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Chapter AF24 – Vernell and Eterna’s Daily Life
[Vernell’s Daily Life]
Vernell’s morning started early.
He woke up shortly after the sun started to rise, and the first thing he did was go for a quick run after waking up.
The place he was currently at was the Roland Sacred Mountain.
During the era of the Second Saint Luce, the paradigm of fighting against Witch hadn’t been established yet and the necessity of the knights was not understood… Obviously, there weren’t as many knights as there were in the present age, and there weren’t superior classes known as Guard Knights.
During such an era, there was a man who supported the Saint and trained in this mountain to obtain the body of steel in order to defeat Witch Eve.
The man protected Luce from all kinds of threats, blocking any attacks with his body, and even when Eve’s magic claimed his life, it failed to pierce his body.
It was thanks to his effort that Luce was able to defeat Eve.
The name of the man who protected Luce until the end and died honorably in the final battle was Knight Roland.
The king of that era was impressed by his accomplishment, praised him as the knight among knights, and gave him the title of the pinnacle knight… in other words, the Prime Knight.
And because of his combat style, everyone came to understand that if knights managed to defend the Saint, then the Saint would be able to defeat the Witch, and so knights established themselves as shields for the Saints.
Basically, the current meat shield strategy was mostly this guy’s fault.
The mountain where he trained his body was named the Roland Sacred Mountain in his honor, and since then, many knights have visited this place to train their body and mind.
Vernell was also one of those who chose to take on such a difficult path.
The world had become peaceful… but Vernell couldn’t forgive his own worthlessness. He couldn’t stand his own weakness.
It was because of this that Elrise ended up making the tragic decision of sacrificing herself. Because he failed to control the power within himself, that became the trigger.
And… he let her die.
Looking only at the result, Elrise managed to miraculously revive and is still alive to this day because she inherited Propheter’s lifespan.
But that was nothing but a hindsight based opinion. It didn’t change the fact that Vernell failed to fulfill his role as a knight.
Vernell held feelings toward Elrise.
But as things stood now, it was the problem before whether or not he would be rejected by Elrise, as he wasn’t even qualified to express his feelings.
That was why Vernell decided to retrain himself from scratch.
By the way, that very Elrise remarked that “It’s already peaceful now, what the heck is he doing…?” in a fed up tone, but he had no idea about that.
After light morning training by running about 3,000 meters, he had breakfast, did push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and sword swings.
As he was training himself like that, his well-trained senses detected someone approaching.
The person who appeared was… a big, muscular man.
Vernell didn’t ask who the man was on purpose.
Everyone who came to this mountain only had one goal… it was to become stronger.
That man should be another seeker of strength. And fellow seekers were naturally attracted to each other like a magnet… that was all that happened.
“I see that you are a strong person. I ask for a match.”
“Just what I want to ask for! Come on!”
They didn’t say much, but the stances they both took at the same time spoke louder about their intention than anything else.
Vernell and the big man instantly sensed each other’s strength, were grateful to have met in this place… and they strengthened their determination for victory and resolve for defeat.
――Round １ Fight!!
Vernell lowered his hips and unleashed a palm strike.
The distance between the two was about 5m. It was definitely not a distance where a palm strike would reach.
However, Vernell weaved his magic power, fused it with his own life energy, and released it, making “flying palm strike” possible.
Vernell no longer had the power of the Witch he had before.
However, the experience of using them still lived on.
That led him to perfect a technique unique to him that didn’t even have any attribute.
The huge man immediately blocked it, but another palm strike immediately came flying at him.
However, he wouldn’t take the same attack twice. The big man leapt and attacked Vernell from above.
Vernell quickly intercepted it in response. He stepped hard on the ground and his fist soared like a dragon rising to the sky.
Vernell jumped high, raised his fist, and punched the large man in the jaw, knocking him off.
The big man also tried to get up immediately, but before he could, a flying palm strike was unleashed as Vernell approached.
The flying palm strike landed as the big man stood up, forcing him to defend.1
Aiming at the fact the big man focused on defense of the upper body, Vernell quickly attacked his lower body. Vernell kicked the big man in the leg in quick succession, knocking him off balance.
Finally, Vernell kicked hard and made the man fall. Then the big man managed to stand up, but was staggered by the following attack, making stars fly over his head.
Taking advantage of that opportunity, another flying palm strike was unleashed and Vernell jumped.
Mid-air, Vernell swung his leg and swiftly delivered a smacking kick. As soon as he landed, he once again raised his leg, then slammed his heel down.
Finally, Vernell transitioned to a roundhouse kick, and defeated the big man.
――YOU WIN！ PERFECT！！
After that, the big man regained his consciousness, feeling his own immaturity and left with determination to become even stronger, and Vernell also continued to train to become even stronger.
His training would not end until he was worthy of standing next to that Saint.
That said, Elrise, who happened to be watching Vernell with the power of the Prophet said, “That guy is supposed to be the protagonist of a galge, why is he doing a fighting game instead…?” in amazement.
It seemed it was already too late for Vernell in a lot of ways.
[Eterna’s Daily Life]
Even after the world became peaceful, Eterna continued to attend the Academy.
There wouldn’t be fighting against demons or a Witch, but that didn’t mean it was useless to hone her magic power.
She would be able to acquire knowledge and culture if she studied hard in school, which would definitely be useful in the future.
She wanted to use the magic she had learned to support the life of the village where she was born and raised and be filial to her parents.
The path that Eterna chose was the life of an ordinary village girl, not that of a Saint.
When Elrise chose to retire from her position as a Saint due to her fearing her own influence, there were naturally voices calling for Eterna, the true current generation Saint, to succeed Elrise as the next Saint.
However, saying something like “I’m the true Saint” after all the achievements that Elrise did would only sound ridiculous.
Therefore, it was decided that Alfrea would succeed Elrise as the next Saint, while Eterna continued her life as before.
Obviously, the fact that Eterna was the true Saint of this generation was only known to a few members of the royal families, the upper echelon of the church, and the Guard Knights, and it was kept secret from the general public.
Generally speaking, people of this era still considered Elrise as their Saint.
Therefore, as a countermeasure in the unlikely event that it was revealed there was a true Saint of this era beside Elrise, the church took a proactive approach and gave Elrise the new title of “Great Saint,” determining Elrise as a “special existence that exceeded the Saint”.
After all the miracles she had done and her achievement of breaking the cycle of tragedy, there was no way the Saint Church could admit that Elrise was “actually not a Saint.”
Due to various factors such as the church’s intention and Eterna’s own wishes, Eterna’s status was ultimately designated as “a student whose power was close to that of a Saint, who made a great contribution to defeating the Witch, and is a friend of Elrise and Alfrea.”
Many soldiers have witnessed Eterna fighting alongside Alfrea in the battle against “Witch” so there was no way she could be designated as an ordinary person, so that was how her status ended up becoming.
On this day, Eterna, who had such a complicated status, was invited by Alfrea to participate in a tea party.
On the terrace of the Saint’s castle, three people were sitting across the table.
One was the true Saint of this era, Eterna.
Another was the First Saint Alfrea.
And the last one was the previous generation Saint and the former Witch of this generation, Alexia.
The three of them, who share the same worries because they were Saints, sometimes gathered together like this and had a lively chat.
“You see, just the other day, someone from the church asked me to bestow blessings on all the believers… but Saints of recent generations don’t have the power to give blessings, right? It’s not like I don’t have such an ability because I’m of the older generation, right?”
“First generation, rest assured… Saints have no such ability.”
“Yes, I don’t think I could even if people ask me to do it.”
First of all, Alfrea brought up the topic of work recently requested by the church.
To that, both Alexia and Eterna said that Saints didn’t have the power to grant blessings.
“Right~? It seems that Elrise’s blessings were really effective, and they granted things like curing illness, making people harder to fall sick, making people’s skin shinier, and so on…”
“She is just an absurd existence. What the heck is she? It’s still more convincing to say that the world got tired of the unchanging cycle for a thousand years and decided to create an existence greater than a Saint. Yet she said she was an ordinary person? Don’t joke with me.”
Alexia said in an irritated manner as she put a spoon into the teacup and stirred it roughly.
There were noisy sounds of a spoon hitting the cup, and then she gulped down the content to calm herself down.
“From the perspective of this world, Elrise is a Messiah, and I also acknowledge her achievement. I’m also someone who is indebted to her since she saved me after all. But still. Even so… as someone who was once hostile to her, she is nothing but a nightmare!”
There was basically nobody who wanted to be hostile against Elrise.
She literally could fly anywhere in the world, and would offer help to a remote settlement that even the king of said settlement would abandon.
She was like the embodiment of an ideal Saint… even if someone betrayed her, she didn’t hate them and would forgive them.
One of the few exceptions who became hostile to such a person was the Witch, in other words, Alexia.
“The first time I saw her was seven years ago. At that time, in order to take revenge on hateful Aiz, I had spent seven years creating many Greater Demons, and was in the middle of marching toward what I thought was a certain victory… when she appeared there. Back then, she was just a ten-years-old little girl.”
Alexia took a breath then slowly exhaled.
Then she told the other two about the nightmare she once had.
“……The Greater Demons that I raised were literally obliterated. Elrise back then might be weaker than how she is now but……”
Alexia spoke up to that point and pointed to one of the mountains in the distance.
It was the highest mountain in this nation, towering higher than the clouds.
The name was Roland Sacred Mountain. It was the mountain named after a man named Roland, who was the knight of the second generation Saint, because that was where he trained.
“It’s like the difference of that mountain-“
Then she pointed to a rather high mountain in the distance.
Although it wasn’t as high as the previous mountain, it was still tall enough that people had to be prepared for the worst case scenario if they wanted to climb it.
“And that mountain. From the perspective of a small human, both of them are certainly much larger than they are.
Basically, she was like those mountains to me.
Just because she was weaker than she is now, it didn’t change the fact she was still an insurmountable nightmare to me.
Although she wasn’t as absurd as she was now, who could obliterate all Greater Demons in the battlefield with single attack, her first attack obliterated demons in a radius of fifty meters, the second attack obliterated even more demons, and the third one almost wiped us out… as we fled in panic, the fourth attack hit us, and before I knew it, I was the only survivor. There was nothing left of the 10,000 demons I painstakingly prepared.”
“That only took her three minutes.
When the first attack launched, I was dumbfounded. To be honest, I couldn’t understand what just happened and was struggling to grasp the reality.
When the second attack launched, I still couldn’t recover. I stood still in the place, wondering if I was dreaming at the moment.
By the time the third attack was finished, almost all the demons had disappeared. Then my legs ignored my thoughts that still hadn’t recovered and chose to bring me to leave the place as fast as they could.
The habits that I developed during my time as a Saint, which were ‘if I meet a strong enemy, flee before anything else,’ and ‘whatever I do, survival is the priority’ ended up saving my life.
Then with her fourth attack I was spectacularly blown away and tumbled miserably on the ground. Even so, I had no leisure to think that was humiliating.
……I couldn’t even muster the thought of fighting back. I didn’t even feel remorseful in the slightest. All I could think was that I had to escape.”
Upon hearing Alexia’s nightmare, Alfrea and Eterna couldn’t say anything.
However, after learning what it meant to be an enemy of Elrise, they couldn’t help but sympathize with Alexia, who was supposed to be their enemy.
“The thing that the current Elrise could do in 10 seconds took her 3 minutes back then… that is the only difference… Fortunately… I learned of this now, but back then, Elrise hadn’t met Vernell yet, so she hadn’t absorbed Vernell’s dark power, so she had no way to kill me. That was why I managed to survive.
But back then, I had no leisure to notice that.
I just ran away. I was just fleeing in terror. I was seriously scared of a little girl who was only 10 years old, and escaping, throwing away all my shame as I did so.
And from then on, all I could think about was how I could proceed without meeting Elrise…
…………Isn’t she weird! What’s with her! She was only 10 years old, you know?!
Why could that ordinary person do something that even a Saint couldn’t?! If that was an ordinary person, then there is no need for a Saint to begin with!
Did the world hate me that much?! Did I do something that made me hated by the world that much?! Aahhnn?!”
“Calm down, Alexia! You can cry! It’s okay to cry…!”
Alexia finally screamed out loud without being able to hold back her emotions, and Alfrea comforted her while half-crying.
Then Alexia managed to regain her composure and breathed heavily.
“But… Elrise-sama had no way to defeat Alexia-sama, right? Then if you hadn’t fled, perhaps you would actually win…”
“That’s impossible. Certainly, Elrise back then had no way to pierce my defense. However, the difference in power between us was too great, so I also had no way to defeat her. And even if she had no way to deal damage to me, she should have been able to restrain me in some way.
For example, she could bind my entire body firmly with a magic chain…”
“Ah… I see…”
Alexia answered Eterna’s question with resignation.
A Witch certainly couldn’t be damaged by anything other than the power of a Saint.
However, there were many ways to neutralize opponents without damaging them, and Elrise possessed the power to accomplish them.
In other words… even if she hadn’t received power from Vernell, it would have been easy for Elrise to neutralize Alexia.
“Ah, that’s right. Wasn’t Elrise capable of instantly growing plants and creating a forest?
How did she accomplish that? Is that some kind of special magic that has been passed down in modern days?”
“……I have no idea. I think it’s probably an application of ordinary magic but… I don’t understand how she made it capable of accomplishing something like that.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know either… I’ve always thought it was a miracle caused by a Saint until now… or maybe some sort of special power received from god…”
After Alfrea brought up the next topic, the two recent Saints’ answers were “I don’t know.”
Their expression seemed to say it made more sense if it was actually a special power of a Saint received from god, abandoning all logic.
On the contrary, it was harder to accept it was actually just an extension of ordinary magic.
“……She could accomplish things like that despite not being a Saint… then… What exactly is a Saint?”
Alfrea and Alexia couldn’t respond to Eterna’s words.
Honestly, wouldn’t that make the Saint unnecessary in that case…? They couldn’t help thinking like that.
Eventually, Alfrea drank her tea in one go and spoke with a relaxed look on her face.
“……Elrise is the Great Saint, so it’s okay!”
Elrise wasn’t an ordinary person. She was the Great Saint!
So it was all okay! That was how the three Saints maintained their peace of mind.
It was such a peaceful afternoon tea party.
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