~ 81 ~
However, the priest did not panic and continued to speak calmly.
“The second gateway, the treasure hunt, is a long-standing judging process to determine a candidate’s understanding of the geography and location of the capital, Crems. This first gate is a little different than that.”
“How is that?”
The priest blinked at the paladins who were standing behind him like a wall.
Eun-woo soon realized that what they were holding in their hand was a large box. The priest pointed to the black box and said,
“In the morning, each candidate will randomly draw a sheet of paper from this box, the meal dictionary. And so, you will bring clothes to the person written on the paper.”
The hall became noisy because of the shock.
Eun-woo turned to Selena’s side. And in return, Selena also looked at her.
However, despite the intense reaction of the candidates, the priest continued his speech without heeding it.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you wear. It could be outerwear, it could be a glove, or a shirt. It doesn’t matter what clothes you were wearing. But the person on the paper must own the clothes.”
The priest added.
“The deadline is from the opening of the church door tomorrow morning until sunset in the afternoon. Remember to be punctual every day.”
At that time, Selena, who was next to Eun-woo, raised her hand.
Eun-woo looked at her in surprise. The eyes of some candidates also stared at Selena.
At that moment, Eun-woo realized that Calista, who was sitting to their right, was also looking at them with curiosity.
She felt her body stiffen a little.
Selena asked a question, regardless of the gazes on her.
“Then, who are the people written on the papers…?”
The priest answered her question as if it were natural.
“These are the names that candidates wrote down on their notes when they were running for competition. Of course, everything will be randomly selected, so don’t expect to pick the person you wrote down.”
At that moment, a groan could be heard from all around.
Selena’s expression turned pale for a moment as she asked her question. Eun-woo wondered whose name she had written down. But she had no choice but to give up asking the question with her serious expression.
Everyone started chattering in shock and checking each other out whose name was written on it.
In the midst of that, Eun-woo looked around anxiously. Everyone seemed to be overlooking the fact that she was the fiftieth nominee.
If a total of 50 candidates were to write their names one by one, one piece of paper would certainly be insufficient.
At that time, as if reading her worried mind, the priest tapped the table in hopes that the candidates would concentrate.
“Now, be quiet! Don’t worry, the paper will be prepared according to the number of new candidates. For the fifty-first candidate who did not submit a note, Irena wrote her name herself.”
Eun-woo internally let out a sigh. However, after the priest’s words fell, everyone’s faces became ugly.
Everyone was busy talking amongst themselves with dissatisfied faces.
Then, as the atmosphere became so bleak to the point where even boos could be heard, the priest tapped the table again.
“Quiet! Remember that all candidates have an obligation to actively cooperate with the competition.”
The grunting of several candidates could be heard from behind.
“Shh, if Ma’am Irena wrote Reinhardt Chief’s name, how can we meet the chief? Are you basically telling us to give up? That’s injustice!”
“I know right? As for the designated rooms earlier, the rules got messed up because of the fiftieth candidate.”
“Quiet! She can hear you…!”
“I’m told that so she can listen, what?”
Eun-woo felt the tension to an extent that her back froze. Somehow, things were going in the wrong direction for her.
Selena quickly cast a cold glance at the candidates behind them. But Eun-woo hastily stopped her.
She didn’t want to create more trouble today.
“All right, that’s a deal. Everyone is tired, so everyone should disperse to their assigned room.”
At the end of the priest’s words, the candidates left their seats and stood up as if they had been waiting for those words to be said. Eun-woo and Selena also stood in front of their respective doors with their tired legs.
Their rooms, assigned to No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, were facing each other on either side of the hallway.
“Then, see you at breakfast tomorrow. Rest in peace, Eleanor.”
“You too, Selena.”
Eun-woo smiled at Selena, who couldn’t erase her worried eyes on her until the door closed.
Eun-woo closed the door.
The candidate to share the room with did not seem to have arrived yet. Eun-woo looked around the room with a tired face.
The room was neatly arranged in white, containing two beds, two simple tables, and two pieces of furniture that looked like wardrobes for their belongings. There was a small window, and a small opening on the top of the wall, so she couldn’t see the scenery outside.
Even considering it would be used by two people, the room was quite large.
‘There are more than twenty-five rooms like this…’
Eun-woo couldn’t help but be surprised by the camp facilities of the White Cathedral.
Then she heard the sound of a door opening softly behind her back. Eun-woo opened the door and saw a small face with her head sticking out and exclaimed.
It was Lucinda, a candidate for a commoner with dark hair and small stature.
When she first came to the White Cathedral, she was the candidate she had met just before the admission examination.
When Eun-woo was busy waiting for her name to be called for her room, she couldn’t contain her happiness to find out that her roommate is someone she already knew.
But shortly thereafter, she noticed a strange thing.
Apparently, Selena didn’t say that she was rooms were assigned based on the results of the evaluation scores.
Eun-woo looked suspiciously at the youthful face that looked up at her with a fearful expression for some reason.
‘Is this girl probably had Tashian’s necklace…?’
But her doubts were shattered when she saw her hastily bowed her back as soon as Lucinda saw her.
“My Lady, please forgive me……!”
In embarrassment, Eun-woo puts herself under her feet and bows down, raising Lucinda to stand up.
“Lu, Lucinda! What are you doing……!”
“Forgive me for my previous rudeness, my lady! I… didn’t even know that the young lady was a young marquise with high stature…!”
Unable to hide her embarrassment, Eun-woo tried to help the girl to stand up, who bowed in front of her with a bent waist.
“What the hell are you talking about?! Come on, get up!”
But no matter how hard she tried, Lucinda bowed before her countless times, begging her forgiveness over and over again.
Eun-woo comforted Lucinda, who was trembling, blaming herself for being suspicious of this little girl.
“Oh, to be honest, you helped me out there earlier! Without Lucinda, I would have been kicked out by the paladins without knowing what the admission examination was. Don’t blame yourself!”
Lucinda sniffed her nose at her strong deterrence and barely got up.
Eun-woo said kindly, wiping the dust off Lucinda’s cheek, looking up at her anxiously like a child.
“Since we came here, we are just candidates who will do our best for the competition, regardless of our status. Don’t think of me as a young marquise, just call me ‘Eleanor’.”
She added with sincerity. There was also a hint of conscience for the harsh thought she had about this innocent country girl.
“It’s nice to meet familiar faces in unfamiliar places. To achieve good results, we should work together during the competition.”
At her words, Lucinda smiled shyly as if she had regained her courage. She then handed her what she had been holding in her hand since she entered.
“This is the dress that one of her priests told me to hand over to Eleanor.”
It was the uniform of the apprentice priest at the White Cathedral worn by Selena and other candidates.
Lucinda scratched her cheek and muttered.
“Before, I thought that Eleanor’s clothes were made from the countryside…”
Eun-woo glanced down at her beggar-like clothes and got embarrassed instantly. Indeed, she was reminded of a scene as if she had just come back from cleaning the pigsty.
She hurriedly went behind the curtain. There was a bucket of water and a clean towel that someone had left.
Eun-woo hurriedly took off her rag-like clothes and threw them away, and wet a towel with water, wiping her body clean in every corner.
She couldn’t wash her hair as she doesn’t have sufficient water. But since she’d wake up early tomorrow, she thought that she would be able to bathe thoroughly with soap.
Eun-woo thoroughly wiped the dust off her body until the very end and changed into a clean apprentice uniform. The uniform was a little loose at the end but not too much that it would get dragged as she walked.
Lucinda also seemed to wash her body with the toiletries prepared behind the screen on the other side.
“… You don’t know how surprised I was when I heard that I was assigned to Room No. 2 earlier. I submitted an ordinary jewelry box at the entrance examination.”
Unlike her shy first impression of her, Lucinda was still quite talkative. She opened her mouth nonstop while washing her body behind her veil.
Eun-woo asked, trying to suppress the suspicion that was creeping into her mind.
“It seems that the original owner of that jewelry box is a very good person…?”
She is Lucinda who was given the same room as her. She, too, must have brought something comparable to the coins of Karzxion.
Eun-woo wondered who she would be friends with. But Lucinda jumped up and denied it.
She added shyly.
“Actually, it’s something I sneaked from my uncle’s room. Uncle runs a fairly large jewelry shop on a country estate. He also met a lot of valuable guests. So, I wondered if I could get the lord’s wife’s earrings… and didn’t know that I would share a room with you, who submitted the title of Notem Knight! If my brother knew, he would bubble in his mouth and collapse!”
Lucinda immediately shuddered at her as if she was afraid to even think about it.
“Of course, after the contest, I have to be prepared to be slapped in the face by my uncle, but you……”
Hearing Lucinda’s words, Eun-woo felt a convulsion in the corner of her smiling mouth.
Jewel box. The intuition that she shouldn’t have brought her uncle’s wife’s earrings secretly poked her head out again.
Eun-woo wanted to ask if there was anything he was looking for so much in the jewelry box.
But before she could even lick her lips, Lucinda spoke her out in her envious tone.
“I actually like Eleanor so much more! How did you get that kind of relationship with someone so important? And he is even the leader of the Mezzolin Central Knights! If only a knight with that great title, who was only supposed to be a hero of an era, would give me a token…”
Lucinda looked at her with her subtle gaze.
“… The two of you must have a pretty special relationship, right?”
Eun-woo was startled by the words and slapped her hand.
If she intertwines herself with Karzxion, it doesn’t make sense.
She rejected that idea as if she will cry.
“No! No! We’ve never been like that!”
She screamed out of absurdity as if a sword was pointed at her neck.
“We have a normal relationship! I can’t avoid him so our ties inevitably formed…!”
Lucinda’s expression darkened. But Eun-woo shook her head as if she couldn’t explain it any more seriously.
“Please never tie me up with him. It’s unpleasant.”