Saintess - Chapter 1
“The Empire’s one and only God is angry at that witch—no, at the Saintess.”
The Devere Empire, known as the land of God, had been suffering from years of drought.
The land had dried up, all the crops in the fields had withered, and the livestock had died one after another from an unknown epidemic.
Children who were still in their mothers’ wombs did not get a chance to see the world, dying before their shapes could even take up their human forms. As the women suffered from infertility, so too did the men become crippled without any reproductive function.
People have started whispering… that the end of humanity was not far away.
Worship and burning rituals were held each and every day at the capital’s grand cathedral.
All in the name of calming the wrath of the Almighty God, the pope had ordered for the capture of those suspected to be witches. As such, all who were devastated by the prolonged drought scrambled to join the witch hunt.
The people who had been identified as witches were prostitutes, old women, noblewomen, unmarried women, blind people, lepers, gypsies, students, handmaids, slaves—so on, and so forth.
Women of all walks of life would be singled out by the priests, who would then make their ring fingers bleed and mix their blood with holy water. That was how they would ascertain their identities.
If a witch’s blood were to come in contact with holy water, black smoke shall rise.
Through such a ritual, hundreds upon thousands of witches had already been executed.
As they were brought to the execution pyres, the witches would start fearing their imminent entrance to hell, and they would either faint on the spot or sully their skirts with feces or urine once they were there.
Of course, not one woman readily admitted that she was a witch.
So many witches had already been devoured by large fires and had turned into handfuls of ashes.
Yet, for some reason, God’s wrath was not tempered.
Rather, the drought became even more severe. And, leprosy—a disease in which limbs started rotting—became a widespread epidemic.
As everyone was in despair, one day, a prophecy from the only God of the Devere Empire had finally come down.
Pope Andreas, the first to hear the prophecy, immediately gathered the priests and the devotees.
Standing in front of the church, the pope spoke in a solemn tone as he delivered the voice of God, which was enough to enervate them all.
The one and only God of the empire, and the God of peace and the earth—Dernaus.
God had henceforth proclaimed that his wrath had been incited not by the witches, but the saintess.
The deaths of all the wicked women they deemed to be witches, who were caught and persecuted until now, had become meaningless.
“How dare this woman commit adultery with the Saintess’ body. How dare this woman flee and tarnish the very name of God. This immeasurable sin has angered our only God. And so, as the Almighty God proclaims, the Saintess must conceive, and all of man’s sin shall thus be forgiven.”
However, the faces of all those gathered to hear the divine prophecy turned as white as a sheet.
The Saintess shall conceive? Yet, what other sin could be more sinful than this?
According to the holy bible, the saintess shall lose her divine power the moment she was to conceive.
And a saintess who had lost her divine power would be treated as nothing more than a prostitute on the streets. It was an inevitable fate for her to, eventually, take her own life.
But the problem was this— that God’s wrath was limited not only to the saintess.
A man who would commit the sin of disparaging the saintess’ body recklessly would also be met with His wrath.
After hearing the word of God, everyone was rendered speechless, and they could only look alternately between the pope, the cross, and the statue depicting the likeness of Dernaus.
“Then w-who shall impregnate the Saintess?”
Eventually, one of the priests plucked the courage to ask.
It was a question that was in everyone’s minds, so all the priests and devotees raised their heads in unison.
The pope and the clergymen made a perennial vow of celibacy in the presence of God, and so each and every one of them had been castrated.
Therefore, all the people here, except for the devotees, had already lost their ability to reproduce.
“Count Raon Toulouse.”
At that moment.
One man’s name was uttered by Pope Andreas himself.
Then, the young nobleman, who had blond hair and mysterious blue eyes slowly, raised his head.
The second that his name was called, it’s as if he could see the future that shall now unfold before him.
His face, undeniably beautiful, was suddenly full of despair.
“Your Holiness! But I…!”
Raon cried out, but he could not bear to say anything.
When he turned twenty years of age, he lost his parents in an instant. They died in a fire accident when they went on a vacation to their family estate.
All he was left with was his younger sister. However, he could not even pass the year without losing her as well, and in the end, he became alone.
In front of her older brother Raon, she threw herself towards the sky.
God said that His children would be given only pain that they could endure, but Raon could not overcome any of the sufferings that he faced at all.
While he was trapped in an endless pit of despair, it was none other than the current pope who reached out to him.
It was only natural for a citizen of the Devere Empire to serve only one God, but Raon’s faith grew even stronger ever since he met the pope.
Even the deaths of every member of his family, which he suffered through for what seemed like eternity, was something that he overcame.
And he soon believed that it was all the will of God, and that it was his fate to serve Him as soon as he must.
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