Chapter 19:

CHAPTER 13: AD ASTRA PER ASPERA

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


***At the middle of a field a few distances away from the city of Amaranth***Bookmark here

The siege of the royal capital city had long begun, and the rebel armies had combined with the Imperial legions in their effort to strengthen their forces. To further undermine the defenders’ morale, the attackers catapulted in the severed heads of the royal ministers and army officials that died in the chaotic battle at the field of mediation.Bookmark here

Of course, the royalists were unnerved by such barbaric sight.Bookmark here

And so was the Saint of the Flame, Seirna, “Ugh…these humans are such disgusting creatures.” she uttered. The Saint of the Flame watched the events of the Amaranthine Civil War as it unfolded from afar.Bookmark here

She knew of the defensive stand of her fellow Saint, Madelaine Ann Rubinforth, at a place called the Red Diamond Palace. She transported the imperial legionnaires that attacked and besieged the human saint’s forces, including the battering ram that was used in breaking down its doors.Bookmark here

And then Seirna left. She had to go away for a while since there was another threat that was attempting to defeat her plans to destroy Madelaine Rubinforth.Bookmark here

Tch…do you really have to go against me, now of all the times, Ruro?” she whispered to herself.Bookmark here

The Beastman Saint’s presence could be felt from where she sat, towards the direction of the town of Coventry, and the Duchy of Braunhauer. A few more distances nearer, and she’d be forced to meet her and teach that wolf a lesson or two about interventions.Bookmark here

However, Ruro’s spirit vanished after a while. And Seirna was back, waiting for Madelaine’s move.Bookmark here

But, much to her surprise, the human saint’s presence also disappeared. With it, her ‘servant’s’ existence as well.Bookmark here

Hoh…looks like that Braunhauer brat got caught, huh?” Seirna mused, “Or rather, she let herself be caught…humans are creatures of spontaneity, after all.”Bookmark here

The Saint of the Flame reminisced about the time when the young duchess Eris Braunhauer came to her, out of her disillusionment in Madelaine’s policies as the saint. She felt that the human saint’s enforcing her version of ‘peace’ was destroying the kingdom of Amaranth and its people, for they were a kingdom reliant on mercenaries and war.Bookmark here

Coincidentally, Seirna shared some of the duchess’ beliefs about Madelaine. So, she gave the duchess the power to help her destroy the human saint from within. It was her that taught Eris to act innocently, so as not to arouse any suspicions. She also caused the conditions that led to Eris’ employment as a maid inside the Holy Palatial Gardens. Finally, Seirna arranged for an amulet to be delivered to the Braunhauer girl so that she could suppress Madelaine’s ability to read minds when the saint came to Amaranth.Bookmark here

The rest is history…Bookmark here

In fact, Seirna was impressed by Eris’ ability to fool everyone, including the ‘otherworlder’ that Madelaine summoned. Duchess Eris Braunhauer could’ve been her ‘perfect agent’, far from the more ‘mature’ and ‘adult’ others that preceded before her. However, if there’s anything that brat had at fault, it’s her weakness to the people she loves—her family, her friends…and that ‘otherworlder’ man, Kuro.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Only the Amaranthine princess, Jessica von Albert, knew about her true personality. She tried to expose her, yet her own faulty attitude and behavior never endeared her to everyone. It led to her attempts at discrediting the young duchess to backfire and almost got expelled as a servant of the Holy Palatial Gardens…with the help of that otherworlder too.Bookmark here

Well, her use was over, Seirna concluded. Eris Braunhauer was only a child—of a tender mind and easily bended will, and she was originally intended to die in this war together with her family.Bookmark here

If only that ‘otherworlder’ didn’t intervene in her plans, then this conflict would’ve been smooth sailing by now.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Seirna realized the human saint, Madelaine Ann Rubinforth, had gotten back her powers, so it’d be quite difficult to face her head-on. After all, the human saint was given the ability to heal injuries and sicknesses. If she’s aiming to defeat Madelaine, she had to start by removing the human saint’s base of support—those people who were helping and defending her ideals.Bookmark here

And the seemingly ‘weakest link’ among these individuals was that man from the other world, Kuro, the Fist of the North Lands, and the Hero of Arles. But though he looked ‘powerless’, Seirna knew he had his own growing set of followers, even if he’s unaware of it.Bookmark here

What kind of power did he possess to attract people to him?Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

The Saint of the Flame could only speculate. However, Seirna feared the Human Saint, just as Madelaine also feared her. And the last thing that she wanted was someone who could equal Madelaine’s influence, especially on the hearts of these mortals Lord Gaius had given them the authority to govern.Bookmark here

Haa…I guess I have to kill that man personally.” she sighed.Bookmark here

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**Kuro**Bookmark here

“First line, FIRE!”Bookmark here

The explosion tore through the ranks of the imperial and rebel forces, trying to squeeze themselves into the narrow passageway that led to the basement kitchen of the Red Diamond Palace. Blood and gore were scattered on the walls, floor, and ceiling.Bookmark here

“Second line, FIRE!”Bookmark here

Another explosion sent the next wave of attackers flying, along with their limbs and entrails. I almost vomited. Good thing a knight helped me get over that sick sight.Bookmark here

“Barriers up! Third and fourth lines, switch!”Bookmark here

The situation in the Red Diamond Palace had slowly deteriorated against us, and we had to conduct a fighting retreat to the basement where our hope of escape lay. I had to reorganize our remaining forces in haste. Along with the Marquise of Monfort, there were twenty paladins she brought with her. The royal knights were down to 22 men, from the initial number of 75 when we set out from Amaranth. It’s either they died in the defensive action earlier or were injured, thus evacuated out of the premises through the secret path underneath the countryside.Bookmark here

The knights were visibly exhausted, and so the Marquise of Monfort and her paladins carried the defense in their stead. The passageway to the basement kitchen could be blocked by four people standing shoulder to shoulder, so I organized the ladies into five ‘lines’. The first and third would kneel, while the second and fourth remained standing. The fifth line would serve as a ‘magician line’; they would be in charge of the barrier magic.Bookmark here

“Third line, FIRE!”Bookmark here

Still another explosion. I specifically instructed the paladins to keep their swords in reserve, in case the battle got close and personal. But since we’re doing a fighting retreat, attacking from a distance would be an advantage to our small force, especially when fighting in a confined space like this one.Bookmark here

“Fourth line, FIRE!”Bookmark here

With each explosion, we took a step back. The enemy would attempt to negate our magic spells with their own magicians, but I already had the fifth line take care of that aspect of our defense.Bookmark here

So far, our volleys are effective in keeping the rebels and imperials away.Bookmark here

“Barriers up! First and second lines, switch!”Bookmark here

“Kuro, we’re almost in the basement.” I heard the Marquise of Monfort told me.Bookmark here

“Just a few more…” I answered, “First line, FIRE!”Bookmark here

I don’t know if the enemy was still following us, but we kept our suppressing fire so that they’d have difficulty in pursuing us. I never let the paladins stopped firing, for a moment of break could get the enemy to counter our attacks. Hit or no hit, the suppression continued.Bookmark here

Not only that, I got a paladin magician to set up magic traps to activate in case it’s necessary…Bookmark here

“Kuro, we’re here!”Bookmark here

And that necessity is right now, “Alright, activate those traps!”Bookmark here

The paladin that was assigned to it uttered her spell, and then, we heard the awful screams of the soldiers who got trapped in-between the columns of fire we set up. The ugly smell of burning flesh and thick black smoke filled the entire passageway.Bookmark here

I knew we’re also affected by it, but since we’re in the basement, we could quickly jump into the hidden passageway, and escape, while the smoke would act as a screen for our flight.Bookmark here

“Go! Go! Go!”Bookmark here

“Okay, ladies! Let’s get going!” the Marquise shouted orders.Bookmark here

We broke formation and dashed towards the escape route.Bookmark here

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The escape route took us through a dark tunnel that cuts through a wide network of caves containing a ruin. However, as much as I wanted to stop and look, I know I shouldn’t. A delay in this kind of situation could be fatal for us.Bookmark here

We continued to run. Fortunately, the maker of this path made sure that those who’d use it would have an easier time traversing it. Though it crossed a cave system, there’s only one road. And soon, we climbed from a dry well and into the open field.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Fucking finally! Freedom!Bookmark here

“Where’s Her Holiness?” someone among the knights asked.Bookmark here

“…” We all tried looking for her and our other companions. The village of Nebat was only a stone’s throw away, so it’s possible that they—Bookmark here

“Kuuuuurrrrrrrrrrooooooooo!!!”Bookmark here

“Guoh!”Bookmark here

The air almost got sucked out of my lungs when Maddie teleported and crashed on me at full speed. We inevitably fell to the ground as she tightly wrapped her arms around me. There were tears in her eyes, which I wiped away when I had the chance.Bookmark here

“I…I thought…you’re gone!” her hands went all over my face as if she was feeling me, “Please, please don’t scare me like that…” Maddie never cared for the others who were looking; she buried my head in her chest.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Well, I couldn’t deny that it was one of the best feelings I had lately. Her breasts’ softness was enough to dispel any exhaustion from my body, as if I was charged quickly.Bookmark here

“You almost killed me there!” I jested.Bookmark here

“I don’t care! What’s important is that you’re alive!”Bookmark here

“Well, you also got your powers back!”Bookmark here

“It’s a long story…” Maddie looked away for a moment, but then she smiled at me, “Welcome back, Kuro!”Bookmark here

“I’m back, Maddie!”Bookmark here

“Alright guys, the show’s over. Please go back to your own business! Nothing to see here!” the Marquise of Monfort quickly moved to drive away from the paladins and knights who were watching.Bookmark here

Aww! I thought Her Holiness was still single!” a knight muttered.Bookmark here

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We regrouped at the village of Nebat, which the villagers remained loyal to the king of Amaranth. However, the village chief had warned us it wouldn’t be long before the enemy forces reached their place. After all, it was still a long way from the borders of the western lords still faithful to the crown.Bookmark here

“Well, don’t worry!” Maddie boasted to everyone, “I could teleport us back to the Holy Palatial Gardens! Just…let me rest for a bit…”Bookmark here

“Oh…” My eyes inadvertently fell on Eris, who remained silent as she tried to hide from my stare.Bookmark here

Maddie had told me what happened between them; about how she deceived everyone about her duplicitous loyalty to the Saint of the Flame, Seirna. Honestly, I shivered at the thought that she almost had Maddie killed. I’d like to talk about her motivations later.Bookmark here

By this time, Lily was already awake, and once again, at the front of our preparations to leave the kingdom of Amaranth altogether. So, while Maddie slept, she was the one who took the leadership of our group from the Saint.Bookmark here

Milady, it’s really fortunate of you to have come to our village in this time of great peril.” the village chief told her, “Our lord, Count Henri had ordered us to set aside and maintain several horses to aid in your escape.”Bookmark here

“Oh?” Lily was surprised at the revelation.Bookmark here

“Well…let’s just say that he intended it for his family.” he explained, “However, seeing that our beloved saint needs our help, we’ll let you use it.”Bookmark here

“Don’t worry about Count Henri.” the maid, Tatiana, reassured him, “It’s Her Holiness we’re talking about here! Of course, she’s our priority.”Bookmark here

“Of course…” the village chief, however, had other plans, “But, if it’s alright with Her Holiness, milady, could we ask for her blessing to our humble village?”Bookmark here

“Why of course!” Lily agreed, “I’ll tell Her Holiness about your request, good sir.”Bookmark here

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Delighted by Lily’s promises, the villagers of Nebat also offered their best carriage to carry our VIPs to the borders of the lands of the western lords. They also gave us their best produce—grains from their farms, the finest clothes from their weavers, and even their highest-quality ale.Bookmark here

“It’s for the long journey ahead, young man.” a villager told me.Bookmark here

However, the Marquise and I requested to Lily that she try to buy a more ‘modest’ carriage—a simple cart would be best. It’s for us to avoid standing out, so we could make good of our escape. The plan was to hide Maddie and Jessica under the goods the villagers gave to us, while Lily and Eris would pose as a mother and daughter couple.Bookmark here

“What? You’re also an actor, Kuro!” Lily declared, “You’re the father in our ‘family’!”Bookmark here

“Hey! I didn’t agree with this!” I protested.Bookmark here

“Well you can ride with me.” the Marquise of Monfort offered, “I won’t guarantee your safety though; I’ll dash towards the borders, after all.”Bookmark here

“Just tell me I can’t ride your horse.” I countered. She’d been endlessly teasing me about the incident from before.Bookmark here

Since we plan to travel incognito, we allowed the royal knights to depart for their own lands, as coming back to Amaranth would only result in their futile deaths. After Lily and the Marquise thanked them, the boys set out on their return journey.Bookmark here

I’m going to miss those guys. In a short time, we’ve been together, we protected each other’s asses.Bookmark here

Once she got her magic back, Maddie healed our injured, so we’re back again to full strength. We divided the paladins into three groups, shedding their flashy armor and equipment. Led by Dame Atkins, we sent the first twenty ladies ahead of us to act as reconnaissance and vanguard.Bookmark here

And then we followed with another twenty, dressing up as common merchants on a caravan. As per our plan, Lily and Eris played as a mother-daughter couple, with me traveling on foot as the ‘father’. The Marquise had given me a terse instruction on how to pull a horse, but Lily was the one who actually held the reins.Bookmark here

And finally, the last twenty paladins that left the village of Nebat under the Marquise of Monfort acted as our rearguard.Bookmark here

Though there’s still a sense of urgency, for most of us, the threat of being surrounded and captured had long passed our consciousness…Bookmark here

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After one long sleep, we finally reached the border of the western fiefs, and an armed escort from the army of the lord of the land came to greet us, along with the first group of paladins we sent ahead.Bookmark here

“Our lord, the Countess of Hemmen, bids you welcome to her lands, Your Holiness!” the captain of the soldiers of the Countess of Hemmen said to Maddie.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Maddie was still out of herself, as she had just awoken. Lily was quick to cover for her, “Thank you for your kind greetings, sir. As you have seen, Her Holiness was still tired from the long journey from the city of Amaranth. I suppose our advance party had told you what happened there?”Bookmark here

Ah, yes, milady. It’s the most unfortunate.” the captain replied, “However, my lord and I would like to express our assurances for your safety in our lands. Let it be known to you that our swords would forever remain faithful to our beloved saint!”Bookmark here

“Thank you for your loyalty!” Lily told him.Bookmark here

With that, we shed our disguises and went back to our old roles. Lily and Maddie were escorted to the lord’s manor. As for me, I waited at the border, together with some other paladins for the group led by the Marquise of Monfort.Bookmark here

“Sir Kuro, don’t you think that they’re delayed?” a paladin asked me when we noticed that we’ve been waiting for too long.Bookmark here

“Well, I’m not sure…” I honestly told her what I was thinking. Without a clock, I couldn’t tell exactly if the Marquise’s group had been delayed or not. But, deep inside, there’s this little feeling that there could’ve been something wrong.Bookmark here

I prayed my hunches are wrong.Bookmark here

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Soon enough, the paladins who were with me got tired of waiting and had to retire. They’d been awake for quite some time now since we left the city of Amaranth, and they couldn’t keep up with me. Of course, I’m dead tired as well. However, the ‘small feeling of dread’ in my chest grew bigger at this moment that I couldn’t afford to sleep.Bookmark here

Plus, I snoozed while on the road, for Lily was the one guiding the horse.Bookmark here

“Lady Heath, Lady Baraneia, if you’re tired, you may go ahead. Just leave me here; I’ll just tell you guys if something adverse happens.”Bookmark here

“But we couldn’t just leave without our captains, Sir Kuro…at least, let us sleep here.”Bookmark here

Nah, it’s fine.” I told them, “Maybe the Lady Monfort got busy with some other things. Besides, the enemy armies are near Amaranth. It couldn’t be possible that they’re able to catch us that quick.”Bookmark here

The two paladins pondered on my words for a while, and when they properly weighed their options, they agreed to leave and take their well-deserved rests.Bookmark here

So I alone was left watching for any signs of the Marquise’s group at the border…Bookmark here

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Long after the paladins had gone to take their leave, I finally saw something stirred at the horizon.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

At first, I thought it was smoke. But then, as it grew bigger, I realized it was the dust and sand, whipped-up by multiple hooves running through the dirt road that led into the land of the Countess of Hemmen.Bookmark here

It must be the Marquise and the rearguard.Bookmark here

Excited to see them, I ran forward in their direction to meet them. However, my smiles gradually turned into horror as I saw they were under attack.Bookmark here

“Hurry! Cross that border, girls!” was the thunderous voice of the Marquise, prodding her paladins to make haste to the border.Bookmark here

I tried to look behind them to see how many enemy soldiers were pursuing them, but to my astonishment, I could see no army running after their group. It was rather a single person—a girl, and she flew as she leisurely threw flames from her hands.Bookmark here

The ground exploded upon contact with the flames. It sent two paladins crashing on the ground, and one of them got her leg crushed by the injured horse.Bookmark here

“Lady Uthiah!” the Marquise turned her horse around and rushed to the aid of her fallen comrades.Bookmark here

Naturally, I also ran to help them as well.Bookmark here

“Ah, Kuro!” the Marquise finally noticed me, “We’ve been under attack! Help me free Lady Uthiah!”Bookmark here

“No! I’ll help Lady Benise and you cover us!” I told her, “Keep that floating bastard busy!”Bookmark here

“Right!” the Marquise quickly leaped into action as I and the other paladin worked to free their injured comrade.Bookmark here

Oh look! The 12th Golden Sword of Heaven would entertain me while the Fist of the North Lands is busy trying to be a hero…” I heard the flying girl said.Bookmark here

“Well, sorry, but you have to keep with me for a while.” the Marquise then began attacking the girl, which the latter gleefully parried.Bookmark here

“Lady Benise, at the count of three…pull her out!” I told the paladin beside me, “One, two, three…PULL!Bookmark here

With that, the paladin freed her comrade. I quickly put the injured paladin’s arms behind Lady Benise, and once she was secured, I told them to run to the border.Bookmark here

“I’ll help the Marquise!” I told them, “Call for the rest of the paladins! Tell them we need help!”Bookmark here

The girls nodded and took off at once.Bookmark here

Picking up the fallen paladin’s sword, I took a step forward to stand with the Marquise.Bookmark here

“Ah! Finally, now I could get serious!” the girl laughed at us.Bookmark here

“Careful Kuro!” the Marquise warned me, “She’s a different enemy.”Bookmark here

“Of course, I’m not like you, puny mortal!” the girl replied to the Marquise, “I’m an existence that is way above you! In fact, I could kill you both with a snap of my fingers if I wanted to. But, nah, I decided I wanted to be a respectable saint!”Bookmark here

Saint?Bookmark here

“That’s correct, Kuro…I’m a saint!” the girl then stopped floating and softly landed on the ground as she did a curtsy, “I’m Lord Gaius’ faithful servant, Seirna of the Flame! A pleasure to meet you, otherworlder!Bookmark here

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To be honest, Seirna of the Flame looked like a student of mine from the old world. She wore an article of rather strange clothing; it’s as if she’s wearing a turtleneck, and her head had a beret on it. What’s even strange was that she’s in an all-black dress…Bookmark here

It’s as if she’s a goth…Bookmark here

Oh, so you still remembered that fashion-style from your own world, Kuro?” Seirna asked, “It’s a pity that I had to eliminate you; you seem to be an interesting person to talk to!”Bookmark here

“Are you from my world?” I blurted out.Bookmark here

“Kuro?” I heard the Marquise asked me.Bookmark here

“Y-Yes?”Bookmark here

“What do you mean ‘your world’?”Bookmark here

The Saint of the Flame laughed and answered the Marquise’s question, “Oh, you don’t know? Did your oh-so-lovable saint Madelaine hid it from you? That man beside you is a human from another world, summoned by your saint just because she’s bored.”Bookmark here

The Marquise of Monfort stared at me with surprised eyes, “I never knew about this, Kuro!”Bookmark here

“Well, there were ‘complications’…”Bookmark here

“And you know what the gods say, right, Dusis Luisa Braunhauer-Monfort?” Seirna kept on taunting her, “The one from the ‘other side’ would bring disaster into this land! Isn’t it what the holy books say? I’m here to fix that!”Bookmark here

The Marquise of Monfort fell silent, and so did I. This was the first time I heard of that ‘one from the other side’ thing. Is that some sick and twisted prophecy that is the staple of fantasy books and stories?Bookmark here

A bullet of flame was shot from Seirna’s finger and deliberately missed my head, “Don’t you dare to insult the words of Lord Gaius, blasphemer!”Bookmark here

Well, sorry!Bookmark here

“Anyway, otherworlder, my apologies as well.” Though she said those words, I could feel the insincerity from Seirna’s voice, “I had enough talk, it’s time for you to come back to where you came from…or at least your spirit.”Bookmark here

“What? You have the means to get me back to my world?”Bookmark here

“No! Are you an idiot? Didn’t you hear what I just said? Your spirit. It means you’re dead!”Bookmark here

“Oh…”Bookmark here

“Well, anyway! Goodbye!” Seirna then created two large balls of fire and didn’t hesitate to throw those at me.Bookmark here

“!!!” Everything happened so fast that I almost had no time to react. Two concurrent explosions followed.Bookmark here

I never thought that I’d be in heaven after those two attacks. For one, I could still feel my body well. Second, the stinging sensation of my skin being burned for a bit was painful enough to tell me I’m still alive.Bookmark here

What happened?Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

The Marquise of Monfort stood before me, with her sword blocking Seirna’s attacks.Bookmark here

Hoh…so are you willing to oppose me, Golden Sword of the Heavens? I told you before that my quarrel is not with you.”Bookmark here

“Well, I don’t care if Kuro’s from another world, or if he’d bring disaster to this land! I know him! He’s a good man, and a great friend to me still! If you’re trying to harm the person who’s important to me, it’s the same as fighting me, black saint!”Bookmark here

“Big words…”Bookmark here

“I’d like to prove to you how big my words are!” the Marquise, true to her combat philosophy, wasted no time in chatting and attacked Seirna once the opportunity presented itself.Bookmark here

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The Golden Sword of Heaven. A title that was given on the Marquise of Monfort, and she carried it with pride. She was called like that because of her skillful swordplay, and indeed, watching her fight was like witnessing a graceful sword dance.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

The Marquise displayed her proficiency in handling the sword. Her attacks were quick, and precise; aiming to disarm or injure Seirna so that she could stop from fighting us any further.Bookmark here

However, the Seirna would never let herself be defeated.Bookmark here

With her razor-thin rapier blade, she blocked the Marquise’s assaults. Contrary to the latter’s movements, Seirna fought as if she was just doing a pretend sword-fight, with a lot of unnecessary steps and swings, even an untrained eye like mine could see.Bookmark here

But I guess she knew what she was doing. For the Marquise was having difficulty in piercing her defenses even as Seirna played around.Bookmark here

“Kuro! Stay back!” the Marquise called out to me when I tried to fight with her, “Run back to Her Holiness and ask for help. Let me handle this!”Bookmark here

“I couldn’t just turn my back on you!” I answered, “Besides, the other paladins must’ve told her already.”Bookmark here

“Then don’t get in my way!” the Marquise roared. Naturally, I had to step back.Bookmark here

The melee between Seirna and the Marquise continued for some time. I closely watched them as I was looking for an opportunity to strike the Saint of the Flame while her opponent kept her occupied.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

I could tell that the Marquise was getting tired. Though she may be a legendary swordswoman, there’s a limit to her body condition. And to think that we’re continuously fighting for some time now…Bookmark here

Seirna unleashed another torrent of magic attacks, which the Marquise evaded or blocked with her sword. However, the Saint of the Flame wasn’t finished just yet; she immediately followed-up on her offensive with a thrust to the Marquise’s hand, aiming to disarm her.Bookmark here

“Lady Monfort!” I almost shouted. But I didn’t have to worry. The Marquise moved her hand to catch Seirna’s blade and trapped it between her sword-guard and the handle.Bookmark here

“!!!” Of course, Seirna was taken aback by that.Bookmark here

With her weapon disabled, the Marquise then went on a counter to finish the battle. I also sensed the opportunity and joined her to attack the saint.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

This time the Marquise was caught off-guard by my sudden entrance, and she received the full brunt of the Saint of the Flame’s magic attack. Because of that, she had to let go of her sword to avoid the offensive spells, despite that, she was thrown away by the blast.Bookmark here

“Monfort!”Bookmark here

Oh? Ganging up on a lady isn’t nice!” Seirna jested, “Didn’t your teachers back on your world teach you that, Kuro?”Bookmark here

“Well, my world’s onto equality, so yeah…” I thrust my sword towards her, with a feint attack and follow-up with the real one.Bookmark here

“Too bad, I could see your mind as well, Kuro!” she quickly caught my hand, which I aimed to punch her. Seirna then burned it, “You have forgotten that we saints could read thoughts.”Bookmark here

“AGH!” I retreated.Bookmark here

However, the Saint of the Flame immediately resumed her attack. She raised her rapier and pushed it towards my heart.Bookmark here

Oh shit, this is bad! She’s aiming for the kill!Bookmark here

“Kuro!” the Marquise rushed towards me.Bookmark here

The Saint didn’t wait for her to arrive. My death came quick and painless…Bookmark here

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K-Kuh…gaah…Bookmark here

I froze in my spot when I realized the Marquise took the Saint’s finishing blow for me. She was hit on her neck, just as she was about to protect me from Seirna’s sword. Blood was already coming from her mouth, and her breaths were labored.Bookmark here

“M-Monfort!” I didn’t care for the Saint of the Flame anymore. I caught the Marquise just as Seirna pulled her rapier from her body and aimed for another finishing blow to me.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

At that moment, the rest of the Paladin Corps arrived, and they drove Seirna away from me with their relentless magic attacks. Never meant to let herself be defeated, the Saint of the Flame fought back. Soon, there were noises of battle once again, drowning us with explosions, screams, and chaos. But I didn’t notice the other events happening around me, I was just focused on the Marquise of Monfort.Bookmark here

“K-Kuro…” the Marquise took hold of my hand.Bookmark here

“Lady Monfort…please don’t die on me!”Bookmark here

“K-Kuro…m-my name…p-please…”Bookmark here

“L-Luisa…don’t die on me!” I pleaded; tears were welling up in my eyes.Bookmark here

“Eris…”Bookmark here

“I’ll protect her! Please, get well! I’ll get you to Maddie! She’d treat you! Please hold on!”Bookmark here

“T-Thanks!” the Marquise coughed blood, and smiled weakly, “A-Ad astra per aspera!”Bookmark here

With that, she momentarily convulsed and then breathed her last. It was fast, and it didn’t even sink to me at first. I tried to wake her, but the Marquise never moved. Her lifeless eyes stared at the blue sky as if trying to reach for the stars she had never even seen.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

My bloodied hands trembled as I closed her eyes and hugged her limp body for one last time.Bookmark here

So ends the life of Dusis Luisa, the Marquise of Monfort…and a great friend of mine.Bookmark here

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Maddie and the rest of the paladins stood around me and Luisa’s corpse while I mourned for her. Apparently, the Human Saint arrived with the paladins and battled Seirna ’till they forced her to retreat, unintentionally leaving the Marquise of Monfort to her fate.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

The Human Saint could only heal sickness and injuries; she can never bring back the life that gave up on itself…Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

I’m angry. No, not towards Maddie and the other paladins…I’m angry at myself. If I did not intervene, then the Marquise would still be alive!Bookmark here

“Kuro…” I felt Maddie’s hand on my shoulder, and then she held me tight from behind.Bookmark here

“She’s a good friend to me, Maddie…” I told her, “Almost like a sister I never had.”Bookmark here

“I understand…”Bookmark here

“I should’ve been the one who’s dead, not her!”Bookmark here

Maddie said nothing in response to that. She knew how I felt; the sadness of witnessing the death of your friend, and unable to do anything about it…Bookmark here

I never let the Marquise’s body go, “Maddie, if I may request you one thing…please…can you talk to God to resurrect her once again?”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“Maddie…” there was desperation in my voice, “Please, talk to God to resurrect her!”Bookmark here

“Kuro, while I understand your sorrow…” Maddie patted my head, “Losing equipment to an enemy isn’t something worthy to ask the gods for help.”Bookmark here

Huh? What are you saying?” I could feel myself getting agitated, “Equipment? What equipment? Luisa’s here—”Bookmark here

Much to my utter shock, Luisa’s body had disappeared from my arms and was replaced by her broken sword instead.Bookmark here

“Luisa? The Marquise of Monfort?” I panicked, “Maddie, she was here with me! She protected me with her life! Where’s her body?”Bookmark here

“Sir Kuro, are you fine?” a paladin took my body temperature, “You’ve been shouting about a certain ‘Luisa’. Do you know her?”Bookmark here

“What? She’s the Marquise of Monfort! She’s your captain, for god’s sake!” I’m getting hysterical, “How can you fucking forget her?Bookmark here

Seeing that I’m enraged, Maddie intervened to calm me down, “Kuro, please take a rest. The heat of the battle must’ve gone through your head.”Bookmark here

I couldn’t keep my shock to myself. I asked, “Maddie! Who’s your Paladin Corps Captain?”Bookmark here

“Huh?” There was an air of confusion on Maddie, “What are you saying? Aren’t you the one who’s the captain of the paladin corps, Kuro?”Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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