A few months later, a rumor floated around all over the kingdom that a new saint had appeared.
She was 16-years-old. She was the same age as Melissa when she had become a saint. The new saint proceeded to be welcomed and protected by the royal capital, or so Melissa had heard.
I heard that she’s completely different from the former saint…
To be honest, Melissa didn’t want to hear about the new saint.
Still, the rumors had spread.
At present, Melissa lived in a quiet rural village, one a few hours drive from the royal capital. The lush green countryside land was filled fields. It reminded Melissa of her own hometown.
Melissa had no place to return to.
When she was still 8-years-old, famine struck, and her parents fell ill. Due to the lack of food and doctors, after Melissa had become a saint and was invited to the royal capital, they succumbed a few days later.
Melissa’s sorrow, mourning, and grievance because she couldn’t save them in time became her driving force to save the country.
Eight years later, she heard that her birthplace had fallen into the hands of a certain baron.
Not only had she left the royal castle, she had also lost her title as the saint.
Melissa realized that she truly had nothing left.
But, she was also free from the expectations and pressure of the people.
Melissa believed she had done as much as she could as a saint. She was proud of it, accepted the change in generation, and also the fact that she was now living in that village.
“Melissa, I have some nice tomatoes, today. If you like, please eat it.”
“Aunt Barry, thank you very much. My! What beautiful and fresh-looking tomatoes! Is it okay for me to have them?”
“It’s okay. I can’t eat all of it. They’ll just end up rotting. Melissa, you have to eat a lot! You’re so thin, after all!”
“Well, this is still a lot! Please tell me if you need any help, today!”
Melissa laughed while looking at the bright red tomatoes in the large basket.
Through the use of her own savings, Melissa bought a small house on the outskirts of the village. Mr. and Mrs. Barry were amiable people, and they were fond of Melissa whom had just moved in.
Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Barry, Melissa’s interactions with the villagers expanded.
Nowadays, she’d gather children from the neighborhood to teach them how to study, mend clothes, and helping with house chores. She earned a living by herself.
There’s so much food, I can’t possibly eat all of it…!
The kingdom sure is prospering…!
The richness of life was the richness of the heart.
Eight years ago, everyone was exhausted trying their best to live. They couldn’t afford to be considerate of others. Older people begged, adults worked hard, children pickpocket and stole—fights and quarrels continued to worsen security.
However, that time had passed.
As of the present, children would hang around the fields; idle chatter would blossom amongst the villagers—basically, everyone was laughing happily.
Melissa, who had been devoted to her duty as a saint, was thrilled when she saw the outside world for the first time in a while.
Despite her lack of power, she couldn’t help but pray.
May the people of this kingdom be happy every day.
Melissa continued to earnestly pray despite it not reaching Heaven.
A short walk from the village, there was a small market where merchants came and went.
It was a valuable source of living and income for the villagers. Melissa went to the market several times a week to shop.
In the place where traveling merchants often gathered, she could sometimes encounter rare local products.
Mrs. Barry, who loved rumors, often heard and talked about the situation of the kingdom from the traveling merchants.
There are rare vegetables today.
She discovered vegetables that grew in her birthplace.
The clothes of the traveling merchant, who called out to her, were similar to the clothes of her hometown.
“Are you from the region of Palaste?”
“From the village of Ladin, to be precise—the birthplace of the former saint.”
“The Ladin Village…”
Melissa paused at the familiar name. The merchant proudly explained even further.
“It’s Lady Melissa’s village that saved us from the great famine. Nowadays, believers visit it frequently. It has become a prosperous town, unmatched from the past.”
Melissa mumbled when she unexpectedly heard about her hometown. Believers were a big deal—but she didn’t remember hearing about them.
“Recently, a new saint has appeared. Lady Melissa is dutybound no longer. She’s been working hard for a long time. The village is in a festive mood because she can finally rest and marry the crown prince.”
What does that mean? I wonder if the world still doesn’t know I have vanished…
A few questions arose in Melissa’s head. If a new saint appeared, shouldn’t the public consider her engagement as null?
“Are you also a believer of Lady Melissa? Nowadays, her wavy blonde hairstyle is popular…”
She also didn’t know about that. She didn’t follow recent hairstyle trends but she did see many women with the same hairstyle as her. There were even ladies who went as far as dyeing their hair blonde.
Of course, Melissa was happy that she was loved.
But, Melissa heard that the new saint had straight, black, hair.
Eventually, the new saint’s followers would increase and so would the number of black-haired women in town.
Melissa listened to the story of her hometown as she bought a lot of vegetables from the merchant. She’d make a soup with plenty of vegetables from Palaste region. Adding herbs as part of the secret spice was the specialty of her late mother.
When I made it for His Highness, he ate it with gusto…
It happened years ago. She once borrowed a kitchen in the royal castle to cook when peace was attained, and stagnant distribution resumed. The maid hurried after her, saying that she shouldn’t have to do such a thing.
However, Melissa wasn’t part of the royal family. She was a nobody, in fact.
Melissa’s house, albeit aristocratic, was a low-ranking one and belonged to the frontier. She only had a few maids, and had to help them every day. Her mother sometimes took over in the kitchen.
After Melissa had skillfully finished cooking, the maid was impressed and was even salivating.
His Highness, albeit surprised, proudly smiled at her.
Afterwards, I cooked for him several times… didn’t His Highness eat everything?
Feeling nostalgic, she went home.
Before she could leave the market, she noticed a crowd. A man in his military uniform was detaining a woman.
“There seems to inspection underway.”
“They’re looking for a woman with wavy blonde hair.”
She listened to the buzzing conversation.
There was a familiar face among the inspecting men. He was His Highness’ aide—Knight Captain Jill.
Melissa was shocked and hurriedly pulled up her hood. There was no mistake—they were looking for her. Was she to be blamed for leaving the royal castle without a word? Scared, Melissa left.
They sheltered me for eight years… how ungrateful of me… I’m sure they’re angry…
…I just want to sort out my feelings a little bit longer…
…I’m sorry, I just don’t want to face His Highness right now.
She decided to go off the road, enter the forest, and return to the village.
Melissa rushed back home, shaking off His Highness’ smile from her mind.
***T/N: Does the male lead has to be the prince? ///sluts for knights