*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.
The Church of Light! My Holy Temple! Ah, my heart was filled with such great joy to see the gleaming towers of the Church before me. Like the prodigal son returned home from years of travel, I, too, felt that I was welcomed back in the warm embrace of a loving mother……
I'm finally back! Back to my beautiful days of temple life!
Although I managed to maintain my graceful bearing as I dismounted, I wasn't able to stop myself from walking just that little bit faster. I wished to return to my dearly missed room which I had not seen for over a month, but on my way there, I noticed a large crowd gathered in the Holy Temple's public courtyard. My brows furrowed when I sensed two very familiar people right in the middle of the throng.
Roland and his vice-captain, Dylan.
Even though they were surrounded by a large group of people, I could still hear the clanging of swords clashing against one another. I was alarmed and furious at this. How dared they! To actually start a fight with each other in the Holy Temple itself!
I started shoving my way through the crowd towards the centre. The shoved holy knights turned to give me annoyed looks, but when they realised just who it was they were glaring they immediately leapt aside in surprise.
I finally made my way to the centre, and sure enough I saw the two of them wielding swords and attacking each other ferociously, showing no mercy to each other. I felt a jolt of horror shoot through me; if I were to stop them a second too late, would I find one of them dead at the sword of the other?
"Stop this at once!" I shouted at them furiously, and was gratified to see them stop. I then turned to glare at a familiar figure standing amidst the watching crowd and shouted, "Adair! Why didn't you stop them?!"
Adair stared at me in surprise, before hurrying over to my side and explaining in a quiet whisper, "Captain, it's all right. The Hell Knight Captain and his vice-captain are merely sparring against each other. In this past month, they can always be found sparring here around this time; sometimes, even the Judge Knight would join in with them."
When I heard that, I quickly looked back at Roland and his vice-captain, Dylan. The both of them had long since stopped and were looking at me, not at all looking as if they were at each other's throats…… Oh dear, it seems I had misunderstood the situation. I couldn't help laughing at myself. Looks like Leaf's death had affected me more than I had thought. This is the Holy Temple's public courtyard! People keep passing through here; it would have been impossible for them to stand by and watch as one of the Twelve Holy Knights and their vice-captain kill each other.
And even if Adair did not stop them, Judge surely wouldn't have allowed such a thing to occur.
Just then, Adair leant in and added, "Captain, the Hell Knight Captain promised Dylan that if he could best him in a duel, he would give him back the position of captain. However after only ten days, Dylan was finally convinced. Right now, the Hell Knight Captain is actually training the Hell Knight Division with their sword skills."
"So the problem has been solved?" I asked quietly.
"Yes, sir." Adair nodded and said, "Now, Dylan would be the first one to leapt forward and defend the Hell Knight Captain against any slurs."
I nodded in satisfaction. "Then please explain something for me, I'm going back to my room for my skin whitening regime."
"Captain?" Adair stared at me in incomprehension.
Suddenly noticing my blunder, I hurriedly tried to cover it up. "…… I mean, I'm going back to my room to recuperate."
"Yes, sir. You've worked hard, sir."
I turned to continue on to my room, and as I walked away, I heard Adair's explanation to the crowd: "Nothing happened, got it?"
And everyone replied in unison, "Got it."
Ah, not bad, my very capable vice-captain. He couldn't be bothered with trivial excuses, just like his own dashing captain.
"Creus!" a voice called out.
I turned around to see Roland coming after me. I smiled and asked, "How are you adjusting to life in the Holy Temple?"
"Very well. But, is it really alright for me to continue on like this?" he asked when he had caught up with me and continued to walk beside me. He then hesitated a little before saying, "If my real identity were to be discovered, then you would be……"
I rolled my eyes and said exasperatedly, "After living in the Holy Temple for a whole month, you still haven't got it? If Judge and I were to work together and point at an apple and call it a tomato, that apple will henceforth forever be known as a tomato."
Roland merely frowned at that without saying a word.
"Stop worrying. Even if you were to be discovered, at the very most you would be burned to ashes," I then purposely said, "Should that time come, as long as you willingly let yourself be burned, I won't be affected at all, so you have to promise me that if we were discovered, you will allow me to tie you to the stake to be burned."
"I promise," Roland said solemnly.
I smiled at that. Roland wouldn't worry if he believed that his sacrifice could solve all problems. He feared not at all for himself, but for the others involved. So this is the best way to convince him to stop worrying. If it were Judge, on the other hand, he would have grilled me further on questions like 'do you swear to the God of Light that you would really burn me on a stake?'
"Alright, Captain Hell Knight, you may continue with your division's sword practice. This Sun is tired and wishes to rest."
"Alright," Roland nodded solemnly, before promising seriously, "Creus…… no! Sun, I swear to you that I will carry out my duties as the Hell Knight properly."
I let out a sigh of relief to hear that. Roland's issue has finally been settled once and for all. Looks like I have a great many carefree days ahead of me!
A few days later, a messenger from Moon Orchid arrived, raising questions from the King about what secrets the Church of Light could be keeping with Moon Orchid.
Under the watchful eye of the Twelve Holy Knights as well as a representative from the royal family – Elliot, the messenger from Moon Orchid cheerfully took out a large stack of letters and said, "My country's Royal Princess bid me to pass these on to the Holy Temple's Leaf Knight."
Everyone stared at the thick stack of perfumed letters, nearly as thick as Storm's workload.
The Twelve Holy Knights then broke out into knowing smiles.
Elliot scratched at his face awkwardly, his earlier stern countenance disappearing right away.
Leaf, on the other hand, quietly accepted the letters, not daring to look up at anyone. However, the messenger wasn't satisfied, and said to him, "Her Highness also instructed me not to return without a reply."
Leaf's head went even lower as he whispered out quietly, "Alright."
And then, under everyone's avid gaze, he took out a dozen letters – not perfumed though, but probably because Leaf was too poor to afford perfume – and handed it over to the messenger.
The messenger accepted the stack of letters in satisfaction and left.
Blaze was the first one to run up to Leaf and pounded him on his back. "Leaf, you little brat," he hollered. "You actually hooked up with a princess!"
"My God of Light! Who would have believed that the first to hook up with a princess would be the nice guy, Leaf?!"
'Actually, the honour of being the first to hook up with a princess should fall to Elliot,' I pointed out in my heart.
"The world sure has changed!" Earth Knight bit out bitterly. "Even the nice guys can end up with a princess!"
The Moon Knight looked at the cross of the God of Light with tears streaming down his eyes and swore, "I'm going to become a nice guy too!"
I pouted at that.
'I'm a nice guy too! And I'm the head of the Twelve Holy Knights, I'm more handsome than Leaf, and I have a higher salary than him. So why do all the princesses only call me shameless and despicable?!
'Sob, sob. I-I can only stick to my temple life and gaze on at the beautiful female priests in the Hall of Light to comfort myself……
'Damn it! I'm going to be a temple guy forever!!' I cried out in my heart.
Just then, Judge walked over and leaned against the window I was looking out of and stared at the neighbouring Hall of Light. After a while, he spoke up. "The Hall of Light is on leave today."
"I know that."
"Then what are you looking at?"
"A sad empty dream……"
We stared out at the empty hall totally devoid of life for a few more moments, before Judge spoke up once more. "When Leaf sent the message back asking for back-up, he mentioned that there seemed to be something wrong with your eyes."
A jolt of alarm pierced through me, but outwardly, I merely shrugged my shoulders and said, "He was just thinking too much. Do I look like I'm blind? A blind staring at gorgeous women? How ridiculous."
"Then tell me, what colour is that bird perched on the window sill over there?" he asked calmly.
I hesitated for a moment before answering carefully, "White."
A silence fell at that, and after a long time, Judge sighed tiredly and said, "Creus, how long did you think you could keep it from me?"
'I should have known I wouldn't be able to hide it from him,' I thought with a wry smile.
In the beginning, I had used the excuse that I was still weak from the resurrection and stayed in bed in Leafy Forest for several days. Whilst appearing to be resting, I was actually desperately training myself to use my mage sight in place of normal vision, and had hardly slept in those ten days. I thought I'd managed to wield it to perfection. Even when chasing after the enemy, Princess Alice, Solerwaith and Pink hadn't even noticed the fact that I was blind.
After that on the way back to the Holy Temple, I had further improved on my mage sight and even the minute details of an object had became clear to me just from examining the object's elements…… What? You don't understand? Sigh! Okay, for example, I was able to tell the number of buttons on people's clothes and stuff like that.
And in the end, I was even able to get a rough idea of a person's face and could tell what kind of expressions they were making…… I had gotten so good at mage sight that I had nearly forgotten that I was blind in the first place!
But, the one thing I can never see again was 'colour'. I couldn't even tell if someone was beautiful or ugly anymore. Back then in the cave when Alice had asked me tearfully if she was beautiful, I honestly had no idea. In my mind, the only image I could get of her was a bunch of different elements combined together into the shape of a young woman. It was impossible for me to judge anyone's beauty anymore.
Judge frowned and said in a faintly accusing tone, "You never mentioned that one would have to pay such a steep price for a resurrection."
"They don't have to pay such a hefty price," I agreed calmly. "But whilst I was casting the resurrection, I had pleaded with the God of Light and agreed to 'pay the price' for a perfect resurrection of Leaf. As you should know, I have always been cautious and would never gamble Leaf's life on that twenty-five percent success rate!"
Judge went quiet before saying, "If that is so, then you need not keep blaming yourself for Leaf's death. Every time you look at Leaf, you have this sorrowful look in your eyes."
I cycled a deep breath before declaring quietly but forcefully, "I will never leave behind my comrades again, never!"
"And I will tell them that they better jump down a cliff and leave behind an incomplete corpse rather than to die in front of you." Judge countered calmly. "You never know what you might lose the next time."
'Even if they were to jump off a cliff, as long as half a head still remains, I could probably still save them. It'll just be a matter of how much I'll have to sacrifice,' I thought mutinously.
Judge then let out a sigh. "You cannot save everyone, Creus. I hope you understand that."
"I know." 'Probably……'
"Other than the lack of colour, are you otherwise affected by your blindness?" Judge probed.
I tilted my head as I thought about it. I don't think I need to mention about my lost sense of aesthetics? So I answered him honestly, "There were a few in the beginning, but after having improved my mage sight, they can all be overcome by it now. In fact, I can 'see' way better now than I did before; I now have three hundred and sixty degrees vision. But other than that, I am only missing colours."
"Speaking of which," I asked curiously, "what was the bird's colour?"
Judge paused before answering, "It was white."
"You lied to me," I said expressionlessly.
"Yes, I did," Judge admitted without a trace of guilt, before adding, "And if you try to hide things from me again in the future, no matter how secret it is I will still expose it in front of the Twelve Holy Knights. Now, think long and hard on how you're going to apologise to the Hell Knight, for I'm going to tell him about your blindness. I want him to watch out for your safety."
"Don't!!" I begged him. "If you do that, Roland's going to follow me around twenty-four seven! He doesn't need to sleep or eat or even use the toilet…… Oh my God! I don't want a guy following me around wherever I go! I'll go crazy!"
"Hey, hey! Judge, don't walk away! Listen to me; as long as you don't tell Roland, I promise to do everything you tell me to, okay? Leithe Judge--!"