Chapter 21: Epilogue
Turning back time to five minutes before the demonic beasts appeared in the Imperial capital…
The Saint was lost.
Her eyes were captivated by a novel about a villainous heiress sold at a street stall, and when she browsed through it for a bit ─ she was all alone by the time she realized.
“Haa, sheesh… Rho and the others are so hopeless. If I take my eyes off them for a little while, they’d get lost right away.”
She hadn’t noticed yet.
That she was the one who was lost.
“For now, I guess I’ll go search for those lost children.”
Luna shrugged her shoulders as if to say, ‘Good grief’ and walked briskly along the road.
Normally, in times like these, it would be considered a bad idea for a lost child to move around aimlessly but…
The saint who did not realize that she was the lost child was daringly navigating a city where she did not know the area.
“Rho? Sarco-san? Wendy-san? Where are you~?”
She walked while calling out their names, but she couldn’t find a shadow or a shape that resembled them.
After walking for a while, she noticed something strange.
“…Huh? Come to think of it, I think I passed by here a while ago…?”
Luna wandered around aimlessly, and after circling the area, she returned to her original position.
(No way… am I being hit by some kind of magical attack right now!?)
Of course, no such attack occurred.
Although she never wants to admit it, she has no sense of direction.
In the ‘Saint’s Aptitude Test’ held previously, with Sarco passed out, it was good up to the point where she climbed up from the Valley of Death…
After that, she had no idea how to exit the miasma forest, wandered around in circles, and ended up exceeding the time limit.
“…Maybe I’m the one who got lost…?”
She had finally grasped the truth… but Luna’s tiny pride desperately denied it.
(N-no, no, no… That can’t be? I’m the Saint, you know? I’m already fifteen years old, you know? There’s no way I’d get lost―)
After frantically defending herself and escaping reality, a ‘black object’ suddenly rustled past her feet.
When she jumped in a panic, there was
A small black cat yawning loudly.
“P-phew, just a cat…?”
Luna breathed a sigh of relief and looked around once again.
She was all alone in a back alley off the main road in an unfamiliar place.
When she thought about it, she suddenly felt scared.
No matter how she tries to hide it, the Saint is literally terrible with ghosts and apparitions.
(N-no, no, it’s okay, it’s okay! Look carefully, Luna-san? The sun is still quite high, so there’s nothing to be scared of ─)
Suddenly, a man’s terrifying scream rang out.
Luna quickly put herself on guard, and what her eyes caught was ─ a swarm of demonic beasts approaching a hundred.
“Ceh, demonic beasts…?”
It was a weak reaction, as if she had found a winged insect.
While monsters were taking over the city,
(…I really wonder where everyone went.)
Luna trudged and walked weakly.
(Going to the Holy Knight’s Lost Child Center… I don’t wanna.)
At the age of 15, saying, ‘Sorry, I’m lost’… is a little embarrassing.
(But if things continue like this, I don’t think I’ll be able to join up with them at all, and if I wander around alone for too long, I’ll worry everyone… I guess I’ll just have to bear the shame and go…)
As she was seriously contemplating whether or not to go to the Lost Child Center,
Far ahead, she heard the screams of a small child.
There, a mother and child were being attacked by a huge monster.
“Run away quickly…!”
The mother, shielding her child behind her, stood in front of the Cyclops while clutching something that looked like a stick.
Her stance was terribly amateur ─ it was clear what would happen to her.
“I’m sure that’s a… Cyclops…?”
What came to Luna’s mind was Jural’s class she just took the other day.
[The Cyclops is a very weak demonic beast. Although its body is large, its agility is among the lowest among all races. Not only ordinary holy knights, you students can easily defeat them as well.]
(If I remember correctly… the Cyclops is a very weak demonic beast…)
It is a demonic beast that can be easily subdued not only by ordinary holy knights but also by students of the Saint Academy.
What that means is that even if she defeats that thing, it won’t make her stand out.
The excited Cyclops let out a loud roar and rushed toward the mother and child at unprecedented speed.
(…Yeah, it’s slow after all)
Luna looked at it from a distance and calmly thought about it.
(There’s no one around… and worst case, even if someone sees me, a Cyclops is weak, so I can come up with any excuse I want.)
Even if she slaughtered that Cyclops and rescued the mother and child, there was almost no risk of the Saint finding out ─ that’s what Luna judged.
But there was one huge issue there.
(I quit being the Saint. I swore that I would never help someone else if they were in trouble. So ─ I won’t help them. I feel bad for those two, but I have my circumstances as well.)
Luna turned her back on the tragedy that was sure to occur.
A tenth of a second later, she glanced back.
The excited Cyclops rushed to its favorite food ─ and the mother, holding a piece of stick, took a step forward.
Of course, she had no chance of winning.
To protect her child, she challenged it, prepared to die.
(We-well… I haven’t fought a Cyclops since I was reincarnated in the present day. Isn’t it important to know the strength of the monsters that everyone says are weak? It’s a great opportunity, so let’s fight. It’s definitely worth checking out, isn’t it? It’s not because I want to help those two in the slightest, okay?)
The Saint, who was not honest, started making mysterious excuses to god knows who.
(There’s no one around. Even if they see me, it’s okay because it’s a weak monster. It’s my first time fighting a modern Cyclops, so I’ll get plenty of experience in return…)
In an instant before the Cyclops’ evil hands could grab the brave mother’s neck, Luna’s ‘iron-clad reasoning’ was complete.
(Okay, let’s go!)
The moment she lightly kicked the ground… a huge crater was created on the pavement and the distance of more than 100 meters was closed in an instant.
The Cyclops received Luna’s right straight and flew away like a water balloon.
Both mother and child were unharmed, and just when it seemed like the matter was over, an ‘extraordinary irregularity’ occurred.
“Fuuuu─ that was close… ahhh!?”
There was one person there, an ‘unexpected witness’.
It was none other than Wendy Triard, her classmate of the Kingdom’s Saint Academy and a secret agent of the Albus Empire.
“Ah, um… what the heck was that just now…!?”
“T-this is… that…”
Luna looked very shaken for a moment but quickly recovered.
(No, it’s okay! After all, the monster earlier was a Cyclops…!)
The Saint, who did not understand the difference between a ‘regular species’ and a ‘mutant species’, had a confident expression on her face. She utilized her unreliable reasoning.
“Cyclops is a very weak demonic beast after all. It’s a bit shoddy that even my weak punch killed it in one blow!”
“T-that’s right. A regular Cyclops is really weak… (However, the individual earlier was definitely a mutant species… its external characteristics were exactly as I recall and its actual movements were surprisingly agile.)
Wendy thought calmly.
(…Luna-san’s speed just now was clearly ‘abnormal’… It wasn’t something as mundane as a gift (blessing), strengthening with magic, or the superhuman physical ability of a Sword Saint…)
Wendy is a secret agent who has undergone rigorous combat training since she was five years old.
She literally didn’t see her move.
Not only couldn’t she see anything about Luna’s movements, but also when, where, and what kind of attack she made.
Before she knew it, the mutant’s upper body had been blown off ─ and she was standing there.
(… Now that I think back on it, that potion was strange too. What I gave Luna-san was medium-grade material, but the finished product was an elixir-level masterpiece… No, that’s not true. I’m sure that was a genuine elixir.)
Wendy’s clear mind rushed toward the truth.
(According to legend, the Saint is frighteningly strong and can create an infinite amount of elixir… The person His Imperial Majesty suspects to be the Saint, Rho Steinclaw, is from the Spedio territory. And Luna-san is also from the Spedio territory…)
The dots were connected, and eventually a ‘single thread’ was created.
She was confident.
The evidence was still not complete.
However, even so, what could be called her sixth sense definitely told her.
(─Luna is the reincarnation of the Saint.)
Wendy had finally discovered the true identity of the Saint.
Meanwhile, the Saint who was in an unprecedented predicament…
(Whew, that was dangerous. I never expected Wendy-san to be in a place like this… But I knew that Cyclops is a weak demonic beast, so I managed to get through it safely. This is exactly what Professor Jural said, ‘Knowledge is power’! )
She still didn’t realize that she wasn’t out of the woods.
(His Imperial Majesty’s order is ─ ‘Assassinate the Saint’. But, Luna-san is a true monster who kills mutants with a single blow while keeping an innocent face… the best plan now is to retreat.)
As Wendy was thinking about that, the mother and child who had been attacked by the Cyclops slowly stood up and bowed their heads deeply.
“Thank you… thank you very much for helping us out of danger…”
“Thank you, sister…!”
“Don’t mention it, I’m glad you’re safe.”
At the same time as Luna smiled softly, people cheered from a corner of the city.
“Fi-finally… the Imperial Army has arrived!”
“His Imperial Majesty sent them!”
After that, the imperial army that arrived at the scene was exactly an irresistible force, subjugating the overflowing demonic beasts all over the city.
Regular species were defeated by a single rider, higher-ranking species were surrounded by several people, and mutant species were defeated by multiple captains working together.
The Imperial Army is extremely strong, with morale, armament, and training that cannot be compared to the Royal Army. They are a ‘true army; prepared for the fight…
(T-they’re kind of cool…)
When Luna watched the Imperial Army’s ‘Demonic Beast Subjugation Operation’, her eyes sparkled.
“F-finally found you…”
“Hah hah… Luna, so you were here!”
Rho and Sarco found her – and gasped at the remains of the demonic beast lying at Luna’s feet.
“Eh!? Th-this, feels like Luna did it…?”
“Th-this kind of looks like the work of a berserker…”
The two of them were slightly, no, quite a bit taken aback.
“N-no, no! You’re right, but it’s a little different! This is a Cyclops! I punched it lightly, and then boom ─”
“Ceh, a Cyclops?”
“Then it makes sense.”
Luna’s claim was easily accepted without any doubts.
(A-amazing! Cyclops as an excuse… is very convenient!)
Luna decided in her heart that if something like this happened again, she could rely on Cyclops-sensei.
After that, it was officially announced that the Great Reincarnation Festival would be canceled due to the attack by demonic beasts.
The Emperor announced that he had identified the hiding place of the designated criminal organization ‘Demonic Beast Symbiosis Society’, which was said to be the mastermind behind the incident, and that they had already been subdued by the Imperial Guards under his direct command.
A little time passed after that ─ the time was 18 o’clock, with hand luggage in their respective hands, Luna and others gathered in front of the Triard family mansion.
“Are you girls really going to leave already? If you could stay the night for at least one more day, my husband would be able to make it in time to see you all…”
Taylor sounded reluctant to part.
Incidentally… the Marquis of Triard, who was unfortunately on a business trip far away, had thrown out all of his murderously packed schedules and was rushing in a horse-drawn carriage to the mansion to meet his beloved wife who had woken up for the first time in ten years and to convey his gratitude to his great benefactor named Luna Spedio.
“I’m sorry, I’m grateful for your gratitude, but…”
“We have school tomorrow, so we have to return soon.”
“Thank you for taking care of us for two days.”
In response to Luna, Rho, and Sarco’s words, Taylor regretfully muttered, ‘In that case, it can’t be helped’.
“Well, Wendy, see you at school tomorrow.”
“Yeah, see you tomorrow, Luna-san.”
Wendy parted ways with them for now.
After that, she would enjoy a leisurely private meal with her mother and her family ─ and head to the Kingdom Saint Academy on a horse first thing the next morning.
Luna and the others rode the Triard family’s carriage and headed back to Kingdom Saint Academy.
On the way to the student dormitory.
“The Great Reincarnation Festival was so much fun!”
When Luna exclaimed, Rho and Sarco nodded.
“There were some serious troubles along the way, but I think it was an interesting little trip.”
“I hope we can all go together again next year.”
With that, Luna returned to the Elgia Kingdom full of happiness.
On the evening of the day the Great Reincarnation Festival was canceled, Wendy received a summons and visited the Emperor’s office.
Inside, Adrinus Odo Albus was seated in a glorious comfortable chair, and behind him was his closest aide, Rad Tsezgenia.
Wendy silently knelt and the Emperor conveyed his appreciation.
“Diamond, thank you for coming. Let’s get down to business right away ─ Did you manage to grab evidence on Rho Steinclaw?”
Wendy immediately answered that question.
“I am terribly sorry. Nothing yet.”
Instead, she had spectacularly grabbed hold of evidence of the ‘true Saint’ Luna Spedio, but…
As far as evidence on Rho Steinclaw was concerned, she hadn’t been able to find anything yet.
She answered honestly.
She didn’t say anything that was a lie.
But of course that was just sophistry.
Despite knowing the true identity of the Saint, she did not report it to the Emperor and kept it to herself.
It was an act of disloyalty and a clear act of betrayal.
(Luna-san is my great benefactor and a very dear friend…)
A friend to whom she is deeply indebted and would not sell out even to the Emperor.
The girl named Wendy Triard had a proud spirit and was worthy of being the main heroine.
What’s more, a ‘certain doubt’ was now rising within her.
(…His Majesty the Emperor is extremely likely to have placed a curse on my mother…)
After successfully dispelling Taylor’s spell, when she asked the servants of the mansion to investigate the cursed sculpture, everything Sarco said was correct.
Of course, there was a possibility that the doctor sent by the Emperor placed the cursed magic tool on his own volition.
Although the possibility was not zero… it would be natural to think that he was ‘acting under Adrinus’ instructions.
(If Luna-san hadn’t come to our house, if she hadn’t made the elixir… I’m sure my mother would have passed away after suffering…)
Relief that her mother was safe, fear that she would have lost her mother if the gears of fate had been different, tremendous gratitude for Luna ─ and doubts about and grudge toward Emperor Adrinus.
The Emperor took her from House Triard. The ten years that they could have lived happily together as a family are things that money can’t buy and that she can never get back.
She wanted to pounce on the Emperor right now and ask him the truth.
However, if she did that, her entire family would be executed.
(Besides… I hear that Adrinus protects his entire body with powerful ‘holy relics’…)
Even if she attempted to engage in single combat, she would only be met with a counterattack.
(For now… it’s time to be patient.)
She decided to continue her work for a while and serve as the Emperor’s hands and feet.
Her position as a secret agent of the Empire is very valuable, considering the future.
As Wendy blazed with cold flames of revenge, the Emperor looked deep into her eyes for a moment and cleared his throat, ‘Hmm’
“…I see. So Rho Steinclaw didn’t take action during this commotion? Well, it would be boring if she was exposed so easily. ─ Diamond, you will continue to infiltrate Saint Academy and keep an eye on her.’’
After leaving the office, Wendy was approached by a senior magic officer from the Empire and through <Gate>, was sent to the student dormitory of Kingdom Saint Academy.
“Ah… I’m tired.”
When she returned to her room, the first thing she did was take a shower, washing away the fatigue from the day.
“Phew… that was refreshing.”
With a pink camisole and beige thin haori, she got ready for school tomorrow and lay down on the bed.
“…Luna-san, you’re a benevolent person…”
Wendy was overwhelmed by the Saint’s heart.
(It’s thought that Saint-sama’s power and memory have deteriorated significantly after her reincarnation. Therefore, she is protected by a substitute named Silver. In other words, now, if Saint-sama’s identity is revealed ─ she would be in danger and it’s something that should be avoided at all costs. But… Luna-san knew the risk and helped my mother.)
There was no benefit to Luna by creating an elixir there and breaking Taylor’s curse.
Rather, she would simply be taking on the huge risk of being found out as the Saint.
Luna’s pure heart and clear goodness were so blinding.
(Luna-san, you saved me and my precious family. So now it’s my turn─)
The likeably but full of weakness Saint-sama gained a hidden supporter.
Wendy firmly vowed to herself.