“What’s so funny?”
Etia was laughing. When was the last time she had laughed out loud since she had been locked in the church?
The man said that Etia was worthless, even though she had been called the beloved child of angels since birth, and had been strongly possessed by non-angels as well.
“That’s right. I have no value. I’m just an outsider who attracts people on their own. People are only attracted to me because I’m beautiful. I have no value of my own.”
This impoverished country town is now a thriving community, thanks to the collection of tolls from the believers who visit Etia’s church. She wondered how many people knew that this blessed life is based on the sacrifice of Etia?
“Would you like some tea?”
Etia felt refreshed after saying what she wanted to say, and as if she had forgotten, she called out to the man.
She poured the amber liquid from the teapot into a cup she had taken out of the cupboard, and quietly held the cup out in front of the man.
“You know, poisoning a demon won’t kill them.”
When the man cursed, even though he knew there was no poison in it, Etia gave a cold smile and shook her head.
“If it was poisonous, I would drink it myself right in front of the angel.”
“Do you want to die?”
“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my parents, the church, or the angels.”
The man drank the tea in one gulp and left the table as if he had nothing more to say. Etia, in a panic, sat up and took a step closer to the demon. With the table between them, they never touched each other.
“Will you come again?”
“It’s all about killing time.”
“Don’t you want to harass the angels?”
“…when I feel like it.”
The man quickly melted into the darkness, and Etia kept staring after him.
This was the first time she had spoken so much.
There will be days when she won’t even speak out for weeks. Everyday she spends her time here alone in this room without seeing anyone.
Tonight, she feels so upset that she can’t sleep. Feeling uncomfortable, she kept moving restlessly on her bed, covered herself with the quilt, and recalled her conversation with the man.
She felt like she was complaining about the angels all the time. She wished she could have said something more thoughtful, but she didn’t know what to talk about with others in the first place.
The man said that he was a high-ranking demon. He could have killed the little girl in a heartbeat, but he didn’t even touch her.
He said that he came here just to kill time, but she wonders if he will come back when he has more free time.
‘I honestly want to see him again.’
Etia was born on the outskirts of the country, the eldest daughter of a poor lord.
The land was poor, the people were struggling to make ends meet, and the lord was in debt, unable to collect taxes.
Etia was the long-awaited first child of the lord and lady, but since she was not a boy, her parents sighed deeply the moment she was born.
As soon as Etia was born, angels came out of nowhere and blessed the baby one by one. Her parents were surprised. Angels had descended on the old mansion of the lord and were surrounding their daughter.
The horrified parents immediately called for a priest and the church. Witnessing the situation, they took Etia away from the lord. In other words, it was just a good excuse to get rid of her, and her parents had been receiving a lot of money from the church in secret.
Afraid that forcing Eita might displease the angels, they did not force Eita to live a life of prayer and devotion like a nun, nevertheless, she was confined in the church as a beloved child.
The church spared no effort to bring the angel’s beloved child out into the public eye to increase her value as a precious rarity. The only time Etia was allowed to leave her private chambers was during special services that were held several times a year.
At the services that Etia attended, the angels often performed some kind of miracle.
On one occasion, light flooded over the head of Etia, and the sight of her halo captivated the hearts of the believers. Another time, it was a cold, snowy day, and the believers were moved to tears by the divine appearance of Etia as flower petals fell around her. At other times, angels left words that were like revelations, and even the church was thrown into confusion.
As the story spread, the name of the angel’s beloved child reached many places.
Those who donated the most money were allowed to attend special services, and therefore, in order to get a glimpse of the miracle, it was necessary to donate a large amount of money. Thus, wealthy aristocrats and wealthy merchants continued to make donations without regard for money.
There was also a never-ending line of believers who came to the church building to get closer to the beloved child, even though they could not see her directly.
The Lord, Etia’s parents, were now trusted and respected by the people as the parents of the angel’s beloved child. The people who lived in the poor land, where no crops could grow, and who were in need of food everyday, were also enriched by the money dropped by the believers who visited the church.
The church building, which was in a state of decay a decade ago, was rebuilt a few years ago thanks to generous donations from nobles, wealthy merchants and pilgrims. The rebuilt church was lined with standing pillars like a temple, high ceilings, intricately shaped archways, and large windows with decorative stained glass. It was a large and magnificent building that was incongruous for a rural town.
The church building was accompanied by a tall tower with a bell. There, at the top floor of the tower is where Eita’s private quarter was located.
The door to the room was locked with a chain, and the room was isolated so that no one could interact with her. For meals, a cart is delivered to the next room across from her’s, and when the servant rings the doorbell, she heads out to pick it up. After the meal is over, the wagon is placed in the same room and the doorbell is rung, and after a while the sound of it being brought out is heard.
Her days pass in solitude, never seeing anyone.
The church fears more than anything that Etia will develop a connection with people.
As a child, Etia tried many times to escape from the church by taking advantage of the priests.
On one occasion, she tried to escape with the help of a monk, but her attempt was foiled by a tip-off from another monk. He was jealous that someone who was not him was gaining Etia’s trust.
Both monks had already been celibate during their long religious lives after taking their vows, but they were captured by Etia’s demonic beauty and destroyed themselves.
It was two months later when the demon showed its face to Etia again. Etia, who was staring at the sky with a sorrowful expression, looked up when she noticed the sound of a window opening.
“I’m so glad you came!”
The angel had stopped by, amused that the demon would not want to come in contact with his beloved, but it was the man who was surprised by the unexpected welcome. What kind of person would welcome a visit from a demon? With a dumbfounded look on his face, he looked down at the pretty girl looking up at him.
“I’ve prepared some sweets for you today. To tell the truth, I’ve been preparing them every day for the past two months. Thanks to this, I’ve gained a little weight.”
After wishing for sweets during tea time after dinner, sweet pastries were served. Eita continued to eat them by herself, thinking that if she didn’t eat them, she might be deprived of them.
The man, who had been distracted by the girl’s flowery smile, sat down on the sofa and put the pastry in his mouth.
“Do you have any idea who I am?”
“You’re a demon.”
Etia looked at him suspiciously, wondering what he was going on about. The man is puzzled as to why her reaction would be different.
“Normal humans abhor demons, don’t they?”
“Do you think I’m normal?”
She was a natural-born beloved child who captivated the non-humans. There is no way she can be called normal.
“Since you’ve come here, more and more demons have been peeking into this room.”
“Some low-ranking demons must have gotten impatient, thinking I’d snatch you away from them.”
“You can take me from them if you like.”
The man looks at Etia with furrowed brows, but she is smiling with a face that is hard to read what she is thinking.
He can’t help but think that things get out of control when he is dealing with this girl.