Chapter 3:

CHAPTER 3: A MEETING OF HUMAN KINGS

The Human Saint is Bored, so I was Summoned to Another World Vol. 3


***The city of Meldech***

Capital and the largest city of Nerfes, Meldech was home to around 150,000 people. It was also the location of the royal palace, where the immediate family of the ruling king James Walter Reed II lived. Meldech was on the northeastern shores of the kingdom, flanked by a mountain range to its northwest and southeast. According to history books, it was an ideal location, especially for defending the northern passes into Chersea.

Not only did the city served as an administrative center of the government, it could also be converted into an impregnable fortress which the armies of Nerfes could use as a ‘base of operations’ for defending against any invading armies coming in from the desolated lands further north of the continent, just like in the human-demon wars hundreds of seasons ago.

However, like all ‘impregnable’ city-fortresses, Meldech had an ‘Achilles’ heel’. Its walls and towers may be thick and sturdy, but its gates remained lightly guarded—even for an important place such as this. There were only a few sentries posted at its point of entries, who were supposedly tasked to conduct routine inspections of travelers and cargo going in and out of the city. However, they didn’t search that much, lest they risk adversely affecting the flow of city traffic.

Heck, this is the time of the ‘Saint’s Peace’ anyway; who cares for increased security?

Thus, such a lax and come-what-may attitude permeating Meldech’s local militia helped the man only known as ‘The Traveler’ infiltrate the city proper. Upon entry, he immediately deviated from the intended route of the cart he was into, and instead, headed to the nearest tavern in sight.

Oh, welcome to Mead and Bacon Tavern!” a barmaid greeted him as The Traveler removed his cloak and deposited his weapon on the nearest weapon rack.

Ah, got any ale?”

“Right this way!” the barmaid led him to the counter of the tavern, since all the tables were already full of other travelers and drinkers.

“What can I get ’ya?” another barmaid tending to the counter asked cheerfully. Her hands were full of customers, and yet, she could still accommodate a few more who were coming in.

“Your cheapest ale and a plate of steak. And while you’re at it, can I also rent a bed?” the Traveler ordered.

Riiiigggghhhtt. That’d be 1 silver coin per long sleep. Add your order, and it would be one silver and half-hundred bronze coins.”

“Here you go,” he produced the required payment, and while waiting for his food, silently listened to the idle chatter of the people inside the place…

“What? You’re joining the knight corps? Are you serious? You’re a commoner, so it’s like a long-shot to nothing!”

“Well, I can handle myself. If that commoner can square it off with those foolish nobles on the last tourney, why can’t I?”

“It’s the ‘Fist of the North Lands’ we’re talking about, and not you! I bet you’d turn your tail and run the moment you see the imperial legionaries marching in your direction!”

“…”

“Hey, did you know? That man called the ‘Fist of the North Lands’ fought and protected Her Holiness when they were attacked on the way to Fen last time! I heard he used the demon weapon to scare an entire army of bandits and brigands, and burned the forest of Herman just to smoke them out of hiding!”

“…”

“I just learned that the ‘Fist of the North Lands’ is a disguised knight from another country outside of Chersea. I wonder where did he come from? Cherflammen? Cherwind? Cherwoods?”

“How about Equality?”

“Hmm? Nah, that’s impossible. No good thing can come from that place; everyone’s quick to get offended there. It’s like a land of offenses.”

The Traveler could only listen to his amusement. Rumors spread fast and often added with embellishments as they passed from one person to another, and these latest stories about a certain man called ‘Fist of the North Lands’ were no different. He was there watching when this ‘Fist’ ‘fought’ the bandits with the members of the Paladin Corps—doing absolutely nothing other than panicking inside the carriage of the Saint. He was also present in the tourney of the Duke of Rubinforth, where he saw him use the cowardly ‘demon weapon’ against the charging Templar-Prince.

And, finally, he was also there when that guy was killed by one of his men, slit in the throat.

Fortunately, the Saint was on his side, and he was saved. The Traveler had made sure of his demise by not only targeting his neck and waiting for him to be out of the substitution doll’s protection, but he also had that knife laced with white mold poison—an incredibly potent toxin able to kill an armored leviathan in seconds.

Yes, these stories about the great ‘Fist of the North Lands’ are just pitiful rumors, made by the locals themselves meant to mask their fear of the inevitable domination of the Empire…

“…”

However, this time, the Traveler was not here to kill that man. He had once again infiltrated the northern kingdoms to deal with a threat more credible than this ‘Fist of the North Lands’…

‘The Iron Princess’.

As long as that person existed and the Saint did as she wished, the Empire couldn’t realize the plans it had created in connection to its glorious past and enduring future. He had to eliminate one and capture the other.

“…”

Good thing that he knew exactly where to start…

“Hey!”

A drunk man looked towards the Traveler when he called out his attention, “Yer…toookin’ too meee…bud?”

Ah yes…seems like it’s the good times here, old man! Here, have another mug of ale!”

“Ooh!” the drunk quickly accepted the drink, since he’s out of his wits, anyway, “Yesssh…de businesss is a’boooomin’ aftar dat turneeey…Imperial sonnoffabitches got socked by ta Fisht offza Norlans…”

“Yeah, that’s a splendid fellow, I agree!”

“Whyyy doncha drink? Com’av ale!”

“Well, I’m kind of worried, see?”

“Worri…wat?”,

“Worried,” the Traveler feigned innocence in his voice, “Do you know about the Bloody Witch of Meldech?”

“Eh? Dat bloddy weetch is alreeeaaadddy dead…”

“No, she isn’t. And she’s back here, on the fringes of the southern borders of the kingdom,” the Traveler explained, “See, I’m now dressed in this garb because I won’t waste my chances—I’ll escape with my life away from here as soon as possible.”

“Huh? Wataryutokin ’bout?” the drunk man had increasingly become agitated. He didn’t want to talk about the Witch of Meldech, especially in good times like this, “Za king wud protek ush!”

“I’d start running if I were you. Our king is still injured in his fight back at the previous tourney.”

“Liessss!!!” the drunk overturned a nearby table in his anger. The crash of the wooden plates and mugs could be heard in the tavern’s entirety and caused the jolly mood to dissipate quickly.

Everyone was silent or just visibly shocked at what just happened. The man continued spouting expletives as he was being restrained, all of his ugly words directed at the Traveler.

“Hey, old man Gus, what did this guy told you to get you so hyped like that?” someone asked.

“Zis person claims za bloody witch of Meldech is back!”

“Lies! That person is long dead! How could it be that she’s back?”

“I saw it with my two eyes. I even have two of my companions captured by her, and I’m the only one who escaped to warn you!” the Traveler calmly explained, deliberately altering his voice to emulate a traumatized person, “That’s why I’m now all packed up and prepared to head out of Nerfes for the time being.

“Well, legends say that person can kill mercilessly and resurrect them to be her soldiers! Isn’t that why she is called ‘bloody’? It couldn’t be impossible that she can resurrect herself!”

Fuck! I don’t want to end up as an undead working for her!”

Moments later, the entire tavern was in an uproar. The customers were panicking, and others were hitting and fighting one another. The barmaids tried desperately to diffuse the brawl, and one had to come rushing out to fetch the city militia.

However, amidst that chaos, the one who started it all slipped away unnoticed…

----------

**Kuro**

Once again, I returned to the town of Arles, where I headed straight to the militia office to check on their announcement board for work.

You know, trying my luck.

On my way, however, I was stopped by the soldiers of the militia, along with several other people walking on the road.

“Hey, keep back for now,” the soldier gruffly told us, “These royals wouldn’t stop their carriage for some commoner crossing the road, so if you don’t want to die early, better stay behind me.”

Alright, dude. Whatever you say.

Now that he said it, I noticed that the Arles militiamen were standing by the roadside, keeping off the crowd from wandering across the town’s cobblestone streets. Well, at least we were cooperative, and there’s no cliché event like ‘a bratty kid not listening to his mother playing right in the middle of the road just in time for a noble or a royal person’s carriage to pass by’…

“Hey, that kid! Remove him from there!”

“Kyaaaa!!!”

“Someone get him off there!”

“…”

Well, fuck. The cliché happened!

Yep, there’s indeed a child in the middle of the road, complete with a ball in his hand. Of all places, the stupid mother of this child allowed him to play on the road with a ball—a toy deadlier than a gun whenever in this situation.

Great idea; such a responsible parent!

I quickly stepped forward past the guards, grabbed the child, and then pushed ourselves unto the crowd. Good thing the mother was there waiting for me—saving me some time off to search for her, and she quickly took her kid from my hand.

“Don’t be stupid and lose your kid in this crowd, for god’s sake!” I angrily scolded her.

“Yes, sir! Thank you!” she replied curtly. Maybe the mother got pissed because of my attitude, but hey, I don’t give a damn. It’s her responsibility, so she needed to take care of her child up to the end.

Hah! So, the great ‘Fist of the North Lands’ works now as a babysitter? Hahahahaha!!!

Hey, I knew that voice. That idiotic, arrogant voice. Turning around, I saw an elegant white horse stopping by my spot in the crowd, and riding atop it was a familiar, yet annoying person…

“What the—?” I blurted out. “Rambo?”

“You calling me what?” the rider on the white horse, the great king of Nerfes James Walter Reed II, asked.

Oh, nothing, Your Majesty,” I tried to deflect his question.

“I just heard you call me ‘Rambo’. What’s a ‘Rambo’?”

Well, if you heard that, then why the hell are you asking me what did I just say? But yeah, I didn’t want to piss him off further, so…

Ah, well, ‘Rambo’ is a well-known powerful soldier in my country, Your Majesty. That guy’s muscles are so well built and are so strong, no one wins against him.”

“Oho…” King Rambo seemed to be convinced and gave his approval, “I see you know how to appreciate a well-built body. I praise you for that, Fist of the North Lands. Maybe I should force you to join me in building some muscles; you need to put a few of those in your weak-arse body.”

“Thank you for that, Your Majesty.”

Heh…of course, I won’t mention that I called him ‘Rambo’ because his brain seemed to be made of pure muscles. A ‘weak-arse’ body, huh? Well, I compensate for it using my head, see? And you didn’t even know I’m making fun of you!

I enjoy playing this fellow for a fool…

Ah, anyway, I didn’t notice it immediately, but the crowd’s attention fell on me. Not only because of this loudmouth calling me by that idiotic nickname I got after socking the imperial kid in the face but also because of the way I so casually talked to him even though he’s a king of a great country like Nerfes.

“Y-You’re the ‘Fist of the North Lands Kuro’?” I heard the mother’s trembling voice asked me.

Oh dear, here we go again…

“Yes, my lady,” Rambo replied in his ever-so-contemptuous tone, “This weak-arse is that guy, in the flesh.”

For goodness’ sake, Rambo, don’t make this even more complicated than it is already! Shut your mouth!

Someone then shouted, “Hey! It’s the Fist of the North Lands!”

The crowd then focused on me, and they were jubilant to see me mingling with them. Many of them patted me on my back, and some were even trying to pinch and touch my face…

What the hell, guys? I just punched a prince’s face, and now I’m a celebrity? Is this world so boring that kind of event is something to celebrate for?

The mother then quickly dropped her child and brought out a paper and quill from her breast (how did she do that?). She then shoved those things all unto me; the annoyed look on her face dissipated completely.

“Can I ask for your autograph, dear sir?” she asked as her son disappeared once again into the crowd…

The fuck lady? What about your child?

----------

Honestly, when the crowd finally recognized that I’m that ‘Fist of the North Lands’, I became more popular than those royal dudes who were passing down the road. The militia had an easy time controlling them as a result, because they all came running to one part of the town to have me sign their ‘autographs’. The common folk never even bothered to give a damn about those kings and queens going down the road; instead, they kept on bugging me for my signature…

And what do you know? Even the Arles militia promoted it since it would make their jobs lighter! They even gave me a pen when the quills became impractical.

“…”

These idiots…

So yeah, when someone had finally come to their senses, they noticed the VIPs had already passed. Then the crowd slowly dispersed and everything went to normal as usual.

“…”

Well, at least the townsfolk were spreading the pleasant word about me. I guess it’d help me in landing that evasive job much easier than before.

“…”

And yeah, I guess I’d ask the Arles Militia to help me search for work since they used me for distraction. It’s only fair that I get proper compensation for my efforts…

Here goes nothing…

----------

In the end, I still had no luck in landing a job.

Ah, it’s not because the Arles Militia didn’t help me or anything; the boys gave me a much needed ‘boost’. Sir Osmond took his time and talked to many business-owners around town, with me in tow, thus I got acquainted well with them. Some of his men even escorted us as we do that…

However…

“Oh! So, he’s that Fist of the North Lands Kuro? I think he’s way too popular to be qualified for this job. I wanted someone who’s the scum of the society…”

“Ah, you’re that guy! Nice meeting you! I also hated those imperial dudes; they’re too arrogant for me. You know, I had this one time…blah blah blah…”

“Sorry, my daughter’s always on about you, and since she’s like that, I’m afraid she’d want to marry you. So, no, I can’t have you in my family’s restaurant.”

This was stupid. I mean, before I gained that moronic title, they’d been rejecting me because I’m ‘underqualified’, ‘we’re full with no future vacancies’, or ‘this work needs someone with the state’s highest honor and award even though the salary pay is shit’.

Seriously, it’s too idiotic. Damn if you do, damn if you don’t.

Sir Osmond could only offer me his condolences. He reminded me again that if only I had that ‘soldier-type’ body, he might’ve hired me on the spot. But yeah, I lean more on the ‘lazy bum’ side, so it’s impossible.

And well, I heard that alibi before, so I’m used to it already.

“…”

Haa…I’m exhausted.

Faced with no other option but to go home, I walked towards the Holy Palatial Gardens once I bid farewell to Sir Osmond and the boys from the Arles militia.

“Hey, Mister Kuro!”

“!!!”

It’s the second familiar face I met on this ‘day’. He appeared on the dirt road as I trudged my way back to the palatial gardens. Sir Simon, the 2nd Prince of Nerfes, riding on his horse and escorted by a few of his guards, immediately greeted me with his usual ‘princely’ smile.

“What’s up, Your Highness?” though I never felt like it, I forced a smile.

Ah, it’s all the same as ever,” Sir Simon replied, “But, yes, I’d like to thank you for doing us a favor and attracting the crowd so that we can proceed with relative ease!”

Uhh…don’t mention it,” I answered, not sure of what to say, since it’s not my intended purpose, “It’s your darling, Rambo, who did that. He deliberately announced to every soul in this town that I’m the ‘Fist of the North Lands’, and so the crowd went after me.”

Nah, of course, it wouldn’t be possible if you didn’t oblige,” he countered, as positive as ever, “I mean, look, you have all the right to refuse, but you carried on like a true man. Your fame is something you deserve!”

Such lip service, Sir Simon. A few more, and I would believe it…

Anyway, when I asked Sir Simon about his business out here, he told me he’s missing his friends—Lily, Maddie and I, and would like to come and see us as soon as possible. And because he didn’t find me around the palace, he went off to fetch me.

“…”

On a related matter, I guess Maddie’s father already knew of what happened between him and his daughter; after all, Maddie wasn’t the type who’d keep such things to herself. Of course, knowing that fellow, I’m sure the old guy was pissed as hell. Maybe that’s why Sir Simon’s keeping away from Maddie’s place, even though we went there before.

“…”

Well, whatever. I’m about to return home as well, so what’s the harm of hitching a ride from a prince, eh?

----------

On our way home, I asked Sir Simon their reason they came here. Certainly, it’s not because that Maddie needed to heal some injuries of King Rambo, since that idiot was all fine and arrogant earlier.

“About that? We’re here because of the ‘Holy Congress’,” he answered.

Oh, yes that…” I could only nod, recalling my conversation with the Saint about that. Maddie mentioned that the kings, princes, and other rulers of the human kingdoms would meet at the Holy Palatial Gardens to convene the ‘Holy Congress’.

“I see that you already know about it?” Sir Simon was quite surprised to learn that.

“Her Holiness told me about that before,” I explained, “I find it quite revolutionary regarding Chersea’s usual approach to foreign affairs.”

“Indeed, it is!” the prince mused, “Isn’t Maddie admirable? She’s the only person I know that could think of that! And now look, we’re reaping the benefits of her vision…Chersea won’t experience this era of peace and prosperity if she didn’t have the courage and intelligence to do it!”

“I agree, haha!” Of course, Maddie’s intelligent! That’s why I liked her, see?

“But not all problems were solved by this congress, though,” Sir Simon added, “So, Maddie put some useful rules in place for that very matter in case the affair reaches to that…”

“Rules?” I curiously asked. Maybe I could give some more useful suggestions to Maddie in the future, to further enhance this congress that she created…

Ah well, it’s just her threatening those countries who wouldn’t submit to the congress’ ruling that she would send crippling plagues to their populations and severe famines to their food centers,” laughing, Sir Simon revealed, “100% that would work, and bring any unruly kingdom into line without further objections.”

“Oh…” Maddie’s way of dealing with troublesome human kingdoms reminded me of that certain country back on Earth that would just shove their ideals down in everyone’s throats if they didn’t comply with its wishes, under the guise of ‘freedom’.

Yes, I’m looking at the United States of America.

But well anyway, in Maddie’s case, I guess it’s better than nothing. After all, no country— good or bad, would want their source of power (the population) to be decimated in an instant and so tragically such as a plague or famine.

“And so, we’re all here—the kings, princes, grand dukes, and even the emperor, to meet at the Holy Palatial Gardens. It’s where the congress would take place.”

Ah, I’d like to see how it happens.”

Yep, honestly, I wanted to check on how this ‘Holy Congress’ worked. I’m pretty interested in politics and history after all, and it’d be a good way for me to learn more about Chersea’s way of life.

----------

By the time we came back to the Holy Palatial Gardens, the grounds of the palatial gardens were now swelling with people. Many royal carriages and horses were arriving, and the Paladin Corps were all busy in keeping the order, assisted by the maids. Some royal retinues were also lending their hand, for many of the human rulers had brought in ‘extra baggage’ with them, messing up the security measures that the Saint’s guards had already put in place.

Sir Simon was then approached by a maid as we alighted his horse, “Your Highness, the 2nd Prince of Nerfes, this way, please.”

I was about to separate from him when the prince asked me to come along. He reasoned, “I want to see you with Maddie and Lily.”

“Well, didn’t you see me already?” I countered.

“I mean, you guys and me talking together,” he reiterated.

Since I had nothing else to do for that ‘day’, and with Sir Simon stubbornly insisting, I finally felt obliged. We followed the maid as she led us to the room where the ‘Holy Congress’ was taking place.

“Is Her Holiness taking over the proceedings?” I heard Sir Simon asked the maid, “I heard that the Grand Templar has already quit.”

“Indeed, she is,” the maid answered, then further explained, “And for now, Her Holiness is the one arbitrating for the congress. If it’s possible, we’d like to ask for your patience and understanding; the Great Saint is having a little difficulty as of the moment.”

I never liked the sound of it, “Difficulty? What do you mean?” I asked.

Ah, Mister Kuro, well…some ambassadors are—”

“!!!”

All three of us were interrupted in the middle of our talk when we heard a loud crashing sound just behind the door in front of us. The two paladins posted as sentries looked at us with bewildered expressions on their faces as well.

Oh dear…” the maid said, with a worried look on her face, “It seems those nobles have already started.”

----------

So, this was the ‘Holy Congress’…

“…”

…or at least, was what I should think. In reality, this was quite far from what I expected.

“Isn’t this way too cruel to our city? Why should our state give that land to your landlubber of a Duke?”

“Maybe you should watch your vile tongue, Ambassador Johannes, and then we could talk. Otherwise, a lowlife like you would taste the sharpness of my blade.”

“What, you’re asking for it? Bring it on then! Call your Duke over there to help you fight as well!”

“That won’t be necessary. I, alone, am enough to dispose of villains such as you! Come on! Throw your gloves at me, and let’s have a start with this!”

“Lady Monfort, please disarm those two!”

The Marquise of Monfort moved quickly to dispossess the two hotheads of their weapons, thus lowering—if not eliminating—the tension that filled the room where the ‘Congress’ was taking place.

As soon as we entered, I immediately felt the overwhelming hostility over the two envoys from the countries of the Duchy of Savoy and their neighbor, the Alliance of the Valley Cities (thanks to Sir Simon for pointing that out).

What the hell is this? Can those fellows be even worthy to be called ‘ambassadors’? They looked like thugs in fancy dresses.

Ah, in case you don’t know, the Duke of Savoy has a long-standing dispute with the Stadtholders of the Valley Cities, primarily concerning the control for the river near their border,” Sir Simon explained to me, after witnessing that stupid episode.

“I decree no one may bring their weapons inside this Holy Congress.”

No one among the people inside dared to object at the pronouncement; even those hot-headed idiots being restrained by the paladins remained silent as their swords were confiscated and disposed of.

Also, the Marquise of Monfort had her paladins separate those two envoys in separate rooms next to this place. You see, for a word such as ‘congress’, this affair was primarily more like a ‘bilateral talk’ between the countries concerned, and a third-party was included to act as an arbiter and a primary witness to whatever the results of their negotiations.

This is where Granny Franceska’s (former)—and Maddie’s (now)—roles would finally come into play.

“…”

As was the situation, Maddie was the one on duty as the mediator, doing her best to fulfill her responsibilities. But well, I guess she’s on the verge of breaking down. She didn’t even notice that we entered the room at all! Her Holiness just continued massaging her head—aided by Lily, cooling off her mind from the explosive scene earlier.

This, and we just recently dealt with her heartbreak and its effects…

Ugh…it must be pretty difficult for her to handle those guys…” I commented.

“Indeed,” Sir Simon replied in whispers, “The Count of Heese and the Satrap Johannes are two of Chersea’s most ill-tempered nobles.”

“What? Then why are they in that position as ambassadors?” I asked, shocked at the revelation, “Shouldn’t they choose someone who’s more collected than those fools?”

Hm? I guess you’re right…” the prince answered with a long sigh, with his voice trailing into the air, “Well why should we choose someone like that, Kuro?”

“Ha?” I could only stare at Sir Simon in utter horror and confusion. It seemed like Chersea did not know about the basics of tact and diplomacy, “Well, isn’t it logical that you choose someone calmer to negotiate with on your behalf? That way, it won’t end up in an unnecessary conflict.”

Sir Simon smiled poignantly, “Is that how you do things back in your land?”

“Of course!”

“Your country is quite weird, huh?

“What?”

Nah, don’t take it as an offense. I meant it positively,” Sir Simon explained apologetically, “I’m just amazed that you can find such a person, you know—the ‘cool-headed’ ambassador. You see, in Chersea, we only got hot-headed, arrogant nobles to send. If there’s someone close to your ideal envoy, he won’t be appointed anyway, since we’re afraid to appear ‘weak’ to our counterparts.”

“…” Well, I had nothing else to say to that; Sir Simon had a point.

No matter how I looked at it, Chersea was still a medieval society, where the pride and glory of one individual mattered over the peace and welfare of the population. Of course, in a setting such as this, it’s no wonder why someone wouldn’t want to appear weak to anyone else. However, I’m also quite astonished to learn about how Chersea conducted diplomatic matters. If this would happen on Earth in modern times, we’d be all wiped clean off the face of our planet.

Thinking about it had made me more admiring of Maddie. I may not comprehend well the lengths that she had to go through just to bring these troublesome guys into the negotiation table, let alone listen to her completely, but she’s pulled it off. And because of those, my lover had my respects.

“…”

I could only helplessly stare at the Saint, languishing at her seat because of the failed talks. Honestly, I wanted to step in and comfort her as well. But I knew I shouldn’t do that; at least, not in broad view of everyone else. I mean, what would they think if they see me near Her Holiness? That itself could lead to further complications and jeopardized her reputation.

I never want for these foolish nobles to see me as something of a ‘sure-wire connection’ to Maddie and abuse my relationship with her.

“…”

Well, it’s a given that even though Maddie was treated as a ‘god’ here, all humans were naturally stubborn. They look for someone like a deity, but they also wanted that divinity to be just watching on the sidelines, never lifting a finger to help them—not until everything’s going haywire, and was too late to do anything.

Even if these folks witnessed a miracle— or something along with the paranormal—in front of them, they’d still have the guts to question it.

‘Being skeptical’, was what they call it. And it’s a widely praised virtue in my present-day world, especially if you’re biased against religion and spirituality. I mean, it’s not bad, but everything that goes over-the-top would end up harming you, instead of helping.

“…”

Haa…I could now finally understand why Her Holiness was so adamant in taking over the duties of Granny Franceska, and why she’s running away from her responsibilities…

Adults act like children, and children act like adults. Such a stupid world, indeed.