The Elf Saint is a NEET, so I Forced Her to Work in Another World, Vol. 16
***Somewhere in Cherwoods, ages long ago…***
When Meanor decided she had enough, she resolved that she would never return to her mother’s home once she stepped out of its door. And that, she did. Carrying a bag that was almost half her size, she disappeared into the ancient forest tracks and dirt roads of Cherwoods.
‘Don’t come looking for me,’ she wrote in her farewell letter, which she left at the dinner table. ‘From now on, I quit this family.’
And so, with emotions running high, the young elf started her journey into the unknown.
However, while it was the land of the elves, the great ancient forests of Cherwoods still posed a danger to any young elf foolish enough to venture to its treacherous network of dirt roads, narrow tracks, and winding paths that sometimes led to nowhere. Squalls would add to the danger, as it would suddenly pour, followed by flash floods—usually coming down from the elevated areas. The muddy waters would inundate the lower regions, forcing the young Meanor to take detours to avoid it.
But in an effort to keep herself dry, the elf girl lost track of her destination. The thick forest canopy and the heavy clouds didn’t help in her navigation, as it obscured any distinguishable signs she could use to reorient herself on the journey. And, to complicate matters more, the greatest threat of a forest—wild animals driven by the floods—would come looking for food for survival.
It was something Meanor expected. Stories from her late mercenary father taught her the value of journeying prepared. Hence, she brought her father’s sword—an elvish blade of dwarven make—to protect herself from such situations. When a wild creature known as ‘Blaerbok’ (it looked like a bear with the head of a bird) cornered her as its potential food, she took the sword out, and pointed it towards the monster.
Nevertheless, for such a young elf girl, Meanor’s slender arms weren’t suited for handling a sword just yet. Its weight could barely keep her from holding it, and she knew that if she swung the blade, she would fly to the ground with it.
But the Blaerbok, moving at the dictation of its stomach, charged. It attacked Meanor, beak first and ready to impale her to the tree behind her. The elf had to dodge sideways, though she was nearly caught. Blaerboks may have big, burly bodies, but it moved so fast that Meanor could barely keep up. Not to mention, its bear was as hard as steel, early elves used it for their primitive weapons.
When the creature saw its attack had failed, it tried to peck the elf girl, lying helplessly on the ground. Meanor, still reeling from her evasion attempt earlier, had to roll away to avoid the incoming barrage of Blaerbok beak. For such a small body, it was a tiring effort—yet her adrenaline, and steadfast will not to die kept her going. However, she had to let go of her father’s sword, for it hindered her movement.
“Mama!!!” the young elf cried, and screamed as regrets raced in her head. She shouldn’t have left home! She should’ve just stayed there even if she is angry at her mother!
Mama, I’m sorry!
“That’s nice! You shouldn’t fight your mama.”
At once, a blast of water hit the Blaerbok to its head, decapitating the creature even before it knew it was hit. With a dull thud, the monster fell lifeless to the ground, splashing its golden-yellow blood to a shocked Meanor.
“This is a good sword,” a beautiful elf-lady with long blue hair, blue pair of eyes, and flowing robes stood before her, and picked her father’s sword. “Hello, Meanor, daughter of Ulve! I see you wanted to go on an adventure on your own, yet your mother did not allow you. Is it why you left home?”
The elf girl, though she was still in shock, nodded.
The elf lady smiled and uttered a spell. Then, much to Meanor’s alarm, water suddenly sprang forth from under her. She attempted to escape, but the water—acting like a sentient slime—caught her foot and returned her inside its body. The little girl could only close her eyes because she thought she would drown—
Wait…she’s all fine even with all that water wrapping her!
Then, the elf lady caused the water to dissipate at a gesture of her finger. With a gentle smile, she told the little elf girl, “There! You’re all clean now!”
Meanor checked her clothes to make sure. Not only it became spotless, it was also completely dry, as if she was not drenched in water a while ago. The young elf girl immediately realized the identity of the person who just save her life…
“Y-Your Holiness!” she blurted out.
The Elf Saint nodded and winked at her. Then, she reached out a hand, “Come! It’s not safe here for little elves, no matter how brave they are, like you Meanor.”
Little Meanor, though she wanted to take the Saint’s hand, hesitated. Now that the danger had passed, her thoughts went back to the reason she left her mother. The elf girl wanted to go on an adventure, following the footsteps of her father, around the five realms.
“Ah, I know that look, cheeky child!” the Lady Hinwe chuckled. “Don’t worry, little one! I’ll talk to your mother about your plans; just don’t leave her so suddenly again, okay?”
When Meanor was older enough, her mother Ulve finally allowed to ‘see the worlds’, as was her goal, with the Lady Hinwe as her support. Influenced by her father’s stories during his time as a mercenary, the elf had long desired to cross the borders of Cherwoods and into Chersea and Cherwind, back when conflicts raged in those realms. Meanor eventually joined a mercenary company, traveling and fighting wars for local lords in the human lands, or for the human armies battling beastmen tribes in beastmen territory.
However, while she did enjoy the journeys she had with her mercenary group, a letter eventually came to her. Meanor was shocked; it was from the Lady Hinwe herself, asking her to come back to Cherwoods.
Her mother, the Lady Ulve, is dying.
And so, Meanor had to cut herself from her mercenary friends and return to Cherwoods. The Lady Ulve—the Elf Saint’s most trusted servant—eventually died while her daughter was en route, much to Meanor’s disbelief and sadness. When she appeared at the Saint’s Tree palace grounds, her mother was already buried…
She didn’t even say goodbye to her…
Her source of comfort came from Her Holiness herself, with the Elf Saint often checking on her at every opportunity. Meanor kept blaming herself for leaving her mother, who always thought of her (as per Lady Hinwe’s story), and died without ever seeing her again. The holy lady never let the daughter of her beloved maid alone, perhaps reading what’s on her mind during those trying moments.
In the end, Meanor recovered from her sadness. And she told the Elf Saint that she would return to her mercenary group…
“Yes, I understand,” the Lady Hinwe smiled at her. “You sure have grown up like your father, little Meanor! Brave and adventurous!”
“Thank you for taking care of me, Your Holiness,” she bowed before her. “I will never forget this generosity you showed to me and my family…”
“Ah, I love Ulve like my own mother,” the Elf Saint admitted. “As such, I love you like my little sister.”
“Thank you, milady…I sure am lucky to have you as my ‘big sister’. Well then, Your Holiness,” Meanor waved goodbye. “Please guide me wherever I go.”
“Yes, farewell, little Mea! I’ll always pray for your success and safety.”
The elf mercenary then went off on her journey once again. However, just as she went past the doors that led to the courtyard of the Tree Palace…
“That elf should just die!”
Meanor quickly hid herself from the view of the palace officials, who had gathered in one spot to talk about something. At first, she thought it was some other elf, but then…
“Yes, we know. But the longer she reigned, the bigger our chance to profit!”
“Our people are dying because of the sands!”
“Who cares about the people? With the Lady Hinwe around and not trying to rule, we can manipulate people into following her ‘decrees’ we wrote ourselves. It’s even better now that Ulve died; at least, we can do whatever we want now!”
The daughter of Ulve covered her mouth herself, in an instinctive effort to silence her breathing. She couldn’t believe what she just heard; the palace officials were conspiring against the Elf Saint, and without her mother around, they would surely abuse their ‘newfound’ influence.
The face of her mercenary friends flashed through her mind as Meanor decided on her next course of action. If she delayed now, who knew when would be the next time she would have the courage to leave Cherwoods and return to a mercenary life? And what about the promise Lady Hinwe struck with her mother? Would she just waste it all?
And then, taking a deep breath, the daughter of Ulve took her father’s sword, put it in her bag, and retraced her footsteps back into the room of the Lady Hinwe.
In the name of her mother Ulve, Meanor will serve Her Holiness the Lady Hinwe Tal-Inwir and protect her from those abusive people…