The Elf Saint is a NEET, so I Forced Her to Work in Another World, Vol. 15
“Kuro! Wake up, Kuro!”
“!!!” The human opened his eyes, only to find himself surrounded by the blinding whiteness of his surroundings. At once, Kuro knew he was in a dream. A few distances away from him was a familiar figure, donned in his red and silver armor of a Roman legionnaire. The man opposite him had a drawn sword—the gladius—and a smile on his face.
However, the words that came out of his mouth didn’t match his face’s expression. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“Gaius!” Kuro called him. “What do you mean?”
The former god of Chersea chuckled. “Well, you and I know what I mean by those words. You involved yourself too much in the affairs of the elves, when I just told you that we needed the god-power of the Elf Saint.”
“Maybe you want to say that ‘you’ needed it, more than me.”
“Do you plan to remain an idiot for the rest of your second life?”
The human was surprised by Gaius’ insults.
“I thought we already talked about this, Kuro. You know I desired the god-powers; however, you fucked me back in Cherflammen before you died, so I was reduced to a mere memory of yours. I passed the remaining slivers of my existence on you, so you better try to pay me back.”
“Okay, okay, I got you,” Kuro replied. “However, Gaius, you saw how bad Cherwoods has become under the Lady Hinwe’s rule. Because of some irresponsible acts of a certain person flexing his ability to travel between worlds, the Elf Saint degenerated into an incel who locks herself inside her room, and whose concerns lie only in her collections and laptop.”
Gaius cleared his throat. “I just want that elf to be chill and happy.”
“You also forgot to provide her a proper Wi-Fi connection before you died,” Kuro pointed out. “Reflect on your actions, you evil former god.”
“Well, anyway. You know me; you saw my past. I feel like I should do something.”
“Kuro…” the former god heaved a sigh. “Idealism is poison. Your desire to save everyone—even back in your old world—didn’t end well for you. Can’t you see that?”
“I’m aware,” the human nodded. “However, it’s already a part of me. My character as a living person.”
“Dude, you’re not Greg Santos anymore. You’re just Kuro now. Your old self died in Cherflammen, still buried under its shifting sands. Why do you keep on going back to that corpse?” Gaius could only shake his head in dismay. “Well, alright. If that’s what you want, then who am I to go against you? You are yourself now; I just want you, as someone I respected, to succeed.”
“Trust me in this, Gaius,” he gave him a thumbs-up. “I may have committed stupid acts, but I won’t let your efforts go to waste.”
***The Holy Consulate, Mouth of Calabria Branch, Kingdom of Calabria***
When she opened her eyes, Eris felt like the world crashed on her. Her limbs were lethargic; her body felt heavy. In fact, she repeatedly sat and laid down her bed, as if unsure of getting up. She didn’t want to go outside her room, even as when her stomach grumbled for breakfast.
“Shit…” was all the Eris muttered, as she tried to sleep once again by closing her eyes. However, she knew she exhausted all her energies to doze off; her head started aching already.
The Duchess of Braunhauer stared at the door of her room. Around this time, the owl-girl, Salis, would barge in and forcibly wake her. But no, the from her bed she could tell the entire consulate was silent. Only the sounds of the occasional paladin guard patrols would tell her that she was not dreaming.
A little pinch on her cheeks answered Eris’ questions about her reality. Yes, she was awake; though, she never wished to wake up in a reality like this…
“!!!” A set of three knocks on the door removed her focus on overthinking, and brought back the Duchess of Braunhauer to herself. She sat up, though remained on her bedside, waiting instead for the person on the other side to come in.
Another set of knocks, and Salis finally appeared. Her disheveled looks confirmed Eris’ suspicions that the owl-girl was affected by the talk yesterday. It was something every one of them had to admit: the Lord Kuro was not the same person they knew before…
“I…” Salis’ eyes were red, though the duchess couldn’t tell if it’s because she cried for the entire duration of the long sleep, or the owl-girl simply couldn’t catch a trip to dreamland.
“Are…Are you okay?” asked Eris, though she already stretched her arms to reach her beastgirl friend.
The owl-girl tried to present a brave façade by shaking her head. However, her face was contorted, in an attempt to stem tears welling in her eyes. Then, emotions finally prevailed—which was unusual of the ‘indifferent’ Salis; she fell on Eris’ arms, bawling her heart out.
As it turned out, Salis was not alone. Following her into the room were the ladies that came with their group from the Holy Palatial Gardens: Lady Henristone, Tama’lee and Nari. Save for the orc-girl, one could immediately tell their group suffered from the lack of sleep, and sadness.
“Erm…” the paladin captain began, “I don’t…know…how to…uhm, to break this unto you, L-Lady Braunhauer, but…well, I guess there’s a change of plans after yesterday’s talk.”
Eris only gave a weak nod. Deep inside, she was aware of what the Lady Henristone would say.
The paladin captain continued, “I’ll send for reinforcements from the Holy Palatial Gardens, for we need to secure the safety of Her Holiness the Lady Hinwe, as well as the other elves in her company. As long as they are under the Human Saint’s land, the paladin guards will be responsible for them. Meanwhile, our group will return.”
“We haven’t seen that man in Cherwoods just yet…” Nari pointed out.
“You heard Her Holiness,” Lady Henristone reminded her. “Even the Lady Salis is sure that person is the Lord Kuro.”
There was a deafening pause after she said that. All of them could feel the heavy atmosphere that permeated the consulate since yesterday.
As for the Lady Henristone, she found it difficult to say the next words, though she knew she had to do it. “We have to…tell H-Her Holiness the Lady Madelaine the sad news…that the man we love is now an atrocious villain.”
“Well,” the paladin captain tapped Eris’ shoulder. “I guess the silver lining in all that we learned is that the Lord Kuro’s still alive. Perhaps the other saints can do something about him. Let’s stay hopeful on that.”
The Duchess of Braunhauer just gave her a nod. The Lady Henristone, in an effort to console her companions, gave them head pats, before she stood to leave the room. But then, just as the paladin opened the door, they heard a commotion outside. She quickly pulled her dagger, while Tama’lee and Nari put their guards up.
Well, a few moments later, they realized that the source of the noise came from a paladin, who rushed to find the Lady Henristone. Her face was pale, and it was evident that she saw something troublesome. “M-Milady,” she said in-between her breaths, “th-the Marquise of Curzon requests your presence in Her Holiness the Elf Saint’s room as soon as possible!”
Everyone ran to Her Holiness room, only to witness the Lady Hinwe creating a scene. Her companions, the maid Meanor and her guard, Gerard, were trying to their best to restrain their mistress. The other paladins, together with the Marquise of Curzon, supported them, but the Elf Saint stubbornly resisted with her magic.
“Let me return to Cherwoods!” Lady Hinwe demanded.
“Your Holiness,” Meanor kneeled before her, almost pleading, “Your life is in danger; please consider your safety! We don’t know what goes into the mind of that man you left in the Tree Palace!”
“My figma doll collections!” the saint never hid her displeasure. “My laptop! All the things important to me are there!”
“Milady,” it was Gerard. “We can always return to fetch your things, it’s just that, it’s not recommended this time. If you die, it’s all over. Those stuff you treasure might survive, but if you lost your life, those will be meaningless!”
“Damn it!” the Elf Saint screamed, much to the shock of everyone else. “You guys don’t understand! You will never understand me! Those things in my room are worth more than my life! I don’t care what you see me as, but those doll collections are my true friends!”
“Fuck your stupid dolls, Your Holiness!” the elf guard bellowed; his face was red. “Those bullshits aren’t even breathing! You call those your friends? Yet they can’t do anything to protect your throne, and even so, your miserable life!”
“Fuck you too, Gerard!” Lady Hinwe countered, shouting at the top of her lungs. She also flashed him a dirty finger, almost sticking it to his face. “How dare you tell me what to do! In the first place, this is all your fault! This is all your fucking fault, you hear me?”
The elf guard was taken aback by the words and the gesture of his mistress. He backed off a few steps, took a deep breath, and threw his hands to the air. “I give up,” he shook his head. “Someone calm the tits of that useless NEET! I’m off to cool my head.”
Gerard grabbed his sword and gun, then forced his way out of the room. Seeing an opportunity to enter, Eris took her chance to calm the Elf Saint.
“What happened?” a confused Lady Henristone asked the equally-astonished consul.
“Her Holiness the Lady Hinwe keeps on demanding we let her go to Cherwoods, against the wishes of Miss Meanor and Mister Gerard,” the Marquise of Curzon scratched her head. “And personally, I think her servants’ judgment is correct, may Her Holiness forgive me.”
“Erm…” Salis, who couldn’t believe on what she just witnessed, then raised an issue bugging her thoughts. “Wait, isn’t Her Holiness a saint? Didn’t they have a teleportation spell? Why doesn’t she use that to sneak in her tree palace, grab her things, and escape to safety before anyone can even realize she dropped a visit?”
When they heard the owl-girl’s argument, everyone’s eyes fell on the Elf Saint. But, it was Meanor who spoke for her…
“About that…” the elf maid took a deep breath before saying, “Her Holiness’ god-powers are actually—”
“I’m already weakened,” Lady Hinwe took the burden of explaining from her maid. “The god-power I have over the waters is still in me, yes. However, it is close to disappearing. You can say that I’m almost as close to an ordinary elf right now.”
There was silence after the revelation. It was only broken when the orc-girl put up another question, “Eh? Tama wants to know why Her Holiness the Elf Saint lost her god-powers! Why?”
Lady Hinwe replied with a sad smile, “Because my people…they lost faith in me…”
***The Saint’s Tree, Cherwoods, several eons ago…***
They say that in all the five races living in Chersea and the Other Realms, the elves and the demons were the people blessed with the longest lives. And that trait was made even longer by the innate abilities once someone inherited the god-powers, after the god, Gaius, stepped down from his heavenly authority and his powers given to the saints.
Hinwe was one of the fortunate people who received this blessing. By the elvish standards, she was already a young adult the moment she assumed the sainthood, shortly before the outbreak of the 11th Human-Demon War. In its aftermath, the god-powers froze her age; she survived her entire family, including her grand nephews and many of her immediate relatives’ descendants.
It is a lonely existence. One that led her watch everyone she knew die around her.
Still, the Elf Saint—with her newfound abilities—did her best to rule Cherwoods in place of the gods. She made sure that everything in her lands was fair and good, even the tiniest of the occasions of her people. As such, she was always invited to every celebration…and as long as her schedule permitted it.
“Your Holiness, uh, can I talk to you for a second?”
Hinwe got up from her place among the dignitaries of the elf wedding she attended, and came with the groom to an inner room. However, before he could speak his request, the Saint told him, “I’ve already granted your wish, Ingwer son of Ingwin. I saw in your heart your sincere desire to entertain your guests. You may find your new wine jars at the storage, along with my gifts. Bring those out and serve it; drink to your fill!”
“But Y-Your Holiness, those jars are only filled with water!”
Hinwe winked at him, “There’s nothing impossible if you have faith!”
The groom still had doubts in his heart, though he did what Her Holiness suggested. Much to his surprise, the water in those storage jars turned into wine. And not just ordinary lightflower wine; it was something even the most capricious and demanding of elvish wine connoisseurs would beg to have.
“Ingwer, what’s the meaning of this?” the host of his wedding party—his mother-in-law—called out to him. While she was happy about the wine, she didn’t hide her displeasure in Ingwer’s decision to keep the best for last. “Why did you bring out this excellent spirit just now?”
Bewildered by the reactions of his in-laws and their guests, the groom stared at Her Holiness for answers. Meanwhile, happy that she accomplished more than what was expected from her, Hinwe smiled and gave him her benediction.
The surplus wines from the jars are so plentiful and excellent, that Ingwer and his family sold those at a good price. He ended becoming an elf lord of Dorian because of that.
As a literate elf, Hinwe not only endeavored to help her people through the god-powers. She recognized that, while the demons had been their worst enemies during the Human-Demon wars, their huge steps to progress as a society made them overtake even the humans—favored by the Lord Gaius. Under the guidance of the hero, Cassandra David, and later, her successor, the first Demon Saint, Natasha Bellingsen, the demon people received the first standardized education system in all of Chersea and the Other Realms.
And Hinwe seeks to do this to the elves as well.
But there were opposition to her plans.
“Your Holiness, while we do not disagree with your goals of giving our people the ability to read and write,” an elf lord told her during one of the ‘councils’ she held before. “We do not see the need for us and our children to be literate. For us, we are contented to know how to tame the ancient forests of Cherwoods; to plant seeds, and make them grow for us to eat, and as offerings to your benevolence!”
“Surely, that is desirable,” Hinwe countered him. “But, it’s not all the time we can pass what we know to our children through songs and music. There will be an age where bards will eventually stop singing, and wandering. And the knowledge we possess—as well as those we can learn—will only be written in books.”
“Milady,” another elf lord had a smile on her creased face. “While we appreciate your concern for the future of our people, your youth and inexperience made you turn from our present needs. The forests of Cherwoods stood the test of time, and will always be with us. However, food is always in constant want, and we have to give priority in producing those…instead of wasting our efforts in academic pursuits.”
“I…” the Elf Saint wanted to defend her points. But as she could see into the hearts of those around her, Hinwe knew that no matter how much she’d explain, their minds were already focused on rejecting her proposals. The elves preferred they stay illiterate and live off the blessing of their lands, than focus on their society’s future, which was ‘trivial’ in their perspective.
It led for the Elf Saint to shelve her ideas. In her mind, she never thought that those attitudes would be forever; the elves would be ready for education someday…
So, generations passed and new elf cities were built. Lady Hinwe’s plans to give her people an education system similar to those of the demons in the Conclave gathered dust on the shelves of her tree palace. Even Her Holiness herself forgotten its existence. However, the elves never forgot the benevolence of their saint…
“Your Holiness,” a servant came to her, just as Lady Hinwe was about to eat her lunch. “A delegation from the city of Ophir just arrived. They are asking for an audience with you, regarding their problems about the farms around their settlements.”
“Oh…?” she brought down the spoon she held. “Lead me to them.”
“Your Holiness, the people from Elebor requests a new water golem for their lands…”
“Your Holiness, the fishers from Fenrelin seeks your help about their fish cages…”
“Your Holiness, the farmers of Rodimm wants your attention to the plight. This is about the advancing sands at the frontier regions…”
By the start of the long sleep, the Lady Hinwe could barely drag herself to her room. Exhausted to even change into her sleeping wardrobe, which required a huge effort from her, she just let her tired body fall on the bed. Her personal maidservant, Ulve (the mother of Meanor) took charge of changing her clothes.
“Good work, Y-Your Holiness,” the servant greeted her, though Ulve was careful of helping her mistress. Lady Hinwe complained her body was aching ever since entering the bedroom.
Her Holiness weakly nodded. In her mind, she just wanted to sink unto the soft embrace of her bed, and drift into dreamland.
“Please take care of your health,” Ulve told her.
“Our people need my god-powers,” the Elf Saint muttered.
“But if you keep going like this…you’ll end up abused.”
“Well…” Lady Hinwe heaved a sigh. “It is my responsibility. Although, hmm…yes, you’re right. I feel abused. These problems they send to me can be solved if only the elves chose to leave their prejudices behind, and learned to read.”
“Read, Your Holiness?”
“Yes…the demons…under the guidance of the hero, Cassandra David, and Lady Natasha Bellingsen, were the first people to implement standardized education in their realms. You’ve heard it, right? They have a place of learning they call the Conclave.”
“I heard it…yes.”
“They teach a lot of topics there,” the Elf Saint’s eyes were droopy, and she couldn’t keep those open for long. Her speech also turned lethargic, “Ulve…they also…know about…agriculture…”
“Your Holiness,” the servant then tucked her under the blankets. “Please, you earned your rest. Let’s talk about your ideas once you wake up.”
When was it that the Lady Hinwe stopped caring about the welfare of her people? She and Meanor would cite many instances, but at the end, it all boiled down when the elves began to notice the problem of the encroaching sands. The farmers from the city of Elebor—the first settlement on the path of the desert sands—called for the Elf Saint’s help after a failed harvest of their crops.
“I already sent several water golems to supply water,” Lady Hinwe insisted. She scooped some of the dry soil and showed it to everyone. “I believe it’s not about the water; it’s about the soil.”
“What’s wrong with the soil, Your Holiness?” the farmers, represented by the city elders, asked.
Lady Hinwe took a deep breath, before saying, “The soil here lost its fertility because of land overuse. You keep on planting crops harvest after harvest, causing for the land to ‘dry up’ of its nutrients for plants. You should’ve let it rest for a few harvests, before replanting crops.”
“Your Holiness, what are you talking about?”
“Milords, I’ve been warning you before of this, but you won’t listen!” she pulled a book from her bag and showed it to them. “Look, it says here that mostly every soil out there has some levels of fertility that allows plants to grow, given proper care. You abused the soil, and now the soil needs rest.”
“Where will get our food if we stopped planting?”
“Please calm down,” the Elf Saint requested. “It’s not like we can’t do anything about it. See, this book gives advice on how to regain the lost fertility of the land. And also, how to properly use it through crop rotation!”
“But Your Holiness!” the elders of Elebor were shocked to see the author’s name of the book she was reading. “That ‘Scholar Demetenne’ is a demon! How can we take advice from a despicable race?”
“It’s true that they’re our enemies before, however, the demons live in a land where it’s practically dead, or with little fertile patches. If there’s anyone in Chersea and the Other Realms who knows how to deal with problems on agriculture, it will be the demon like Scholar Demetenne! Learning from the enemy isn’t something we should be so averted about!”
“Pardon for our words, Your Holiness. Just tell us straight if you can’t help us,” the elders replied. “You may have lived long to witness the glorious deeds of the heroes in the past, but where’s your pride as an elf? Why would you choose the wisdom of those horned blasphemers, instead of actually solving your people’s problem with your god-powers?”
Lady Hinwe was taken aback by what the people of Elebor said. Still, she tried to defend herself, “My god-powers puts my authority over all that is water! How can you say to me to solve a problem that deals with land?”
“You disappoint us, Your Holiness!”
“I…I just—” Those words struck the Elf Saint like a speeding carriage. The pain in her chest—already formed after the initial exchange earlier, as well as the other incidents—grew a thousandfold as the thoughts of the people she cared for resounded in her mind.
Those kept on repeating in her head that Lady Hinwe didn’t know how she got back in her tree palace. Her servant, Ulve, waited for her with an anxious look on her face.
“Y-Your Holiness! What…What happened to you?”
Tears fell from the Elf Saint’s eyes, and she collapsed in the arms of her servant. From that point onwards, Lady Hinwe swore to live for herself…
***The Holy Consulate, Mouth of Calabria Branch, the Kingdom of Calabria. Present day…***
“You really picked a convenient time that we’ll be alone to apologize, Gerard.”
The elf guard stood before the Lady Hinwe, having cooled his head and realizing the folly of his errors. Meanor glared at him, and his mistress made it clear through her tone that she took his words to her heart.
“I…I’m sorry, Your H-Holiness,” was all he could say.
“Not only did you cause me embarrassment in front of others earlier, you showed them your true colors…totally unbefitting of a member of the Life Guards.”
Gerard’s fists tightened. Deep in his heart, he only thought of the Elf Saint’s safety, though he let his emotions get the better of heat during the heat of the moment. Still, at the end, he bore the responsibilities for creating a scene earlier.
“Well…” Lady Hinwe shrugged and heaved a sigh. “You’re really stupid, Gerard. An idiot, if I’d label you. Haa…don’t you think I can’t read your actions? Tell you what, even when my god-powers are nearly gone, we ladies are good at giving meanings to the behavior of people around us. And I’m no exception.”
“Scary…” the guard muttered, to which the Elf Saint chuckled.
“Just like what you did last time at the inner room,” she continued, “I know you sacrificed yourself once again to draw everyone’s attention away from my unreasonable tantrums. I’d say, you’re quite good at it.”
Gerard remained silent. At least his mistress understood his intentions.
“But you know, let me be responsible for my pettiness.”
“I can’t let you do that. You’re the saint.”
“A useless saint.”
The guard clicked his tongue, “Fuck you, you’re not. You’re just tired, unappreciated, and misunderstood. As your servant, I take it upon myself to tell everyone that the legends about the benevolent Elf Saint is true.”
“She’s just a person from the past,” Hinwe insisted.
“And her actions long ago affected the present, and the future of Chersea and the Other Realms.”
The Elf Saint was dumbfounded. No matter what she said, Gerard always had something to counter it. “I…I applaud your faithfulness, but I don’t deserve it.”
“God damn it!” the guard slammed his hands on the wall, much to Meanor and Hinwe’s surprise. “Will you stop belittling yourself just for fucking once?” He got up and fixed his weapons to his belt. “Fuck this; we’re not getting anywhere. I already apologized; it’s time for me to show you how far my loyalty can go!”
“Gerard where are you going?”
“You know where!” he replied. “I have to correct my mistake. I shouldn’t allow that man to represent and fight for you, Your Holiness!”
“Sir Gerard!” Meanor ran and grabbed his arm. “Please don’t complicate matters further! Let’s wait on the instructions of the Human Saint!”
“And I’m imploring you to stop!” his mistress added. “I’ve seen the error in my ways. I shall stay here until the dangers have passed.”
“Oh? And what will you guys do if I don’t follow your orders?” the elf tapped on his weapons, as if telling them not to worry about him—he’s armed. “Heh, if you can think you can take me on without your god-powers, Your Holiness, feel free to do so. Otherwise, I’ll leave you in the safety of this place!”
“You’re really an asshole, you know that?” the elf maid commented, but there was a smirk on her face.
“Yeah, yeah, I know…even before,” Gerard stuck out his tongue and middle finger. “Anyway, Mea, don’t let that NEET out of your sight. And like what I told you when I entered the service of Her Holiness’ Life Guards…I’ll wake the Lady Hinwe from her slumber!”