26 The Fallen Saintess (22)

"Wha… what… what happened?" Claire groggily whispered as she slowly opened her eyes.

By the gods… she felt like shit.

Every muscle on her body was aching painfully, and she had a pounding headache that refused to go away.

The last thing she could remember was thrusting her sword forward into the skull of the bear-like monster before everything turned to darkness.

She had no idea what happened next.

The holy knight instinctively reached for her longsword but discovered that her armour and weapons had been placed a few feet away.

Claire looked down at her body and saw that she was now wearing a simple linen robe.

There were bandages wrapped around her right palm with faint bloodstains on the fabric.

Claire painfully groaned as she forced her body to sit up. She needed to get a better look at her surroundings.

Judging by the colour of the walls and the wide-open space, it was safe to assume that she was currently inside one of the larger tents.

There was a figure sleeping soundly on a chair in the corner of the tent.

It was… a dark elf? Huh?

Claire noticed that the dark elf wore the robes of a high priestess but that didn't make any sense.

Members of the foreign races were not allowed to serve positions in the Varion Church.

This dark elf was a frail and slender girl, but she had two slightly large bumps in front of her chest.

Her pointed ears twitched slightly as she slept, and her light brown skin displayed her racial heritage.

The mysterious stranger also wore a golden amulet carved in the image of a sun that was identical to the one that Elisa sometimes carried around.

A dangerous aura surrounded the dark elf that felt both familiar and strange at the same time.

Claire's eyes began to itch uncontrollably the longer she stared at the dark elf.

She quickly turned away with more questions than answers in her heart.

What she didn't realise at that moment was that her eyes were completely golden and shining with purity and righteousness.

Claire took a deep breath to calm herself down and think rationally about the situation.

Clearly if this stranger had wanted to hurt her then she would have probably done so already.

What she needed to do now was probe this dark elf for information and find out what happened to Elisa and the rest of the convoy.

Claire opened her eyes and carefully walked over to her armour and longsword.

Her muscles continued to ache, and the itching sensation got worse, but Claire forced herself to move forward.

She picked up her longsword and slowly approached the dark elf girl who was sleeping peacefully.

The closer Claire got to the dark elf, the more she noticed how abnormally pretty the mysterious stranger was.

There was a hint of nobility in her soft facial features. She had high cheekbones and a cute button nose.

Claire stopped within striking distance of the dark elf and called out to her.

"Hello? Can you tell me who you are?" Claire spoke cautiously. The dark elf stirred slightly and opened her crimson eyes.

"Claire! You're awake!" the dark elf cried out in joy.

Claire froze in place as she recognised that voice. It definitely belonged to Elisa but…

How could this dark elf speak in the exact same way?

The strange dark elf rushed forward and flung herself into Claire's arms while sobbing loudly in joy.

Claire dropped her longsword to the ground and did not react even as the dark elf kept checking her body to see if her injuries had reopened.

What… what was this? How come Elisa was suddenly a dark elf?

"What happened to your eyes?" the dark elf questioned with concern as she raised her hand to stroke Claire's cheek.

"Look… I'm sorry… but…" Claire hesitantly replied.

She had a million questions to ask the former saintess but as the words reached her lips they disappeared.

Elisa stared at her with those crimson eyes and Claire did not have the courage to pierce her disguise.

The former saintess was looking at her with an expression of affection but Claire felt a sinking feeling in her chest.

Her mind was a mess right now and she wasn't sure how she would be able to handle whatever answer Elisa gave her.

What would she even say?

"Yeah… yeah… I'm fine… I just have a slight headache," Claire mimicked her usual tone and replied with a gentle smile.

"But what's wrong with my eyes?"

Elisa reached into her robe and pulled out a small pocket mirror for Claire to see. The holy knight glanced at her reflection and saw a shocking sight.

Her eyes were shining with a golden light and it appeared as though her pupils had completely disappeared.

This wasn't normal.

Sui Li quickly searched through the original Claire's memories but found nothing.

The original Claire had never experienced anything like this before.

In fact, her powers had steadily declined for the rest of her life until she was no stronger than an ordinary woman.

"Does it hurt?" Elisa asked worriedly.

"No… I feel fine…" Claire replied in a daze. There was just so much going on that Claire had no idea what to do next.

Should she confront Elisa about her being a dark elf or try to figure out what happened to her eyes first?

It wasn't like Claire had a deep hatred against the dark elves or even the foreign races for that matter.

Just like humans… people were good, bad or even a mix of both.

To judge an entire species as 'evil' was just ignorance and prejudice. Claire held Elisa's soft body in her arms and hummed softly.

She decided to not mention the matter… at least not yet.

It was clear that Elisa did not know that her disguise no longer worked on her, so this was a good opportunity to observe closely and see what her true goal was.

Claire saw firsthand just how kind and generous Elisa was to the less fortunate and the charity work that she did.

It was hard to imagine her as a scheming villain plotting in the darkness.

But there were just a few things that didn't make sense…

In the original Claire's memories, Elisa's status immediately plummeted when Saintess Marie was chosen as the official successor to the church.

If Elisa was a dark elf, then what reason would she have to remain the capitol for several years while enduring humiliation and ridicule.

And perhaps the greatest mystery of all…

How was she able to channel the spiritual energy from the Lord of Light?

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