The slum – 2

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The slum – 2

Roughly about three days have passed.

I couldn’t say for sure… This was because of the characteristics of the place called the slums.

At the time when the sun should be up, it was hidden by the shadow of the tower and did not receive sunlight, and when the night came, this place was dimly lit due to the scavengers carrying lanterns.

The slum has always been a murky place with no distinction between day and night.

Of course, there were other reasons, he was in a bad physical condition.

A pain that runs through your body all the time.His consciousness constantly went on and off .

Vera was lying in a state where it would not be strange to die at any time, so he was unable to measure the time.

“Cough… !”

As soon as he coughed, Vera felt a tightness in his chest and his breathing suffocated.

“Huh… !”

Taking another breath and examining his body’s condition, figured out its state to some extent.

‘… A week at most.’

He will die in this place.

He cursed, but apart from that, his injuries were very serious.
He needed medical treatment right away, but he wasn’t in a situation where he could afford to do so.

Quite a sight worth seeing

“Are you okay?”

The blind saint who lost her power, Renee, was at her wit’s end.

In other words, there was no way for him to live.

“… It can’t be all right.”
“Wait a minute.”
“Ugh… !”

As Renee’s hand touched his chest, a moan erupted from Vera’s mouth again.

Vera suppressed the groaning that came out, and looked at Renee, who was exulting.

“Stop doing useless things.
Doesn’t even the saint know that there is no hope?”
“You never know.”

It was a firm tone.

Vera looked at Renee, struggling to hold on to his flickering mind.

‘… Strange woman.’

What Vera felt while staying with her for a short time was that she was such an unusual person enough to deserve the nickname of a monster.

She had burn marks that distorted her original shape to the point of making it unknown, and went out begging with her blind eyes.

All she got was a bowl of porridge that was inferior to livestock feed, and she ate it while savoring it as if it was some kind of delicacy.

 

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It was an act that Vera could not comprehend.

How could he.
While living as a wretch in this slum, the thing that Vera ate more than anything else was scraps and rotten foods, so it was impossible for him not to know its taste.

What’s even funnier, is that she didn’t even eat all of it, even though she was eating it so deliciously.

After she ate a couple of spoonfuls of porridge, she poured all the remaining porridge into Vera’s mouth, wasting it to appease Vera’s hunger, who couldn’t move.

Yes, it was a waste.

There was no need for such waste, Vera thought.

He was about to die soon.
The injury had become so serious that it couldn’t get any worse, and he didn’t know when he would stop breathing.

So, Vera told her several times to let him die.

“You never know.”

That is the only answer coming back from her.

Vera saw Renee holding a spoon at him, moving his gaze into the air and muttering words.

“I didn’t know that the saint was an idiot.”
“What do you mean?”
“If you’ve lived your whole life as a saint, wouldn’t you know the state of this body better than I do? But… Since the person who should’ve known better keeps doing things so mindlessly, wouldn’t it be natural for me to think of the saint as an idiot?”

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He wished she could just throw him away, but for some reason she was holding on to him so foolishly and he was getting annoyed.

However, Renee didn’t care about Vera’s attitude and pushed the spoon towards Vera again.

“You never know.
Isn’t it possible that after eating this porridge you can become stronger and get up?”
“therefore… !”
“Eat it first.”

Vera felt his stomach twist and stared at Renee.

Renee was looking into the air with her unfocused eyes, waving her spoon to and fro around where his mouth was expected to be.

“… You are a fool.”
“In the Holy Land, such foolishness is called love.”
“Does the saint feel excited when you see someone dying soon?”
“I know that love doesn’t necessarily translate into sexual desire.”

The burn marks were pushed up into wrinkles.
At the end of Vera’s gaze, Renee was smiling.

“The Lord has said to love your neighbor, how can I turn away from her as a body that was once her most favored servant?”
“Well, if the Lord was such a loving person, she would have taken pity on the saint and would not have left you in a place like this.”

Vera laughed as hard as he could.
Of course, she wouldn’t be able to see this expression on his face, but he did it just because he wanted to laugh at her.

“It was my choice.”
“In the slum, they call such people morons.”
“It’s a pleasure.
And it’s not Saint, it’s Renee.”

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What came back was, after all, a smile.

*

Probably two days or more.

Renee was once again holding a spoon to Vera’s lips.

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“It’s disgusting.”
“I’m patient.”
“Foolish… .”
“Love.”

Vera’s mouth closed.

“Hurry up and eat.”

Vera watched the spoon swaying around his face, he exhaled briefly, lifted his head and ate.

“Well done.”

words of praise.
Vera’s gaze then turned to Renee.

It was a smiling face.
Now Vera could tell it apart.

Vera looked at that smile and thought.

‘She’s a really weird woman,’ he said.

There was no obligation or responsibility for her to do this, but seeing how she was taking care of him like this, it seemed appropriate to express it that way.

Renee looked so hideous that he could not even think of her as a saint who was praised by everyone.

An ugly, scarred face that if a stranger saw, he would scream and run away.
Blue eyes that could be seen through the barely opened eye sockets.
White hair that had lost its shine, covered in dirt.

If she had gone out to beg in that form, she would have suffered all kinds of insults , but there was no sign of sadness in her.

just a smile

It was the only thing hanging over her face.

Vera couldn’t understand it at all, so he was crazily curious and asked Renee a question.

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“… Don’t you regret it?”
“What do you mean?”
“Giving up your power”

If she hadn’t given up on her powers, she wouldn’t have to live like this.
Even if war broke out on the continent, she would have been safe.

As he looked at Renee with such thought, she chuckled and answered.

“I have no regrets at all.”

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“Why?”
“Why do you think I will regret it?”

At the returned question, Vera was speechless.

It wasn’t that he didn’t have anything to say.
On the contrary, there was so much to say that he was speechless.

Life in the slum is so miserable and ugly that it couldn’t even be called life.

They starve every day, are despised for filth of the slum, and in winter there is not even a wall to stop the cold wind, so it is easy to freeze to death.

But, why aren’t you afraid of it?

Why don’t you miss the splendid moments?

Why do you accept it with a smile?

As Vera remembered such thoughts, he continued to remain silent.

“… You know, there was a time when I could actually see.”

Such a word was heard.

A soft tone.
Rene, who raised a gentle smile, continued with that.

“At a very young age.
So, I was five or six years old who had not even lost any baby fat.
Until then, like everyone else, I could see the light of the world with my own eyes.”

What came out of her mouth was a story about Renee’s past.

“I was a farmer’s daughter.
The village I lived in was a small rural village in the corner of the Eastern Kingdom of Horden.”

It was a story that Vera did not know.
That is because back then, he didn’t have interest to find more about her personal history.

“There’s something I still vaguely remember.
Flowers blooming in all colors on a warm spring day, the sun shining dazzlingly in summer, wheat fields dyed golden in harvest season, and a pure white world when winter was in full swing.”

Rene closed her eyes and continued with a faint smile, as if trying to recall the moments that were floating in her mind.

“Everything was amazing.
I was also happy.
After becoming a saint, I was happy to live for others, but… Selfishly, if someone were to pick the happiest moment for me, I would pick that moment.”

Words spoken with a smile.
Even while Vera continued to remain silent, Renee continued to speak.

“So, when I suddenly went blind one day, I felt like the world was falling apart.
It felt as if my shining world had fallen into the depths of the abyss.”
“I guess a saint is also a human being.”
“Of course, I am a human being, obviously .”

It was a sarcastic remark, but she let him go as softly as ever.

“Anyway, I think I spent so many years crying.
I guess I thought that the most unfortunate person in the world would be me, that the world was cruel only to me.”

Vera could deeply sympathize with those words.

It’s because he had thoughts like that in the past.

It wasn’t just him.
All of those in this slum, at the bottom of their misery, have lived with such thoughts.

Even as he was thinking, Renee’s words continued.

“At that time, the stigma of the Lord came upon me.”

It was a story that Vera knew well.

How could he not.
The continent was turned upside down when the stigma of the Goddess, which had not appeared for nearly 400 years, appeared on the body of a young girl who had just entered puberty.

For Vera, it was a well-known fact because it was the period when he was in the midst of uniting all the cartels in the slum and started trading with the imperial nobles.

“At first, I resented her.
Although it was blasphemous, I thought that the Lord took away my light and threw me that stigma as a compensation, that’s why I blamed her.”

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“If the priests of the Holy Kingdom heard it, they would be shocked.”
“It’s a secret deep inside me.”
“Can you tell me this easily? Oh, I’m going to die soon, so it doesn’t matter.”

When Vera, who was listening to the story in full swing, said something sarcastic, Renee fumbled and pressed her hand against Vera’s chest to close Vera’s mouth.

“Ughh… !”
“That is not good.
You have to think about getting better.”

Vera glared at Renee, but again, staring at someone blind was meaningless.

Renee chuckled for a moment, and then continued.

“So, while I was living a life made up of resentment, I stopped by this slum.”
“That’s the first time I’ve ever heard of it.”
“It was a secret, of course.
At that time, there was a time when I was trying to secretly spread my powers across the continent.”

Renee spoke like that, licked her lips for a moment, then spoke out.

“It was a place where there was so much despair that even I could tell without looking.
The sound of dying breath, the screams of pain, the smell of blood and filth, the damp air on the skin.
All of that was a shock to me.”

The slightly opened eye sockets showed blue pupils that had lost their light.

“At that time, after I came to this slum I felt ashamed for the first time in my life .
Even though I knew it would not be right to dare to sympathise, seeing the people living here made me understand just how ugly and childish I was, and I felt ashamed.”

Again, a smile crept across Renee’s lips.

“That was the first time I thought of an emotion that wasn’t resentment.
Plus, I had this idea.
Maybe the reason why the Lord had taken the light away from me was because she wanted me to share that light with them.”
“… That’s quite a jump of logic.”
“It might be.
However, would that matter even if it is? Isn’t it important that I obtained such a realization? So, I have no regrets at all about living here now.
Although I have become a very feeble existence, I’m still really grateful that I can be of help to someone with this body.

Vera’s gaze turned to Renee.

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A smiling face.
It was an expression without even the slightest bit of wrinkles.

Suddenly, Vera, who was looking at Renee, realized why his stomach was twisted when he saw her.

‘… Saint.’

I realized why she was called that.

Because the saint was a human with such nobility, it made his stomach twist.

He was so distraught by her nobility, which was different from him, who trampled on everything he saw at every given moment, fearing that he would return back to the slum and starve to death.

Vera tried to take his eyes off Renee and closed his eyes.

Suddenly, misery ran through his body.

Not even once in his life, did he ever think that he would regret his life.
At this moment, because of that shabby woman, regret rose inside of him.

Clearly, this situation should be so difficult that it would make her vomit, and since she used to live a brighter life than this, she should be even more desperate.

“… a mentally ill woman.”
“I’m glad to hear that”

A clear sound of laughter laid a stone in Vera’s stomach.

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