Chapter 11:


The Elf Saint is a NEET, so I Forced Her to Work in Another World, Vol. 16

***The Saint’s Tree Palace, Cherwoods…***

The ‘Inner Sanctum’ of the Elf Saint’s Tree Palace often served as the place where the holy lady would conduct her duties meant to praise or appease the heavens. However, with her disappearance, and the subsequent coup de etat against her palace officials, it was laid empty. No one ever tried to clean inside, for the elvish servants of the Elf Saint regarded the place as sacred, thus they were afraid something bad might happen should they came in without her permission.

Still, when some noise was heard inside, the person in-charge of the palace, a member of the Life Guards Lord Gerard of Yusave (in his disguise as Kuro), sent in soldiers and maids to investigate.

What they saw brought alarm to everyone…

“There’s something black coming from behind the doors,” a servant pointed out. “It looks like a smoke, yet there’s no smell of it.”

The head of the Life Guards, Sir Eldarv, ordered another soldier to open the doors. However, they were shocked to find that they couldn’t open it. It’s as if something behind welded it shut; no matter what weapon they used to destroy the doors, those arms ended broken or injured someone else.

Because of this, they summoned the Lord Gerard.

“What’s going on?” the disguised elf asked.

“Milord,” Sir Eldarv showed their problem. “Looks like the doors to the Inner Sanctum was shut. No matter how we try to open, or destroy the doors, nothing can break it down.”

“And what’s that coming out? Smoke?”

“Looks like it, but there’s no burning smell.”

Gerard then drew near and tried pushing the sanctum doors.


Much to their confusion, it opened the moment his hands touched the doors. However, even before they could make sense of what’s going on, the elves were shocked to see that the entire sanctum was filled with swirling, jet-black smoke. It was Sir Eldarv who recognized the danger…

“Milord!” he called out to Gerard, “Close the doors! It was no smoke; it’s some kind of miasma!”

However, his words fell to deaf ears, for the disguised elf never heed his warnings. Gerard only stood there, seemed mesmerized by the dark miasma of the sanctum. Sir Eldarv took the matter into his hands, and moved to pull the elf away. But then…


Something stirred within the miasma. The Life Guards Captain stopped in his tracks; almost at the same moment, the miasma formed a funnel then quickly entered the Lord Gerard’s body. The elf never moved, nor struggled, and those who witnessed it were glued on their spots as well. It took some time for the dark miasma to empty itself from the Inner Sanctum, and disappeared inside the disguised elf.


The elves were silent. They waited for the Lord Gerard to move. Sir Eldarv’s hand was on the hilt of his sword, ready to strike any moment. “Sir Kuro?” he called out to him. “Are you alright?”

“Never been better!” the disguised elf replied with a wide grin on his face.


**Kuro, a week after his ennoblement…**

Being a duke was no easy job, unless maybe, you belonged to those stereotypical noble snobs who didn’t give a damn on their subjects…save for when collecting taxes or tributes from them. And you know me; as much as possible, I never intend to become the very person I hated, just like those politicians in my world, and the members of the nobility in this place.

Milord, our apologies, but we have no necessities as of the moment. Your concern for your humble subjects is appreciated, thank you very much!”

I looked at the village leader and his constituents. Typical of the medieval era rural countryside, their clothes were ragged, though it was relatively clean. Perhaps the occasional dirt I was seeing was from the usual hard work they do in their fields, as the duchy of the Maverny got a large agricultural base. I think only the port city and its immediate vicinity was ‘urban’ enough for commercial purposes.

So, I asked, “Would you like to have clean water then?”

“A what, milord?

“Clean…water? Like for washing your clothes?”

The villagers exchanged confused glances, and one of them said, “Uhm, Your Excellency, we already have water here, down there, at the nearby stream. We only have to fetch some to wash our clothes.”

“How about having water in your village and not fetching it?” I proposed.

“Is it even possible?”

I nodded, and showed them a drawing of an aqueduct. “We can build one leading to your village. Do you know where the upstream is?”

“Y-Yes, milord,” the village leader answered.

“And also, I think your village can use a network of paved roads for better transport,” I wrote in my notebook. “It’ll be connected to a highway going around Maverny, along with some tracks from trams and trains.” Though the villagers were with me, I mostly said those to myself, as a mental note while I write.

I didn’t notice that time, but Gaius said that the people were amused and a bit befuddled as to what I muttered. Well, it’s not that I expect them to understand my plans for the entire territory; they didn’t need to. I love the thought of surprising these folks into the benefits of the infrastructures we’re about to build.

Milord, please pardon my words,” the village leader spoke. “I never meant to offend you or question your wisdom, but don’t you think you’re putting too much concern to lowly people like us?”

I was dumbfounded by his statement. Nevertheless, given the usual attitudes of the Chersean nobility to the commoners, I guess what he said was from experience. The Lord Dupree, Viscount of Maverny was a competent lord. But he’s still of noble background, and growing up as one made him a bit ‘deaf’ to the needs—not the wants—of his subjects. True, they were happy with how things were run, because compared to the contemporary standards, Maverny was up a few levels.

However, to someone like me, who had seen better systems because of my experience in living in a modern world setting, there were much to be improved. “Well, as your new lord, I’d like to reiterate that I view my subjects like you as equals,” I told him.

There was horror on the village leader’s face, as well as those of his people. “Wh-What do you mean by that, milord? That is just…”

“…impossible?” I chuckled. “Nah, before I became a duke, I was also a commoner like you. I did command the Holy Saint’s army in the past, but I will never shed my commoner background.”

“But you are our lord!”

“I am, though, starting from when I became your lord, I’m your equal. A fellow man. A primus inter pares, if you will; first among equals. So, yeah, I’d really appreciate if you’d drop calling me ‘lord’ and instead use ‘Mister Kuro’. I’m more comfortable that way.”

“Never will we commit such disrespect!” the village leader insisted. “While you say we are your equals, we still revere your sacrifices to our people! At least, please give us the honor of calling you our lord.”

I could only stare at him. In my head, I was thinking, ‘Eris, whatever propaganda you guys did to make these villagers praise me so much?’


While I go on a tour around the duchy, I brought my ‘staff’ with me. And by staff, I mean my trusted friends like Eris, Salis, the Lady Hinwe and her maid Meanor. Contrary to the contemporary wisdom of the time, we traveled in a small group; mainly for economic reasons. For the Elf Saint, I had her go in disguise, since she was afraid to be recognized by her own people—some of which lived in my territory after they migrated from Cherwoods. For added security reasons, I had some of the soldiers assigned to me by the Holy Palatial Gardens, Cherwind and the Demon Republic tail us, ready to react once the necessity for it arose.

The main purpose of this travel was to determine the needs of our populace. As in their needs, not what they wanted. I got tons of building projects in mind, but as our budget was limited, we had to maximize efficiency by looking for where those projects were most needed.

Eris and Salis assisted me in conducting surveys and interviews on the common folk. Meanor was the one in-charge of our own needs—like cooking food, getting clean water (usually through her magic), preparing our clothes, and driving our carriage, because there were times when we couldn’t head back to Dupree palace within a day.

As for the Lady Hinwe…


For most of the time, she was just drawing. In moments she was not holding her pencil and paper, the Lady Hinwe was just sleeping, or reading, or eating. Well, the Elf Saint was still the saint, even with her weakening god-powers, so I still give her due respect. But yeah, she’s downright lazy, not even bothering to lift a finger when we were short on hands.

Another reason for this ‘tour’ is to show the Lady Hinwe how to ‘rule’ once again. But it seems it’s not really that effective.

“Kuro,” she told me once while on the road. “You give too much attention to the common folk.”

“You’re drunk, Your Lazy Holiness,” I countered, as I pulled away a bottle of wine she was drinking from.

“No! I’m telling you the truth!” she replied. “Look…I did that once, and where did that kindness take me?”

“I know, that’s why I’m showing you how it’s done.”

The Elf Saint laughed. “They’ll say yes to your face, yet deep inside, they would still follow what they want!”

“Yep, I’m aware of it. That’s why I try to convince them to do what I think is best for them.”

“You think I didn’t do that before?”

“Nope, but I have my own way of doing it.”

The Lady Hinwe, who was already slumping, suddenly sat straight. It seemed she was interested in how I do things, so she said, “Heh, elaborate then.”

“If you want to convince others to follow what you think is the best course of action, you got to address their concerns first. If they got no concern, then create one. For example, you saw how I surveyed the villagers last time, right? I took notice of their dirty clothes, so I asked them about it.”

“That’s quite dirty, don’t you think?”

“Well, if we think of it that way, it is. But then again, when convincing someone, you have to use all the techniques you know, right? Besides, I do not just create random ‘needs’; it was something they can benefit from as well. See, even though they claim they are satisfied with their hygiene, everyone wants to be clean. So, it’s not just some pointless ‘convincing’.”

“Okay, so that’s the first point. What are the next steps, then?”

“Second, relate their concerns to your plans. My overall plan is to improve the living conditions of our populace, and one of the steps to do it is to deal with everyone’s cleanliness and hygiene. And for that to happen, their place needs clean water source, which can be supplied through an aqueduct.”

The Lady Hinwe was quiet.

“Third, once you made the connection, repeat your suggestion. It’s not 100% guaranteed success, but at least you already made your point. It’s up to the people to consider it.”

“Sounds like a pain in the ass.

“Convincing people takes time,” I pointed out.

“Hmm…” the Elf Saint then continued. “And what’s it got to do with me?”

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t play me for a fool, Kuro,” the Lady Hinwe chuckled. “I’m an elf; I lived long enough to gather wisdom and to know that this tour you’re having me do has another purpose than just what you claim is for ‘letting me take a break’.”

At that point, the conversation suddenly turned serious, so I put up my own ‘business’ façade. “So, you’re reading minds now?”

“Not really; my god-powers are still weakening.”

Confident that she couldn’t read my thoughts, I told her, “But you did know I have ulterior motives for bringing you along.”

“Speak, I want to know from you.”

“Alright,” I took a deep breath. “Didn’t I say I want you to become what you are like before? The Hinwe respected and looked up to by everyone.”

“That Hinwe is dead,” she chuckled. “You’re wasting your time.”

“No, I mean, even better. The Hinwe respected, looked up to, and revered by everyone.”

“Didn’t you say that before?”

“I added the ‘revered’ at the end.”

Pfft! And what benefit will you get from it?”

I grinned at her, “Well, first and the most immediate effect, I’ll have my hands free of a certain freeloader.”

“You can kick me out of your house anytime.”

“I can’t do that. You’re someone dear to me.”

“Aww…” but the Elf Saint’s voice had a hint of sarcasm, so I brushed it off as a joke.

“If it isn’t true, I would’ve let you die by the assassin’s blade before,” I reiterated. “After all, you’re dead weight.”

“Alright mister! You’re talking too much!”


“I’m joking! I know what I am; you’re just telling the truth.”

“Well, second reason is, your people would progress if you’re in-charge.”

“Now you’re joking!”

“It’s true! I heard your story before, from Lady Meanor. Your proposals for your people are sound; it’s just that, maybe, you don’t know how to convince them.”

“That’s true…I suppose. But then again, I don’t want to deal with the elves ever again.”

“We’ll work on that, too.”

“Please don’t.”

“Sadly, we’re already doing it!”

The Lady Hinwe never replied to our talk, and it ended at that moment. Perhaps she was already drowsy from all the wine she drank, and slowly drifted into sleep. Then, carefully, I lifted her body (she fell asleep on a log that served as a bench while we’re on the road) and put her inside our carriage. The others were busy with their roles, and I was told to a break anyway, so I stood guard to her.


But yeah, I thought I got caught already. This was one of the times I’m thankful her god-powers were weak…for I couldn’t tell Her Lazy Holiness the third reason I needed her to be back to what she was before.

‘Her god-powers over the waters,’ Gaius reminded me. ‘If you get her to trust and kiss you, then you’ll surely get it. Then, you’ll be more effective in fighting against that accursed creature from the Void.’

Dang…I sure wish I took the ‘cursed’ medallion of Seirna so I can seal my thoughts. I lost it in Cherflammen before…


Any case, after gathering information about the standards of living and the needs of the citizens inside my fief, Eris, Salis and I worked on solutions to make everyone benefit from my knowledge of my old world’s political, economic and civic systems.


As the ‘personal’ maid assigned to me, I had Eris hold the budgetary matters. Her Amaranthine background and mental acumen influenced my decision to trust her with my finances. And yes, she did her role with utmost enthusiasm…though sometimes with a bit of overzeal as well.

“Kuro, you know I always support your ideals,” she said to me one time we’re in a ‘brainstorming’ session. “And that’s why, it is with the same love that I have to deny financing your proposal of establishing basic education level schools in every village throughout your territory.”

“Why?” I asked, quite shocked at her refusal.

“Well, unlike in the Academy, the only place where your duchy is densely populated is at your port city of Maverny. Villages in your territory have the largest population pegged at around 200 people, including working adults and old people. It’s too few for a school to be established; we’ll only waste money on the payment of teachers, supply costs and the maintenance of near-empty buildings.”

I’d say I have to agree. Eris made her point.

“But…” Salis interjected, shifting through the papers in her hand. “We can change some of the plan’s aspects, Human Chief.”

“Please call me Kuro,” I reminded her. “And yes, can you explain your opinion?”

The owl-girl served as a valuable advisor to me, at least for the duration of her stay in Chersea because of the exhibits. She and Eris would always weigh on my proposals, giving me insights on those plans that was impossible if it’s only me who’s thinking. “A-Ahem, K-Kuro,” she reiterated. “If we want to avoid wasting money on empty schools, we can just combine villages into ‘education regions’, where we build basic education level schools.”

“You mean?”

Salis took a map of the duchy and a pencil. Then, she drew some lines, dividing the villages into several regions. “For example, I combined these villages into a single ‘education region’. Next is, we’d just pick a village where we’ll build the school—preferably the center most one, since it would be easier to access to other villages surrounding it.”

“I see. I like the idea,” Eris backed her. “This is more plausible than having schools in every village. Well, at least, for now.”

“If we’ll just centralize the schools,” I put up another concern. “Then, how about the libraries?”

“That, we can have them in each village,” the duchess nodded. “It only occupies a small space, so it’s pretty easy on the maintenance. Have a teacher—preferably one that specializes in teaching reading—as its sole staff.”

Oh, and we should also establish another Academy at Maverny!” Salis suggested. “This is so we can cater to the big population in your main city.”

“Yep, I like it,” I told the owl-girl. “However, I got a better idea in mind.”

The two girls looked at me with sheer fascination and expectation.

Then, I revealed to them, “I think it’s time we build Chersea’s first university.”


I got many plans to improve my fief even further. Thanks to the competence of the previous viscount, we only had few—all were minor—issues to fix when I took over. Thus, we could forget dealing the with the problems of the duchy, and devote our energies more on making life easier and prosperous for the population.

As I previously mentioned, we already did a deliberation on the issues of education and literacy. Consensus was, we’re going to establish ‘education regional centers’ throughout the territory, where we’d build the basic level schools from Grade 1-12. In the port city of Maverny, we plan to create a university, the first of its kind in Chersea and Cherwind. For every village, there’d be a small library manned by a reading teacher; it was meant to cater to the pastime of the locals, and also to increase literacy among the population.

Ever since we founded the Academy at the lands under the Holy Palatial Gardens, literacy rates did improve, though it was the nobles who mostly benefitted from its system. Now, I intended to bring education to the common folk by hiring teachers from the Beastmen and Demon races. The Beastmen would be assigned to the basic education schools, as well as in the libraries. This was because they were well-versed in my idea of basic education. The Demons would teach in our university, so their specialized knowledge gained from the Conclave could be put to good use.


Of course, while we invest in the future (through education), we also sought to improve the matters of the economy. So, we sought to increase the tax rate on the businesses and guilds within our territory, and lowered the ones being collected from the common populace, pegged at a flat 12% of their earnings. The late Viscount Dupree, perhaps trying to entice investments to his fief, lowered the tax for the businesses while put the burden of his territory’s income on the people. While they were not complaining much, the commoners asked if they could have lower obligations on the government. So, we did the adjustments.

Another matter was the transportation system, which was vital to the economy. Though cobblestone streets were widespread in the Empire and other kingdoms of Chersea, the road networks were still in medieval levels. Outside the cities, only dust paths were the recognizable semblance of roads, and within the urban limits, the streets were filthy, and quite narrow for traffic.

My solution was to build a highway system that passed through all the villages of the duchy, from the port city and back to it. Tolls would be collected upon entering the borders of my territory, which would go to the maintenance of the roads. On the side of the highway were tracks for a train route, to improve public transportation. All dirt roads would be paved with cobblestones, with paths connecting the villages to the highway widened to six lanes counterflow. A dedicated road for cargo transports would also be constructed to connect the entire duchy to its heart in Maverny, which in turn, would connect us to the rest of the empire and the whole human realm.

Bus routes, in form of horse/leviathan-pulled carriages that could carry multiple passengers, were built and were meant to ply the highway network. Their stops would be at the outer limits of every village, so as not to crowd the already narrow ‘main’ streets of the rural settlements. We did encourage the larger villages to establish their own public transport network within their territories, to cater to their own population, while the smaller villages could be traversed just by walking.

Clean and safe water were also necessary for the growth of the duchy. As such, we ordered the construction of an aqueduct network, similar to the ones that could be found in Cherwind, particularly in the Avinus Isles Region. In villages, it was required to have at least two water tanks in case of famine. Canals were also dug around the farmlands to ensure those were always sufficiently watered. Storehouses were placed in every settlement, so the villagers would always have something even during hard times. Part of those crops stored could also become the source of seeds for planting days.


Communication was a priority, and for that, we established a postal service network with griffon riders, with the responsibility of hauling light cargo and mail across the duchy and beyond. For this, we chose griffons to be the partners of our ‘mailmen’; this was because, not only they could fly—minimizing the travel time of the messages, they were also powerful creatures, ensuring the safety of their baggages should the need to defend it arises.

A few reforms in governance were also made. See, internal security and order were maintained by the militia, under the command of the viscount himself. While its personnel did its responsibilities well, their small numbers and limited range, as well as the diverse collection of weapons employed, puts a strain on the fief’s budget. So, we increased its funding, membership, and imported arms from the Demon Republic to equip them. We also established ‘militia stations’ to every village, so the ‘police presence’ would be everywhere, and the militia meant to protect the port city won’t have to travel far and check other places anymore.

Okay, now here’s the tricky thing. Most would say that authoritarianism was bad, and yes, I mostly agree with that observation. However, not fully, since the problem with every government was not the system itself, but its people. Authoritarianism still had its benefits, like easier implementation of reforms, and faster decision-making, especially in the emergency events. Nevertheless, I plan to create a council made up of business people, the clergy, representatives of the urban population, and also of the rural ones. Salis’ idea was to have a population elect council members from a pool of candidates chosen by the lord of the land, which was me. Of course, it was taken into consideration.

And finally, the matter of health of the populace. We’re planning to build a hospital in the port city, which would serve as the center of my duchy’s health and wellness efforts. It would be augmented by smaller ‘health centers’ scattered in every village. Rishnu, the Chief Royal Doctor at the court in Cherwind, volunteered to train our future physicians, while Yufa would instruct the potential nurses. Their medical partner, Taro, would be the one to school the ambulance staff.

So, with those plans in mind, the only final obstacle in completing these was the budget.


Eris, Salis and I stared at the papers on our table. Once we trimmed down everything we could cut or adjust, the ‘red’ in our fief’s finances was still there.

“We can’t run a fief on a reduced budget with projects of this scale,” Eris declared. “For sure, the people will get mad at their lord, and your reputation will suffer.”

“I don’t mind about my reputation,” I reiterated. “My worries lie on the duration in which we can run a government in a tight financial situation. Well, we can put some of the plans on hold until we find other sources of money.”

Eh, what for?” the Duchess of Braunhauer and the owl-girl blurted out, as if I just asked the most outrageous question they heard in their entire lives.

“Isn’t it we’re in the red?”

The two girls chuckled, and Salis replied, “You worrywart! Have you forgotten that the greatest genius in all of Cherwind—and perhaps beyond—is on your side? I can always build those machines you need from scratch! And look, I’m the Directress of the Royal Academy of Cherwind; I can always ask my underlings to serve in your schools!”

“Not only that,” Eris added. “My sweet duke, I may be your maid, but you’re talking to the heir to one of the richest—if not the richest—noble houses in all of Chersea! One word to my mother in our duchy, and your financial problems will be over in no time!”

“Guys, you know I can’t—”

They stopped me from speaking further. “If you refuse, milord,” the duchess declared, “then I’ll just slip an entire bottle of love potion on your food to make you agree to me. Or, if you won’t eat, it’ll go in your drinks. Or, if you won’t drink, I’ll slip in your room during the long sleep and pass that potion by kissing you instead. Whichever you may prefer, I’m alright with those.”

“Yep, you can’t refuse now, Chieffy!” the owl-girl grinned. “So, you better accept our help, or else.”

I could only scratch my head in amusement.

Author's Note:  About the Title...

Primus Inter Pares is a Latin phrase that means 'First Among Equals'.  It is an honorary title given to some individuals who are formally treated equally within a group, but is given 'extra'/unofficial respect because of his/her seniority.