Life is but a brief journey.
No matter how much wealth you boast of as a rich man.
No matter how much envy you collect as an unrivaled beauty.
No matter how much trust is placed in you as a messenger of God.
As long as you are human, death does not discriminate.
And that is why an accident happening to one girl was by no means one that shook the universe.
It was simply a matter of the girl being unable to escape as she reached the end of the road.
The people will simply lament, It’s much too soon for her, how cruel.
“——However, it seems like you are not so normal after all. There is actually another road continuing where this one ends, from the other side——”
・ ・ ・
Yuna’s ordinary days suddenly disappeared.
One afternoon, identical to any other, center of town.
It was a truly nondescript day as she made her way to the market to stock up on medical plants.
Something happened to her.
If you think on it twice, it will rise to the surface with vivid clarity.
The heartrending cries of the people. The high-pitched whinny of the horse’s voice. The big, horse-drawn carriage looming in front of her eyes.
And then, her entire body as it was caught by the impact of a much too great blow…
——I was run over by a carriage and killed.
Yuna came to that conclusion without much feeling.
It was only a moment ago she was at a loss and in a daze, dumped in a completely unfamiliar, white world. She somehow regained her calm and guessed what had happened to her body.
Such a short life, she thought. I only lived for 18 years. There was still a lot I wanted to do, or rather, perhaps it is better said that the things I have accomplished were far too few. It’s not like I wanted to spend my days doing something especially noble, but I can’t help feeling this sense of incompleteness.
(Perhaps it is because of lingering attachments that I have come to this mysterious place?)
She took another look at her surroundings.
——Nothing after all. Just an empty world. Blank as far as the eye could see, up and down were the exact same. Yuna had been left by herself in a completely white world.
(Oh, dear Lord.)
Not knowing where to focus, she vacantly looked around. Exactly because of that, there was no sense of progress being made.
(Err, what am I supposed to do in this situation? Is this perhaps the netherworld? That placed called Heaven? It feels completely different from what I was taught in school, though… What am I, Yuna, supposed to do all by myself? First I died, and now I’ve come to this unfathomable place. Or should I ask, why did I have to die in the first place? Even though I lived such an ordinary life, why? Was I so deeply stained by karmic sins my life was severed at such a young age, O God——)
“OK, OK, that’s enough.”
Yuna had been slowly but steadily falling into a state of confusion, when suddenly a woman’s voice–quite indifferent–spoke to her. That voice, which did not seem like it would care if anything happened, snapped Yuna back to her senses.
Yuna turned her head around in surprise and made an astonished face at the sight of the beautiful woman looking down on her. Dazzling golden and abundant hair. Eyes an almost transparent blue. Her body was clad a soft, white dress, and on her back were huge wings——ahh, an angel in the flesh, no doubt.
“Ah, um, uh, um.”
What did she know? Why did she have to give Yuna the short shrift?
“Ehh—first things first, nice to meet you, yeah?”
“Ahm, eh, uhh.”
“Names don’t really matter, but shall we start with introductions? I’m Angelica. Seen by humans like you, let’s see, I guess I look like an angel? It’s my job to deliver the souls of humans who have died in the human world to His side.”
“I think you get it, but you were hit by a carriage—a total disaster.”
Yuna calmed down little by little as the truth was shoved under her nose by this third party.
“And then your departed soul was so far gone I ended up using my powers to transfer it here.”
“Neither Heaven nor Hell. It’s a void where nothing exists.”
“Then what should I—”
“Relax. I don’t plan to keep you here for all eternity. I merely wanted you to lend me some of your strength, so I created this little white room specially to bring you here.”
Lend—my strength? Someone already dead like me? Yuna knit her brows in confusion.
“You just look like a common village girl to me, though.”
Angelica took glimpses at Yuna but whatever she saw did not change, for she made a slightly uneasy face.
“Saint Celiastina, do you know of her?”
“Right. Adored in your world, sent by the God Veda to be his voice. Girls born with a mark on the nape of their necks have been revered for generations, haven’t they?”
“Of course, I know that. I also know that Celiastina is our generation’s saint. No matter how far-flung the village, that’s common knowledge for everyone.”
“Good. Then you also know it is custom for the saint of every generation to marry the foremost holy knight of the kingdom, and together they serve their king for life?”
Of course, said Yuna with a nod of her head. But what does that have anything to do with me now?
“About that holy saint, you see—and this is just between the two of us…”
Angelica’s voice dropped low, and she approached Yuna so that she could whisper in her ear. Even if she wasn’t worried, there wasn’t even a single ant in here besides the two of them.
“She tried to kill herself by drowning.”
Yuna leaped away with great astonishment. The saint, the person closer to God than anyone else, committing suicide! It was too shocking a development. Until now, this has never happened before, likely not even even once.
“H–How is she?”
“Yeah, uh, she wasn’t spared from damage.”
“Thing is, she was much too important to die, you know? If she got sick and died, then whatever. But this was suicide. We can’t send another saint to replace her. My point is, Celiastina must not die.”
The angel’s flippant tone bothered Yuna, but she understood the gravity of the situation. Losing the saint definitely spelled trouble. A saint killing herself would be a blow even to God.
“Of course I am. That’s why, as an exception among exceptions, Celiastina will have to be revived. Fortunately, the place she tried to kill herself has yet to be discovered. We must prevent an uproar over her suicide from breaking out.”
Prevent it from happening. In other words, hush it up? Will that really be OK, oh my Lord Veda——Overcome with surprise as she was, it was all Yuna could do to endure so that what little faith remained did not waver.
“In other words, it’s easy for God to play with life and death, but it’s a big burden, too. In Celiastina’s case, her spirit is completely separated from her body. Which means it’s already too late. I said I’d do something about it—this is where you come in.”
“There’s still some time left to reunite Celiastina’s soul with her body again. I’ll look after her soul in the divine realm for a while—it needs to be purified. But I can’t leave her body empty, can I? So.”
“Yuna, you’ll take over Celiastina’s body in the meantime and live her life.”
“——Wait a, wha–whaaaat?!”
“Celiastina is basically dead. If we leave her body as it is, it’ll soon rot. There will be no point if that happens, right?”
It made sense. Well, not entirely, but Yuna got the gist of it. Though why did it have to be her? It was too huge a responsibility. It was the one thing she couldn’t agree on.
“A miracle happened.”
“The very same moment Celiastina tried to kill herself, smack on the dot, you were hit by a horse-drawn carriage. Some sort of distortion was created due to it. That’s why it’s possible to connect your soul to Celiastina’s body. A miracle that cannot be achieved even through His will.”
“Wa-wait, wait a minute! Th-there’s no way I can do it! Isn’t it the same as telling me to be the saint?”
“It’s only temporary. I don’t know how long it will be, but I suppose it’ll take half a year to a whole year.”
“I’m just a commoner. Becoming a messenger of God is—”
“Now, now. Why not? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not everyone gets it. You’ll be richer than some peer. Besides, Celiastina is quite a beauty. That alone is a merit, if you ask me.”
“Th-that’s blasphemous! The saint is someone to be venerated!”
“Oh, my. God will be pleased to know an ordinary village girl so reveres Him.”
“Yuna, please. This isn’t a personal request. The great God Himself wishes it. He isn’t giving you ‘permission’ to be the saint, but ‘asking’ you know? At least temporarily.”
“Th-that can’t be…”
Wasn’t that a rather underhanded way of talking to someone? But Yuna wasn’t in a position where she could refuse, and she was slightly beginning to understand. She was already dead to begin with. Even if she were pushed down to Hell, if that was His judgment, she’d have no choice but to accept. And if that was the case…
“You’ll do it, won’t you?”
Angelica wasn’t asking. It was an order. God’s will.
“——Oh, no! We’re running out of time. OK, Yuna, I leave it to you. Well, don’t be so stiff, just stick with it for a while and enjoy your life as the saint!”
“See ya! When the time comes, I’ll come get you!”
Suddenly, Yuna’s body was covered in a bright light. Angelica’s smiling face was also washed out by that light and disappeared——
O God, if it was my fate to be called into the next world at this age——then I wanted to rest in peace at least.