The Human Saint is Bored, so I was Summoned to Another World Vol. 4
It was in the middle of the long sleep, when the soldiers the crown prince had sent to check on the status of the royal army at the field of mediation returned. Not only were they carrying a few of their comrades’ corpses, but they also brought some dire news.
“Your Highness…the army was annihilated, along with a few of your ministers.” they reported, “And a huge force of rebels is marching towards the city. They could arrive here at breakfast.
And with that, our preparations were increased in pace. Maddie never left the secured room for fear that she might get assassinated. Her powers had yet to return, and we’re hoping that once we got some distance away from the city, she could gain back her magic…
And in the relative safety of her room, I left Princess Jessica and Eris.
“You sure made a lot of promise, Kuro.” Maddie had a sly expression on her face, “I wonder how would you be able to make those into reality…”
“I had to do it, Maddie. Or their families won’t have peace of mind.”
I turned to her and gave her a head pat, “Hey, don’t blame yourself for what happened here. We only tried to help, and it just didn’t work at all.”
“Kuro…you said before that I’d rather go down standing for my beliefs, right?”
“With these people and families being broken up because of conflict, is it still worth it?”
I was taken aback by Maddie’s question. I guess she’s questioning the morality of her ideals, given that these things happened. People were dying, families would have to separate, chaos ensuing everywhere. But then again…
“What do you think? If you didn’t interfere, the worse could have happened.
“Aren’t the results the same?”
“Well, yes.” I chuckled, “If you did nothing, there’s nothing to expect later, once this is over. However, now that you began something, the people would have hope that their saint is doing her best to care for them. I think that’s a big difference.”
“Think of it this way: the road to the top isn’t a path full of roses. Of course, there would be a lot of naysayers to whatever you do, even try to keep you from succeeding. But the only difference of a successful person from a complete failure is that they keep on trying, no matter how loud the critics are.”
Maddie’s eyes were welling up, “Kuro, what do you think I should do from here?”
“Well, first, take a rest. You must be exhausted from all that’s been happening to you, that’s why you’re getting depressed once again. Look at those two, Jessica and Eris. At least, they’re sleeping now.” I suggested, “And second, take a breather. Lily was right to suggest that we retreat to the Holy Palatial Gardens and think of our next steps. Once you’re fully rested…”
“Let’s get back at that emperor and his saint.”
I stayed with Maddie long enough to watch her fall asleep. She had a really long ‘day’, and the events happening around her must’ve been getting into her head. The moment she finally drifted to dreamland, however, was my chance to continue working.
I won’t rest for now, not until we’re completely safe.
Together with Lily, we went to the Marquise of Monfort who assembled our small contingent of paladin escorts at the castle courtyard: 60 young noble ladies from different countries and states in north Chersea.
“Alright girls! It’s our time to shine once again!” the Marquise told them to boost their morale, “Because of the sudden turn of the events against us, we’d withdraw from Amaranth for now, and escort the saint to safety.”
No one said anything. The paladin guard contingent remained at attention as their captain and the head maid inspected them. As I am the ‘co-captain’ of the paladin guards, I walked with them, but carefully positioned myself behind the Marquise and Lily, so as not to appear that I’m superseding their authority.
Once the inspection concluded, Lily went to check Maddie’s carriage and had someone from the royal army come with her. I was left with the Marquise.
“Kuro…” the Marquise whispered to me the moment we’re alone, “You’re going to command the other half of the contingent. Don’t worry, I asked Dame Atkins to help you.” she gave me a pat on the back.
Your vague words of encouragement are giving me more worries than courage, you know? I admitted to her, “Ugh…this is all too sudden.”
“Nah. We’re all taken by surprise as well.” the Marquise winked at me, “Now don’t lose sight of the goal, which is to escort Her Holiness out of this kingdom. If things come to worst, other matters should be left behind…”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Well…” she looked towards the room where Maddie, Jessica, and Eris were staying, “For example, those people who are close to you.”
“You’re not telling me…”
The Marquise nodded.
“That’s bullshit, you know? I won’t leave anyone behind!”
“Well, it is crap. But it’s how this world works, see?” the Marquise wryly told me, “Our duties as the paladin guards come first before our personal lives, after all.”
“But what about your goals? Isn’t it to protect your sister?”
The Marquise of Monfort fell silent when she heard that. I won’t tolerate any kind of melodramatic talk before a battle. It reeked of ‘death flags’ for those who’d be involved.
“Plus, even though you don’t have feelings for your parents, they really loved you! The Lady Hanna even talked to me about—”
The Marquise stopped me from completing my sentence, “Yes, I know they do. However, I’m not like them, especially my father, to whom Eris takes after. You see, Kuro, there’s something I didn’t tell you yet…”
It was my turn to keep quiet. Her sad eyes were staring straight into me.
“You see, before my mother conceived me, she became involved with someone else from the old royal family of Amaranth, the House of Benicci.”
“What? Are you telling me, you’re someone else’s daughter?”
The Marquise’s nod confirmed my suspicions.
“Wow…this is some heavy stuff…”
“It is. And because the Duke of Braunhauer took care of my mother when she conceived me, now I try my best to serve his house…including his daughter, Eris.” the Marquise winked at me, “I don’t want to admit this, but I’m expendable, Kuro, just like everyone else. But please don’t tell anyone what you learned from me this time.”
I’m still profoundly affected by the Marquise’s revelation to me, so I could say nothing back to her.
“But I assure you, Kuro—on my name and sword, I’d do my best to do my duties as the Captain of the Paladin Corps. We’ll get through this alive, alright?”
We quickly set out once the details of our carriage and armed escort were completed. The crown prince assigned a company of royal knights to us, besides the paladins of Her Holiness. It was way past the time for the ‘long sleep’, and so the only ones who remained awake were the patrolling soldiers loyal to the crown.
“I won’t turn my back on the people who need my help and protection.” Maddie declared, “They will come with us to the Holy Palatial Gardens, and they’ll be under my protection.”
“Our gratitude to you, Your Holiness.” the Crown Prince and the Duke of Amaranth paid their final respects to Maddie once she assured them of her protection over their family members.
“Eris, please stay strong, alright?” the Duke gave his daughter a head pat.
The young duchess never answered. She was just silently crying, trying to be brave while she watched her parents bid goodbye to her. On her hands was the history book her father gave to her; I guess she’d never let go of that forever…
“Luisa, please take care of your sister for me and your father.” Lady Hanna gave the Marquise a pat on her head, “You’re the only one we could count on, okay Big Sis?”
“I’d try to survive this, Luisa, so that I could continue to piss you off, alright?” the Duke teased his elder daughter, ostensibly to lighten the mood.
“I hate you…” the paladin captain replied. However, we could tell that she meant otherwise.
I really admire the Braunhauer sisters’ courage; if it was me, I’d be hysterical by now.
The duke then opened his arms wide, so that his family could be together one last time. Luisa, Eris, and Lady Hanna held him tight.
Damn…this stuff is too heavy to watch.
“Brother, I’m sorry I couldn’t be of use to our family…” I heard Princess Jessica say to the crown prince.
“What are you saying?” he embraced his little sister, “Live your life to the fullest! Don’t concern yourself with bothersome things, like power and influence. They’d come biting back at you if you don’t put your guard up, and it’s not enjoyable to be always on your guard.”
Then tears flowed from the princess’ eyes, “I’d really want you to come to my wedding though.”
“Well, it’s not like I’m dying right away. I’ll try to live; and if I died, I’d try to come back as a spirit to watch over you and my brother-in-law.”
I know it’s sad, Your Highness, but please don’t.
Maddie and Lily couldn’t bear to witness the sad scenes unfolding before them. I’m sure that Maddie’s blaming herself for the failure once again. So I quickly stood beside her and gave her a head pat.
“You did well, Your Holiness.” I winked at her, “It’s just that, it didn’t work this time because of others.”
Maddie said nothing. She just held me tight as she buried her crying face in my chest. Lily, upon seeing her friend, embraced her as well.
Well, though we didn’t want the moment to end, soon we had to ride our carriage. There was a faint sound of marching boots from a distance, and the unrest among the defenders was apparent.
“Looks like an army was coming.” Prince David was still hoping that it was a friendly force, or the remnant of the army that was with him earlier in the field of mediation.
“Your Highness…” Maddie was trying to compose herself, “I’m sorry, but it seems we have to leave now.”
“Yes! Please be safe!”
The Duke and the Prince helped us load people into the carriage. The other paladins were given horses to replace the steeds they lost back at the chaos of the field of mediation. And once this was done, it was the Lady Hanna herself who closed the door of our carriage.
“Goodbye, Your Holiness!” the crown prince and the duke, together with his wife, Lady Hanna, watched us as we departed.