The next time Anya saw Barbara, the saintess was casting a heal on an old servant.
They were in a hidden stronghold in the north that belonged to the Bane Family. There were a few powers here who provided servants and slaves to their master, Fagus Bane, and this old man was obviously one of those servants. His back was humped with all the work he’d been subject to, and his clothes tattered.
There was a disgusting stench coming from him, one that almost caused Anya to crinkle her brows and escape. She could swear that even sewage smelled better than him, and on top of that the old man had a few disgusting lacerations on his pus-filled hands that almost caused her to vomit.
The World of Gods wasn’t very advanced medically, and most priests only cast divine spells on nobles or high-ranked Professionals. Commoners had to power through sickness, while the wealthy looked for potioneers. But even the potioneers could only brew some useless anaesthetics, or they just used some bat shit mixed with canvas ash to cheat others.
With this old man’s lowly status, it’d normally be impossible for him to be healed. He was looking at Barbara with imploring eyes.
“This is from half a month ago. I accidentally cut myself with a stone knife while working, and it turned out this way…”
“Don’t worry, the Lord loves us mortals… He won’t let you suffer this torture for eternity…” Barbara maintained her kindly smile even while facing such a person, not seeming at all bothered by the smell. Bright divine light was emanating from her hands as a healing spell caressed the wound. The swelling disappeared quickly, and much of the pus was cleaned up before bright red flesh began to emerge.
“All done! However, you still have to keep this arm clean. Don’t do anything too vigorous the next few days,” Barbara cautioned him.
“Oh… So kind… Thank you, kind-hearted priestess. May I know which god you serve?” the old man asked somewhat incoherently.
“The Lord is the master of massacres and healing. He is the God of Massacre, with feet in both life and death, Kukulkan!” Barbara answered seriously, turning solemn at the very mention of Leylin.
“God of Massacre, Kukulkan?” The old man was slightly confused, obviously not having heard of this name before. However, he soon regained his senses, “Only a very benevolent god would have a priestess like you. Please allow me to donate to him…”
The old man trembled as he took a few coppers from his pocket. However, the coins fell to the ground the moment he spotted Anya from the corner of his eyes, and he trembled slightly.
“Revered Mistress Anya!” The old man did not care for the rolling coppers on the ground, kneeling down immediately.
“Mm,” Anya answered reservedly. When it came to a servant who could only spend their whole life in this stronghold and serve her family, even a slight answer was a great favour. However, she quickly caught herself and looked at Barbara.
“My apologies, Saintess…”
“The attitude of nobles towards servants is just…” Barbara shook her head, crouching down to pick up the fallen coppers.
“The Lord sees your offerings,” she said as she stowed the insignificant wealth away. She held the old man’s hands, “The faith coming from the bottom of our hearts is what the Lord wishes for. Wealth means nothing, all beings are equal in terms of soul…”
“I will arrange for him to be given easier and safer jobs, Saintess…” Anya said immediately after the old man left. At the same time, her thoughts began to run free, ‘A kind and benevolent saintess? Good, it’s better to deal with people like her than orcs or savages…’
“I’ll be grateful, but it won’t be very effective…” Barbara shook her head, eyes glimmering with wisdom. It caused Anya to feel like this saintess in front of her wasn’t as simple as she seemed.
“We can only do what we can to save the person in front of us today. However, there are far too many people like this where our eyes cannot see, too many. As individuals, we cannot help them all…”
Barbara’s eyes glinted, “Of course, it’s great that he can get such kind treatment from you. Our Lord often tells us that success is brought about by the accumulation of small things…”
Barbara gazed at Anya with a half-smile, her wise eyes seemingly seeing through everything. “I was notified by chief Fagus that you shall be my communications official here. I will be troubling you from now…”
“No, no… It is my honour to be able to serve the Saintess!”
“Good!” Barbara used a finger to raise Anya’s chin. However, she actually seemed a little excited!
“I don’t want to stroll around yet, and I’m a little tired now. How about a bath?” Barbara suggested.
While it was strange to have a bath in the day, Anya did not question it. Although she felt slightly uneasy, she brought Barbara to a huge bathing area.
There was a marble statue here, that of a servant crouched respectfully with a vase in hand. Water was streaming out of the vase, large amounts of steam covering the huge, spotless-white jade-like pool.
Barbara’s body that was full of youthfulness and vigour disappeared into the pool, before she waved at Anya.
“Hmm? Me?” Anya felt dizzy at this, but her body still moved forward involuntarily…
Having finished the bath, Anya was dressed in a long, loose gown with a few droplets of water on her silky hair. She looked more beautiful than ever, but there was a look of perplexity on her face.
In contrast, Barbara was full of life as she pulled Anya to another area of the plaza.
“Sister Barbara!” “Sister Barbara!” A few little boys who were in the middle of training immediately ran over. At this point, Barbara’s aura changed once more, and she was now like a gentle big sister living nearby as she greeted them kindly.
The huge difference caused Anya to feel like she was still in a dream, leaving her slightly confused.
“These are…” she inquired robotically.
“Lost sheep that the Lord’s warriors found along the way…” Barbara caressed the head of a little boy, looking towards a devil hunter who was guiding them, “How is their homework?”
“They’re doing rather well. These kids can take hardships. Vegeta, in particular, is the most outstanding in terms of his understanding of battle techniques and learning how to read…” Upon hearing this, a trace of pride appeared on the face of the boy who Barbara was caressing.
“You did well!” Barbara’s smile grew even more tender.
“But…” The instructor seemed hesitant to speak.
“What is it? Go on.” Barbara frowned, but it did not seem to mar her beauty. It instead seemed to compliment her, making her seem more delicate. However, the instructor trembled, as if afraid of something.
“There’s a child… who doesn’t understand the lessons at all… and has a poor physique…”
Anya understood the situation from the side. The Giant Serpent Church was taking in orphans, nurturing them into manpower in various areas. A child without any real talent would probably be useless in the future.
“What’s his name?” Barbara followed the instructor’s gaze, and found a petite figure crouched in a corner. It seemed like he hoped to disappear into the shadows.
“Lonce… I think? That should be his name…” The instructor answered uncertainly.
“How can you treat someone you’re so unsatisfied with this way?” Barbara glanced at the instructor, “Have Amik come over, your position is being changed.”
The instructor didn’t dare resist the enraged saintess. He bowed and left without another word.
“Lonce! That’s your name, isn’t it?” Barbara asked as she walked towards the little boy.
“Y–yes, my Lady!” When Lonce looked up, it was like he saw a being of light. The holy rays emanating from her made her appear elegant and warm.
“I believe you have exceptional talent! Don’t mourn for a moment’s failure…” Barbara kindly patted Lonce’s cheeks, causing the flush on his face to extend to his neck.
“But…” Lonce sounded ready to cry.
“If you still can’t handle this, then pray. The Lord will give you courage…”
Lonce gritted his teeth hard. Only by doing so could he stop the tears of shame that were about to surge out of his eyes.
To Anya and the rest, it seemed like Barbara was the perfect saintess. She reached out to Lonce with a glowing hand of redemption, pulling him out of the shadows. The self-abasing boy seemed to grow brighter, with the courage to take on the entire world.
‘So strange.. Why do I suddenly think that way?’Anya wiped at her cheeks, suddenly coming to a realisation, ‘This power of influence… You’ve given me an extremely terrifying and difficult task, Father…’
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