1. The Fake Saint’s Evolution Into a Genuine One
There is always another side to a story.
That is common knowledge.
As such, we should always be skeptical of stories that are too good to be true.
I knew that already.
But sometimes, whenever situation got too dire, my jump headfirst into such stories was inevitable.
“A-all I need to do is dress up as the saint and travel around the country, right? I won’t be killed or sacrificed as part of a ritual, right?”
“I swear to Goddess Asera that such outrageous acts won’t be carried out. However, you have to be prepared to not see your homeland for a couple of years. After all, the pilgrimage requires you to travel around the country and visit various sacred sites. If you can’t accept these conditions, you’re free to decline the offer.”
“…But, if I were to accept, I can get half of the reward in advance, right? Not to mention, the personal safety of my family will also be guaranteed…”
“Indeed, I’ve negotiated with the merchant who wants you to hand over your younger sister. Rest assured, we’ll be your backing so you needn’t go through such an ordeal again.”
“Well, is that so…? I’ll be relieved if that’s true…”
“Then, if you’re alright with the conditions, will you accept the offer? Please place your blood seal on this contract.”
With that said, the man showed a perfect, flawless, smile. Afterwards, he didn’t hesitate to plunge a small knife into my finger to draw my blood.
Ah, I’ve signed the contract. What do I do now? He keeps emphasizing the advantages of the job, but surely, there’d be some drawbacks, right?! Nevertheless… I don’t have any money… I have no choice…
As cold sweat started to overflow, the beautiful man calmly stared at me.
My name was Ceylan. Amidst seven siblings, I was the eldest daughter. I worked as a maid and as a day-shift sister at the village’s church.
Real sisters usually weren’t dispatched from the capital for rural churches. Because I had some healing power, I was asked by the priest to become a day-shift sister so that I could perform healing (with a separate hourly wage).
On the other hand, being a maid was my main job. As a day-shift sister, I only did what was necessary.
Indeed! I had healing power!
When I was acknowledged by the priest, the villagers came to expect I’d regenerate lost limbs and revive the dead.
…Suffice to say, when they found out that curing back pain and minor injuries were the best my healing power could do, they were disappointed.
Despite that, my power still proved useful in that village. Thus, with my salary, I managed to not only raise all my siblings, but also care for my sickly mother.
By the way, my father was a piece of shit. After falling in love with a traveling entertainer, he ditched our family and left home. Moreover, it happened when my mother was pregnant with my younger brother.
I wondered how my mother was able to put up with all his crap. She even had seven children with him.
—Anyway, my family was big, and at the same time, poor. I had to carefully manage my earnings so that we could eat.
Regardless, starting from next year, my younger brother would go to work at a furniture craftsman’s house. As long as I continued to work in good health, we’d surely manage…
…Or so I believed.
One day, a fat, unscrupulous, merchant came to visit my house. The nouveau riche proceeded to say—
“—Your good-for-nothing father has fallen into debt and decided to sell his daughter to me.”
He was carrying a contract. We were in turmoil.
My father, who was alive somewhere, had racked up a lot of debt.
Most likely, my father suffered because he couldn’t afford to pay his debt. Then, amidst his misery, he recalled the family he had abandoned in the past and sold off his youngest daughter to the merchant. The merchant welcomed the proposition with open arms.
By the way, he specified my younger sister because unlike her, I was cheeky and unadorable. Back when he was still at home, I used to nag at his refusal to work. Thus, he nominated my cute and obedient little sister, instead.
What utter scum!
The contract that piece of trash unilaterally made should be invalid!
We resisted, but because the contract was signed through formal procedures, we were told that we had to either pay the debt or sell my sister. My family was driven into a corner.
Yes, we didn’t have any money left, but that didn’t mean I’d just cough up my sister!
In desperation, I attempted to offer myself, instead.
However, after the fat merchant eyed me from top to bottom, he dismissed me with a short, “No.”
But that wasn’t the time to make a fuss about that.
With the promise of returning a month later, the fat merchant went home. Before he left, he reminded us to either pay back the debt in full or offer my sister.
It was impossible for us to pay the debt. Thus, I went to the priest to borrow some money.
However, the old priest, who was the living definition of the word ‘poverty’, apologetically said that he would if he could.
In a fit of despair, I told him that I won’t lend him my healing power anymore if he refused. Then, the old priest thought for a while, and said, “Maybe I can come up with something.” Afterwards, he contacted someone.
***T/N: Damn, that’s such a good intro. I also love her character!!