No matter how much I understood it in my head, I can’t just agree with it.
After having shed too much blood and holy power at my first ceremony, I had to stay in bed for five full days.
No more than five days. Be that as it may, it was still five days.
As I was unconscious, the state funeral of my predecessor ended, and Emilia’s mother had also moved to the rear shrine.
Although I can’t say I hadn’t expected it, I was in a really shameful state.
I had to express my gratitude to Emilia who took over the decision-making.
—However, when would I be able to leave the bed?
Since most of my injuries should have been healed, the wounds have pretty much closed up.
It was probably thanks to having the bleeding stopped properly. Although I had cut fairly deeply, it had stopped bleeding, so I could pretty much say I had made a complete recovery.
And yet, three days after I woke up, they still won’t let me get out of bed.
“You must not.”
Even though I hadn’t said anything yet, Wieland cut me off with a few words.
I’ve been sleeping like a log for 13 days since I was brought here after fainting. When I woke up at last, I moved around and passed out again, then stayed in bed for 5 more days… Apparently, because of my blunder, Wieland felt a sense of danger.
Because of saint supremacy, the other two couldn’t stop me, so he took the initiative to be my guard and keep watch over me.
—Did I cause him to worry that much?
Even so, I can’t help but think that this was still going too far.
Rather than the weak saintesses so far, I was an old man past my 40s. It wasn’t like I would die for collapsing after shedding some blood.
Wieland had said I’d open my wounds again if I moved around, but as far as I cared, it was just convenient. It saved me the trouble of cutting my wrists.
“Don’t you see that if I don’t go through the purification already, the pollution will increase?”
“Then, please promise me that you will not offer blood.”
“I can’t do that.”
If I didn’t offer blood during the purification, the circumstances wouldn’t get any better, even if I spent my entire life purifying.
It wasn’t like I wanted to experience the sensation of draining my blood and holy power repeatedly, but there was no other way since it was necessary.
If I could save thousands, tens of thousands of lives after staying in bed for a few days, it would be a low price to pay.
It wasn’t necessary to sacrifice hair, anyway.
I thought and looked at Wieland, who made a wry face.
His brows were furrowed, and his lips were drawn in a tight line in frustration—despite knowing it, he couldn’t accept it. It was clearly written on his face, and I couldn’t help but smile bitterly.
Despite having an unbelievably beautiful face, his expression was childish.
Since the always composed beautiful knight made this kind of face, this country’s faith in the saint must be truly deep-rooted.
No matter how I saw it, I was just an old man, though.
“...There’s no way I can’t offer blood, but I’m thinking of cutting it back a little.”
If we adjusted the range that would be purified and the amount of holy power, enough so I wouldn’t collapse on the spot… that should be possible.
It would be pitiful to make him carry an old man each time, and I would like to have enough strength to return to my room to sleep by myself.
After I said something I wasn’t sure was possible, Wieland finally softened the look in his eyes.
I slowly read the scriptures out loud while thinking back on the first feeling of my first ceremony.
The previous time, we put our focus on areas with a lot of damage and purified the pollution to strengthen the surroundings. I had to go directly to the place to purify it completely, but I could feel the darkness fading slightly.
With this, the damage should be relieved somewhat.
Looking closely at the light and darkness floating around in the air, I grabbed it and tossed it into a basin.
Unlike last time, when I concentrated on purifying a limited area, this time, I imagined lightly purifying a larger area.
I had to purify the whole country as soon as possible so that I could leave here without any trouble.
Sweat dripped down as I finished tossing darkness in the basin, then I continued with the ceremony like before.
Pouring morning dew and sacred sake in the basin, I mixed it with a branch from the holy tree, and lastly slowly undid the bandage around my wrist.
It should be mostly healed by now, but because I had been moving around, blood was oozing.
Conveniently, I had felt the wound open as I held the scripture above my head and recited it.
—Now I just need to endure.
I gritted my teeth as blood and holy power were drawn out of me.
Still, I groaned and felt sweat drip down my chin.
While I endured the same sensation from last time, the ceremony came to an end.
This time, I managed to somehow not pass out.
However, my magical power which I should have had plenty of was gone. Maybe that was normal because I had turned everything into holy power.
I was dizzy from losing blood, and my head hurt from the lack of magical power. It took all of my effort to lean on the desk and stand up.
I just narrowly avoided fainting, but it might not be much of a difference from last time.
There was no way I could walk like this.
“It’s alright… If I need to rest a little, I’ll have to borrow your shoulder.”
Since I doubted I could move straight away if I stayed like this for a while, the dizziness should eventually subside.
Although I felt sorry for making Wieland keep me company, this was probably better than carrying an old man on his shoulders.
So I suggested that, but Wieland said firmly,
“That will not happen.”
His cold voice surprised me, and when I opened my eyes, my vision turned distorted.
I couldn’t see what expression Wieland was making.
He would have no choice but to carry me if I passed out, so maybe he didn’t want to lend me his shoulder.
It would have been one thing if it was a cute woman, but there was no way he’d like an old man lending his shoulder.
It must be really unpleasant.
It wasn’t strange for him to turn me down.
If I rest here a bit longer, I could probably walk and return to my room by myself.
Just as I had come to a decision, a silhouette entered my vision.
The sun’s color turned dark as it was clouded, and thinking it was strange, I opened my eyes, and my vision became distorted.
But despite that, I could clearly make out that color.
It was a sparkling gold in the light, similar to the tips of ripe wheat. It was Wieland’s hair color.
…But why was he this close?
“I will accept the punishment afterward.”
“Huh? Woah, wait—”
Before I had the time to say anything, he put a hand on my shoulder and under my knees, then lifted me up.
It was the first time I felt the sensation of being lifted up in the air and the left side of my body felt his warm body temperature. I widened my eyes in surprise and saw the same vague gold color reflected in my vision.
Maybe, just maybe, this was what people called princess carry?
During wedding ceremonies in the village, the grooms would carry their brides like this. For a man, this was embarrassing, but for women, this way of carrying them in your arms seemed to make them happy.
I have blessed a bunch of people who were embarrassed and happy by being carried like this but… to be carried like this at my age…
Moreover, that I was the one being carried…
Before I could say anything because of my surprise, Wieland had already swiftly carried me to my room. Hearing footsteps, I knew Dirk and Kahim came rushing after us, but I couldn’t bring myself to open my eyes.
I wasn’t bold enough to carry on a conversation in this state.
As I pretended to be unconscious, Wieland asked them to clean the “White Room” and call for a doctor before he carefully put me down on the bed.
He removed my shoes, loosened my collar, pulled out my belt, then covered me with the blanket.
After wiping my face and hands with a damp cloth, he lightly wiped my skin around the wound before holding my hands high as he waited for the doctor.
His sparkling appearance was unbelievably gallant.
Being nursed by him, all I could do was continue pretending that I was unconscious.
However, even then, I had something I wanted to know no matter what.
…Was it my imagination or didn’t he seem awfully used to this?