Chapter 11:

CHAPTER 7: MADELAINE ANN RUBINFORTH, FLOWER OF DAWSON VALLEY

The Human Saint is Bored, so I was Summoned to Another World Vol. 5


***On the outskirts of Gebrei***Bookmark here

A heap of broken carts could be seen to move, even as various corpses of the dead Imperials and coalition soldiers had covered that spot. A couple of the undead nearby collapsed, as its legs were cut off by a fast swipe of the blade.Bookmark here

Emerging from the ruins was a man. He wore a broken Imperial armor, and his body and face covered with dust and soot. It was a fortunate thing that he kept himself safe by hiding under the broken supply carts of the Imperial baggage train, even as the panic and confusion spread unto the legionnaire column after they were attacked by the undead.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

From afar, he could see and hear some of the desperate survivors trying to fight the undead swarming on them. But he never paid attention to those people. In his mind, only one thing remained: that was to survive.Bookmark here

“Yes, that’s what I plan to you as well, to survive.”Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

The man turned around to see a lady coming to him with a sword in her hand. Behind her was a group of undead, following her every movement.Bookmark here

“Seirna!” the man hissed, “What did you just do to these men?”Bookmark here

Hmm…I simply turned them into something more powerful.” she answered, “These legionnaires are pretty useless; being defeated repeatedly by a motley army of fools and bandits!”Bookmark here

“Even so, you killed these men.”Bookmark here

“And their deaths are with purpose.” Seirna countered Prince Umberto Benicci, “As well as you, that’s why you’re still alive, and not torn apart.”Bookmark here

“I won’t be working with a traitor like you!”Bookmark here

“Oh really? Me, a traitor?” Seirna laughed, “I bow to no one, remember? And here I thought that your resolve to kill Lady Madelaine is that strong…turns out, you’re weak.”Bookmark here

“What do you know?” Prince Umberto almost attacked Seirna in his anger, if not for the undead blocking his way.Bookmark here

“Listen, former Prince and General, Umberto Benicci. Like these useless legionnaires, I’m also giving you the chance to become useful to me one last time.” Seirna then brought out a matchlock pistol and gave it to him, “You wanted to have your revenge on Madelaine Rubinforth, then I’m allowing you to do so.”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“Go to Huirot. Soon, the human saint and her black-haired lackey would mount an expedition to relieve its garrison, for their friend was trapped in there. You know these people, they couldn’t leave their loved ones behind.”Bookmark here

“And you want me to kill that friend of hers?”Bookmark here

“No, you silly idiot! You’re going to kill Madelaine.” the Saint of the Flame told him sarcastically, “Once they relieved Huirot, I’m going to create confusion among them, and during that chaos, you’re going to shoot Madelaine with that demon weapon.”Bookmark here

“But how can I do that? It’s pretty hard to come near that Saint, given that her Paladin Corps are always with her.”Bookmark here

“Disguise yourself and earn the trust of the commander of the Huirot garrison, Prince Simon Hugh Reed of Nerfes. I’ll tell you instructions on how to counter the undead; use that to influence him. And also, wear this leather cuirass I enchanted so that Madelaine wouldn’t able to read your thoughts.”Bookmark here

“Alright then.” Prince Umberto removed the broken Imperial armor from his body, and Seirna helped him don the leather cuirass she had taken from a dead coalition soldier.Bookmark here

“Well, I’m looking forward to your success, Umberto Benicci.” she tapped him in the back, “I hope you’ll be happy once you and your goddaughter meet again this time.”Bookmark here

Umberto never answered her, for he would make sure that it would be his final moment with Madelaine Rubinforth…Bookmark here

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**Kuro**Bookmark here

When I opened my eyes the next day, what greeted me was the familiar child servant.Bookmark here

Wha—Eris?”Bookmark here

“Good morning, Sir Kuro!”Bookmark here

Well, it certainly was different to hear her call me that way. If I remember, Eris used to say ‘Mister’ before my name. I couldn’t hide my surprised expression from her.Bookmark here

“What are you doing here? I thought you’re at the Holy Palatial Gardens.”Bookmark here

“Well, I am. It’s you who are back in the palatial gardens.”Bookmark here

“Oh…” Then it came back to me. Yesterday, I fought against Seirna and her hordes of undead, and Maddie rescued me. Then when we came back, I guess I was too tired to even stay awake and fell asleep.Bookmark here

“Yep, it’s pretty hard carrying you all over the way from the courtyard to this room,” Eris commented.Bookmark here

“What? You carried me?”Bookmark here

The little maid shook her head, “Her Holiness and Lady Lily did. Lady Madelaine’s mana got depleted teleporting the survivors of your army back here that she could not cast a floating spell for a while.”Bookmark here

“Well…I guess I owe Maddie and Lily an apology, huh?” I got up to go to them but…Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Uhm…Eris, I don’t remember changing my clothes yesterday.”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

The little maid was blushing, and she was averting her gaze from me.Bookmark here

“Hey, don’t tell me…”Bookmark here

“L-L-Lady Madelaine was the one who s-s-s-s-stripped you!” Eris explained, “And she looked so happy while doing that, so I let her be!”Bookmark here

Well, I’m sorry you had to see such an unsightly thing, Eris.Bookmark here

“A-Anyway, Sir Kuro…Her Holiness Lady Madelaine wishes to see you as soon as you wake up.”Bookmark here

“Where’s she?”Bookmark here

“I guess she’s at the courtyard, taking her breakfast with Lady Lily.”Bookmark here

“Thanks!”Bookmark here

The little maid nodded. Then she suddenly curtsied before me and cleared her throat before speaking officially, “Also, this lady wishes to congratulate Sir Kuro for displaying his talents in commanding and leading men into battle.”Bookmark here

“Really? Thanks, Eris.” I feel a bit abashed when she said, “I just did my work, though. And please, stop with the ‘Sir’.”Bookmark here

“It’s fine. You’re Lady Madelaine’s knight.” Eris explained, “So, it’s irresponsible for me to call you ‘Mister’, when in fact, you’re already a ‘Sire’.”Bookmark here

I sat on the bed while fixing my clothes, and Eris was quick to help me.Bookmark here

“Thanks!”Bookmark here

“Welcome, Sir Kuro.” Then she continued, “Would you want me to serve your breakfast here?”Bookmark here

Err…what?”Bookmark here

“Your breakfast?”Bookmark here

“Sorry, I’m not used to that luxury.” I admitted, “I’m more like, a ‘going-to-the-kitchen-and-eat-there’ person.”Bookmark here

“Oh!” the little maid chuckled, “You sure are the usual Kuro, I mean, Sir Kuro. But then again, get used to it starting now, for I’d always do that whenever you wake up.”Bookmark here

“Huh? You don’t have to.”Bookmark here

“Well, I should, now that I’m your personal maid.”Bookmark here

“Come again?”Bookmark here

“I’m your personal maid.”Bookmark here

“Says who?”Bookmark here

“Says me, Lady Lily and Lady Madelaine…”Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

“Well, I traded off 75% of the entire Braunhauer wealth just to have that privilege.”Bookmark here

“You sure you’re not overestimating my worth, Lady Eris?”Bookmark here

“I’m not…even more so when the coalition you’re leading needs financial support.”Bookmark here

“Maaaddddddiiiiieeee!!!”Bookmark here

“Yes, Kuro? Is there something you’re not satisfied with Lady Eris’ performance?”Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

I almost jumped from the bed when Maddie suddenly appeared beside me, tagging along with Lily. The head maid was wobbling; I guess she’s not that used to teleport as much as I do.Bookmark here

Anyway, I asked her, “What’s happening with Eris as my personal maid?”Bookmark here

“Well…about that…” Maddie’s voice trailed off to Lily, who took the turn to explain.Bookmark here

“Sorry for doing this to you, Kuro, but apparently, we need all the support we could get.” she told me, “And Lady Eris is one of the richest nobles currently alive in Chersea after she inherited her family’s wealth.”Bookmark here

“But isn’t her family’s property in Amaranth, which was now under the enemy’s control?”Bookmark here

“Well, it’s one of her family’s properties.” Lily added, “The Braunhauers owned properties all around Chersea, that’s why they could amass such influence in the Amaranthine king’s court.”Bookmark here

“Oh…”Bookmark here

Haha! Don’t you like it Kuro?” it was Maddie, “Not only do you get three beautiful wives, you also got a cute girl as your personal servant! And you can also marry her when she grows up!”Bookmark here

“Why are you pushing yourselves to me? It’s not like I’m the only guy in the world, you know?”Bookmark here

“Indeed, you are not, but in our eyes, you’re the best one we knew!” Eris answered.Bookmark here

“Alright, alright! I guess that’s enough to talk about marriage and family stuff!” I had to divert the talk because it became too embarrassing for me to hear, “We still had an enemy to defeat.”Bookmark here

Lily and Maddie turned serious as well.Bookmark here

“Right…” Maddie said, “Now that we got the money, what we’ll need next are the men, for your army got severely depleted in Gebrei.”Bookmark here

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After the undead incident, Maddie erected a huge magical barrier enough to keep the undead hordes at bay from the region of Gebrei, stretching up to the desolate wastelands of the North. The Savoian capital of Jeveneria, because of its proximity to Gebrei, became a ‘focal point’ in our defense against the undead.Bookmark here

Before that, she tried ‘exorcising’ the dead. It should’ve been an easy job for her; however, Seirna’s ‘dark’ power was interfering with her ‘light’ magic, and only little was achieved.Bookmark here

We don’t know for how long Maddie could maintain her barrier. The undead would often attack it, taking a toll on her mana reserves. As a result, she could now cast only a minimal amount of magic.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

And we still have that problem about our allies in Huirot, which was near Gebrei. Time and time again, few survivors would come from that area—both Imperial and Savoian. They would tell us there were still people alive inside the town, but their situation was dire.Bookmark here

“Please hurry! My family is still there, and only a few men are left defending its walls!”Bookmark here

“Sir, I may be your former enemy, but I plead with you to accept me and my companions here. At least give me an honorable death, for I don’t want to be torn apart by those monsters!”Bookmark here

Those were the lines we hear often day by day. Across east Chersea, Nerfes was also accepting refugees from the ‘dark’ side of the continent, for there were numbers of states and kingdoms that were consumed by Seirna’s spell. Reports of entire city populations becoming zombies reached us, and those who arrived with injuries were put to death upon reaching the borders since the militias manning the front defenses were paranoid about those people were being infected by Seirna’s magic.Bookmark here

The situation, combined with the uncertainty of how long Maddie could keep up her magical barrier, brought the morale of our coalition to a new low. It’s been several weeks since the battle at Gebrei put a halt in our operations, and now, we don’t even know who we were fighting, and how to fight it.Bookmark here

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On the 26th of March, a war council was called.Bookmark here

“You damned devil, Kuro!” Griffyth greeted me when I came across them at the Holy Palatial Gardens courtyard, “I never thought I’d see you again!”Bookmark here

Tarasca, Gats, Kashca, Winters, Stephan, and Kevin, as well as the other mercenaries and members of the coalition, were happy to see me as well. I’m also glad to see them all alive.Bookmark here

“It would be a great loss if you died in Gebrei, lad!” the Prince of Stadtsberg told me, along with some slaps at my back.Bookmark here

“Your Highness! What are you doing here?” I asked, “I thought you’re defending Stadtsberg?”Bookmark here

“That’s pointless now, Sir Kuro.” The Count of Brooke told me, “We were attacked by a legion of the dead, and we’re forced to escape here with a few that we can bring along with us.”Bookmark here

“Huh? But I thought Her Holiness put up a barrier in Gebrei region?”Bookmark here

“Well, she is, and we are thankful for her because of that.” It was the Duchess of Henristone, “However, her holy barrier could only cover the entire eastern half of Chersea. The western half had fallen into darkness…”Bookmark here

“And I left my family in Amarth!” the Count of Brooke lamented, “I wanted to rescue them, but as we are right now, we couldn’t do a thing!”Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, Your Excellency.” It was the Prince of Stadtsberg, “Our Saint would do everything to help us, that’s why she sent Sir Kuro here.”Bookmark here

“Praise be to the Saint…” the nobles uttered in desperation.Bookmark here

I guess they’re overestimating my worth as a human. Because of that, I don’t think I could fail them nor give them any reason to despair. Maddie’s reputation was at stake, and I intend to avenge Luisa’s death as well…Bookmark here

“Alright, before we go attacking these dead creatures, we should lay out some plans on doing it.” I told them, “We still haven’t relieved Huirot, and I’m afraid, we need to come to their aid soon.”Bookmark here

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The War Council this time was different compared to the last one that was held here. The most glaring difference was that Maddie was now with us, and she now led the discussion.Bookmark here

“Welcome, leaders of the Holy Coalition.” she greeted, “Please, have a seat.”Bookmark here

We all took our chairs. I had Griffyth come along with me, for he was acting as my second-in-command. Lily was also there, but she deferred to Maddie in leading the council. The other nobles were also with us, including the Duchess of Henristone.Bookmark here

“As you know, a grave threat has emerged after the outbreak of the war in Amaranth. From an Imperial invasion force, we now face an army of the undead, brought forth by the magic of the Saint of the Flame, Seirna. I put up a barrier to stop them, but alas, my powers are limited, for I am no god.”Bookmark here

“Your Holiness, so it is indeed true!” the Count of Brooke spoke, “Why would a saint do such a thing?”Bookmark here

“I don’t know myself, Your Excellency.” Maddie answered him, “For all I know, Lady Seirna had been against my policies from the start.”Bookmark here

Well, I guess I’ll have to talk to Maddie later about the reasons Seirna is doing that. It’s not bad to understand where your enemy is coming from, after all.Bookmark here

“So, for now, I’m asking you once again, you who have defied the odds and fought under my banner!” Maddie pleaded, “Will you please fight for me once again?”Bookmark here

The nobles never wavered at their determination in fighting for their beloved Saint. However, what they wanted now were directions.Bookmark here

“Your Holiness, if I may ask…” the Duchess of Henristone stood up, “How do we fight this undead? My men told me they tried to behead these monsters, but they keep on coming at them!”Bookmark here

At that moment, I knew Maddie had no answer to her question. She tried to exorcise them, but Seirna’s magic prevented her from succeeding. I decided to enter the conversation.Bookmark here

“You simply can’t.” I said, “It’s impossible to defeat an enemy who’s not afraid to die and with a saint spawning those.”Bookmark here

“What made you say that Sir Kuro?” the Count of Brooke, who was getting emotional, asked me, “Please don’t lie to us! My family’s safety is at stake here!”Bookmark here

“I…” I was about to admit that I came from another world. But I hesitated and turned to Maddie. She just gave me a nod. With her permission now granted, I revealed to them, “You may not believe this…but I am a person from another world.”Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

“This is getting complicated.”Bookmark here

The Prince of Stadtsberg only whistled.Bookmark here

“It’s true.” Maddie backed me up, “I summoned Sir Kuro here.”Bookmark here

“So, Sir Kuro is a hero?” the Count of Tillie suddenly became excited, “Like the legendary Cassandra David?”Bookmark here

“No, I’m not.” I corrected him, “For one, Her Holiness summoned me by accident. And second, I have no supernatural powers to save you. I’m just an ordinary human.”Bookmark here

An air of defeatist sentiments floated in the War Room. I could tell that their hopes were dashed when I told them about my limitations.Bookmark here

Well, sorry I got your expectations up.Bookmark here

But then again, I won’t allow to leave something unfinished, “Your Excellencies, please listen to me! Even though I’m an ordinary person from another world, isn’t that I could lead our armies to victories against the formidable legionnaires of the Empire?”Bookmark here

“Of course, we won’t forget that fact.” the Duke of Greene spoke, “So, what do you want to say here, Sir Kuro?”Bookmark here

“I’ll give you another victory once again.”Bookmark here

Hmm…such brave words, Sire.” the Duchess of Henristone commented.Bookmark here

“No, it’s not just brave words, Your Excellency.” I countered, “I told you I’m from another world, and coincidentally, that world knows how to defeat these beings.”Bookmark here

“Oooh…” I could tell everyone’s ears were on me once they heard my statement.Bookmark here

“First, that undead is called a ‘zombie’ in my world. It may seem weak in few numbers, but in hordes, it can be deadly. I don’t know how Seirna did it, but based on my observations back in Gebrei, it transfers her undead magic by its bite. And most of you have seen how those creatures don’t care for their lives.”Bookmark here

“They’re undead, Kuro.” Griffyth reminded me.Bookmark here

“Right…” there was an awkward silence, but then I continued, “Second, it mostly moves following the direction of the sounds.”Bookmark here

“And? What about it?”Bookmark here

“So, we can turn those to our advantage.”Bookmark here

“How?” it was Maddie who asked.Bookmark here

“Well, we have options on how to defeat those monsters.” I explained, “One way is to incinerate them.”Bookmark here

Hmm…I haven’t thought of that until now.” Maddie quipped.Bookmark here

“Of course. No one wanted to turn into ashes those people whom we considered friends once. But please remember that those aren’t your family and loved ones anymore. The quicker we ‘kill’ them, the better for their souls.”Bookmark here

“Yes!”Bookmark here

“Second, we could use traps to immobilize those creatures. Aside from their bites, they could also run, so we should remove its mobility.”Bookmark here

“We could use the wind magic to slice at their feet!” the Earl of Yares suggested.Bookmark here

“Or deploy earth spikes.” the Duchess of Henristone added.Bookmark here

“Another way, of course, is to use warriors.” I turned to Lily, “Your Highness, this is where your skill ‘Bloodbath’ will be put into full use. All you need to do is to crush its head so that it can’t do anything to you. Then you may beat it to a bloody pulp.”Bookmark here

“But you said before that they can transfer their curse through bites.” Lily raised that point.Bookmark here

“Yep, and that could simply be countered by armor, especially to your limbs and shoulders. Those parts were the most susceptible to bites.” I couldn’t help but get amused at those movies that always portrayed a zombie apocalypse as something unsolvable. A simple set of armor and flamethrowers in capable hands could end that kind of tragedy.Bookmark here

“So, what should we do then, Sir Kuro?”Bookmark here

“We’re going to combine the magicians, traps, and warriors in the attack.” I asked Lily for a pen and paper and began drawing, “We’ll attract those zombies using the marching sounds of the men. We’ll advance slowly, as the magicians incinerate the zombies from afar, building a literal flame wall. As this undead is running, it might go past the flame barriers and attack the defenseless magicians. For this, we deploy the traps, shield-bearers, and warriors, in that order. They will take care of the zombies that would go past the flames.”Bookmark here

“How about magic barriers?”Bookmark here

“Well, if we could afford extra magicians to cast that, it will be a nice addition to our army’s defense. Otherwise, we need to concentrate on our attacks, since the undead would be relentless in their assault. Remember, those creatures don’t care about its ‘lives’ anymore, so it’d literally throw itself against our defenses.”Bookmark here

“Sounds plausible.” the Count of Tillie commented, “However, I think we’ll need an army of magicians for this strategy to work.”Bookmark here

Uhh…we lost a lot of magicians in the Battle of Gebrei and the undead attack after that.” Griffyth revealed, “Notwithstanding, we lost another substantial number in Dawson Valley, during our feigned retreat.”Bookmark here

“We’ll need the support of the other surviving kingdoms if we’re to defeat this threat, and fast.” the Duke of Greene calculated.Bookmark here

“As for the financial problem, I got this taken care of, courtesy of the generous support from the Duchess of Braunhauer,” Maddie said.Bookmark here

“The Duchess of Braunhauer?” the Duke of Greene exclaimed, “W-Well, that would take care of a lot.”Bookmark here

“However, the other kingdoms are refusing to lend their men to us.” the Duchess of Henristone revealed, “They claim they needed them to defend their land.”Bookmark here

Ugh…they always do that.” Lily could only scratch her head in disgust, “And when everything’s back to normal, these kings would be the ones to claim the credit.”Bookmark here

“Whether for their glory, our concern should be the welfare of the people.” Maddie reiterated, “We should send emissaries to the kings to ask for their support; tell them we’ll buy those if we must. Let’s see how would they respond if it’s their Saint who asked them.”Bookmark here

“Okay, then Your Holiness.” Lily took down her orders, “We shall send envoys right away.”Bookmark here

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The emissaries immediately set out for the kingdoms still untouched by Seirna’s curse: Nerfes, Colveente, Calabria, Galad, Hareth, and Shent. Savoy and Nerfes had already sent in a few of their militias they could spare from their cities, and the Holy Palatial Gardens had the Paladin Corps and several levies from its villages to augment the remnant of the coalition forces.Bookmark here

We also considered a truce with the Empire, so we sent an ambassador as well. However, we’re not that hopeful for their favorable reply.Bookmark here

Until the first replies had come back, we had no other choice but to wait.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

It was one of the rare moments where we had an empty time, and of course, we took the chance to take a rest from all the stressful events that happened to us lately.Bookmark here

The nobles who evacuated from Stadtsberg were invited by the Duchess of Henristone to her residence in Colveente. I think most of them took up the invitation; only the Prince of Stadtsberg, who would rather stay with his men, and the Count of Brooke, who was not inclined to any joyful occasions because of his family being trapped in Amarth, remained.Bookmark here

Lily remained with Maddie, of course, doing her usual duties as the Head Maid, and I, since I’m not a noble, did not go as well.Bookmark here

“But you’re invited too, Kuro.” Maddie reminded me.Bookmark here

Hmm…I’m just not used in the company of nobility.” I told her, “A few weeks ago, I was just a commoner. It just didn’t sink to me yet, and I’m afraid it never will.”Bookmark here

“Well, it’s all fine to me.” Maddie laughed, “After all, Lady Sylvia Henristone is very interested in you.”Bookmark here

“Don’t worry…she just wanted me to be her knight.”Bookmark here

“I wonder if that’s really the case. For now, it must be that.”Bookmark here

“If you’re worried that I might marry her, again, it’s not in my culture to have several wives.” I was amused at her display of jealousy, “Besides, you know yourself that you’re the one in my heart.”Bookmark here

“O-Of course!”Bookmark here

We laughed together, as we shared a personal moment of peace over a cup of tea…and cookies, too. She was busy painting something while I just read a book. I looked at Maddie; she was too beautiful to behold. But then again, I realized, she’s so young and yet, she’s burdened by the weight of the entire world on her shoulders.Bookmark here

Maddie’s fortitude is something I admire…Bookmark here

Makes me wonder why Seirna was so hell-bent on making her fail on her dreams for humanity.Bookmark here

Hm…if you’re wondering about that, Kuro, then you’ll have to understand, I love Cassandra David even when I was a little child.”Bookmark here

Hoh? The summoned hero?”Bookmark here

“Yes.” Maddie smiled as if she remembered something, “You know, Cassandra David believed all races were created equal, and so she endeavored to harmonize the relationship between the races, especially the Humans and Demons.”Bookmark here

“So Seirna wanted you to fail because her god believes that humans are superior?”Bookmark here

“Well, that’s what she thinks of Lord Gaius’ vision. As far as I know, our god wanted what’s best for humans. That’s what the previous Saint told me before.”Bookmark here

“She might’ve misinterpreted it then.”Bookmark here

“Possibly. Lady Seirna’s a mystery to me.”Bookmark here

“You saints are a mystery to me as well…”Bookmark here

Maddie laughed, “I didn’t expect that from you, Kuro. Well, I guess you’re right, I’m still a mystery to you. I’m Madelaine Ann, Duchess of Rubinforth and a former general under Princess Lilyhaven Tamriel von Leese, the Iron Princess.”Bookmark here

“Well, don’t you have a moniker like her?”Bookmark here

“I did. I’m the Flower of Dawson Valley.”Bookmark here

“Flower, huh?” I suddenly remembered that back in the last human war before this one, she led an army into the Dawson Valley, where she fought against Eris’ father to a stalemate. I think she did something embarrassing there as well?Bookmark here

Tch. Of all the things you would recall, it’s that event!” Maddie pouted, “Of course, I’m afraid of getting killed during that time that I wet myself.”Bookmark here

“So maybe that’s where your moniker came from!” I jested, “You caused some flowers to bloom in that valley after urinating—OW!Bookmark here

A branch of a nearby tree broke off and hit me in the head. It’s been a while since I got that punishment from her, huh?Bookmark here

“It’s for my bravery in the Dawson Valley campaign, you idiot!” she jokingly got mad.Bookmark here

“Well, I agree with that part. You’re one brave lady, Madelaine.” I’m not just praising her, I’m telling her the truth. I mean, come on. Looking at her, I’d say she’s still in her teenage years and yet, she could bend the stubborn human kings to her will…though not as often as one would think, considering her title of Saint.Bookmark here

“Or is it?” Maddie put up that rhetorical question, “Isn’t the title of ‘Cruel’ befitting of me? I committed a lot of sin during my days as a commander. I killed multitudes of people, destroyed families, extinguished bright futures…all in the name of glory.”Bookmark here

“You know we have our times when we are full of immaturity. That you’re aware of those things is proof that it’s not in your nature to do those.”Bookmark here

“Maybe…but the sins are still there. That’s why I understand why Lady Eris betrayed me.”Bookmark here

Ah…we could do nothing about that anymore. Like what I’ve learned in the past, we humans could only move forward, and repent for everything we have done wrong.”Bookmark here

“Hopefully. But there’s one thing that has kept me from moving forward so far, Kuro…”Bookmark here

“And that is?”Bookmark here

“The former Prince of Amaranth, Umberto Benicci. You know, that ‘Traveler’ guy you and Lily fought in Hagena. I saw him in your memories.”Bookmark here

“That’s him?”Bookmark here

“Yes…he’s originally a royalty of Amaranth…” Maddie had a nostalgic look in her eyes, “…and a friend to my mother, as well as my godfather. Yet, I betrayed him and killed his family.”Bookmark here

I could feel the air of sadness in Maddie, that’s why I stopped reading and came to sit beside her.Bookmark here

“Maybe it’s because of that reason he’s now fighting for the Empire.” Maddie sighed, “I think Prince Umberto’s trying to destroy everything I had built so far.”Bookmark here

Well, that makes sense. If I were her enemy, I’d do the same, too.Bookmark here

“Kuro…because of my foolishness, I caused his house’s downfall. Seeking for glory, I sought to overthrow his father, who was king of Amaranth before the von Alberts.” she explained, “I didn’t intend to destroy his entire family, but the events came and I couldn’t do a single thing to stop it. The blood of his wives and children are in my hands…”Bookmark here

Well, that’s certainly heavy. When someone close to you betrayed you, it’s the ultimate pain one could inflict on you. But, it’s war, and like all everyone else, humans had foolish ambitions that led them to stupid acts. Not everyone was exempt from that fact.Bookmark here

“I don’t think I could ever be forgiven, maybe that’s one of my reasons I took up the mantle of sainthood.” Maddie sighed, “But at least, I wanted to try asking him…”Bookmark here

Hmm…now that connects the dots. So that’s why Maddie was so serious in her duties as the Saint, doing her best to promote her ‘peace’ among the Chersean nations. She sees her sainthood as something as an atonement for everything she had done before…Bookmark here

Well, while it is nice, it didn’t have to stay that way…Bookmark here

“Want to do it?” I asked.Bookmark here

“I don’t even know if he’s still alive…”Bookmark here

I could vaguely remember that guy. While it’s true that there’s a chance that he could already be dead by now, if ever I came across him—or possibly his tombstone, I’ll tell him about Maddie’s sentiments.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry Maddie…I’ll do something about it,” I reassured her.Bookmark here

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By the 5th of April, the first of the emissaries arrived carrying back some news.Bookmark here

“Your Holiness, the King of Galad refused to send men to our cause, claiming that he wanted them in defending his territories.”Bookmark here

“The King of Calabria has stated that he maintains his neutrality over this conflict, Your Holiness.”Bookmark here

“My liege, the King of Colveente wishes to express his support for our cause. However, he also said that his men are now stretched too thin in defending his kingdom, and so he can spare no one aside from those he had already sent before.”Bookmark here

Maddie and Lily were both massaging their heads in the War Room, for it sure was a stressful situation. Our allies in Huirot needed help as soon as possible, but our men lacked the numbers to mount a successful relief operation. And with the kings refusing to cooperate, the undead problem was threatening to get even worse, as Maddie’s barrier was barely holding up.Bookmark here

“These fools don’t even know that I’m at my limit.” Maddie muttered, “I’m afraid that, eventually, I’ll have to lift that barrier I put in place.”Bookmark here

“James’ forces were also stretched thin in Nerfes.” Lily told us, “He has a long border to watch after all.”Bookmark here

“What do you say, Kuro? Should I punish these kings for not cooperating?”Bookmark here

“By sending them plagues?”Bookmark here

Maddie nodded jokingly. Perhaps she was just physically tired that she was saying such things, however, her words were proof that she was getting mentally exhausted with those capricious royals. I don’t know, but if pushed to the limit, Maddie might’ve made true of her jest.Bookmark here

“Well, I have a solution.” Lily then suggested, “How about we appeal personally to these kings?”Bookmark here

“What’s the difference between that and the emissaries?” Maddie asked, “They won’t cooperate now, so we only waste our time by appearing to them personally.”Bookmark here

Hmm…I don’t discount the possibility of appealing in person though.”Bookmark here

“See?” Lily triumphantly teased Maddie, “Even Kuro had seen that my suggestion is plausible!”Bookmark here

Maddie, who was a sore loser, pouted.Bookmark here

“But, we won’t talk to those stubborn kings!” I got a paper and began listing down some names.Bookmark here

“What are you doing?”Bookmark here

“I’m writing the names of those people we knew personally. If talking to their kings won’t work, maybe we could appeal to these individuals to send men instead!”Bookmark here

Ooh! That’s a great idea!” Lily exclaimed, “I’ll prepare my list as well!”Bookmark here

“But if they sent men, they might go against the orders of their monarchs.” Maddie raised a valid point. Indeed, while medieval authority depended on the cooperation of the nobles to their king, the king could also punish an erring noble by confiscating his lands and other properties, provided that the royal was popular with the other officials and nobles within his realm.Bookmark here

And with time running out for Huirot, we can’t afford the effort to know who’s king is popular or not.Bookmark here

“I guess this is where you would come in Maddie.” Lily suggested, “You could force the kings not to punish their subjects for helping us.”Bookmark here

Hmm…that could work.” she agreed, “Alright, I’ll prepare some letters as well.”Bookmark here

“So am I!” I told them, “I got a few noble friends of my own.”Bookmark here

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***The Royal Palace of the King of Calabria, in the city of Sekhtem, April 8 in the first year of the Saint…***Bookmark here

“Chancellor! There’s a letter for you.”Bookmark here

The chancellor of Calabria, Sir Dane Bellingstein rose from his chair to receive the letter that was brought to him by the royal messenger. There were disturbing reports of the dead rising in the western kingdoms of Chersea, as well as the light in the sky darkening, and so he sent a few spies to Savoy to check on the truth about these rumors.Bookmark here

However, instead of seeing the Calabrian royal seal on the paper, what he saw was a strange, yet familiar seal of Her Holiness, the Human Saint of Chersea.Bookmark here

Sir Dane wasted no time. He carefully opened the paper and read its contents.Bookmark here

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***The Mahan School of Swordsmanship, Hagena village, of the same date…***Bookmark here

Mariya Trevor was excited to receive a letter with the seal of the Holy Palatial Gardens on it. She knew it came from her friend, the princess Lilyhaven Tamriel von Leese, and so she opened it to read its contents.Bookmark here

‘To Anton Jean Trevor, Headmaster of the Mahan School of Swordsmanship…’Bookmark here

“What?” Mariya exclaimed, “I thought it’s for me! Anton!”Bookmark here

The big little brother of hers then showed up at her room, all dressed up ready for training their students for that time. Mariya was pouting, yet she had no other choice but to give to him the letter from her friend Lily.Bookmark here

“It’s yours, bro!”Bookmark here

Anton silently read the letter, as he always did. And then, upon reaching the end, he headed back to his school, dragging his little big sister with him.Bookmark here

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***The town of Fen, Duchy of Rubinforth. April 10, in the first year of the Saint…***Bookmark here

The old Duke of Rubinforth had just awakened from his sleep, tired of yesterday’s work in supervising the training of his levies. Word had come from the royal palace that there might come a time when the nobles of Nerfes might be called upon to war by their king, and so the Duke brought upon himself to prepare his subjects.Bookmark here

“Your Excellency! A letter for you has been delivered from the Holy Palatial Gardens.” an orderly of his brought upon a folded paper with the Saint’s seal on it.Bookmark here

Without further hesitation, he read its contents.Bookmark here

‘Dear Papa…As much as I wanted to never disturb you, I feel inclined to do so, especially when our realm is under threat. My letter would be direct and brief, so please consider my proposal carefully…’Bookmark here

Oh, come on, Maddie! You just said it would be direct and brief!” the Duke complained about reading her letter for two long paragraphs, explaining how important her request was. But yes, there’s the shortcut at the end that says…Bookmark here

‘If you wish to jump immediately to my request, please proceed to the third paragraph.’Bookmark here

Which the Duke did.Bookmark here

‘Papa, may I ask you to send soldiers and magicians to the Holy Palatial Gardens? We plan to strike back at these undead hordes as soon as possible. Love, Maddie.’Bookmark here

“What? That’s it?” the Duke turned around the paper looking for more words, but it was in vain, “All those two long paragraphs for one simple request in the end?”Bookmark here

The orderly was just dumbfounded, looking at him.Bookmark here

Ha! That’s my daughter for you!” He then turned to his orderly, “Jans, tell the men to prepare themselves. We set out tomorrow for the Holy Palatial Gardens!”Bookmark here

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***Meanwhile, in the town of Arles, 12th of April…***Bookmark here

The town militia had been called to serve for some time now. They were on full duty, after the declaration of war by the Empire against Savoy, for allowing the Holy Coalition forces to operate in its territory. As a result, there were only a few men to tend to their fields, and most of them were getting impatient already.Bookmark here

Sir Osmond, a captain of the town militia, had been assigned to watch the discipline of his men, and he was doing his usual rounds to prevent an outbreak of riots when something happened.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

A few distances away from the town proper, he saw a group of men approaching. They were on foot, but one could tell that they have someone who was injured to his feet.Bookmark here

“Luke, can you make out what we are seeing?” he asked the lookout.Bookmark here

“Sir, five men are walking in our direction, and the one in the middle looks like he’s got an injury on his right foot.”Bookmark here

“What about their armor?”Bookmark here

“I think it’s one of ours, captain. But wait, someone is also wearing armor from Stadtsberg, and another still a lamellar armor of the elves. Many of those are ill fitting and mixed up as well.”Bookmark here

“Prepare some horses…” Sir Osmond didn’t like the report of his lookout.Bookmark here

The mixed-up and ill-fitting armors were signs that those were looted from the battlefield which the Savoians consider as sacred. But never mind that for now. What he wanted to do was to meet the group and confirm their identities; after all, there were those instances that these might be refugees that brave the undead hordes to come to the relative safety of east Chersea.Bookmark here

Sir Osmond would want to make sure that none of them were infected.Bookmark here

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Once the cavalry scouts led by Sir Osmond came into full view of the men, they left their injured companion and dashed away from the Arles militia. Sir Osmond ordered his soldiers to pursue those who ran, while he captured the one that remained.Bookmark here

“Identify yourself.” he ordered the man, who fell on his knee trying to support himself, “Depending on your answer, I might spare your life.”Bookmark here

“It’s fine by me if you kill me, boy!” the injured man spoke, “Just don’t let me get back at that undead!”Bookmark here

“Do you have your identification papers with you?” Sir Osmond asked.Bookmark here

“I-I lost it while we ran from the undead.” the uninjured man told him, “I swear we’re not a threat to you!”Bookmark here

“Then why did your other companions run away from us? Who are you?”Bookmark here

The refugee stared at Sir Osmond with a tired expression and sighed, “Alright boy, I give up. Take me prisoner, or kill me, it’s your choice. I am the emperor of Chersea, Jean Durres III. I surrender to you.” He removed his Savoian armor to reveal the Imperial robes he was wearing underneath.Bookmark here

At that moment, Sir Osmond and his companions were all dumbfounded upon confirming the identity of their prisoner.Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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