The Human Saint is Bored, so I was Summoned to Another World Vol. 2
I knew I said some stupid words like ‘marrying Her Holiness’ and stuff…
You knew full well that it’s just my way of grandstanding, kicking in. I didn’t have that kind of desire…
Well, at least, if Her Holiness’ is a bit older, and she’s not a Saint, perhaps I would consider—hey, why am I thinking of her that way? She’s technically a kid!
Ah anyway, never mind me, now I am here at an enormously wide-open field that was to be the venue of the tournament the Duke was planning to hold. By this time, I could make out of the banners on the tents being set up in the area. Flags of bears and swords, or flames and shields…for a moment, those seem to be nasty-looking emblems, if you ask me…
But yeah, what concerns me most was not the number of enemies I’ll be facing. Rather, it’s the fact that I had gotten myself into a…death game.
Well, I guess I got what I deserve for my foolish impulses. I mean, I’m an outsider in this affair, and yet, because of my ‘values’ and ‘ideals’, I ended up getting the short end of the stick. Tournaments like this one could end tragically for a contestant for many good reasons; one, they use actual weapons here in the fighting. Two, old rivalries could surface once again and duels are not uncommon events. And three, I didn’t think medieval societies such as this one had the concept of ‘occupational safety’ for its candidates.
Those are some of the reasons I believe this can end in a tragedy. And I’m not some black cape-wearing, edgy swordsman using cheat ‘double blades’ skills in trying to save his girlfriend from being NTR’d by a creepy game company CEO…
Although I was shocked and almost panicked at first, I don’t think I could back out now. I mean, I already provoked the Duke into allowing me to join. I’ll lose my head if I retreated, and these two brats were already expecting much from me…
And Her Holiness…I wish I could help her in any way possible; so, I guess this was an opportunity as well.
Even though I may die here…
Damn, I don’t want to die…either by losing my head, or getting sliced by swords or skewered by spears.
“Those are our potential rivals, Mister Kuro.” William enthusiastically pointed towards the groups of armored knights and archers a few distances away from us, “Papa had sent for the royalty and nobles from all over Chersea, and they hurriedly came here to attend the tournament.”
“Big shots, eh?”
“Indeed. If you look over there, that’s the tent of the King of Nerfes.”
Oh great. I’ll be meeting Rambo once again.
“That one’s the Prince of Savoy’s tent. He’s the son of the Grand Duke of Savoy, the duchy nearest to the Holy Palatial Gardens.”
Yeah, I know about that Einstein. Just keep on walking.
“Ah look, even the Imperial Prince had come hurrying from the south!”
Oh, an empire to the south of Chersea? I guess I need to read more about the countries of this world.
“Well, Papa didn’t think it through.” Sophia’s face was sour, “He just sent out invitations to all royal and noble houses in Chersea, thinking that it would further enhance our house’s prestige. But I have to come and send in a follow-up invitation telling them that only those of ruling dukes, royal families, and the imperial house could come.”
“Or else, you’ll have an accommodation problem with all the single sons of the human nobilities flooding in here, correct?”
“You catch on quick, Mister Kuro.”
“So all-in-all, from a potential 400+ candidates for the hand of our Big Sister, we trimmed our potential rivals to a manageable size of around 15-18 people.”
Hmm…pretty impressive. This Sophia could think rationally and execute complicated matters, despite her appearance.
“Usually, this tournament has twenty slots. Since only eighteen candidates have come excluding you, we’ve got one less jerk to worry about.”
“Ah, so yes, the contest would start after one long sleep. As I have explained before, it would begin with the combat phase. You, along with two or three other candidates, would have to fight it out. The one who remains standing is the winner.”
“Do I have to kill those guys?”
“Well, a simple incapacitating injury is enough to make them lose the game.” Sophia shrugged as she explained, “Though sometimes in the process of inflicting injury, the victim could die, that’s why there are casualties.”
I could only swallow my fear upon hearing that.
“Ah, don’t worry too much, lately, we’ve put a safety measure in place, so that the candidates can go all out with their martial skills.”
“We’re now using a substitute doll for duels and tournaments. A substitute doll is a magically enchanted item that absorbs injuries—light or fatal. So, instead of risking mortal wounds to the candidate, his damage is directed instead to the doll which receives it.”
Why the fuck you guys didn’t tell me that first? I worried about nothing, you know?
“It’s still painful to get bludgeoned if that happens, but at least you’ll be sure that you’ll live.”
Wow. Thanks for the assurance. I feel so safe now. (Monotone voice)
“Of course, our big sister sanctioned it! She doesn’t want deaths and unwanted injuries because of these festivities!” Sophia proudly announced it to me, “See? Our big sister is so considerate she accommodates our tradition and our safety at the same time!”
“Our sister is intelligent!”
Yeah, yeah, I get it, you brats! Her Holiness was indeed understanding, and considerate. Hell, I wouldn’t fight for her if she’s some kind of entitled prima donna in the first place!
“And since we all know that you can’t fight, Mister Kuro, we also made plans of our own.” William showed me a bottle of suspicious-looking potion.
“You’re drugging my rivals?”
“Shh…not too loud!” Sophia fiercely whispered, “We’ve got no other choice! You have to win, by hook or by crook!”
“Disqualification is what she meant.” William was quick with his back-up explanation.
“Well…that’s quite a plan, I guess.” Indeed, it makes me win an easy one. I guess I had to shut up and quietly work my way to the top. I hoped that this was a proper plan and not some ‘flag’ for something much worse.
Wait, did I just set up that ‘doom’ flag just now?
“For your weapon, I think a simple sword will do.” William handed out a sword to me while we’re at the manor’s armory choosing my equipment, “Do you think you can wear a heavy plate armor?”
“Nope. I haven’t tried one before, so I doubt I could move well while wearing that on the battlefield.”
“True enough. So, I guess, a leather one would suit you?”
“It’s better than nothing…” I replied.
So, William gave me a leather armor as a sort of protection. It was heavy and stuffy the moment I put it on. I also fixed the sword on my waist and tried walking around with it. The sheer weight of the armor and the sword were enough to make me stumble. Good thing the noble boy was quick to support me.
“I can’t fight in this.”
“Then what are you going to do? Run around like a monkey and beat your armored opponents to a pulp?” William didn’t hide his sarcasm, “You can’t enter the competition with no equipment.”
“I guess you’ll have to keep your movement to a minimum.” Sophia suggested, “Well, it doesn’t matter if you move or not anyway, you won’t be fighting your rivals, anyway.”
“I s-see…” I nervously laughed.
But the Rubinforth siblings paid no attention to my words and went on rummaging through the various equipment and weapons in the room. I could hear them arguing about whether I should bring a shield to combat. William said I should; Sophia argued otherwise because I used nothing like it before…
Hmm…they do both have points. But I guess I need to have a shield with me…
When I looked around, I noticed something peculiar in that armory. It’s a weapon that was much more familiar to me than the shield and sword. Well, it still had its blade attached at the offensive end; but I guess I could use this one instead of the sword that was given to me.
“Oh! You’re interested in that demon weapon?” It was William who had seen me while looking at this strange armament.
“Yes, it’s a common weapon for the demon race. I hear that demons rarely use it on single combat, and rightly so since it’s pretty weak.”
“Can I take this one?”
“Huh? Well, why not, if you know how to use it? It’s so weak though; I don’t have an idea why the demons invented such arms.”
Well, of course, you didn’t. But I did. This weapon was indeed ‘weak’ when its operator was fighting alone in close quarters against a sword-armed or dagger-armed opponent…
However, if you multiply this and gave it on the hands of well-trained operators, firing it in volleys could decimate a charging regiment of armored cavalrymen from a considerable distance. Plus, that blade attached on the end was for melee encounters as well.
The Battle of Nagashino between Oda Nobunaga and the Takeda clan illustrates my point. (1)
I guess this world hadn’t learned the devastating firepower of a matchlock gun just yet.
Good thing that—out of curiosity, I watched Y**tube videos and read books on how to operate early guns, so I had an idea on how to use this weapon in combat. Well, compared to those that I saw online, this matchlock gun made by demons was quite easy to carry. It’s still pretty cumbersome, but the stand that was supposed to go along with it was missing, or rather, there’s nothing like of that sort, according to William.
If you asked me, it’s relatively different from the matchlock guns that could be found in my old world. For one, there’s a ‘socket’ bayonet attached around its barrel end, whereas the bayonet of Earth was said to be first used by the Chinese during the 16th century in its ‘plug’ form—which was inserted directly into the open end of the gun barrel. Plus, it’s shorter than the matchlock guns I knew, meaning that the maker of these arms had considered the user’s ease of transport of the weapon.
But yeah, I still could tell it’s a matchlock. Here’s the trigger—which was long compared to its Earth counterpart, and the slow match was still attached to it.
I asked Sophia and William about the powder and bullets that were needed to operate this thing, however; they told me they had none. This gun, they explained, was gained by their father when some traveling merchants came selling their wares from all around this world.
And since it came from merchants and not the oh-so-reliable blacksmiths, the Rubinforth siblings were laughing their hearts out about my ‘weird demon weapon’. They even questioned me whether I would have the armor and sword they gave me earlier. Considering that I already had this heavy gun with me, I opted to get a dagger instead—for an ancillary weapon, just in case the need for it arises.
I could tell that they exchanged dubious and concerned looks because of my answer. But I didn’t need their approval; it’s my fight, so I get to choose how to defend myself.
The next thing that I did was to find the gunpowder and bullets for this thing. If this gun ended up falling in the hands of humans, of course, there’s a big possibility that someone’s been selling its implements. When I had the opportunity, I requested a bit of money from William and slipped from the tourney field, and went to the town of Fen to check.
“Hmm?” a merchant cast a weird look towards me, “You’re looking for ‘gunpowder’? What’s that?”
“It’s a powder that burns when it comes into contact with fire. Do you have it?”
“Oh? You mean the demon powder?”
“Demon powder? Yeah, I guess so? Do you have something like that?”
The merchant then leaned close to me and whispered, “Hey kid, let me ask you something?”
“What is it?”
“What’s the name of the powder you’re searching for again?”
“Uh, gunpowder? Or demon powder, as you have said?”
“Where do you think that thing comes from?”
“Well, as the name implies, it must’ve come from the demon race?”
“Precisely. Now tell me, where is this place?”
“Chersea? The human continent.”
The merchant smiled sardonically, “There you have it. This is the land of humans; do you think your demon powder is sold here? You must be out of your mind!”
Well, for starters, you could’ve just told me straight that you didn’t have it, asshole.
Okay, so my search failed. I tried other shops, thinking that there must be a place in here where that precious stuff was sold, but after a few more attempts I eventually gave up. It seemed that the humans of Chersea liked to keep to themselves; they’re not that open for trade to other races…
“Damn it, I never thought that demon powder is rare around these parts…”
Well, so much for the grandstanding. I took my matchlock gun and stared at it, trying to work effectively around my handicap for the upcoming fight. Since the bayonet was still attached, I could use it as a pike and the obvious long-reach of this weapon was still my advantage against a sword-wielder.
But hey, why do I keep on thinking about combat? Didn’t the Rubinforth siblings tell me they’d make sure I will win without a fight?
Maybe I was just excited to come across a familiar weapon from my world, however, I couldn’t shake off my anxiety. It’s like I’m having a foreboding feeling of something dreadful…
I guess this is what they call a ‘flag’.
I was disturbed by the hoarse whisper coming from behind me. As I was sitting on a bench in the busy town square, it’s a given that it could be someone else they’re calling to, so I didn’t pay it any heed.
“Hey! Don’t be cold like that, you’re looking for demon powder, right?”
Ah yes, the voice was referring to me. I turned and saw a man standing behind my bench. He had a rather clean appearance; his clothes were something like that of the aristocrats, but what was most striking about him was his pale skin and golden hair.
He looks a ‘bishie’ to me. And you know I’m not that good with such types.
“Do you have it, the demon powder?”
“Well, I could sell some to you.” he said, in a very low voice, “And would you also like some bullets to go along with that thing you hold?”
“Perfect! That’s exactly what I need.”
“But where will you use it?”
I immediately fell silent. I thought I should keep silent about our plan for me to join the Tri-Skill Tournament. You’d never know, this guy could be a spy from the Duke himself. So, I just spun a lie to convince him to sell the matchlock gun’s implements to me.
“Oh, so you’re on a quest?” the man nodded as if he understood what I meant, “Well, good luck! Here’s your merchandise.”
“Thanks! This will be a big help!”
“No problem!” then he offered his hand for a shake, “My name’s Devras. I’m a traveling merchant from the continent of Cherflammen, you know, the land of the demons.”
“Ah! So that’s why you’ve got this stuff!” I couldn’t keep my excitement from meeting someone of another race, “Nice timing you got here, Mister Devras! I’m Kuro, by the way.”
Devras then gave me a long stare, “Hmm, you’re the only human I’ve met that isn’t that awkward or scared when it comes to my race. For most of the time, when they learn that I’m a demon, they give me the ‘suspicious’ stare.”
“Haha…well, I’m not racist…” Honestly though, when I got a good look at Devras, he seemed to be a normal human to me, save for his pale complexion. For someone like a demon, he’s got no evil-looking horns on his head, and a nasty tail on his back. His face was gentler than the demons I knew from literature and legends…
“Oh, nothing. Just some assholes back in my world…”
“My country, I mean. Hahaha…” Man, I have to be careful with my speech.
“Ah, thanks for that. You know, it’s been long since you humans, the elves, the dwarves, and the Beastmen have faced our kind in an actual war. Nowadays, we only strive to live in peace.” Devras showed me the rest of his merchandise, “See? I’m just selling my wares, and coincidentally, I heard the rumors about the great tourney that is about to take place here at Fen, so I traveled here.”
“Oh, so you came here thinking the combatants might become interested in your weapons?”
“You catch on quick, Mister Kuro.”
“I think it’s one of my strengths.”
Well, for someone whom I met for the first time, talking with this demon guy, Devras, was truly enjoyable. We conversed on a lot of things related to the matchlock gun, including on how to operate it. I only held back my knowledge on how to use fully its potential on the battlefield, since I needed to be careful of my ‘trade secret’. I believed it would be my trump card for the upcoming battle.
Heh, it’s kind of strange that the first person who I truly had fun talking to in this world is a demon…
And so, I guess I got all the implements ready for my matchlock gun.
The lead bullets and the gunpowder were all secured and relatively plentiful in supply. I began practicing shooting the weapon in some obscure area a few distances away from the tourney venue so that no one could spy on me…
Well, no one wanted to give a damn about a commoner with a demon weapon in his hands. For starer I’m not offended, this is a pleasant scenario for me. Anyway, I also considered distance because I won’t be able to conceal the loud explosions of my weapon. I better train far from the eyes of the public.
A loud bang tore through the entire area as I fired a round of the matchlock.
And…yes, compared to the modern assault guns of 21st century Earth, matchlocks were hopelessly inaccurate. Not only did the thick smoke obscured my line of vision, but I also had to close my eyes every time I fire since the exploding powder could injure it. The gun’s kind of heavy as well; it took me some time to accustom myself to walking, aiming, and firing it. The recoil was a different matter, too. Fortunately, I’m doing some exercises nowadays, enough for my body to withstand the enormous force.
The loading time was so slow as well; I completed the reload process and fired after a few minutes, I think? (Hey, of course, I’m untrained for this. A usual gunner can load this thing and fight in about one-two minutes, or so I read?)
Yep, this will not do in a battle, where fast, accurate movements are more than necessary…it can save your life!
Well, I could rely on that bayonet for close-quarters, and the dagger I had for desperate fighting. But yeah, I’m hoping those brats would succeed in their ‘drugging’ attempt. However, I needed to make sure I won’t go to the battlefield relatively unarmed…
In the mid-early days of this type of weaponry, I’ve read that its users were using what they termed as a ‘gunpowder flask’—a container where you store the powder in set measurements to keep it safe from getting wet by rain and to pour quickly its contents on the weapon amidst the battle. Since the merchant Devras was from the demon world, I thought he might have some; but unfortunately, he didn’t know what was it.
So, I bought an empty potion bottle, which I converted into a gunpowder flask. I tried incorporating it into my target practice, and it improved my reload rate.
Even so, I guess I could only fire this gun once in actual combat. I have to be careful and be picky with my targets, eh?
Despite those disadvantages, why am I persisting in using this weapon, you asked? Well, you know, not only was this gun familiar to me, it was the piercing power of the bullets that I took into consideration. You see, if things get awry, I’ll be fighting armored warriors tomorrow, and I expect many—if not all of them, would use close-range melee weapons.
A matchlock gun could punch through their armor from a considerable distance, provided I fire at the right moment.
Haa…anyway, I hope those kids will be successful in their attempt.
As I was having fun in training with my new toy—I mean, weapon, I didn’t notice the passing of time. Well, I knew the Cherseans didn’t have that complicated concept of ‘time’ itself, but they knew when to eat, sleep, and do something their mind had set to do.
I almost froze on my spot when I heard another familiar voice come up a few meters away from where I was training. Turning around, I’m shocked to see no other than Her Holiness, the Great Saint of Chersea, marching towards me.
“Oh, Y-your H-holiness!” I blurted out, trying in vain to hide the weapon I had in my hand.
“I was wondering what are those explosions I’m hearing…” she replied with a half-angry, half-anxious look on her face, “Turns out, it’s just you.”
“Did I disturb you, Your Holiness?”
“No, don’t worry about it. I was just out doing some exercises you recommended. It’s almost dinner, you know? And I can’t see you around. For a moment I was worried you got thrown in the dungeon once again. What are you doing?”
Well, her cute ‘cheerleader’ clothes confirmed her statement. I guess she only wears those cute, short dresses whenever she needed to do something that requires a lot of movement. Anyway, I guess I need to stop practicing. “Oh, right…dinner, huh? Well, I was…you see…playing with something.”
“I see…” but Her Holiness continued, “So, tell me, Kuro, why did you join the tournament?”
“!!!” The shock from her question made me unable to answer for a few seconds. That was so sudden I could not think of a quick reply. And when I reflected about it, of course, it’s just a matter of time that she’d learn of my registration; after all, her father had allowed me to join.
“I know that thing in your hand. That’s a demon weapon.”
“Yes, it is, Your Holiness.”
“Err…” Shit. I needed to keep myself from thinking of that agreement I had with her siblings, or—
“Did Sophia and William coerce you to join and fight for me?”
I knew it. She had read my mind.
“Haa…” I could only sigh in surrender. It’s useless to hide things from her unless Her Holiness opted not to read my mind.
“Mister Kuro, you know you’re not a warrior in your world, more so in this one!” the Saint had a deep frown on her face, “And even though the tournament has a substitute doll in place, it would still hurt terribly! Why did you do that?”
“Won’t you at least give me an answer?”
“Hmm…I wonder why did I join?”
“Stop giving me vague answers!” Well, this is a first. The Saint raising her voice confirmed that she’s angry.
“Don’t you have the ability to read my mind?” Honestly, explaining it to her in words would take time. As I didn’t want to be disturbed right now, I couldn’t avoid snapping, “Why don’t you do it?”
Her Holiness became silent for a few moments as if she’s peering deep into my soul. Well, it’s not like I got something to hide from her anymore, so I let her see my intentions without interference.
We stared at each other. I guess she was carefully reading into my thoughts; I couldn’t hide it, anyway. It took her a few moments, but then, Her Holiness’ expression turned from anxiety and anger to that of pure concern. Somehow, I could tell that she understood the things I had in my mind…
“Well, so that’s—!!!” I was about to reiterate my reason when I stopped mid-sentence. I couldn’t bear to continue what I was about to say; it’s like there’s something Her Holiness’ had wanted to tell me.
There’s no doubt about it; her lovely, silvery eyes were inexplicably sad. And looking at her gave me a sharp pain in my heart…
“Mister Kuro…I think you’re meddling too much in my family’s affairs.” the Saint said with a heavy, quivering voice, “Do you know what you’re getting into?”
“Your Holiness…I appreciate your concern, but I knew—”
“Do you know what you’re getting into?” I was unnerved when the Saint suddenly screamed. This was the first time I saw her like that, and I was so taken aback I couldn’t do anything for a few moments. I just stood there, dumbfounded, listening to her speech.
“I didn’t ask you to save me! I didn’t ask anyone to help me! Why is all of you won’t listen to anything I say?” Well, her heartfelt screams tore through my heart—as well as my eardrums, but I just let her go all out on me. This was a sadness that no one could easily understand; the Saint had been releasing every frustration that she kept in her heart all this time…
Yes, that’s it, Your Holiness, let out that anger. You’ll be fine soon…
“Did you calm down now, Your Holiness?”
The Saint just gave me a light nod to say that she’s quite fine now. Her eyes were all teary, and the surrounding mood was dreary. I reached out to her and patted her head. We were sitting side-by-side on the mildly wet grass (because of the drizzle) and doing that reminded me of my time as an old teacher in my world.
I always do that to my students whenever they’re stressed-out.
“Mister Kuro…I apologize.”
“Hm? What for?”
“I got you involved in my family’s affairs.” Her Holiness admitted, “Honestly, I wanted and expect you to do something; since you came here, you’ve been a great help to me and my friends. But not like this.”
“It’s fine, Your Holiness.” I reassured her, “I guess I’ll be fine.”
“You’re someone else from another world; don’t you think you’re trying too much for some stranger like me? And more so, I’m the one responsible for your predicament right now—OW!”
I hit the Saint on her head. Not that hard, but still strong enough to hurt her a bit.
“You know—as I’ve said before when you tried killing yourself—if you feel responsible towards me, then you’ll have to see me through the end. If you lost yourself again because of some things being forcefully pushed unto you, how would that be possible?”
God, I’m not being honest. What I wanted to say was that as a friend, I didn’t like her to suffer the things I’ve witnessed in my life before. You see, forcing someone to do something they don’t like was living torture…like marrying someone whom you had no love for, or getting a course in college that you hated but you had to follow since your benefactors won’t support you in others…
This is why there are a lot of suicides back in my old world. Everyone is forced to do something they hate.
And knowing the Human Saint, she could end up in that tragic route.
“Let’s return to the Holy Palatial Gardens after this.” she said that with a weak, but gentle smile on her face, “To that place where I can be myself…”
I guess Her Holiness had read my mind and saw my reasons for helping her. Hey, I know it’s utterly cliché and awkward, but it’s my feelings after all. I was the same towards my old students as well; if I had to jump to burning hell just to accompany them, I’d gladly do so. Those guys, and this Saint, I believe I met them for something…so I’ll help them since it’s the only thing I’m good at.
“Well, of course, Your Holiness.” I answered her, with a renewed spirit and resolve inside me, “I still have to get a house and live comfortably in this world while I haven’t found my way back. So, pardon me if I’ll destroy your engagement and wedding.”
“I don’t mind if you do.” Her Holiness said, with brightness on her face, “But when that happens, you have to take responsibility.”
“Hahaha! Yes, I will!” I jokingly replied.
Never in my life did I commit such a grave mistake as in this one…
Author's Note: (1) The Battle of Nagashino (July 28, 1575) was a battle during the Sengoku Jidai (Warring States) Era of the Japanese history. It was fought between the forces of Oda Nobunaga, and the Takeda clan, and was notable for Nobunaga's skillful use of matchlock guns to obliterate the charge of the feared Takeda cavalry.