Chapter 7:

CHAPTER 6: ERIS LOVES TO EAT

The Human Saint is Bored, so I was Summoned to Another World Vol. 1


Ahh…finally, I’m all healed and recovered!Bookmark here

Well, now that I survived my first-ever sickness in Chersea, I went back to my usual ‘daily’ routine, which was looking for some odd jobs, and go reading at the library when I had nothing else to do.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

And, uh, I guess that maid, Eris, was from the Housekeeping Department. If so, it was her duty to clean the areas given to her every change of season. If I remember correctly, this current season, her duty was at the library.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Well, for such a maid, being assigned to the library was kind of a…how do I say it, ‘punishment’ perhaps? I mean, this place was enormous, and there were a lot of corners and shelves to clean. Not to mention, the building itself was six stories high.Bookmark here

Honestly, I don’t know, and I thought I should just keep my reservations to myself.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

I went back to reading some books while Eris kept on cleaning the library room. She would shift the tall piles of books back and forth and then wipe the dust off some top shelves. The maid kept on repeating this all the while I silently watch—I mean, read.Bookmark here

God, I think she’s utterly tired.Bookmark here

“Hey.”Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

I immediately grabbed the pile of books that Eris was carrying. I guess I surprised her when I called out to her, and she fell with all the books, almost crushing her.Bookmark here

“M-Mister Kuro!” Eris uttered in-between her labored breaths, “Eris thought that you’re reading over there!”Bookmark here

“Well, I’m not anymore, as you can see. Here, why don’t you let me carry those for you?”Bookmark here

Err…uh, it’s heavy…”Bookmark here

“I know. That’s why I’m helping you.” I took the books she was carrying. And—Bookmark here

Fuck! This is heavy! How did a kid like her even carried this?Bookmark here

“A-are you alright, Mister Kuro?” a worried Eris asked, “Y-your face is blue…”Bookmark here

“I…am…okay! Hnnngggghhhh!” I carried those books with all my might. Damn, I can’t lose to a kid! “Where do I put these?”Bookmark here

Ah! Over there, Mister Kuro!” I sprinted to the place she showed and dropped the pile before putting the books back on their proper shelves.Bookmark here

And honestly, I think I broke a couple of bones carrying that single tower of books.Bookmark here

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We finally finished sorting the books that were piling up in that certain part of the library.Bookmark here

“Haa…haa…haa…”Bookmark here

“Are you alright?”Bookmark here

“Y-yeah…haa…haa…” I barely answered Eris’ question, “L-let me…catch my breath…for a bit.”Bookmark here

I laid down on the library’s carpeted floor, spreading my arms and legs like that Vitruvian drawing. I’m utterly exhausted; I guess we fixed about a thousand books scattered around that room alone. Bookmark here

Well, the act of carrying books was quite easy; just get the right numbers you could take. However, the next thing that you should do—putting those back in their proper shelves…that’s pretty tiring. And for someone who wasn’t exactly that athletic, climbing up and down the ladders for a duration had taken a toll on my body.Bookmark here

I need to do some exercises soon.Bookmark here

Eris sat beside me. She’s tired as well, but that took some load off her work.Bookmark here

“So, what’s next?”Bookmark here

“Eh?” Eris’ eyes almost popped from their sockets, “You’ll help Eris again, Mister Kuro?”Bookmark here

“Well, I guess I can take a few more beatings.” I replied while showing her my muscles—if there’s anything to show, “Just let me rest for a bit.”Bookmark here

Eris fell quiet. She just looked at me with a dumb expression.Bookmark here

“You fine?” I tapped her shoulder, afraid she might’ve fainted from exhaustion.Bookmark here

Ah, yes!”Bookmark here

“I see…”,Bookmark here

Uh…Mister Kuro…”Bookmark here

“Yep?”Bookmark here

“Why are you so kind to Eris?”Bookmark here

“Seriously, you’re asking me that?” I couldn’t help but chuckle at her question, “Isn’t it because you’re tired?”Bookmark here

“Oh…”Bookmark here

“What, were you expecting something else?”Bookmark here

“N-nothing.” Eris shook her head. But then, she continued, “Is Mister Kuro alright with this?”Bookmark here

“Alright with what?”Bookmark here

“Eris has nothing to give you…”Bookmark here

“It’s not bad to accept kindness from people from time to time, you know.”Bookmark here

“But…you’re a boy…”Bookmark here

Hoh…I almost forgot the fact that Eris was a maid at this place, which hated men to a certain degree thinking we were all rabid perverts. I’m getting where this conversation was going…Bookmark here

“Ahem.” I cleared my throat, “If you’re thinking I’d ask something ‘difficult’ from you because I helped you, you’re mistaken, Miss Maid. I just wanted to help, so let’s leave it at that, okay?”Bookmark here

Eris went quiet once again. So, I guess I hit the target?Bookmark here

“I’ll tell them they’re wrong.” I heard Eris muttered those words. Could she be referring to the other maids? Well, it’d be a great help if she told them I’m just a harmless idiot from another world…Bookmark here

But well, I’ll just pretend I didn’t hear that.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

I think I heard another loud grumbling stomach once again. I turned to Eris, and her face was bright red.Bookmark here

Uhh…want to grab something to eat first before going back to work?” I knew she’d be embarrassed to admit she’s hungry, so instead, I offered her a face-saving question.Bookmark here

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What do you mean you’re out of food?” I couldn’t help but raise my voice when I learned that the Kitchen Department had no food left.Bookmark here

“Well, it can’t be helped.” The head of the Kitchen Department—I think her name’s Jessica—replied with equal aggressiveness, “We issued the call for lunch, but you guys didn’t hear it.”Bookmark here

“We didn’t hear it alright.” I admitted, “Eris and I were too busy with work that we might haven’t noticed it.”Bookmark here

“So then, it’s your loss.” From her voice and manners, this Jessica was provoking us.Bookmark here

“Come on, isn’t there anything left?” I asked, lowering my tone to keep the situation calm, “Can’t you set aside something for us, at least?”Bookmark here

“Are you trying to give orders to me?”Bookmark here

Uh, no. Sorry about that.”Bookmark here

“Well, as long as you know your place here, boy, that’s fine with me.” Jessica smiled; her eyes had that haughty look.Bookmark here

This bitch…Bookmark here

“M-mister Kuro, Eris thinks we should just g-go…” Eris pulled my sleeves.Bookmark here

However, I got something else on my mind.Bookmark here

Uhh…Kitchen Head Maid…” Well, I didn’t know what to call this bitch, Jessica. If I used her name, she might go ballistic once again, and I’d like to avoid that. “Could it be possible if I asked for some ingredients to cook?”Bookmark here

“What? You’re cooking?” the bitch asked, as if I said the most outrageous statement she heard. Well, isn’t it obvious, bitch? But, of course, I didn’t say that. If there’s a saying ‘beggars can’t be choosers’, I had that ‘beggars can’t be fighters’. I’d just went along with her in the meantime…Bookmark here

Uh, I guess I’m confident with my cooking skills.” I took care of my words, “However, it’s worst compared to yours, Kitchen Head Maid.”Bookmark here

“Well, of course!” the bitch replied with her usual arrogance, “Don’t compare trash with gold, boy.”Bookmark here

This girl’s getting into my nerves…Bookmark here

“And don’t you dare touch my utensils. You might get me pregnant.”Bookmark here

Err…seriously? You believe in that, bitch?Bookmark here

Uh, if I may speak, science has proven that touching your utensils—and even our skins—won’t get you pregnant…”Bookmark here

“Huh? Sayans? What’s that?”Bookmark here

Uhh…it’s something that runs the entire world. Err…well, at least in my old land.”Bookmark here

“I don’t care about your land.” the bitch then turned her back on me, “Use those old kitchen utensils at the back, I don’t want you touching any of my exquisite tools.”Bookmark here

Yes, don’t worry, the feeling is mutual, bitch.Bookmark here

But yeah, Jessica gave me something to cook in the end.Bookmark here

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Now prepare to be amazed!Bookmark here

I finally finished cooking the ingredients the Kitchen Head Bitch—ahem, I mean Maid—Jessica gave me. It’s a pretty simple dish; something that I always cook back in my old world.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Uh…what’s this garbage?” the Bitch had a horrified expression, “It doesn’t have an attractive color, smells terrible, and it’s only chicken meat and some seasonings.”Bookmark here

Eris also had the same anxious face when she saw the food that I prepared. Of course, to the rich and diverse cuisine of this world, my cooking paled in comparison. Well, sorry it turned out like that, but hey, it’s a popular food back in my country.Bookmark here

“Ahem.” I tried to save face, insisting that, “It’s a famous food back in my country, you know.”Bookmark here

“Your country is trash then.”Bookmark here

Bitch, don’t just spout whatever nonsense you come up with.Bookmark here

I kept quiet about it, and instead talked to the one I originally cooked this for, “Well, if you’re not eating this Eris, then I’ll go ahead.”Bookmark here

Uh, oh! Eris would also like to eat that!” she tried to smile at me to appear enthusiastic; however, I could see that she’s just pushing herself. But yeah, I still gave her some portions of my food.Bookmark here

Ugh, I can’t stand both of you eating that garbage.” the Bitch declared, shaking her head as she headed for the door, “I’m leaving! Just don’t forget to clean after yourselves!”Bookmark here

Fine with me! No one invited you to eat anyway, Bitch! Shoo!Bookmark here

“Oh!”Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

It was Eris who exclaimed. The Bitch and I turned to see what’s wrong.Bookmark here

“Hawawawawawa…” Eris’ expression seemed to be on ‘cloud nine’. She kept on putting spoonfuls of my dish in her mouth.Bookmark here

“I’m glad that you like it!” I couldn’t help but smile when I looked at her. At least someone appreciated my skills.Bookmark here

“Mister Kuro!” Eris’ eyes were sparkling, “The saltiness, sweetness, and sourness of the seasonings you used blended well with the slightly roasted chicken meat!”Bookmark here

The Bitch had her ears perked up now, her full attention fell on me. I thought you’re leaving?Bookmark here

“What do you call this dish?” Eris happily asked.Bookmark here

Oh, that?” I chuckled, “It’s called ‘Adobo’.” (1)Bookmark here

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And so, everything that begins well ends well.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Or so I thought.Bookmark here

“!!!” Bookmark here

I was about to sleep when I heard someone knocked on my door.Bookmark here

“Kuro?” It’s Lily.Bookmark here

Although I could still recall what happened back when I was sick, it’s still the Head Maid. I guess she’s back to her calm and collected self again? Well, no matter, I opened the door.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

And surprise, surprise! With her was no other than Her Holiness the Saint. Again.Bookmark here

Err…what’s up?” I let them in. Or rather, Her Holiness let herself in and sat on the nearest chair. Well, this is her place anyway, so I rather keep my mouth shut.Bookmark here

“Well, Lily dragged me here because apparently she wanted to ask about the food you cooked before.” Her Holiness explained.Bookmark here

Uh…I could’ve gone alone, Your Holiness.” Lily countered her; pouting and her arms crossed on her chest.Bookmark here

“Of course, I wouldn’t let you.” Her Holiness’ eyes stared at me, “Or there’ll be something ‘bad’ that would happen.”Bookmark here

Uhh…yeah she’s right. I just want to live my life here in a peaceful, ‘healthy’ manner.Bookmark here

“Anyway, she wants to know about your food.” Her Holiness’ attention went to Lily, and then turned back to me, “And actually, I’m also surprised that you can cook, Kuro.”Bookmark here

“Well, I can, Your Holiness. I had to. I live alone back in my old world.”Bookmark here

“That’s rather sad, don’t you think?” Lily commented.Bookmark here

Ohh…actually, I find it admirable.” Her Holiness quipped.Bookmark here

Nah. I’m used to it. Back in my world, when you’re not popular with the ladies, be prepared to live alone.” I casually said to them, of course. To hide that little bitterness within me.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Hey, don’t look at me with pity, Your Holiness.Bookmark here

“The ladies back in your land must’ve been fools,” Lily commented.Bookmark here

“Well, I think they’re just being intelligent.” I retorted. I would also like to add, ‘And they don’t lust for their siblings, too,’ but I kept silent about it.Bookmark here

Her Holiness exploded, laughing. She read my mind again.Bookmark here

I quickly changed the topic, “By the way, how d’you know about that time I cooked for Eris?”Bookmark here

“Well, Jessica imitated your dish and served it for my dinner,” Her Holiness explained. “The flavor pleasantly surprised me and had Lily ask her, and she told us what happened.”Bookmark here

“Oh…” Bookmark here

Wait, how did that bitch copy my dish? If I remember, I didn’t offer her a single drop of it. And Eris ate all that could be eaten, save for a few spoonfuls of the sauce…Bookmark here

Can it be—nah. It’s impossible. The bitch’s too arrogant to do what I had in mind.Bookmark here

“I’m even surprised when I read Jessica’s mind, that she would lick the empty bowls for a taste of the sauce.” Her Holiness added, “That proves how much she liked it.”Bookmark here

Good lord, I forgot this is a world of idiots.Bookmark here

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Anyway, I explained to Lily and Her Holiness how to prepare and cook that dish I brought from my world. Lily, as she was the Head Maid, listened to my instructions, focused as if I’m the only person who mattered to her. Her Holiness the Saint, as her usual random self, just loitered around my room, floating and swooping down whenever she pleased.Bookmark here

Honestly, you might hit someone if you do that, Your Holiness!Bookmark here

But Her Holiness ignored me and continued what she was doing. Maybe she’s not in the mood to read my mind?Bookmark here

So, I turned my attention to Lily, “Uh, Lily, you may put a little distance between us, you know?”Bookmark here

Hmm? I won’t be able to hear from you if I did that, Kuro.”Bookmark here

“Well, you could sit properly, at least,” I suggested. She was leaning her head on my shoulder.Bookmark here

“I can understand you better in this position.”Bookmark here

Seriously?Bookmark here

Lily was kind of clingy this time. And with Her Holiness flying around and keeping a watchful eye on us, it made the atmosphere inside the room extremely awkward.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“Well, you cooked for Eris, Kuro,” spite filled Lily’s voice, “I think it’s not too much of me to ask for your shoulder to lean on.”Bookmark here

Err…but we’re not—”Bookmark here

“Ahem.” I could hear Her Holiness clear her throat.Bookmark here

I need to be done with this quickly.Bookmark here

“A-anyway…” I continued my explanation, “Just let the food simmer until the seasonings dried up a little. You’ll know it when the sauce becomes thick. If that happens, you turn off the fire.”Bookmark here

Oh, that’s pretty easy,” Lily commented.Bookmark here

“It is. That’s why it’s the one I cooked for Eris.” I inserted that explanation, “There’s nothing special about it, you know.”Bookmark here

Lily fell silent. She just continued, leaning her head on my shoulder. I could feel the air of impending doom emanating from her as she tightened her grip on my arm.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Man, honestly, I didn’t find this bad; you know. Having someone who’s romantically attached with you, and stuff like that. And I think that’s pretty cute of her…Uhh, at this rate, I’d like to propose to you to be my girlfriend.Bookmark here

But Lily was head over heels about her dead brother, and because of that, I couldn’t exploit her feelings for my benefit, no matter how weird it was.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Besides, Eris is like a little sister to me, and it can’t be possible that she sees me as a potential lover. I’m ugly and an idiot.Bookmark here

“Oi.” It was Her Holiness, interrupting my train of thought, “You shouldn’t talk about other girls when someone is with you, you know.”Bookmark here

Come on, Eris is a kid, Your Holiness!Bookmark here

“She’s still a girl.” she countered.Bookmark here

God, it’s really hard to understand ladies.Bookmark here

Ah anyway…” I remembered something I needed to ask Lily, “Now that we’re talking about Eris, I’d like to call your attention to a matter concerning her.”Bookmark here

“Hm?”Bookmark here

“Well, it’s about her workload.” I explained, “Not that I’m meddling with your duties as Her Holiness’ servants, I just think her assignment in cleaning the entire library is too much. I mean, with a little body such as hers, she might get sick quickly or end up getting injured permanently.”Bookmark here

“Huh?” Lily sat upright with a confused look. “Why would Eris do that? She’s assigned to Her Holiness’ Grooming Department, not the Housekeeping.”Bookmark here

“Eh?” now it’s my turn to be surprised, “But she’s been doing that ever since I got summoned here. You think maybe Eris wanted to help with the other department’s duties?”Bookmark here

“That can’t be possible!” Lily shook her head, “We restrict our assignments in this place to us and only us. We can’t take over someone else’s work! Plus, it is also an impossible feat to clean the Saint’s library by herself! What’s the Housekeeping Department doing all this time?”Bookmark here

“Something’s not right.” Her Holiness finally entered the conversation, “That maid Eris got assigned to me because she was still a child. It’d be bad if she got sick because of the heavy work.”Bookmark here

“I will look into this matter, Your Holiness.” Lily had a grim expression on her face. It’s as if she’s about to hit someone for this problem.Bookmark here

“Yes, please do, Lily!” Her Holiness nodded.Bookmark here

“I will, Your Holiness.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, investigate it.”Bookmark here

“Of course, I will, Your Holiness.”Bookmark here

Uhh…so are you two going to continue trading answers and not do something?” I had to intervene; this was looking more stupid every minute that passed.Bookmark here

“Right…” Lily gracefully stood up and bowed, “I’ll go ahead then.”Bookmark here

She closed the door with a soft click.Bookmark here

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Ah, at last, I’m alone…Bookmark here

Well, make that ‘almost alone’. Her Holiness remained long after Lily went out to check on Eris.Bookmark here

Err…what are you still doing here, Your Holiness?Bookmark here

“What’s the matter?” she replied with a question, “This is my house as well, you know.”Bookmark here

Well, yeah, I know that. What I mean is, don’t you think that if someone else sees you inside my room, people will misunderstand and spread stupid rumors?Bookmark here

“Well, you said it: ‘stupid’ rumors. You think such petty words will affect me?” Her Holiness laughed.Bookmark here

Ah, you still need to think about your image, after all. I’m a boy and it’s kind of adverse publicity to have you spend time here alone with me. Even if you’re a Saint, you’re still a girl inside. Bookmark here

Err, I—” Her Holiness was taken aback by what I had in mind. Even if I’m much older than her, the Saint’s still a lady, and a stranger too, technically. Gender had nothing to do here, it’s all about morals and ethics. “K-Kuro, you i-idiot…” Her Holiness’ face was flustered, “You know how to play with a woman’s heart.”Bookmark here

What? I’m just thinking about your welfare and you’re accusing me of being a gigolo?Bookmark here

“W-will you try to s-speak? I l-look stupid here reading your mind.”Bookmark here

“Sorry.”Bookmark here

“Ahem.” Her Holiness cleared her throat, “A-anyway, uh…the reason I didn’t leave is that I need to tell you something.”Bookmark here

“Which is?”Bookmark here

“I’d like…” Her Holiness’ voice was soft; with meek eyes, she looked at me, “I’d like to thank you for taking care of my servants, Kuro. Not only to Eris now but also for what you did to Lily before…”Bookmark here

“Oh…uhm, don’t worry about it. I just did what I had to.” Well, it’s not that bad to see this side of the Saint. I mean, her puppy eyes were too cute for me to behold.Bookmark here

Hmph! Of course, I’m cute as always!” Her Holiness was back to her usual conceited self. Bookmark here

I think I like this version better, though.Bookmark here

“S-shut up!” the Saint went back to her cute blushing side. Bookmark here

What the hell? What version is the real you?Bookmark here

“So, yeah. Now that I said my thanks, I’ll now proceed with my warning.”Bookmark here

“Eh? Warning, Your Holiness?” It shocked me to hear those words. Did she come here to warn me about my ‘perverted’ thoughts?Bookmark here

“Yep. Be careful with my servants, Kuro.” Her Holiness had a happy, smiling face as she spoke, “You might end up being a wanted fugitive by the noble families in all of Chersea soon, you know.”Bookmark here

“Eh?” I almost jumped from my bed, “Why is that so? I have done nothing wrong with them!”Bookmark here

“Well, I know you didn’t.” Her Holiness playfully floated, “It’s just that, I don’t think any of those families will accept an otherworldly human with no apparent charming attributes other than his sincerity and sound mind as their kin.”Bookmark here

“W-what are you talking about?”Bookmark here

“I guess you need to know by now…” the Saint laughed; she’s enjoying this, having me ran around in circles, “All of my servants are royal princesses, duchesses, and other members of the Chersea nobility.”Bookmark here

What the hell?Bookmark here

“Lilyhaven Tamriel von Leese is a princess of the Kingdom of Nerfes to the north. And Eris Braunhauer is a duchess from the Kingdom of Amaranth to the southwest. If I may remember, she’s a daughter of the former Vizier.”Bookmark here

Oh, good lord…they’re bigshots!Bookmark here

“So yeah, I’m just warning you.” Her Holiness casually told me, “And I’m not saying that you can’t marry them; it depends on them and their families if they will accept you.”Bookmark here

Uhh…I’m not thinking of helping and seducing them, Your Holiness.”Bookmark here

“I know. I can see through your heart and mind, remember? That’s why I trust you. However, I cannot say the same for those girls and their families.”Bookmark here

Ah, thanks for the warning, Your Holiness.” Bookmark here

Honestly, I’m relieved when the Saint herself said she trusted me. Well, whatever; I guess I’ll just continue what I was doing while trying to avoid further complications. Bookmark here

“Okay, so with that, I guess I need to be off to my room!” she happily chirped. And with that, Her Holiness disappeared from my sight; she used her teleportation magic.Bookmark here

That Saint does what she feels, huh? Ah, anyway, time to sleep.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Now that I thought about it, if all the servants here were royalty and nobility, then…Bookmark here

That explains the arrogant attitude of that bitch, Jessica!Bookmark here

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The moment I woke up, I found myself surrounded by Her Holiness’ palace guards.Bookmark here

“What the—” I muttered; I was still half-asleep, but I could already make out of their shiny plate armors and swords that were drawn out.Bookmark here

“Good day, Kuro.”Bookmark here

Err…if I remember, this emotionless girl that greeted me and leading the guards was the vice-captain. She stood on the bottom end of my bed, flanked by her subordinates on either side.Bookmark here

What is her name again? Is it Atkins or something?Bookmark here

“You are?” Well, I asked her name anyway.Bookmark here

“Dame Sasha Atkins, vice-captain, Paladin Corps,” she replied in her usual curt manner.Bookmark here

Ah yes…” by this time, I was already wide awake. I sat on my bed like an idiot, staring at those sharp rapiers on the guards’ hands, “You need anything from me?”Bookmark here

“Come.”Bookmark here

Err…did I do something wrong?”Bookmark here

“No.”Bookmark here

“Then why am I being arrested?”Bookmark here

“You’re not.”Bookmark here

Err…if I’m not being arrested, why did you draw your swords, then?”Bookmark here

Dame Atkins signaled her subordinates to sheathe their swords, which they followed, “You don’t like it?”Bookmark here

Ha? Why would I like it?”Bookmark here

“Added drama.”Bookmark here

“What?” Do you guys have to do that? For Christ’s sake, I’ll die from a heart attack because of you!Bookmark here

“Come with us. Captain calls for you.”Bookmark here

“Oh…” Seriously, that almost made my heart skipped a beat. I thought I’m being arrested! Heck, I didn’t even know what I did wrong this time if that was true! But well, seeing that the vice-captain came along with several other guards meant that this was an important message from the Captain, the Marquise of Monfort.Bookmark here

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It was still quite early when I arrived at the Palace Armory, the barracks, and headquarters of Her Holiness’ Paladin Corps guard unit. At the gates alone, I could already feel the air of tension, as the other resting guards were all looking at me with contempt in their eyes.Bookmark here

Think of it like a kitten being led through a pack of wolves…only the kitten is a guy and is human.Bookmark here

The vice-captain and her girls led me to a dark corridor inside the imposing holy fortress. It took us quite a while, and I lost count of the number of doors we passed by before we stopped in front of a rather simple door.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“Enter.” the vice-captain then pushed and prodded me to go inside. The heavy atmosphere hung in the air, and I find it quite suffocating. I stared at the door for a few tension-filled moments before I gathered my courage and opened it.Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

Shocked by what I saw, I certainly didn’t know what to do the moment those things came into my view…Bookmark here

Uh, vice-captain?”Bookmark here

“Yes?”Bookmark here

“What are those?”Bookmark here

“The Captain’s playthings.”Bookmark here

“Oh…” Well, it was an honest surprise. I didn’t expect that the Captain of the Paladin Corps was fond of…pink, frilly things. Pink morning stars with frills. Pink execution swords with frills. Pink iron maiden with frills…Bookmark here

Though…how did she put frills on those torture items?Bookmark here

Anyway, although terrified, I excused myself and went in. The Marquise of Monfort sat behind the torture room’s pink wooden table with frills, brooding, and glaring at me. Her clasped hands were in front of her face, as if in prayer, and I could feel the air of hostility seeping out from under her.Bookmark here

“So, we meet again, Mister Defen—”Bookmark here

“Kuro, please.” I reminded her of my name.Bookmark here

Ahem. So, we meet again, Mister Kuro.” Her voice was serious and heavy, and I could tell that she had something important to tell me.Bookmark here

“Well, of course, milady. You called me here after all.”Bookmark here

“Right. Do you know why I brought you here?”Bookmark here

“Honestly, I don’t know.”Bookmark here

“Didn’t the vice-captain explain to you?”Bookmark here

“Her answers are incomplete.”Bookmark here

“Riiiight.”Bookmark here

“So, what made you decide to bring me here?”Bookmark here

“I just wanted to feel the air of tension. But don’t worry, I don’t intend to torture you or anything. I don’t enjoy doing it, anyway.”Bookmark here

Uh-huh. How typical of her.Bookmark here

“So yeah, let’s start with the questions, Kuro.”Bookmark here

“Hm?” I’m surprised when the vice-captain behind me stood up and forced me to sit on the chair she brought with her. The other guards surrounded me as well, giving the impression that they didn’t intend to let me leave there alive.Bookmark here

“Tell me, what do you think of that maid, Eris?” the pink, frilly whip that the Marquise of Monfort held caught my attention. She was stretching it, making those nasty slapping sounds.Bookmark here

I thought she doesn’t approve of torture?Bookmark here

“She’s my friend, I think.” I felt my heart beat wildly; my eyes focused on the whip in her hands.Bookmark here

‘You think’?”Bookmark here

“Yes. I don’t know what she thinks of me though.”Bookmark here

The Marquise closed her eyes as if pondering on something. I, for my turn, had my mind racing on what’s going on. The guards stoically stood by, surrounding me to keep me in that room. Wait a minute…isn’t Eris the maid whom the Marquise is stalking for the past few times before?Bookmark here

“Mister Kuro.”Bookmark here

“Y-yes!”Bookmark here

“If she’s just a friend to you, then why did you propose to her?”Bookmark here

I thought my heart stopped beating the moment I heard that. It made me stood from my seat, but the vice-captain kept me down with an iron grip on my shoulder.Bookmark here

“I don’t get what you’re talking about. I just cooked for that maid, is all!”Bookmark here

“So, you admit to proposing to her!”Bookmark here

Ha? What the hell? It’s just cooking for a little girl—”Bookmark here

“Ow!”Bookmark here

The cracking of the whip cut me mid-sentence. Well, I wasn’t the one who screamed in pain, though. The whip didn’t hit me; it hit a guard standing beside me instead. The Marquise was quick to apologize to the innocent bystander; she didn’t mean to hit anyone, after all.Bookmark here

Man, you need to be careful with your frilly things when you’re waving them around, milady.Bookmark here

Ahem. Don’t you know, Mister Kuro…” the Marquise of Monfort explained the moment she regained her composure, “In the Kingdom of Amaranth, men propose marriage to women by doing domestic work for them.”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“And you just cooked and fed Eris. Are you trying to be the playboy here?”Bookmark here

Good lord, what have I done? I fell silent, shocked by the revelation.Bookmark here

So that’s the reason Her Holiness told me about the true identities of the servants working here!Bookmark here

“I…I swear I meant nothing by that!” Desperate, I defended myself. Well, it’s the truth! They could even ask the Saint for verification.Bookmark here

“Of course, you don’t!” the Marquise of Monfort replied sarcastically; this was the first time I saw her that scary, “Men are all the same! You say and do the same things repeatedly, then play with our hearts and leave us the moment you found another victim to seduce!”Bookmark here

Well, I couldn’t say that wasn’t exactly true. There were idiots like that. But well, of course, I needed to defend myself, “That’s isn’t true!”Bookmark here

“Shut up!” she let her whip loose again.Bookmark here

“Argh!”Bookmark here

It wasn’t me again; instead, it was another guard that got hit. The Marquise of Monfort was quick to apologize to her poor victim once more.Bookmark here

Seriously, if you can’t even hit me, try to control yourself from lashing out. Of course, I wouldn’t say that. I didn’t want to piss the Marquise of Monfort more than she was right now. Seeing that she’s making a fool of herself, she gave the whip to her deputy, Dame Atkins.Bookmark here

“Well then.” the Marquise went back to her interrogation, “Let me warn you, Mister Kuro.”Bookmark here

“I’m telling you I have nothing else to do with—”Bookmark here

“I told you to keep quiet!”Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

I braced myself for an accurate hit from the whip. But Dame Atkins remained unmoved.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Uh, Atkins, I think this is the time to fling that whip.” the Marquise told her.Bookmark here

“It is?” the Dame blankly stared at her.Bookmark here

“Yes. It is.” the Marquise of Monfort could only scratch her head, “Alright, let’s just keep away that whip for now, and continue with what I’m about to say.”Bookmark here

Whew! At least I’m safe for now.Bookmark here

“So, Mister Kuro, let me warn you.” the Marquise of Monfort then went back to her serious self, “The House of Braunhauer, and my house as well, will not tolerate this kind of behavior.”Bookmark here

“Yes, I understand.” I’m disappointed; I mean, I’m just helping that little maid, after all. And now I’m making powerful enemies just because of some stupid traditions.Bookmark here

“The next time you propose to Eris, you better learn the Amaranth dishes. It’s more luxurious and formal, you know?”Bookmark here

Ha? Come again?Bookmark here

“Want me to teach you how to cook those?” the Marquise of Monfort returned to her calm self.Bookmark here

“Wait, aren’t you angry that I proposed to Eris?”Bookmark here

Hmm? Why would I?” the Marquise didn’t hide her surprise, “I’m glad that you’re the one who did that to her.”Bookmark here

Ha? Aren’t I jobless, a freeloading idiot from another land?”Bookmark here

“Well, never mind that. Don’t you know, Mister Kuro? The House of Braunhauer would rather welcome unemployed but intelligent nobodies for their sons-in-law over those filthy-rich yet self-important nobles.”Bookmark here

That’s a sound reason, but still weird for me. But wait! What about that ‘Men are all the same!’ line she was spouting earlier?Bookmark here

Ah that?” the Marquise of Monfort laughed, “I always wanted to try those lines I watched from a theater play that’s popular with housewives. Did I act way too good?”Bookmark here

And what about the guards who dragged me here?Bookmark here

“Those are for dramatic effects! I always wanted to try out a real interrogation scene, you know.”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

You…you stupid paladin…Bookmark here

Author's Note:  (1) Adobo is a popular Filipino dish made from soy sauce, vinegar, and chicken or pork, with an option for potatoes and eggs. It's so popular it became a part of our cultural identity. Pretty easy to cook too, as well.
Bookmarked
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