Chapter 15:


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

***Somewhere in Chersea…***

“You called for me, Your Holiness?”

The Saint of the Flame, Seirna Stephanie, stepped from the shadows of a dark, empty alley to meet the man she was waiting for. Wearing her usual black mourning dress, the overseer saint greeted her old-time spymaster, the former prince of Amaranth, Umberto Benicci. “It’s been a while, Umberto.”

“Indeed. I was surprised to receive a letter from you,” the spymaster laughed. “I thought you have forgotten about me.”

“We have made a lot of conspiracies together for me to conveniently throw you away,” Seirna replied, pausing for a bit, as if she remembered something. “At least, I’m different from my former master, the Lord Gaius.”

“Former master…?” Umberto raised an eyebrow.

“It’s a long story, Umberto. Now, I’m just a ‘master-less’ saint.”

The spymaster thought it was odd, but decided not to ask her about it. It was not his business, anyway; as long as he’s compensated for his work, he had no concerns for the personal lives of his ‘clients’.

“Good answer,” Seirna grinned. “I’m glad you’re still the old Umberto; practical and efficient.”

“In any case, Your Holiness, what do you need from me?” he asked. “I’m sure you did not call me here just to chit-chat.”

“Right…you got elves under you?”

The spymaster shook his head, but added, “With proper funds, we can always hire some. There are a lot of elves settling in various Chersean kingdoms lately, after rumors of a revolution in the Elf Saint’s tree palace. Hmm…now that I mentioned it, you must know something about that, Your Holiness?”

“The Elf Saint has lost control of her people,” the Saint of the Flame confirmed. “But, she’s alive, and is hiding here with the otherworlder.

Heh, that man sure is something. I heard he was made into an imperial duke last time; now, I learn that his hands were all over the events in Cherwoods.”

Seirna was silent. She just hovered near Umberto, seemed to wait for him to say anything else.

Then it dawned on the spymaster. “Wait, don’t tell me…”

From the other end of the alley came a shadow. Umberto had no time to pull out his pistol, before the newcomer revealed himself. “It’s nice meeting you again, Sir Umberto Benicci! Who would’ve thought we would come this far regarding our ‘working’ relationship?”

“Kuro of Arles…” was all that the spymaster could mutter. While he decided not to pull his weapon, he never let his guard down.

Ah, no worries,” the duke of Maverny reassured him. “I’m not here to fight or kill you. I’m here because Her Holiness the Lady Seirna Stephanie recommended you to me.”

Umberto threw a glare at the Saint of the Flame; he surely didn’t expect the twist of events.

“Hey, I thought you said before that you wanted to be friends with him?”

“I said if we’re in different circumstances, we might be friends.”

“Isn’t this a different situation now? Look, I’m working with the otherworlder just to protect the Lady Hinwe,” she explained. “You know me; I believe standards are there to put order in everything. Now, if the Elf Saint is killed when she shouldn’t, the timeline would be wrecked, right?”

“Yes,” Kuro added. “And we’re cooperating so that the Lady Hinwe would avoid a tragic fate.”

The spymaster, though he was still wary, asked, “So, what can I do then?”

“Here’s the thing, Sir Benicci,” the otherworlder gave him a letter. “Those are the reports of our own spies, from Cherwind and the Federal Republic. As you can see, the data there are just observations from afar, for infiltrating the inner elvish leadership is difficult. Beastmen, demons and humans are easily-recognizable; so I thought of sending elves to watch the movements of our enemies.”

“Hold on,” Umberto raised his concern, “…am I correct to assume that when you say ‘our enemies’, you’re planning a war against the elves?”

Kuro nodded, but quickly clarified, “War in a way that we plan to take back what is rightfully the Lady Hinwe’s. We wanted to know the enemy’s weakness, and when we can exploit that weakness, to minimize the deaths when we attack.”

“Is that all?”

“Well, I’m also planning to scatter rumors and propaganda about the Lady Hinwe. See, her reputation among the elves had reached rock bottom; no one would fight for her, even if it’s for money. And, I—as her benefactor—would prefer to build an army loyal to her person, not to my purse. So, I want someone to spread stories about the greatness of the Lady Hinwe. Can you do it, Sir Benicci?”

“Why not build an army from your supporters? You’re the living legendary hero, almost of the same level as that of the Lady Cassandra David. There are humans, beastmen and demons willing to fight for you!”

Kuro shook his head. “As much as possible, I want elves for this army we’re building. It’s not a good propaganda to have other races impose their will on another; more often than not, such schemes backfired, with tragic consequences. Well, I know I’m imposing my will on the elves, but I’m trying to make it appear that it was not my plan…it was rather something their kin did on their initiative.”


“So yes, I want spies on the inner circle of the elvish leadership at the Saint’s Tree palace, and subtle propaganda ‘cleaning’ the character of the Elf Saint. I don’t doubt you can do this, sir, but will you accept working for me?”

The spymaster said nothing. He just closed his eyes for a few moments, seemed to weigh on his options. Kuro and Seirna just exchanged glances, as they waited on his answer. And then…

“Okay, I understand,” Umberto handed back the spy report to Kuro. “However, I want you to understand that I do this for the Lady Seirna. If not for her, we won’t be even talking.”


“And also, I wanted all the expenses paid for this endeavor,” he reached out for a handshake. “I won’t shell out a single coin for this; do we have terms?”

Kuro reciprocated gesture, “I understand. If you wish, I can even give you your own base of operations.”

The spymaster nodded and said, “Please. I’d like to have that.”



The woodblock printing. It originated from China during its antiquity period as a method of printing on textiles, and later, on paper. The technique was widely used in East Asia, and gradually spread throughout my old world because of the large volume of texts and images it could produce. The process involved carving the wooden ‘plate’ of the desired text or image, then the printer would apply ink to its non-recessed surfaced, and finally, put the paper to print upon.

There were many types of woodblock prints. One of the most famous was a form of ‘ukiyo-e’ of Japan, and its most illustrious creator was a man named Hokusai, well-known for his ukiyo-e called ‘The Great Wave Off Kanagawa’, which in itself came from a series of woodblock paintings known as the ‘Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji’. I think I remembered something I read before that ukiyo-e influenced and eventually paved way to the birth of manga and anime.


In Chersea and Cherwind, there was already a type of woodblock printing similar to the ones used by Earth’s humans of the Antiquity. There were no movable printers, like the one invented by Johannes Gutenberg, so craftsmen had to spend hours or days carving texts or images to print through the use of magic. Using magic in the printing process made it possible for Cherseans to produce magazines and newspapers regularly, unlike in my old world, where those types of articles became popular only starting from the early modern period. In Cherwind, the Beastmen children who ‘invented’ their own version of the graphic novel (manga) used this technique to produce thousands of ‘talking books’ they peddled and exhibited here in Chersea…some of which were bought by the Lady Hinwe.

Of course, I can’t miss this opportunity to use the woodblock printing to our advantage.

Well, I knew about Gutenberg’s movable printer. It was a much better design than for those carved from wood, which—depending on the demand—could end up only for ‘one-time’ use. However, I guess we couldn’t afford to teach anyone about the Gutenberg press’ concept; so, we had to make do with what’s available for now.

“You’re really a weird one, Kuro,” the Lady Hinwe told me when I brought her along to a printing press in Maverny. Earlier, I asked her to draw a simple ‘manga’ illustrating the farming techniques she learned from the demons. I instructed Her Lazy Holiness to keep the characters as simple as possible, since we only wanted to create an ‘illustrated manual’ on farming, of which I had limited knowledge. Her work consisted only of eight pages; so she was already done with it the next day. The Elf Saint kept on expressing her doubts, like, “Are you sure these would make do?”

“I read it, so I knew it will serve its purpose,” I reassured her. “That’s why I’m here; it’s for quality checks. No worries; I’ll throw it to the trash if it sucks.”

“Wow, such encouragement for me there, don’t you think?”

“I’ll be frank with you, you can do better but time is of the essence. You put your name on the front page?”

“I already did,” Her Lazy Holiness nodded. “I wondered if I would use a pen name, but in the end, I just put my real one.”

“Yes, you should use your real name,” I replied, relieved I won’t have to lie further to convince the Lady Hinwe to put her true identity on her works. “Unless you’re drawing hentai, you won’t need to use a pen name.”

“What about my assassins?”

I gave her a long stare before asking, “I thought you’re ready to die? Aren’t you telling me that before? You already gaining your will to live?”

“I’m ready to die, but I’m not rushing to it.”

I chuckled, “No worries, I’m just being sarcastic. The paladins and the militia are coordinating with the intelligence people from Cherwind and the Federal Republic to take care of them, should there be any threats.

“I see…you got it all covered, huh?"

“That’s why you should keep on working."

“What’s going on? You’re rushing?”

I never replied. I guess I had to keep the matter of my ‘own’ church springing up in New Elebor, at least for now. I just said, “With these manuals, we can help the people of Maverny practice sustainable farming methods, increasing our yields enough to prepare for possible famines. If it goes well, we can even export products to other fiefs and kingdoms.”

“You put too much credit in my work.”

“Likewise. You underestimate the power of propaganda.”

The Elf Saint then grabbed one of the finished copies and started reading. In the corner of my eyes, I watched her, and so far, what I could tell from her expressions was that she was pleased with her work.

“I can’t believe that drawings would have a powerful impact. I always have the impression that anime and manga are exclusive for entertainment purposes only,” I heard her say. “I should create better artworks for these!”

Nah. Even other drawing styles have potential to be used to anything; from road signs, to stores and even instructional materials like these,” I replied. “Well, as for your chance, there’s always a next time. Don’t worry, Your Holiness, we got lots of print-outs to produce. The people need proper information, anyway.”

The Lady Hinwe ignored what I said. She never took her eyes off the prints, especially on the part where her name was prominently displayed. Perhaps Her Lazy Holiness was happy her work was one-step away from the mangas she adored, I don’t know. What’s important was that, she’s slowly gaining her will to take charge.


***The city of Amaranth, capital of the Kingdom of Amaranth…***

The capital city of Chersea’s most financially-successful kingdom was home to a sizeable population of elves, most of them migrated from Cherwoods in the aftermath of the Imperial War and the Great Rising of the Undead. With their relative prosperity and considerable influence in the affairs of the human kingdom, Umberto knew this was a perfect place to start his mission to spread words about the Lady Hinwe.


The plan was simple. During the ‘rest hours’ of the workers and farmers, his agents would come inside the taverns. The Lord Kuro provided money for them to ‘treat people to drinks’, giving the impression that they got rich because of following the advice on the manga of the Elf Saint. Umberto, seeking to make it even more believable, had already employed elves for this endeavor, and had them scattered around Amaranth’s reputable taverns and inns. They’d get ‘drunk’, tell others about the Lady Hinwe’s ‘greatness’, invite the crowd for merrymaking, and watch the stories spread like wildfire to the elvish communities.

Alcohol is always a sure way to make someone lower their guards and to make an impression, after all.

And, to make sure his schemes worked, Umberto personally observed one of his people’s operation.

“Drinks are on me, everyone!” his ‘agent’ shouted, as their plans began. “Feel free to celebrate with me!”

“What’s going on?” the crowd asked, surprised by the behavior of the elf.

“Our farms yielded more harvest than we expected! And it’s all thanks to Her Holiness, the Lady Hinwe!”

“The Lady Hinwe?” murmurs started to spread. “Isn’t she the elf saint?”

“Yes!” the elf then brought out a ‘farming manga’, with Her Holiness’ name on it. “I just followed her advises here, and boom! Our profits are off the charts!”

“Really?” One among the crowd—another agent hired by Umberto—borrowed the manga the Elf Saint made, and pretended to read it. “Oh! Some of the advice here are actually true! It’s how we do farming as well!” He showed to everyone the drawings, in a subtle attempt to tell them, ‘you can understand her illustrations!’

“Hey, where can we get that book?”

“Can you even read?”

“Are you an idiot? I may not read, but I can see the drawings well!”

“Ah, before you go, here! Drink whatever you want! It’s on me! Three cheers for Her Holiness the Lady Hinwe!”


The agent then told them where they could get a copy. Soon, the crowd were moving out of the tavern to check on the Lady Hinwe’s works. The spymaster, Umberto Benicci, smiled; the first step of his mission was a resounding success.


***The village of New Elebor…***

A young elf ran thought the dirt road that dissected the village of New Elebor, an hour even before the long sleep ended. In his hands were several copies of the Elf Saint’s ‘An Instruction to Farming’ manga she made at the direction of the Lord Kuro.

“Lady Manahad! Lady Manahad!” his voice echoed throughout the entire settlement, rousing those who were still in the middle of their long sleep.

The village chief, initially alarmed at the sudden commotion, showed at the door of her house. “What’s wrong, Cormin? Why are you screaming and running this early?”

“You better look at this, milady!” the elf handed her, and some other village elders, copies of the manga. “I saw it being given for free in Maverny, and took some to bring here.”

“What’s wrong with this? All I can see is people with what look like bubbles coming from their mouths, as well as some words,” a village elder pointed out.

“Well, the Beastmen that are distributing these say that those bubbles with words mean what the characters are saying,” Cormin told them. “Basically, it’s like a talking book! But what’s even more strange is the name of the author. Look at the front page!”

The village chief and her elders quickly turned to where Cormin told them to look. Much to everyone’s surprise, they found a familiar name on the cover.

“This is…”

“Hinwe Tal-Inwir?” the Lady Manahad raised an eyebrow. “Isn’t this the name of Her Holiness the Elf Saint?”

“Indeed, it is!”

The Lady Manahad’s sleepiness dissipated as she skimmed once again through its pages. Unlike the humans, many of the elves living in Chersea were literate, as they knew they were in a foreign land, thus they wanted to preserve their culture through writing their histories. As such, the village chief and her elders understood well the contents of the holy lady’s work.

One of the elders stared at the Lady Manahad. “Milady…”

“These images, Her Holiness drew this?” she couldn’t believe herself, though at the end of the book, it was clearly stated that it was authored and illustrated by the Lady Hinwe.

“Not only Her Holiness knew how to draw pretty images, she knows a lot about farming as well!” another elder added. “This is how humans and Beastmen in Cherwind do their farming techniques, and look how prosperous they are back there!”

“Wow…it’s just what our fathers and mothers say: the Lady Hinwe knows a lot about farming, and our ancestors never listened to her!”

The Lady Manahad then said, “Let’s keep these talking books and have the young ones learn through this!”

“I agree!” an elder backed her. “However…”

“However what?

“I’m worried,” the elder replied. “If the Lady Hinwe published this talking book here in Chersea, then it only means she’s here!”

A sense of dread suddenly enveloped the community, as they realized the saint their parents abhorred was in the land where they thought they were safe from her. However, the Lady Manahad didn’t let their spirits dampened. She stood in the middle of the group and declared,

“Don’t worry, my kin! Though Her Holiness the Lady Hinwe may be here, we will be spared from her wrath! After all, our new god—the Lord Kuro of Arles—will be our protector and savior! Have faith in him!”


***The city of Dorian, Cherwoods…***

The news of the bloodbath in Cendorin finally reached Dorian, and brought new fear to its weary population. While the Lord Ingwer heard the events that led to the massacre, he couldn’t bring himself to believe that Mister Kuro—in his capacity as Her Holiness’ adviser—would order such atrocity. He had different experience of him when they met at the Saint’s palace, after being turned away by the arrogant palace officials.

“Perhaps someone among the palace officials countermanded his orders?” the elf lord asked.

However, the messenger shook his head. “It is well-known among the other cities that the human even encouraged the Elf Saint’s Life Guards to decimate Cendorin’s population. Now some elders from the cities of Hinnim, Audulek, and Nondorin sent your servant to forge an alliance in case something happens.”

“You’re not being clear, messenger. What do you mean by ‘in case something happens?’”

Milord, if your ears decided to hear the reason behind the proposal, will you join us? For this is meant for those who are decided to uphold the lives of our people.”

“Speak,” the Lord Ingwer ordered. “You have my word to join your cause.”

The messenger then took a deep breath and said, “The cities of Hinnim, Audulek, and Nondorin are looking for allies for an upcoming war.”

The elders of the city of Dorian rose from their seats upon hearing that. “War?” the Lord Ingwer repeated. “Against whom?”

“The longer we allow that human dictate the terms in the name of Her Holiness the Elf Saint, the more of our people will suffer and die. The leaders of Hinnim, Audulek and Nondorin are asking you, elders of Dorian, to join our righteous case…to save our people from annihilation—from both the advancing sands and the human vermin on Her Holiness’ side!”

“You…” another elder spoke. “…your cities must still be far away from the sands that you can think of such things! We’re already suffering as it is; we have no plans in sending our children and brothers to certain death by joining your wars!”

“The Lord Ingwer has given his word!” the messenger pointed out. “Now it’s time for him to uphold the end of this deal!”

Everyone’s eyes fell on the Dorian chief, and at that moment, the Lord Ingwer wished to disappear from his spot. Nevertheless, having been trapped into agreeing, he declared, “Once we elves have given our word to our kin, then we’re duty-bound to keep it. Besides, it’s still uncertain that we’ll go to war. I surmise the elders of Hinnim, Audulek and Nondorin are also watching and observing, while gathering strength, should the situation turn for the worse.” He glared at the messenger to confirm his words, which the elf did.


***A few hours later, the city of Dorian…***

The aftermath of that meeting with the messenger from the other cities weighed heavily in the Lord Ingwer’s mind. While he didn’t like what’s happening with Her Holiness the Elf Saint, he didn’t hate her enough to pick up arms against her. However, it’s not like he couldn’t understand where his fellow elders from the other settlements were coming from. The Grand Canal project had already killed a lot of their kin from overwork, and some of the elves who were supposed to guide and help with the construction turned sadistic and caused suffering for many of its workers.

Not only that, the Elf Saint’s Life Guards also became abusive, and murdered an entire city that lay on the path of the canal. Such atrocities would naturally prod the elves into rebelling against the person behind the violence.


And he knows it’s not Her Holiness the Lady Hinwe.


“Thank you for waiting for us, Lord Ingwer!”

The elf lord turned and bowed before the lady wearing a black mourning dress and her companions. As part of the Lord Kuro’s schemes, they established contact with him, sending elvish spies through his city and into Cherwoods. And this was the third visit of the Cherseans…

The Saint of the Flame, Seirna Stephanie, had no difficulty teleporting inside Cherwoods wherever she pleased, for the ‘border closure’ was only being enforced by the elf militaries, and not the saint in-charge of the realm. With her was the spymaster, Umberto Benicci, and the duke of Maverny himself, Kuro of Arles. The Lord Ingwer, though he knew the truth of the identity of the impostor in the Saint’s Tree, was still unnerved at the sight of the otherworlder…the stories attributed to him were still fresh in the elf lord’s mind.

“How is Her Holiness?” the Lord Ingwer asked, as he made sure that the room where they were in was secure, though Seirna and Umberto already did some precautions.

“The Lady Hinwe is fine, milord,” Kuro answered. “And our plan to help her regain herself is going well.”

“That’s good to hear.”

“Why?” the duke noticed the anxiety in the Lord Ingwer. “Is something bothering you, milord?

“The Lord Ingwer wants us to hurry,” the Saint of the Flame revealed, reading through the elf lord’s mind.


“Yes, Your Grace,” the Lord Ingwer confirmed. “A messenger from the other elf cities came in earlier, asking for my city’s allegiance to their cause. They are planning to spark a rebellion aiming to overthrow your impostor at the tree palace. I wish to avoid bloodshed; my people are already decimated and demoralized from the sands and inaction of my kin.”

Kuro, Seirna and Umberto exchanged glances, and it was the spymaster who revealed to the elf lord, “Then, if you want to avoid excessive and nonsensical bloodshed, we need to ask for your support to our cause.”

“Please don’t make me kill my kin.”

“We won’t,” Umberto reassured him. “And that’s why we need to ask your further cooperation with us.” He gave him copies of the Lady Hinwe’s work.

“What’s this?” the elf lord skimmed through the pages. “Some type of a picture book?”

“It’s called ‘manga’, milord,” Kuro explained. “Not only to display the actions of the characters, there are also texts written that means the words they are saying in there. However, the Lady Hinwe did tell me that most of the elves here are non-literate?”

“Yes, Your Grace.”

“But you think those drawings can be understood as it is?”

“We can help them understand more by having someone read it to them,” Umberto proposed. “In Chersea, some humans and elves organized reading groups to further understand what is written in those books.”

“That would be great!” the Lord Ingwer clapped his hands.

“Also, it can be a great pastime for your people,” Kuro added. “And with pastimes, the frustrations and fear of the population are lessened, making them less susceptible to rebellions.”

“I see…” there was a hint of doubt in the elf lord’s voice, which was quickly noticed by the saint.

“Well, milord, we’re counting on you,” Seirna warned the Lord Ingwer, giving his shoulder a pat. “I don’t want to kill anyone; but if it will harm the system and order established by the Lord Gaius, I will be forced to move my hand. Let’s try to avoid that tragedy, shall we?”

Kuro couldn’t help but be thankful that Seirna was already on their side nowadays…