Completed ― The Obedient Saint Was Made a Scapegoat, so She Decided To Be Reborn as a Villainess

Completed ― The Obedient Saint Was Made a Scapegoat, so She Decided To Be Reborn as a Villainess

Chapter 1

Today, the church revolves around Noemi-sama as usual.

As someone who took the position of Virgil’s fiancée, which was originally supposed to belong to her, I am nothing but a nuisance to everyone.

“Noemi-sama is always so lovely and kind. She’s such a wonderful person.”

“Absolutely! The other day, she even used healing magic on my rough hands.”

“Compared to her, Anna-san is…”

“I can’t forgive her for becoming His Highness’s fiancée instead of Noemi-sama.”

I hear the Plumes talking behind the wall.

I involuntarily stiffen up. This is not particularly unusual, but I never get used to it and always end up lowering my head and escaping from the scene.

I, Anna, was an orphan.

When I was a baby, I was left in front of the orphanage door with a paper with my name written on it, and I was raised by the director who found me.

Life in the orphanage was cramped, harsh, and not very pleasant.

I am very grateful to the director who saved me from dying if left alone, but I couldn’t handle her piercing gaze.

I had a strange power.

When I put my hands together and prayed, I could heal injuries and illnesses or purify evil energy.

This is a light magic ability, and those who possess this talent can work as a Plume (similar to a sister in other places) at the church if they wish.

Furthermore, I sometimes saw small lights dancing around me. I often found them in natural places such as forests and waterways, as well as in sacred places like churches, and occasionally even in the city.

No matter where I went, if I strained my eyes, I could always see at least one of those lights.

The director, the head of the institution, told me that I had the ability to perceive the presence of spirits and that it was a much rarer ability than light magic.

Although I could only see the light and not the spirits themselves, it was reassuring to think that something invisible was by my side.

This information was quickly conveyed to the largest church in the country located in the capital city, and I was to live there.

Just working at the church in the capital city seemed inappropriate for me, a mere orphan, but on top of that, I was to become a saint, one rank higher than a plume. It felt like a heavy burden for me.

The church in the capital city was much larger and more magnificent than the one in the village where I had lived before.

The Plumes who welcomed me were all smiling, and although I was nervous about receiving such a grand title as saint, being surrounded by such a friendly atmosphere put my mind at ease.

However, their friendliness lasted only until they found out that I was an orphan.

This church is filled with daughters of wealthy families, and there is not a single plume who is of common birth, let alone an orphan.

Just because I was able to see spirits, I was given the title of saint, one rank higher than a plume. It’s no wonder that I earned their resentment.

This church has a slightly unusual class system. At the top is the bishop, followed by the saint, and then the sisters called “plumes.”

Becoming a saint is not based on reasons such as having worked at the church for a long time or having excellent work performance. Only those who can perceive spirits can receive the title of saint.

People who can even slightly perceive spirits are extremely rare, and there are currently only two of us in this country: Noemi-sama and myself.

Just because we have a valuable ability doesn’t mean that those around us will recognize it. On the contrary, it became a reason for them to criticize me as an impudent orphan.

Chapter 2

There were commoners in the church besides the Plumes.

They mainly handled the church’s chores, and the Plumes looked down on them in some way.

The reason why the Plumes worked in this church was not so much to serve God, but to increase their value in noble society by spending a certain period of time in the church.

Because they were here for such reasons, they naturally did not have the impartial kindness of a sister.

At first, I felt closer to the commoner girls who did the dirty work than to the Plumes of noble birth.

However, those girls seemed to resent me for being a saint while they were also commoners. They made unpleasant faces every time I talked to them.

I couldn’t fit in with either the Plumes or the commoners.

I took on healing work and did chores like washing dishes and cleaning as much as I could to try to be accepted, but everyone just looked at me with boredom.

There is a saint in the church who is the opposite of me and loved by everyone.

Her name is Noemi-sama. She is from the Count family and is one year younger than me at sixteen. She seems to have a weak body and cannot work outside for long, but everyone’s faces light up just by her smiling.

Unlike my plain appearance with brown hair and chestnut eyes, Noemi-sama was a beautiful woman with blonde hair and blue eyes.

There are only two saints in the church, Noemi-sama and myself, but naturally everyone looks at us differently.

Noemi-sama is loved, worshipped, and cherished by everyone, while I am ignored by everyone.

However, Noemi-sama herself treats me equally without discrimination.

When I am cleaning, she says “It’s tough,” and when I return late from my healing work, she smiles and says “Thank you for your hard work.”

People around Noemi-sama praise her even more for being so kind.

I never felt like I belonged in the church since I first came here. However, an event happened that made it worse.

I was chosen to be the fiancée of Virgil, the first prince of our country.

Virgil was handsome and popular among the Plumes in the church.

Since this church has a deep connection with the royal family, it is not uncommon for the prince himself to come here. However, he always treated everyone kindly without being arrogant.

Even so, he seemed to enjoy being around Noemi-sama in particular.

One day, someone said to Noemi-sama, “Are you going to marry Prince Virgil?” and the person next to them agreed that they would make a good match. I thought the same thing.

However, one day I was summoned by the bishop and informed that I had been chosen to be Virgil’s fiancée.

I panicked and tried to refuse, but I had no right to do so, and the bishop simply told me it was a decision that had been made.

In this country, it is customary for royalty to marry a saint from the church for generations.

There are currently two saints in the church, so either one could have been chosen, but unfortunately, I have the ability to see the light of spirits, while Noemi-sama has the ability to hear the whispers of spirits.

I don’t know what criteria they used, but in this country’s spirit studies, seeing is considered more important than hearing.

Therefore, I was judged to be more suitable as the prince’s fiancée.

Chapter 3

When the bishop told the people in the church about it, the Plumes glared at me all at once and surrounded Noemi-sama with worried faces.

At first, Noemi-sama laughed and said she was fine, but as everyone comforted her, she gradually began to cry with tears in her eyes.

“Noemi-sama! Please don’t cry.”

“I’m sorry… Even though it can’t be helped, it’s just so painful…”

The Plumes glared at me with icy eyes. I wanted to disappear from this place right away. I felt like I had committed a terrible crime.

“Anna-san, what were you thinking? Didn’t you see that Prince Virgil had feelings for Noemi-sama?”

The Plumes crowded around me.

“Well, I refused him, but the bishop…”

“You don’t need excuses! Have you thought about Noemi-sama’s feelings? If you had seriously refused, the bishop wouldn’t have forced you into an engagement.”

“You can’t expect to be loved by the prince if you become his fiancée instead of Noemi-sama. Do you understand?”

“I’m sorry…”

I apologized desperately and promised to apologize to the bishop again. However, no matter how many times I asked, the result was the same, and in the end, I was scolded for going against the orders of the royal family.

In the end, everyone looked at me with cold eyes because I couldn’t overturn the decision.

Living in the church was always like that for me.

However, there was one thing that I looked forward to every month. It was the day when I gave blessings to the knights.

In the church, we called the knights who risked their lives every day to protect the country to the hall once a month and gave them blessings so that they would not be injured in battle.

I always looked forward to that day because Roland-sama was among the knights.

“Long time no see, Anna. Please take care of me today too.”

My heart raced at the sound of his voice after a month. Among many Plumes, Roland-sama approached me first this time too. I nodded and grabbed his hand with both hands.

I prayed earnestly so that Roland-sama would not be injured on the battlefield and would recover quickly even if he was injured.

Then, light danced and swayed and was absorbed into Roland-sama.

“It’s over.”

“Thank you, Anna. When you cast a blessing spell on me, it makes me feel better.”

Roland-sama said with a smile.

Despite being only twenty-two years old, Roland-sama serves as the vice-squad leader in the knight order. He is a beautiful young man with black hair and blue eyes, and despite his higher position, he always has a gentle attitude, making him very popular among the Plumes.

It seems that Roland-sama comes from a certain Baron family, but he joined the knight order to learn a trade since his older brother would inherit the family.

However, he complained before that he might be called back home due to his brother leaving home like eloping.

Many people want to cast protective magic on popular Roland-sama, but he always walks towards me first. That made me very happy.

“I’m leaving for an expedition from the day after tomorrow. So I might not be able to come next month or even the month after that.”

“Well, is that so?”

“I’ll miss Anna.”

Roland-sama said sadly. I felt my heart sink. I won’t be able to see Roland-sama for a while. And since it’s an expedition, there might be danger. I became anxious and took Roland-sama’s hand again.

“Anna?”

“I’ll cast protective magic on you again. So you’ll be protected from danger.”

I closed my eyes and focused on my hand. The light danced again and was absorbed into Roland-sama.

“Thank you, Anna. You’re reassuring.”

Roland-sama said that to me, and I managed to return a smile.

Chapter 4

***

The people in the church who are always cold to me have suddenly become kind for some reason in the past few days.

When I am cleaning, they thank me and say “You always help us.” When I use healing magic on sick people who come to the church, they come to help me with a smile, even though they usually ignore me.

Moreover, even the bishop called me to his office and praised me, saying “You are doing really well.”

Of course, it is nice to be treated like this, but I am more confused by the sudden change.

Then one afternoon, I was told the reason why everyone suddenly became kind.

“Anna. Do you know that this country has been hit by disasters recently?”

“Yes. I know.”

The weather has been strange lately, and floods and landslides have caused damage all over the country. In addition, earthquakes have been frequent for the past two weeks.

Today, I just came back from visiting a facility where people whose homes were destroyed by disasters gathered.

“If these disasters continue, the country will suffer a great deal of damage. So, there was a consultation from the royal family to perform a ‘sacred ritual’ to calm the disaster.”

“A sacred ritual…?”

As soon as that name was mentioned, I felt my body stiffen. The sacred ritual is a ceremony where someone with a certain level of magical power who works in the church is put into a coffin while still alive and enshrined in a sealed room in the back of the church.

Of course, those who are put in a coffin will eventually die. In other words, it’s a human sacrifice.

As I thought about why he was telling me such a thing, a bad feeling made my spine freeze.

“Anna. I want you to be the main character in the sacred ritual.”

The bishop looked into my eyes and told me firmly.

“B-But, I will die, won’t I…?”

“It is said that those enshrined in the sacred ritual can live happily in God’s kingdom forever. There is nothing to fear. If only one of you makes the decision, this country will be saved.”

“I, I…”

My legs trembled with fear. It was no joke to be put in a coffin while still alive.

Imagining a body that couldn’t move and air gradually thinning out, I shook my head desperately.

“You don’t have to give me an answer right away. Let’s take some time to think about it. However, you who are loved by the spirits would be the most effective in this role. Please think carefully.”

With a kind smile, the bishop told me to leave the room.

I had already made up my mind without needing any time to think. I didn’t want to do something like that.

The next morning, when the daily meeting began in the hall, the Plumes looked around nervously. As soon as the meeting ended, they all approached me at once.

“Anna-san, I heard you were chosen as the main character for the sacred ritual? That’s amazing, as expected of Saint-sama.”

“It’s a great honor. I’m envious.”

They talk to me as if I have already been chosen to be a sacrifice.

“Well, I haven’t agreed to it yet…”

“But you will, won’t you? Anna-san is a kind person. You wouldn’t abandon the country when it’s in crisis.”

“That’s right. We all talked about how Anna-san would do it.”

A fake smile spreads throughout the hall.

Do these people know that I will die if I receive the sacred ritual? They must know. That’s why they look so happy.

Chapter 5

“Hey, everyone. Anna-san is still undecided, so it’s not good to say things that put pressure on her.”

Suddenly, Noemi-sama approached and scolded the Plumes. The Plumes were silenced by Noemi-sama’s warning.

“Anna-san, you don’t have to force yourself. It’s terrifying to be put in a coffin while still alive. I feel the same way.”

“Noemi-sama…”

When Noemi-sama considered my fear alone, I felt a sense of relief as if all the strength had left my body. She really is a good person.

When I tried to express my gratitude, Noemi-sama smiled and said,

“It’s okay. Anna-san can choose whichever she likes. It is said that the effect of the sacred ritual is higher when a person with high magical power becomes a sacrifice. If you refuse, I might be asked about it…

But even if that happens, I will fulfill my duty properly. So you can decide as you wish.”

It was a smile as beautiful as a goddess. Her eyes were full of love, and her eyebrows were slightly furrowed in concern.

The face of the kind saint who prioritizes my will even though she also feels fear.

At that moment, I realized that I no longer had the option to refuse.

“Noemi-sama! Please don’t say such sad things!”

“That’s right. We would be so lonely if you were gone…”

The Plumes surrounded Noemi-sama and spoke earnestly with serious expressions. Just a moment ago, they had urged me to undergo the sacred ritual, but now Noemi-sama was saying seriously that I didn’t need to undergo such a cruel ritual.

Noemi-sama turned a tearful smile towards them and said, “But if it’s to protect the people of the country, then there’s no other way.”

As I gazed at her loving expression, a voice in my head said, “It’s okay now.”

After all, I was just a commoner, an orphan, and a person who had never been needed by anyone. If that was the case, wouldn’t it be best to die here and use my life for the sake of the country?

The Plumes’ attitude was not wrong. It would be better for me to die than for Noemi-sama, who was loved by everyone, to die. That was only natural.

Besides, if there was something that I refused and it got back to Noemi-sama… I would be met with even colder stares and days like needles on a clock.

I would be hated by everyone in the church and be called a coward who sacrificed Noemi-sama for my own sake.

That night, I went to the bishop and told him that I wanted to receive the sacred ritual.

The bishop showed a smile on his face and praised me for making a good decision. There was no hint of guilt in his expression about me dying during the ritual.

I knew it. It didn’t matter.

But there was one thing… I felt a twinge of pain in my chest when I realized that meeting Roland-sama was the last time we would see each other.

Chapter 6

Ten days later, the sacred ritual was to be held.

The location was a room at the back of the temple that is usually closed off. I was made to change from my black church clothes into a pure white dress and was given a bouquet that matched the dress. Then, I entered the room.

I couldn’t help but think that I looked like a bride, and a dry laugh escaped me.

There was a large window at the top of the room, and sunlight was shining in. Contrary to my expectations, the room was quite bright.

The bishop and Plumes who had already gathered in the room were all smiling and looking at me.

It was such a peaceful atmosphere that I almost forgot that I was about to be put in a coffin and killed.

However, when I saw the sturdy white coffin behind the bishops, my heart suddenly became heavy.

I slowly approached the bishops.

“Anna, I want to express my sincere respect for your decision. You made a good decision.”

“…If it is for the people living in this country, then my life is trivial.”

“Excellent. I am proud that a saint like you is here.”

The bishop said that and applauded. The Plumes followed suit, and the room was filled with loud applause.

At that moment, there was a sound of the back door opening.

“…Anna-san!”

It was Noemi-sama who appeared. She seemed to have hurried over and was breathing heavily.

Beside her was Prince Virgil, my fiancé. Come to think of it, I wonder what will happen to our engagement now.

If the bishop recommended it, there shouldn’t be any problem.

However, I feel a little resentful that they didn’t allow me to break off the engagement when I asked before.

As I was thinking about that, Noemi-sama ran over to me and tightly held my hand.

“Anna-san, this is goodbye. I’m going to miss you…”

“Thank you. Only Noemi-sama would say something like that.”

“I’ve been worried about what happened before. You know, after that gathering, I said that if you refused, the responsibility would fall on me. I thought you might be worried about that because you have a strong sense of responsibility…”

Noemi-sama bit her lip sadly. She’s so kind to me, even though I’m like this…I remind myself of that.

“No, it was my decision. Please don’t worry about it.”

“But…”

“Anna, can I talk to you for a moment?”

The prince next to Noemi-sama said with a serious expression.

“What is it?”

“There’s something I have to tell you. Because you became a human sacrifice, Noemi became my new fiancée.”

“Well, that’s good news. She’s much more suited to be your partner than I am. Congratulations.”

“I’m sorry. Your sacrifice will never be in vain. I swear to create a good country.”

The prince said that with a serious expression. Noemi also nodded strongly beside him.

Some of the Plumes were moved to tears by this touching scene.

“…It’s time. Let’s start the ceremony.”

The bishop said solemnly, and the ceremony began.

The bishop read long prayers.

After the prayer ended, several Plumes carried me and slowly put me into the coffin. As soon as I looked up at the ceiling from inside the narrow coffin, I felt my body stiffen, sensing that the end was near.

“Thank you, Anna. I won’t forget your devotion.”

The bishop said that and closed the lid of the coffin. My vision turned black, and I couldn’t see anything.

I heard a click as the lock closed.

That was the sound of me being separated from the world.

Chapter 7

***

When the bishops left the room, the coffin was enveloped in complete silence.

The space inside was narrow, and I couldn’t even move my arms. My eyes had become accustomed to the darkness, but all I could see was the wood grain of the coffin.

The feeling of despair welled up inside me when I realized that I would have to stay like this until I died.

There should still be enough air, but the closed-off situation made me feel suffocated. Not only psychologically, but also because I thought that eventually there would be no air left and my body trembled.

However, I knew that I had no choice but to endure it.

I wished my life would end soon. If possible, I wanted to die in my sleep. My wish was in vain, and my consciousness remained clear.

***

A long time seemed to have passed. I didn’t know what day it was, but it felt like two or three days had passed.

Surprisingly, it seemed that there was still enough air, and although I felt suffocated, it seemed that there was no need to worry about dying from lack of oxygen for a while.

At first, I felt so hungry that my stomach hurt because I hadn’t eaten anything, but now I seem to have gotten used to it and don’t feel much pain.

However, I couldn’t get used to not being able to move my body at all. My head was filled with impossible wishes like wanting to stretch out my arms and legs outside.

While thinking that I wanted to die soon, I forcibly closed my eyes to calm my clear mind.

Before closing my eyes, I felt a small light pass just above my face.

***

Days passed without any changes except for occasional lights passing by my face, which seemed to be spirits.

Although it felt like a week had passed, I was still alive in this small coffin. I wondered if there was an air hole somewhere.

Moreover, I haven’t eaten anything since being put in the coffin. They say that you can survive for a while without food as long as you have water, but I haven’t even had a drop of water, and I didn’t understand why I was okay.

Feeling depressed, I concluded that being trapped in this inconvenient space made time feel longer than it actually was.

It might be a long time before I am released from this place.

“Seriously, that person is such an idiot. If you flatter them a little, they’ll volunteer to be a human sacrifice.”

My body jumped at the sudden sound of a voice. How many days had it been since I heard someone’s voice? I listened carefully to the voice.

“You’re in a coffin while still alive, right? I would never do that.”

“Me neither. While alive, we’re treated like maids doing chores all the time, and when we die, we’re used and killed. It’s a miserable life.”

“Exactly. I would never do something like that.”

Laughter echoed outside the coffin. I recognized the voices. They were the two who always followed Noemi-sama around and worshipped her among the Plumes.

“Even so, Noemi-sama, it worked out well for you.”

“Yes! It’s really great that the engagement with Prince Virgil was decided without any problems. But if Anna-san hadn’t shamelessly clung to the position of fiancée, Noemi-sama would have become the fiancée as a matter of course.”

“When the engagement between His Highness and Anna-san was decided, I couldn’t bear to see Noemi-sama. She must have been in pain, but she behaved bravely…”

“Did His Highness propose this time too? He suggested that if they used the disaster as an excuse and made Anna-san a sacrifice in the sacred ritual, No one would complain if Noemi-sama became the fiancée instead.”

“That’s right. The bishop was also very supportive. After all, if they perform the sacred ritual in the church, we can receive a lot of rewards from the royal family.”

“Even so, Noemi-sama hesitated until the end because she felt guilty. I really thought she was a kind person.”

I couldn’t understand the meaning of their words halfway through.

Still, I repeated their words in my head many times and desperately tried to accept the unbearable truth.

…Am I to be sacrificed for Prince Virgil and Noemi-sama to become engaged? Will I be killed for such a thing?

I know that no one will mourn my death. However, I thought I was going to die for the sake of the country. I never imagined it would be for such a selfish reason…

“But, is it really necessary to go this far to break off the engagement? Noemi-sama is a saint, so it’s okay for the prince to marry her if he likes her.”

“There are some high-ranking nobles who oppose it. They believe that the prince should marry the most capable person to bring glory to the country.”

“Even if they talk about capability, it’s not just about having the power to see the light of spirits, which may or may not be true.”

“Some people value that ability. I don’t understand it, though. Noemi-sama is superior in beauty, education, and family background.”

I could only listen to their voices.

Even if I wanted to escape now, there was nothing I could do. Still, I tried to push up the lid of the coffin with my hand, but it didn’t budge.

Chapter 8

“Hey, did you hear something just now?”

“That’s impossible. Don’t say scary things.”

“But, it came from the coffin… Hey, you don’t think Anna-san is still alive, do you?”

“That’s impossible. It’s been two weeks already.”

My heart skipped a beat at those words. Two weeks? Have I really been alive in this coffin for two weeks?

I lifted my arms, which had lost all strength, and desperately pushed on the lid. But no matter how many times I tried, the result was always the same.

“Hey, I still hear something.”

“Could it be Anna-san’s ghost?”

“Stop it, don’t say weird things! Let’s finish cleaning quickly and leave.”

I heard the two of them frantically cleaning and leaving. Inside the coffin, it became quiet again and I could only sit there silently.

All that was left in my heart was emptiness.

Is this how my life will end? Deceived, used, and then treated with contempt as a sacrifice.

What was my life for?

“…I hate it.”

Unconsciously, the words slipped out of my mouth.

“I hate it, hate it, hate it!! I absolutely hate it!!!”

A voice came from deep within my stomach. I thrashed around and moved my arms and legs. The hard coffin didn’t budge and only caused pain in my body, but I continued to struggle regardless.

Why did I listen to those people?

What was the point of my life? Is this how it ends?

My heart beats faster. I feel an anger that I have never felt before.

I am a hopeless idiot.

I knew from the beginning that those people would never accept me, no matter what they did.

Yet, I listened to them, apologized for everything when blamed, and did menial tasks without being asked, trying to gain their recognition.

No, I don’t want to end up like this.

Why is Noemi so worshipped anyway?

Her gentle smile doesn’t look like acting at all. She always pretends to be a good girl and says things like “You’re not at fault,” while playing the victim to those around her.

I knew it was all an act. But I felt like my heart was dirtier for thinking badly of Noemi, so I desperately tried to hide it.

I bite my lips so hard that they feel like they’re bleeding. I won’t let it end like this. If it ends, I want to see everyone suffer. I will never forgive them.

At that moment, a light resembling a spirit approached my face again.

I’m starting to get angry at the spirits too.

Why am I, who has the protection of the spirits, treated so coldly? Has anything good ever come from having their protection? I can’t remember a single thing.

On the contrary, being protected by them made me the fiancée of that damn prince and only brought negative consequences.

Anger towards the spirits wells up inside me.

If the light in front of me is really a spirit, then show me that you can be useful at least once.

“Hey, you’re a spirit, right? You can hear my words.”

A low voice that I had never heard before came out of my throat.

“If you can hear me, then help me! Get me out of here right now!”

I screamed as loud as I could in the darkness where I couldn’t see anything. I was about to lose control with anger.

Then suddenly, the inside of the coffin lit up. I didn’t expect anything to happen, so my shoulders jumped in surprise.

“Leave it to me, Anna! I’ll help you!”

“. . . Huh?”

Between the lid of the coffin and my chest, a light was swaying softly. The light gradually took on a human shape.

The light completely transformed into a human figure, and a tiny little girl no bigger than my palm appeared.

She had pink hair with a red rose on it and bright sky-blue eyes like the spring sky. Transparent wings grew on her back.

No way, this is…

“You’re a spirit?”

“Yes. I came out because Anna called me!”

I stared at the spirit with my mouth wide open. She smiled happily at me.

Chapter 9

The spirit is flying around happily in the small coffin. My mind couldn’t keep up with reality at all.

“Um, are you really a spirit?”

“Yes! I’m Rose, Anna’s guardian spirit. I’m so happy you allowed me to come out for the first time.”

Rose says while flapping her wings.

“What do you mean by ‘allowed you to come out’? Have you been coming out whenever I ordered you to?”

“Yes, that’s right. Spirits like me cannot appear without our master’s orders. It’s troublesome.”

Rose crosses her arms and nods with a serious face.

All I could see until now was the light of the spirits. I thought that I could only see the clear form of a spirit in a more powerful saint that would be recorded in history books.

But to be able to see it so easily like this…

I remember that I had just decided that it wouldn’t end like this. I can’t just be mesmerized by this surprising phenomenon.

“You’re a spirit, right? Can you get me out of here?”

“Of course! It’s easy!”

As Rose says this and raises both hands, the lid of the coffin opens easily and falls to the floor. I stare at the scene in amazement.

“See, it’s open!”

Rose said that with a proud look on her face. I timidly sat up, feeling pain all over my body. It was the first time I had taken a position other than lying down in a long time.

It was dark outside the coffin, but the moonlight shining through the window was nostalgic, and tears flowed unconsciously.

“Even while Anna was trapped, I kept sending her strength so she wouldn’t die! I’m a capable girl, you know?”

Rose said, puffing out her chest. Has it really been two weeks since then? She was kind to do that, but it was a big deal.

However, I reconsidered and thought that I should be grateful for that now.

I am alive thanks to Rose. If I’m alive, I can do anything. For example, I can make trouble for the people in the church or Prince Virgil.

“Anna, can I be of use to you? Won’t you make a contract with me?”

Rose sat on my lap and stared at me with big eyes.

“A contract?”

“Yes, a contract! Since I’m Anna’s guardian spirit and we have great compatibility, if we make a formal contract, you’ll be able to use much more powerful magic than you can now. Let’s make a contract!”

Rose enthusiastically urged me on. Without hesitation, I nodded.

“Okay. Let’s do it. A contract.”

“Really?”

“Yes. What do I need to do?”

According to Rose, making a contract is as simple as placing the spirit on your palm and reciting a spell. I recited the spell as prompted.

Then, everything around me was enveloped in a dazzling light in an instant.

My body was throbbing with pain. It felt like I was losing myself.

“What… is this…”

My voice became hoarse from the shock. My whole body felt strange. My consciousness gradually became hazy.

When the pain and dizziness finally subsided, I was breathing heavily.

Rose looked pleased as she held up a mirror that she had taken out from somewhere and pointed it towards me.

“Contract complete! From today, Anna and I are one entity.”

“Who is this?”

The woman reflected in the mirror was not the familiar plain-looking girl with brown hair and eyes. Instead, there was an incredibly beautiful person with long, vivid red hair, cat-like golden eyes, and lips as red as blood. I had never seen anyone so beautiful before.

“When Anna and I make a contract, you become like this. It’s so beautiful,” Rose said with a smile.

The woman in the mirror and Rose looked somewhat alike. However, I never thought that just by making a contract with a spirit, my appearance would change.

After staring at the mirror in shock for a while, I asked Rose what I needed to do first instead of being surprised.

“Rose, I want to escape from here. How can I do it?”

“That’s easy! Do you want to escape dramatically or quietly without being noticed? You can choose whichever you like!”

Rose said while flapping her wings. My heart was pounding so loudly that it hurt. I felt more excited than ever before.

Chapter 10

***

I chose to secretly escape without being found by anyone.

I put the flower doll that Rose made for me in the coffin.

This doll was made from flowers by Rose’s magic, and it was so intricately made that it was impossible to tell it was fake at first glance. With this, I shouldn’t have to worry about being caught for a while.

Thanks to Rose, I was able to easily escape from the church.

She could open any lock and easily put people to sleep with her magic if she passed them in the hallway.

While impressed, I couldn’t help but think that if I had such a convenient spirit nearby, I could have lived more easily if I had just summoned her before.

“Anna, where are we going after leaving the church?”

Rose asked me with hopeful eyes.

“Well…for now, let’s leave the capital and go to another city.”

“That sounds great! Shall I bring out a carriage for us?”

Rose said excitedly while flying around in circles.

When we went outside, she really did bring out a carriage that looked like a rose. It was pulled by a white horse that looked very noble and the carriage itself glimmered faintly.

“Let’s go, Anna.”

Rose pulled my sleeve with her small hand, and I got into the carriage.

By the time we arrived at the nearest city from the capital, the sky had already turned white.

For now, I decided to start with finding a place to stay. Rose turned flowers blooming on the roadside into jewels and turned discarded cloth scraps into silk, so the lodging fee was easily saved.

I worried that they might turn back into their original form later… but she shook her head vigorously. It doesn’t matter to me. From now on, I will only think about myself and live my life.

When I was in the coffin, I strongly thought that I didn’t want this kind of ending.

I finally got out. This time, I will live as I please, even if I have to kick someone down, instead of living a boring life where I just obey others.

As soon as I arrived at the inn, I started preparing. There is something I have already decided to do.

I will prepare here and go back to that church once again.

***

After spending about a month in that town, I rode in the carriage that Rose had arranged for me and headed back to the church in the capital where I had been living.

I was wearing a red dress with black lace trim that I would never have thought of wearing before.

Sitting across from me in the carriage was a gentleman with pink hair wearing a white suit. This was Rose, who had transformed. Apparently, spirits can transform into anyone they like regardless of gender. Rose was smiling as she looked at me.

“Anna…I mean, Roseline starting today?”

“That’s right. Be careful not to use the name Anna.”

“I understand! Leave it to me.”

“Also, since you’re currently transformed into a man, it’s better to use appropriate language.”

When I said that, Rose covered her mouth and mumbled.

From today on, I decided to live as a human named Roseline and abandon the name Anna. Since my appearance had changed completely, no one at the church would recognize me.

The condition for working at the church is to have even a little bit of light magic power, and if you have the ability to perceive spirits, you can become a saint.

Now, I could certainly become a saint again. This time, I won’t let myself be used. I’ll make full use of my title as a saint.

While I was lost in thought, the carriage arrived at the church.

“Excuse me, I would like to meet with the bishop.”

I spoke to one of the two gatekeepers, who turned around with a look of annoyance. However, as soon as our eyes met, his eyes widened and he broke into a big smile.

“Oh, please come in! What brings you here?”

“I can’t say much, but I have something to discuss.”

“Understood. I’ll let you in right away. Please come this way.”

I followed the gatekeeper, wondering if it was okay to let someone in who they didn’t know the purpose of.

“The bishop has a visitor.”

The gatekeeper informed the bishop through the communication device at the entrance and then left with a smile.

I knew that man from my time with Anna. He had mocked me as if I were a servant, but now he was treating me with such a different attitude that it left me dumbfounded.

Chapter 11

Rose and I, who had transformed, were led to the reception room.

The bishop looked at me with a puzzled expression for a moment, but when he noticed the diamond necklace and gold bracelet I was wearing, he immediately smiled and said, “Please have a seat.”

“I apologize for coming here suddenly. I am Roseline of the Marquis Ferrier family. This is my older brother, the head of our family.”

As I said this with a smile, the bishop gave a vague smile and looked at us as if trying to figure something out. There is no such thing as the Marquis Ferrier family. He must be confused by the fact that we said a name he has never heard of, even though it should be Marquis.

“Excuse me, but is Roseline-sama from this country?”

“Yes, that’s right. Haven’t you heard of the Ferrier family?”

“Sorry to say, but I haven’t heard of it…”

Rose reached out her hand towards the bishop as he was about to speak. A light floated from Rose’s hand and flew towards the bishop.

“Oh, you’re Marquis Ferrier’s Ojou-sama. I know her well.”

The bishop said with empty eyes. Rose and I hid our almost-laughing faces and looked at each other.

Rose apparently has the ability to hypnotize people and make them believe any absurd lie as true. With this, in the bishop’s mind, I became an Ojou-sama who was raised in the prestigious Marquis family.

“What brings the Ferrier family’s Ojou-sama here?”

“Well, I suddenly feel like my magical power has increased recently. Also, I can see spirits now, even though I’ve never been able to see them before.”

“Spirits?”

The bishop’s eyes widened. It was natural for him to be surprised. Those who can perceive spirits are so rare that only Anna and Noemi were found after more than ten years of searching, and they work as saints in the church.

“Yes. Isn’t it a rule that those who can see spirits work as saints in the church? That’s why I came here.”

“That’s appreciated. However, the Marquis’ daughter doesn’t have to choose to work in the church…”

“I want to use my ability in the right way since I received it.”

Saying that, the bishop nodded hesitantly.

“Shouldn’t you show some evidence that you can see spirits?”

“Yes. Can I take the test that everyone who works in the church takes?”

“Of course. Let me administer it.”

When I nodded, the bishop brought something like a birdcage from the next room. I looked at it with nostalgia.

I took this test when I came to the church with Anna. At that time, the inside of the cage was faintly glowing, and it looked like there was nothing inside, but now I could clearly see its form.

“Can you see anything inside this cage?”

The bishop asks me that question.

I stare into the cage intently.

It was a boy with blue hair. He was staring at me with a displeased expression. His semi-transparent wings, like Rose’s, were torn in places.

“I can see it. it’s a little boy spirit.”

“W-What. . .”

“His hair is blue. His eyes are green. He’s wearing a suit like a human and a cute coat. However, his wings are torn, and his face has many scratches. He must have struggled a lot inside.”

The bishop was looking at me with wide eyes. Meanwhile, the spirit in the cage also looked surprised and was looking at me.

“C-Can you really see it that clearly?”

“Yes, I can see it well.”

“I can’t see it at all. However, what you just said matches the characteristics of the spirit in the cage that the saint fifty years ago told us about.”

As I was about to nod to the bishop’s words, an unpleasant thought crossed my mind. Did he say saint fifty years ago? No way…

“Bishop, are you saying that this spirit has been trapped in this cage for fifty years?”

“Huh? Yes. It has been passed down in our church for generations as a test to distinguish saints…”

“Don’t be ridiculous! It’s unacceptable to trap a spirit for fifty years just for that! Let him out right away!”

As I shouted, the bishop became flustered and said it couldn’t be done that easily. I was completely amazed. When I was Anna, I couldn’t even see the spirits’ forms, so I didn’t know that the spirit inside was so battered and trapped like this.

Chapter 12

Since the bishop showed no signs of releasing the spirit, I decided to ask Rose to use her hypnosis from earlier.

“Is that okay? Hurry up and release this spirit. I will take care of it.”

“However… No, I mean, yes! I understand! This spirit should be with someone like Roseline-sama.”

“That’s right. Spirits should not be confined by someone like you.”

The bishop, with empty eyes, nodded repeatedly in agreement.

He lifted the cage and placed it on his lap, and the spirit inside looked up at us with a wary eye.

When I said, “Nice to meet you. From today on, I am your master,” the spirit turned its eyes away.

Afterwards, the bishop explained the rules of the church that I already knew.

Since I was able to clearly see the spirit during the test, I will be treated as a saint.

I also learned that there is another saint in this church named Noemi.

“Noemi is the daughter of the Count family and is loved by everyone in the church.”

“Oh, I’d like to meet her.”

“Shall I call her here? Hey, you Plume over there.”

The bishop called over a nearby Plume and ordered them to bring Noemi. A few minutes later, Noemi arrived.

“Noemi, sorry for calling you out so suddenly.”

“No, Bishop. What can I do for you?”

“Well, a new saint is coming today. This is Miss Roseline Ferrier. She can see spirits.”

The bishop happily announced it, and Noemi’s eyes widened. Her face immediately twisted into an unpleasant expression.

Perhaps she thought she had finally gotten rid of the other annoying saint and become the only one, but now a new woman who could see spirits had appeared, making her feel annoyed again.

However, Noemi’s twisted face was only for a moment, and she quickly approached with a friendly smile.

“I’m Noemi. Nice to meet you, Roseline-sama. Please feel free to ask me anything if you have any questions.”

Noemi extended her hand and said so. I returned the smile but didn’t take her hand.

“Well, you’re a lovely person. You’re also a saint, right? That means you can see spirits.”

I asked even though I knew the answer.

“…I can’t see spirits. But I know that they are flying around me. Sometimes I hear the sound of wings or whispers.”

After briefly stumbling over her words, Noemi said with a smile.

“Well, that’s amazing too.”

As she showed an exaggerated surprise, Noemi breathed a sigh of relief.

“Nice to meet you, Noemi-san. I don’t know anything about the church, so please take care of me.”

Saying so, Noemi nodded and said “Of course.”

Chapter 13

Since infiltrating the church, I have been behaving as I please.

First, the room that was prepared for me was too small, so I complained that they were going to make the Marquis’ daughter live here and had them change it to a larger room. As a result of my tantrum, I ended up living in a room larger than the bishop’s.

However, although the room was spacious, it was old and uncomfortable, so I ordered the Plumes to clean and redecorate it.

Since Rose could provide as much money as needed to buy furniture, I was able to decorate the room as I pleased. It was strange to see the Plumes who had bullied me until now obediently following my words.

Next, I prepared many dresses.

While working at the church, it was customary to wear a uniform, but looking at the cramped black dress reminded me of my time as Anna and made me feel depressed. So I asked the bishop for a special exception to be able to wear whatever clothes I wanted.

It was fun buying dresses until my closet was full.

I didn’t take my work seriously at all. When I got tired of it, I took a break and went wherever I wanted. For someone who had spent most of her seventeen years in an orphanage and church, going anywhere was fresh and exciting.

Despite behaving as I pleased, neither the Plumes nor the bishop ever complained. On the contrary, on days when I didn’t slack off, they were grateful to be able to work like this for the Marquis’ daughter.

It’s unfair that Anna worked ten times harder than Roseline, I think.

As Rose said during the contract, my magical power has dramatically increased.

For example, healing wounds. I can now heal even the worst wounds that would have taken plenty of time and prayer to heal before, with just a single thought, leaving no scars.

The other day, I healed a young lady who had been bedridden due to illness to the point where she could run again, and her parents were so grateful that they knelt before me.

With this power, I might be able to make everyone in the capital healthy.

However, I have decided to stop working hard like before.

I used to give healing magic and blessings equally to anyone who came to the church, but I stopped doing that.

I looked at the list of powerful people I had researched before coming here and decided to limit my magic to them. I left all responses to those without power to the Plumes.

I have become a calculating person who actively visits nobles and wealthy merchants even if they don’t call me.

Thanks to this, I became very popular with the powerful people in a matter of weeks and was invited to their mansions and parties on weekends.

“You look like you’re having fun, Roseline!”

As I choose a dress to wear for the weekend party in my room, Rose sitting on the vanity happily calls out to me.

“Yes. I was invited to a soirée by the head of the Ambel Marquis family. When I saw him while shopping the other day, he looked unwell, so I used healing magic on him, and he became quite fond of me. He said he wants to introduce me to his son.”

“Unlike the fake Marquis Ferrier family, this is a real Marquis family! Amazing!”

“I know, right? I plan to be very friendly. Will Rose come with me?”

“Of course.”

As Rose and I laughed and talked, a blue-haired fairy flew in as if interrupting us.

“Roseline-sama! Can I come too?”

“Of course. Let’s go together, Luca.”

Luca is the name of the spirit that I took from the bishop the other day.

Perhaps because it had been trapped for fifty years, at first, Luca ignored everything I said. But every day, I petted him with my fingers and said how cute he was, and fed him candy that he liked, and now he has become very attached to me.

Luca, who was allowed to accompany us, was delighted with sparkling eyes.

“Luca doesn’t have to come. I can protect Roseline alone.”

“Hmph. I didn’t ask for your opinion.”

“You’re so cheeky! Even though you’re a newcomer! Roseline, can I strangle him with a flower stem?”

“No, of course not. You two shouldn’t fight.”

When I scolded them, both of them grumbled. The two spirits didn’t seem to get along well.

Chapter 14

***

No one in the church dared to oppose me.

Even those Plumes who used to look down on me during Anna’s time now bow their heads and do as Roseline commands with just a word.

The Plume who was talking behind my back in front of the coffin I was put in before now wags their tail like a dog when I praise them a little, and the next day they look confused with a face that seems like they’re about to cry when I turn cold towards them.

It’s so delightful to see people rejoice or worry with just one of my actions.

Even the bishop is completely at my mercy now. He says that ever since I came, the powerful people have started to pay attention to the church and make large donations.

I watched the bishop bowing his head and smiling vulgarly in front of me with a cold feeling. No matter how much he grovels before Roseline, I cannot forget what he did during Anna’s time.

While behaving friendly towards the bishop on the surface, I secretly leaked his misdeeds to the powerful people behind his back, saying “If there is anything inconvenient, you should be able to control the church with this.”

Despite being a clergyman, the bishop has done many things such as embezzling donations and acquiring land through fraudulent means. I’m looking forward to when it all comes out.

The bishop, who only thinks of his own benefit, will easily cut off anyone he has connections with if the wind changes. What will happen when those who know about his misdeeds are betrayed by him?

“Roseline!”

As I walked down the hallway of the church, a handsome young man with a refreshing smile ran up to me. It was Virgil, Noemi’s current fiancé and Anna’s former fiancé.

“Your Highness. You came to the church today too. To see Noemi-sama?”

“No, I came to see you. You’ve been working hard, so here.”

Saying that, Virgil handed me a velvet box. When I opened it, a necklace adorned with plenty of jewels appeared.

As I gazed at the beautiful necklace, I felt my heart rapidly cooling.

Roseline just finds people with status or money and uses her magic to flatter them, then plays around as she pleases.

During Anna’s time, even though I healed patients until I was dizzy and did chores until my hands were covered in blisters, no one ever said a word of praise to me.

And yet Roseline is given such a necklace and praised.

“Thank you very much. I’m happy.”

I said that with a smile, and Virgil’s face lit up as he said cheerfully, “Please wear it.” Then he left.

After closing the lid of the box, I wondered where to sell it.

It would be bad if it was discovered that I sold a gift from the prince, so maybe it would be better to chop it up and sell only the jewels.

Everyone in the church looked at me with a mixture of admiration and fear, but only Noemi stared at me with hostility.

Since I came here, the Plumes who used to worship Noemi have been trying to please me, and even the bishop has been prioritizing me in decision-making. It’s not fun, of course.

On top of that, even Virgil, whom I finally became engaged to, is distracted by me.

Recently, I heard rumors that Virgil is running around trying to change his fiancée from Noemi to me, even though I have no intention of becoming his fiancée again even if it is allowed. What a hassle.

However, I thought I could be a little grateful because his actions must be causing Noemi some pain.

At first, Noemi was friendly to me, but now she doesn’t even try to hide her displeasure. She glares at me every time we pass each other in the hallway.

I used to smile back at her every time, but once I imitated the old Noemi and said to the Plumes around us, “Did I do something wrong…? Maybe I did it unconsciously…” with a sad expression. Noemi panicked and ran away.

After that, she stopped glaring at me openly.

Living as I please every day is very enjoyable, and I often secretly smile at Rose and Luca who are nearby.

Chapter 15

***

As I spent my days like that, the day came when I had to give blessings to the knights.

I was nervous and unsettled from the morning.

Roland-sama would surely come too. During Anna’s time, Roland-sama was the first to receive my blessing magic. It was the first time I saw his face since the last blessing day I participated in as Anna.

I hurried to the hall.

Many knights had already gathered in the hall. The Plumes lined up chairs against the wall and gave blessings to the knights one by one.

I was called by one of the Plumes to sit in a chair and give blessings in turn.

The knights quickly formed a line in front of my chair. When I held their hands and poured magic into them, they thanked me repeatedly with a blissful expression.

I was reminded of the difference between Anna and Roseline even in this situation.

While using blessing magic, I looked around with my eyes only.

Where is Roland-sama? Has he already received blessings from other Plumes?

It was the first time I couldn’t find him even though he always came to find Anna first.

“. . . Ah.”

I unintentionally let out a small voice. At the edge of my vision, I saw Roland-sama receiving blessings from one of the Plumes.

“Saint-sama, is something wrong?”

“No, it’s nothing.”

I laughed it off and poured magic into the knight in front of me again. However, my consciousness was already focused on Roland-sama.

Anna liked Roland-sama.

As a saint, I had given up from the beginning because I, an orphan who was oppressed, could not match with Roland-sama.

But what about Roseline?

Roseline is so beautiful and has the title of Marquis’ daughter, even though it’s Rose’s magic, and she is worshipped by everyone.

If Roland-sama saw me now, he might fall in love with me.

After all, look. The knights who were cold to Anna are all smitten when Roseline holds their hands.

I was eager for Roland-sama to see my new self and became impatient.

“. . .?”

“Saint-sama?”

Was it because I was only thinking about Roland-sama that I suddenly felt like my magic was stagnating? Even if I tried to focus, I couldn’t activate my protective magic easily.

However, after a little time passed, my magic began to circulate through my body as I wanted it to again.

“It’s okay. It seems like I was feeling a little off, but it’s nothing now.”

“Are you sure? Shouldn’t you take a break?”

The knight sitting in front of me looked flustered, but I shook my head and resumed casting the protective magic.

Finally, there were hardly any knights left in line, and when I finished casting the magic on the last one, I quickly stood up. I wondered if Roland-sama was still here. I hope I can make it in time…

Pushing through the knights and Plumes, I managed to find Roland-sama. He was leaning against the wall, looking downcast. It was an unusual sight for him, who always had a bright smile.

“Hey, Sir Knight.”

When I called out to him, Roland-sama lifted his face gently. When he saw me, he frowned and looked puzzled.

I thought he would be happy to be approached by such a beautiful woman, but I tilted my head at his unexpected reaction and smiled anyway.

“Roseline-sama. Do you need something from me?”

“You know my name! That makes me happy.”

I said this with a genuine smile this time. Roland-sama knew my name. He must have been interested in beautiful Roseline too. I took his right hand smoothly and held it with both hands.

“…What is it?”

“If you don’t mind, I can cast a protective spell for you. Since I am loved by spirits, it will have a high effect.”

“I don’t need it. I already had one cast by a Plume earlier.”

Roland-sama looked at me skeptically and waved his hand away. I couldn’t help but feel flustered since it seemed like he didn’t like me.

Chapter 16

“My magic is different from that of a Plume. Are you sure?”

“Yes, it’s fine. I don’t want you to cast magic on me anyway.”

Roland-sama looks at me with a cold gaze that I have never seen before.

“Is that all you needed? If so, then I will excuse myself.”

While I am still in shock, Roland-sama turns his back and leaves.

“Roseline, what’s wrong with him? He’s so rude!”

“After you offered to cast magic on him too!”

Rose and Luca are indignant, fluttering around me. I stare at where Roland-sama left in a daze for a while, but then I come to my senses and run after him.

“Roland-sama! Please wait!”

When I shout in an empty hallway, Roland-sama turns around with a surprised expression.

“How do you know my name?”

“You knew my name too, didn’t you?”

“Of course, you’re a famous saint.”

“I am too. I know the name of the vice-captain of the squad.”

Although Roland-sama looks dissatisfied, he nods.

“Do you need something else?”

“I want you to tell me. What is it that you don’t like about me? Other knights were competing to receive my protection, so I can’t believe it.”

“You have quite the confidence. If you are liked by so many people, you don’t have to worry about me. Do you need everyone to like you?”

He said with a sneer, and my cheeks became hot. Is this really that kind Roland-sama?

It’s not that I want everyone to like me. It’s because it’s Roland-sama that I’m so concerned.

“Shall I tell you why I dislike you?”

“. . . Eh?”

My thoughts stopped when he clearly said he disliked me. He continued in a cold voice.

“I dislike people who use their given power for their own selfish desires. I often hear rumors about you. You go to cast magic without being asked by the powerful, but ignore the poor who desperately seek help to cure their illnesses. Are you still a saint?”

Roland-sama’s cold voice echoed in my head.

On Roland-sama’s face was a scornful expression that had never been directed at Roseline before. I realized that he truly hated me.

“Do you understand now? Well then, excuse me this time.”

Roland-sama’s back moved away.

My chest throbbed with pain. Rose and Luca flew around me, looking down, desperately trying to encourage me, but I couldn’t even respond to their voices.

I see. Does Roland-sama hate people who live for their own selfish desires?

Am I someone he despises?

…What is this? Don’t be ridiculous.

“Wait a minute!!”

I pulled out a silver hair ornament from my hair and threw it at Roland-sama with all my might. Unfortunately, he easily dodged it, but he turned around with a surprised expression.

Chapter 17

“What are you doing?”

“What’s wrong with pursuing my own self-interests? Just because I happened to be born with the ability of a saint, does that mean I have to serve unconditionally?! Let me tell you, even if I do that, no one will appreciate it. They will soon take it for granted and complain if I don’t meet their expectations. Do you expect me to endure such treatment?!”

When I shouted in a voice that echoed throughout the hallway, Roland-sama looked stunned.

No matter what Roland-sama said, I couldn’t understand it. No, maybe it was because it was Roland-sama’s words that made me sad.

When I was Anna, I worked day and night for the people of the town and the church, abandoning my own self-interests. But the result was contemptuous looks and a miserable end as a scapegoat.

Was that way of life right? Even if it ended in sadness, was it okay because it was for the benefit of others? That’s not a joke. I never want that kind of life again.

Roland-sama frowned at me as I breathed heavily on my shoulders and said, “I didn’t say that. I just think your actions are too extreme.”

“Oh really? Aren’t all humans like that? Let me ask you, Roland-sama, do you know anyone who doesn’t act out of self-interest and treats both those in power and commoners equally? Is there such a person?”

“Yes. I know her well. Her name is Anna, and she worked here as a saint before you came. She was a very kind person. Despite being in the position of a saint, she never complained about doing menial tasks and would take care of the sick for hours even after the Plumes had left. I always wanted to live like her.”

Roland-sama’s cold expression from earlier was now replaced with a gentle one as he spoke. I realized that his smile was not directed towards me, but towards Anna.

My heart started to ache again, but it was a different kind of pain than before.

However, what came to my mind was not joy at the praise for my past self.

“I see. So there was someone like that.”

“Yes, she was a wonderful person.”

“Then where is she now and what is she doing? If she’s such a good person, she must be living happily somewhere.”

When I asked, Roland-sama’s face immediately twisted. He bit his lip painfully and then looked away from me.

“I don’t know. But she must be living happily somewhere.”

“I see. That’s good to hear. But I can’t stand living like that.”

I turned my back and ran away from Roland-sama.

It was as if I had run away. However, I didn’t want to talk about Roland-sama and Anna anymore.

“Roseline, I thought he was a nasty guy, but he spoke highly of Anna, so he’s a good guy!”

“I can’t forgive him for saying something disrespectful to Roseline-sama, though.”

Rose and Luca were flying around me.

I didn’t feel happy. After all, the Anna that Roland-sama praised is no longer here. I have become a villainess who only thinks about myself.

I have no regrets.

However, when I think that the self that Roland-sama said was wonderful is lost, my heart aches.

Chapter 18

I first met Anna when I returned from the battlefield, injured and battered.

At that time, I had an eye patch on my eye and bandages on my arm, and I must have looked quite pitiful. The pain from the wound on my back was so intense that I couldn’t even bother with my appearance, and my hair was a mess, and my clothes were tattered.

When I went to the church to receive healing magic, a brown-haired girl in a black dress, Anna, opened her eyes and looked at me. At that time, Anna was only thirteen years old.

I thought that a small girl like her would surely be frightened by my appearance, so I tried to avoid her gaze. However, Anna immediately ran over to me.

“Please sit over there. I’ll cast healing magic on you right away.”

Anna made me sit down and touched the bloody bandages without hesitation.

“Is it okay to take them off? It will heal faster if I shine light directly on it.”

“I don’t mind, but it’s painful to show such an ugly wound to a small girl like you.”

When I said that, Anna raised her eyebrows and made an angry face.

“There’s no such thing as an ugly wound that was obtained by fighting for the people. I’ll take them off.”

Anna said so and removed the bandages without hesitation. Then she earnestly cast healing magic on me.

At that time, Anna had just become a saint, and her healing magic wasn’t very powerful.

However, when she put her heart into it, even though the wounds themselves didn’t disappear, the pain gradually faded away.

After that, whenever I went near the church, I always looked around to see if Anna was there.

Anna holds the second-highest title in the church, “saint,” but she never acts superior. On the contrary, she takes the initiative to do tasks like fetching water, doing laundry, and cleaning that would normally be done by lower-ranking members.

When an epidemic or accident occurs in the town and a large number of injured people appear, Anna always rushes to help first.

She touches even those with red-black bruises all over their bodies or those with bloody and painful injuries without hesitation. Then she tells them in a gentle voice like a goddess, “It’s okay.”

Watching Anna washes my heart. I don’t know how many times I’ve longed to live without selfish desires like her.

It was customary for the knights to receive protective magic at the church every month.

If they received protective magic from saints or Plumes, they would be protected by barriers from small attacks and reduce damage from attacks that could cause injuries.

Every time that day came, I looked for Anna and asked her to cast the magic on me.

I think Anna’s magic is powerful even without favoritism, but there were few knights who lined up in front of her. In contrast, many knights crowded around Noemi, the other saint.

I was dissatisfied that Anna seemed to be underestimated, but it was nice that no one complained even if we talked for a long time after the protective magic was over.

“May Roland-sama return home uninjured,” Anna said with a soft smile. Hearing that made me feel like I could do my best no matter where I went.

Chapter 19

***

One day, after returning from a two-month expedition, I went to the church without any reason just to see Anna.

There, I heard an unbelievable story from the Plumes.

They said that Anna had undergone a “sacred ritual” and had become a human sacrifice.

“A human sacrifice…? What does that mean?”

“That means Anna-san was put in a coffin during the sacred ritual.”

“A living person? Are you sane?”

“That’s just how the ritual is.”

The Plume said it so easily and left. I stood there dumbfounded, unable to believe what I had just heard.

It couldn’t be true. It must be a bad joke.

While telling myself that, I asked another Plume nearby to arrange a meeting with the bishop.

However, the bishop said the same thing.

“Oh, Anna? That child became a sacrifice to God.”

He said it in such an ordinary tone. Does he even realize that he killed Anna?

“Why was it Anna? Was it really necessary to do such a ritual in the first place?”

“For the sake of the country.”

“So, it’s okay for Anna to die for the country?”

When I asked with a trembling voice, the bishop smiled vaguely. His attitude seemed to show no remorse, and anger began to boil up inside me.

“It’s good that she was a cooperative child. She didn’t cause any trouble and went into the coffin quietly. That child will surely go to heaven.”

The bishop spoke soothing words to me. Seeing his fake smile, my blood boiled.

“You’re kidding me!! You’re all murderers!!!”

I shouted, and the bishop looked at me with a guilty expression.

“We had no choice. We also feel bad about what we did to that child.”

***

I walked aimlessly through the church hallway. I felt like the world had turned pitch black since I could no longer see Anna’s smiling face.

I asked the bishop if I could at least see her body, but he quickly rejected my request, saying that only authorized personnel were allowed to enter.

Unable to give up, I asked a plume to guide me to the room where the coffin was located. Although it was supposed to be off-limits, I gave her some money and she opened the door for me.

“Um, please don’t tell anyone that I opened this door…”

“Of course, don’t worry about it. If anyone finds out, I’ll say I stole the key myself.”

The plume’s face relaxed as she left the room. She gave me the key and told me to hide it behind the vase in front of the room.

I slowly approached the coffin at the back of the room.

It was a pure white coffin that exuded a sense of holiness. There was a golden keyhole at the seam. I felt heavy-hearted thinking that if it was locked so securely, Anna couldn’t have escaped even if she was suffering.

“Anna, Anna.”

While calling out her name, I stroke the lid of the coffin.

Why was I away from the capital at such an important time? If I had been in the capital, I might have heard about Anna being chosen as a sacrifice and rushed to save her.

Feeling pathetic, tears flow down my cheeks.

Anna healed my wounds many times and protected me with her protective magic, but I couldn’t do anything for her.

I continue to cry while prostrating myself on top of the coffin. It’s unbearable that I can never see her again.

Suddenly, there was a clattering sound from the coffin. It sounded like the lid was shifting.

Curious, I lift the lid, thinking it was locked, but it opened easily.

Surprised, I slide the lid until I can see inside. Then I see Anna’s innocent sleeping face. . . It’s supposed to be her face in death, but to me, it looks like she’s just sleeping.

“Anna.”

I touch her white cheek without thinking. It was as cold as a fake and so light that it moved significantly with just a slight touch. Rather, it felt too light.

Wondering about this, I gently lift her body.

It’s too light. Her face is unmistakably Anna’s, but she feels as light as a collection of flower petals.

Moreover, according to the story, Anna was supposed to have been put in the coffin over a month ago. Is it possible that she has not decayed at all and still looks like she did when she was alive?

Chapter 20

I looked over Anna’s entire body. Then I found something that looked like a scar on her right foot. When I looked closely, it wasn’t a scar, but a clump of flower petals.

“Anna, I’m sorry for touching you without permission.”

I said that and gently touched her right foot. Then the flower petals crumbled and a small dent appeared on her foot.

“…A flower doll.”

I heard about it in my spirit studies class during my student days. Spirits with plant attributes can create anything using flowers, grass, and trees.

When they become powerful spirits, they can even create flower dolls that look like humans and deceive people.

It was almost like a legend, and I had completely forgotten about it until now. However, Anna is a saint who can see spirits. Even if she borrowed the power of such a powerful spirit, it wouldn’t be strange.

“Is Anna possibly still alive…?”

I felt hope burning in my chest. Perhaps Anna escaped somewhere using the doll as a substitute. Maybe she’s living happily in a faraway place.

I found light in the midst of despair, and tears fell from my eyes again.

I closed the lid of the coffin back to its original position. It would be better not to tell anyone about this. If it were discovered, there was a risk that Anna would be taken back.

I decided to go look for Anna.

I just want to see Anna’s healthy figure at a glance. No, to be honest, I’m thinking that she should come with me to my hometown.

Every time I see Anna being treated unfairly in the church, I wish I could take her somewhere else.

Ever since my older brother, who was the heir, left home with a woman from a foreign country, my father has been urging me to quit the knight order and take over the family business.

If Anna nods her head, I want to live peacefully together in my hometown.

However, I don’t ask for much. As long as Anna is alive and well, that’s all that matters.

***

One day, while preparing to arrange my knight duties to search for Anna, a new saint arrived at the church.

Her name was Roseline Ferrier. She was a striking woman with red hair and golden eyes. She was the daughter of the Marquis family.

Her name quickly spread throughout the city . Many knights also praised her beauty.

I didn’t think of her as either good or bad. However, with the arrival of a new saint, I felt lonely as if people’s memories of Anna were being overwritten.

However, gradually my feelings towards her turned into disgust.

It seems that Roseline is only interested in wealth and power. Even though she would fly to famous nobles and wealthy merchants without being invited, she would only glance coldly and leave when commoners suffering from injuries or illnesses visited the church.

What’s disgusting is that everyone worships her despite her attitude.

Everything she does is well-received, and many people praise her as a wonderful person.

Perhaps it’s wrong for me to criticize Roseline for using her abilities for personal gain since she wasn’t born with the intention of becoming a saint.

Even so, I couldn’t accept that she was being praised when she wasn’t even doing one-tenth of what Anna did for the people every day.

On the day I went to the church to receive blessings, surprisingly, Roseline approached me.

Since Anna wasn’t there, I asked a nearby Plume to cast a blessing spell on me, but Roseline offered to cast a stronger spell.

I declined since there was no reason for her to cast the spell twice.

However, even though I thought I was being distant, she chased after me from behind. When I told her that I found her annoying and disliked her attitude, she raised her eyebrows and shouted.

“What’s wrong with pursuing my own self-interests? Just because I happened to be born with the ability of a saint, does that mean I have to serve unconditionally?! Let me tell you, even if I do that, no one will appreciate it. They will soon take it for granted and complain if I don’t meet their expectations. Do you expect me to endure such treatment?!”

At the time, I denied it, but her words stayed with me in my heart.

I thought Roseline was a woman who didn’t think about anything. However, after hearing those words, maybe that wasn’t the case.

There must be some reason why she ended up living a calculating life.

If I have the chance to meet her again, I’ll apologize to her quietly.

I hope that opportunity comes before I leave on my journey to find Anna.

Chapter 21

I woke up feeling depressed. Despite my feelings, it was bright and sunny outside the window.

Yesterday’s conversation with Roland-sama had been weighing heavily on my mind. What would he think if he knew I was Anna? Would he be disappointed?

I sighed and got out of bed. I had to get ready for the day.

I sat in front of the vanity and picked up a brush.

“. . . Huh?”

I opened my eyes wide at my reflection in the mirror. My red hair had turned brown in some places.

“Roseline—What’s wrong with your hair?”

“Rose. . .!”

I looked at Rose with pleading eyes as she approached me.

“Part of my hair has turned brown. It’s just like Anna’s hair color.”

“Ah, maybe the contract is about to expire.”

“Contract expiration. . .?”

When I asked, Rose said nonchalantly.

“There is a limit to the contract. If you use too much magic, the contract will expire and you will return to your original form.”

“What. . .! You didn’t say anything about that!”

“Because you didn’t ask. . . Was it a problem?”

Rose looked puzzled.

Of course it’s a problem. What if I return to my original form while I’m still in the church? However, Rose remained calm.

“What should I do about my hair? I can’t go out like this.”

“Leave it to me. Dyeing it should solve the problem.”

Rose said so and brought a large number of roses from somewhere and put them on my head. The roses melted like ice on my hair and dyed it red.

When I looked in the mirror, my appearance had returned to its beautiful red-haired form.

However, upon hearing the new information that using too much magic would break the contract, my heart was completely unsettled.

***

After that, I became more careful about who I used magic on.

Even if the contract is broken, the magic that I could use during the Anna era can still be used. However, the strong magic that I gained from contracting with Rose cannot be used anymore.

If there is a limit, I cannot use it on just anyone.

When I asked if I could contract with another spirit when my contract with Rose ended, it seemed impossible.

Rose, who was originally by my side as my guardian spirit, seems to have a very good compatibility with me. That’s why my appearance changed and my magical power increased when I made a contract with her.

In other words, after my contract with Rose ends, I cannot gain strong magical power again by contracting with someone like Luca.

Recently, power outages like the one that happened on the Day of Blessings have been happening frequently.

Every time my magical power stagnates, I look at my hands helplessly. The time I can spend as Roseline may be running out. Limited magical power must be used carefully…

At such a time, an incident occurred in the city.

A large fire broke out at a palace where nobles were holding a party. Unfortunately, Prince Virgil was among the guests.

As many people as possible were dispatched from the church to the scene. The Bishop asked me to go to the scene as well.

While on the move, the Plumes looked at each other with anxious faces.

Looking around, I suddenly realized that Noemi was not with us. What happened to her when her fiancé, Prince Virgil, might have been involved?

However, such questions disappeared in an instant when we saw a terrifying sight ahead.

The palace was burning with bright red flames and gray smoke rising, exposing some of the burnt walls and pillars. The flames were still not extinguished, and we could feel the heat just by approaching.

A firefighting team made up of water magic users was trying to put out the fire, but it was still raging.

In front of the palace, sheets were spread out, and many people with burns were lying down. People who seemed to be residents of the city were desperately cooling down the injured and wrapping them in bandages, but it seemed that first aid was not enough.

Chapter 22

The Plumes are in a panic, overwhelmed by the tragic scene.

As for me, even though I saw many people suffering, my heart remained calm. I was only thinking about how to control my magic and overcome this situation.

I went around checking on the injured people. There were people with severe injuries who couldn’t move, as well as those who only suffered relatively minor burns.

Among them was Prince Virgil, with large burn marks on his shoulder and stomach, his upper body bare.

Many people were treating him more carefully than the other injured people, but without healing magic, first aid was limited.

When our eyes met, the prince called my name with a pained expression. I looked away without a second thought.

The prince’s voice called out to me desperately from behind, but I walked away without caring. Why should I bother looking at him?

The memory of being sacrificed in a coffin so that the prince could be engaged to Noemi still burns in my mind.

I chose some of the newcomers from among the frightened Plumes and ordered them to treat the injured people over there. “It’s not that bad, so even newcomers like you can handle it,” I said with a nod.

Then I ordered the veteran Plumes who had been in the church for a long time to look after the severely injured people.

After that, I assigned Plumes who seemed capable of treating the injured people according to their degree of injury.

Although I really didn’t want to, I was tempted to choose a new and inexperienced healer, but I decided to ask a veteran Plume instead.

“Can you go and see Prince Virgil who collapsed over there?”

“Huh, me? Shouldn’t Roseline-sama take care of the prince’s treatment?”

“I’m not generous enough to see someone who tried to kill me. You’ve been in the church for a long time. I’m counting on you.”

“What do you mean… Roseline-sama!”

I was called out from behind in a panicked voice, but I walked away without turning back. That person was a veteran who had been in the church longer than me and had high magical power, so she could handle the prince’s treatment.

Roseline’s creed is to flatter those with power and live off their favors, but Prince Virgil is different.

He is at the top even among those in power, but I would rather die than flatter him.

After receiving the order, I ran to the nobleman I had met earlier when I looked around.

“Ro… Roseline-sama, you came.”

“Yes. You can relax now. Please lend me your hand.”

I held his hand and put my strength into it. His arm, which was red and blistered, recovered quickly.

He shed tears and expressed his gratitude.

“Thank you. You are truly a saint…”

I smiled at him. A saint? No way. I am a woman who prioritizes her own interests even in emergencies.

After finishing treating all my wealthy acquaintances, I looked around at the situation. It seemed like it would take more time to treat all the injured people.

I was about to offer my help when I shook my head in a hurry. Did I forget about Anna’s tragic life? From now on, I will live only thinking about myself. It should be enough to assign the injured people to the Plumes.

As I was about to leave it to them and go home, I heard the voices of the residents behind me.

“Are there still people left behind?!”

“Yeah, we saw a child calling for help from the window, and the knight jumped in and hasn’t come back yet.”

“Is everything okay? What should we do?”

My heart skipped a beat at the word “knight.” No way. There are many knights. It couldn’t be him.

Still worried, I approached the residents who were talking.

“Excuse me, what kind of person was the knight who jumped in?”

“Saint-sama! Yes, the knight was a young man with black hair and blue eyes.”

“Do you know his name?”

“His name…I think he was called Roland in the venue before the fire happened…”

As soon as I heard his name, I forgot to thank them and ran towards the palace. I looked at the burning palace and searched for Roland-sama’s figure, but I couldn’t find him.

Suddenly, I saw something moving near the rooftop. As I stared at it intently, it was Roland-sama holding a child.

Chapter 23

“Roland-sama!!”

My voice doesn’t reach him. Roland-sama is holding a child and looking around.

The floor just below the rooftop is burned by flames. I don’t know what’s happening inside, but there was probably no escape except for the rooftop.

Residents who noticed Roland-sama’s presence run to bring something to cushion the fall. However, the flames were getting stronger and stronger even as they did so.

I tightly clench my hands in front of my chest.

If I give it my all, I might be able to extinguish the flames. But if I extinguish such a large fire, I will probably use up almost all of the remaining magic power I obtained through the contract with Roseline.

Then I will return to being miserable Anna. I will lose everything I gained as Roseline.

For a moment, I was caught up in sadness, but I quickly raised my head and looked up at Roland-sama.

Even so, it’s obvious which one is more important.

“Hey, Rose. Will you still be my guardian spirit even after the contract is over?”

“Of course. Roseline.”

“How about Luca? I’m really just a boring woman who isn’t pretty at all. Will you still be by my side?”

“Of course! I love any Roseline-sama.”

I smiled at the two spirits and turned both hands towards the palace. I closed my eyes and focused all my consciousness. Then I released a light magic spell with all my strength.

The palace was quickly enveloped in white light.

The flames were covered by the light and disappeared in no time. Roland-sama, who was on the rooftop, was staring at the light above him in astonishment.

The people gathered below the palace were also captivated by the sight.

Once I confirmed that all the flames had disappeared, I was exhausted and squatted down on the ground.

The residents excitedly asked me I did it. I proudly answered yes. It was probably my first and last great magic.

Rose and Luca were flying around me, saying “amazing, amazing.”

“Rose, Luca, is my hair still the same color?”

“Don’t worry. It’s still dyed beautifully.”

“It’s still a beautiful red color.”

“Thank goodness. Thank you.”

After a while, Roland-sama came out of the palace holding a child.

Roland-sama was immediately surrounded by people. I could see someone who seemed to be the child’s parent bowing repeatedly.

As I watched that scene while still squatting down, Roland-sama approached me in a hurry.

“Roseline-sama!”

“Roland-sama.”

“I asked the residents. You extinguished the flames, didn’t you?”

“Yes, that’s right. Please be grateful.”

“Of course, I am deeply grateful. Thank you very much.”

Roland-sama said that and bowed deeply. It felt ticklish for some reason.

“Roseline-sama, I apologize for what I said earlier.”

Roland-sama says awkwardly.

“It’s fine. I threw my hair ornament at you, too.”

“…I’m really sorry. That was just me taking it out on you. Remember when I talked about the saint who was here before? I liked that girl. So, I didn’t want to accept you, who became a saint in her place…and I ended up acting so immaturely.”

Roland-sama apologizes with a remorseful expression. I open my eyes wide and look at him.

“You liked that saint…?”

“Yes. I always wanted to bring her to my hometown someday. But in the end, she went far away without me being able to tell her my feelings. However, I haven’t given up yet. Someday, I will definitely find her and tell her how I feel.”

Roland-sama said with a straight face.

I didn’t know what to say in response. If only I could have heard those words when I was still Anna, how happy would I have been? But the Anna that Roland-sama fell in love with is no longer here.

He apologized for his outburst towards Roseline, but that was because he thought of her as a different person.

I didn’t want to think about how Roland-sama would feel if he knew that Anna had become the selfish Roseline.

My emotions were in turmoil between happiness and sadness.

“Excuse me, but…did the previous saint-sama pass away due to a ritual?”

I ask him something that came to mind since I couldn’t think of anything else to say. Does Roland-sama not know that Anna has died?

Roland-sama looks at me and smiles before whispering in a voice too quiet for others to hear.

Chapter 24

“I will only tell Roseline-sama, but she is still alive. It seems she escaped with the help of the spirits.”

“Eh…”

I look at Roland-sama, wondering how he knows, but he doesn’t say anything more.

“So, when I have time from my duties as a knight, I plan to go on a journey to find Anna. ”

My vision blurs at Roland-sama’s words. I didn’t know he cared about me that much.

I was happy, but I couldn’t just be happy about it.

I don’t want Roland-sama to waste his time searching for the old Anna who is no longer there.

“Roland-sama, I think it’s best to give up on Anna-sama. We don’t know if she is still the same as before.”

“No, I don’t care what happens to Anna…”

“You should stop. Anna-sama probably wants to remain a beautiful memory in your heart.”

As I said this while holding back tears, Roland-sama opened his eyes wide.

He seemed hesitant to say something, but if I stayed here any longer, I might have regrets. I ran towards where the Plumes were.

I must have already exhausted my magic power. If that’s the case, I thought I might as well use it all up.

I worked hard with the Plumes for the first time in a while. Regardless of whether they were nobles or commoners, I continued to cast magic on everyone in front of me.

“Roseline, you seem to be having fun,” Rose said from beside me.

“Do I?”

“Yes, Roseline seems to be having the most fun when doing saint work.”

I chuckled at her words. Maybe I had a natural inclination towards menial work.

“Rose, Luca, let me know if my hair color changes.”

“Got it!”

“Leave it to us!”

After hearing their replies, I headed towards the next patient with a sense of relief.

***

Three months had passed since that fire.

Ignoring those who tried to stop me, I left the church the day after the fire and moved to a town far away from the capital.

Now, I work as a sister in a small church in the town. My ability to see spirits and my work as a saint remain a secret.

I rented a small house in a corner of the town and live quietly with Rose and Luca.

I heard rumors about the fire in the capital after coming to this town. It seems that Noemi-sama was the cause of the fire. She resented Prince Virgil’s change in attitude and set fire to the palace to make him suffer.

When I heard this, I turned pale and wondered if it was my fault for causing the fire. However, I shook my head and thought again. Noemi-sama did it. I didn’t need to feel responsible for her heinous act. I had stopped apologizing for everything being my fault.

Noemi-sama is currently being interrogated by officials. People’s eyes towards Virgil have turned cold since she confessed her motive for the crime.

Since he was able to dispose of Anna and become engaged to Noemi, he should have ignored Roseline.

“Rose, Luca. Help me water the flowers in the garden.”

“Got it!”

“Leave it to us, Roseline-sama!”

Calling out to the two of them, I put on my hood and went out to the garden.

It seemed that I had consumed a large amount of magic when I stopped the fire, so I could hardly use the power I gained from contracting with Rose.

My hair color was also unstable, and although Rose had dyed it at first, it faded frequently, so now I was living with my hair hidden under the hood.

Since people from the capital city rarely came here, I thought it would be okay to live without the hood once I completely returned to normal.

“Okay, Rose, please take care of that flower bed. Luca, over there.”

Handing them watering cans and asking them to take care of it, the two spirits flew off energetically to water the plants.

I also decided to water the flower bed in front of me.

“Anna.”

Suddenly, a voice was heard from behind the fence. Surprised, I lifted my face while hiding my hair under the hood. It was Roland-sama who was standing there.

“Ro-Roland-sama…?”

“Oh, I’ve been looking for you for a while since you quit after the fire when I went to see you at the church. So you were here.”

“Why…why are you calling me Anna now?”

“You’re Anna, aren’t you? The sad smile I saw on your face on the day of the fire and the expression you often showed me when Anna saw me off were exactly the same. Considering that people who can see spirits don’t appear very often, I should have suspected that you were the same person from a long time ago.”

“I…I…”

I was filled with the desire to run away right now. Of all people, I was found by Roland-sama.

Chapter 25

Roland-sama grabs my arm as I stand up and try to enter the house. In the process, my hood comes off.

“Wait, Anna. I have something to say. If you don’t mind, would you come with me to my hometown?”

“No, thank you. I’m not the Anna that Roland-sama has come to like anymore. I’ve become a selfish and despicable woman who only thinks of herself.”

“If that were true, you wouldn’t have rushed to the scene of the fire to put out the flames. You’re still the kind Anna. Please come with me.”

Roland-sama pleads with me.

Tears flow down my cheeks.

“I’m sorry. I’m more calculating than Roland-sama thinks. Even when I was Anna, I wasn’t just working selflessly. I was actually doing it to be liked by everyone.”

“What’s wrong with that? Taking action itself is admirable.”

“No, I’m actually someone who is okay with abandoning people in need for my own sake.”

“Abandoning? On the day of that fire, didn’t you go around healing the injured people with your hair in disarray? You quit the church the next day. Was that also part of your calculation?”

But Roland-sama firmly says to me, who still can’t accept his words.

“You’re not despicable at all. However, even if you had a cold side, it wouldn’t matter to me. I like any kind of Anna.”

Tears continue to flow down my cheeks.

Is it really okay for someone like me to be with Roland-sama? Is it okay for me to choose such a wonderful future?

I timidly take Roland-sama’s outstretched hand. He smiles happily.

Feeling embarrassed, I look away. Suddenly, an idea comes to mind. I tightly grip Roland-sama’s hand that I was holding.

“Roland-sama, since we’re here, I’ll cast a protection spell on you.”

“Really? Thank you. It’s been a while since I received protection from Anna.”

“I was turned down last time.”

“Don’t say that. I didn’t realize it was you, Anna.”

While chuckling at Roland-sama’s troubled face, I cast the protection spell.

This will probably be the last magic I use as Roseline. My contract with Rose will be terminated. However, I wanted to use my last magic on Roland-sama.

The light melts into Roland-sama.

“Anna’s hair… and eyes.”

He looks at me in surprise and gently takes my hair. The hair that was mixed with red and brown had returned to its original brown color.

“It seems like the contract has been terminated.”

“What…?! What do you mean by contract?! Was it because you cast a protective magic on me?! You didn’t have to use such difficult magic if that’s the case!”

Roland-sama says in a fluster.

“No, I wanted to use the last magic on Roland-sama. I’m sorry for not being beautiful anymore.”

When I said that, Roland-sama shook his head seriously.

“I like that appearance better.”

“Well…”

Since Roland-sama said that without hesitation, I felt the loneliness of the contract being broken fade away.

Then, Rose flew over from behind.

“Roseline! It seems like the contract has been broken!”

“Yes. Thank you for everything until now. Will Rose herself have to go somewhere?”

“Of course not. I’ll always be with Roseline. Besides, it’s just the first stage of the contract that’s been broken.”

“Huh?”

Rose says proudly with her nose in the air.

“The first stage?”

“The contract is divided into several stages. After using up the magic obtained in the first stage, you can move on to the second stage, and then to the third stage. The amount of magic you can use becomes stronger as you progress to the next stage. In the second stage, you can easily change your appearance back and forth.”

I stare blankly at Rose as she proudly explains. Then Luca flies over from behind and says to Rose with a look of disbelief.

“Roseline-sama looks surprised. You should explain properly.”

“What I said about the contract being over is true!”

“But you didn’t mention anything about moving on to the next contract!”

“If that’s the case, Luca should have told her!”

“I thought Roseline-sama’s reaction was a bit strange, but I didn’t think she hadn’t been properly informed about such an important matter. Oh well, it can’t be helped.”

I stared at the two noisy spirits in disbelief.

I thought my time in this dream was over. The time I spent worrying seemed foolish. But happiness welled up inside me.

“Anna, who are you talking to? Are there spirits there…?”

“Yes, Rose and Luca, my friends.”

Upon hearing this, the two spirits touched my cheeks happily.

“It’s amazing that a saint can talk to spirits. It seems like so much fun.”

“Yes, ever since Rose appeared and Luca became our friend, every day has been so much fun.”

I said while stroking their cheeks with my finger.

Having great power and behaving recklessly was enjoyable, but I think what I enjoyed most was secretly talking with these two spirits while making eye contact.

Having great power and living a life of worship were not as important as I thought.

As evidence, even though I am living modestly with reduced magic, my days are still fulfilling.

“Roseline, let’s go wild again!”

Rose says with enthusiasm, and I can’t help but giggle.

If the contract is not over yet, then I can still do as I please.

Next time, instead of living for my own selfish desires, maybe I can live while helping those who need it.

Unfortunately, I seem to like going around helping people with my hair flying around.

It’s foolish to expect something in return. In fact, more often than not, it comes back to bite me.

Even so, I will accept such a life.

It can’t be helped. After all, I am a saint-sama.

—The end—

2 Side chapters left

Chapter 26

I first met Roland-sama when I was thirteen years old.

On the day we first met, Roland-sama had an eyepatch over one eye and was covered in wounds, looking very painful.

Did he get injured on the battlefield? I couldn’t stand still and before I knew it, I ran up to him. Roland-sama hesitated to show me his wounds, but I used healing magic on him a little forcefully.

At that time, I wasn’t used to using magic yet, so it took quite a while and I couldn’t completely heal his wounds.

I felt pathetic for using magic so forcefully and not being able to heal him completely. However, when Roland-sama saw the arm where I finished casting the healing magic, he was moved and said:

“You’re amazing. The pain has eased considerably.”

My magic shouldn’t have had such a strong effect. However, Roland-sama repeatedly praised me in a tone that didn’t seem like just polite words.

“Um, but it’s not completely healed yet, is it? I’m sorry. I pulled you over here forcefully and couldn’t heal you properly.”

“Not at all. It’s much better than before.”

Roland-sama said in surprise.

“Thank you. The magic helped, but I think seeing you work so hard on the magic made me feel better.”

Roland-sama said with narrowed eyes. Those words resonated deeply with me, who had never experienced much gratitude from others before.

Even after returning to the church, I couldn’t get the face of the person I met during the day out of my head.

I thought it would be nice to see him again, but I didn’t even get his name. It would be difficult to find him among the many knights. I returned to my small room in the church feeling a little lonely.

However, the opportunity to meet that person came sooner than I thought.

“Oh, it’s you! From the other day!”

As I was cleaning up the dusty warehouse in the church garden, I heard a cheerful voice from behind. When I turned around, a man with black hair and blue eyes was smiling at me.

“Um…”

“Do you remember me? You healed my injury the other day.”

He said that, and I stared at his face intently. Have I ever healed someone with such a beautiful face before? As I traced my memory, the face of the black-haired man who praised me the other day overlapped with that person.

“You had an eyepatch and bandages on your arm…?”

“Yeah! I’m glad you remember.”

The man said that with genuine joy.

I was a little surprised. When I saw him last time, his hair was messy, his clothes were not tidy, and above all, he had a tired face.

Today, he had such a bright face that he didn’t seem like the same person at all, and his clothes and hair were neatly arranged.

I felt embarrassed about my old black dress and plain hair.

“Thanks to you using healing magic on me, my wound healed quickly. Look, there’s not even a scar left now.”

He rolled up his sleeve and showed me where there was a deep cut before. There was certainly a deep cut there before, but now it had disappeared without a trace.

Chapter 27

“Good, you’re all better now.”

“Yeah, thanks to you. What are you doing now? Cleaning the warehouse?”

“Yes, it’s been unused for a long time and it was messy.”

“If it’s okay with you, can I help too? I want to do something to thank you.”

He said with determination. Although his offer was appreciated, I hesitated if it was okay to let someone else help.

“Well…”

“. . .Is it a bother?”

As I hesitated to answer, he looked a little disappointed. He was much taller than me and usually went to battlefields as a knight, but his timid gesture seemed a little funny.

I decided to accept his kindness.

“Okay, please. Can you take that box outside?”

“Sure thing!”

As I asked him, he immediately regained his energy and carried the heavy load outside with ease, which I had struggled to move alone.

“Thank you. It would have taken me a long time to do it alone, so I appreciate your help.”

“It’s no problem. But did you carry all these things and clean the warehouse alone? It would be better if there were more people in the church.”

He said seriously.

It’s not like there is a shortage of people. The Plumes in the church are probably gathering in the break room or terrace by factions and chatting even now.

I was just assigned this chore because it was inconvenient for others.

“I often come near the church. If you need any help, feel free to call me anytime.”

As I was lost in thought, he said that with a smile.

I had not had the opportunity to rely on anyone for a long time, and the idea of ​​asking for help from someone had disappeared from my mind. His words seemed strange to me.

“But, aren’t you busy with your knight duties? I’m sorry to ask you to help with the church work.”

“Not at all. I’m always indebted to the church, so I’ll help anytime.”

He continued, “I want to help you. If you need any assistance, please let me know.”

I felt warmth in my chest.

No one had ever said such words to me since I came to the church, or even before when I lived in the orphanage.

“Come to think of it, I haven’t introduced myself yet. I’m Roland Charette. And you?”

“I’m Anna.”

When I said that, Roland-sama smiled and said, “Nice to meet you, Anna.”

Thanks to Roland-sama’s help, the warehouse cleaning that day ended much earlier than planned. After listening to my story about the church, Roland-sama waved goodbye with a smile and left.

As I watched Roland-sama’s back disappear, I remembered the feeling of loneliness that I had forgotten for a long time — the feeling of someone leaving and feeling lonely afterwards. It was a strange feeling because I had just been having fun until then.

Even though I couldn’t see Roland-sama anymore, I couldn’t take my eyes off the direction he went. However, after a while, I came to my senses and shook my head in a panic.

(No, no. I’m an orphan and I have to live alone from now on. I can’t rely on others just because they were kind to me.)

I told myself that, but Roland-sama’s smile wouldn’t leave my mind.

I couldn’t get rid of the thought of wanting to see him again, even though we had just parted ways.

—The End—


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