A/N: This chapter’s serious too… probably…
On a snow-bound night, a baby was found on the doorsteps of one of the Church’s establishment. He was taken in and placed in an orphanage.
The child would one day become Elias Loewe, the Holy Knight of the Church.
As a boy, Elias was already deeply devout. On one fateful day, the Goddess granted him an Oracle, and with the talent for theurgy that he displayed, much was expected of him. An archbishop from the capital’s Church had discovered his talents and adopted him, hoping that one day he would join the Church as a clergyman.
Yet it was not the path of priesthood that Elias had chosen, but one of knighthood instead.
This country relied heavily on the resources produced by its dungeons. As such, there was no lack of explorers who had lost their lives in the dungeons, whose children were then placed in the orphanage. Elias had grown up with them as his brothers and sisters. He thought that if he became a knight, then he could prevent the tragedies from repeating. Children would no longer have their parents taken away too soon.
And then, with his innate talent and years of effort, he was finally granted the title of the Holy Knight, a title that the Church had not bestowed to anyone for hundreds of years.
Elias was incredibly popular with the fairer sex.
He was young, being only in his early twenties, and he already held a high position within the Church, as well as being the strongest knight of Argrey Kingdom. He was nothing like the kind of arrogant nobles that had nothing else beside good looks and status, or the priests within the Church who would demand bribes and favors. He always treated everyone with the utmost respect and grace, be they men, women, children, or the elderlies, and his smile never waned.
But Elias was entirely unconcerned with romance.
It was not because of the Church, as the establishment still allowed its members to marry. His lack of interest was because of the Goddess.
Ever since receiving the Oracle when he was a child, he had been called ‘the Goddess’ Beloved”. Not only had he heard her voice, he had even seen her in his dreams time after time.
Legends had it that the only people who have beheld the Goddess were the Kingdom’s founder and his queen, the Saints who would appear only every few centuries, and heroes who have saved the country. It was said that the Goddess was a beautiful girl mid-way through her teens, with hair of silver and eyes of sapphire.
Her form — ideal, perfectly designed — was a sight that Elias had seen again and again ever since his childhood, all the way through his puberty and after. It was no wonder, then, that he showed not much interest in normal women.
Not so long ago, he received another Oracle.
“A foreign existence has sullied this world. It has yet to show itself, but soon the terrible thing would bring chaos and destruction. Of that, I am certain.”
Among the knowledge that the Goddess had granted to the people was the summoning spell to call upon intelligent beings from another world. And so Elias thought if the Goddess herself had shown such apprehension for this intruder, then he could only imagine how evil, how horrible the monster must be.
Some time after the Oracle, the barrier erected by the Saint of old was broken. Elias had thought it an act of the invader, the Irregularity, in order to prepare for their coming. He was alarmed.
And then, Elias met a girl.
She was a noble’s maid. A girl with an exotic beauty that could not be found anywhere else in this country. Her mane of silky obsidian, serene orbs of wine-red, and fair features without a hint of imperfection weren’t anything he’d seen before, even among the noble caste full of handsome men and women. But despite her looks, she’d never displayed a hint of vanity, always prioritizing the noble lady that she served above all else. He thought she was lovely.
But a more accurate statement would be that he was struck.
Being so used to the sight of the Goddess, Elias had never known the feeling of fear. It was why when he saw the girl for the first time, he thought the chill running down his spine was his racing heart.
It was the first time he ever thought he wanted to get to know someone.
And the more he found out about her, the more mysterious she seemed.
From what he heard, she had been summoned from another world. Yet despite being born in a land without the noble caste, she was as professional as a maid of the palace, displaying abilities that could easily make her a Partner to one of the royal family if she so wished. She served her mistress as a perfect maid, at times supporting her as a friend.
Then one day, the second prince made a request to escort the Partner candidates in their dungeon-delving.
He wasn’t going to accept at first. But then he found out that his friend Andy, the imperial knight, was joining, and there was a possibility that the maid girl would participate as well. Finally, he was also curious about the matter that lady Chieri, the young lady who had come to help erect the barrier, had told him about.
He decided to go.
“Miss Fleurety… who are you?” Elias says, pointing his sword at me.
There’s really only one answer I can give.
“I am lady Sharon’s personal maid.”
Perfect answer, and not even a twitch on his face. His previous question had been similarly airy as well. There’s not a single gap in his composure.
Quite the troublesome character, he is. He may even be one of those ‘Heroes’-type that I had once heard from the Maid Chief.
“Then how is it that such a simple maid is capable of wielding such a weapon?”
“What do you mean, sir? Is there something wrong with this Orc Killer?”
While I’d done a bit of an upgrade on it, it’s still nothing more than a weapon made to kill orcs. There’s nothing unnatural about it.
“That weapon is cursed, is it not? A curse powerful enough to sap the life of its wielder and drive them toward death simply by proximity. If it hadn’t been for the holy element that I and mister Sei possessed, we would have been similarly affected. Yet I feel no such holiness from you.”
“I am milady’s maid. As long as my will stands strong, nothing can defeat me.”
Curses don’t mean a thing if you have guts. I even heard from somewhere that the people of old used to power through incurable diseases with just guts and charcoal tablets.
“Has the Holy Knight pointed his sword on a civilian because of such a trivial reason?”
“‘Trivial’, you say… my brothers and sisters in the Church would disagree, I’m sure. Besides, I must admit I’m rather curious about your strength.”
“Is that so?”
He’s even more of a hassle than I thought.
“May I trouble you for a short duel, miss?”
“Then, allow me.”
Elias readies his sword and shield. I loosely grasp my spiked club.
The moment he makes the announcement, his sword speeds toward me in a stab. I block with the handle of my spiked club, and metal hit metal.
“I was just lucky, sir,” I say, swinging my weapon upward. Elias takes a step backward and parries with his shield.
Indeed, he’s no common soldier. Almost as if he’s a game character among a crowd full of normal, real people.
“That was scary.”
“What are you saying, sir? You look like you didn’t even break a sweat.”
If I truly want to defeat him, I’d have to go 100% all out. At the moment, however, there are still too many mysteries around the immortal people and about his abilities.
Oh well, that’s for later. I’ll have to deal with this first.
I deflect an arrow that had been aimed at my back with my club, while Elias fires a spell of light toward the source of the arrow.
“W-what are you doing, sir Elias?!”
“…that’s my line.” Elias says, a hint of exasperation on his face.
The attackers are four youths wearing full metal armor. Their familiarity with Elias and the holy sigils on their chests identify them as members of the Church.
“What is the meaning of this? Your mission was nothing more than getting miss Fleurety alone with me, was it not?”
Looks like that trap was set by Elias here.
“I am appalled, sir Elias.”
“My apologies, my lady. There were some strange rumors I had to investigate.” Elias says, bowing to me while his sword is pointed at the men who look to be the Church’s warrior-priests.
They shout, sounding outraged.
“Sir Elias, she does not deserve such respect!” “Indeed! That maid and her mistress have been planning to inflict harm upon his Highness Joel and lady Camilla, and they hold malice against the Church, too!”
“…and where did you hear that from, hmm?”
A quiet aura of murderous anger surrounds Elias. The warrior-priests whimper, their faces paling.
“That is not what I have heard,” Elias continues.
“We, umm…” “The virtuous miss has been extolled as the next possible Saint, sir, she could not have lied to us! It is unthinkable!” “And lady Camilla has also corroborated the matter, sir…”
“Right, I see now,” Elias says, a hand rubbing his forehead as though to relieve a headache.
That was some rather terrible slander. I would not have minded if it had been only me, but to have insulted milady so…
Elias speaks, seemingly sensing my ire.
“Apologies for losing my composure, sir. Do you believe them?”
“No. Our clash just now told me everything I needed to know. I hadn’t felt any ill thoughts from you. And besides, I really did want to have a chance to spend some time alone with you.”
With his words, my anger lessens as well. Though I must say, he is correct in believing I hold no ill thoughts.
I don’t think, after all. I do everything by instinct.
As they watch us, one of the warrior-priests shouts.
“We shall bring judgement upon her! The two of you, keep sir Elias occupied! One will accompany me to take her down!”
“Miss Fleurety…” Elias turns to me and says, “while they may be somewhat… well, immature, they aren’t malicious by nature. So…”
“Do not worry, sir. They won’t die.”
With the signal from the apparent leader of the group, the four-person group split into two pairs. A pair heads for me.
“You have disturbed our lady Saint’s peace of mind for the last time! We shall—”
My Orc Killer EX sends one of them flying with a single strike. The man smashes into the ceiling of the dungeon, then drops like a squashed frog. On the ground, he continues to twitch, his eyes rolled back in their sockets and his hands pressed tight against his crotch.
Silence descends upon the room. No one moves an inch.
They’re all clenching their legs together, I notice.
“Well then.” I say, moving toward the leader.
“N-no, stay away, stay away!”
No signs of his previous courage remains. As he is protecting his crotch with his shield, I give him a gentle tap on his helmet instead, sending him into a momentary daze. As he gets unsteady on his feet, I sweep his legs, catching them and raising them up high. His lower body is now exposed.
“N-no, stop! Stop!”
“Miss Fleurety?!” Elias exclaims.
The man gurgles.
There is no need to worry. Their armor has protected them from death.
I turn around with a cheerful grin, and the rest of the warrior-priests immediately prostrate themselves flat on the ground.
Sir Elias also sits down on his legs with his back ramrod straight. I wonder why.
It is now after the battle. Sir Elias is looking rather upbeat. “This might be the first time I have been chastised by a lady,” he said.
He then informs me of the reason for his deception.
“Miss Fleurety. I have been told that you are manipulating lady Sharon in a plot to take over her noble house.”
“Who told you that, sir?”
“…it was lady Chieri. Lady Camilla and a maid of the Michel marquis house named Mia have also given me their testimonies. After her repair of the Church’s barrier, lady Chieri has acquired a significant amount of support among the younger priests. They must have moved out on her words alone, I would expect.”
Hearing our conversation, one of the still-prostrating priests feebly mumbles.
“M-madam, umm… a-a few of our fellow priests have also moved out against the young Michel lady…”
Elias replies with a grimace, his voice tense.
Those ladies have really done it now. It seems I will have to give them some housetrai—ahem, I mean, some admonishment.
A/N: Elias is a super innocent boy. He’s such a good kid he’s never been scolded before, and since his standard for women is the Goddess, the adorable and intense maid really piqued his interest.
Don’t go there Elias, that way lies madness.