TWB (Novel) Chapter 128

C128

The leader of the Paladins was the Commander of the Paladins, Sir Henry. He was a faithful follower of God and did not hesitate to dedicate himself to God. He was greatly encouraged by the appearance of the Saint and couldn't hide the joy and glory he felt for being a part of it.

The submission of Aragon was perfect.

Henry, who confirmed that there was no resistance, led the way to Zachary.

Henry had never met Zachary in person, but he couldn't help but recognize his appearance, which was rumored even in the church.

A handsome man with silver hair and a cold expression. Henry was greeted by the man perfectly prepared to lead people. Henry dismounted from his white horse and introduced himself.

"I am Henry, the Commander of the Paladins."

"This is Count Arno. Thank you for participating in the war."

Zachary greeted him calmly. It was rather Henry who was filled with excitement. Henry's eyes were filled with emotion as he looked at Zachary.

It was true that Bianca, the Saint, was Zachary's wife, but what he desperately wished for was Zachary's survival. The desire of a Saint is the desire of God. In other words, since God does not want Zachary to die, it was an indescribable feeling to be mobilized in the glorious mission of saving Zachary.

Henry's voice softened, moved by the supreme honor as a follower of God's will.

"What the Saint asked for was nothing but the will of God. We are only trying to respect God's will. On the contrary, our participation in the war was a bit late... I apologize, Count. After receiving the Saint's call, I quickly assembled the army and hurried to join, but the road was delayed due to the number of people."

"I understand. Thank you for coming earlier than expected. Thanks to all of you, I survived."

Facing Henry's apology, who shook his head as if he were shy, Zachary nodded.

Indeed, if you compare the location of the Vatican and the location of the current war, the Order of the Paladins did not arrive late. On the contrary, he was grateful to receive unexpected reinforcements.

Thus, Zachary and Henry exchanged greetings, halfway anonymous and halfway sincere. Their attitude seemed very friendly, and those around them who did not know the situation were puzzled and stared at them.

"Did the Count know that the Paladins would help us?"

"What is the name of the Saint?"

"A Saint appeared in Sevran... I guess the rumors were true."

"But how did they find out about our side and come to support us? Was it a coincidence?"

While soldiers and knights talked, Henry brought up the story like a bolt from the blue.

"Thank you for your understanding, Count. What Saint Bianca asked for was the survival of Count Arno. We will protect him with all our hearts."

As soon as Henry's words fell, there was silence. Everyone, with their mouths open, pondered over and over again the shocking story they had heard.

After a while, the people who only then understood what Sir Henry had said began to whisper. The center of the commotion started with Arno.

"Saint Bianca? That Bianca we know? Is the true identity of the Saint her lady, Bianca?

People looked at each other incredulously. No matter how many times they thought about it, they couldn't easily accept that Bianca was a Saint.

If they lined up the things they knew about Bianca—a arrogant and picky personality, a woman full of extravagance, a woman who didn't care about what happened around her... Overall, not much was positive; it was the opposite of a Saint.

If they hadn't heard from the Paladins that Bianca was a saint, they might have laughed and thought that such a joke would bring divine punishment. But it was the Paladins who came to support them.

There is a saying that even if you doubt the word of God, do not doubt the Paladins who believe in God. It was absurdly incredible, as it was based on the interpretation of those who heard the words of God, but it made no sense to try to confirm the madness of the Paladins. They were the first ones who would cut out their tongues before lying about the Saint.

So Arno's army had no choice but to trust them.

"Goodness... the lady and the Saint. Are they saying the Saint is really 'her'?"

Sauveur clicked his tongue. He had to believe it, but it wasn't easy to simply do so. Especially when the gap between reality and the facts he knew so far was blatantly huge.

Robert wasn't much different from Sauveur.
Robert's face flushed as he remembered that when Bianca went to Lahoz Cathedral, he had muttered that she was an unfaithful woman.

Furthermore, hadn't he complained that Bianca wouldn't do anything for Zachary...? Of course, such displeasure had considerably softened after arriving in the capital, but...

The complaints he had about Bianca in the past exploded in Robert's head. When he realized that it was all due to his own prejudice, he wanted to crawl into a hole and hide.

Of course, if Bianca herself had read Robert's thoughts, she would have shaken her head, saying it wasn't a very unreasonable prejudice. However, the current Robert was too embarrassed to realize that fact.

Robert, his ears red, rolled his eyes in embarrassment. Everyone looked at Zachary, unable to believe it. Did Zachary really know that Bianca was a saint?

The answer came from Zachary's calm expression. As if he knew everything, Zachary nodded with a serene and unwavering face and agreed with the Paladin's words.

"It's a relief. I desperately need your help, as I promised my wife that I would return alive."

Everyone's mouths opened wide at Zachary's statement. If the Paladins didn't lie on behalf of the Saint, then Zachary was a man who didn't lie on behalf of his wife.

Even without their own consent, it was clear that Bianca was a saint.

And it was just as Bianca had wished.

Bianca had asked the Church to keep her identity a secret, but it was only to hide her identity from Zachary. Now that she had revealed to Zachary that she was a saint, there was no need to hide her identity. Rather, it was decided that it would be beneficial for Zachary's prestige if it was revealed that she was a saint.

And Bianca's judgment was correct.

Rumors spread to every corner of Sevran that the Paladins' reinforcements had participated in the war.
Just that? As rumors spread that the identity of the Saint was the wife of Count Arno, those who had been delaying reinforcements suddenly rushed to send support, gathering every possible excuse.

Now they were looking at the Church, not the second prince.

Originally, the Vatican remained neutral in politics, but it was different when it came to religious matters.

As long as the saint was Zachary's wife, the Church would support Count Arno wholeheartedly, and that was nothing less than strengthening the power of Prince Albert, whom Zachary is consecrating.

"No matter how old the prince is, it's difficult to ascend the throne while being detested by the Vatican... Furthermore, I feel a little uneasy about his origin."

"Although the Crown Prince is young, it's not impossible if Count Arno, who is protected by the Saint, becomes regent and supports him."

Everyone coveted their own gains and calculated in their heads. Soon, they changed their attitude. The help of such deceptive people wasn't truly helpful, but it was a war, a political battle, and a battle of numbers. The one who attracts people like bats wins the fight.

Zachary welcomed the phenomenon while being sure that Jacob would be grinding his teeth.

Although the eyes of the nobility were focused on the battlefield between Zachary and Aragon, which was currently in full swing, it didn't mean that they weren't interested in Saint Bianca.

Many boasted of having met Bianca at the banquet held to celebrate Prince Albert's engagement, as if they were close to her. In particular, those who handed roses to Bianca openly boasted about it.

"I gave her a rose! And she gave me divine protection."

"That bastard is bragging again."

"Now that I think about it, she said the newly woven fabric was so beautiful. What was its name? Lace..."

"Lace!"

"That's right! Lace! They said the colorful and transparent patterns, like a castle in a lake, were so beautiful."

The desire for the lace she made herself grew deeper and deeper. They said the skill given by God was evident, and they repeatedly admired the lace, treating it like an auspicious relic.

The rumors about the Saint were not only circulating in Sevran. After the appearance of the Paladins, a new story began to circulate among the Aragon army.

The rumors said that if you fight against Zachary, who is protected by God, you will only be defeated.

---

Even after receiving confirmation from the Archbishop, Bianca still felt anxious. Although she said that the Church had sent the Paladins, she hadn't confirmed anything for certain, so all kinds of disturbing thoughts crossed her mind.

Anxiety overwhelmed her day by day. Bianca always listened to the external situation and asked Vincent and Yvonne to inform her of any news.

How much time passed? Soon, the news of Zachary, who was on a winning streak, came like a tide. Additionally, the support of the Paladins was also a major topic.

The story of the Paladins taking care of Zachary as if they were his hands and feet, and the story of Zachary wandering the battlefield under the protection of God spread everywhere.

There were even hopeful observations that it wouldn't be long before Aragon could be completely expelled from Sevran. It was then that Bianca could finally breathe.

But she couldn't simply relax. It was because there was another problem that would make her daily life chaotic.

The reason the Paladins went to support Zachary was at the saint's request, and the rumors that the saint was Bianca, Zachary's wife, caused a stir.

What a heroic, romantic, and sacred story!

The rumors quickly spread, and stories about Count Arno and his wife were constantly on people's lips.

Of course, the rumors reached the Arno estate as well. A special gaze fell upon her.

The servants approached her and tried to say a word. Bianca, who hadn't heard the rumors yet, felt bewildered by the unfamiliar situation. Vincent approached her with an urgent step.

"Ma-madam! Madam!"

"What's all this commotion about, Vincent? This isn't like you."

"T-there's something I must ask you..."

Vincent's voice was almost breathless, as if he had hurriedly run. Concerned because Vincent was old, Bianca dissuaded him, thinking he was about to die.

"Take a breath and tell me. I'm not going anywhere."

Vincent took a deep breath. Yvonne, who was by his side, quickly served water to Vincent. After drinking the water, Vincent spoke calmly.

"The connection of madam with the Church... no... be-being... a... Saint..."

The calm words didn't last long and turned into a series of nonsensical words. With a combination of stammering, Bianca understood what Vincent was trying to say.

She knew it would be like this when she broke the taboo of secrecy. Although it was faster than she thought.

"Oh, no wonder. That's why they were looking at me like that."

"It's not something to be taken lightly, madam!"

Upon Bianca's affirmation, Vincent widened his eyes and mouth. He asked again and again as if he couldn't believe it even after hearing it.

"I-is it really, madam...?"

"If you're asking if I'm the Saint, then yes."

"I-is it really the S-Saint?"

"I just said so."

Yvonne, who was listening by her side, dropped the water pitcher. The bronze water pitcher fell to the floor with a crash. The carpet on the floor got soaked.

Yvonne stared at Bianca with a bewildered expression on her face, then realized what she had done and startled.

"I-I'm sorry, madam. I made a mistake."

"It's fine. I was thinking of changing the carpet anyway. The dark blue carpet I used last winter would be fine."

Yvonne's anxiety eased a bit at Bianca's attitude, as if she ignored Yvonne's mistake as if it was nothing. Yvonne looked at Bianca delicately.

Bianca's profile, looking out the window with her lips closed, seemed sacred. Her white and pure skin, as if it had never been tanned by the sun since birth, looked divine, and her lips, which once seemed stubborn, now appeared sincere.

The lady she served is a Saint! How glorious it is!

Yvonne, who could barely contain her surprised gaze at the unexpected revelation, asked cautiously.

"...So, was that why you met with the Archbishop in the capital?"

"That's correct. Don't you remember how nervous I was because Sir Gaspard and you were late?"

Bianca nodded with a smile. Yvonne opened her mouth and stared at Bianca. There was a difference between what her brain perceived and what she actually perceived.

The astonishment of Yvonne and Vincent was just the starting point. With Bianca's approval, the fact that she was a Saint spread throughout the Arno territory.

"If she is the lady, it's no wonder even if she's a Saint. The first time I saw her, it was like seeing an angel of God."

The other servants, who had been listening to Nicholas' praises of Bianca, laughed awkwardly. They felt embarrassed by how arrogant he was, but no one had anything to say since they knew how much Nicholas admired the lady.

Now that they think about it, Nicholas' words aren't completely wrong... They heard that the carved candles by Nicholas were a gift for the Church. Who would have imagined that Nicholas' work, being a child, would be so recognized? And the lace...

The maids who were learning to weave lace with Bianca chatted and caused a commotion.

"Oh my. So, the lady is really a Saint?"

"Do you mean the Paladins helped the Count? So, the Count survived thanks to the lady, right?"

What does it matter if she's a Saint?

Bianca tried to act as if nothing was wrong because otherwise, she would only lose face for no reason.

However, the involved party, Bianca, couldn't bear the fact of sitting in front of them.

Bianca, who couldn't stay still, jumped up from her seat with a pale face.

"Ah, madam. Please, don't leave and talk to us."

"What do you want to talk about? Better focus on producing lace."

Despite Bianca's fierce denial, the maid asked again.

"Just a word, okay? It's said that when you speak with the lady, her divinity is transmitted."

"That makes no sense..."

Bianca frowned at the maid's absurd comments. Divinity... it was a comment that seemed to treat her like a living relic.

She knew that while she was doing things and intervening in the affairs of the estate, people's gaze had changed quite favorably. However, it was the first time they approached her with such active conversation.

It was a little embarrassing, but it wasn't a bad thing. Bianca tried to be as indifferent as possible. However, it was inevitable that the tips of her ears turned red.

But it wasn't a peaceful day. A strange cloud of war loomed over the Arno estate.

The news was about the sudden disappearance of the second prince from the capital.

But not everyone was curious about Jacob's whereabouts. The prevailing opinion was that the first prince shouldn't be in a good mood after the death of the first prince, so he might have gone hunting somewhere.

If Bianca hadn't ordered them to gather separate news about the second prince, they might have missed it.

Bianca sank into her thoughts.

Jacob must be more desperate to claim the throne than anyone else. Instead of waiting in the capital for the king's life to expire, did he leave his seat empty? That was strange.

"I don't think he infiltrated Arno's army with the intention of assassinating Zachary... No. If he has a brain, there's no way he could enter a place where the Paladins are. So that can't be..."

Without an answer, Bianca's mind went blank. Shortly after, a servant ran into Bianca's room and shouted.

"Madam! Madam!"

"What's all this commotion about?"

"The territory...!"

In Bianca's room, only maids came and went, and the only men who visited were Gaspard or Vincent. It was even more unusual to see the visit of an unknown servant, let alone a servant raising their voice.

The servant gasped for air. Bianca frowned at the slight commotion and stared at the servant. Vincent's recent visit overlapped with the current situation.

However, the news this time wasn't as good as it was back then.

"An army has invaded the territory!"

Bianca, who received an unexpected report, jumped up from her seat in alarm. Yvonne also looked at the servant with a bewildered expression.

"An army? An army invaded? Here, in the Arno estate? Who?"

It was something she had never considered. Bianca's body staggered from the confusion that engulfed her.

Bianca soon knew who had invaded her property.

Jacob!

When she wondered why he had left his seat, she didn't expect it to turn out like this.

If it had been Bianca in the past, she would have taken this possibility into account as soon as she knew Jacob had left the capital. For her survival. For her future.

It was then that Bianca realized that she had spent too much time thinking only about Zachary's well-being instead of thinking about the means to protect herself.

It was too late when she realized it.
-
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