Chapter 3

As I entered the room, I lit candles one by one while the Duke took off his uniform jacket and vest and hung it on a hanger.
Usually there’s no conversation between him and me to speak of.

Sometimes I struggle with the awkwardness and talk about a story that I don’t get sick of.
Of course, every time the Duke would say I was too noisy or simply ignore me, but… I had something I wanted to ask for today, so I opened my mouth very carefully.

“Um, Du—….
I mean, Sir Knight.”

I almost called him “the Duke,” but I corrected myself because it wasn’t inherited yet.

Thankfully after my call, he turned to me.
Purple eyes looked down at me, inadvertently appearing obsidian due to the ravages around them.

“Soon, you’ll be going to war.”


His head tilted slightly.
He didn’t seem to know what I was talking about, only looking down at me in confusion.
Did he change his mind? It’s a safe war if going with the Paladins and the Imperial Knights, but what if they back out?!

“I heard that Vios declared war.”

“I wouldn’t call something like that a ‘war.’”

I said it while filled with anxiety, but he responded casually in answer.
Oh, I see.
I was anxious thinking that the Duke wasn’t going to war, but from the Duke’s point of view, this couldn’t even be considered a ‘war.’

Well, yes, true.
He has fought in numerous wars with quite large kingdoms, so the battle with Vios, a weaker country, wouldn’t even fall under the category of ‘war.’ Maybe a subjugation? A conquest?

I boldly signed the contract with the promise that this campaign would be worth 300 gold, but I still had anxiety, so I tried to increase my chances of survival by increasing my congeniality with the Duke.
With only a few words of conversation, my chances of survival could improve.
Somehow, I was very happy.

“Thank you very much, Sir Knight!”

So I smiled brightly while wearing my business smile, only to have the Duke crumple his eyebrows.
No, it hurts me a little if you respond so honestly…?

“…What are you thanking me for?”

“Oh, I also decided to participate in the war as a healer.”

Again, his eyebrows crumpled further at my response.
There must be paper under there somewhere for it to crumple so well.

“Don’t be a nuisance there.”

Well, I’ve been sitting like a statue for you for three years, but, ‘don’t bother me like that,’ is your response! I felt my temper flaring up, but I only nodded.
If I express my mind here, my chances of survival will only decrease.

Maybe right now, my survival rate in that place is in the negative.

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

And most of all, I thought of his position of power among the soldiers, so I answered neatly and politely.
Meanwhile, the Duke said, lying in the bed, without looking at me.

“You’re noisy.”


If this man had a remote control, it would need only a mute button.

* * * * * * *

Ten days passed by in a flash.
I was in a constant state of distress thinking about the war, but the atmosphere of the capital was not so at all.
Everyone said we would just win and come back, and some even laughed and joked about those who were going to war.

This time ruled by King Keschmir XII will probably be recorded in history as a peaceful dynasty for the empire.
But outside of the empire, wars of both large and small scale were neverending.
In contrast, the empire’s prosperity was so great that it could afford to send aid to other kingdoms at war at whim, enabling us to expand some parts of our territory.

The empire’s success is mostly accredited to the Leader of the Paladin Knights and the Chief of the Imperial Knights, the Duke.
They both were sent to each country, where they subjugated the people and returned in victory like clockwork.

However, it is a little regrettable that the Duke is called, “Grim Reaper,” establishing himself as an object of fear, while the leader of the Paladin Knights is referred to as, “the Hero.”

I haven’t met the chieftain of the royal knights properly myself, and I’ve yet to get an impression of him from far away.
Still, both leaders have the same skills and accomplishments, so the difference in their reputations is a bit sad.

Although, there were terrifying rumors surrounding the Duke that undoubtedly contributed to his appalling nickname.
Previously, the Duke of Willard had another son, but one day he was suddenly discovered dead in the mansion… At that time, the head of the Willard family also collapsed in a similar manner.… The coincidence was difficult to explain away.

It’s already been three years since then.
When the incident first broke out, the entire empire was scandalized, but no one dared to question Cabel Willard since it was around the time when he managed to expertly conquer a great kingdom, establishing himself as a war hero.

Thanks to that incident, horror stories quickly spread throughout the empire, claiming that the ornamental knives in the mansion drip blood every time it rains.

In reality, I don’t believe in such a ghost story.
But, it is true that the Duke visits the temple whenever it rains…

We are going to war, but the square is so lively.
It feels like we’ve already won the war and have returned to celebrate.”

“I’ve said this many times already, but there’s no way we’ll lose, Renée.”

What I’m afraid of isn’t exactly defeat, but rather that I might see someone die in front of me.

I’m anxious… However, whether or not she knew of my worries, Lily emphasized again that we have both the hero and the grim reaper of the battlefield going with us.

Even if something bad happened, it wouldn’t be because of Vios, but because of the Paladin Knights’ leader and the Imperial Knights’ leader clashing!

It’s a quite probable scenario, so it’s just one more thing for me to add to my list of worries.

Lily and I are arriving at the western border today.
To start the journey, the envoy is meeting at the outskirts of the capital.
Since the empire is so large that it’s a place that would take forever to reach on foot, the entire personnel decided to use the gate to cross over.

Because of the announcement that they would gather in the outskirts of the capital and depart, we were moving in a carriage in front of the temple.
As we went along, more and more people could be seen gathered outside from the window.

Looking at the knights standing upright in line, the color contrast was enough to easily distinguish between the Paladin and the Imperial Knights.
The white and gold colored uniforms of the Paladins and the dark navy colored uniforms of the Nickel Knights gave off different feelings.

There were also a few wagons loaded with materials needed for subjugation.
There were already several priests wearing uniforms with the insignia of Abnel.
Judging by the line, is it possible we’re late on our first arrival?

But fortunately, it seemed we weren’t too late, as no one appeared to notice as we got off the wagon.
Since we’re the only priests coming from El Nur, we should report to the commander right away that we’ve arrived.

I was walking around because I didn’t know where to go, so Lily grabbed me and led as if she’d done this before.

Look over there.
That’s the Paladin Knights’ General.”

There were a lot more people than I expected, so I was nervous, but Lily whispered a little.
Naturally, my eyes turned to the direction Lily pointed to, and an exclamation unconsciously slipped from my mouth.


His tall, grand figure immediately stood out from the crowd.
But more than that, it was his gorgeous golden hair that caught my eye.
I knew that the royal family had a lot of blondes, but it’s the first time I’ve seen that golden color fit someone so well.

His bangs were shortened and raised to give a neat impression, making his face clearly visible.
In addition, his body was quite large, and being equipped with the armor of the Knights Templar made it look even bigger.

Elviniraz Keschmir, prince of the empire and Chief of the Paladin Knights of Abnel.
Keschmir is a surname of the royal family, meaning, “the light of the world.” However, his whole name is even more grand, meaning the, “the light of the people.”

Looking at him like this, he’s definitely a person who shines enough to live up to the name.

In addition, he was wearing the gorgeous long sword known as the Sword of Abnel on his waist.
It suited him so well that the blacksmith 300 years ago must have made it with him in mind.

It’s not as though I’ve never seen any handsome people since coming to this fantasy world, but to think I’d praise him so much at the very first sight, he’s really phenomenal.

This is the first time I’ve had such an impression since Duke Willard.
Ah, of course, even though I currently know him as the Zombie King….

After gazing out with my mind wandering, our eyes met.
Elviniraz, who was talking with other paladins, turned his head and looked at us.

He’s a rare master in the empire, so he might have felt my gaze…? Somehow, these masters are becoming more and more like human body detection sensors.

“Ah, you must be the priestesses from El Nur.”

Elviniraz, who approached Lily and me, bowed his head to see if he had recognized the pattern on the priest’s uniform correctly.

It was a little daunting because it felt like a human torch was walking toward me, but fortunately I was able to say hello without trembling too much.
Well, the end of my voice seemed to go up a little..? So, so handsome…

“Would this be Renesha Elnur?”

When I replied that he was correct, he nodded a little in confirmation and said hello to Lily next.
Lily also responded with a very polite attitude.

After the initial greetings, Elviniraz looked back at me and smiled lightly.
The bright smile created soft folds around his coolly outstretched eyes.

Oh, even his eyes were a dazzling gold as well.
When an artist would attempt to depict him in the future, I was convinced he couldn’t use a simple golden dye, but actual melted gold in order to accurately portray this man’s dazzling persona.

“I have heard a lot about you, Priestess Renesha.”

“Thank you.”

It’s a bit embarrassing to hear that he’s heard stories about me even though I’ve never done anything worthy to spread around.
Although it’s known that I have a high power, he, as the paladin general, would have seen a lot of people greater than me in Abnel…

I was embarrassed, so I bowed my head a little and said that I was grateful, but I suddenly wondered why I should be grateful towards him.

It’s not like I spread those rumors for him to hear.
Somehow, I felt my expression wavering, so after thinking about it for a moment, I also replied in the affirmative with my business smile turned on.

“I’ve heard a lot about you, too.”

Lily jabbed me in the back.
I clearly didn’t mean it in a weird way, so what was with her?! It’s a perfectly normal conversation!

I felt wronged and glanced at Lily, but Elviniraz burst into laughter in front of us.
It was a very magnetizing laugh.

He wasn’t laughing at me as if he found it funny, but just laughed as if he liked my answer.

I laughed along.
I couldn’t help but feel better when such a handsome man smiles like that in front of me.

However the conversation that followed turned a bit serious.
The campaign area we are headed to is in the western border of the empire, whose fortress has been temporarily occupied by Vios.

If the knights successfully carry out their attack, we will enter the territory of Vios from the next day.

Where will healers be deployed in the process, and how do I deal with emergency situations?

I couldn’t think of what to do.
What if I don’t perform well and someone dies?

As I faced this human torch, my breath that had loosened slightly tightened with anxiety all over again.
As I was nodding my head with a stiff face, Elviniraz smiled as if he had noticed my condition.

“You don’t have to worry.
My knights have sworn on the names of Abnel and Keschmir and will protect you with the light.”

I was baffled by the words that sounded like a serious oath, but it made my heart quiet down again.
How can I be so nervous and then calm down so suddenly?

I have been repeating reassurances to myself over and over, but it was the first time I felt truly relieved.
Having a brief conversation with him made me completely reassured.

I smiled brightly and thanked him.
It turned out that the way to increase my chance of survival was not with the Duke, but with the Paladin General.

Somehow, this journey might actually be enjoyable.

{Within a few hours, that turned out to be my immense delusion.}

pant, pant “I think I’m going to pass out…”

I made a serious miscalculation because I was so focused on the war itself.
I completely overlooked the fact that the western border is made up of very rugged mountain ranges.

We rode in a wagon at the beginning of the journey, but it rattled like crazy because the stone roads were uneven.
So everyone had to get off and start walking, which was difficult for me to handle with this body’s poor physical strength.

Is this really just a campaign expedition or are we undergoing special training? I was barely able to walk anymore.
Lily also paused occasionally and sighed exhaustively.

However, compared to us, Abnel’s priests were still quite at ease.
The experienced people who frequently went to war zones as healers seemed to be on a different level.
They’re healers who even have physical strength.

This is a scam.

Eventually, it was too tiring to go on so I stopped and took a long, deep breath while leaning on a tree next to me.
It was so hard.

“I want to go home….”

“Home? You don’t have a home though?”

Can’t you just consider I’m holding the temple as home in my heart?”

The journey suddenly changed into a mountainous hiking trip that made me want to turn tail within the first five hours.
How am I supposed to do this for two months??

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