Chapter 18:

CHAPTER 13: THE CASE OF THE IRON PRINCESS

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


**Kuro**

The fight at the Hagena Castle came to a close. Exhausted, I fell on the side of the hallway, barely having the strength to lift my gun. But at least we’re all alive. Lily, though naked, was smeared with blood all over her body that it did not matter. Good thing a friendly soldier noticed her and handed over a coat to cover herself.

“…”

And then she deactivated her Bloodbath skill, which caused her to slump beside me as well.

“Bloody way for a reunion, huh?” I asked.

“Indeed, it is, Kuro!” she smiled, “I…I’m sorry for what I said to you before…”

“Shut up,” I snarled at her, “It’s me who should apologize; I caused you pain, both physical and emotional.”

“Why don’t we…just…forgive…each other?”

“That’d be…nice.”

We’re both tired from the battle that it was hard to stay awake and speak.

Nevertheless, Lily kept on talking, “K-Kuro…”

“Hm?”

“I’ve…s-sinned greatly…”

“Don’t focus on that for now,” I told her, “And yes…I know what you did. But don’t you…e-ever think that Maddie and I would…change…on how we see you. Isn’t it…the reason…I got like this?”

“B-but…”

“You can’t change…your past. You can…change your future. And…we’ll help…you,” I patted Lily’s head, just like what I always do with my students when they did a good job.

Lily seemed to be content with what I said. She just closed her eyes, and before she drifted into sleep, she uttered, “Indeed…”

Seeing that everything’s alright, I also went to dreamland.

----------

Ah, it’s this familiar all-white scenery once again.

“…”

Let me see, by now there should be a small table around here somewhe—ah! There it is!

Behind me was a small white table with a chessboard, complete with all the chess pieces arranged as if a game had just ended.

“God?” I asked for the old deity, I’m sure He’s around here somewhere…

“Yes, Kuro!?”

“Wha—” I almost jumped from fright when He appeared beside me.

“Easy there, my son. You’ve been pretty jumpy lately,” God laughed.

“I’m sorry Lord, I’m just not good with surprises.”

Ah yeah, right. That’s what you are, indeed.”

Uh…anyway, Lord, what made You summon me back here? I didn’t die, right?”

“Well, yes, you’re still alive,” the Divinity then brought out a cup of coffee from somewhere and put it before me, inviting me for a drink, “Don’t worry, I only whisked you away temporarily while sleeping, to congratulate you on what you just did.”

“Eh?”

“If you haven’t realized just yet…” God picked up the queen chess piece, “You already saved the Queen—the strongest piece in our chess game.”

“You mean Lily’s the Queen?”

God only answered with a smile.

“And that isolation…” it slowly dawned on me, “Oh…so that’s why…AHH!!!”

God chuckled and His face had an amused expression, “The enemy is trying to keep the people away from Princess Lilyhaven, who’s their only hope in the coming times. Even though she’s the Bloody Witch, you had seen how powerful she can be once she gets proper support, right?”

I could only stare in fascination with God.

“Alright, I guess I need to return you right now. You still need to rest your spirit,” God then gulped the coffee in one sitting, “It’s nice to have you around again, my son.”

Uh…God, there’s something that’s bugging me now that You reminded me of the Bloody Witch.”

“You mean about her skill, Bloodbath? Why that didn’t take over her mind completely as the other ancestors of hers?”

I nodded.

“Well, it’s simple. Remember that memory of yours that I sent in the middle of the battle at Hagena? That anime girl with an ESPer, time-traveler, and an alien?”

“You sent that?”

God laughed, “I always help those who are in need, though it’s subtle they always blame Me for inaction. Anyway, what did you do?”

“I…” I could feel my cheeks blush, “I kissed her, though, in the forehead, that is.”

“Right. You see, the Chersean hero, Cassandra David, knew that the Bloodbath is a dangerous spell, and so she created a condition in which the last Duke of Nerfes could control it. Sadly, he never found it while he lived.”

“Which is?”

“True love’s kiss. That overwhelming power could be controlled when you’re fighting for the one you love, and Lilyhaven has found hers.”

“That’s cliché!”

“I know, right?”

Argh! The readers would get angry once again, whining that this story is so cliché with me being a dense Japanese main character even though I’m not from Japan!”

“Ha?” God had a confused look on His face.

Ah, never mind, Lord,” I quickly returned to my calm self.

“Anyway, Kuro, thank you for your hard work!” God then blessed me, “Just one more, and you’ll save Chersea from its greatest crisis…”

My eyes almost popped out from their sockets upon hearing that, “Ha? There’s more?”

And then it went dark.

----------

Everything settled down in the end.

With the Imperial soldiers, as well as their allies, afflicted with that gross disease and death, the battle came to be called the Battle of Hagena Castle (a.k.a. the Battle of Black Death). The Sekhtem militia’s cavalry company members were almost wiped out, save for 21 soldiers who were healed by Maddie, besides their commander, Sir Dane.

The lord of that place, a certain Baron Sir Gray, went missing in the aftermath of that castle battle. His body was not among the corpses, most of which were still recognizable even though the bubonic plague caused by Maddie hit them.

I tried asking Her Holiness if she could find that man in the pile of bodies, but…

“Don’t worry Kuro…” Maddie replied in a cold, calculating smile, “That man received a punishment a hundred times over; so, he won’t ever forget it, not even in his grave.”

“…”

Okay, so I didn’t pursue the matter with Maddie ever since. Girls can be quite scary…

Good thing I knew some basic precautions against this illness. I requested the clean-up workers to don some protective clothing to prevent a spread of the disease, just in case a vector (like a flea, or another insect) appeared.

The lone surviving member of the lord’s local guard, the vice-captain Roland, was recommended by the commander of the Sekhtem city militia, Sir Dane, to replace him. The latter was forced to step down from his position by Maddie herself, who was keen on putting a stop to the illegal forced-slavery trade and had him appointed as Chancellor to the king of Calabria.

Well, Sir Dane became Maddie’s ‘eye’ inside the monarch’s court.

As for the old lady and the young girl whom we rescued with Lily, Maddie also gave them her special attention. She made sure that every injury that the girl suffered was healed—even the broken fingers. For the lady, not only did she heal the missing eye, she cast on her a calming spell so that the effects of the traumatic experiences that she had would somehow lessen—though the Saint may not expunge it completely.

And finally, Lily was unconscious long after the fight had ended. Her Holiness had her transferred to a comfortable quarter within the manor that housed the Holy Diplomatic Mission of Sekhtem. Maddie kept on blaming herself for what happened to her friend and never left her side for as long as she didn’t wake up.

Her Holiness also did not allow anyone else to approach Lily…not even me.

I guess it’s pretty understandable that she wanted a private time with her long-lost friend.

“…”

A few ‘sleeps’ later, I received the good news from Ruro that the head maid had opened her eyes.

“You won’t come in and see her?” Her Fluffy Holiness asked while we’re at the lobby of the diplomatic mission.

“I guess not for now,” I replied. I knew we had resolved our differences already in the aftermath of Hagena Castle, but I still felt responsible for what happened to the Head Maid, and because of that, I lost my courage to see her.

It’s like when you get carried away with the events around you, and when you got back to your senses, the reality hits you before you even know it.

“…”

Perhaps I should let them alone for now; I’m an outsider to this world, anyway. And when I think about it, this whole affair will not happen if I didn’t get carried away with the events around me.

Damn it. I kept on creating problems after problems lately…

“…”

Ruro only gave me a long stare as she sipped on the cup of coffee that was prepared for her.

----------

**Lilyhaven**

Upon regaining my consciousness, the first person who I saw was Maddie, and she was sitting beside my bed.

“…”

She was silent, and yet tears were falling from her gentle, silvery-blue eyes.

I knew she could read my mind right now, and yes, I’d be honest about it. I missed her. I missed this beautiful girl sitting beside me. I missed talking to her, having lunch and dinner with her, and when her schedule permits, I missed having drawing sessions with her.

“Maddie…I…I’m sorry…” was all I could say at the moment.

But the Saint never replied. She just smiled and held me tight as she could. At first, I was worried; my body endured torture, and I’m afraid she would break a bone or two. It was only then when she never let go of me I realized Maddie had completely healed me, even with the injury on my leg.

“…”

Ah, she never had to say anything. Right now, I forgive her even if she won’t ask for my forgiveness…

After all, Maddie sacrificed a lot for me.

----------

I went back to Hagena right after I regained my strength. Maddie also came along, knowing that the family that I stayed with—Grandma Margie, Anton, and especially Mariya, had suffered a lot after getting involved with me. And, I also would like to apologize for everything that had happened.

What I mean is right now, and from the time that I was the ‘Bloody Witch’.

“Are you sure about this, Lily?” I heard Maddie ask. “I think I could cast some spell that would make the grandmother more accepting of you…”

“That won’t be necessary,” I replied, “I’d like them to keep those bitter memories of me. It’s the consequence of what I did, and I’m ready to accept it.”

“Well, still…I know it’s not entirely your fault.”

“As long as you believe in me, I guess I can manage.”

Oh look! Welcome back, Miss Lily!” it was that arrogant guard, Roland, who came to meet me at the entrance to the village. Well, now, he’s more collected and thoughtful. I could say that his character improved a lot after what he had just experienced.

“Hello, Roland!” I greeted back, “How are you?”

“I’m pretty much fine now,” he answered, “And thanks to you, I was now the captain of Sekhtem’s militia.”

“Well, I think you impressed Sir Dane back then.”

“Of course, it wouldn’t be possible without your training, Master!” Roland bowed in gratitude, “And I’d like to offer my thanks to Her Holiness for healing me.”

Maddie nodded and smiled.

Oh, uh, Miss Lily?” it seemed that he remembered something he wanted to ask.

“Yes?”

“Well, I’m just confused,” Roland told me, “The Mahan Swordsmanship Style that you taught us never worked for them, but it worked for me. Putting aside that Her Holiness healed me when I inhaled generous amounts of smoke, I’m still alive, and they’re dead. Did we all miss something?”

“Indeed,” I explained, “You see, Mahan Swordsmanship was created by my brother, Arthur Mahan of Nerfes. He did that to train me in the art of self-defense, and I passed the knowledge to you.”

“So…it’s a self-defense sword style?”

“Precisely. Mahan swordsmanship is strictly for defense, that’s why it worked against you when you first attacked me before. And also, in reverse, when you defended yourselves back in that castle. If used for offense, it would be hopelessly outmatched by a defending pole or ranged weapons, like a spear or lance.”

“Well, I certainly did not know that aspect of it,” Roland quipped, “Ah, thank you once again for teaching me that.”

----------

And with that, we went on our ways. Roland was heading to Sekhtem to assume command of its city guards, for Sir Dane eventually stepped down from the position of commander. In the aftermath of what happened, Maddie forced the king of Calabria to appoint Sir Dane as his chancellor, for she wanted to stamp out the illegal forced-slavery trade that flourished under the watch of the previous minister.

“…”

As for me, my heart was heavy upon reaching the house of Grandma Margie. I could still remember the painful words she threw at me during our time in the torture chamber. But, I knew and accepted those. After all, it would never remove the pain I caused her by murdering her family before as the Bloody Witch, and for causing her to witness the torture of her granddaughter.

“…”

I was about to knock on the door when I suddenly hesitated. And then I felt Maddie touch my shoulder. Turning to her, she winked at me as if telling me that everything would be alright.

And so, taking a deep breath, I knocked—

“!!!”

As it turned out, I didn’t have to knock. Mariya was on her way out, and she inadvertently opened the door for us.

“Err…” I tried breaking the ice by speaking first, but…

“And here I was, wondering when you’d come back. Then poof! Here you are!” she said in her usual cheerful voice.

Uh…Mariya, can I talk to your grandmother?”

“Well, come on in.”

I took a step inside the house that sheltered me for quite a while. Maddie followed me in and introduced herself, which caused Mariya—and Anton, who was standing behind her—to freeze in shock.

Uh, Lily, are they alright?”

“They’re both a big fan of yours, Maddie.”

“Hello, Mariya and Anton! I’m the Saint, Madelaine Rubinforth!” she reached out her hand to her, at which the siblings remained unresponsive.

Uh…Lily? Looks like they fell unconscious, standing…”

“Don’t worry; Mariya’s one tough girl, and Anton is her little brother,” I commented, before heading towards the room where Grandma Margie is. I guess Maddie was left wondering if she heard me right about Anton being Mariya’s big ‘little brother’.

I saw the old lady sitting by her bed and looking at the mementos of her dead loved ones. Seeing that scene was painful for me. I tried to back out, but then I heard her voice…

“You know, I won’t forgive you for what you did to my sons, husband, and daughter.”

I remained silent. Painful as it was, I fully understand Grandma. If only I could kill myself just to make amends, I would do so.

“But, well, your friend desperately told me about your circumstances. Of how your power is also your bane. That it’s not that you wished for it—murdering people—to happen.”

“I…I’m deeply regretful of those…” I began, finally finding the courage to speak, “If only I could return the lives that I took…”

“That won’t be necessary,” the old lady said, “I’ve told you before, didn’t I? I won’t forgive you.”

“Yes…I understand.”

“Good,” Grandma Margie then stood up from her bed and drew near to me. I couldn’t make myself to look back at her, but I still listened to what she has to say, “Now, so you have to pay me…as well as everyone else, by living. Live your life to the fullest and do nothing like that again.”

“!!!” Those were the sweetest words that I heard from Grandma Margie. I glanced up to see her gentle eyes gazing at me, full of grace and forgiveness.

“I’d like to thank you for helping us when you did. And also, for shedding tears for my granddaughter when she went through that painful experience.”

At that point, I couldn’t keep my feelings within myself anymore. Tears just flowed down my cheeks, and Grandma held me as I silently poured out my sentiments.

“You have good friends; even Her Holiness stands with you. I don’t think you’re that inherently evil; it’s just because of your condition.”

“I’m sorry…”

“It’s okay now,” then Grandma added, “I’ve resolved my feelings as well, and have decided long before you came. Thanks to your friend who worked tirelessly to convince me…”

“Maddie’s like that, Grandma. She’s my support.”

Ha? Do you mean Her Holiness? No…ah wait, I mean, she did repeatedly ask for my forgiveness. But the one who kept on rambling some old history to explain your condition is the boy. He went on and on until my ears got tired. I think his name is, err—

“Kuro?”

“Yes, that’s his name!” Grandma then smirked, “Oh…if I recall correctly, you said before that you have a lover. Don’t tell me…”

----------

**Madelaine**

I know of Kuro’s sentiments on what I did, when I forbid everyone else—including him, from seeing Lily while she was unconscious. Well, it’s not that I didn’t want him to come and see her. It’s more like I’d like to ‘selfishly’ spend some private time with my closest friend—and sister—after her long absence.

“…”

And yes, there’s that issue about his presence at the palatial gardens and how it affected my work, according to Lily. I didn’t want to lose Kuro, and yet, I also wouldn’t allow Lily to be separated from me ever again. Of course, for a while now, I’ve been weighing on my options, carefully balancing the choices and the consequences…

Then, I finally found my answer to this problem of ours.

And so, once I solved that, I called Lily and Kuro over into my private quarters to talk about this.

“…”

It certainly was kind of awkward. The atmosphere between the three of us suddenly got tense, for some unknown reason.

Err…so, is there any problem right now, Maddie?” it was Kuro who eventually broke the silence.

“Well, not …” I answered, looking for an opportunity to insert the subject I summoned them for.

“…” Lily was quiet.

“Okay, I guess I’ll have to drop this now,” I summoned my courage and proceeded, “It’s about Kuro, Lily, and me.”

“What about us?”

“Well, first, it’s about our engagement. Second, it’s about you and Lily.”

Oh, I see…”,

“I don’t want to lose you, Kuro. You’ve been a big help, not only to me but to the others at the Holy Palatial Gardens as well. You’re an irreplaceable person in my heart, and I’ve grown to love you because of that,” I admitted to them, “However, I also don’t like to let go of you either, Lily. You’ve been a sister, a trusted confidant, and a mother, to me. Losing you would equal to me being deprived of my right hand.”

The two of them remained silent while I explained my feelings.

“But, if keeping both of you would only lead to trouble and suffering for many others…” I steeled my heart for this moment, “…I’d rather step down as the Saint of Chersea.”

“!!!”

At that moment, both of them rose from their seats and told me, “Don’t you ever do that!”

“Well, if that’s how it’s going to be…” Kuro said, “Then, I guess, I need to go someplace else; that’s my plan, anyway. I could always drop for a visit anytime!”

“Hey! Why are you the one who leaves?” Lily asked him, “You’re Maddie’s fiancée now!”

“As someone who serves her faithfully, I won’t tolerate Maddie’s downfall. If possible, I’d like to see her succeed, even if I have to make the sacrifices.”

Kuro’s unwavering expression looked cool at that moment; I think Lily and I both have the same opinion of him at that moment.

“Listen. Chersea needs you, Maddie, and you can’t just abandon the people who believe in you, just for someone like me!”

“Kuro’s right; Listen to him!” Lily was quick to back him up, “I could always adjust to the situation! Don’t worry about me!”

“But, if I continue to be a Saint while Kuro’s around, I might revert to the irresponsible me! I don’t want to lose you, nor do I wish for Kuro to go!”

“That’s perfectly fine, Maddie!” she insisted.

“Yeah, come on!” now it’s Kuro’s turn to follow-up on her, “Remove your holy garments, and you’re just a normal, human girl! And from what I’ve seen, young ladies like you would want to feel loved, and fall in love. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that, all the while you do your duties from time to time.”

“I see…I understand,” I nodded in agreement, “Thank you for your sentiments.”

“It’s good that you finally see reason, Maddie!” Then Lily added, “In fact, it’s good that you don’t plan to let go of Kuro!”

Huh? What do you mean?”

“Well, this!” Lily drew near Kuro and—

“!!!”

I think my heart stopped beating when I saw her kiss him on the lips. I couldn’t find any words to say for that. Kuro was similarly shocked as well…

What’s the meaning of that?

“Sorry for that, Maddie,” Lily had a mischievous smirk on her face, “It’s just that, like you, I realized I couldn’t part from this fellow over here. Starting from now, I will be your rival for Kuro!”

“What?” I blurted out, quite annoyed.

Did Lily just steal Kuro’s first kiss from me?

She then had a smug look on her face, “Well, I mean, you stole a step ahead from me and got engaged to him! Isn’t it fair that I steal his lips?”

Oh, alright! So that’s how it is, huh, Princess Lilyhaven?” I couldn’t help but feel competitive, “Well, let me show you how much I love Kuro!”

“!!!”

I uttered a spell and out came a misty cloud that formed in a dense circle in front of them. And then, with a flick of my finger, I proudly showed to Lily my entire collection…

“T-That’s—” Kuro was flabbergasted by what he saw. Of course, it’s my greatest treasure!

“M-Maddie…those are…paintings of Kuro!” Lily was trembling, her nose was leaking blood, “And those are porcelain dolls, right? Where did you get those? Aren’t those plushies, too? Kuro’s cute in that likeness! I want one too!”

Hah! Back off! No one could equal my love for him, even if you’re my blood-sister!”

“Maddie, please!” she pleaded desperately.

“This is in my quarter’s secret antechamber back in the palatial gardens, so of course, unless we teleport there right now, I couldn’t give you one,” I excitedly pointed out some other things, “There, look at those blanket designs!”

“It’s Kuro’s face!”

“That one’s a dakimakura!” I heard Kuro pointed towards a body pillow with his image as the design.

“Is that hair?”

Oh, that? Those are Kuro’s hair, which I secretly cut one time I entered his room while he’s asleep.”

“What? Isn’t this talk turning into a weird direction?” Kuro exclaimed.

“Maddie, how about those dirty plates and cutleries over there?”

“Those are the pieces of kitchen utensils where Kuro used his saliva. I used preservation magic to have those maintained its appearance.”

“Ha?”

Ooh! And those must be his clothes? But why does he have it on him right now?”

Ah, what he’s wearing right now are just copies,” I explained, “I had them swapped with the originals, which I kept in pristine, unwashed condition after he removed it while bathing.”

Damn! I…I’ve been outwitted!”

Uh…Lily, a-are you sure you should say that?” Kuro asked her.

Triumphant, I taunted Lily, “How about it? May the best woman win then!”

Grr…you win this time, Maddie! So, I bow to you…” which she did, but she followed it up with, “I’ll defeat you, Your Holiness, and be his number one!”

“Then come at me, Head Maid!”

Uhh…guys? Don’t I have any say in your contest? Normally, in harem stories, you’d ask me to choose between you, right?” I heard Kuro in the background trying to interject, but never mind him! This was a personal (yet friendly) fight between me and Lily now!

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***Elbrei, main port Sekhtem and of the Kingdom of Calabria***

“Well, seems like your plans went for a naught.”

When he alone returned to the building that served as their base, Traveler could only stare blankly at Seirna. She cast a mocking look on him, to which he paid no heed. What’s on his mind was the fact that not only did he lose a significant portion of his men at the Battle of Hagena Castle, the opportunity to rein in the Iron Princess was ultimately wasted.

And what’s worse is that he’s answerable to the Emperor who gave him considerable support.

“I guess, this is the limit of human power,” he heard the Saint of Flame commented, “That’s why you remain stagnant for far too long; you barely have the will and capability to stand on what you plan to do.”

“Your Holiness, with all due respect…” the Traveler answered her, for he would never tolerate a bad word regarding the sacrifices his men made, “My men did what they could; it’s just that I led them to ruin. I, alone, am responsible for this mess.”

“Indeed, you are,” Seirna smirked, “However, though that human footstool of an emperor may throw you out, what do you say of an opportunity to work for me?”

“What do you mean?” he asked, quite confused.

“I’ve seen your folly…” she explained, “…and I’ve seen your potential as well. Aren’t you also plotting your vengeance?”

“What do you know?”

“Have you forgotten? I can read minds,” Seirna then floated around him, “And your desire to avenge the downfall of your once highly esteemed and revered noble house has been known to me ever since I met you, Umberto Benicci, Prince of Amaranth…or should I append the word ‘former’ to that?”

“That won’t be necessary,” the Traveler, Umberto Benicci, replied, “I’ve long abandoned that title.”

“But not the ambition and desire to get back to that beautiful, silvery-blue-haired girl, right?”

Umberto kept his silence when he was reminded of her, the lady who caused the ruin of his house, and the current sitting Human Saint of the Holy Palatial Gardens, Madelaine Ann Rubinforth.

“That’s good. Remember why you’re doing all of this,” Seirna whispered, “Madelaine Ann Rubinforth. That human ‘saint’ is leading humanity to its ruin by leaving its progress close to stagnation. It’s time to remove her and have your revenge as well…”