The Saint Series 4: The Elf Saint is a NEET, so I Forced Her to Work in Another World, Vol. 17
***The Saint’s Tree Palace, in the past…***
“W-Wait, what does Her Holiness mean by ‘disguising’ myself as the Lord Kuro?” was all the Lord Gerard of Yusave blurted out when he was let in the Elf Saint’s plan.
“It is what it is, Gerard,” Meanor was the one who answered for her mistress. “Her Holiness the Lady Hinwe will go to the exhibits in Chersea, and ‘disappear’ for some time. While we are gone, you’ll hold the fort as the ‘Lord Kuro’.”
“I understand Her Holiness’ desire to come to the exhibits in Chersea,” the elf guard pointed out, throwing a glance to the Lady Hinwe. “However, I’m appalled at the mere fact that I would have to disguise myself as that human you summoned!”
Meanor, who was already irritated at the questions Gerard kept on asking, was about to give her nasty reply, when the Elf Saint herself took over. “Lord Gerard,” Her Holiness began. “Please take note that this responsibility I’m giving you will not be easy.” She paused for a bit, looking towards the door of her room, wary of anyone who could’ve been eavesdropping at their talk. By this time, her god-power ability to read minds was lost. “Once we disappear, I’m sure these palace officials of mine would try to take over. They’d exploit the power vacuum that will be created, and rule over our people in my name. Of course, only a fool would say that they want what’s best for everyone; these elves only think for themselves.”
“Yes, I’m aware of Her Holiness’ purpose,” the elf guard couldn’t hide the annoyance in his tone. “My concern is the reason behind my disguise. I can always go around the palace as myself!”
“You know our people’s attitude towards other races. If they know I left a human in-charge of the elves, they’d surely expose their rebellious thoughts,” the Lady Hinwe reiterated. “That’s where you’d come in, Lord Gerard. I’m giving you the authority—as the Lord Kuro—to arrest these treasonous fools in my name!”
“Besides,” Meanor interjected, “while you’re a member of the Life Guards, milord you’re still an elf. If your identity is exposed—or should we leave you as yourself, and you have to take ‘difficult’ decisions, your life will surely be in danger. On the other hand, the Lord Kuro is a human, and if we believe his story that the Human Saint of Chersea, the Beastman Saint of Cherwind and the Demon Saint have his back, then it will surely intimidate our enemies against taking a move that will harm him.”
“You’re…” the elf guard had difficulty bringing out what was on his mind, “…you’ll be using the Lord Kuro’s connections to the other saints to protect me?”
The two elves nodded. And the Lady Hinwe added, “Look, I can always take you with me Gerard. However, this time, the Lord Kuro is from Chersea, so he knows that place. If there’s anyone qualified to escort us there, it is him.”
“Also, milord…” the elf maid took Gerard’s hands. “Please…you’re the only one we can rely on in this plan. Not even Sir Eldarv has Her Holiness’ confidence. Will you help us?”
Gerard fell silent for a few moments, as he weighed his options against the pleas of his beloved fiancée, the Lady Meanor. Still, even as he thought of the risks for their plan, the elvish lord couldn’t help but be swayed by the pleas of his sweetheart…made even sweeter by those beautiful puppy-like eyes she was making for him.
“Milady…” the elf guard countered. “While my heart will certainly long for your face, and for the loving guidance of our beloved saint, I can’t help but think you’re just avoiding me.”
“Perish the thought!” the maid chuckled. “This lady would never think of such things!”
“Still, whenever I ask you out, you always refuse. Or you have something else to do. And now, you’re going to Chersea with—”
“Really, believe me!” Meanor cut him off. “I’m Her Holiness’ faithful servant, so it’s a given we’re busy!”
“Don’t believe her, Gerard,” the Lady Hinwe whispered. “She’s got lots of idle time—”
“However,” the maid raised her voice to drown the saint’s words, “even with all of my responsibilities, my heart still belongs to you, my beloved lord! Yours, even as you’re busy with your friends drinking and merrymaking…”
Gerard and the Lady Hinwe exchanged nervous glances. Though they never uttered a single word, they understood each other: yep, Meanor was angry.
“And so,” she declared, “since my loving lord spends so much time with his beloved friends, this humble maiden in love thinks it’s only fair that she gets to enjoy her travels with her friend as well!”
“A-Ahem, while I’m surely overjoyed you think of me as your travel-worthy friend, please don’t drag me in your lover’s quarrel, Mea—”
“Please shut up, Your Holiness!”
Meanor then turned back to Gerard. “You’re the only one we can rely on for this plan to work, milord. Will you help us or not?”
“D-Do I have the right to choose?”
“Yes. But if you answered no, I won’t talk to you ever again.”
The elf guard took a deep breath, and kneeled before the Lady Hinwe, “My life and my sword are yours.”
“Great!” the maid clapped her hands, smiling…though behind that façade, Gerard and the Lady Hinwe could tell that Meanor’s anger didn’t completely vanish.
Nevertheless, now that they had the Lord Gerard’s consent, the elf saint cast a spell on him. It drastically changed the elf guard’s appearance to that of the Lord Kuro.
***The upper deck of the steam ship, Saint Theodosia III, flagship of the Cherwoods’ Expeditionary Forces’ Fleet, present day…***
Meanor looked towards the direction of the Saint’s Tree Palace, the outline of which was barely visible from the spot in the Gulf of Cherwoods where their ships were anchored. Part of the huge invasion fleet of Chersean, Beastmen, and Demon ships had began laying down smokescreen and creeping bombardments on the port village and beachhead in front of them. Small boats full of soldiers rowed to the shore, ready to set foot and invade once the ‘blitz’ shelling of the elvish positions ceased.
The invasion of Cherwoods has begun.
“Are you alright, Mea?”
“!!!” The elf maid’s train of thoughts were interrupted when she heard the familiar voice of her mistress come from behind. “Your Holiness!” she exclaimed, making a little bow to greet her. “What brings you here? I thought…”
“I can’t stay idle back in Chersea and hide behind the safety of the crossings; this is my people we’re talking about here,” the Lady Hinwe admitted. “I did tell Lady Rubinforth I’ll come here to oversee the operations, and she is glad to send me as well.”
“Oh…right,” the maid had a sarcastic smile on her face.
“Well, she’s not the only one I and Lady Seirna had to deal with,” the elf saint added. “The Lady Ruro, and the Lady Natasha were a handful as well. It’s a good thing that the Human Saint’s head maid, Lady Lily and the Paladins helped us in restraining those three. The Lord Kuro gave me specific instructions not to let them teleport here, after all.”
“I can only imagine your pains, Your Holiness.”
“Haha…yes…” there was a hint of exhaustion on Her Holiness’ face. “But more than anything, the Human Head Maid and the other ladies from the Beastmen and Demon peoples gave me a stern ‘advice’ not to let anything happen to the Lord Kuro.”
“Of course, it’s a given that the Beastman Saint and the Demon Saint would be up in arms, along with the other ladies as well,” Meanor laughed. “They never hid the fact that they’re competing for the heart of that human from another world!”
“It’s not like I can’t understand them,” the Lady Hinwe countered. “I mean, they knew up to what lengths the Lord Kuro would give just to get to his goals, and now that ‘history is repeating’ once again, they can’t help but worry. You know his story; I won’t summon him if he never let himself trapped in the old demon realm together with that Creature from the Void.”
“Nevertheless, I believe in the Lord Kuro. He told me he’ll help me before, and that, he did. And now, he said he’ll come back safe; I choose to trust him.”
“I’m happy that you find him worthy of your concerns, Your Holiness…”
Silence then ruled between them. In the far distance, they could hear the thundering explosions coming from their own ships, peppering the enemy elves’ defensive works with the barrage of their own. Meanor heaved a sigh, and continued…
“I’m just hoping that Gerard would cease this stupid rebellion of his.”
“Of course, more than my guard, the Lord Gerard is also a dear friend,” the elf saint added. “But then, I guess this is revenge for my inaction as the saint.”
“It’s not your fault!”
“I know…at least, not my fault entirely. However, I also did foolish things that lead to this. And in his anger, he let himself be consumed by the ‘Seductress’,” the Lady Meanor could only shake her head. “Well, not that I can do anything anymore; it’s too late. We can only place our hopes on the Lord Kuro.”
“Yes…I’d like to believe him as well,” the elf maid smiled. “It’s quite funny to see that a human—an entirely complete stranger from another world, who’s supposed to have nothing to do with our affairs—is risking his life now to fix the mistakes we did.”
“I don’t know with that guy!” the elf saint’s cheeks suddenly blushed. “But, while I think he’s crazy, he’s easy to love, you know?”