25 The Fallen Saintess (21)

The heavy scent of blood filled the air as corpses could be seen scattered around the campsite.

Torn off limbs, chunks of meat and damaged weapons lay next to the bodies of the mercenaries who had fallen in battle.

Of course, the largest of these corpses was a massive bear-like monster.

The creature was over eight feet tall with a muscular frame.

And yet that monstrous abomination had been felled by a simple thrust. Its eyes were still open and the expression on its face was one of complete surprise.

Even in its final moments, the beast could not understand how a mere human had easily pierced its sturdy hide.

The surviving mercenaries were currently throwing the corpses on a make-shift bonfire and tidying up the campsite.

Predators and beasts roamed the outer regions, so this was a necessary precaution.

Nothing was more attractive to a monster than the scent of fresh meat.

The dark elves returned to their carriages when the fighting was over, but the fierce battle left a deep impression on their hearts.

They could not believe that humans were willing to sacrifice their lives in order to protect them.

Not a single dark elf had been injured when the bear-like monster broke into the campsite since the mercenaries formed a human shield.

Of course, none of the former slaves were aware that their brave 'heroes' would have fled at the first sign of danger were it not for the dark seeds implanted in their minds.

Captain Brian stood in the middle of the campsite and directed his men to clear out the surrounding forest and repair the damaged tents.

The battle-hardened mercenary captain gazed at the dead bodies of his companions but felt no sorrow or grief.

There was small voice inside his mind screaming that his reaction was not normal, but Captain Brian ignored it.

Captain Brian's eyes glazed over for a brief moment and the small voice disappeared.

It was replaced by a sensual whisper that made him feel a sense of joy and relief.

Nothing was more important than serving his master's bidding. The lives of dark elves were worth more than human lives…

That was common knowledge.

His only purpose in life was to protect the dark elves and escort them safely home.

Meanwhile Elisa was currently inside one of the largest tents and staring intensely at the figure sleeping quietly on the mattress.

The former saintess had numerous questions running through her mind but she pushed them all aside and focused on looking after Claire.

She reached for a nearby bucket of hot water and picked up the rag that was soaking inside the water.

Elisa gently wiped the wet rag across Claire's forehead while channeling holy light into her fingertips.

"O' Lord of Light… grant me your grace and everlasting mercy…" Elisa reverently prayed.

A warm glow surrounded her palms and the golden light entered Claire's body.

The short-haired paladin groaned comfortably and the tense expression on her face disappeared.

She was still fast asleep, but Elisa could swear that her lips gently curved upwards when the holy light entered her body.

"What am I going to do with you?" Elisa softly whispered as she stroked Claire' cheek.

She had been just as shocked as everyone else when two translucent wings sprouted out of the paladin's back.

There was not a single record in either the Varion Church or the teachings of the dark elf tribe that described such a transformation.

She was completely in the dark and it was not a good feeling.

Information was power and Elisa was someone accustomed to planning several steps ahead.

Her feeling of goodwill… or maybe something more… towards Claire was already an unexpected development

Now she had no clue what this transformation symbolised.

Elisa scowled fiercely and she held her right palm directly above Claire's forehead.

For a brief moment… she was tempted to plant a dark seed inside her mind and there more she thought about it…

The greater the temptation grew.

It was the only logical choice. Although Claire's transformation was a mystery it was obvious that she may become a threat to her plans.

Dark threads of black magic gathered near Elisa's fingertips and a savage expression flashed across her face.

It would just require a simple tap.

One small movement and Claire would be hers for the rest of her life. A puppet that would never betray or abandon her.

Remember the prophecy… you cannot allow someone to threaten your destiny…

Elisa's fingers got closer and closer to Claire's forehead but stopped mere centimeters away from her skin.

At the last second, Elisa flung her palm away from Claire's body and angrily slammed her fist against the wall in frustration.

She couldn't do it.

Despite knowing that Claire was an unknown factor…

Despite knowing that they would eventually stand on opposite sides…

Elisa could not bring herself to plant a dark seed in her mind.

She was a failure… too soft-hearted to deal with a member of her people's greatest enemy.

The former saintess let out a groan and sank to the floor with her face in her hands. She remained frozen in place for what seemed like hours before finally coming to a decision.

Elisa walked over to a small storage bag in the corner of the room and pulled out a piece of parchment paper and a quill.

The dark elf princess pursed her lips together and then began to write.

She first described her suspicions about the prophecy and whether or not the demons could be trusted not to turn on them immediately after they finished off humanity.

It was not that Elisa did not have those doubts before but now that she found herself unable to finish off Claire, she needed to adjust her plan.

Elisa hesitated for a moment and then wrote down a description of Claire's transformation and the strange holy aura that surrounded the paladin's body.

She placed the parchment paper in a white envelope and then wrote down the true name of the soothsayer.

The dark elf homeland was a relatively close distance away so there was no need to take the risk and create a portal.

Elisa walked out of the tent after taking one final look at Claire's sleeping figure. The former saintess took out a silver whistle from her pocket and blew on it gently.

One of the bushes near the tent rustled slightly and a dark elf woman walked slowly towards the princess.

She wore the same simple outfit as the rest of the former slaves, but her eyes were much brighter and held no trace of sufferings.

"My princess," the dark elf bowed respectfully.

Elisa raised a finger to her lips and gestured towards the tent where Claire was still unconscious.

She handed the envelope over to her subordinate and instructed her to immediately go to the tribe and present her message to the soothsayer.

"It will be done my princess," the dark elf whispered solemnly. She turned around and melted away into the shadows.

Their conversation was witnessed by several mercenaries in the area but not a single one thought that there was anything unusual going on.

Elisa's hands moved around in a strange pattern, and she strengthened the dark seeds implanted in their minds.

Her eyes briefly flashed crimson as Elisa felt the familiar feeling of corrupt mana flooding through her veins.

The former saintess returned to the tent and continued to look after Claire as if nothing had just happened.

She did not know that her message would set forward a chain of events that no one could have anticipated…

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