Saintess - Chapter 16
He must be somewhere here inside this vast manor, but she could barely find any trace of him.
As the days passed, Agnes began to think.
What in the world do they want from me.
It was not long ago that so many people were pointing fingers at her, angrily calling her ‘obscene saintess’ and shouting at her as if they were about to beat her to death.
Where did all of them go?
However, no matter how hard she tried to think of an answer for days and days, she still had no clue.
In any case, as she tried understanding her situation all by herself this whole time, she finally plucked the courage to ask a maid.
How long would she need to stay in this manor? When could she go back home? Where was the count?
However, the only answer that returned to her was a cold look in the eyes of the maid—a contemptuous gaze.
After that, no matter how many times she tried to ask, nobody paid her any mind.
Then, one day.
The maids busily washed Agnes’s body in the morning and took her to the drawing room.
Before long, a woman wearing snowy white sacred robes entered the drawing room.
The woman said that she had come to the count’s manor today to meet Agnes personally.
Agnes and the woman were the only two people left in the drawing room.
The count was still nowhere to be found even though there was a guest today. Nevertheless, the woman spoke first.
“It’s been a while, Agnes. Have you been well?”
“Who… are you?”
“My introductions are late. I am Saintess Veronica.”
The woman introduced herself as a saintess, and her name was Veronica.
At first, Agnes couldn’t recall who this woman was, but when she faced the gaze that was looking straight at her, she recalled the terrible memory of that horrendous day when she had been subjected to those countless, murderous gazes.
At the same time, she also remembered the pope’s sharp voice who called this name.
After this, the cathedral’s doors had burst open, and a woman had walked in.
The saintess, carrying a silver bowl of holy water.
Then, Agnes also recalled the red blood that had been drawn from her, trickling down to the holy water to create the disastrous white smoke that rose like a cloud.
Everything came to her mind vividly.
Only then did Agnes’s face bloom with deep terror and contempt, revulsion and resentment.
“I was very worried for you, but you seem to be doing better than I thought.”
The woman made the sign of the cross and smiled kindly.
It was a completely different face she made compared to the expressionless face she had during the entirety of the ceremony to determine whether Agnes was indeed a saintess.
As if she was deeply sympathetic of Agnes, who was exceedingly wary of her, the woman continued speaking in a gentle tone.
“I am here today to inform you of your duty.”
It was the very word that Agnes had been waiting for so long to hear. It was the first thing that she had asked the count back then.
When she asked what she should do from now on so that she could return to her family, this was what the count said:
Don’t ever try to die again.
The count’s answer was not enough to resolve the perplexity that Agnes was feeling, but she nodded nonetheless and buried all of her surging questions.
At that time, as his eyes were fixed upon her, he looked so desperate.
“…Please tell me. I’ll do anything for the sake of going back home.”
Agnes, too, was desperate.
She was ready to do anything that could bring her back to her family’s embrace.
“Then listen well, Agnes. You must conceive a child.”
“Pardon…? A child…?”
A child, she said…?
“Are you telling me to get pregnant with my husband’s child? But my husband is…”
After her husband had fallen ill with leprosy, he had long since been unable to father a child.
His reproductive organ had decomposed to the point that it could no longer be recognized. Her husband could not even urinate properly without Agnes having to press down on his decayed genitals to help him do so.
Observing Agnes until now, Veronica slowly continued.
She looked ever so reverent that it felt like she was reciting a prayer.
“You must carry the child of Count Raon Toulouse. That is your duty, Agnes.”
“W-What do you mean…!”
The revelation that spilled through Veronica’s lips was such a terrible thing that Agnes would never have dared to imagine.
For her to say that Agnes must carry another man’s child…
Agnes’s face became bright red, an indescribable emotion billowing through her.
No one else but a saintess, who was called God’s envoy, was the one demanding Agnes to do such an inhumane thing.
Utterly shocked, Agnes’s entire body started trembling. As she tried to answer, she had to squeeze out her voice.
“T-That’s impossible! I-I’m a married woman! I have a husband!”
“Of course. We are well aware.”
“If you know, then how could you tell me to do such an impossible thing! Shouldn’t you, a saintess, know better than anyone else that it is a sin for a wedded woman to lay with another man?”
“Calm down, Agnes.”
“I-Isn’t it one of the Ten Commandments that a married person must not commit adultery? Am I wrong?”
Religious education in the Devere Empire was a privilege granted only to the imperial family, the nobles and the upper and middle class citizens of the country.
The commoners also believed in God and followed Him wholeheartedly, but of course, they were never given proper religious education.
So, let alone the contents of the Ten Commandments, they tended not to know even the basics such as the beginning or the end of the Lord’s Prayer.
It was for this reason that Veronica was taken aback when Agnes mentioned the Ten Commandments.
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