Chapter 0:

PROLOGUE: A TALE OF THREE CURSES

The Demon Saint is Missing, so I Ran Away to Another World Vol. 12


***Somewhere in the heavenly realms, eons ago…***Bookmark here

Four people stood against the swirling dark clouds of miasma that tainted the pure whiteness of the heavens.Bookmark here

The first was that of a figure of a human, donned in a battered and bloodied Roman lorica segmentata armor. (1) He wielded a broken gladius on his left hand, and his right hand was on his wounded left shoulder. (2) He could barely open his eyes, and his breathing was labored. One look and one could tell that this human—or former human—Gaius Julius Caesar of Chersea, was having difficulty of standing up. After all, his entire divine powers were sapped fighting against the enemy before him.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Standing beside Gaius, and helping him prop his exhausted body, was his loyal servant, the Saint of the Flame, Seirna Stephanie. Like her master, she was tired, and could hardly stand alone on her feet without the aid of her rapier in its sturdy scabbard.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

A few distances away from them was another girl. She wore the plate armor commonly found in Chersea, though parts of it were already bent or cracked. The side skirts that supposedly protected her thighs were already gone. However, a Chersean saber remained in one of the girl’s hands, while the other limb was rendered useless by a broken, twisted bone.Bookmark here

Nevertheless, compared to the first two, Cassandra David could still put up a fight against their common opponent…Bookmark here

…who stood before them, severely weakened in her three-way battle against the god of Chersea, his servant, and the summoned human hero. While she appeared fine, one with keen eyes could tell that the Seductress—also known as Lady Arame, Gaius’ wife—was at the end of her wits. The fight spent her powers, most of which went to heal herself from the cuts, stabs and blunt trauma inflicted on her by her enemies.Bookmark here

She knows that it is only a matter of time before she meets her demise at the hands of these people in front of her.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

But the mutual distrust between Gaius and Seirna on one side, and Cassandra David on the other, prevented her complete annihilation. Now all of them were waiting for the others to make the next move, so they could easily react against it.Bookmark here

“You insolent fools!” Lady Arame thundered, “Already weak and still thinking that you can kill me with those flimsy weapons? Such admirable determination you have, everyone!” In an effort to provoke them to attack her, the Seductress threw a couple of spear-like miasma towards her enemies’ directions. While all of them sustained injuries, Seirna and Cassandra easily parried those.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

Sensing that the Lord Gaius won’t last the waiting game, Seirna made her move. She knew that the Seductress was the greater threat than Cassandra David, so she intended to leave the human hero for her master to finish. But then, Cassandra David also made her attack along with the Saint of the Flame. Though initially caught off-guard, Seirna was quite relieved. At least, for a moment, they could cooperate to take down a common enemy.Bookmark here

Defending herself, tentacles made of dark miasma shot out from the Seductress’ back in an attempt to skewer the pair. Relying on her swift and nimble footwork, the Saint of the Flame shredded the dark tentacles, while the human hero guarded her back and followed closely behind.Bookmark here

“Hah! Come on!” Lady Arame was relentless in her attacks. She deliberately had the fight dragged on, as she kept of provoking them, “Your efforts are worthless! Worthless! And I’ll make it even more in vain with these curses!”Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

“Gaius, a failed god, and a failed ruler of his people,” his former wife called out to him, “hear my curse! Fear my malediction! As you fall from the grace of heavens, you shall not set foot in this realm ever again! A body of the mortals, a limitation for humans; try you may be, but your repeated failures will be the source of my glee!”Bookmark here

“Someone stop her mouth!” Cassandra David cried out, trying to goad Gaius into action since he’s the one who’s left behind doing nothing.Bookmark here

“What do you think I’m trying to do, Cass?” Instead, it was Seirna who snapped.Bookmark here

“Not you; him!” the former pointed out, “What’s that useless god over there standing for?”Bookmark here

“The Lord Gaius is already exhausted! Only we can put an end to this; cover my back!”Bookmark here

Even though now they stood on the opposing sides of the fence, Seirna and Cassandra David still knew how to take advantage of each other’s fighting styles to defeat Lady Arame. As graceful as a ballet dancer with a rapier in hand, Seirna pierced through the forest of spear-like miasma aimed at stabbing them. Summoning all her remaining strength, the Saint of the Flame never lost pace—as if she’s still at peak fighting condition.Bookmark here

However, that wasn’t enough to deter the Seductress from uttering the second curse…Bookmark here

“Alexa Cassandra David, the false hero, the traitor to her master! Dread my imprecation, scoundrel, and drown in misery. Sadness shall hound the rest of your days, languishing in pain for the love you will never gain. Yes, despair, Cassandra, despair! Suffer until your heart cannot bear!”Bookmark here

“Damn it, Seirna! She just cursed me!”Bookmark here

“Can’t you see I’m trying my best here?”Bookmark here

Realizing that she’s next in line, Seirna’s attacks intensified. The pair was still quite far from the Seductress, and the latter had just uttered a curse. There was still time to stop her. However, the summoned human hero won’t easily let herself be outperformed by the Saint of the Flame. As soon as they got into range, Cassandra David used Seirna to leap and close the distance between her and the Seductress.Bookmark here

The Saint of the Flame stopped attacking, seeing that the summoned human hero got ahead of her. Cassandra would be the one to put an end to the Seductress…Bookmark here

But Lady Arame already started saying her curse, “Seirna Stephanie, bearer of her master’s will and nothing but a dog fit for scraps! Though your days shall be long, your eyes will witness how every word you utter will be deemed as wrong! Beg everyone to believe you, yet no one will see your reason, until you end up alone!”Bookmark here

“Fuck it, Cass! You allowed her to curse all of us!”Bookmark here

“Sorry not sorry, Seirna! I’m just returning the favor!”Bookmark here

“You bitch—”Bookmark here

At that moment, Cassandra David resumed her efforts to pierce through the Seductress’ defenses. It was a tight contest, and both of them never wanted to lose to the other. Nevertheless, the more miasma Lady Arame used, the more her mana reserves were exhausted. And the human hero was aware of it. She was only biding her time, for attrition was on her side.Bookmark here

And then…Bookmark here

“Wha—” Lady Arame had no chance to finish her sentence as the human hero gained the opportunity to slash her neck, decapitating her in one swift stroke. Her body was still standing, head was still flying, but Cassandra David never let those fall down. The second strike severed her arms. The third detached her upper torso, and the final slash chopped her legs off.Bookmark here

“Fire!” To make sure that Lady Arame was thoroughly defeated, Seirna quickly cast a fire spell that burned her body to ashes.Bookmark here

“From…the depths of the Void you came…so forever it shall be your bane!” With great effort, Gaius followed up Seirna’s fire with a sealing spell. And with those, the Seductress was defeated.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

However, now that the greater enemy was finally vanquished, tensions remained high between the former god and his former champion. Gaius never sheathed his sword, though it was broken and useless. Though his eyes were about to close, he took his stand defiantly. Likewise, Cassandra David resumed on her ‘guard’ stance, ready to defend or attack once the opportunity presented itself.Bookmark here

And Seirna was there, standing in awe at the terrible sight of the battle between the two greatest warriors Chersea and the other realms had ever seen…Bookmark here

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***The present day, the Holy Palatial Gardens…***Bookmark here

“The Seductress, already foresaw her defeat and demise at the hands of the Lord Gaius and Lady Cassandra David, sought to leave a part of her ‘existence’ before she faced us in that final battle in the heavens,” Seirna had a poignant expression on her face as she narrated to the Human Saint, the Beastman Saint, and the others about her story. “And that ‘existence’ is…”Bookmark here

“…me, right?” Maddie continued her words.Bookmark here

The Saint of the Flame nodded. “In case you don’t know, you’re an existence taken apart from her real ‘body’ and given to the Duke of Rubinforth, whom she planted with fake memories about her marrying him.”Bookmark here

“But what about her siblings?” Lily entered the conversation; her voice was quivering, “Lady Sophia and Lord William looked similar to Lady Madelaine!”Bookmark here

“Of course,” Seirna smirked, “after all, they are the ‘real’ Rubinforths, born of true human mothers—the real wives of the Iron Duke the Seductress ‘drove away’ in her false narrative. The Rubinforth siblings were tainted by the Seductress’ influence to lend credibility to her ‘backstory’ as the ‘First Wife’ of the Duke, altering their appearance.”Bookmark here

“Wow…” Ruro quipped. “And to think…all of us were fooled by that false memory.”Bookmark here

“Do you now understand how powerful that entity is? See, if you look at it on the ‘technical’ side of this world’s timeline, Lady Madelaine should not exist at all! However, she is. And her death by wounding her wrists should have been her end—it’s Fate’s natural way of getting rid of ‘undesirables’ in the woven timeline, yet someone frustrated that.”Bookmark here

“A-And that’s…” Eris’ face turned pale.Bookmark here

“…yes, it’s Kuro,” Maddie continued.Bookmark here

There’s was an atmosphere of gloom that shrouded the garden where they were talking. Everyone, save for Maddie and Seirna, were visibly shocked at the revelation of the latter.Bookmark here

“But…” it was Ruro, “…you said that the Seductress ‘tainted’ the Rubinforth siblings to make her invented story credible. Yet you also said she’s powerful enough to fool and influence everyone, including us Saints. Why did she have to do that? It makes little sense!””Bookmark here

Heh, you’re really stupid for a dog, aren’t you, Lady Ruro?” the Saint of the Flame quipped.Bookmark here

“I’m a wolf, Lady Seirna,” the Beastman Saint corrected her.Bookmark here

“Whatever…” Seirna just rolled her eyes and continued, “You heard Lady Madelaine’s story of how the ‘spirit’ of her mother kept on convincing her that she’s someone ‘destined for greatness’. The Seductress, as her name implies, is a beautiful and vain entity. Of course, she wouldn’t let her ‘children’—the Rubinforths, be ugly as the other nobles and commoners. So, using her own foresight, she searched far and wide across the five realms to look for the fairest lady she could find among all the races, regardless of time. And guess what…”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“…the Seductress, she saw a young Avinus child from the Owl Tribe—the most beautiful creature she has ever seen. And she sought to copy that beauty for her own benefit.”Bookmark here

“By those words, Your Holiness,” it was Queen Ursura, “you don’t mean to say…”Bookmark here

“Yes, you got it right, Your Majesty. I’m talking about the daughter of Lady Malu, Salis of the Owls, Chief Royal Scientist of your kingdom and the directress of the Royal Academy of Cherwind.”Bookmark here

“So…that’s why…La-Lady Madelaine,” the Beastman Queen couldn’t believe what she was hearing, “…that’s why she looks so similar to Lady Salis!”Bookmark here

“Wait up, Your Majesty, don’t go believing that Saint’s words immediately! She may have helped us, but it’s only because we got a common enemy,” Ruro interrupted the talk and turned to the Saint of the Flame. “Your story did say that the Seductress cursed you so that no one would believe your words, Lady Seirna. If there’s a curse like that, then why are we talking here now, believing you?”Bookmark here

“See? The curse is still in effect,” Seirna replied. “Though it’s weakening.”Bookmark here

“Weakening?”Bookmark here

The Saint of the Flame then opened her collar for a bit, revealing an ugly scar on her neck. “You still remember how the otherworlder defeated me? He slashed my neck, which normally would’ve killed me. But I used my god-power over ‘life’ before I died, so I’m with you today. Despite that, I can’t deny that my connection to the ‘Fate’ of this world was already severed.”Bookmark here

“Yet, before that even happened, you managed to convince the Emperor of Chersea to support you!”Bookmark here

“Of course. All that I need to do is to circumvent that curse. If no one will believe me on the words I say, then I’d just tell them the opposite. Make them move according to my will by twisting my words,” Seirna chuckled. “The Emperor readily believed my lies, see? He thinks he can actually win by fighting against a coalition of kingdoms under Lady Madelaine’s leadership, so I goaded him to attack North Chersea.”Bookmark here

“We’re nearly defeated, Your Holiness,” Lily pointed out. “If not for Kuro’s leadership, the Imperial flag is waving throughout Chersea.”Bookmark here

“I could only care less,” the Saint of the Flame reiterated. “After all, it’s my goal to kill Lady Madelaine, not to make the Empire win. Whoever controls this land is of no concern for me; my duty is to the Lord Gaius, after all.”Bookmark here

Another round of awkward silence. Hearing Seirna’s insensitive words caused a small tension to form between the veterans of the Imperial War and the Great Rising of the Dead, and the saint that caused those events.Bookmark here

However, the Beastman Saint sought to decrease the bad vibes, so she diverted the topic. “So, meaning…you already ‘died’, thus the curse’s effect is losing its grip on you?”Bookmark here

Oh, I take back my earlier words! What an intelligent dog you are now, Lady Ruro! But a little correction: ‘almost died’, enough to sever my connection from the timeline of this world.”Bookmark here

“Lady Seirna…” Maddie finally spoke once again. “About my origins, tell me, are those your reasons you wanted to kill me before?”Bookmark here

“Yes…but make no mistake; I’m no murderer, Lady Madelaine,” the Saint of the Flame answered. “I’m just doing my duty. And my duty is to safeguard Lord Gaius’ world.”Bookmark here

“Maddie…” Lily held her friend’s hand, and Ruro expressed her support by patting the Human Saint’s shoulder.Bookmark here

“Again, if you’re thinking of killing yourself now,” Seirna said to Maddie, “you’re only endangering every one of us by strengthening the powers of the Seductress with a negative event. If you died before she manifested in you, then you might’ve saved us the trouble. However, as that ancient evil already entered Chersea once again, she won’t be affected even if I erased your existence right here. There’s no other way out but to move forward, Lady Madelaine.”Bookmark here

“O-Of course,” the Human Saint, though visibly shaken, regained herself.Bookmark here

“Your Holiness,” Eris came to her, “though you came from that Seductress, please hear and understand that my respect for you is higher now than before.”Bookmark here

“Yes, Maddie,” Lily was quick to back the young servant, “look, though that evil woman is your ‘mother’, Chersea is at peace and in its way to progress because of your advocacy and policies.”Bookmark here

“Oi!” Ruro hit her lightly in the head, “Remember that my master gave his life for you in that tourney before. Don’t make his sacrifice go in vain because of that. You’re you, Maddie, and that evil bitch’s her own person. Both of you are different, got that?”Bookmark here

“And Kuro always looked forward to return to you when he’s in Cherwind…” Ursura added. “In fact, he’s so unto you that I want to kick his ass out of jealousy, you know?”Bookmark here

Ah…ye-yes,” Maddie tried to smile, “Kuro…he’s waiting for me, as always…”Bookmark here

“The otherworlder?” Seirna smirked. “He’s in Cherflammen right now; he must be flirting with that demon princess who disguises herself as the prince of demons!”Bookmark here

At that point, the tension in the garden suddenly rose again. Ruro, Lily, Eris and Ursura threw glares at the Saint of the Flame. Nevertheless, in contrast to them, Maddie’s smile was beaming with confidence. She just laughed and countered,Bookmark here

“That’s stupid, Lady Seirna. My Kuro isn’t like that; he’s so fixated on keeping himself a ‘virgin’ until we get married. Even when I push myself on him. So, really…I’m doubting on your words that my appearance came from the most beautiful girl to exist in this world, and of the other realms!”Bookmark here

Author's Note:  1) Lorica Segmentata is the type of armor worn by the Romans during the time of the Roman Empire. It is constructed by joining metal strips using leather straps, and is the most common 'Roman armor' that is seen in movies, TV shows and games.Bookmark here

2) The Gladius is the Roman short sword, about 45-68 cm long and weighs up to just 1 kg. Roman martial training stressed the importance of aggressive actions over the enemy. So their military used the gladius so that their legionnaires would 'bring the fight' to the opposition, rather than 'wait for the foe' to come to them.
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