Chapter 9:

CHAPTER 7: IN THE KINGDOM OF CALABRIA

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


Right…so you’re uh…Lily Tamriel? From where are you from?”

“I come from the city of Etihad in the Kingdom of Galad, good sir.”

Hm…you certainly don’t sound like a Galadene.”

“Well, I was raised by my mother, who hails from Nerfes—as you can see from my traveler’s papers. I recently came to Etihad, and would like to do business with the city of Sekhtem.”

Ohh…well, judging from your looks, I could say that you’re a knight. Is this true?”

“Yes, sir. I formerly serve the Mayor of Etihad, Duke Hayes. That’s his seal on my traveler’s papers.”

“I can see that, missy. But I can’t just let you in our Sekhtem as easily; you know that our king only seeks powerful knights to protect our land.”

“Does it mean that you’re challenging me to a mock fight?”

“I’m sorry, missy, just following orders. Nothing personal.”

The knight called Lily Tamriel—formerly known as Lilyhaven Tamriel von Leese—let out a deep sigh. She knew that the current king of Calabria, the jolly King Baldwin V Hans Levine, didn’t need knights in his service. This was a test to see if she’s posing a threat to the kingdom’s capital city, Sekhtem.

And because of that, Lily knew what she had to do.

“…”

“Do you need a lance to go along with your sword, missy?” the leader of the city’s militia arrogantly asked her.

“If I may ask, good sir, would you have me hold a wooden sword?”

Ohohohoho, you’re brave enough to fight me with a weapon for training, huh?” the militia leader scoffed. “Very well then, don’t come crying to me once I beat you senseless, little girl!”

“Alright, on your positions!” a fellow militia shouted, which was the cue for Lily and the guard leader to take defensive postures and prepare for battle.

“Begin!”

“!!!”

The militiaman, using a training spear, attacked first. Lily quickly parried him with a wooden sword and counterattacked, which was also blocked by her opponent.

“Not bad, missy!” the militia leader smirked. He then gave another shot at her, this time with his spear swirling as he came towards Lily.

Lily knew she was at a disadvantage regarding his reach. She had to close in the distance between them if she didn’t want to be beaten to a pulp.

“…”

However, this was not her plan.

“!!!”

The former head maid moved to avoid the spear and attempted to attack her enemy—or at least, that’s what she had tried to make it look like. Lily deliberately moved in slowly, carefully rigging her footwork, and giving the militiaman time to chant a spell to blast her away.

“Wind wall!”

“!!!”

Lily’s training sword flew off from her hands, and the next moment, she found the militia leader’s training spear on her neck.

“Stop!”

And with that, the mock fight ended. Lily was helped by the militiaman back to her feet, and both warriors gave the other their well-deserved salute. Then her papers were handed back to her, and she was allowed in the city of Sekhtem.

Lily was determined to start a new life at this place, where she was virtually unknown. Compared to Colveente, which bordered the Holy Palatial Gardens, the Kingdom of Calabria was a country away from the holy land (Colveente was Calabria’s neighbor in the direction nearest the palatial gardens). However, it was still on the mainland of north Chersea, and near enough to be of help to Maddie whenever the need for it arises.

However…

“That was a good fight, Sir Dane!”

The militia leader was handed a towel and was congratulated by his subordinates for his victory. However, the veteran warrior was not happy, no matter how arrogant he was at the fight earlier.

Nah, don’t congratulate me. I barely won against the missy, see?”

Ha? You even knocked off her sword! What do you mean by that?”

“She intended for that to happen,” Sir Dane laughed, “The first time I attacked her, the missy was surprised that she unintendedly showed her actual skills as a knight. I’m aiming to defeat her on the first move, but she held up easily. Awesome footwork, if you’re watching. I can’t imagine that she’ll be stopped with such a simple move like that.”

Sir Dane’s subordinate was silent. Their leader was a veteran of countless wars, and could quickly find out a fellow warrior’s skill in a short time before they cross swords.

“Anyway, call in a few of the boys,” Sir Dane ordered, “Don’t let that missy out of your sight; you’ll never know when she can be dangerous.”

----------

Tired from the long journey, Lily tried to find a tavern to stay.

“…”

However, all the inns in Sekhtem were full, thanks to a local festival. Those people who were turned away were forced to flock to the town square and made that their temporary ‘home’. Lily was no exception; upon finding a relatively vacant spot, she quickly claimed it as her own.

“…”

After all, no one would bother her to make her move away, since her armor and weapon were visible.

Once she was done making sure that she was relatively safe at her spot, Lily ate some of the food that she brought along, and after that, got her well-deserved rest.

----------

Some distance away from the town square, the Traveler watched as he was looking for an opportunity to create chaos. This was a perfect time to do some distractions, just as he was ordered to, since the Sekhtem festival was just around the corner.

“…”

Unlike in Meldech, where he was working alone, here he had a few imperial agents joining him. Though the security at the gates was increased because of the upcoming event, he and his associates could sneak in—some skillfully hidden in the carriages, others in their disguises, and a few by bribing the militia.

Of course, to move unhindered, his group had to make some ‘arrangements’ with the local security.

“…”

And now, the Traveler was doing his rounds, looking for opportunities to sow discord among the local population. Unlike in Meldech, the legend of the ‘Bloody Witch’ was relatively unknown here, and so he had to create something that would cause fear and concern for the people of Sekhtem.

And hopefully, that would draw out Calabria’s king, Baldwin V Hans, from the Holy Palatial Gardens just like what happened to the Nerfes ruler. With his fellow agents aiming for the same incidents to happen in other countries, they could scatter the leadership of north Chersea, and allow a slower and weaker barbarian response to the surprise invasion force from the Empire.

“…”

Just as he was entering a narrow alley, the Traveler almost stepped on some sleeping individuals. Many of them were exhausted, and so slept like a log. He never apologized, for he didn’t want anyone to wake up. Instead, the Traveler carefully hopped his way across the pathway of sleeping men and women on the way to his aim.

However, upon reaching the other end of the road…

“!!!”

The Traveler couldn’t believe his eyes at what he was seeing. He took another eyeful, since he wanted to be sure that she was the real thing. And when he finally realized that he wasn’t dreaming, fear came over his heart…

…for in front of him lies the dreaded ‘Iron Princess of Nerfes’, Lilyhaven Tamriel von Leese.

“…”

She was sleeping, though. And the armor that she was wearing was of unique quality and style compared to what she usually wore from the battles of the past.

The Traveler warily looked around to see if there’s anyone else watching. Upon making sure that every soul in the square was asleep—save for a few patrolling guards who didn’t even give a damn to the people at the square, he took out a pair of manacles and carefully moved to chain the sleeping princess.

“What are you doing?”

“!!!”

The Traveler stopped on what he was about to do. His heart almost jumped out of his chest, and he turned around to see who was the one who disturbed him.

“Hey, old man, what are you planning to do with that lady knight?” a young girl was standing beside him, wearing traveling clothes. On her hands was a half-empty, worn-out sack.

Oh, you surprised me,” the Traveler smiled, “Well, I’ll tell you what, young lady. I’m giving you three gold coins for you keeping quiet of what I was doing here.”

Hmm…that sure is a tempting offer, Gramps!” the young girl smirked, “How about you raise it to five?”

Kuh…I’ll give you four!”

Nah. Give me four gold and five silvers for my cooperation.”

“Alright, four gold, two silvers, and five bronzes?”

“Deal!”

“Here you go!” the Traveler gave her the amount they agreed upon, “Now scram! And shut your mouth!”

“Alright!” the girl happily marched away shouting, “Hey Grandma, I got us money from that kind stranger! Grandma!”

The Traveler cursed repeatedly as he weighed on his options: shut the girl up or capture the sleeping Iron Princess. However, deeming that the latter was more important, he chained Lily.

After all, even if she woke up, once he got her restrained, there’s nothing else she can do.

“Hey.”

“!!!”

The pommel of the Iron Princess’ sword almost hit him in the neck, if not for the quick evasive action of the Traveler. He dropped the manacles, and by now, he realized that his position was now in absolute danger.

“…”

The Iron Princess was all awake, with her sword and dagger drawn.

----------

Looking menacingly at him, the Iron Princess slowly walked forward towards the Traveler, who could not move on the ground. By this time, she had noticed the pair of manacles at his foot, and she realized how close he was capturing her.

“Who are you, and who sent you?” she asked as she kicked the manacles away from his reach.

The Traveler remained silent, however. In his mind, he was already looking for potential escape routes. He knew the capabilities of the Iron Princess, especially in combat. As long as no one would create a sufficient distraction for him, his life was forfeited.

“I’m asking you one more time, who are you, and who sent you?”

“…”

Lily wasted no time in asking questions further. She closed the distance between them, using her superior footwork. Even before the Traveler could blink his eye, the Iron Princess was already going for his neck with her dagger.

“!!!”

However, he won’t go down easily. A veteran of many battles—both in the open and in the dark, the Traveler could also hold out fairly on his own. He pulled out his knife and parried Lily’s dagger.

“Haa!” But Lily was quick to recover. Almost immediately, her sword was about to pierce his stomach; just as he recovered from blocking her shorter blade, which was answered by his palm pushing down the flat of her rapier. It’s only the strength of his arms and legs that the Traveler could keep on his feet.

“Not bad!” the Traveler couldn’t hide his praise for her, “It’s a pity that we’re on the opposite sides of the battlefield, Iron Princess!”

“!!!” Hearing that old nickname from her past visibly shook Lily, and she almost put down her guard…

And the Traveler seized the opportunity to strike back. Out from under his coat, he whipped out a weapon that was strange and yet so familiar to Lily…

“That’s Kuro’s—!”

“See you later then, Your Highness!”

A loud gunshot was then heard that tore through the quiet town square of Sekhtem.

An intense cloud of smoke came up after the Traveler shot his gun and obscured Lily’s vision. Recovering from the initial shock, she tried to pursue her enemy. But just as she was about to run, Lily felt her left leg wobble and progressively weakened.

“!!!”

It was then that she noticed blood on her feet. And then the pain.

“Kuh! Aargh!” She had no other choice but to lean on her sword, or she’d fall on the pavement.

“…”

Around this time, many of those who were sleeping were already roused from their slumber, and so they attracted the patrolling guards.

“Oi! What’s happening there?”

“Hey look! That’s blood coming from that knight’s leg!”

“Get a stretcher!”

Lily did not know that she had just been shot. What she knew, however, was that weapon was way too dangerous—it tore through the plate armor that she was wearing as if it was paper. Lily could now feel the very experience of that paladin prince who faced Kuro back in the tourney…

----------

The next thing that she knew, Lily was at the office of the Sekhtem town militia. A female squire had just finished tending to her wound, and a splint was also put in place at the back of her thigh, where she was shot. She tried moving it, but…

“!!!”

Terrible pain shot through her leg that Lily jolted at her seat.

“Such a horrible wound you got there, missy!”

“!!!”

A familiar voice made Lily turn around. Behind her was a tall man—the guy that she met at the town gates and challenged her to a duel earlier.

“We meet again, missy!” the militia leader had a different ambiance this time. He was friendlier compared to when he was on his sentry duty, “My name’s Sir Dane, and I serve the King as the captain of Sekhtem’s Militia.”

Lily gave the best greeting that she—as a knight—could give, despite her condition.

Ah, don’t move too much, missy!” Sir Dane stopped her, “You’ve been injured; good thing your wound is relatively harmless. It didn’t bleed too much, and we’re able to close it with the bandages and splints.”

“Thank you, Sir!”

“No, this old man’s just doing his duty,” the militiaman laughed, “Though if you don’t want that to make a mark on your skin, you should at least try to ask Her Holiness to heal you with her magic. That good saint is as busy as she is right now, I reckon.”

“…” Lily remained quiet the moment Maddie’s name was raised. She knew that this kind of wound would be easy for her friend since the human saint was the only one in all of Chersea that possessed the power of the gods to heal. But for now, she doubted if she could return to that place.

Ah, anyway, here!” Sir Dane had a bowl of soup and bread brought before Lily, “Eat some food and regain your strength. And while we’re at it, can I ask you some questions?”

Lily nodded, signifying her intent to cooperate. It’s been a while since she last ate something good, and so she decided to have an understanding with Sekhtem’s militia…as long as it didn’t bring harm to her goal of staying in low profile.

“Right,” Sir Dane pulled a chair over as he watched her eat, “Alright, the first question. Miss Lily Tamriel, you’re an upper-class noblewoman, right?”

“!!!” Lily almost choked on her food.

Nah, it’s no use denying it to me. Even if you say otherwise, your behavior gave you away,” Sir Dane laughed heartily, “Knights and lower nobles are usually arrogant and full of airs. Commoners and serfs are all meek and servile to us militia. You, however, reeked of good manners befitting a princess!”

“Kof! Kof!” Lily was now choking, literally.

Sir Dane ordered the female squire to help her breathe again, “Well, your reactions tell me I’m right. Anyway, I’m not exactly trying to pry on your circumstances, missy.”

“What do you mean, Sir?”

Ah, I’m just trying to warn you. You see, our King had recently established good relations with the emperor. And so, a lot of imperials come and go in this kingdom, doing their business and other stuff. You get what I mean?”

Err…sorry?”

“Alright,” Sir Dane then signaled the squire to secure the door and the windows of the room where they were in, which she followed. And then he continued, “Look, you know the imperials, right? They may seem like quiet and business-like people, but they secretly capture us ‘northern barbarians’ to sell as slaves in their country.”

“What?

“Yes…” the elderly knight explained further, “You know that the only type of slavery allowed by Her Holiness is the voluntary one, right? The one where if a person falls into deep debt, he could pay it off by allowing himself to be enslaved. However, in these parts, the Imperials would capture unsuspecting citizens and forced them into it.”

“Does your king know about this?”

Sir Dane just nodded, “Of course, our king won’t allow it…at least officially. In all honesty, he was powerless to stop the trade, or he’ll risk war against the empire, to which, we’re hopelessly unprepared. And I feel like our majesty’s colluding with these fellows, sacrificing his people for his own gain. You know how much money a slave can bring in.”

“Wow…” was all Lily could say. Seasons of holing up inside the Holy Palatial Gardens had made her unaware of the things around her.

“I think that man who attacked you was one of those imperials engaged in slave trading. We recovered a pair of manacles in the town square. Perhaps they took an interest in you; for clearly, you’re not a usual knight.”

“And so, that’s the reason you singled me out, too?”

Sir Dane only smirked, “Well, I also miss fighting a worthy opponent. It’s been long since there’d been a war; despite that, I like it this way. The only ones who are excited about it are those young enough never to experience a battle.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Who knows?” Sir Dane shrugged, “Maybe some old geezer is fed up of the situation and is trying to let others know of what’s happening, even if the king forbade us to speak about it. On the pain of getting his tongue cut.”

Lily could find no words to say upon hearing that. It’s not that slavery was strictly forbidden in the large part of north Chersea, unlike in Nerfes; but to encourage it at the expense of the people was something even she couldn’t comprehend.

“…”

At the back of Lily’s mind, visions of Maddie and Kuro returned. She knew that if she’d just tell those two about the situation here at Calabria, they’d spring into action.

However, Lily resolved to herself that she won’t have anything to do with the Holy Palatial Gardens…at least, for now.

----------

The downtown Sekhtem was already bustling once again with activity when Lily decided to continue on her journey. Sir Dane had offered her proper accommodations, at least, until her injury heals. But she decided to move on. Using a pair of makeshift sticks, Lily took some time to get used to walking with it, though she mastered it quickly in the end.

“…”

Hobbling around outside the militia office and supporting herself with her sword, Lily stopped for a moment and looked around. Sekhtem is a pretty big city compared to the tiny, upscale Arles, and the private enclave of the Holy Palatial Gardens.

“…”

The Iron Princess.

It’s been a while since she last heard someone call her by that nickname. Lily almost forgot about it until that incident earlier.

“…”

And yes, she’s confused who was that person who attacked her. There’s no doubt that it’s a slave trader, but coincidentally, that man knew her and her past.

Did she fight that person before?

Or is he involved in other things that she did?

Or worst, maybe that man can be one of…

Lily shook her head to remove all the negative thoughts. Looking at Sekhtem and its many cobblestone streets, she was peering into an uncertain future. Nevertheless, Lily had already resolved herself to confront it ever since she decided to leave the Holy Palatial Gardens.

Starting at this moment, she will be a brand-new person. Someone who doesn’t need anyone, nor is needed by anyone…

----------

Ah! Look, there she is!”

“!!!”

A child suddenly came running towards Lily and gave her an inquisitive stare. By this time, she had already walked quite a distance from the militia office, but not too far to exit the entire town square. Lily thought that having a pair of crutches would solve her walking problem; turns out, it’s difficult to walk using it.

“Hello there, Miss Knight!” the young girl greeted her.

Uh…are you talking to me?”

“Well, who else is in here with a pair of crutches?”

“…”

“Hey, Grandma! I found Miss Knight!”

“Mariya! How many times I should tell you, show some respect when you talk to knights and nobles!?” An old lady with an irreversible injury to her right eye appeared and hit the young girl in the head.

“Don’t worry! I think Miss Knight is kind; just look at her face!”

“Stop it!” she hit her young companion once again. Then the old lady turned to Lily, “I’m very sorry for the insolence of my granddaughter, Lady Knight.”

Ah, it’s okay!” Lily smiled. To be honest, she didn’t mind having someone like that speak to her that way, maybe because of her long time of servitude under the saint had taken root in her character. And also, having painful problems concerning her crutches, correcting a young girl’s straightforward mouth was the last thing on her mind as of the moment.

The old lady, however, quickly assisted Lily and asked her granddaughter to do the same. The young girl found a resting place for her, and after shooing away some more able-bodied fellows loitering around, they took her there for a break.

Ah, milady!” the grandma began the moment they sat down, “I’d like to ask for your forgiveness concerning my granddaughter. If possible, here is the money that she took from that strange fellow who tried to kidnap you.”

Huh? Why are you returning this to me?”

“Well, it’s because of it you are injured right now. And if you didn’t wake up in time, your fate could’ve been much worse! All because my granddaughter sold you! At least, let me pay you back for the inconvenience we caused.”

Ah, there’s no need for—”

“Please! I insist!” the old lady countered, “And you, Mariya, you better show your apology as well!”

Mariya then sheepishly bowed before Lily and apologized. But she also added, “Miss Knight, I also helped you there! I didn’t shout earlier just because for the sake of it, see?”

And now Lily remembered. In the first place, she wouldn’t be able to wake up in time, had it not for someone shouting and making noises with marching footsteps…

So, this is that person who made that, huh?

Ah, please be at ease, Madame,” Lily happily assured the old lady, “Your granddaughter here helped me by making noises that roused me up, and she also outwitted her enemy. I would return the money to her, because she earned it, fair and square.”

“Alright, Grandma! We got our money back!”

Grandma bowed before Lily in gratitude, “Thank you for your kind understanding, milady! If there’s anything that I and my family could be of help, please ask!”

Ah, it’s okay. I’m fine!”

“No…I insist.”

“Really, I’m good.”

“I insist, milady!” Grandma’s aura became threatening, “In fact, I wouldn’t mind if you stay with us for a while, until your injury heals. Could you even walk far in that condition?”

Ah, I wouldn’t refuse anymore if I were you, Miss Knight,” Mariya said, “Once Grandma sets her sight at something—or someone—you could say it’s a done deal.”

“…”

And with that, Lily found herself a home to stay in for a while.

----------

For about several miles east from Sekhtem, near the northern coast of north Chersea, one would find a small village of around 50, or more, people. The name of the place was Hagena, and most of the villagers there lived on the catch from the sea.

It was here that Lily was taken to stay with Grandma and her granddaughter, Mariya.

Ah, this is our village, Hagena,” The old lady introduced, “Most of our young people here work as fishers, and some, like Mariya, her brother, and I, often visit Sekhtem to trade in our catch.”

Oh…so that’s why Mariya can carry me like this?”

“Yes, of course, milady. I ask for your forgiveness if you didn’t like it.”

“No, on the contrary, I felt good. I afraid I’m the one who’s imposing on your granddaughter.”

Grandma chuckled, “Don’t worry, Mariya’s a tough nut with carrying loads. You saw how easy she pulled the cart you were on earlier, right? Well, she takes after me. When I was younger, you could say I’m strong enough to hurl logs at the enemy during the old wars.”

Ah! So, you’re also a veteran of the old wars, Grandma?”

“Why yes! I was a squire back then, serving in the army of the crown prince of Nerfes.”

Upon hearing that, Lily fell awkwardly silent. She was feeling poorly enough to keep talking about some terrible memories from the past.

“Are you okay, Miss Knight?” Mariya asked.

Ah, yes…I am!” Lily quickly regained her senses, and she attempted to change the topic, “Uhh anyway, so you’re someone from Nerfes?”

“Yes, milady!” Grandma laughed, “I, my daughter and her family, including Mariya, were from Nerfes. All the people in this village come from that kingdom, as well.”

Eh? All of you?” Lily was surprised to learn about that. “If so, what are you doing here in Calabria? Did you get involved in some disaster back in the past?”

“Well…you could say it’s a disaster, alright…” Grandma had a nostalgic look on her face, “However, it’s not a calamity that you think of. If I may describe it, this disaster took a human form and terrorized us for a long time…”

Lily was getting increasingly uncomfortable with the conversation the longer the old lady narrated her story. Nevertheless, she let her finished speaking.

“We’re refugees, Miss Knight!” Mariya proudly declared, “We left Nerfes and eventually settled here!”

“Refugees?”

“That’s right, milady! We were forced to leave our lands in that country. My family—my husband, my three sons, and Mariya’s mother, who is my only daughter, were massacred at the order of that she-devil who lords over our lands back then,” there was a hint of anger and bitterness in the old lady’s voice as she narrated her tale. “And in fact, this eye was blinded not because of battle, but because of the whims of that cursed woman.”

Lily kept her silence upon learning about the cruel fate of her companions. She was quivering, and cold sweat was forming on her forehead. Yet she tried her best to hide it.

Mariya checked on her once again, “Are you okay, Miss Knight? You’re getting pale!”

Oh right, sorry! You must get hungry. Come, enter my humble home,” Grandma motioned for Lily to come in. And she added, “By the way, my name—or formerly, that is—is Margie Guggenheim Horn, squire of the House of Benfall, the noble ‘servants’ of that accursed aristocrat, the Bloody Witch of Meldech.”