17. The Fake Saint’s Evolution into a Genuine One
When I stared at the beautiful pastries lined up in front of me, I couldn’t help but feel sad. Various things came into my mind, and my tears began to overflow.
Until recently, I lived thinking about how to feed my brothers and sister every day.
My salary alone wasn’t enough for my household budget. I could only afford to eat stews and soups that had been watered down. I only ate to feel full.
My siblings, who had to eat hard, black, bread, never complained. Instead, they always complimented my stew.
That confectionary, which pursued beauty and taste rather than quantity and nutrition, would surely taste delicious—like a dream.
However, for the price of such a small cake, my family would surely be able to eat until they were full for a week…
When I thought so, I couldn’t touch any of the pastries.
“Saint…? What’s wrong? Do you dislike it?”
Because I remained silent, the priest beckoned to me. Both the twins and the knight leader anxiously stared at me.
I wanted to tell them why I couldn’t eat it, but the twins and the knight leader didn’t know I was a fake saint. I couldn’t talk about heavily watered-down stew or my siblings.
Regardless, I couldn’t eat it as if nothing had happened.
“…I’m sorry, when I think that the price of this cake is enough to feed a whole family for a week, I don’t think I can eat it…”
Not to mention, everyone else had paid for them. Had I bought it with my own money, I might feel less guilty. However, I had paid nothing. As I thought, I didn’t have the right to eat such a luxurious item. I felt sorry for creating such a gloomy atmosphere.
Because they thought I was the real saint, they wanted me to enjoy expensive pastries. I must have disappointed them for acting like that.
When I regretted my decision of not refusing the offer from the beginning, the twins hugged me.
“I’m sorry, onee-chan! We didn’t even consider onee-chan’s feelings. That’s right… people who eat weed porridge as rations or beans from their dirty pockets can’t afford such a luxury…”
“W-we’re stupid for thinking that these luxurious pastries would be able to distract onee-chan! I’m sorry!”
…No, it was merely my own selfishness. When I was coaxing the twins, the knight leader also slumped to the floor and apologized.
Ah, he merely wanted to participate in the battle of apologies.
“To consider the feelings of the poor and deprive yourself of luxury… I should’ve realized that you wouldn’t want such a fine confection when you can’t even waste an egg! I’ve been utterly blind, I want to hit myself! Saint, you’re truly the angel of the goddess! Please trample upon this foolish me! Punish me!”
“…No, I don’t want to step on you. Please stop demeaning yourself, it’s a nuisance to the shop staff, let’s just go home…”
After the situation had turned chaotic, the priest stood up and urged everyone to go home.
The story settled down because we decided to bring home the ordered pastries and share them with everyone.
On the way home, the priest’s expression was gloomy. I apologized again for running the mood with my selfishness, but he dismissed it.
“You’re not at fault.”
Afterwards, he didn’t speak another word.
The priest had always been a laidback person who couldn’t read emotions. When I saw him being a little emotional, I was worried that he might had been offended by my remarks…
In retrospect, the people who gave me gifts might had been dissatisfied when I denied their offers.
“She should just accept people’s favors obediently.”
By refusing their kindness, I might had caused them some discomfort.
After that day, the priest became distant. Instead of throwing a barrage of questions at me, he ceased talking entirely.
It’s because of what happened at the bakery, isn’t it!?
—Or maybe something else. I might had done something wrong…
…After all, recently, everything was going extremely well. I wondered if I had run out of luck.
I was but a faceless substitute for the saint. Once he decided that I was no longer of any use, I might get replaced.
It was within the priest’s personality to do so.
“…I wonder if I’m going to be dismissed soon…”
Honestly, anyone involved with the church could become the saint’s substitute—and not only me. I thought people who were better at acting than I would be better suited for missionary work.
“…Once that happens, I wonder if I’ll have to return the advance payment?”
It wasn’t that I didn’t trust the priest, but that pilgrimage was my responsibility. If he decided that I was useless, he might mercilessly replace me.
I was a little worried about the future.
***T/N: …Aw, I still hoped that Ceylan would at least get a bite, though…