This series has been dropped.

    Chapter 24: The Silver Mirror

    The world was painted white.

    Ghouls climbing the walls were engulfed in blue flames and fell. Ogre zombies banging on the gate crumbled with groans, and all other unclean things burned and disappeared.

    “It’s the Saintess! The Saintess has arrived!”

    “Waaahhhhhhh!”

    The soldiers cheered. The exhausted soldiers on the wall pushed all the burning ghouls down. The battle, which had been unfavorable with the appearance of just one person, was reversed.

    The old knight sighed in relief. He encouraged the soldiers and approached the Saintess. Then he opened his eyes wide and ran to her.

    The Saintess was staggering.

    “Saintess!”

    The old knight caught her. The white girl smiled faintly and said,

    “I’m fine, Grandfather.”

    “But… .”

    “You know this is how it is, don’t you?”

    The reason she was the Saintess was because her ‘vessel’ that received the power of God was much larger than others.

    However, even so, the power to wipe out thousands of ghouls was a great burden on her body.

    “Didn’t I tell you to always be careful!”

    “I guess I seemed impatient.”

    “If the Saintess collapses, it will be the end of us all.”

    The old knight spoke, feeling a bitter taste in his mouth. He resented their situation, where they had to put all the burden on such a young child.

    But there was nothing they could do. In the midst of the entire continent falling, it was all thanks to her that they were able to survive.

    “How is the war going?”

    “Yes, thanks to you… .”

    Whether she knew his heart or not,

    “We won.”

    She always just smiled brightly.

    ***

    Time passed quickly. The sight that Do-joon saw also sped up like a fast-forwarded video.

    The war was won, and reconstruction was in full swing.

    ‘Their expressions are bright.’

    The soldiers repairing the collapsed walls, the women bringing them new meals, and the children running around and laughing merrily in between.

    While working, they would periodically gather to pray to the sun in the sky. This was led by the priests and priestesses of the temple.

    And then.

    “Saintess! I made a necklace out of amaranth! I’ll give it to you!”

    “Thank you, Leila.”

    The Saintess.

    The Saintess patted the child who handed her the flower petal necklace with her gnarled hands. Dressed in a white robe with white hair, she was pure from head to toe.

    ‘If it were our country… she would have just started college?’

    By the standards of this world, the Saintess was already an adult several years ago. However, by Do-joon’s standards, she was still a child.

    And yet, that child had repelled an army of thousands of undead, albeit with the power borrowed from God.

    “S-Saintess! I… this…”

    For a while, peaceful days continued in the temple surrounded by walls.

    “What is this?”

    A knight wearing armor with the sun as a pattern The young knight handed the Saintess a paper bag with a flushed face.

    “It’s fruit. My father told me to give it to the Saintess.”

    “Oh, thank you.”

    She smiled brightly as always.

    She was loved by everyone in the village.

    However, just as the love between parents and children and the love between siblings are different, the love that the young knight sent her was also different.

    On the other hand, she loved everyone equally, which must have been very frustrating for the young knight.

    ‘It’s a good time.’

    As the peaceful scene continued, Do-joon also felt a little at ease. Seeing the young knight’s appearance, he was suddenly reminded of his own youth.

    There were many things to regret, but there were also many memories that could not be exchanged for anything.

    ‘So-eun….’

    Among them, the biggest thing was the day So-eun was born.

    It was a memory that made him smile unknowingly whenever he thought of it.

    “Then I’ll go now.”

    “Oh, yes! I’m sorry for holding you back.”

    “No, it’s okay.”

    The Saintess held the paper bag and headed towards the temple building. Do-joon’s point of view naturally followed her. A forced movement beyond his control.

    Do-joon was not the one who didn’t know what this meant.

    For a while, the daily scenery continued. A peaceful everyday life that made it hard to believe that there had been a war.

    That was reversed on the day when the first snow began to fall from the sky as time passed.

    ***

    “Creak! Retreat! Retreat to the temple! Set up a new line of defense there!”

    This war was even more brutal than the previous one. A much larger army poured in from all sides.

    The cold winter season freezes the hands and feet of the living, but the cold and unclean things were not affected at all.

    In the end, they were forced to give up the gate and the land… and eventually they were forced to retreat into the temple and put up a siege.

    “Lord Polmand! They’re coming!”

    “Stop them! If this line breaks, it’s over! Stop them at all costs!”

    The men’s rough shouts rang out. Even in a desperate situation where there seemed to be no hope, they fought on.

    Behind them was the Saintess, who was more passionate than anyone else in purifying the undead and healing the allies.

    And then, at one moment.

    Poof!

    “Aagh!”

    An arrow pierced her right eye.

    No, it was an arrow that she had failed to deflect in time.

    “The Saintess has fallen!”

    “Saintess!”

    The arrow pierced her right eye and went through it. The arrow began to pour out an ominous black aura.

    Several soldiers bravely caught her as she fell, but it was already a fatal wound.

    The faces of the soldiers contorted. The sky was reflected in the Saintess’ eyes.

    In the sky, the curtain of light she had spread was seen to be fading.

    “Ah….”

    Her one remaining eye trembled. She reached out her hand, desperately trying to hold on to her fading consciousness.

    The light that was disappearing into the sky seemed like God turning his back on them.

    “Saintess!”

    “No!”

    But her hand never reached it.

    ***

    Blackout.

    For a moment, everything was painted black, as if all memory had been erased.

    And when the scene unfolded again, it was after a considerable amount of time had passed.

    ‘…They’re all dead.’

    The landscape of the ruined temple. Inside the collapsed temple. It looked exactly like the familiar labyrinthine landscape to Do-joon.

    Then, something stirred among the layers of piled up corpses.

    A woman with an arrow pierced through her right eye slowly stood up.

    She stared blankly at the ceiling for a moment, then shuddered and looked around.

    “Ah….”

    Her eyes reflected the members of her family who had once laughed and cried with her.

    To her, who had been an orphan, they were the irreplaceable family of the temple.

    Her pupils trembled as if an earthquake had struck.

    There were corpses everywhere, and all of them were people she knew.

    “Soo!”

    Among them, she found the person she had been closest to. Soo, the handmaiden who had always taken care of her, her close friend and sister.

    Soo was lying in a dried-up fountain, her throat half bitten off.

    Unable to wipe away the tears that flowed like a waterfall, she embraced Soo’s body.

    Soo’s hands, which had always patted her back, were now cold and detached.

    The Saintess’ lips trembled. She habitually took the name of God into her mouth.

    Please let Soo not carry only the painful memories. So that when she reaches your side…

    Right then.

    “Kyaaaaaaaaaaaah-!”

    Her whole body was engulfed in blue flames.

    Her skin burned and her blood boiled. The extreme pain she had never felt before.

    She writhed madly on the ground. The sharp stones and metal fragments sticking out here and there tore her flesh, but they were nothing compared to this pain.

    After a while, the fire went out and the pain disappeared.

    Her face turned pale at the realization that she had become the same as the damned.

    This was not supposed to happen.

    She was the Saintess, the one who was supposed to uphold the will of God and spread his grace to the people of this land.

    But.

    “Soo….”

    What was the point now?

    None of the living remained.

    She sat down in a daze, staring blankly at the sky.

    The snow was still falling from the sky.

    The ice flowers that piled up on the ruined ruins were obscenely beautiful.

    ‘…….’

    She sat there for days, staring at the sky. Do-joon, translucent, watched her with a hard expression.

    His words did not reach her, and her eyes could not see him.

    For several days.

    A light began to flicker in her eyes.

    “……I have to bury them.”

    It was the vitality of a person who had found something to do.

    She brought two wooden sticks from somewhere. And she wrapped them in cloth to make a stretcher.

    When the stretcher was finished, she lifted Soo’s body onto it with trembling hands.

    “Ah.”

    She realized immediately.

    That even though she had made a stretcher, there was no one left to carry it with her.

    In the end, she carried the body alone.

    She carried the bodies of others, not just Soo.

    Her destination was the crematorium inside the temple.

    The teachings of Raoha, the god of the sun and life, included the custom of cremating the dead and burying them in the ground.

    In order for the soul of the deceased to go to the side of the gods who dwell in the palace of the sun, the heavy flesh had to be burned.

    So she burned the bodies.

    One by one, respectfully.

    She burned them like that and put the remaining ashes in an urn. Then she wrote an epitaph on a wooden tablet the size of her palm.

    Looking at the finished urn and the small tombstone, she folded her hands.

    Her frail body trembled uncontrollably at the thought of what she had to do next. Tears already welled up in her eyes.

    “D-don’t be afraid! It’s what you’ve always done, isn’t it? Just do it like you always did!”

    She gritted her teeth.

    She was the only one left in this world.

    She was the only one who could comfort the souls of the dead and lead them to the palace of the sun.

    She opened her chapped lips and began to offer a prayer. As soon as she recited the prayer, a blue flame erupted and began to burn her.

    The pain kept interrupting her prayers.

    But she recited it again and again, hoping that their souls would not wander the world but ascend to heaven.

    “Aaah! Ugh…! It hurts… It hurts…!”

    She barely finished one and collapsed sobbing.

    Behind her, crouching on the ground, hundreds of bodies still remained.

    ***

    The memories continued endlessly.

    At some point, the light began to fade from her one remaining eye.

    Her whole body was already covered in burn marks, and her hair, which once reflected the sunlight and sparkled, had long since burned away.

    At some point, she had become nothing more than a being that moved mechanically.

    “……”

    Do-joon had somehow returned to the chapel.

    Do-joon exhaled softly, feeling the erratic scene that had been displayed become calm again.

    Meanwhile, the ghouls who had finished praying raised the bell on the altar. It was no longer an ordinary bell.

    [??? ??? ???]

    Item: An item made of stone, bone, and branches, created through prayer. It was a ritual tool used for offerings.

    Description:

    After cremating everyone in the temple, the second task she began was to create this ritual tool. Although it was simply written as “???,” Do-joon could guess its effect.

    In short, it amplified divine power.

    And the meaning contained in it was…

    ‘It must be a plea for help.’

    It was a message to God, asking to be freed from the pain. It was her desperate SOS signal.

    However, even though she had created dozens of ritual tools so far, her wish had never reached the heavens.

    No matter how many she created, each one was too weak.

    ‘……’

    [You can copy one of the options of the ‘Corroded Robe of Faith’ to ‘???’.]

    [Options available for copying]

    1. Unrepairable

    A window for copying floated before his eyes.

    If he copied the Irreparable option onto her, that would be the end of it. She would not be able to regenerate due to her own prayers and would suffocate.

    However.

    Thud.

    Do-joon put down the robe.

    After a while, he approached the altar and began rummaging through the nearby area. The ghouls watched his actions with wide eyes.

    He took out all the ritual tools that were stored here and there, and Do-joon picked up two of them. Both of them had hideous forms made of bones and stones.

    However, contrary to its appearance, a warm aura permeated its interior.

    [You can copy one of the options of ‘???? ? ??’ to ‘???’.]

    [Options available for copying]

    1. ????????

    Still, all that is visible is question marks. Is it because it is not an officially created item, or is it because it is a corrupted file like a computer file?

    Well, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll find out someday, but I don’t know right now.

    And that’s not important.

    [Copy successful.]

    [The material ‘???? ? ??’ was destroyed.]

    The ritual tool he was holding in one hand shattered. Objects he had created while enduring all sorts of pain, even chewing up and swallowing Leigium to increase their divine power.

    “Kyaa?! Kyaaaak!”

    The ghoul rushed forward, even if it was a heartless creature. Do-joon calmly placed the remaining ritual tool in front of her.

    “Ku-reuk?”

    She stopped. She must have felt it right away. The fact that the aura of this ritual tool was much stronger.

    Leaving her confused and bewildered, Do-joon proceeded to break down the ritual tools one by one. Among them were some she had made herself, as well as some that had been used in the past and were still intact.

    He broke them all without discrimination.

    With each one, the remaining objects became imbued with a more powerful aura.

    Her prayers were properly being passed on to the next object, and the next.

    “……”

    Realizing this, the ghoul also quietly watched Do-joon’s actions.

    After a while, dozens of ritual tools were all broken, leaving only one last one.

    A silver mirror that had turned black with the passage of time.

    In the past, when she was still human, it was her favorite and most cherished object.

    That once-black mirror was now shining with a brilliant light in Do-joon’s hands.

    The ghoul reached out blankly towards Do-joon.

    The aura emanating from the mirror ignited blue flames on her hands. However, she paid no attention to it and grasped the mirror.

    And once again, she folded her hands.

    This time, she prayed with all her heart that her voice would reach heaven.

    A moment later.

    An explosion of sunlight began to pour down on the entire chapel.

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