Chapter 7:

CHAPTER 6: THE LEGEND OF THE IRON PRINCESS, AS TOLD BY RURO OF THE WOLF

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


The Holy Congress continued as planned.

“…”

Lily’s disappearance caused a stir to everyone in the Holy Palatial Gardens. The maids were shocked to find that their reliable ‘big sister’ was gone, and even the paladins were unsettled by that fact. It’s not a secret that Lily’s reputation and attitude towards the Paladin Corps were the key factor in the harmonious relationships of the Saint’s loyal servants.

Not only Grandma Franceska, now it’s Lily. I just hope that Maddie is tough to take this all in…

“…”

However, no matter how hard the Saint tried to put up a strong front to other people, I could tell that she’s worried sick about her friend. It’s not rocket science to see that she’s utterly shaken by the head maid’s disappearance, having relied on her for such a long time. And of course, I couldn’t replace her. I mean, Lily’s shoes were way too big for someone like me to fill in.

“…”

In the ‘days’ that followed, Her Holiness had asked her envoys from the other countries to report in on Lily’s whereabouts. She also tasked the Marquise of Monfort and her Paladin Corps to search for the head maid. All of their efforts had yet to yield excellent results.

“…”

In the meantime, I tasked myself with taking care of Maddie, with the help of the other maids. I knew I won’t be able to replace the head maid, but I guess I had to suffice for now. I’m the one responsible for this fiasco, anyway.

There had been a significant improvement in Maddie’s behavior after that fight with Lily. She would wake up on her own, do her usual routine on her own, come to the congress venue earlier than others on her own, and would impart her decisions with resolute determination…on her own.

You can say that she changed drastically ever since that happened.

“…”

I guess she has no other option but to step up her game, finally.

Yep, it’s been a while since the fight between Maddie and Lily, and the latter’s disappearance.

Maddie was utterly devastated, and Sir Simon offered to help her find her friend. However, she declined the aid of the kings and other leaders to search for Lily, insisting that she’s the one who drove her friend out, so she’d take responsibility for it.

“…”

Honestly, though, I couldn’t keep on watching those two ended their friendship that way. And if you looked at the circumstances, I also had a part in this disaster…

If only I wasn’t summoned…

“!!!”

A book suddenly flew in my direction and almost hit my head. I was surprised by that since we’re at the Holy Congress’ venue, not in the library. But what happened was real.

My eyes fell on Maddie right away.

“…”

And yes, she’s looking in my direction, with a sharp glare in her eyes. Don’t blame yourself, was what she’s trying to get across to me.

Haa…so there we had it. I guess I needed to reconcile those two, at least, as payment for what I’ve done. The problem was, how?

“You know what? The moment I took my eyes off you guys, these happen.”

“!!!”

I was surprised to see Her Fluffy Holiness, Ruro of the Wolf, sitting on the empty chair beside me, “What’s up, Master?” she asked, smiling radiantly. You see, after we left the Rubinforth estate, Her Fluffy Holiness suddenly told us she’d be going somewhere she didn’t specify. After saying her goodbyes to Maddie, she left in a hurry; but the things that she bought back in Fen were left with us, so we knew she’d come back.

“Where have you been, Your Fluffy Holiness?”

Hmm…just to and from around the world, checking on some things that need attention,” she replied, “Anyway, I just heard from Maddie that her maid suddenly disappeared after a fight. What the heck happened, Master?”

“Just…some things…”

“Alright, I get it!” Her Fluffy Holiness smiled mischievously, “They fought over you.”

Ack! I forgot she could read minds as well!

“Come on, isn’t it what all the guys want? Girls fighting over them, and they get to choose whom they think serves their interest best, or they’d prefer to hold both,” I could feel the sarcasm, mixed with silent anger, in Her Fluffy Holiness’ words, “Ahh…boys are boys, no matter what race they come from.”

Nah, don’t compare me to the normies. They only act following their balls’ will and then question later,” I defended myself, “At least, I didn’t intend for that to happen. I even thought that Lily was angry at me because I took her friend away from her.”

“Well you’re telling the truth,” Ruro shrugged, “However, I’m quite amazed that you didn’t think of the Nerfes princess that way. I mean, you’ve been able to help these guys with your wisdom from before, and yet, you’re an amateur with a maiden’s heart.”

“You overestimate me. I’ve been living alone for the past 25 years of my life. Of course, I don’t have a single idea on how to deal with such problems. Never in my life did I imagine being loved—romantically, just like that. You could say I even gave up on the idea of getting married.”

Ugh…such a pathetic life.”

“Hey, at least, it’s got benefits…well, in my world’s perspective.”

“Your world is a big weird one.”

“Like you’re one to talk,” I countered, “Ah, anyway, so there you have it. I’m an amateur with love matters; I didn’t have a single girlfriend in all my life!”

“Girl…what?

“That’s what we call our female lovers back in where I came from. If it’s a male, our term is ‘boyfriend’.”

Ooh…interesting,” Her Fluffy Holiness clapped her hands as if she understood my explanation, “Anyway, now that you’ve said it, I guess it’s time for your cute wise wolf partner to show her skills!”

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t you get it? I’ve been alive ever since the time of that handsome gigolo, Jimmy Nee Rubinforth, and of course, my knowledge in love knows no bounds!”

Err…I hope it’d be useful, though. You kicked the ass of Maddie’s ancestor when you tried to seduce him, remember?”

“That, and this, are two different things,” Her Fluffy Holiness blushed terribly, embarrassed at that stupid memory.

“Alright, so what does my ‘cute, wise wolf partner’ think I should do to fix the problem of the Human Saint and her maid?”

“Well, talk to the Nerfes princess, of course. But first things first, find her.”

“Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, my head already thought of that. Anything else?”

“I’m out of ideas. Thank you.”

I felt worried about the worshippers of this saintly pug.

----------

First things first, I tried to have a more fruitful talk with Her Fluffy Holiness.

You see, the Human Saint was busy with attending to the matters of the Holy Congress, or should I say, Maddie’s trying to keep herself occupied so that she won’t be able to remember what happened. For now, it’s fine for her. However, if Maddie continued to overwork herself, I’d intervene again.

Yes, for short, I can’t approach her in the meantime.

And so, as the one who’s alive long enough to be a living encyclopedia, I asked Her Fluffy Holiness about some things that were bugging me concerning the head maid.

“What? You’re focusing on the Nerfes princess when your fiancée is out there and can’t attend to you?” Ruro shook her head in disgust, “Ugh, boys will be boys…”

“Well, if you can just stop spouting nonsense for a while, Your Fluffy Holiness, then I might explain why I’m doing this.”

“It’s a joke.”

“Yes, a joke with a meaning to it.”

“…” Her Fluffy Holiness could not reply. It seemed like I drove the point home.

“Alright, here’s my question. Have you ever been familiar with the name, Nicholas von Leese?”

“The Nerfes princess’ father, yes. Why?”

“Well, I just read a letter addressed to Lily from that guy.”

“And you put effort into knowing that girl’s secrets so you can seduce her. Haaa…boys will be boys…”

I feel my blood boiling, but well, this person in front of me was a saint, so I had to control my temper, “I’m telling you, that’s not it. You see, I’m puzzled why the head maid’s father is telling his daughter to stay away from their lands. Got any leads about it?”

Hmm…it must be because of the ‘Iron Princess’ thing.”

Huh? Iron Princess?”

“Yep. You see, Master, before the Nerfes princess became the head maid, she goes by another alias—the ‘Iron Princess of Nerfes’.”

Ooh…tell me about it.”

“You’re a history nerd, aren’t you, Master?” Her Fluffy Holiness smirked, “Well, alright, I’ll oblige. You see, Princess Lilyhaven Tamriel von Leese is the legendary Nerfes military hero known as the ‘Iron Princess of Nerfes’. She’s reputed to be a powerful warrior, able to wield the great sword of her family with relative ease, and is said to be equal to a thousand men in battle. The Nerfes princess single-handedly led her kingdom’s army to victory in the last war against the Emperor of Chersea.”

“Wow…I didn’t know that Lily had such a background.”

“Indeed. She may look unassuming, but the Nerfes princess isn’t some pushover. You may say that she took after her brother.”

“Arthur Mahan?”,

“Exactly. The brother is a famous Nerfes swordsman and knight, and he taught his little sister well. You could see it this way: the Empire fears the Nerfes prince enough to send people to kill him, but they dread the princess more, so they try to leave her alone…lest their attempts to eliminate her backfires and they earn her anger.”

To be honest, I found it hard to believe that Lily was capable of such feats. However, I knew I shouldn’t judge people based on their outward looks, and well, knowing that this was Chersea, I should always expect the unexpected.

“So, if Lily’s a great asset to Nerfes, why is her father driving her away?”

Hmm…I know little about the details, but after the Nerfes prince died, the princess’ fortunes changed. You see, she is considered an outsider. The Royal von Leese family of Nerfes had this tradition that they consider twins to be a good omen—that is if the children were of both genders. However, it is a different matter when they’re twins, and it’s of opposite sexes. That’s why, the Nerfes princess was involved in the military—she was always being sent to the front lines hoping she’ll get killed, or maimed.”

I couldn’t find anything to say to that at the moment. Knowing how dedicated and reliable Lily was, it must’ve been her pride and joy to work as a maid under her close friend Maddie. In this place, she must’ve felt that she was needed here, as she knew the feeling of being a spare tire.

“For all I know, the last time that the Nerfes princess went into battle was with Maddie, and against that Bloody Witch of something; I don’t know or remember well. And she was banished after that,” Her Fluffy Holiness added further.

“…”

Wow…I just could not comprehend the injustice done to Lily. I mean, here she was, offering her entire life to the safety of her kingdom, and the best way they repaid her sacrifices was by banishing her. Based on what Her Fluffy Holiness said, maybe the real purpose she was sent to help Maddie was so that she could be killed by that certain witch…

Damn, that’s pretty heavy. What kind of family is that?

Fortunately, Maddie accepted her as a sister. There were many cases of nobles being betrayed by their peers during their most critical time, and after reading Chersea’s history, this world was not an exception.

“…”

So that’s why Lily’s fiercely devoted to Her Holiness! And that would also answer my questions about why she’s so dedicated at her job that she didn’t want me to help her, that she even gets angry if I tried to take the responsibilities from the other maids…

“…”

And uh, that I just appeared out of nowhere and got more influence to Maddie would come as an insult to her, who gave her entire life for her friend’s well-being…

Fuck, what did I just do?

“Don’t think about it too much, Master,” I felt Ruro tap on my shoulder, “What’s been done is done, and we can’t do anything about it. The best course of action is to move forward and make amends.”

Well, Her Fluffy Holiness was right. I shouldn’t wallow in despair for too long; I had to take immediate action.

“You know what? I think I know what I need to do now,” I told Ruro.

“What—” Her Fluffy Holiness’ eyes brightened for a short while, but quickly darkened when she read what I had in mind, “Master, I don’t think you should do that. Maddie needs you now, more than ever.”

“Well, it’s the only way,” I shrugged off her warning, “In the first place, I don’t think I can replace Lily in Maddie’s heart. And getting in between their friendship is the very last thing that I had in my mind.”

“Even so, going away isn’t the answer.”

“Going away? Who said that?”

“I read your mind?”

Ah yeah, well indeed, I plan to go, but not the way you think…”

“Of course. You plan to search for the Nerfes princess, and when you find her, that’s when you’d decide to leave. Do you think I can’t see much deeper in your thoughts, Master?”

“…”

“If you’re going off, at least bring me along so that you won’t escape.”

“No, that’s unnecessary—”

“Who’s leaving?”

“!!!”

Ugh…I hate where this talk was going…

----------

Who’s leaving?”

We both froze when we heard the Saint’s voice echoed inside the separate room (it’s where the envoys would take a rest) where we’re talking. Turning around, Maddie was standing behind us, complete with the maids who were assisting her.

“N-Nothing!”

“You suck at lying, Kuro!” I heard Her Fluffy Holiness whispered.

Ah don’t worry, I already know what you had in mind, Kuro,” Maddie gave a long sigh, “It’s alright, you’re also worried about Lily as well.”

“Maddie…”

“But well…” Her Holiness flashed a bittersweet smile, and she bowed before me, all to our utter surprise, “I’m sorry for making you feel that way, Kuro. All because of my selfish whims. All because I can’t even stand by what I believe in.”

Err…Your Holiness, can you please raise your head?”

“Come on, Maddie, it’s not your fault.”

But the human Saint never looked unto us. She continued to humble herself.

“Madelaine…” I gently pat her shoulders, at which she slowly regained her dignity, “It’s okay. What happened between me, you, and Lily isn’t anyone’s fault. Plus, no matter how you—or even others—look at yourself, you’re still someone young. You should even do more things that a common young lady does, like fall in love, flirt in love, and enjoy being in love!”

“That’s right, girl!” Her Fluffy Holiness quickly backed me up, “Look at me, I just go around and do things just as I please. But it doesn’t mean that I neglect to do my duty. Point is, we’re all mortals—even if we have the power of the gods, and mortals need a break the more duties they have.”

Maddie was silent all the time we’re talking. However, she didn’t let go of my hand; I could feel that she didn’t want to let me go the more we spoke to her.

“So okay, if you understand, don’t wallow in self-pity,” I told her, “Instead, like I always tell my students, take heart and change the things that need to be changed.”

Maddie nodded, and smiled weakly, “I’m sorry…”

“I’m telling you, stop apologizing!” I laughed softly.

“Sorry—oh…” With the mood significantly improving, the Saint must’ve felt relieved, and she chuckled as well, “Just as you say, Kuro! However, if possible, I’d like to see you again, even after Lily comes back.”

I couldn’t say anything back to her. Maddie knew what I had in mind, and yet she’s giving me her support.

“…”

Man, it sure feels bad that I thought of leaving her, even when she’s depending on me.

“…”

Uh, is there something else you need, Maddie?” I asked Her Holiness, who was squirming uncomfortably as if she wanted to tell me something.

“K-Kuro?”

“Hm?”

Maddie was stammering; she was also clumsily flailing her arms around, as if to dispel her nervousness, “W-Well, i-if it’s alright…c-can you…uh…

“What?”

“…s…”

“S…?”

“…sleep with m-m-m-m-me?” her face was red as she whispered that.

“Ha?” My heart almost jumped out of my chest the moment I heard that. Or is it playing games in my head? Ruro was swooning and smiling her heart out while watching us get embarrassed and awkward.

“N-N-N-N-No!” Maddie was panicking; I could see steam come out of her head, “I m-mean, c-can you c-come inside my r-room, and uh, well, watch me fall asleep?” She added, “Well! Y-you’regoingawayt-tofindLilyandIwon’tbeseeingyousoon…D-Don’t worry; Ruro’s c-coming with us!”

“…” I’m left speechless. Not only that Her Holiness had a great potential to be a rapper; she was also capable of such bold requests.

Good lord, my heart…

“How leeeeeeewwwwwwwwwd!” Her Fluffy Holiness teased us mercilessly.

“Sorry!” The Saint quickly turned around and ran towards her room.

Ruro laughed and kept on slapping and pushing my back as if egging me to go after her. Seriously though, I didn’t know what I should do. Well, it’s a fairly innocent request, but who knew what might happen if we’re both at the ‘heat of the moment’.

I’m a healthy 25-year-old guy!

“Don’t worry Master, you’ll just watch over Maddie until she sleeps!” Her Fluffy Holiness winked, “I’ll be there to stop you if something weird happens!”

----------

***Meanwhile, somewhere in the borders of the Holy Palatial Gardens to the east…***

It’s been several ‘sleeps’ since Lily left the palace and her work as a maid behind, after that ugly episode with her friend.

“…”

And her journey had brought her to the eastern borders. Lily had thought of this while she was packing her clothes and equipment; this place was where she was least known, so she decided to take this route. However, the eastern border was the farthest point from the walled enclave and was the most difficult to traverse, so it was no surprise that she was utterly tired when she reached it by walking.

“…”

Make no mistake though; Lily never intended to go far from Her Holiness, whom she still considered as her friend. But the current situation back at the Holy Palatial Gardens had made her unable to continue her work and devotion to Maddie.

“…”

The eastern pass to the border of the neighboring kingdom of Colveente had a river wide enough to serve as a buffer for the armies of the Confederacy of the East in the past. Bridges were built here in the last war, but Lily had to avoid the major roads because the Paladin Corps were patrolling there. She knew the Saint had organized a search for her.

And for now, to be honest, she wished not to see her friend for a while.

“Haa…”

Lily took a long sigh and put down her bag and other equipment she brought with her. As she expected to ford the river as soon as the opportunity came, she had to take a rest. After all, crossing that body of water in her heavy armor and complimentary equipment would surely take a great toll on her energy and could make a supposedly simple task even more dangerous.

As she sat by a nearby tree in a relatively hidden part of the border forest, Lily couldn’t help but think back on her life at the Holy Palatial Gardens…

…of how, despite the shame and stigma brought about by her exile, she was invited and gladly accepted by her friend Maddie, who was already the Saint by then…

…of how the maids and the soldiers working for Maddie quickly gave their trust to her, after she showed she was capable of a lot of things, brought about by her life of constantly in danger…

…of how she could find her happiness, that was, to know her purpose—serving her friend, the Great Saint of Chersea…

Lily could only smile in a bittersweet way as she reminisced about those old times. She forgot her past life in Nerfes, and yes, those seasons back at the Holy Palatial Gardens were her best.

Even when that man, Kuro, came.

Lily could only shake her head in dismay. Not to Maddie, and not because of Kuro; she was annoyed at herself. She was supposed to be her friend’s support and the first one that should be happy when she got engaged to a reliable man like Kuro…

But…

“…”

There was a faint, yet deep, pain in her chest. Lily’s feelings had been heavy ever since she left the Rubinforth estate, and even more when she ran away from the Holy Palatial Gardens.

Isn’t it that Kuro only wished to be of help to us? He has been kind to Maddie and me, even though we did something bad to him, taking him away from his home and bringing him here. Why did I even get jealous of him?

“…”

And Maddie, for all her sacrifices for us, deserved the love of such a man. Why did I even get jealous? I mean, I also like him. But Maddie is the person who loved him more than I do…I should be happy, right?

“!!!”

Lily was surprised to feel something drop from her face. It was then that she realized tears were falling from her eyes. The heavy feeling intensified further, even as she tried her best to shake off her dark thoughts.

“…”

Lily wiped her eyes. However, a flurry of memories came rushing back at her like a tidal wave seeking to overwhelm her mind…

…those angry, desperate yells of those soldiers whom she was about to kill in the wars she was involved with…

…those fearful faces of the people whom she was supposed to protect as a princess, but failed to…

…and those cold, merciless eyes of her father looking down on her as if she’s a plague that had to be avoided…

Lily wanted to shout, or at least do something extreme to make those thoughts disappear. But the more she struggled, the more those dark memories inched their way into her mind and heart. It didn’t take long for her to stop fighting and just let the depression and sadness consume her spirit.

No one would help her, anyway. So, let it come…

This will be an appropriate punishment for me. I’m not even worthy of an honorable death.

“…”

I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have let my feelings get the better of me…I should’ve acted like a proper friend and supported Maddie. And now, because of this, I’m back to being alone.

----------

**Kuro**

Upon making sure that Her Holiness was already asleep, Ruro and I tucked her in her bed and excused ourselves from Maddie’s room. And when we’re all alone ourselves, Her Fluffy Holiness then told me…

“I know you won’t stay put much longer,” she said as if she already knew what I had in mind, “We all know that Maddie’s just putting up a brave front, but she’s going to be worried once you go as well.”

“Well, of course, I knew that,” I replied.

“Then don’t go,” Her Fluffy Holiness curtly countered.

“You know I can’t,” I answered. “Lily knows Maddie more than I; they’ve been together for years—I mean, seasons. They even treat each other like sisters, so if anyone needs to leave, I think it should’ve been me, and not her.”

“…”

Her Fluffy Holiness remained unconvinced, but at least she was quiet this time.

“I can’t bear to watch my fiancée and my best friend suffer. You see, you can always find another man to love you, but you won’t be able to replace a good friend who stays by your side.”

Ruro of the Wolf had a weird expression on her face, which says that she’s still uncooperative, “You say words like that, Master, but where would you go once you set on your search? This land is as vast as the sky, and yet, unlike up there, down here there were a lot of hiding places.”

“Well, Your Fluffy Holiness?”

“Yes?”

“East or west?”

“Ha?” Ruro could only stare at me, dumbfounded.

“I’m asking, if you’re Lily, where do you think is the best place to go? East or west?”

“Wait, why in those directions? Are you sure she went either way?”

“Well, you see, now that I think about it, she can’t go north, where the kingdom of Nerfes lies. She was forbidden to come there, and even though the limit is only at the lands of her family, Lily would never risk returning to a land where she doesn’t feel welcomed.”

Hmm…you have a point, but are you sure she won’t go south?”

“Never. Isn’t it the Empire’s territory? The last time that I knew, she dared to stand up against the emperor and his son back when they were insulting Maddie. I’m sure they would seek revenge for such humiliation, and Lily knows it would be suicide to go in there alone.”

Her Fluffy Holiness pondered about my explanations, and nodded understandingly, “Well, if you put it that way, that would certainly leave the Nerfes princess the directions east and west.”

“So, what do you think?”

“I’m not the Nerfes princess, Master,” Ruro countered, “However, if you ask me about her past, I’d say that in the west, she had slain countless Amaranthene soldiers and knights in the past. So probably, the safest place for her is to be in the east, where the Confederation of the East lies.”

“Alright, I’m heading east then.”

“But!”

“What?”

“Are you sure about that?” Her Fluffy Holiness asked, “Going east is the most dangerous route to take. I mean, you’re not trained to be a warrior, right?”

“Well, do I have any other choice?”

“Why don’t you ask Maddie for an armed escort? Or at least, wait until a group of paladins would be available to accompany you?”

“Not possible!”

“Why?”

“One, I hate to impose on her, now that I caused this problem. Two, all the paladins were busy searching as well. And likewise, we can’t wait any further; an additional hand is better in these situations. And third, didn’t Lily purposefully run away? Do you think she would show herself once she sees our group coming from afar?”

Ruro fell silent once again. However, after a few moments, she took out something long from her chest (how’d she do that?) and gave it to me.

“What—”

“You forgot that ever since you got killed in the tourney,” she said, half-laughing, “So, I took the liberty of safekeeping it, just in case the need for it arises.”

I removed the cloth that was wrapped on the item, and the matchlock gun I used in the tourney came into my full view. Well, don’t ask how Her Fluffy Holiness could fit that on her chest…I’m as speechless as you.

“You remember how to use it, right?” she asked.

“Of course. A weapon like this also exists in my world.”

“Your world is scary. I bet there are a lot of demons there as well…”

Haha…it sure is,” I could only laugh.

I could only agree with her words. Not necessarily real demons, but on Earth, we got humans who acted so villainous they could qualify as demon lords themselves.

“Well then,” Ruro then turned her back on me, “I saw nothing. Whatever you intend to do, go. I cast an invisible spell on you so that you can pass the guards without them noticing you. Don’t worry about your fiancée; she’s good with me.”

“Thanks, Your Fluffy Holiness!” I quickly prepared myself. I hadn’t got that many things to bring with me, saved only for some clothes, and a pouch of gunpowder and few musket balls, which I still had with me. My ammunition got exhausted, I’ll just have to rely on my gun’s bayonet.

“…”

But yeah, I hope it didn’t come to that. After all, I’m an educator. I’m supposed to murder ‘ignorance’ and kill ‘stupidity’; I had no training or experience in fighting and killing people.

Well, that tourney is another thing, of course.

Anyway, for food and some ‘emergencies’, I thought my pocket money would suffice for that as I passed some towns and cities along the way.

I suddenly felt a tap on my shoulder, as well as heard Ruro’s voice, “Hey!”

“!!!”

“Master, I know that you’re in a hurry, but if you need help with anything, you could ask it from me right now,” Her Fluffy Holiness offered.

Hmm…I guess I’m all set, Your Fluffy Holiness. Thanks for the offer though.”

“Okay…Return safely! Do you hear?”

I only gave Her Fluffy Holiness a smile and a wave from my hand. Even I am not sure of the dangers I would face, so I couldn’t give her assurances. But, even if she didn’t wish for it, I would try to come back in one piece.

Besides, I’ll only be searching for a friend. I’m not going to war, or anything similar; what would be the harm in that?

And so, my very own—Kuro’s—adventure began! However, on my first step towards my journey…

“Wait…”

“Something you forgot already, Master?”

“No, but well, …I think I need a little help about something…”