Chapter 5:

CHAPTER 4: KURO’S GUIDE IN DEFENDING A WAGON FORT

The Human Saint is Bored, so I was Summoned to Another World Vol. 2


Of course, our convoy was slow compared to the normal travel time we had back on Earth. Actually, for the entire journey, the Saint’s household had estimated it would take us at least six to eight ‘long sleeps’ before we arrived. And so, Lily had prepared a quite spacious carriage for us to stay with, albeit the one without the coat-of-arms of the holy household.Bookmark here

We were all sleeping by this time. The only ones that should be awake were the escort guards and the coach drivers. However, I was awakened. I don’t know; maybe I dreamt a dream that I immediately forgot upon waking up.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

My eyes went around my fellow travelers inside the coach. Her Holiness the Human Saint was sleeping soundly, as usual. She rarely wakes up when disturbed; so I guess, even if I moved too much, she won’t rise soon. For the Beastman Saint, she slept right beside Her Holiness, slumping towards the human’s shoulders. Oh, and hey, this was the first time I noticed, but apparently, she let the Human Saint used her fluffy tail for a pillow to embrace…Bookmark here

That’s pretty cute.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

On my side, however…Bookmark here

Uh…Lily, while I think that a lap pillow is a romantic thing to do, I guess you should do it with someone you love…Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Anyway, maybe I should man up and just wait for the head maid to move away from my lap. I didn’t want to wake her while she’s trusting me to let her sleep. That would be rude.Bookmark here

My gaze then went outside the carriage. The sun’s still up—it never goes down anyway, but I’m amazed how the humans here adapted their sleeping patterns to such a condition. If humans from Earth were transported here, just like me, I doubt they could quickly adjust their body clocks to an ‘always day’ world.Bookmark here

Hmm…now that I think about it, I never had sleeping issues when I got summoned here. Strange…Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

My idle thoughts suddenly got interrupted by a loud knock at the carriage door. I almost jumped from my seat, which caused Lily’s sleep to be disturbed as well. But the knocking didn’t stop; a voice called out from the other side of the carriage.Bookmark here

“Head Maid? Your Holiness? We got trouble ahead!”Bookmark here

Lily’s still in a daze, so I’m the one who opened the carriage window and asked the coach driver to stop.Bookmark here

“Mister Kuro!” it was the Marquise of Monfort, who was supposed to be riding ahead of us. “Oh! Did I disturb you?” she asked the moment she saw me with the head maid in the lap-pillow pose.Bookmark here

“N-no. It just happened; nothing personal to see here, so just continue.” I awkwardly replied.Bookmark here

Ah yes! There’s a huge rockfall a few distances away from our current location. The escort vanguard was separated from us!”Bookmark here

Hmm? What happened?” This time Lily was getting to her senses.Bookmark here

I explained to her about the rockfall.Bookmark here

Oh? That’s weird.” she said, by this time, fully awake, “There couldn’t be any rockfalls in this route we’ve chosen. And even if this is the Season of Crystal Rain, the weather’s just been starting up so it couldn’t have soaked the soil that much it would cause a rockfall…”Bookmark here

I was silent. By the way, they implied it, this rockfall was suspicious…Bookmark here

Well, this is a fantasy world, and in fantasy worlds, suspicious rockfalls or barricades can only mean one thing…Bookmark here

“Your Excellency, if I may ask, are there bandits or brigands operating around this area?”Bookmark here

Hmm…not that there’s anything I know of.” the paladin answered me, “But well, I sent advance guards to scout the road ahead, and this is so sudden that they were separated from us on the other side of the path.”Bookmark here

Well, my hunches could be wrong. But hey, this was a medieval fantasy world, you know. Maybe, if this was the work of unscrupulous people, they had let the advance guard passed safely before they moved to isolate our convoy. After all, a severe rockfall could take several days to remove, even by magic. By the time they could reach us, we may have had engaged the enemy long before they arrived.Bookmark here

Heh, not that there’s anything I had to worry about. I mean, hey, we had two Chersean gods with us…though they’re currently sleeping. Plus, the Paladin Corps escort guards were elite, so they won’t go down that easily. And as for injuries…again, we got the Human Saint to cover for that.Bookmark here

“What are your orders, Head Maid?”Bookmark here

“I think we should search for a good place to stop for a while and have some of our guards remove the debris.” Lily told the Marquise, “I’ll send some servants to help you as well.”Bookmark here

“Alright, I’m on it then—”Bookmark here

The talk was once again interrupted when we heard another guard rushing in our direction. The lady had a terrified expression on her face, and I could somehow tell what she would say…Bookmark here

“Head Maid! Captain!” she said in-between breaths as she rushed the salute to her superiors, “A big rockfall just happened at the rear of our convoy and the maids in the other carriage, as well as the large contingent of the rearguards, could not continue from the other side of the road!”Bookmark here

“What?” Lily and the Marquise of Monfort were visibly unnerved.Bookmark here

And it’s just like what I expect…Bookmark here

“Two rockfalls ahead and on our back…” I pondered for a bit, “This is not a work of nature.”Bookmark here

“Yes, I agree with you, Mister Kuro.” Lily nodded before turning to the Marquise, “How many are we that were trapped in this part of the road?”Bookmark here

“I got three paladins with me, plus Countess Belle’s squad had four.”Bookmark here

“Can’t the other paladins flank around the debris to reach us? I mean, this dense forest to our left should be accessible.”Bookmark here

“Yes, that’s what they’re trying to do right now.” the Marquise of Monfort answered, “However, aside from tending to our injured, those who could go around the debris field would take some time to navigate this forest and reach us.”Bookmark here

“Looks like we’re hopelessly outnumbered.” Lily finally confirmed what I feared.Bookmark here

“Of course.” was my nonchalant reply. If Lily was reading fantasy books from Earth, she would know that situations like this were a sure flag for something bad to happen. I mean, come on: it’s raining, there’s a fog (not too thick though), two suspicious rockfalls…you get what I mean? Bookmark here

The only thing that’s missing is bands of nasty-looking and smelly bandits and brigands to appear shooting arrows at us!Bookmark here

“Kyaa!!!”Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

Which happened just now.Bookmark here

“All guards protect the carriage!” Lily quickly recovered from the shock of that arrow shot and gave orders to the Marquise and Countess Belle’s squads. They promptly followed, and our coach driver—who was a magician from the Paladin Corps, took on a defensive posture as well.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

And uh, how nice of them that these two Saints are still sleeping…Bookmark here

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A barrage of fireballs suddenly rained from the dense forest to our left and hit our carriage. There were a series of tremendous explosions, and it would hit us fair and square if not for the magic shield deployed by our coach driver. The paladin guards stood between our assailants and our carriage, eight soldiers in all—brave young ladies who swore to protect the Human Saint with their lives. Bookmark here

However, they had little to no armor with them. The only best equipment they had was their swords, and they wore commoner’s clothing since it was planned to make it appear that our convoy was carrying someone of lesser importance than the Saint herself. Also, the coach driver wasn’t a full member of the elite guard corps. She’s more like a ‘contracted member’, though so far, she’s been doing well in putting up a formidable magic shield to protect us from the long-range fire.Bookmark here

Nevertheless, I’m feeling that she’s about to lose her mana; she was wincing and her legs were already shaking with each successful hit. Those magic attacks being hurled at us weren’t something that could be parried for long, without someone else to help or reinforce our barrier. If the coach driver exhausted her magic supply, our unarmored carriage would be in danger from the long-range attacks—we’ll be literally ‘sitting ducks’ if that were to happen.Bookmark here

“Hit them hard, you bastards! There were only eight knights on their side and the coach driver!”Bookmark here

“Don’t let down the barrage! Their barrier would cave in soon if we maintain it!”Bookmark here

“Get the aristocrat alive! Kill everyone else!” Bookmark here

Hearing someone shout those violent orders confirmed our fears that we’re under bandit attack. It’s their usual tactics. They must’ve thought that we’re some random aristocrat passing through their territory—the leader’s word ‘knight’ proved that. I guess if they knew these girls were ‘paladins’ and that we’re carrying the Saint herself, they won’t dare attack us.Bookmark here

After all, no one wants to fight a ‘god’, or someone of equal importance.Bookmark here

By now, Lily had also noticed that the coach driver was having a difficulty in maintaining her barrier, and planned to take her place once she exhausted her magic. However, the magic attacks continued without ceasing, and though the paladin guards remained unmoved from their positions…Bookmark here

“Hey! We won’t be able to win by just remaining on the defensive!” I shouted to Lily, “Can’t we wake up these Saints to help us out a bit?”Bookmark here

“Well, I would if I could!” Lily snapped back. Bookmark here

Oh, now that I noticed it, the paladin guards also reinforced the coach driver’s magic shield a little. Man, this isn’t good. We’re being pushed to the limit.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Ayt, we’re about to get overrun, and these holy fellows are still far off in their dreamland.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Is this some kind of Bible reference? Come to think of it, there’s that time when God was sleeping in the middle of a storm while His disciples were panicking because they’re about to sink…Bookmark here

What, should I also be calm in this situation?Bookmark here

Hmm…well, like panicking would do us any good. I’m not a god nor a warrior, so I couldn’t do anything else other than to wait and watch. However, I preferred not to sit idly waiting for my death to come, so instead of watching the attack unfold, I explored my options on how to get out of our predicament.Bookmark here

I think that’s the least I can do in this situation…Bookmark here

Okay, so looking at our current position, our backs were anchored on the cliffside, which was to the right of our path. The attackers were coming in from the left, hiding in the relative darkness of the dense forest and the light fog. Rockfalls blocked our front and rear, and the greatest number of men that we could bring to face the attacks would amount to eleven people—including me, though I’m not sure if I could do something.Bookmark here

But hey, if they breach our defense, maybe I’ll charge at them bravely before I let them finish me. With my fists. Alone.Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

I am not yet prepared to die.Bookmark here

Anyway, except for me, Lily and the members of the Paladin Corps could use magic. Assuming that we had at least 20 men attacking us (bandits won’t attack if they are outnumbered), and since the people of Chersea could cast magic, I’m expecting it would be a long battle of attrition that our side would be sure to lose.Bookmark here

Heh, I know we got the Saints, but they’re currently useless as of now. Such a convenient time to sleep, Your Holinesses!Bookmark here

Now the attackers were relying on the cover of the forest, and of the fog, to attack us and batter our defenses slowly into submission. Since we were on the defensive, we couldn’t force them out from their hiding places. And we couldn’t risk dividing our number and sending a squad to hunt the bandits; for one, our pitiful fighting strength would effectively be halved, and second, the paladins might end up getting ambushed. Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Because of these conditions, those cowards could always have a member or two attacking us, while the others take a rest. On our side, we’re stretched too thin for as long as the Saints won’t wake up.Bookmark here

The paladins needed their strength if it became close-quarter combat, and with that condition, only Lily and the coach driver could afford to put up a shield continuously to parry the long-range attacks.Bookmark here

I’m virtually useless if I don’t think of something. Ugh, if we can only smoke out these bastards…Bookmark here

Smoke out…Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Hmm…I guess this plan would be better than having just watched them fight alone.Bookmark here

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Lily!”Bookmark here

Hmm…what is it, Mister Kuro?”Bookmark here

“You can use fire and earth magic, right?”Bookmark here

“I can with Earth magic, but Fire spells are quite a challenge to me.”Bookmark here

“You can cast rock shield?”Bookmark here

“I can. What about it?”Bookmark here

“Can you cast the incineration spell?”Bookmark here

“That one? I guess I could. But why should I use those?”Bookmark here

Ayt. Can you cast rock shield on the left side of our carriage, as well as to the flanks?”Bookmark here

“Well…” the Head Maid was having her apprehensions; but somehow, she yielded to my plan, “So, I’ll just cast it here, and there?”Bookmark here

“Yep!”Bookmark here

She did just what I said.Bookmark here

“Now, call back the paladins and the coach driver to take shelter inside our carriage.” I covered the sleeping Human Saint to avoid her being seen in her actual form.Bookmark here

Huh? But this place is too small for all of us!”Bookmark here

“Trust me, I’ll get us through in this situation unscathed…if this works.”Bookmark here

“A-alright…” Lily then ordered the paladin guards and the coach driver inside our carriage. Fortunately, they’re ladies, so their relatively small size was just right, provided we fix our spots where we stand.Bookmark here

“Are you sure about this, Mister Kuro?” the Marquise of Monfort asked while she squirmed, “I think it’d be better if we just fight outside.”Bookmark here

“Don’t worry. It’ll work…somehow.” I said the last part under my breath.Bookmark here

If I remember, what I had just done was called a wagon fort—and ingenious defensive device employed by the Hussites during the Hussite Wars of Religion of 15th century Earth. Though we’re kind of short of men, I guess my friends’ ability to use magic could substitute for the lack of ranged firepower we had. (1)Bookmark here

“Lily, can you ask the coach driver to remove the magic shield?”Bookmark here

“Are you crazy? The moment we remove it is the moment we die!” Everyone in the carriage was bewildered by my request.Bookmark here

“That’s what the rock shield I had you cast around our carriage fort is for.” I explained to placate their fears, “Not only our driver could rest, but it would also draw out our enemies into the open to attack us.”Bookmark here

Huh? Wouldn’t we be dead by then? They’ll shoot at us from afar.”Bookmark here

“Nope. Those are bandits we’re fighting, right? They aim to loot our carriage and abduct any important person who they’ll find inside. Of course, they wouldn’t do something like obliterating us from a distance. I’m sure they’ll be showing themselves soon once they noticed we had our shield down.”Bookmark here

“Oh…” Lily was getting convinced, “That sounds plausible.”Bookmark here

“And when that happens, I want everyone who can cast magic to shoot down their horses first, then the riders or foot-soldiers second. Not only we’ll save ourselves; we’ll be able to wipe them off in one clean swipe.”Bookmark here

Everyone in the carriage, save for the two saints who were still deep in their sleep, gave their nods to my plan.Bookmark here

“Alright!” Lily raised her voice to take command once again, “Everyone heard Mister Kuro’s plan! Remove the barrier!”Bookmark here

The coach driver then stopped casting her magic. The shield immediately dissipated, and the first of the barrage of fireballs eventually hit our carriage, rocking us inside. It went on for several minutes, and then finally stopped.Bookmark here

“…” A few moments of tension-filled silence followed. It’s just like being bombarded by artillery in the movies that I watched.Bookmark here

“Is it over?” Someone asked; I think it’s the coach driver.Bookmark here

“Calm down, guys.” I reminded them, “They’ll be attacking any minute now!”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

A loud trumpet blast was heard coming from the dense forest. This was followed by someone screaming the order to attack us. From the relative darkness of the trees, we heard hooves galloping in our direction. There were also war cries from our attackers.Bookmark here

Time to brace for the attack!Bookmark here

“Here they come!” I heard the Marquise of Monfort shout. Honestly, my heart was beating wildly at this moment. I didn’t know if we could make it or not. I’m not even sure if our wagon fort would hold. I would like to remove myself from the line of fire, but I’d want to watch the progress of the attack so I could decide correctly on the conduct of our defensive strategy.Bookmark here

“When in range, burn their horses!”Bookmark here

“Fireball!” a paladin fired her initial salvo.Bookmark here

I heard an explosion, and someone was screaming in agony. I peeked from my hiding spot and saw a bandit or two burst into flames. Their comrades, who were riding beside them, were shocked and veered away from them, messing up their charging formation. Turned out, my allies didn’t even have to aim for the horses. One shot of this fireball spell could incinerate both the rider and his horse. Bookmark here

To be honest, I just have goosebumps watching this terrible scene.Bookmark here

“Everyone, fire at will!”Bookmark here

The paladins and the coach driver then began their ranged magic attacks. As per my plan, they aimed for the riders, and those were incinerated the moment they came into our defenders’ range. The messed-up charge didn’t help their attack, which soon turned out to be a massacre in favor of us. Lily was about to join the mayhem when I saw her and stopped her from casting her magic. Though visibly surprised and confused, I had my designs for her later.Bookmark here

Soon enough, the bandits were reduced to attacking foot soldiers, but they were too afraid to come out into our view.Bookmark here

I heard someone from their side shout, “Those people are too few to continue in defending themselves! Attack, you dimwitted cowards!”Bookmark here

Heh. Looks like somebody’s getting desperate, eh?Bookmark here

I then turned to the head maid. This would be her defining moment, “Lily, will you please thoroughly burn that stretch of the forest before us.”Bookmark here

Huh? That would require a lot of manas to do!” Lily had a horrified expression on her face, “Can’t we just continue with our defense? We’re holding up to them thanks to you!”Bookmark here

Nah, this will be your defining moment.” I insisted, “You see, we have to send a message to everyone else about attacking us, should they have more comrades coming in to reinforce them. We drove them to a corner; it’s time we go on the offensive!”Bookmark here

The Head Maid was silent for a few moments, then she finally agreed, “That sounds plausible. Alright, I’ll trust your strategy, Mister Kuro.”Bookmark here

“Okay…I put my faith in you, Lilyhaven! Save us!” For some weird reason, I got the courage to pat Lily’s head. Maybe because it’s the first time that someone listened and believed in my suggestion that I got way too over confident and did what I have just done.Bookmark here

“…” Lily was utterly speechless at my gesture. And her cheeks blushed incredibly.Bookmark here

Seriously, Head Maid, do you always find my actions worth blushing for?Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

But I guess she didn’t dislike it at all…I mean…Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

Wow, I could feel that intense heat coming out of her hands. And she looked so fired up to do what I suggested, even though she was so reluctant to do it before. If I could describe her, Lily appeared to be a ‘super-s*iyan’ like that Japanese anime about some muscles, horribly spiky hairstyles that go blond when being powered-up, and dragon balls.Bookmark here

“Incinerate!”Bookmark here

In an instant, the entire forest—right before our eyes, became a bright sea of fire.Bookmark here

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The Saints woke up eventually, but not until the forest fire that we created turned into a huge, uncontrollable one. By that time, the Marquise of Monfort and her fellow paladins had been mopping up the entire area to make sure that it was safe for us to come out of the carriage. Of course, these Chersean gods were surprised by the turn of events—from a peaceful journey to a blood-filled one, but it’s not like we could help it. Bookmark here

Either we burn those trees, or we die doing a last stand. Bookmark here

Her Holiness quickly cast a water spell (that’s her specialty magic) that extinguished the fire, and Her Fluffy Holiness joined the paladins in securing the surroundings. I thought that, with her help, we captured some bandits—all gravely injured by Lily’s fire. The Head Maid made sure that she burned them into oblivion. Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

“So, what shall we do with them?” it was the Marquise of Monfort, after meeting the rest of the separated companies of guards and maids. With the help of Her Holiness’ and Her Fluffy Holiness’ overwhelming powers, they quickly cleared the rockfalls as if it never happened. Thus, we reunited as a single convoy once again.Bookmark here

“Lay them over there; I’ll heal them.” Her Holiness said. She was referring to those bandits that were captured. They had severe burns on their bodies, and if not treated soon, they’ll surely die.Bookmark here

“Maddie, you can’t do that.” Her Fluffy Holiness stopped her, “If you heal these guys, they’d only come back to do more awful stuff. And what’s worse, they could also jeopardize your vacation if they knew you’re their Saint!”Bookmark here

Nah, it’ll be fine Ruro…” she replied, her voice trailing unto the wind, “I think it’s better that I use this power from the gods to do something good than to let them suffer agonizing deaths.”Bookmark here

I was listening to the whole conversation. Even though these bandits did us no good, I felt guilty. Bookmark here

“Maddie hates violence, that’s why she’s like that.” it was Lily who spoke, explaining Her Holiness’ actions to me, “When she became a Saint, she endeavored hard to bring to the peace table the warring kingdoms of humans. And amazingly, she has maintained it ever since.”Bookmark here

Hell, I’m the one who caused this to them. There’s a difference between that feeling of wanting or needing to kill and the feeling of actually killing someone. What worse was that, I indirectly killed many people…bandit or not, it’s sickening.Bookmark here

Man, those anecdotes about the psychological effects of battles sure were true. Causing the death of someone else for the first time has profound effects on you…Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Well, I may not fully understand Her Holiness’ reasons she’s like that. But I could also say that I didn’t want violence too; even if I live in the part of my country where it was relatively peaceful, I knew full well the horrors of war…and the agonizing death that comes to those who are victims of it.Bookmark here

Oh god, I think I’m going to throw up.Bookmark here

“Hey!”Bookmark here

“!!!”Bookmark here

“You alright?” it was Her Holiness. She came to me when she noticed I was unnerved by the experience.Bookmark here

“Yes, Your Holiness, I’m…good.” I answered, barely standing up, “But also check on Lily; she’s the one who did most of the fighting.”Bookmark here

“I just went over her and cast a recovery spell so that she can recover her strength fast. She almost exhausted her mana from that incinerate spell.”Bookmark here

The Human Saint sat beside me. Our journey was delayed because of what happened, and as a result, we had to stop for a while to rest and re-orient ourselves.Bookmark here

“I’m…sorry.” I couldn’t help but say it.Bookmark here

Hm? For what?”Bookmark here

“Well, you know, I asked the Head Maid to burn the forest.”Bookmark here

“You did that to save us, right?” Her Holiness replied, “I don’t think anyone could help it, given the situation.”Bookmark here

“Well, I caused suffering for those people over there.”Bookmark here

“…” the Saint was silent for a moment, before continuing, “I, too, am to blame for their fates. I mean, I caused a stop to wars and conflicts. As a result, mercenaries like these people have mostly lost their way of living and turned into this kind of life.”Bookmark here

Uh…I don’t think what you did is a bad thing, Your Holiness.” it’s my turn to console her, “Why sacrifice the lives of many for so few?”Bookmark here

“Haa…” Her Holiness sighed in exasperation, “You may be right. But hey, I’m the one who’s doing the consoling here!” She attempted to lighten the mood by joking…Bookmark here

…but I saw through her façade; she felt guilty as well, like me. I thanked her anyway.Bookmark here

Her Holiness is a brave soul.Bookmark here

“They’re bandits; I’m sure they know what they’re getting into. I mean, living a life like that? One should always expect a brutal death.” Her Holiness tried her best to smile, “And don’t underestimate me! I already healed them!”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

I couldn’t say much; I’m exhausted as it was.Bookmark here

“Well, you know, this is what life is like in this world.” she said, with a sense of sadness in her eyes, “That’s why, when I finally gained the power of the gods, I tried my best to prevent conflict. Though of course, I can’t cover for everyone; I’m only a human.”Bookmark here

“You’re doing your best, no one should deny that.”Bookmark here

“And you did well yourself, considering the place where you came from.” Her Holiness patted my back, “Come on, Kuro, you just saved us. Don’t be downcast like that!”Bookmark here

“Thanks, Your Holiness!”Bookmark here

Ah, here, let me cast some light recovery spell. At least, that would calm your mind.” Then the Human Saint uttered some words before a warm, gentle white light enveloped me. Bookmark here

I guess that’s one of the best feelings I have had in my life lately…Bookmark here

Author's Note:  (1) A wagon fort is a mobile defensive fortification famously used by the Hussites during the religious wars in 15th century Europe. It is a formidable device, able to protect its defenders from ranged weapons, and cavalry charges, while doing great damage and casualties to any attacking party.Bookmark here

An 'almost' equivalent of a wagon is a laager, which was employed by the British Army during the Anglo-Zulu Wars.Bookmark here

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