Chapter 2:

CHAPTER 2: CHERSEA'S CALENDAR

The Human Saint is Bored, so I was Summoned to Another World Vol. 4


Ah, so let’s get back to the weather. May I remind you, the seasonal duration here in Chersea was just chaotic.Bookmark here

Yep, think of it this way; there’s a possibility that as you read this, it’s the Season of Sleep. As you went through the texts, the season would change into the Season of Crystal Rain. And the moment you end was the time when the Season of Fire—the current season—arrived.Bookmark here

And no, I’m not speaking figuratively; it’s should be taken in a literal sense.Bookmark here

Not only the transitions of the seasons, but the order of its arrival was also a work of a madman—or a mad god. The cycle was just messed up; the order I’ve read in the books wasn’t followed. Well, after the Season of Sleep (the time of when I arrived here), the Season of Crystal Rain came, and now, it’s the Season of Fire.Bookmark here

The books’ order goes like this: Festivals, Red Sky, Fire, Sleep, Crystal Rain, and White Rain.Bookmark here

I guess it was only listed that way for the matter of convenience. Ah, no matter.Bookmark here

I seriously think this world needed something like a calendar, more than my own Earth. Like really, employees and employers would find it hard to do their duties and responsibilities without a proper way of counting and measuring the time they worked or was rendered work. Add the fact that the ‘sun’, or whatever it was, up there was constantly shining and never setting, and you’d have utter chaos with things.Bookmark here

Okay, don’t get me wrong. I knew Cherseans had adapted to this system. They could show the time passing by how many seasons they passed. Or could tell what time it was simply by following their body urges. However, I guess they still should have a standard calendar.Bookmark here

Why?Bookmark here

You see, one of the circumstances why I wanted to push for it was in the payment of wages. Of course, the people of Chersea pay and get paid according to the work done. The release of salaries comes right after the change of seasons.Bookmark here

Now, if you think it’s all fine since they survived this long, think again.Bookmark here

What if the season was short? Of course, the wage would be much smaller, because you get paid according to the number of jobs done in one season. Now, what if the next season was ridiculously long? How would one survive ’till the next payment?Bookmark here

Cherseans had made countermeasures for this. That’s why many of the people here had several jobs under their name, causing a shortage of work available to others (just like me), and a reduced quality of the job done. It’s not uncommon for one to be employed as a city militia and simultaneously serve as a lord’s knight here.Bookmark here

Only the higher-ranked nobles, like the girls here at the Holy Palatial Gardens, can never worry about what to eat for the next day.Bookmark here

The gap between the rich and the poor was just disparagingly high. If you believed Earth’s employees have it worse, here in Chersea, you’d be thankful you even have a job on Earth.Bookmark here

And, with the chaotic pattern of seasons, Maddie would often have to deal with the Seasonal Mass and Holy Congress, even if she just conducted those events not too long ago. It’s not rocket science why she’d be exhausted and depressed once again if that happened.Bookmark here

Ah, I should talk about this to Maddie.Bookmark here

----------Bookmark here

Now that I remembered about it, Earth’s current calendar, the ‘Gregorian’, was created and promulgated by many European kingdoms after the Catholic Pope Gregory supported its implementation.Bookmark here

Soon, with the ‘westernization’ of all countries in the world, they adopted it, leading to the current time-reckoning system back in my home. The Julian calendar, after realizing some contradictions in keeping up with religious festivals and observances, was obsolete and was replaced—save for a few modern-day countries in Eastern Europe, like Russia.Bookmark here

For Chersea, I felt it would work well. Madelaine was pretty supportive with fresh ideas, and there’s nothing here that could show one ‘full day’, save for getting a ‘long sleep’. And that system, no matter how ancient it was, was erroneous since anyone could go to a ‘long sleep’ anytime.Bookmark here

“A calendar?” Maddie’s tone was unsure when I finished explaining to her about it and its potential benefits, “Hmm…I guess it could work out. After all, I also don’t want to conduct seasonal masses repeatedly for such brief intervals.”Bookmark here

“And, the Holy Congress.” Lily injected her opinion, “You just had met with those kings recently.”Bookmark here

“That one as well.” Maddie couldn’t help but shiver, “Thinking about that time makes me want to puke. They aren’t easy to deal with.”Bookmark here

“So, Kuro, how do you make this work?” Lily looked at me with her sparkling eyes. She’s really expecting a lot from me, eh?Bookmark here

“Well, first, we need to define the measurements of time.” I asked for a paper and pen and began writing, “In my world, the basic unit of time is called a ‘second’. Its duration is just when you blink your eyes.”Bookmark here

Maddie and Lily blinked their eyes.Bookmark here

“Yep. That’s one second already. 60 seconds would make up one minute. Ah, wait—you guys don’t have to blink 60 times; it’s just for reference.”Bookmark here

The girls laughed and went back to listening.Bookmark here

“So, as I was saying, 60 seconds is one minute. 60 minutes is one hour. And 24 hours would be called a ‘day’.”Bookmark here

“Whoa!” Maddie stopped me, “From 60, you went down to 24? How’s that possible?”Bookmark here

“Well, my world is actually an enormous sphere rotating on its own axis.” I grabbed a nearby round object to show the concept. I put a little mark on the surface and asked them to focus on that, “You see, our scientists determined that Earth—my world—takes approximately 24 hours to complete one rotation. We call that a ‘day’.”Bookmark here

Maddie was getting lost in my explanation, so Lily is the one who asked the follow-up, “Kuro…uh, you said something that determined that ‘rotation’ thing. What’s that ‘sayan…’ err…thing?”Bookmark here

“It’s ‘scientists’.” I reiterated, “Those are the smart people from my world that has dedicated their lives to studying the natural phenomenon of our environment. You could say that they are like what you call ‘scholars’ here, only several levels higher.”Bookmark here

Hoh…so your world has magic as well?”Bookmark here

“Nope. More like, my place relies on science—a subject that bases most of its conclusions and theories on factual and real evidence. We have nothing like magic there, and our scientists could become one by simply studying!”Bookmark here

WOW! So, your world has a lot of intelligent people!”Bookmark here

“Haha…” I could only laugh. I couldn’t tell them that while we have the smarts, we also have the idiots: people who stubbornly refuse to learn just because their gut feeling tells them so.Bookmark here

“Ahem!” Maddie cleared her throat; she wanted to enter the talk, “I think we’re getting off-topic? I thought this is all about the calendar thing.”Bookmark here

“Well then, shall we continue?” I took another round object, only bigger than my first one, “Now our time-reckoning doesn’t end there. We have this thing called ‘year’. It’s basically our sign that our Earth had completed one revolution around the sun. 365 and ½ days would make up one year. The year is further subdivided into 12 months, a month is divided into four weeks, and a week is formed with seven days.”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Maddie and Lily were having a hard time absorbing all the information I just dumped on them. The Saint was massaging her head, and Lily was holding a handkerchief to her nose…I think she’s having a nosebleed.Bookmark here

Well, I uh…I apologize. I could get carried away with explanations whenever I’m teaching.Bookmark here

----------
Bookmark here

I let them take a break for a while and also used the lull to have me return to my ‘calm mode’. Once rested, Maddie continued our conversation, “Alright, Kuro, I think this calendar thing is useful, but how do you propose we measure our world’s day?”
Bookmark here

Hmm…for that, my world got a device called a ‘clock’.”Bookmark here

“H-Hold up! I know you’re excited to explain everything and all, but can you keep it to a minimum for now?”Bookmark here

“Okay.” I took the pen and paper I used earlier, “Well, I know Chersea is kind of lagging in mechanical technologies, compared to my Earth. But we could always adopt some basic innovations from my world’s ancient civilizations here.”Bookmark here

“Which is?”Bookmark here

Hmm…a sundial is one.” I drew a sample of the said device, “But, I don’t think it is useful in Chersea. While that sun in your sky—or whatever it is—is constantly shining, it’s also stuck in the same position. A sundial relies on the various positions of the shadow cast from this thing here to show the passing hours.”Bookmark here

“Oh…”Bookmark here

“I also thought of using a candle clock. You guys are also producing candles, so we’ll just put some marks on it and it could show time. However, it may not work out in the end.”Bookmark here

“Why?”Bookmark here

“Well, for starters, a candle clock needs to be constantly lighted. One slip up, and we could mess the flow of time. Another is that you can’t possibly use a candle clock outside during rainy, or windy weather. And also, the materials used in making a candle could affect its burn-out duration.”Bookmark here

“True enough.” Maddie nodded, “So, let’s get back again with the topic, what do you propose we do about the time reckoning?”Bookmark here

“I got one simple device left.” I drew that familiar sand-and-glass device, “This thing over here is called an hourglass, also known as the sand clock in my world. Its principle is simple; you just put a measure of sand inside this peculiarly shaped glass. Now note that narrow part at the middle, it’s where the sand trickles down on the bottom end. Once the sand on the upper bulb is empty, you just turn it around and the entire process repeats. One turn is one hour elapsed.”Bookmark here

Hmm…you think it could work?”Bookmark here

“I guess? For one, the sand is inside the glass, so unless it’s cracked, not even the water could get inside and interfere with the time-reckoning. Second, you could always make variations of it. A small hourglass for daily travels, a bigger one for city time-keeping, or an official hourglass to be installed here as a time reference to every country out there.”Bookmark here

Hoh…I like this hourglass thing!” Lily commented.Bookmark here

“And what makes your time-reckoning easier than Earth’s is that your world has no natural phenomenon in which we could base our measurement of a ‘day’. We could simply invent and be done with it.” I took the balls once again, “For reference, my world has a concept of ‘night’ and ‘day’. The night is the time in which our part of the world turns away from the sun’s light as it rotates. Our entire sky darkens, and it is our time to take our ‘long sleeps’.”Bookmark here

Maddie’s eyes—though I could tell she’s having headaches from all the knowledge—were glowing with interest, “Kuro, I really like to hear more about your world, but let’s focus on this ‘calendar’ for a while.”Bookmark here

“Right.”Bookmark here

“Okay, so now we got this hourglass thing to measure a day, how about this ‘year’ you talk about?”Bookmark here

“Maybe we should do it like this: seven days completed would be called a week. Then, four weeks—that’s 28 days—would make up a month. 12 months would make a year. It’s regardless of the changing seasons, mind you. So, how’s that sound?”Bookmark here

“And who operates the hourglass?” Lily asked, “You said that it has to be constantly turned every hour to ensure that the time-reckoning isn’t messed up.”Bookmark here

“We could assign someone to do it. Have two or three people monitor the time and list down the years, months, weeks, days, and hours. And since we’re the first to do it, we’ll be the reference point for all countries to follow and emulate.”Bookmark here

“I see…that could work.” Maddie then used her magic to bring out a pen and paper. She also began writing magically with it (without physically touching the pen), “Well, I think it’s time for Chersea to have a standardized keeping of dates. Lily, please make sure the glass workshop at Arles meets the details I specified in this letter.”Bookmark here

“Sure!” Upon taking her leave, an excited Lily headed out to the glass-maker in the nearby town of Arles.Bookmark here

----------
Bookmark here

As for me and Maddie, we were left alone in her private study. It’s been a while since we had an intimate moment like this, and even though she’s my fiancée, things could still get awkward between us.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

I could feel her eyes would occasionally steal a glance or two from me.Bookmark here

“Maddie?”Bookmark here

“Y-Yes?”Bookmark here

“You want to talk about something?”Bookmark here

“W-Well nope.” she answered, “I just want to look at you, but I feel embarrassed when I do.”Bookmark here

Haha…it sure is. But I don’t mind; if you want to, you may stare for as long as—”Bookmark here

Maddie didn’t even let me finish. She floated towards me and claimed the vacant space of the couch beside where I sat. She even laid her head on my shoulder as she entangled her fingers to mine.Bookmark here

Wow…her hand sure is delicate…Bookmark here

“M-Maddie? I thought you only want to stare?”Bookmark here

“Ah, don’t mind me.” she quickly dismissed my question, “The more I look at you, the more I want to cuddle. It’s fine, right?” Maddie turned at me with her lovely puppy eyes and irresistible smile.Bookmark here

The soft sensation of her body and the pleasant smell of her hair made my body’s temperature go up, as well as I could feel something rise within me…and it’s not the shield hero.Bookmark here

Calm down, Kuro. Don’t get carried away.Bookmark here

Well, I guess I’d just have to hold out for a while. Maddie was an important person to me, and if I wanted to be of help to her and see her succeed, I had to respect her and her family as well. For now, think of her as my student…Bookmark here

And Sir Kuro won’t lay a hand on his students, EVER!Bookmark here

Besides, all that this pretty girl wanted was a cuddle. What can go wrong with that?Bookmark here

“Kuro?”Bookmark here

“Hm?”Bookmark here

“You know what? I’m truly happy to have met you.” Maddie clung to me even tighter, “Thank you for being someone I could rely on always. I feel safe whenever you’re around.”Bookmark here

Hearing those words made the ‘improper’ desires vanish within me in an instant. The feeling of ‘wanting-to-protect-this-beautiful-girl’ took over. And for that, I never restrained myself from patting her head.Bookmark here

----------
Bookmark here

After that ‘project presentation’ I had with Maddie and Lily, I have left with a lot of idle time once again. And since I got nothing else to do, I guess this would be a great time to do what I also had in mind ever since the Battle of Hagena Castle.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Looking back at those events, I realized something important. I needed to learn how to fight properly. I mean, yes, I protected myself using the matchlock gun and dagger I had with me, but that’s all to it. It’s not even adequate to defend my life fully, for I lacked training in melee fighting.Bookmark here

What more if I wanted to be of use to Maddie?Bookmark here

I knew I started relatively well off in this land; however, this was still another world. For me, who grew up safely in modern, 21st Century Earth, surviving in a medieval society like Chersea was a different struggle.Bookmark here

If I wanted to live independently—not hiding or leeching off Her Holiness’ and Lily’s powers—I must know how to fight with the sword, spear, or any melee weapon available in this place.Bookmark here

Good thing I got the right people with me…Bookmark here

Lily was one person I could ask to train me. That ‘Mahan Swordsmanship Style’ not only did sound cool, but it was also defense-oriented for a handicapped warrior if I recalled it right. But, as she was right now, I didn’t think I could disturb her with all the fuss with the clock and calendar.Bookmark here

There’s another person in my mind. However, I’m not sure if she’s up to it, or not…Bookmark here

“Hey there! Have you seen the Marquise of Monfort?”Bookmark here

Eris stared at me when I asked her that question. Her face had the impression of the question of ‘What?’ written all over it and was distracted from her work of hanging out the laundry to dry.Bookmark here

Err…I mean, Mon…fort?” Of all the times I would forget, I really forgot her name when I’m looking for her. The only thing that stuck was her title, which served as her surname as well. Well, since that girl had a severe case of chuunibyou, I asked Eris using her most obvious physical trait—the ‘X-like scar’ on her face.Bookmark here

Yeah, Monfort went around looking like that. But one time, she admitted it’s a fake so that she would appear ‘fierce’ and ‘cool’.Bookmark here

Oh, Mister Kuro is looking for Sister?”Bookmark here

“Ah…yes!” Of course, I almost forgot; the Marquise was Eris’ half-sister.Bookmark here

“Well, if you’re looking for Sister…” Eris then took a deep breath.Bookmark here

Wait, don’t tell me—Bookmark here

“SIIIIISSSSSSSS!!!”Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

Damn…Eris’ shout really was something. Sometimes, I wonder if it’s an innate skill of hers, magical or natural.Bookmark here

Hmm…that’s strange.” Eris was looking around; her scream didn’t reach her stepsister just yet, “Usually, Sis would come running once Eris did that. Guess Eris will have to do it—”Bookmark here

Haha…please don’t be.” I quickly stopped her, preferring not to rupture my eardrums again, “I’ll just look around for her.”Bookmark here

“Uuooooooooooohhhhhhh!!!”Bookmark here

Oh, there she is, Mister Kuro!”Bookmark here

“Wha—”Bookmark here

Indeed, not too far away from where we were, a cloud of smoke was billowing. The maids who were unfortunate to get caught in it were showered with fine dust and sand, and some laundries were dirtied as well.Bookmark here

Nevertheless, the person in question finally appeared!Bookmark here

“Kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrroooooooooooooooo!!!” was the Marquise’s greeting, along with her drawn sword, “What are you doing to Eriiiiiiiiiiiisssssssssssssss?”Bookmark here

Surprised, I quickly prepared myself to dodge her attack at the last minute, only to be saved by the little maid, just as when the Marquise’s sword was about to hit my neck.Bookmark here

“!!!” the Marquise stopped her blade about an inch before she sliced my head off.Bookmark here

“Sis, Mister Kuro is actually looking for you, that’s why Eris shouted.”Bookmark here

Oh…is that so?” the Marquise sheathed her sword and gave me a pat on the back, “Haha! Sorry for that, Kuro! To think I almost beheaded you by mistake…my bad! Haha…Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

You seriously are thinking of killing me, aren’t you?Bookmark here

----------
Bookmark here

Ha? You want to train with the sword or the spear?”Bookmark here

The Marquise of Monfort stared at me like she had seen a ghost. I mean, my face looked terrible and all, but was it really strange to ask her about it?Bookmark here

“Well, I’ve been to many battles even though I did not volunteer for it.” I told her, “And for most of the time, I’m just some random scared dude hiding behind the skirt of Her Holiness, or Lily, or cowering behind the armor of the men I’m fighting with.”Bookmark here

Haha…what a way to put it…” the Marquise had a sardonic expression on her face.Bookmark here

But no matter, I’m willing to endure the humiliation just for her to train me. I bowed in reverence to her, “Please! You’re the only one I can go to! Don’t worry, I’m willing to pay you!”Bookmark here

“Haha!” there’s that boisterous look on her face, “Bow to me, you peasant!”Bookmark here

“I’ll also give you massages if that’s what you want!”Bookmark here

“T-That won’t be ne-necessary!”Bookmark here

“NO! Don’t train me for free, please!”Bookmark here

“No! No! I’m alright with the money and massage!” the Marquise insisted, “But if you’d force me, a silver per session is good enough. And the massage.”Bookmark here

“I won’t force you, alright. Thanks for the free training, then.”Bookmark here

“Ah yes, one silver, please. And the massage.” her voice emphasized the rate, “It’s my talent fee.”Bookmark here

“…” I stared at her with an amused expression. If you want it, just say so immediately.Bookmark here

“W-Well…if y-you’re willing to do it w-with me…” the Marquise blushed, and she became squeamish.Bookmark here

Oi, I don’t know what you’re thinking about, but this isn’t a hentai doujin, so quit that lewd expression.”Bookmark here

“A what?”Bookmark here

“Nothing. I said you’re pretty!”Bookmark here

“Right…” the Marquise of Monfort’s face had a glowing expression to it as if she was all excited to do a training session with me.Bookmark here

Yeah, I hope this will go well, though…Bookmark here

Alright! First things’ first when trying to learn the way of the sword, is to train your body to handle the sword!”Bookmark here

“Got…it!”Bookmark here

“Give me another lap after this!”Bookmark here

“What…the…hell?”Bookmark here

“Shut up and run!”Bookmark here

“Y-Yes!”Bookmark here

Our training got underway immediately after the Marquise and I reached the deal. She told me she’d want me to get used to the sword first and then move to other weapons once I got the basics. But first, yeah, the Marquise noted my rather thin and ‘unhealthy’ body.Bookmark here

Of course, that’s the product of ages of just sitting around and playing computer games whenever I’m not teaching.Bookmark here

Well, I got her point that I needed to hone my muscles to handle a sword properly. After all, accurately swinging and thrusting that thing takes a lot of controlled movements.Bookmark here

But…Bookmark here

“Haa…haa…”Bookmark here

“Don’t slack off!”Bookmark here

“Ca-Can’t…I…r-rest…for…a bit?”Bookmark here

“I’ll work you ’till you cry ‘Mama’! Another round of running!”Bookmark here

“Eris will cheer for you, Mister Kuro!” I heard the little maid shout from the other side of the courtyard. She and her other friends from the laundry department went by to watch her big sister work the commoner (that’s me) to death.Bookmark here

“Haaaaaaa…” I wondered when my torture would end.Bookmark here

----------
Bookmark here

I think I did several laps before she finally let me go for a break. It’s my first time, and my leg muscles were sore from all the running.Bookmark here

I’m regretting this…Bookmark here

“Hey!” it was the Marquise, “You fine?”Bookmark here

“Does this look fine to you?”Bookmark here

Haha! You’ll be fine.” she patted me on the back, “When I first did the training, my entire body was in pain that I wasn’t able to sleep for quite a while.”Bookmark here

“You’re not thinking of doing that to me, are you?”Bookmark here

The Marquise only smiled.Bookmark here

“You’re a demon!”Bookmark here

Haha! That’s what my girls always tell me once they began training. But in the end, they would eventually thank me.”Bookmark here

“What, for torturing them so much they can withstand the pain?”Bookmark here

“You could say that…” the Marquise winked at me, “But what matters is, every time we go into our duties, they would come back alive. I think it’s what matters.”Bookmark here

Somehow, there’s something deep in those words that the Marquise of Monfort just said. She stared into the air for a moment before she handed me a glass of water.Bookmark here

“Well, they call me the ‘Golden Sword of Heaven’, but I don’t think I’m fit for that name.” the Marquise admitted, “I just want my girls—my family—to return alive, and so I do my best to protect them.”Bookmark here

The atmosphere between us became solemn, and I could not find any words to say to her now.Bookmark here

She slapped my back once again, “Because of that, you need to finish that drink and rest as soon as possible. You still have the sword training to attend to!”Bookmark here

----------
Bookmark here

Lily returned just in time before dinner was served. She told us that the master glassmaker would finish the hourglass after a while, so she’d just have to return for it later. Well, with the matter about Chersea’s calendar put in full motion, it’s time now to move on to other issues…Bookmark here

Like that of Sir Osmond, of the Arles Militia, who came with her.Bookmark here

“Hello, Mister Kuro!” he greeted me when we encountered each other in the courtyard, with me limping around because of my tired and painful body, “It’s been a while since we saw each other! Are you alright?”Bookmark here

“Sorry, I was just training.”Bookmark here

“You sure you’re just training?” he asked with a bewildered look on his face, “Because you looked like you fought some giant Leviathan and barely got out.”Bookmark here

“Haha…” I could only answer Sir Osmond’s comment with a dry laugh, so I quickly changed the topic, “Anyway, what’s up? Got anything for me at the town?”Bookmark here

By the way, a Leviathan was a huge Chersean land monster. It resembled a giant salamander crossed with a turtle. Its carapace was said to be incredibly hard like Mithril, and it’s commonly used in siege battles in the past.Bookmark here

Ah no…my apologies.” the militiaman replied with an apologetic bow, “I came with Miss Lily here because there’s an urgent matter that I need to discuss with Her Holiness.”Bookmark here

“Oh?” I was surprised by the serious expression on his face—totally out of his character. I turned to Lily, who technically had the responsibility of being Maddie’s ears. She just nodded and fetched the Saint in her private quarters.Bookmark here

“Well, Sir Osmond, I guess you’ll have to come with me to the guest lounge.” I offered.Bookmark here

“Sure, lead the way!”Bookmark here

----------
Bookmark here

Maddie, because of the suddenness of the situation, had our dinner served at the guest room of the Saint’s Chambers palace. Of course, she also made sure that Sir Osmond was served his share; but the soldier barely touched his food.Bookmark here

“Your Holiness, I’d like to ask for your forgiveness for this sudden visit.” he began, “But I find it a matter of urgency to let you know of what happened to Arles just recently.”Bookmark here

“It’s fine, Sir Osmond. Please speak freely.” she reassured him, “And don’t forget to eat your food as you explain.”Bookmark here

“Thank you, Your Holiness!” Sir Osmond then took a mouthful of food, chewing it carefully and swallowing before continuing, “You see, last season, there was a gravely injured man who came to us. There was a letter within him, and it is addressed to you.”Bookmark here

Lily took the letter from the militiaman’s hand and opened it for Maddie to read. While she was scanning its contents, Sir Osmond explained…Bookmark here

“The man died from his wounds, which we think were sustained from combat. His armor had a noticeable deformity, likely caused by a mace or a club.”Bookmark here

I stared at Maddie as she silently read the entire letter. I think she also noted Sir Osmond’s words, for when she finished, the Saint let out an exhausted sigh.Bookmark here

“What happened, Maddie?” Lily asked, quite alarmed.Bookmark here

“The letter is from the Crown Prince of Amaranth, David Henry von Albert II. He’s asking for my help in mediating in the tensions between his supporters and the nobility, led by the Duke of Braunhauer.”Bookmark here

Ha? But what about the messenger? Why was he killed?”Bookmark here

“Perhaps someone from that kingdom doesn’t want the conflict to be resolved without the other side going down through the force of arms.”Bookmark here

“War, is it?”Bookmark here

The Saint only nodded for her answer.Bookmark here

Hearing those words made my spine shiver. Maddie worked so hard to bring forth peace to this world and even suffered trying to keep it up, and in one fell swoop, her efforts were about to go for naught.Bookmark here

A heavy silence filled the room. Sir Osmond and I kept on eating the food set before us, as Maddie and Lily were quietly weighing on their options. And if I remembered right, that young maid, Eris, was a member of the Braunhauer ducal house, while the kitchen’s head maid, Jessica, was a von Albert princess…Bookmark here

Oh boy…this isn’t looking good at all.Bookmark here

“Alright!” I heard Maddie clap her hands, as if she already reached a decision, “Please summon Jessica and Eris here. I’d like to discuss this situation with them. We’ll set for Amaranth first thing upon waking up.”Bookmark here

----------
Bookmark here

The kitchen head maid, Jessica von Albert, and the young servant, Eris Braunhauer, appeared before the Saint once Sir Osmond left.Bookmark here

“Hello, Your Holiness!” Jessica curtsied, “Is there anything that you need from your humble servants?”Bookmark here

Eris, though she didn’t speak, followed Jessica’s cue.Bookmark here

“Well, Princess Jessica…” Maddie brought out the letter she received, “…it’s about this. It’s a letter from your brother, Crown Prince David. You ought to read that.”Bookmark here

“Oh?”Bookmark here

“He’s asking for my presence there in Amaranth, and help in negotiating with the nobles.”Bookmark here

Jessica was silent as she read the contents of the letter. And then she closed her eyes as she folded and gave it back to Maddie.Bookmark here

“I’d like to ask some questions about the situation there if you have any knowledge about it.” Her Holiness explained, “As you may have guessed, we’re trying to prevent the full escalation of hostilities.”Bookmark here

Jessica kept a straight face as she answered, “I’d tell everything that could help to the best of my ability, Your Holiness.”Bookmark here

Eris looked awfully clueless about what was happening. Well, I couldn’t blame her, she’s technically a kid.Bookmark here

----------
Bookmark here

The questions that Maddie asked Jessica were simple yet gave us an idea of what we’re about to deal with once we crossed the borders of Amaranth. I suggested it to her, to gather ‘intelligence’ from the Amaranthine princess so that we could decide and act accordingly.Bookmark here

She began asking the kitchen head maid questions we planned to ask before Jessica and Eris came, at which the royal princess answered honestly.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Well, it’s a good thing to know that Maddie could read minds. And I’m sure Jessica knew by now that the Saint could do that whenever she wished, though the kitchen head maid learned it the hard way.Bookmark here

No lie can go past that ability!Bookmark here

“Your Holiness, as far as I know, the nobles are crying out about the alleged ‘abuses’ being committed by my brother, the crown prince. They do not want him to our kingdom’s throne before; and now that our father is old and weak, they try to grab the opportunity to force their will on our rule.”Bookmark here

“Which abuses are these?”Bookmark here

There’s an uncomfortable look on Jessica’s face, and knowing that she couldn’t lie nor hide the truth, she took a pause first, and continued, “Your Holiness, I believe this is because of the ‘Holy Will’ accorded to us by the past saints.”Bookmark here

“What do you mean by that?”Bookmark here

Uhh…well, my brother the crown prince would like to press his rightful claims over these rebellious nobles.” Jessica explained, “They see themselves as the protectors of our realm and subjects, and yet, they do not want to submit to our rule!”Bookmark here

There was something about how the kitchen head maid was telling us the situation from their side’s perspective. I could tell that she’s deliberately hiding something—based on her ‘safe’ answers, lest Maddie could read that she did not know with the circumstances of the brewing conflict in Amaranth.Bookmark here

Well, if the latter is true, it’s expected. Jessica mostly spends her time at the holy kitchen, and would only seldom take a leave to visit her country.Bookmark here

I threw a glance at Maddie, who also cast a short stare at me. Her sarcastic eyes had that ‘this girl doesn’t know a thing’ feel to them.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

And then, she asked Eris, who was—up ’till then, had been standing idly looking around.Bookmark here

“Duchess Braunhauer?”Bookmark here

“Y-Yes Your Holiness?”Bookmark here

“Well, I’d like you to answer a few questions.” Maddie began, “How’s your father?”Bookmark here

Uhh…h-he’s fine, Your Holiness,” Eris answered.Bookmark here

“Good to hear that. Now then, do you know his complaints against the crown prince David of Amaranth?”Bookmark here

Eris’ expression was that of bewilderment once the Saint put up that question on her. I half-expected this; Eris was way too young for her tender mind to be involved in such matters.Bookmark here

“Y-Your Holiness…” Eris was uncomfortable, “Eris doesn’t know much…”Bookmark here

Ah, it’s obvious…Bookmark here

“B-But, if she remembers it right, t-the nobility of Amaranth is crying out against the abuses of the prince, particularly, his arbitrary rule. Our King William is old and is well-advanced in his age; his son and heir now govern in his stead, and according to my father, it’s not a wonderful experience.”Bookmark here

Well, my bad. Eris knew what’s happening.Bookmark here

“Can you elaborate further in these abuses you speak of?”Bookmark here

Uhm…the crown prince always forces himself on the nobility, like for whenever his court arrives at a noble’s fief, he’d demand the best and finest accommodation—complete with musicians and women. All of those would be shouldered by the lord of the land, who would pass it on to his subjects.”Bookmark here

Hmm…though it sounds ugly, a situation like this was common in the middle ages of Europe. A monarch would travel with his court, instead of ruling in the national capital. The reason was that, so he could govern his subjects well—it’s one solution to the primitive communications system of the time. But for the European kings, they had a manor built for every ‘leg’ of the journey, instead of relying on the hospitality of the local lord.Bookmark here

“Hey!” it was Jessica, who couldn’t bear to listen to Eris’ words. She lashed at the young girl with, “Isn’t that part of your father’s responsibilities as the lord of the land? You lot should even be thankful that we visit your fiefs to pass sound judgment whenever it is necessary!”Bookmark here

“Please keep your words to yourself, Amaranthine princess!” Lily intervened for Maddie, “The ball is not in your court just yet. Wait properly until Her Holiness goes back to you!”Bookmark here

“M-My apologies…” the displeasure was clear on Jessica’s face, yet she had to give way. She gave her reverent bow and backed down.Bookmark here

Ha! Serves you right, bitch!Bookmark here

Maddie motioned for a surprised Eris to continue speaking.Bookmark here

“A-Another is that the crown prince always invokes his ‘right of the first night’. He is mostly reviled by the common people for this, Your Holiness.”Bookmark here

The ‘right of the first night’. Up ’till I was summoned here, it had been at the back of my head. Basically, it’s still a highly debated custom or myth—depending on which source one had read—of a lord’s ‘right’ for a girl’s ‘first night’ as a married woman. Yes, it’s a sexual matter, and ostensibly a form of ‘payment’ for her leaving his fief, it took many forms in Earth’s ancient history…Bookmark here

But here, I didn’t know it existed until Eris said it is so. Well, that’s the medieval society for you…Bookmark here

“Hmm…” Maddie was brooding over the information she learned. I could tell that she wanted to ask Jessica about this but was having her second thoughts because the kitchen head maid was utterly clueless.Bookmark here

Ah, those abuses that Eris mentioned were indeed bad—relative to modern values of Earth, and looked upon with disdain in this contemporary setting. But well, I guess that’s a typical behavior expected from a pampered royalty. While we could help with the negotiations, I believed it shouldn’t be a cause for war…Bookmark here

Oh, and Your Holiness, Eris would also like to add…” the young maid spoke once again, “Other nobles are mad with the crown prince for forcing his personal preferences on them, especially regarding food.”Bookmark here

“Hoh? Such as?”Bookmark here

“Well, the crown prince would always want his cookies to have raisins. And so, he’s forcing everyone else in the kingdom to make and eat raisin cookies.”Bookmark here

What the fuck—Bookmark here

If that prince would force me to eat that, then I’d lead the war myself! After all, raisin cookies are the devil’s work!Bookmark here

Bookmarked
You can resume reading from this paragraph.