The Elf Saint is a NEET, so I Forced Her to Work in Another World, Vol. 16
***The Saint’s Tree***
The Lord Gerard of Yusave, Life Guards. As one of the newest recruits to the exclusive and elite soldiers serving and protecting the Elf Saint, he was supposed to be under the command of his captain, Sir Eldarv. However, the Lord Gerard enjoyed a special privilege with Her Holiness, the Lady Hinwe. This was because of his relationship to her closest maid, the Lady Meanor, daughter of Ulve.
And, even though he was regarded as one in the inner circle of the Elf Saint, the Lord Gerard sought not to abuse his position, contrary to most palace officials and other servants of Her Holiness. His loyalty to their holy lady was immeasurable; he’s more than prepared to sacrifice his life just to guard her from harm…
That is until Yusave was consumed by the sand…
It was a disaster that was expected by many. The city of Yusave, after Elebor, was the next to suffer from the advancing desert. However, its citizens relied on the Elf Saint to deliver, for she possessed the god-powers of water. Even the Lord Gerard, proud of his membership among the Life Guards and denouncing the doomsayers, threatened to lop off their heads the moment he heard their ‘defeatist’ sentiments. So, they never left, and discouraged those who were preparing to.
“Have you got no faith in Her Holiness? Stay in your home!”
“Elebor is a wake-up call! Surely, the Elf Saint will help us!”
“Those who leave the city in its greatest moment shall be traitors!”
With their zeal and faith, the people of Yusave kept on with their normal lives, as the sands slowly encroached. The soil dried up, plants died, and food stocks slowly disappeared in their storehouses. The elves of Yusave continued to wait of the Elf Saint, confident in her help, boosted by the Lord Gerard’s encouragement.
But it never came…
Still, Yusave’s downfall shocked the elves; this was the first time they confirmed their saint was not helping them. At least, from a human’s perspective, it took them long to realize that chilling fact. By the moment they considered leaving, the desert had already advanced several leagues into the region of Cherwoods, effectively trapping the elves—used to their cool and pleasant tree-dwellings—in the middle of the sea of sand.
As the heir to his family—one of the leading houses of their place, the Lord Gerard of Yusave turned from those calling to trust the Lady Hinwe, to one of those who advocated leaving the dying city, and into crossing the desert. There were opposition to him at first, citing his ‘broken’ record of predicting the otherwise. But, when the scorching heat of the ‘sky light’ killed many of their crops, and the sands buried those that were left, the elves were forced to admit defeat. Famine and starvation followed suit, decimating the small population. To add to their woes, the dead soil and lack of water caused the trees to wither, depriving the people of Yusave their homes and forcing them to erect tents in the middle of the desert.
The crossing of desert was no easy task. The ‘sky light’ burned the remnants of Yusave, as they braved the forest-turned-desert land in an effort to evacuate to the other elvish cities untouched by it. As they had no water and food left, thirst and hunger killed about two-thirds of their number; those who fell on the desert floor usually never had a chance, and they were left as to where they died.
And when the survivors of Yusave reached the other cities…
“Back off! We only have food and water for our people! If we gave some to you, then it is us who will die!”
“We apologize, but we cannot spare even a few to you, our brethren. We are also preparing for the sands!”
“Just head to another city. I think they have more to offer than us!”
Still, even with their weak and emaciated figures, no one bothered to take in the citizens of Yusave. Around a further third of the survivors died in the forested regions of Cherwoods, exhausted and desperate…searching for a place of refuge, until the Lady Hinwe herself intervened and asked other cities to take them in.
It was an event that would forever haunt the Lord Gerard. It was the event that led him to conclude that the Lady Hinwe should be removed from her position by any means possible. It was the event that made him work to betray the Elf Saint, the moment the opportunity presented itself…
And it also was what caused the Seductress convince him to form a pact with her.
“I can see that you wanted revenge for that person who caused your people’s suffering. Vengeance for the person who murdered your family; your parents, your sisters and brothers. It’s normal,” she told the elvish lord in his dream. “And I can help you with that. Like you, I still have a grudge against the person you are impersonating.”
The elf only stared at her. He wanted to speak, but for some reason, he found his lips were sealed.
“There’s no need for you to talk,” the creature from the Void reiterated. “After all, I will have my vengeance even if you refuse it. I’m just telling you, we can make this easier, elf. Allow me to use your body. Let me feed in your emotions, in your anger…empower me, and we’ll both have our desires granted.”
The Lord Gerard knew he was dealing with someone…or something, sinister. However, given his situation and her control over his body, he doubted if he could even refuse her offer. Besides, the Seductress was offering him something he couldn’t do by himself, and for a good ‘price’, too.
“The head of that man, the human who calls himself Kuro of Arles. I want it, no matter what it takes,” she repeated. “And you’ll have the life of your saint as well. You wanted to save your people, the elves, from their tragic fate, right? Just allow me to take over. All it takes is for you to say yes…”
“What? You still cling to the hope of getting married to the servant girl of your enemy?” the Seductress laughed. “Don’t be stupid! You’re already fighting against her mistress; and based from what I see in your heart and mind, her love and loyalty rests on the Elf Saint, not you.”
The elf lord tried his best to shake off the thoughts entering his mind. Nevertheless, she added,
“Don’t you know, Sir Gerard? Once you become the hero of your people, there will be more ladies to come for you! You can always meet someone else to love; not everyone will be presented the opportunity to save their kin. All you need to say is ‘yes’, to me.”
At that moment, the Lord Gerard felt his lips turned loose. Then, a moment of silence, as he considered the Seductress’ offer. After a few minutes of solitude, however, the elf nodded, and confirmed his agreement with a terse, “Yes.”
The creature from the Void smiled, and gave him a pat on the shoulder. “It’s good that we understand each other…”