Arc 1 – The Darkest Lily 1.1
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The monastery would be defenseless for just a couple days. 

What was the worst that could happen?

Everything will be fine. 

These are the kind of words that novice Orchid Bloom plays in her mind over and over again, as she waves at the group of battle-priests leaving on their mission. 

Maybe one day she will be just as dashing as them: walking down the bridge that connects the small castle to the mainland, dressed in white and gold - and cuirasses of strong steel glinting beneath their priestly robes - as they sing hymns to the beauty of the Sun. 

But her young heart beats fast. This is the first time she will be more or less on her own, and she has heard some horror stories about demonic attacks in precisely these circumstances.

“Hold fast,” says a female voice next to her. “They will be back soon.” Orchid leans into Lily’s comforting touch. The only Sister remaining at the castle with her, Lily Glow is an experienced priestess a few years her senior. 

Orchid blushes faintly at how gorgeous her friend is, as if blessed by Corona herself: a round face with soft doe-like brown eyes, long locks of auburn hair, a rose-shaped mouth eager to smile and sing prayers and hymns. White tattoos run over her sun-kissed skin. 

And even though her forms are hidden beneath the thick white fabric of the monastery, she remembers watching her Sister in training. 

Orchid blushes a tad brighter at the though… She’s so close to those rounded, generous breasts, trim and fit waist, and flaring hips leading into strong legs.

Has she pictured her friend in her feverish dreams once or twice, her beautiful body bending at the waist, displaying her… grace?

Oh, ever-bright Samash.

I have to get a hold of myself.

Is this… is this how it begins? She really shouldn’t be lusting after her own Sisters - that’s a grave sin - but to be fair, maybe she has always felt a bit of an infatuation towards her superior. Or maybe she’s awestruck by her skills.

It’s just going to be harder to ignore. 

“I know,” Orchid replies, sharing a smile with Lily. Next to her she feels so insignificant: not only is she just a novice, Lily is already an experienced battle-priest. The white tattoos running over her skin display her rank clearly. And Orchid, with her mop of blonde hair and unremarkable breasts, slender but untrained physique feels so… unremarkable.

But she must not feel jealousy, nor lust!

Those are the tools of the devious Morningstar, the great Foe who always tries to win the hearts and minds of people. She will not give in and will stay faithful. 

As the group of battle-priests disappears into the forest, Orchid nods to herself, trying to find some courage. It’s only going to be a few days. 

What’s the worst that can happen in just a few days?

+++

The cool morning turns into a heated day. 

Orchid spends at least one hour checking all the wards left around the castle, just to make sure no herald of the Morningstar can slither in and tempt her with all sort of earthly delight. But every ward she checks, every circle drawn with salt and oil, every word etched on stone is perfectly-crafted and held up by powerful magic and ever mightier faith.

At least now she can start to think about something else, like the amount of work she still has to do. 

As a novice, her place is in the orchard. It helps it’s also so similar to her namesake: she’s a little flower after all… though one far less beautiful than the lily.

But she has her part to play.

The monastery has a wide square of cultivated land right inside the courtyard. It measures about forty steps from side to side and repleted with vegetables and trees. Orchid pulls up her sleeves and starts to check on pears and apples, oranges and lemons, lettuce and cabbages. 

Back in her village she used to study as a librarian, so she once sort of considered this kind of work beneath her, but here in the monastery she doesn’t really mind.

It’s nice to be surrounded by her Sisters, and they appreciate her efforts: it makes her feel… accepted and loved in a way that she has never felt.

Besides, sooner or later she will get better at fighting and she will go out on missions like her Sisters!

As she leans forward to water the rows of vegetables her lips tighten in a line. 

They could have had a good thing coming, were it not for the blasted Morningstar! What a bout of evil fortune that she has appeared to try and cover the world once again in darkness.

She wasn’t alive at the time, but she heard that just thirty years before, the Kights were on the verge of getting rid of demons altogether! What a world that would be… a world where everyone could live in peace, unbothered by struggles, ambition or… (the image of her Sister Lily bending at the waist as she collects her spear in the training room flashes in her mind - her rounded buttocks look so firm and so soft and Orchid can clearly imagine her fingers seeping into her warm flesh…) temptation…

No!

No, that’s not what she should focus herself on! She has to keep her mid off such thoughts. She grinds her thighs together a little, as if trying to keep her forbidden pleasure in.

“Hold fast, Orchid,” she says, giving herself a little slap on the cheek. She has to show she doesn’t bend to the offerings of the Malignant One!

The Morningstar lurks behind every angle.

She glimpses something moving at the corner of her eye, and she starts.

Her Sister Lily waves her arm at her from the opposite side of the courtyard.

Ah, it’s just her. 

For a moment she thought…

Orchid lifts her arm and waves back. 

It’s getting hot, and the sun is starting to feel like a blanket of fire over her sweaty skin… but she is going to be fine.
Everything is going to be just fine.

Or so she repeats as she keep slaving under the heated sun… and another kind of heat start to collect between her legs.


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