giving me plenty of time to worry.
For someone who’d never left the village, the smaller cities along the way looked quite lively, but the royal capital was an entirely different story.
The main street was wide enough for six carriages to pass each other and many shops lined either said.
People, people everywhere, walking around like they had nothing better to do.
Looking out from the carriage, whose plush seats hurt my hips, I admired the liveliness.
It’s a little too dazzling for an old man.
As I was beginning to yawn and rub the inner corner of my eyes, the carriage slowed and stopped.
Is this the destination? The knight said, “Please wait here for a moment,” and got out, stretching a lot.
No matter how high-class a carriage is, sitting this long gets to everyone.
I’d rather work in the fields.
As I was rubbing my shoulders, I heard arguing from outside the carriage.
One voice belonged to the knight.
Was something amiss? Intrigued, I opened the door and made eye contact with the gatekeeper from over the knight’s shoulder.
“The saint has already been found.
And what’s with the old man?” The gatekeeper had become more angry at the sight of me, causing the knight to turn around to look at me.
It seemed they were disagreeing over the handling of the situation.
Gatekeeper, I’m on your side.
If an old man like me were the saint, many dreams would be shattered.
“Saint! …That’s the saint.”
And apologize for causing a commotion.”
I was brought all the way to the royal capital because of a misunderstanding, but I considered it like a free vacation.
If this hadn’t happened, I would have never left the village.
I thought I had a good time seeing all sorts of rare and unusual things during the journey here.
I was worried about the travel expenses on the way back but the knight was caring and would properly prepare a way home for me, plus a stipend for the work that I missed while away from the village, so I wasn’t worried.
It was impossible from the beginning that I might be the saint.
I was relieved that this was a mistake.
The rural life suits me.
With a little help, I would still be able to cultivate my fields in the village.
But hoping doesn’t make it so.
“Oh, please wait! Please, please hear me out!” The knight’s handsome face went pale and he bowed his head without hesitation.
He wasn’t the kind of man who bows to villagers, so why bow like this to the gatekeeper?
I’ve heard that there is only a single saint in a generation, so if another saint has already been found, then she’s probably the real one.
To be honest, I wasn’t surprised that something went wrong.
No matter how rare a male saint is, he still wouldn’t be an old man like me.
And even if we’re both real saints, only one is needed 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.”
“Will we be Appraised again?” I asked.
I don’t know the exact details but saints have a unique way of identifying other saints.”
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.
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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