Short part 0. Enjoy.
...... I, Monica Esperanto, entered the Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> at the age of seven.
I was one of the contenders to be a Priestess that protects the world — an apprentice-Priestess.
Just like the rest of the apprentices, I was really happy when I was chosen to be an apprentice-Priestess. I thought I could finally contribute something. Though it may be a little too exaggerated for me to be saying that...... but one day, I may really become an essential person on this floating continent.
However, most of the apprentice-Priestesses who entered the Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> with that dream in mind had left the place willingly within a year.
Training that was akin to torture, mixed together with our tears and blood.
Glamorous and mysterious. Many apprentice-Priestesses were hit hard by reality, which was way different from the image of the Priestesses they had in their minds.
— As for me, I ended up failing horribly on the final test.
For someone who could not become a Priestess, how should I go about with my life next?
The people close to me recommended that I take up roles to develop the other apprentice-Priestesses. However, I hoped to be just like that dual-sword wielding young man - since I couldn't become a Priestess, I might as well walk on the path to protect them.
A cadet guard since the age of fifteen.
However, I'd be hit with constant failure...... for the next three years. Things like a mock team battle, or even when I was carrying out the actual missions - my body would not move due to nervousness whenever I was at critical juncture.
That was a psychological scar in me.
Because, I would always recall the final test of a Priestess — the scene in which I failed.
The eight years as an apprentice-Priestess; the eight years that I went through, supported by my tears and my pain - everything disappeared in an instant. I couldn't move whenever I thought of that.
An utterly useless cadet guard. Since I was labelled like that, over time, there were no longer any squads that were willing to welcome my participation.
For about a year after that, I was always alone—
"H-Hey! Are you alone right now? Have you teamed up with anyone else?"
Because of that, I was really happy when there was someone who invited me to participate in the mock team battle.
That was the very first time that I was victorious in a team training exercise. Since that day, it was like everything changed. With those thoughts in mind, I participated in this mission.
The enigmatic Floating Archipelagos <Lagoon>; the mysterious research facility; the bred Yuugenshu.
However, the enemy is just a small-sized Yuugenshu.
Even though the danger still exists, I am still able to fight against it with the arts of shinryoku that I had learned before. As a part of the team, I am able to contribute as well.
...... That's what I have always thought.