The accusation of being a ‘murderer’ barely prevented the priest from amputating a patient’s leg, thus the patient was safe for now.
“Lady Reina, I don’t believe that we of the Utta Temple do not need the assistance of House Chantra.”
The problem was this: the person who stopped the dire situation was not safe.
Without saying a word as she was handed down the news, which felt like a lightning strike over her head, Reina looked up at the high priest. His firm resolution was conveyed clearly from his tightly closed lips.
“Now, as you represent House Chantra, please step down.”
Reina looked to the person next to her, making eye contact with the village chief who had a troubled expression. The village chief shook her head defeatedly, her brows drooping as though there was no other choice here.
This was already an expected result. The argument that brought about today’s disturbance was beyond just the level of ‘intense’. It was understandable that the high priest would not be pleased by what happened here.
‘But I didn’t expect him to kick me out so openly…’
“Despite all the dangers present, thank you for coming to this village. However, please go back now.”
Hearing the blatant order driving her away from the village, Reina clasped her trembling fingers tightly. Thousands of thoughts swarmed in like waves in her mind.
‘If I leave, what about the patients?’
Even after she arrived, the death toll failed to decrease, and this was due to the fact that no effective treatment had been found.
At the very least, however, the number of new confirmed cases had decreased significantly.
Still. She couldn’t believe she was being driven out…
As soon as she faced this fact, she immediately assumed the worst case scenario. Her heart started beating faster and faster.
‘Not only the Launcer village, but the whole territory of Chantra could be in danger.’
So, somehow or another, she must find a way to stay here.
As the young lady of House Chantra quickly made up her mind, she immediately acknowledged how rash she had been in the past.
“What happened earlier today was a mistake on my part, High Priest. I apologize from the bottom of my heart.”
Rather than building trust between the temple and convincing them effectively, all she did was provoke them, let alone help them. Even so, considering the pinch she was in right now, Reina had to persuade the high priest at all costs.
“I had been exceedingly rash. I won’t let that happen again.”
Did he get surprised that she didn’t push forward with the arrogance of a member of the nine households? The high priest’s eyes widened slightly.
But that was just for a very brief moment. Narrowing his wrinkled eyes, he scoffed lightly and turned away from her.
“It was not just a matter of rashness. What you had uttered was an insult to us, who serves the Almighty Utta. And furthermore, it is blasphemy against Utta.”
She had to ask herself: Was her own pride worth more than the lives of the people here?
Reina knelt to the ground, bowing her head so close to the ground that it looked as if she was about to kiss the floor.
Completely bewildered by the desperate act, the high priest stood up from his seat with a start.
“Hoh…! Please don’t do this.”
“Truly, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I was short-sighted. I let out such insulting remarks without any reason. I am reflecting on myself a lot.”
“That changes nothing.”
As if to say that he was not at all open to any further discussions, the old man turned his back against her.
It was hopeless. If she were to leave, this place would quite literally be wrought with pandemonium.
“There is no room for any reconsideration.”
“I sincerely wish to save the people here. It was due to my desperation that I inadvertently spat out those false words. I deeply apologize for my rashness.”
“It would have been better if Your Ladyship reflected upon that repentance before you ever let slip the word ‘murder’ from your lips. That’s enough. Please leave.”
“I wish to stop talking now, ke-hum.”
In the end, as she could no longer endure this, the village chief stepped forward.
“Lady Reina, please go ahead and return to your lodgings first.”
Standing up from her seat as well, the village chief approached Reina and wrapped her hand over the younger woman’s trembling, anxiety-laden hands.
“I can’t go back like this, Chief.”
The village chief raised Reina from the ground and led her a little ways away from the high priest, then the chief whispered to Reina so quietly that no one else could hear.
“You’ve tried persuading him, but it’s impossible to communicate right now. It’s better to back down for now.”
But why was it that this couldn’t go through to her head either? Why was she so impatient that she couldn’t hold back the momentary anger surging through her that made her mess up so badly?
‘I shouldn’t have let myself be carried away by my emotions.’
The most influential religion on the continent was the Utta religion. On that note, its influence was perhaps stronger than that of the Pluntria Empire.
Thus, if they were to decide to use this incident and strike controversy, a very troublesome outcome would most likely occur—of which, Reina herself was responsible for throwing the first seeds of this controversy.
“I’m so sorry, Chief…”
A quivering voice wracked with regret and guilt spilled through Reina’s lips. Hearing this, the village chief shook her head.
“It is the fault of myself and the elder council for not making a better effort in persuading the Utta Temple.”
Wiping at her eyes, Reina dropped her head.
‘I’m the one who should be apologizing…’
Why should you say sorry to me? The words were right at the tip of Reina’s tongue.
Was she subconsciously thinking that the world was easy because she was already living her second life? Was that why she couldn’t deal with the situation with better tact, instead running forward brashly without any brakes while believing in herself so wholly?
‘In the end… it’s all my fault.’
So many things had gotten ruined, Lehman had fallen into the abyss, the plague had worsened further and the citizens of the empire were dying… all because of her.
Reina looked up and stared blankly at the high ceiling above her.
“A carriage headed for the capital will be ready by tomorrow.”
Cutting into the conversation of the two women, the high priest spoke up with the same closed-off tone, expressing how uninterested he was about discussing anything more. The woman’s lips were pursed tightly.
“And, from now on, any members or representatives of House Chantra shall be forbidden entry to our temple. You all shall also not be allowed any contact with the patients.”
Regrets. Despair. Anxiety.
As her head started spinning and as her chest felt more suffocated, it felt as if she had entered a room completely full of steam. Frustration started to rise within her once more, and she didn’t know where it was headed towards.
Who was this anger directed at?
Was it directed towards the temple who refused to listen to her no matter what, or was it directed towards herself as she kept failing to convince them?
Or, was it directed at this world where each and every day was like a relentless cycle of survival of the fittest?
With her head down, she stared blankly at her muddy shoes. They had gotten ruined because of how many times she had run all over the temple and the village.
‘It’s no use trying so hard…’
Then, was there really no other way?
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