“Wow, it looks amazing on you, Lady Celiastina!”
Yuna, who was standing in front of the full-length mirror in her room, sent a wry smile back at her maid, Nasha, who looked at the mirror and exclaimed in delight.
Right now, Yuna looked more like a fashionable aristocratic lady than a saint who served God. She had on a light pink dress, layered with delicate lace, and a necklace with a large jewel; her makeup was also applied more carefully than usual.
“No, really, for this dress to be worn so splendidly…”
The dressmaker beside Nasha had a wide smile as he said this with admiration.
It was recent that he, an expert dressmaker, made a request to present his own work to the saint Celiastina. In less than a month, when the royal palace gave consent, the dress and the person himself entered the royal palace. And, because he wanted to check if there were any measurements which didn’t fit, it became a dress fitting session right there.
What is a miracle?
Sometimes, it might be the glittering stars in a black, night sky, which moves a person’s heart.
Sometimes, it might be the flower blooming in the wide desert, which comforts a person’s heart.
But in time the night will end and the glittering stars will disappear.
But in time the sand will dance and the colored flowers will be scattered.
It is only the human will that raises a miracle.
Even if one thinks it is lost, they must not give up.
If it is a miracle that cannot be lost, then one must never stop.
Only move forward.
As long as the flickering light beyond the road’s end is within sight.
(T/N: Updated the page list with 3rd book details!)
Character pages for the second volume! Once again, these appear the front of the book but in order to hide spoilers about appearing characters I’ve posted this at the end. Warning: Looking at this might destroy your mental image of the characters, aha. You can also laugh at my hilarious romanization of their names.
A long time ago, there were two beautiful twin sisters who lived in the land of Schlezel.
The two sisters closely resembled each other, to the extent where no one could tell them apart. The older sister’s name was Rhodiani, and the younger sister was Endius. The two lived close to the entrance of the forest, a little ways off from the town. The two had lost their parents early and had no other relatives. Because of that, the two were bound by a strong bond. If one laughed, the other laughed; if one cried, the other cried. Even if their bodies were divided in two, their souls were one. This was how dear they thought of each other and trusted each other.
As they left the orphanage and went further on horse, the entrance to the forest appeared faster than she thought. And, indeed, there was a quiet graveyard spread out on their side of the forest. Not a lot of people seemed to come here and the hushed and lonely atmosphere made Yuna feel more and more depressed. She didn’t think anyone would want to stay here long with the force of the dense forest approaching from behind.
“Please do not leave my side.”
Stopping the horse, Asyut murmured that while looking around at their surroundings. Feeling the tension in his form, Yuna also braced herself once more.
Looking out over this desolated ground, there was not a soul in sight. Instead, there were shabby tombstones dotting the grounds.
Yuna watched the changing scenery as she sat on top of a horse, supported by Asyut.
She never expected that she would leave out of the gates in the same way that Yodel, who she saw off several days ago, did. Feeling a strange connection, Yuna sighed in wonder. That sigh, in the blink of an eye, disappeared behind them.
Yuna and Asyut were on a horse that was galloping on a continuous straight road; the two were heading to the orphanage that Celiastina used to live at in the past.
Aeneas walked down the corridor alone. Suddenly, he stopped and raised his head absently. –Beyond that door, Celiastina wasn’t there right now.
Aeneas could only smile bitterly at how, every time he passed her room, he found himself searching for her, even through the door. Right now, he didn’t have the energy to tell himself off for how weak he was being.
Celiastina looked quite busy these past few days. Because she wasn’t allowed to act alone, Aeneas would always head to see her and escort her during those times. But even though the time he spent beside her was longer than usual, why did he not feel that at all. Instead he felt like they were drifting apart from each other more than usual. Both of them were awkward and could only have harmless and inoffensive conversations.
She couldn’t turn her eyes away now that she came this far.
She would visit the orphanage where Celiastina lived. It didn’t matter how trivial it was, so long as she could learn about anything related to her there, the thread wrapped around her heart would surely come undone.
Asyut also did not stop Yuna. He himself might have wanted to uncover what lay at the bottom of Celiastina.
It was decided that Asyut would investigate as to the whereabouts of the orphanage.
That said, the investigation was not that complicated. Because it was the orphanage where the Saint Celiastina grew up. The royal palace had to know where it was.
There was just one worry; whether that orphange still existed now. According to the rumors on the street, Celiastina was identified as a saint when the director approached her with intentions to assault her. It might have been a story created to make her personal history tragic, but if it was the truth then it was likely the orphange’s doors wouldn’t be open in the present. The director was punished, and there was a possibility that the people who were involved became scattered.
The sky was high, Yuna thought.
A clear, cloundless, blue sky spread out this morning. Yuna took in deep breaths while still looking up. Recently she realized that whenever she was thinking, or troubled, she found herself looking up at the sky; somehow it had become a habit. It was a strange thought because she didn’t do this before. It might have been because the sky was the only thing that hadn’t changed since her previous life, and looking at it naturally calmed her down.
“Lady Celiastina, is something the matter?”
“Ah, no. It’s nothing.”
Aeneas was escorting her to the balcony that overlooked the plaza.
Asyut picked up a piece of the report that was spread out in front of him and then tossed it aside after a glance.
Unable to feel motivated, he stood up from the sofa and poured himself a glass of water from the shelf before draining it in one go. –As he thought, work wasn’t something to be brought into his private room. Along with his sigh Asyut felt that keenly. But there was a mound of problems and they were all serious matters that could not be ignored. During the day he was up to his neck in dealing with business that the only way to think slowly over these problems was to set aside a short time at night.
The enviroment surrounding the Saint Celiastina was once again starting to change greatly.
There were many points related to her that he was concerned about. First, the most immediate problem was the matter of her bodyguards. Ever since Neisan, a victim of the Holy Jail, was announced as a candidate to be her bodyguard, everyone’s doubts began to swell again.
The same situation occurred when Aeneas became one. Why did he expressly want to serve as the hated saint’s bodyguard? Was he not hiding a plot to avenge himself? If that was not the case then, conversely, was the saint the one who appointed him as a bodyguard again? If so, then for what reason?
Certainly, the surrounding voices gradually became smaller as Aeneas did his work with devotion. From an outsider’s view, the master and servant relationship was also favorable and, from the start, Aeneas’ nature made it hard to associate him with shadowy actions like deceiving people for revenge.
But what about Neisan? Those who had knowledge of him, know him. Originally, he was a man whose specialty was gathering intelligence and assassination. Various factors, which happened in a row, led him to walking a path as a squire but, even if his title changed, he might still be acting behind the scenes of the royal palace as a “shadow”.
The nice weather continued and, even this night, she could see the stars glimmering beautifully in the night sky.
While walking back through the quiet corridors, she unconsciously looked up at the sky in fascination. The night sky, which could be seen past the breaks between buildings, was like a framed picture. Thanks to the full moon and the ceaseless amount of stars, the corridors at night were relatively bright. Even without the lights that dotted the length of the corridor, she wouldn’t have been uneasy about her footing.
Doing something like walking alone this late at night was foolish, even she knew that. But still, Yuna slipped out of her room. Because she wanted to talk alone with Linus.
She heard casually from her maid, Nasha, that occasionally Linus left his room to stand in the courtyard at night. In the past, it seemed like Celiastina often stood beside him, and this sounded like a subject she shouldn’t touch but since Nasha became her maid – and since Yuna became Celiastina’s substitute – this hadn’t happened even once, which was thought to be strange.
She didn’t know if Linus was going to be in the courtyard tonight. If he wasn’t there, then she decided she would visit him again tomorrow. Why she didn’t just do that from the start was because, if she visited him in the middle of the night, she was hoping that Linus would take off his usual mask and show his true intentions a little.
Regarding the existence of the historical archive, it appeared to be an open secret within the royal palace.
It is said to be reached by climbing the stairs in the deepest corner of the royal palace library; and that it had special documents relating to the history and politics of this country. In particular, there seemed to be very sensitive documents that would never be made public. On one hand, it was an extremely precious mountain of treasure on the knowledge of this country, but if used poorly by the current ruler, it could be a terrible poison that would drive the country into a predicament. That is why the people at the top of the country hid its actual existence, or at least those were the rumors.
If she went there, she would be able to know the truth about the past of the previous saints.
Ron’s words were brought back over and over again in Yuna’s mind.
If his words were true, then to Yuna that place would be just what she wanted. It would have been suspicious if she borrowed Celiastina’s appearance and went around asking this and that from everyone, but there was no need to be concerned if she was consulting books, and she would be able to acquire as much knowledge as she wished.
Linus knew Yuna’s circumstances, and he would be well-informed about the past saints and about Celiastina. However, she couldn’t help but feel nervous at going to visit him. Although he helped during the signature matter, they still had not talked enough about her relation to Celiastina. If that subject was brought up and a distance was placed between them again then–. The blade of words that had struck her once, couldn’t be immediately forgotten even after leaving.
If that was the case, then she should head to the historical archive without hesitation. Her own voice sounded awfully distant when she declared that. That Yuna wasn’t able to move immediately and follow her own words was because there was still hesitation inside her.
Yuna, who was sprawled over her room’s sofa, pulled a cushion towards herself and trapped it against her chest.
–She was afraid to learn about Celiastina.
Neisan was appointed to be a bodyguard of Saint Celiastina.
The news rushed through the royal palace with a small commotion. There weren’t many people who did not know the name Neisan. Once imprisoned on the whims of the saint, the young squire whose life or death was unknown– to think that he was alive, and serving again as her bodyguard. Just what exactly was going on for him too to follow the similar circumstances of Aeneas. It was not unreasonable for everyone to be puzzled like this.
Be that as it may, it was rather painful to just accept the criticisms from her surroundings. Even the moment when Asyut called out to her before the ceremony and said “I wish to speak to you”, Yuna was unable to hide her dejected look. What Asyut wanted to talk about was clear as day. Nevertheless, it was obvious that she couldn’t run away.
During the divine service, Yuna listened to the flowing music. She closed her eyes and entrusted her body to the comfortable melody. Beside her, Asyut was the same as usual and offering up prayers, like her. Nowadays Yuna didn’t feel any discomfort sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with Asyut, but she wondered what he felt. At the very least, she didn’t feel like he was treating her coldly like he did in the beginning. He was probably intending to criticize her about Neisan, but he wouldn’t be attacking with feelings of hate for Celiastina.
That they were able to build this calm relationship honestly made her happy. But she knew that she couldn’t just be pleased.
Yuna still didn’t know anything about the deep trench that stretched out between Celiastina and Asyut. Even when she peeked, all she could see was an endless darkness, as if there was no bottom. And though they sat here peacefully like this now, what would happen at the time Celiastina returned?
(When Celiastina returns…)
The words that she herself called to mind resounded very clearly in her head.
(What will happen when she does?)