Interlude: The Saint

The sound of prayers echoes through the air. At times, they rise like a song; at others, they lower like a lament. These voices seeking salvation weave together into a poetic hymn, filling the temple.

Those gathered are diverse in every way. Men and women, old and young, rich and poor, all wear expressions of solemnity as they offer their prayers.

Their prayers are directed towards a deity, but not an existing one.

They are praying to a new god, one they themselves have deified.

In recent years, Mythical Creatures have begun appearing frequently across the continent. These embodiments of calamity, emerging from what are known as dragon holes in the earth, attack humans and are unstoppable even by a nation’s army.

Just last year, a lush and prosperous southern kingdom was obliterated by a venomous Hydra.

Why do these Mythical Creatures born from dragon holes harbor hostility towards humans? It’s believed that the earth itself contains animosity towards humanity. Those present think this way and try to calm the earth’s hostility through their prayers.

In essence, the god they worship is the very earth that gives birth to these Mythical Creatures.

Those who believe in the righteous god are not attacked by Mythical Creatures. They continue to pray earnestly, believing this, with phrases like “be appeased” and “grant us salvation.”

They are known as the followers of the Light God Faith.

And at the heart of these worshippers, fervently offering her prayers, is a woman called by the other believers as the Saint. Her name is Sophia Azurite.

After the service, Sophia returns to her room and is taken aback to find her father there, her face momentarily stiffening.

However, this lasts less than a split second. When her father turns his gaze towards her, Sophia’s face is already covered with a gentle smile.

“Father—no, Your Holiness. You are here.”


Sophia’s father, the founder and supreme leader of the Light God Faith, the Pope, nods casually at his daughter’s words.

The change in Sophia’s address from a personal one to one of respect seems to evoke no reaction from him.

—Or perhaps, he never really hears her words in the first place.

Sophia looks down slightly.

The father appearing in Sophia’s view bore deep wrinkles between his brows, his cheeks gaunt to the point of sickness, occasionally trembling nervously.

It wasn’t just his cheeks that were thin. His arms and legs were like dried branches, and his body, all bones and skin, resembled that of a famine-stricken refugee.

The once affable, smiling father, who used to worry about the growing girth of his belly with age, was nowhere to be found.

Everything had changed—due to the appearance of the Mythical Creatures, the fall of the Azurite family, and the death of her mother…

“Has something unusual occurred?” Sophia asked, hiding her internal worries.

The Pope, displeased, nodded.

Seeing this, Sophia instinctively shrank her shoulders. She had been reprimanded by her father with that expression more than once.

However, this time, it wasn’t his daughter who had soured the Pope’s mood, but something else entirely.

“Foolish ones calling themselves the warriors of the ‘Phantom Burial’. Those scoundrels have again laid hands on our envoys.”

In the Light God Faith, Mythical Creatures are considered messengers of God, and their attacks are divine retribution for foolish humans.

Therefore, resistance is not permitted. Humans attacked by Mythical Creatures should prostrate themselves and repent for their folly.

If their repentance is sincere, the creatures’ claws and fangs will recede. If they still lose their lives despite repentance, it only means their sins were that deep. The deceased have atoned for their sins with their lives.

The Light God Faith preached this to its followers, forbidding resistance or retaliation against the Mythical Creatures, as it would only further incur God’s wrath.

On the other hand, the actions of the ‘Phantom Burial’ warriors were the complete opposite. They foolishly opposed the Mythical Creatures.

Such actions would only increase the damage caused by the Mythical Creatures, eventually leading to God’s wrath descending as a rain of light to cleanse the earth. The Pope had sent messengers to the warriors multiple times, warning them to lay down their arms immediately, but they paid no heed.

On the contrary, they committed the grave sin of slaying three Mythical Creatures.

And today, a report had reached the Pope that they had further compounded their sins. According to the report, the warriors had repelled a black griffin—a sacred beast said in mythology to pull the chariot of a goddess.

The Pope clenched his gnarled fist and slammed it onto the table before him.

“We cannot overlook their foolish acts any longer! We, the Light God Faith, will rise in full force to bury these insolent warriors and thus appease God’s anger. I will lead the followers myself, and you shall accompany me.”

With that, the Pope stood up as if his business was concluded. He didn’t wait for Sophia’s response, assuming his daughter would never defy his commands.

In reality, Sophia had never defied her father’s instructions. Even when told to dedicate a part of her body to God, she obediently complied.

But this time was different, she thought.

As mentioned earlier, the followers of the Light God Faith were on the rise, but there were also many who scorned the Faith as heretical due to its unique doctrines, especially the established church powers who viewed the rise of the Light God Faith as a threat.

What would happen if the Light God Faith confronted the ‘Phantom Burial’ warriors? These warriors had gained fame by accomplishing the great feat of slaying Mythical Creatures. Sophia had heard that among the people, there were voices hailing the warriors as saviors.

If they antagonized such individuals, it wouldn’t end with mere scorn as heretics. They would be ostracized as a cult, and the entire religious order could be annihilated.

Above all, Sophia thought, how could the Light God Faith followers, with little to no training, hope to win against such formidable foes who had triumphed over Mythical Creatures? It was with this reasoning she attempted to stop her father.

The Pope, restrained by his daughter, raised his whitening eyebrows and opened his mouth.

“What? You surely don’t intend to commit apostasy, do you?”

The Pope stared at Sophia with a piercing gaze, his cold and harsh eyes not those of a parent to a child.

With a trembling voice, Sophia responded.

“No, no, Your Holiness. What I wish to express is the importance of your being. Without you, the Light God Faith cannot stand. I will undertake the task of punishing the fools. Please, Your Holiness, focus on spreading the doctrines and developing the congregation.”

Having said this, Sophia knelt down, bowing her head so deeply that her forehead touched the ground.

The Pope did not answer. For Sophia, the silence felt like a tightening grip around her heart. Sweat trickled down her cheeks, forming droplets.

When the Pope finally uttered “Very well,” Sophia nearly lost consciousness from relief.

In fact, she might have actually fainted. When she came to, the Pope had disappeared from the room.

After a while, Sophia slowly rose to her feet, letting out a deflated sigh. It was as if she was expelling the bitterness she had kept inside.


Sophia felt a sense of sorrow as she realized that her father, the Pope, was straying from the righteous path.

However, Sophia had no intention of leaving her father’s side. If she were to leave, her father would be without support, a situation that would dishonor her late mother’s memory.

Moreover, Sophia knew that her father’s beliefs about the Mythical Creatures were correct.

For that reason alone, she could not leave his side.

“Even if the warriors bury as many Mythical Creatures as they can, more will always emerge. The earth’s power is endless, and eventually, the warriors will lie as corpses in the wilderness. Their resistance is meaningless…”

Muttering to herself, Sophia continued her thoughts internally.

—Yet, even so. If they refuse to cease their resistance. If, instead of bowing to God and begging for mercy to prolong their lives, they choose to defy God and wield their swords to carve out their future. Then, I will…


Engrossed in her thoughts, Sophia was suddenly struck by a sharp pain, causing her to cry out in agony.

Her hand reached for the source of the pain, her right eye. Hidden beneath long bangs, her right eye socket lacked an eyeball, offered up to God by her father’s hand.

It had been years since then. The wound had long healed, and she had ceased to feel pain. The reason for its sudden resurgence was clear.

Sophia briefly closed her eyes as if suppressing something, then swiftly slapped both cheeks to regain her focus.

Deciding not to dwell on the recent pain, Sophia instead began to plan for the future.

The Light God Faith currently lacked the strength to battle the ‘Phantom Burial’ warriors. She would first disguise herself as a volunteer to infiltrate their ranks and gather information. By not only listening to others but also using her own eyes and ears, she could gain a deeper understanding of the warriors’ truth.

She would need to disguise herself to avoid being recognized as the Saint of the Light God Faith, especially concealing her distinctive feature of having only one eye.

“Once decided, I must hurry with the preparations.”

With that, Sophia hastily left her room to gather the necessary items.

The sound of the closing door echoed in the now empty room.

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