Chapter 9:

CHAPTER 7: THE MARQUISE'S AMBITIONS

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


The Marquise of Monfort carefully selected who among her paladins would come and who would remain to guard the refugees. There was an overwhelming response for volunteers for our planned course of action; however, if we all went to attack the enemy, the lives of those whom we were supposed to protect could end up in jeopardy.Bookmark here

So, we had to be careful with our words. The Marquise of Monfort was their commander, and I specifically recommended to her to use the word ‘protect’ rather than ‘be left behind to guard’ so that it would appeal to those who’d remain.Bookmark here

At least they won’t think that they are in for some garrison duties. They are paladins, and paladins should always be in the thick of the battle, upholding their values and oaths.Bookmark here

I also elected to be with the Marquise. My decision was highly influenced by my desire to avenge those children whom I treated earlier, but also partly because of my desire to witness a ‘real battle’ and also so that I could plan our attack. After leaving instructions to those who would be left behind, we set out for the direction of the town of Cullen.Bookmark here

Cullen was a small town located several miles southwest of our secondary camp’s position. As we were in relative haste to run after the rampaging mercenaries, my companions galloped with their horses. Of course, for me, who hadn’t even touched a horse in all the 25 years of his life, I had to make some arrangements so that I could accompany the attacking party led by the Marquise of Monfort.Bookmark here

For that, she took me for a back ride on her mount.Bookmark here

And so, armed with my trusty matchlock and dagger, we rode westward to rush to Cullen’s aid.Bookmark here

Personally, the Marquise of Monfort and I were opposed to moving at the soonest possible time. The paladin captain preferred to wait for the Duke of Braunhauer’s men. Though I wanted to act, I’d like to plan our attack first before making a move.Bookmark here

But the impetuosity of the paladins forced us to attack without preparations.Bookmark here

I can only hope that nothing adverse would happen.Bookmark here

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Fortunately, the Marquise of Monfort knew about the region, since her father’s fief was relatively close to the town, yet it fell on the jurisdiction of another lord, so she rarely visited the place.Bookmark here

“Besides, why would I visit that town when our fief could provide more than enough for its people?” she proudly declared.Bookmark here

Well, I’ve been wanting to ask about her title though. It’s been a curiosity for me ever since I met her. I mean, she was the Marquise of Monfort when her father was the Duke of Braunhauer. I mean, yes, I know that she’s an illegitimate child, but, if she’s a titled member of the nobility, then she must’ve been holding a fief of her own, right?Bookmark here

“About that, well, the March of Monfort is actually a border region to the south under the authority of the Duke of Braunhauer, my father.” she explained to me, “My mother, who died unmarried to the Duke, was the lord of that land. When she departed to the afterlife, I succeeded in her title, and so I became the marquise.”Bookmark here

“I see…” So that’s how she became the Marquise of Monfort, “You mean, your father didn’t recognize you as his daughter, that’s why you remained the Marquise?” It’s the only logical explanation for me since Maddie and Lily were telling me about the multiple marriages in this world. I couldn’t find any other reason that she’d be an ‘illegitimate’ daughter, if that’s the case.Bookmark here

Since it’s technically allowed to marry here multiple times, infidelity and adultery are non-existent.Bookmark here

“Nope, it doesn’t work that way.” she explained, “It’s more like, I never intended to join the main house on my accord.”Bookmark here

“Eh?”Bookmark here

“Well, I love my mother’s land, see? And I prefer to stay that way.” the Marquise of Monfort laughed, “Hey Kuro, don’t you think I’m still young enough to have ambitions of my own?”Bookmark here

“Ambitions, huh?Bookmark here

“Yep. I plan to govern the March of Monfort on my own, and make it prosperous like the Duchy of Braunhauer.” she was laughing, yet I could tell that she’s serious in her words, “Who knows? Maybe in the future, my descendants would become kings and queens of a more powerful kingdom called Monfort. It’s how Nerfes came into being, see?”Bookmark here

For all her quirks and apparent ‘stupidity’, the Marquise of Monfort talking to me right now felt like a different person. It’s the first time I saw her talk about her dreams and aspirations, and to be honest, those were not just simple ‘goals’—if she’s determined enough, the future of a country and its people could hang in the balance.Bookmark here

“And when I’m powerful enough, I’d be able to protect Eris properly as her big sister.”Bookmark here

“Oh?”Bookmark here

“Well, you know the kid. She’s too naïve and trusting for this cruel world. And as someone who experienced it before, I don’t want her to become a victim of manipulating people once she becomes the head of the House of Braunhauer.”Bookmark here

“You sound like you’d tie yourself to her forever.”Bookmark here

“What’s the harm?” the Marquise laughed, “Eris is my family; she remained with me even when I’m at my worst.”Bookmark here

I guess I couldn’t blame her for being too devoted, if that’s her reason. There were only a few people in this world—as well as on the other—that would remain with you once you went through your waterloos. And for that, even I would remain faithful until the end.Bookmark here

“What do you think, Kuro?” she asked, “Are my dreams too shallow and impossible to achieve?”Bookmark here

“Honestly, I don’t.” I answered, “In fact, though I admit it’s too ambitious, it’s not impossible. You know, every reality we have right now started as a wish of someone who dared to dream. And if you’re focused on it, eventually, opportunities would come for you to take.”Bookmark here

“I see…” the Marquise smiled, “Thanks for those words.”Bookmark here

“Well, if you think I’m giving you lip-service, I’m not. I’ve seen a lot of my students do it, and now they’re reaping the benefits of pursuing their dreams. Remember, ‘ad astra per aspera’.”Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

Oh, it’s just an old saying from my country that meant, ‘To the stars, through hardships’. It meant that we should strive and fight hard for something we believe we could achieve…for there would come a time when we’d definitely have it. By the way, a star is something that you can see in our skies when it darkens. It’s so high up that we initially thought it’s impossible to reach.”Bookmark here

“Ad astra per aspera, huh? What a beautiful phrase…” there was a dreamy tone in her voice when she said that. As long as I could inspire her, I guess that’s fine.Bookmark here

The Marquise of Monfort was then silent as we continued on our march westward. I said those things to her, but a question remained at the back of my mind.Bookmark here

“Lady Monfort?”Bookmark here

“Yep?”Bookmark here

“I’m just curious…what made you focus on that certain dream of yours?”Bookmark here

Oh that?” she chuckled once again, “Well, Kuro, let me ask you. Do you know my mother?”Bookmark here

“Nope. I’m telling you, I’m from another wo—I mean, country.”Bookmark here

Then she asked another paladin, “Hey Lady Fenris, do you know my mother’s name?”Bookmark here

The paladin was initially surprised by the question, but she politely shook her head.Bookmark here

“Well…” the Marquise of Monfort turned back to me, “So do I.”Bookmark here

“Eh?”Bookmark here

“I never got to know my mother’s name.” she confessed, “Even my father the Duke only knew her by her first name, Luisa, the Marquise of Monfort. And though my father loved me as his daughter, he never tried to get to know my mother…even when she died the moment I was born.”Bookmark here

“Oh…” Wow…I never knew that the happy-go-lucky Marquise had such a story, “I’m sorry for that.”Bookmark here

“Nope, it’s fine. The March of Monfort is a poor, obscure fief, formerly on the borders of Amaranth. Because of that fact, no one bothered to look into its affairs; and the royal family even considered giving it away to our country’s enemies. We’re so unimportant, even my house’s lineage was lightly recorded in the history books of our country. You could only read about the Monfort house founder, some notable early descendants, and that’s it.”Bookmark here

“I see…” I believe I’m getting the reasons behind the Marquise of Monfort’s aspirations, “So, the reason your dreams are like that, is for you to leave a legacy in this world?”Bookmark here

The Marquise gave me a smile, “You know what, I really admire your ability to understand the people around you, Kuro.”Bookmark here

“Thanks for that.” Well, honestly, I fully understood the goals of the Marquise of Monfort. Though it may sound arrogant and high-handed, her dreams were normal for someone who was treated as insignificant. She was determined to leave a lasting mark in this world, in contrast to her mother, whose identity eventually faded with her passing.Bookmark here

It’s what was causing the influx of those stupid videos on the internet back in my world. Footages of people playing harmful pranks, performing dangerous stunts, non-sensical and idiotic dance numbers, or doing some uneducated, misinformed rants, were all fueled by their desire to gain that infamous ’15-second of fame’.Bookmark here

After all, we’re all determined to become someone of significance, and so we try to leave something that would remember us by…no matter how bad, or stupid it was…Bookmark here

After all, I believe that ‘real death’ is when everyone else forgets about you as if you don’t exist.Bookmark here

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Our impromptu force arrived at the vicinity of the town of Cullen just in time, as the mercenaries were about to launch an assault against the defenders. We could tell from their formations that this was a determined attack, and the wooden palisades surrounding the place did not allow the town militia to mount an effective defense.Bookmark here

The Marquise of Monfort and I carefully crept into a hidden spot behind a copse of trees a few distances away from the immediate battle site. We asked the rest of the paladins to hide themselves a little far from our current position since Cullen was surrounded by a wide prairie, and surprise attacks and ambushes won’t work here.Bookmark here

“What can you see?” I asked the Marquise. By the way, aside from being the captain of the Paladin Corps, she was also a capable scout. The reason behind that was her ability to cast the ‘Sharp Eyes’ magic spell, which improves her range, as well as line of sight.Bookmark here

“They bear weapons.”Bookmark here

I got a bit pissed when she said, “Yeah, I know that, but of what type?” This wasn’t a time for jokes, Lady Monfort!Bookmark here

“Swords, spears…and maces?”Bookmark here

“Magicians?”Bookmark here

“There were a few.”Bookmark here

“Archers?”Bookmark here

“They got several at the back of their line.”Bookmark here

“How about cavalry?”Bookmark here

“None…oh wait, I see one! I think that’s the commander…or I could be wrong.”Bookmark here

I quickly shifted from my hiding spot to confirm the Marquise’s sighting, “Yep, I guess it’s the commander alright. His gestures suggest that he’s the one giving instructions. Could you estimate their numbers from observation alone, Lady Monfort?”Bookmark here

“That group alone maybe about a hundred or two? Plus, the archers on their rear line, that would put their numbers to around 250 or 260? Again, it’s a rough estimate.”Bookmark here

“How about their armor?”Bookmark here

Hmm…most were wearing leather armor, and a few possessed lamellar armor used by the elves from Cherwoods.”Bookmark here

Oh, really? Could you tell if there were elves in that group?”Bookmark here

“I think I saw one or two earlier.”Bookmark here

“Anything on the defenders?”Bookmark here

“Do we really have to check on that?”Bookmark here

“Of course! We need to know how long they could hold out.”Bookmark here

The Marquise rolled her eyes and went back to her scouting, “Kuro, the town militia were armed with swords and spears as well. However, I could tell that they’re exhausted, and their number was few…possibly some of them were manning the main gate, and was obscured from my sight.”Bookmark here

“Alright, let’s get back quickly.” I tapped on her shoulder, “Their attack could start any moment now, and we should join the fray to relieve the garrison as soon as possible.”Bookmark here

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Back with the other paladins, who were impatient to attack, the Marquise told them the information we gathered. At once, the ladies were quick to act. However, I asked their captain to hold them back for a bit more.Bookmark here

“What? You just told me earlier that we should make haste, or they could begin their assault soon!”Bookmark here

“Well, I said that.” I explained to the Marquise, “However, we need to plan our course of action, guys!”Bookmark here

“Nonsense!” another paladin interrupted me, “You may have had the trust of Her Holiness, but certainly not us! Who are you to keep on acting like you’re our captain?”Bookmark here

The other paladins were also angry at me. They were telling me off, and some went far as to call me a ‘coward’. Well, get mad at me for all the time you want, but I won’t let them take rash actions that can end up killing us all.Bookmark here

“My ladies, I apologized for my unacceptable behavior.” I told them, “However, if I may just request that you listen to me one last time; the captain would surely lead you to victory. If not, you could take my head anytime.”Bookmark here

There was an air of uncertainty among the paladins once I aired my proposal. Even that paladin who called me a coward earlier agreed to listen.Bookmark here

“So, what’s your plan?”Bookmark here

“Do you know the Cantabrian circle?”Bookmark here

“For goodness’ sake, don’t start with the explanations now!”Bookmark here

“Alright, alright! I’ll get to my point!” I quickly drew the enemy formation on the paper that was provided to me, “As you know, our enemies possess pole weapons, mostly spears. It’s likely that once they detected our approach, they’d form a spear wall to counter your cavalry charge.”Bookmark here

“Well, with our numbers, I’m sure it’s enough to break them.” a paladin confidently boasted, “After all, these are only mercenaries.”Bookmark here

“With 45 people? Sure, you can! But what about the injured?”Bookmark here

“What do you mean?”Bookmark here

“You could expect casualties, right?”Bookmark here

“It’s part of our job, yes.”Bookmark here

“And do you even have a plan after half of your force is injured, and the enemy hasn’t surrendered yet?” I raised this concern, “What about if they brought up fresh reinforcements? Do you think your half-spent force and the weary defenders from the town garrison who’d try to sally forth could defeat them?”Bookmark here

“That’s…” the paladin had a terrible expression on her face; she suddenly realized the gravity of the situation.Bookmark here

“Here’s my plan. The Duke of Braunhauer’s force would take time to arrive—if they so decided to help, so I propose we harass and ‘soften’ the enemy numbers before doing anything drastic like a full charge. And for that, a Cantabrian circle could help.”Bookmark here

“A what?”Bookmark here

“The Cantabrian circle was a cavalry formation used by some ancient tribes back in my country. Basically, the light cavalry would run in a continuous circular formation, armed with javelins and peppering the enemy with it. Against a tightly packed army, it would surely be effective—either by dwindling their numbers, or provoking them into a disorganized charge that we can count. On their side, the archers and magicians would have difficulty hitting us since we’ll be constantly moving, thus preserving our numbers for a last push.”Bookmark here

Hmm…sounds plausible.”Bookmark here

“However, I know that you guys were mostly heavy cavalry, so we’ll have to change that formation.”Bookmark here

“How?”Bookmark here

“You fight as light cavalry. We don’t have ranged weapons like bows and arrows, so we’ll have to fight by raining down magic attacks on them. Have a few of our own magicians to act as a counter to their own magicians who’d attempt to nullify your spells as well.”Bookmark here

“But Kuro, we can’t be riding a horse while shooting magic!” the Marquise of Monfort pointed out, “It takes high concentration, unlike thrusting lances and swinging swords; and our minds could never be in two places!”Bookmark here

“Of course, it’s true.” I smirked, “That’s why, let’s try something new. How about we attack in pairs? One would direct the horse, and the other rider would be in charge with magic.”Bookmark here

“That’s stupid!” the paladins protested, “This is a grave insult to our honor!”Bookmark here

“If you guys have a better idea on how to survive, better spit it out, or we’ll be too late.”Bookmark here

“We better die than suffer this shame!”Bookmark here

“Well, it’s fine by me if that’s your wish.” I was actually desperate to make them listen, I kept on blabbering my thoughts, “However, your course of action would be useless once you’re dead, and it’s no better than actually doing nothing but watch those people get killed mercilessly.”Bookmark here

The paladins fell awfully silent. Once I realized I was already raising my voice, quickly stopped myself from spouting more. When I calmed down, I picked up my matchlock and walked in the direction of the town of Cullen.Bookmark here

My chest is about to burst with anger at their stupid reasons. If they’d insist on their deaths, then so be it.Bookmark here

“Where are you going?” the Marquise of Monfort asked me.Bookmark here

“Let me go to the battlefield to watch your glorious deaths and then report to Her Holiness about it!”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Soon, however, the Marquise of Monfort picked me up and let me rode her horse. Behind us were twenty other war steeds, each were being ridden by her a pair of her fellow paladins, marching into battle.Bookmark here

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Chhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggeeeeeeeeee!!!”Bookmark here

The attack on the town of Cullen had begun all the while we’re arguing on the best course of action. I believed that this would be the mercenaries’ second charge to breach the town palisades; good thing the town militia fended them off in the first assault.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

We watched from afar as we waited for our entire force of 21 horses to get into their respective positions.Bookmark here

“Alright girls, we use Kuro’s tactics. Run in a circular formation, throw magic spells on these bastards, and retreat if they try to attack us.” the Marquise of Monfort reminded them, “Swords and wands at the ready!”Bookmark here

The paladins brought out their swords and wands. And then, in a move that raised the hairs on my skin, they shouted in unison.Bookmark here

It’s not that wild, disorganized war cry that was prevalent in the movies I watched, but a melodic, almost-singing shout. It was awesome, at the same time terrible. I could feel my blood being pumped, and I quickly checked on my gun to make sure that I loaded it properly.Bookmark here

The Paladin Corps’ war cry is enough to instill courage in anyone fighting on their side, even though we knew we’re hopelessly outnumbered.Bookmark here

The mercenaries were shocked to see us appear on the battlefield. Trained by their experience, they immediately shifted from attacking the town and its defenders to becoming the defenders themselves and forming a spear wall against us.Bookmark here

And then their archers shot their arrows at us.Bookmark here

“Deploy the barriers!”Bookmark here

The dedicated magicians in our group did as they were ordered. The deadly projectiles bounced off to the ground, and the enemy archers stopped firing. It’s a futile attempt to waste their ammunition without even scratching a single one among us.Bookmark here

“Once the barrier was removed, be quick to charge, fire your spells, and retreat.” I told them, “They’d surely fire their arrows on us.”Bookmark here

The paladins, though they never answered me audibly, nodded their heads in agreement. Once the magicians in our group removed the magic barrier they set up…Bookmark here

“Paladins! For the Saint and Chersea!” was the resounding cry from the Marquise of Monfort.Bookmark here

The entire battle line then moved forward with thunderous speed.Bookmark here

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The beleaguered defenders from the town of Cullen were surely delighted to see us attack their enemies. We could hear their cheers as we zeroed-in on the mercenaries. Arrows and magic spells rained on us once again, but the paladins quickly chanted magic barriers enough to protect their pair from the incoming projectiles. However, just as we’re about a few distances away from the spear wall and with the enemy bracing for our ‘charge’, the Marquise of Monfort suddenly turned her horseback.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

“Go Kuro! Shoot at those bastards!”Bookmark here

“Well, fuck—” I quickly discharge one shot on the opposing line. I doubt if it hit anything, for I’m not even trained to ride a horse, much more to aim and attack simultaneously. The Marquise of Monfort just galloped back to safety, and the constant shaking and moving made my aiming the inaccurate gun difficult to achieve.Bookmark here

I could hear explosions of magic spells, and countermagic spells being exchanged by the paladins and the enemy line. Regardless, like what I expected, our formation was quite difficult to hit. And with an extra paladin in-charge of protecting the rider and the horse, we could minimize our casualties to prepare for the real assault, which would come in later…Bookmark here

From the corner of my eyes, we could see people bursting in flames just as they were hit by our magic spells. The archers and magicians from the other side were desperate, and they kept on shooting at us in a chaotic fashion, which inadvertently hit their own men.Bookmark here

The enemy line tried to march towards our harassing formation, but, like in the Cantabrian circle of Earth, we would bait them into a disorganized charge, and then cut them down with deadly precision.Bookmark here

They’d be forced to retreat from their starting points.Bookmark here

“It’s effective, you bastard! Hahaha!!!” I heard the Marquise excitedly told me.Bookmark here

That pattern of attack, charge, and retreat continued for a few more times before the mercenaries finally learned the futility of their attempts to counter us. They stood their ground, hopelessly defending against the magic attacks we’re raining down on them.Bookmark here

Perhaps they’d just wait for us to exhaust our mana?Bookmark here

Their magicians tried to negate our magic, followed up by their archers, but we also prepared for our own magicians to cancel their spells, so they were blatantly exposed to our incessant ranged attacks.Bookmark here

“Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhhh!!!”Bookmark here

Terrible cries of help echoed throughout the battlefield as the mercenaries were cornered by our simultaneously harassing actions, and the town defenders sallying forth to aid our attacks. Men after men erupted in flames or suddenly exploded into bits of blood and flesh after being hit by rock bullets.Bookmark here

They could only stand by and watch as their right flank desperately defended against the town militia attacking them, while the front was preoccupied with our offensive.Bookmark here

It is a heartening sight. We can actually win this without waiting for reinforcements if we can keep them dazed like that.Bookmark here

Perhaps this was the first time these people saw a ‘Cantabrian circle’ maneuver? It was indeed quite perplexing to watch and aim for the attackers, doing circular maneuvers at an irregular pace. I bet if this was a more disciplined and experienced army, we’d be long dead by now.Bookmark here

“Kuro! Have you finished reloading that demon weapon?”Bookmark here

“!!!” I was brought back to reality by the Marquise of Monfort. We’re about to go once again to the frontlines, but I could not load my gun just yet. Well, it’s difficult to load a matchlock with all the movement…that’s why a regular musket-armed cavalry of Earth would always take two or more guns with him to battle, plus a sword.Bookmark here

“Can you slow down? This weapon is difficult to load when we’re moving!”Bookmark here

“What the heck are you saying? Do you want us to be sitting ducks?”Bookmark here

“Well, damn! I can’t fight like this!”Bookmark here

“What the hell, Kuro?” the Marquise blurted out. She quickly deployed a magical shield to protect us just as we appeared at the front of our enemies. That deflected a projectile or two before she maneuvered once again to retreat to our rear.Bookmark here

“Oops! Fuck!”Bookmark here

I was panicking. The lead ball I was trying to load into the gun barrel fell completely onto the ground, and in my attempt to grab it, I lost my balance and slipped down from the Marquise’s horse.Bookmark here

Well, I’d be damned. It looks like I pissed off an entire army…Bookmark here

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I fell on the ground when I tried to grab hold of the lead bullet I was loading my gun with. Luckily, I braced myself for the impact, and thus avoided invalidating injuries.Bookmark here

However, it is still painful to move…Bookmark here

But that was the last of my worries, for the enemy—upon seeing that I fell, took that as an encouragement for their side, and broke into a charge.Bookmark here

The paladins who saw what happened stopped and attempted to come back for me. In doing so, they broke the formation, and so were their ranged attacks.Bookmark here

However, I shouted at them, “Continue the fucking attack! Hit the bastards and run!” I didn’t know what entered me at that moment, but my primary concern was their continuous offensive and not my safety.Bookmark here

“Grrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!”Bookmark here

The mercenaries, thirsty for blood because of the incessant long-ranged attacks from the paladins, charged down on me to avenge the cruel deaths of their comrades. My heart was beating wildly; I almost forgot about my injuries from falling off the horse.Bookmark here

It is a hair-raising, terrible sight…an entire army of angry men rushing towards me, wanting to tear me apart.Bookmark here

I braced my gun and prepared to fight to the death. No time to load the bullet and the gunpowder! A mercenary finally reached me and thrust his spear in my direction, which I quickly parried, and then counter-attacked. I slashed his neck with my bayonet. Another one followed, this time with a sword. But I also parried it with my gun’s stock, then crushed his skull.Bookmark here

Oh wow! I didn’t expect I can make that movement! The Marquise of Monfort’s training actually paid off!Bookmark here

I’m pretty desperate. The thought of killing someone never occurred to me during this moment, only the will to survive this onslaught.Bookmark here

Another pair came, the man and his comrade also attacked me with their spears. I swung my gun to parry their thrusts and pinned down their weapons. Then I drew my dagger and planted it firmly and in quick succession on the exposed necks of the men.Bookmark here

Blood splattered on my face, but I never wavered. I wanted to live, and they won’t kill me easily.Bookmark here

A swordsman then closed in on me and thrust his rapier with a precise aim to the heart. In my despair, I grabbed his weapon barehanded, attempting to deflect it away. Fortunately, its edges were blunt; still, it lightly cut my palm. It was painful, but I moved it out of my way and punched him in the face.Bookmark here

“!!!” The man, maybe because of his rage, barely flinched. He also countered with a punch, though I narrowly blocked it with my other hand.Bookmark here

Our struggle caused us to fall to the ground, hotly contesting for my life.Bookmark here

The swordsman followed up his attack with his dagger. I was surprised, and with my other free arm occupied in holding my gun, I could not react in time.Bookmark here

Fuck, looks like this is it!Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

I was surprised to see the swordsman’s head suddenly flew off his neck, and his blood subsequently soaking my face as his decapitated body fell on top of me.Bookmark here

Horses were charging once again, and this time, they were charging for real. The Marquise of Monfort led the flying column, and they zeroed-in on the disorganized mercenary line. The enemy’s line dispersed, with their morale breaking completely in the face of the paladins’ cavalry charge.Bookmark here

And then, just as my companions were killing their share, another cavalry column appeared at the rear of the mercenary lines. At first, I thought it was the enemy reinforcements I fear, but good thing it was just another relief force.Bookmark here

They surrounded the enemy and mercilessly cut everyone down.Bookmark here

The entire town of Cullen was in a jubilant uproar. Not only they survived, but they also avoided being pillaged by these lawless men.Bookmark here

It was only after the battle that I felt the injuries I received from falling off the Marquise’s horse. My muscles were sore, and so I fell down to the ground, exhausted from the desperate struggle.Bookmark here

The Marquise’s words earlier came back to my head, “Be careful with whatever you wish for, you know. Or you might end up getting more than what you initially expected.”Bookmark here

I guess that’s enough adventure for now…Bookmark here

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You’re pretty banged up.”Bookmark here

Hey! Be careful! It’s painful to move, you know?”Bookmark here

“Well, that’s your punishment for doing stupid things. I specifically ordered before never to intervene in any circumstances save for self-defense, right?” Maddie replied as she fixed bandages on my injuries, “What if you got killed? I’d be a widow even before I get married.”Bookmark here

“Sorry…” Though I expected that she’d be angry for a different reason…Bookmark here

“Of course, you also put our mission in jeopardy as well.” Maddie answered, “What if someone saw your actions as meddling in their internal affairs? That would diminish our influence and impartiality in the negotiations.”Bookmark here

“Yep…it’s really a mistake.” Well, no matter how ‘righteous’ our feelings and our fight were, I couldn’t deny the fact that this was politics. And in politics, it’s not limited to the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sides only…there were a lot of gray areas. What seemed to be harmful to now could be beneficial later…Bookmark here

But still…the images of those children earlier burned in my mind.Bookmark here

“However, Kuro…” Maddie rested her head next to mine, “Personally, I admire your courage to stand up for your beliefs whenever it is challenged. If I was also in your place, I might not stop myself from taking action.”Bookmark here

“I’m really sorry…the Marquise was stopping us. I opposed her.”Bookmark here

“It’s fine. I know the Marquise wanted to act, as well. But my instructions prevented her from completely allowing and supporting your decision.” she gave me a head pat, “Despite that, let me and Lily fix this mess.Bookmark here

“Thank you.”Bookmark here

“It’s fine. However, just like what you said, I won’t heal your injuries right away. The people would have to come first.”Bookmark here

“Alright. Thank you for your hard efforts, Maddie!”Bookmark here

“I love you as well, Kuro. I’ll send Lily over to check on you later; she’s worried sick when she learned you fought.”Bookmark here

“Will you tell her I’m sorry about that?”Bookmark here

“I will. But, rest for a while.”Bookmark here

The Saint then went out of the tent that was set up to house the injured after the Battle of Cullen. There were actually several others that were erected to serve as makeshift hospitals just outside the town proper. The townsfolk of Cullen, grateful to our aid, gladly gave their supplies and medicines to help the less-fortunate folks from the pillaged villages.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

I stared at the ceiling of the tent I was in. Deep inside, I was having mixed emotions. I’m happy that I’m still alive, and no limbs were missing. There was also that faint sense of achievement since I came out of a battle that almost killed me. However, feelings of guilty conscience would take over from time to time.Bookmark here

I know those mercenaries deserved their ugly fates; even so, to think I killed them…with my own hands.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

And with no feelings of remorse. Is this the point where the more I murder people, the less affected I become?Bookmark here

Well, I’d just focus on the fact that I did that to survive. It’s kill or be killed out here, and I couldn’t afford to show any mercy to anyone who’d rush in to murder me.Bookmark here

I probably should get some sleep, I guess?Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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