All posts by Ph.D

31 – Conclusion

“That’s the worst of it over now.”

Prince Yuri says as his glare sweeps the room now full of monster corpses, all of them having been exterminated by the knights.

 

Yuri de von Argrey, the eldest prince of Argrey Kingdom and the first in line to inherit the crown, according to what the kids have told me.

Prince Yuri is still young, only nineteen, but unlike his younger brother Joel who has inherited the queen’s svelte figure, Yuri is a broad-shouldered, well-built man, nearly 190 cm tall and naturally imposing. His countenance is handsomely masculine, but he is also known for his roughness, unflinching audacity, and at times even cruelty. His gaze alone could intimidate many.

From a certain point of view, he is very much a model king-to-be.

This country was first established through the conquering of dungeons, and its noble caste was made of powerful people. Yuri would be the right choice to have as the king of such a nation.

Other than Chieri who has fainted, everyone here has all knelt to his presence.

 

“Enough. This is not the palace, and there is no need to kneel. Raise your head.”

He’s not exactly smiling, but from the tone of his voice, he doesn’t seem to be in a bad mood.

“Y-your Highness!” Karl says, sounding quite emotional. He’s blushing, too… is this love?

Oh, right, I see. Karl’s usual bravado is a result of his infatuation with prince Yuri, as he’s decided to mimic the prince. Doesn’t he realize how inferior he looks to the real thing? Pfft.

 

“Mmm, the Mercia scion and the younger brother. You’ve done good work.”

Prince Yuri coolly nods to Andy and Karl. He walks forward, sparing not even a glance for instructor Eric Marsaw and miss Chieri (currently unconscious with eyes rolled back in their sockets, as well as leaking a little bit below), and he stops in front of milady Sharon, who is still kneeling with her head low, and me, her maid.

“Raise your heads, you two.”

“…y-yes, your Highness,” milady replies, her voice quavering as though in deference.

But I know. It’s not deference. It’s just her being so much of a shy loner that she automatically panics in front of a large-sized man.

“Hmm…”

Prince Yuri hums, his piercing gaze fixed on milady’s face. Then he snorts.

“Sure enough, one can’t really take the rumors of noble ladies seriously. People say the Michel young lady is a fool that cowers behind her status and a dullard that was abandoned by her own family, but I have heard the reports. The evacuees have spoken of your courage.”

“I am unworthy of your praises, your Highness…”

Of course she’s amazing. My lady can do anything once she puts her mind to it.

“Your name is… Sharon, is it not? Stand up.”

“…yes, your Highness.”

Milady releases her death grip on my skirt and stands up, looking like a terribly adorable little fawn.

“I see. You don’t look half bad.”

Prince Yuri places his fingers below milady’s jaws and raises her head. Milady gasps. I can feel Andy and Karl doing the same as well.

…not bad, he says. Not bad?

He would tarnish the visage of the cutest girl in the world with his touch and say she’s not bad?

 

“…are you Sharon’s maid?”

“I am, your Highness.”

Oh, what a gaffe. It seems I have inadvertently lost control of my anger for a moment, and the prince has picked up on it.

This cannot do. That horro-I mean, the Maid Chief could have turned a whole country into a wasteland without blinking an eye. As a maid, I am still lacking in discipline.

“Name yourself.”

“I am Fleurety, your Highness.”

“I see. You’ve got spirit. It was only for a moment, but I have seen you killing monsters with a single blow before our forces got here.”

“Nothing that would deserve your attention, your Highness.”

“Enough with that. You’re good. I like capable people, and you’re good-looking as well. If you wish, then I shall allow you to be my servant.”

“Huh?!”

The surprised exclamation hasn’t come from me, but milady.

She nervously looks at me. I respond to her with a smile and turn back to the prince. I stand up, my fingers pinching my skirt, and I give him a graceful curtsey the way noblewomen do.

 

“I am a maid, and I serve milady Sharon. Her and her only,” I say.

 

Which is really just a more polite way of saying to the prince, “so I would really appreciate it if you could cut the bullshit, please.”

I hear some gasps. This time, they came from prince Yuri’s knights. The prince probably hasn’t ever had anyone refuse him before. Before his presence, nobody had dared to, afraid that they would incur his wrath.

 

And then for a single moment, a wave of what feels like sheer presence blasts from prince Yuri. It made everyone in the room flinch. Except me, of course, as I continue to smile at him. It was just a breeze, really.

Prince Yuri curls his lips upward.

 

“I see, I see. Can’t force you to, can I. In that case…”

“Eep?!”

The prince suddenly pulls at milady’s slender hips.

“I just need to get you, Sharon, and both of you would be mine.”

 

“Your Highness!” Andy shouts, apparently without meaning to.

“Imperial knight Andy. I have not given you permission to speak.”

Andy swallows his words. Milady is frozen stiff. The pair of brothers are hesitating, unable to act.

It is then that a helping hand comes from someone unexpected.

 

“Your Highness, please refrain. I believe your retainers would be inconvenienced by such a sudden decision.”

“…ah, Clarice,” the prince mutters.

 

Clarice might have contributed to the monster subjugation effort, but she is still only the daughter of a viscount. Yet now, that viscount young lady has spoken out against the crown prince himself.

While everyone else is waiting with bated breath to see what would happen, like me, on Clarice’s face is still the relaxed smile that she has held since the beginning. The prince looks at her, and his expression softens.

 

“If lady Clarice says so, then I will not insist… so put that menacing thing away, maid.”

“As you wish, your Highness.”

Following prince Yuri’s order, I return the spiked club to its place inside my skirt while taking back milady from his hands at the same time. The knights all release a sigh of relief.

“Are you hurt, milady?”

“I-I’m fine… thanks, Letty.”

She smiles, looking somewhat embarrassed, and she gives Clarice a nod with her eyes as well. She couldn’t be any more direct here, otherwise it would be equivalent to a public declaration that she disagreed with prince Yuri. We’ll send Clarice a letter of gratitude later, after this is over.

 

“Let’s return. A few of the knights need to stay to clean up the mess. Clarice, you’re with me,” prince Yuri says and starts walking.

“Understood. Lady Sharon, miss Fleurety. I hope we can meet for tea again some time,” Clarice responds, following the prince back to the palace.

 

…I do have to wonder who the viscount young lady is. She can create a field of holy magic powerful enough to hurt me, and she looks to be more than a simple acquaintance with prince Yuri as well…

There’s something about her.

 

“Sharon, are you fine?”

“Yes…”

Karl makes conversation with milady, though I can feel him being strangely distant to Andy. Prince Yuri’s earlier words must still be in his mind.

Well, at any rate.

“Milady, let us return to your room to clean up in the bath. I worry that your bosom might have diminished after being subjected to such a brutish touch.”

“How would that happen?!”

 

The pair of brothers turn away with their faces red, while I celebrate being hit with milady’s slipper after so long.

 

Thus, the Monster Stampede concluded.

Camilla, daughter of a duke and an academy instructor, was originally supposed to be stripped of her family name and be sent to a convent as her punishment. Her initiative in being the first to attempt to enter the dungeon and remove the source of the Stampede, reckless and without authorization as it might have been, was still taken into consideration, and her sentence was reduced. She would not be sent to a convent.

Instead, she would be removed from her post at the academy and be sent for marriage to some lecherous old man with ties to her dukedom. I personally thought the sentence was rather lacking, so I had also supplied the aforementioned lecher with lewd photographs of her being attacked by tentacles in the dungeon. He had been most jubilant. He had also purchased much of my specialty product, my super-powerful energy supplements that would allow him to go a whole three days without drinking, eating, or sleeping.

We’re loaded with money now.

 

Similarly, Mia, the marquis-employed maid and a co-conspirator of the assault in the dungeon, also barely managed to escape being sent to a convent. The marquis house had paid her bail money, and she would be demoted to being one of the scullery maids. It would be decades before her debt could be cleared, I should think.

 

As for miss Chieri, she had avoided being sent to jail by virtue of being one of the Partner candidates that the country had summoned. However, with her role in the assault and being the culprit who had lured monsters into the city, she was no longer considered for the position of the next Saint, and she would have to do community service until her graduation. The nobles were informed of this, so her chances of ever becoming a noble’s Partner is practically non-existent now.

Also, apparently Chieri would be put under the supervision of an etiquette coach for a while… but then she locked herself up in her room and hadn’t come out since.

It must have been because I had blown off her front bangs. Heheh.

 

“Letty… what should we do now?”

“A month of free time, is it… perhaps we should travel somewhere?”

I answer milady as I pour her a cup of sweet chai tea. She starts nibbling on pieces of soan papdi, a dessert I’ve prepared as accompaniment since it goes well with the tea.

Due to the monster attack, the academy had suffered infrastructural damage, and there are junior students who have been traumatized as well, even if their physical wounds have already been healed with theurgy. The academy would close for about a month.

Most of the students have gone home, but milady’s family situation is still far from being a pleasant stay. As we now have quite a bit of free time, we could invite lady Clarice over for tea and to show our gratitude as well, but the young lady was recently announced to be the next Saint to replace Chieri. She is apparently quite busy with trips to the Church and to the palace. It’s hard to get a chance to meet with her.

 

“Oh, yes, I just have a good idea!” Milady says, clapping her hands adorably and smiling at me.

I wonder what disaster this idea of hers would lead to this time.

“What is it, milady?”

“Ever since you came to this world you’ve been with me all the time, right? So let’s go on a tour around the kingdom.”

Indeed, I’ve only ever gone to the Dark Woods and her family home.

“And besides…”

“Yes.”

“Umm… I’ve… always wanted to go on a trip with… friends…”

Her voice shrinks into an embarrassed mumble as she fiddles her fingers and looks at me with puppy eyes.

“Milady…”

Too cute.

“Understood. I shall cross the whole world in one month with milady in my arms.”

“That’s not a trip!”


A/N: The next few chapters will be the touring arc. Mostly just slice-of-life stuff.


T/N: So now that that HUGE batch is done and we’ve gotten to a good spot, I have an announcement to make:
I’m dropping this series. When I first read Haru no Hi’s stuff I felt like I should share them with English-speaking readers, but that was a long long time ago (probably nearly two years now), and now I just don’t feel that passion anymore. I may or may not return to this in the future if the mood strikes, but best not to hope on it.
If anyone wants to pick this up, feel free.


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30 – City at War

“Monsters are in the streets?!”

Joel shouted at the knight delivering the report. The prince received a tense nod in return.

 

During the early hours of the Third Dungeon’s Stampede, the defense was manned by the second prince’s imperial knights. The crisis had been almost out of their control, but with the arrival of the Holy Knight’s subordinate knight-priests, the horde was slowly being pushed back.

More importantly, if the Holy Knight himself hadn’t infiltrated the dungeon with a small squad of elites and destroyed the source of monsters as fast as he had, then perhaps the line of defense would have fallen apart before the neverending tide of monsters by now.

The crisis wouldn’t have been as bad as it was if the Church’s forces and the prospective Saint had been there, as according to the original plan. Had the knight-priests not come to reinforce the lines in their place, everything might have been lost.

Yet the situation had veered in an unexpected direction. Some amount of monsters were suspected to have leaked into the city due to the imperial knights, the knight-priests, the local knights, and the soldiers being unable to hold them back completely, but as it turned out, a group of monsters had been able to escape to the city through a part of the defensive walls which had, for some reason, been destroyed.

 

“How is the city?! What about the citizens?!”

“Sir! The monsters have reached the center of the capital’s eastern district, but fortunately, the Church’s forces led by the next Saint were there to stop them, as they had departed late. The next Saint is currently taking command and is clearing out the monsters.”

“I see…”

Joel sighed a sigh of relief. Thank the Goddess for small mercies. 

According to the report, the group of monsters numbered around fifty. Enough to overwhelm the patrolling soldiers and bring harm to the civilians.

Though the people’s safety was certainly one of his concerns, he was far more worried about the nearby magic academy. Joel might be royalty, but he was still only a fifteen-year old boy. He was naturally more inclined to think of his friends and adoring juniors than strangers.

The imperial knight Andy standing behind him sighed in relief as well. Unfortunately, their respite didn’t last long.

 

“Your Highness, emergency! The Church’s soldiers have been routed and have retreated into the academy!”

“What?!”

Andy found himself shouting. The prince was dumbstruck.

The academy was where Andy’s younger brother, as well as the girl who he had thought of as a little sister since his childhood, were. Yet he couldn’t come to save them — the knights already had their hands full pushing back the monsters, and the second prince, his charge, was also taking command here. Andy was the prince’s bodyguard. His duty came first and foremost.

“Andy, take several of the knights and get to the academy, immediately!”

“Yes, sir! …wait, your Highness. I cannot leave your side.”

“There are magicians and professors at the academy, scions of nobility. They should be keeping the monsters at bay at the moment. Go help them, Andy. Protect the people.”

“But…”

“…Emmy is there too. My little sister. Make sure she is safe. Her, and my fiancee candidates too.”

The prince spoke, not as royalty but simply as a young man worried for his family. Andy understood what the prince had left unsaid. He gave a quiet bow.

“Understood, your Highness.”

 

*

 

There was surprisingly little damage to the city. The reason however, wasn’t because the Church’s soldiers had been putting up a good fight, but rather that Chieri, the next Saint, had escaped into the academy after finding out there were more monsters than she expected, and most of them had followed her.

A scream echoed in the hallways. It came from a student, a girl from one of the junior grades who had made her escape far too late, tripping in her panicked hurry. Several hobgoblins gather around her.

The magic academy wasn’t just an educational facility. Similar to Earth’s universities, it also served as a research facility, which was why its campus took up a rather large area of land.

Being both a research facility and a school for children of nobility, it was well protected. There were magical barriers over the entrances and the walls, as well as a sizable number of guards. Unfortunately, the barrier had been deactivated when Chieri ran inside, allowing the pack of monsters to enter the academy.

Believing in the safety of the barrier, the soldiers were scattered throughout the sprawling campus. The professors were busy evacuating the students. No one was available to deal with the monsters.

 

[Ice Spike]!”

 

Just as the hobgoblins were about to set upon the girl, spears of ice turned them into pincushions. With the monsters screaming in their death throes, the spellcaster, a silver-haired girl, ran toward her underclassman on the ground.

“Are you hurt?” she said, shaking the other girl out of her stupor.

“N-no, I’m fine.”

As the silver-haired girl helped her junior up, the younger girl’s cheeks blushed red, her eyes bouncing vertically as they followed the motions of the bountiful bosom in front of her.

“T-thank you. You saved me,” the younger girl stammered out.

“As a noble and a senior of the academy, I could do nothing else,” the silver-haired girl turned around, “help her to safety, everyone.”

“”Yes, ma’am!””

Replying to her was a group of several girls. One of them began to lead the underclassman away.

“We should get going. Some people might still have not evacuated yet.”

“”Yes, lady Sharon!””

While the majority of the noble students were out to save themselves first, some of the senior students had decided to fight the monsters to protect their juniors. As a noble, Sharon had chosen to fight as well, and seeing her initiative, many of the commoner students had also volunteered to assist her.

 

“Sharon!”

“Karl!”

Karl, her childhood friend who had been helping out somewhere else, ran up to her. Accompanying him were two of the Partner candidates in their class, Sei and Hao.

“You’re bleeding!” Sharon gasped.

“Ah, right, there were monsters over there too.”

“Don’t worry, miss Sharon. It’s just the monsters’ blood.”

“Yeah.”

As the boys said, they were mostly unharmed. Nevertheless, while Karl, son to the Mercia marquis family that had had a long tradition of producing knights, was still keeping his composure, the same could not be said for the two boys summoned from Earth, whose faces were pallid and clammy with sweat.

That wasn’t to say they lacked bravery. After all, when most of the male students were making their escape, the two boys had decided to search for the students who had been left behind, even when they knew there were monsters wandering the campus.

It did not mean their nerves were calm, however. Hao was gripping his bloodied sword so tight his fingers turned white. Noticing the trickle of blood coming from his hand, Sharon hurriedly ran up to him.

“You’re holding it too tight!” she said, holding his hands in hers and readying her magic, “[Heal].”

“T-thank you…” Hao stammered with a blush that extended to his ears. Karl watched the scene with a faint frown.

After finishing her treatment, Sharon, oblivious to his thoughts, turned toward Karl and spoke.

“Karl, are there any other students?”

“No, not on my side… speaking of which, you’ve gotten much better at your magic, haven’t you?”

“Yes, all thanks to Letty.”

Sharon smiled the smile of a flower in bloom — easy and light, showing none of the tension she used to wrap herself in. Karl found himself unable to look at her in the eyes, his cheeks burning.

“R-right, I see. That reminds me, where has your maid gone? Is this not exactly the time when she should be protecting you?”

“I’ve… asked Letty to go help his Highness.”

“…I see.”

Karl snorted. If prince Joel was there, then that meant his brother was there, too.

 

“Goodness, you’re still here?!”

“Instructor!”

The group turned to the new voice. It was instructor Eric Marsaw, their homeroom teacher. His clothes were somewhat ruffled with signs of combat. He seemed to have been acting alone, being able enough to not require a helper.

“Were you helping to evacuate the other students? I’m here now. You’d better get to safety immediately.”

“No, instructor. I am a noble, and my duty is to protect the common people.” Sharon said.

“That’s right. I’m staying too. You know we can handle ourselves.” Karl followed.

Eric took a look at the group and faintly sighed.

“…understood, but the young misses over there should be evacuating now. Mister Sei, mister Hao, keep them safe.”

Sei and Hao awkwardly nodded. Now that they knew they would be escorted by two handsome boys from another world, the helping girls readily agreed to leave, their eyes gleaming.

 

“Instructor, where should we search next?” Sharon asked.

“We’ve already checked out the dorm and the locker rooms,” added Karl.

“Let’s see…” Eric thought for a moment and spoke, “right, then that should leave only the dining hall.”

Both Sharon and Karl were nobles who had no use for the dining hall, and they had entirely forgotten about it. For a moment, their eyes met each other in realization.

It made sense. Some of the commoner students that had been left behind were likely to be there, and since the place had food, there was a possibility that monsters were there as well.

“…let’s go.”

 

“…what has happened?”

“What’s with these guys…”

When they arrived at the dining hall, Sharon didn’t see any students. Instead, there were armed men garbed in priestly attire lying on the ground.

“T-they…” Sharon stammered, “I-I gotta treat them…”

“Hold up, miss Sharon. There should still be people up ahead. We must go,” urged Eric.

“B-But…”

“Hurry, Sharon!” Karl said forcefully, pulling the bewildered girl along with hurried steps.

The two men had already realized that these people didn’t need healing. Not anymore.

 

“AAAAAH!”

 

“A scream!”

“Somebody’s still there! We have to hurry!”

“Right!”

The three ran toward the voice that came from deeper in. There, they found that it had been Chieri’s. The girl was being protected by soldiers from the Church, all of them injured and exhausted. They were being surrounded and attacked by dozens of monsters.

“Lady Chieri?!” Sharon gasped.

Karl clicked his tongue. “Shit, that’s nearly all the monsters!”

“The two of you, focus on support! No area spells!” Eric shouted.

“Yes!” “Got it!”

[Lightning]!”

Eric’s spell shocked and stunned several of the monsters. Not a moment later, Karl was already there swinging his sword, his strength boosted by magic, while Sharon’s spears of ice pierced through the monsters. They cleared a path.

The three didn’t think they could deal with the whole pack either. It was a gamble, an attempt to save Chieri’s group through a surprise ambush. Eric had resolved to save, if not all of them, then at least the students.

 

“S-save me!”

“Lady Chieri!”

With the way open, everyone thought Chieri would be making her escape immediately, but she didn’t. Instead, the girl scrambled toward Sharon and clung to her legs.

“I-It’s not my fault! I never thought there’d be so many monsters!”

“What? Lady Chieri, don’t tell me…”

Karl and Eric frowned. Unfortunately, this was no time for any questioning.

 

“GRAAAAGH!”

After recovering from its momentary daze, an ogre slammed its club down toward Sharon. But she could not move. Chieri was still hanging to her legs.

Believing that it was too late for her, Sharon shut her eyes tight. It was then that she heard a familiar voice.

“SHARON!!!”

The very next moment, the ogre’s lower half disintegrated. Before its torso could even drop to the ground, its face still frozen in an expression of incomprehension, a sword sliced it apart. A figure dashed toward the young lady.

“Sharon!”

“Sir Andy?!”

She was then immediately held in a tight embrace by the newly-arrived knight. Her cheeks flushed, her eyes darting about wildly. Karl looked on with a grimace, while Chieri was stunned.

Andy had arrived. However, they weren’t out of the woods yet.

“Gwargh…”

And then, of the monsters that had been trying to approach Sharon and Andy, the foremost few abruptly lost their lower body parts in much the same way as the previous ogre.

Andy was holding Sharon. Neither Eric nor Karl had swung their weapons.

 

“Milady Sharon. My apologies for the wait.”

 

*

 

“Letty?!”

Milady shouts from within Andy’s arms. I smile and give her an impeccable curtsey.

I have arrived in time, fortunately, even after picking up Andy on the way.

If circumstances allowed, then I would have liked to give milady a hug and give her pats all over the places after mister imperial knight is done with his turn. Unfortunately, there are quite a few boorish characters here. I shall have to be prudent.

That’s right. As you may have realized, I have finally added the word ‘prudence’ to my dictionary. Milady has been most thorough when explaining it to me.

As long as I possessed ‘prudence’, I could even drink dry a whole ocean. Maybe three.

“Letty, I just know you’re having another misunderstanding!”

“Not at all. I was simply reflecting on how wonderful you are, milady.”

 

In hindsight, perhaps I might have been somewhat overly agitated by the thought of milady being in danger, as I have inadvertently unleashed my Nice Shots at full power and vaporized the monsters. Just look at Karl. He is bending over like a shrimp again.

Not only that, my spiked club has also come so close to Chieri’s head that her forebangs have been shaved off. Her eyes have rolled back in their sockets, her mouth is frothing, and she has lost consciousness.

All rather unimportant matters, really. I give my spiked club a light flick to clean off the blood and send a wave of carefully directed [Intimidation] to the monsters. Their faces spasm, and they take a step back.

…right, let’s see. What should I do…

Speaking as a very ordinary maid, crushing orc 〇〇〇〇〇 would be the most elegant response that a lady could do. But then again, if I do that to all the monsters here, milady might get dirtied from the blood splatters. Doing it gently would be preferable, it seems.

As I step forward, ready to make my round, I am interrupted by another newcomer.

 

[Sanctified Domain]

“GRAAAGH?!!”

With a voice that comes out of nowhere, a powerful field of Holy-aligned magic appears, dealing damage to both the monsters and me.

“Finish them off!”

A man’s voice rings out. A chorus of acknowledgements come from a group of imperial knights wearing armor like Andy’s, and they begin to cut down the now-helpless monsters.

I wonder who these people are. I also wonder just who it was that had created the magical field. That hurt. About as painful as someone shooting a rubber band at me, in fact.

It doesn’t take long for the monsters to be cleaned up. The knights then split into two rows, making way for a girl being escorted by a young man.

“Your Highness Yuri!” Andy shouts.

If I remember correctly, that’s… Yuri de von Argrey. The crown prince of this kingdom. And next to him is…

“Lady Clarice…”

“Lady Sharon, miss Fleurety. Are you hurt?”

 

Clarice de Liniello, the young lady of a viscount family who had once invited milady to a tea party, has on her face an immaculate smile.


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29 – Frontline

The Monster Stampede, a milestone event in the game, would occur once the capture target’s likability to the Saint heroine reached maximum.

The event’s difficulty would vary with the Saint heroine’s Theurgy Skill. The higher the skill, the more difficult it was, and the closer the Stampede would happen to Argrey’s capital.

In lower difficulties, all of the country’s knightly order would also be there as reinforcement as well. However, if the Stampede happened at dungeons close to the capital — the First dungeon to the Fourth — there would be barely any support from the country. The Saint heroine would be forced to fight at the frontlines together with her capture target.

The event this time occurred at the Third Dungeon. The second highest difficulty.

This Dungeon was at the center of the capital as well as being closest to the academy. Subsequently, the Saint heroine would receive the help of the academy instructors and the second prince’s imperial knights, though she would be required to take command of the priests of the capital’s Church to fight at the frontlines.

 

“Come, my lady Saint! With your power, we shall show this world the Goddess’ light!”

 

The supposed ‘commander’ had been dragged to the battlefield by the Church’s priests.

This Stampede wasn’t supposed to have happened. Chieri hadn’t even raised her likability much with the grown-ups that were the targets of the Saint heroine — Elias the Holy Knight, Andy the imperial knight, Eric the academy instructor — and her own Theurgy Skill was still just level two when the maximum was ten.

Not only that, there was the scandal that was the priests’ assault on a marquis’ young lady, who was also a student of the academy. The Church needed to show that their members and the next Saint were capable of putting an end to this Stampede, no matter what it takes.

Even as the dispatched priests venerated Chieri as the next Saint, anyone could see that they had no intentions of letting her out of their sight until the incident was over. Chieri even overheard their mutters. “We almost had a fiasco on our hand. Thank the Goddess for giving us this chance to recover our dignity,” they said, without a hint of consideration. It sent a lance of pain through Chieri’s heart.

Why?! Why did this happen?! I did pray for the Goddess to do something, but I can’t deal with this! She screamed in her mind.

A few moments later, her thoughts switched tracks.

She did think it would have been impossible to escape from that trial without something suitably drastic. She would even go so far as to say that nothing less than a natural disaster would do, even. At the same time, she also knew that she did not have the power to end this event by herself.

…then there must be another way. A safer way, a way to make this crisis even worse…

Chieri’s mind whirred, and a plan began to form.

She had failed once because she had mistakenly thought that the people of this world would act like characters in her game. Now that the plot had left the rails, she was finally making use of her true talent, one that she had refined through years of maneuvering people to her purpose.

“You, over there.”

“Yes, my lady Saint. What do you require of me?”

She searched the Church’s force for an easy mark. She found a young and naive-looking priest and called at him, smiling and presenting herself as best as possible.

She knew how effective her own looks were, after all.

“I have just received another Oracle from the Goddess.”

 

***

 

Knock knock knock.

“Oerghl!”

A hulking mass collapsed to the ground. The earth shuddered.

That was an ogre I have encountered in the streets and have finished off with a triple bogey. Strangely enough, I thought I saw a flash of euphoria on its face during its final moments.

Greetings, everyone. This is Fleurety, the maid who would be very happy if she could share her joy with others.

 

“Right, where should I go…”

I’ve been heading toward the salt dungeon, but I’ve been wondering if I should go save Andy and Joel like I promised milady, or if I should deal with the dungeon itself. This is quite the dilemma.

“I suppose I should prioritize my promise, then.”

If I solve the problem here and yet let Andy be injured, I would be most ashamed to face milady. Nothing is more important than her words. Not even the city’s survival, in fact.

 

“Grargh!!”

Ah, another stray monster. This one is called… hob-something. While it’s true that I’ve also been getting closer to the dungeon, the fact that I’ve been meeting monsters so frequently really does show how bad things have gotten.

A sudden, metallic clang sounds out. The hob-something gurgles and drops to the ground in two pieces. As I see the figure of a knight through the spray of blood, I clasp my hand in front of my waist and give a gentle bow.

“Thank you for your assistance, sir Elias.”

“Oh no, I’m sure you didn’t need it.”

 

The man who has just gallantly, heroically arrived is Elias, the Holy Knight of the Church. At the moment, he is thoroughly wiping off the blood on his sword with a piece of cloth and with a smooth motion, returning it to its sheath. It makes him look like such a playboy from a well-to-do family.

“…were you thinking something unflattering?”

“Not at all. I was simply admiring the sight of a knight protecting a helpless maid.”

“…I find it difficult to think of you as helpless, miss Fleurety.”

He has surprisingly sharp intuition.

“Speaking of which, how goes the battle? I have heard that our forces are being pushed back by quite a bit, despite his Highness Joel’s participation,” I say.

“My subordinate knight-priests have arrived to reinforce. I believe the lines will be re-established. That aside, I’m surprised you found out so quickly…”

“The walls have ears, after all. I have also encountered quite a few monsters on my way here. If I may speak my mind, sir, I believe there is a rather large leak somewhere.”

“…what?”

“Yes?”

Sir Elias looks at me as though he can’t believe what he’s hearing. Unfortunately, he should know that that gaze only excites me when it’s milady doing the looking.

“Miss Fleurety… I would much prefer you to be using another weapon. The club you hold in your hand is cursed, is it not? If I’m right, the curse creates an attraction to certain types of monsters, that is to say, the types that have more… powerful breeding instincts…”

“Ah, I see.”

 

I have completely forgotten about that little detail.

I have used my Orc Killer EX for far too many Nice Shots to orcs, creatures that think with their lower heads, and this has strengthened the curse on the weapon. Before, it used to cause uncontrollable rage on orcs only, but now the target has been expanded to all humanoid monsters of a similar nature.

 

“My apologies. I have not thought it to be a problem.”

“I understand my gift might have been an inferior weapon. Still…”

As he had promised, the other day Elias had sent me a one-handed club made of mythril. I still continue to favor the spiked club, however.

Elias has said that it is ‘inferior’, but that one-handed club was a very wonderful thing indeed. It sold for a whole thirty gold coins in the black market, after all. Considering that I bought this spiked club for the cut-price of one silver coin, that mythril club was on an entirely another level of v… quality.

Yes. Quality. I certainly did not mean to say ‘value’.

At any rate, this means I would have to change my plans.

“I see that I should not be getting close to his Highness Joel with this Orc Killer in hand. Well then, please excuse me…”

As I begin to step away, Elias calls at me.

“Wait up, please.”

I might be able to pull away the monsters that are attacking Andy if I join up with him, but I would also be attracting more monsters from far away. It would just defeat the purpose. It is why I have decided to switch to my plan B, dealing with the dungeon as fast as possible to remove the source of monsters itself, and I would have been on my way if not for Elias. I wonder what he has in mind.

Elias kneels in front of me as he once did when we first met.

“Virtuous maiden, thou who would face death itself to save the common people. May I be allowed the honor of being your protector?” he says, swearing an oath with absolute sincerity.

Well, he’s free to follow along. If he can, that is.

 

The two of us head for the dungeon depths. Not to the very end, though. According to Elias, there are cases where the tunnels that the dungeon created to bring in monsters from the outside would connect to its upper floors, or in other words, floors closer to the dungeon entrance.

The Monster Stampede happens whenever one end of a dungeon-created tunnel coincidentally opens up to a region full of monsters, and the other end coincidentally opens up on one of the upper floors. It’s all coincidences.

I’m a bit disappointed, to be honest. I’m in another world here. Are there no Demon Kings or Dark Lords?

 

I sprint for the dungeon, fully intending to leave Elias behind. Surprisingly, he doesn’t seem to have much trouble following my speed.

This cannot do. An expert maid should always be able to stay in front of the gentleman. At this rate, I’m going to be punished by the Maid Chief.

 

“AAAAAAAAHHH!”

 

“That scream…”

“It sounds like the glass-shattering shriek of an overgrown maiden, sir.”

“‘Overgrown’… wait, no, is this the time for such nonchalance?”

My very-much-reasonable assessment leads us to the source of the voice. We arrive at the scene soon after.

“This must be a human-eating parasitic plant. Would it count as ‘lewd tentacles’, I wonder?” I say.

Elias doesn’t reply.

“Stop fooling around and save me already!” The victim shouts.

 

The woman currently being assaulted by a number of strange, slimy tentacles is the one who had been the quickest to run from that trial: lady Camilla.

I was sure she had run to her home, the dukedom house, but it seems she really was trying to deal with the incident. Well, her life as a noble would be over if she ran anyway, so as proud as she is, there wasn’t much of a chance she would do so. I never thought she was actually frolicking with tentacles here, though…

 

“You really do have that sort of hobby, don’t you?”

“I’m not doing this because I like it! Save me already!”

“I suppose we should. Just as well that the source of the monsters also seems to be here.”

Lady Camilla must have made the discovery. I wonder if those suspicious Oracles had anything to do with it. On the ground nearby are Camilla’s own private soldiers, who seemed to have fallen in their attempt to deal with the source.

It doesn’t take much time for me to clear out the monsters and destroy the source.

Now there is only Camilla, half-naked and being toyed with by lewd tentacles. Other than it being a somewhat indecent sight, there doesn’t seem to be any other problem. She is freed in short order, though, as Elias is too much of a proper gentleman to leave her trapped for any longer. Of course, I made sure to procure a few photographs of lady Camilla’s lewdness for future uses.

 

Now that things are over and done with, I can’t help but feel that it was too easy. Assuming that the tunnel’s entrance was already close to disappearing by the time I dealt with it, then if only Camilla had been able to hold on for a bit longer, then she really would have been considered the person to have resolved the incident.

 

“Miss Fleurety, what is on your mind?”

“It is nothing, sir Elias. Now there is only the matter of dealing with the monsters that have escaped the dungeon. We should leave.”

“Let us… wait, hold on a second.”

Elias takes out something that looks like the shell of a bivalve mollusk and places it to his ear. If I’m not mistaken, the bivalve-shell-thing acts as one part of a pair of magical tools which allow one to communicate at long distance, and they are called ‘portable magitech communicators’. Milady and I wanted them too, but just a pair already cost two hundred gold pieces. Too much for us.

 

“What?! Monsters have spilled into the town? Lady Chieri is taking command? What’s going on outside?!”

 

Apparently the Monster Stampede is not over yet. I wonder if Chieri had done something again.

But more importantly, I worry for milady’s safety.

Please wait for me, milady. Your maid will be with you before long.


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28 – Goddess

Hey, so, I’m not really sure how it happened? Buuuut I’ve been the Goddess of this world since, like, forever.

At first I was, like, just poking around, you know? Messing with stuff. And then these dopey natives just started calling me their Goddess. Man, so dumb.

But well, I can kinda get where they were coming from. I mean, look, I’m super kind, right? Like, so dependable. I just can’t help but listen whenever someone prays to me. Totes a Goddess, right?

I mean, don’t you feel like trying your best too when you see a cool guy in front of you?

 

So anyway, being a goddess is actually a huuuge pain in the ass.

Like, there’s this fat whale who normally doesn’t even do more than a few sloppy prayers, but then when typhoons or stuff like that happen he’d pester me to save them. Gawd, sooo annoying.

So I don’t even bother. And then you know what? After the typhoon passed by itself, he’d go ‘yaaay’ and announce that I’d saved them. Like, is he an bozo or what?

But like, I can’t really do anything with offerings or food though. Why don’t they get more cute guys to be priests instead? Like, come on.

 

So yeah, I’m a goddess, right? I can actually get to other worlds too. It’s super annoying though, having to set up all the audio and the timescale and the channel and stuff.

But then one day, I found this weird thing in a weird world. People over there call it ‘oh-toh-may’ games or something.

Oh yeah, I picked up my appearance and lingo from that world too. Totes adorbs, right?

So like, that otome thingamajig? I got super duper hooked.

Like, that heroine’s so cute, so brave, and so diligent too. Isn’t that totally me? I just get her, ya’know?

Anyway, so just watching got boring. I wanna play too, but this world doesn’t have game consoles, so I couldn’t. But I really really wanted to play, so I got people here to develop summoning magic. Genius idea, yeah? Am I right or am I right?

But then I realized something amazing.

I can play. I can, like, just summon a human girl and control her just like in those games. See? Same thing. Man, I’m so smart.

 

But there’s one problem, see? In my world, there were no princes.

Everyone was just banging rocks and sticks together. No shiny and big buildings like in that weird other world. I’m so cute, see? So this world totally didn’t fit me.

And then, get this, I got another amazing idea. If there wasn’t a prince, then I just needed to make a kingdom!

I can stick a good-looking priest and priestess together and make their kid a prince, then get a summoned heroine and that prince together to make a new kingdom. This country’s gonna be so fire.

So yeah, that was my plan, but I gotta be careful too. Not like there’d be a guarantee the heroine would act the way I want. I’m super humble, see? I know my limits. So I first wrote the script and got people from that weird world to make it into a game for me.

 

It was a bit of a pain since I couldn’t, like, really interfere much with a world that’s not mine, but I tried so hard. It took me more than a decade to brainwash some rich-looking peep and got them to fund the game for me.

It’s called The Lines of Light, Darkness, and Love. Awesome name, right? So I got people to play the game and then summon the girl who wanted to come here the most, and I finally managed to make her the queen. Controlling her with just blessings and oracles was, like, crazy tough, but real fun, too.

It was so fun I got a few more games made, then turned the summoned heroines into Saints and queens and stuff. They were all super duper happy.

So going by this world’s timescale, after about a thousand years since the first game, civilization finally got to what people in that other weird world would call the Middle Ages. The heroines’ children started inventing stuff to make things more convenient, but you know, otome games set in another world have got to be in the Middle Ages, right? More atmospheric that way. So I decided those peeps who wanted to advance civilization should all get some divine punishment. Like, hello, gotta keep the ambience here.

 

So anyway, after the latest game got released, I summoned some people again. Sixteen this time.

…hmm, that’s weird. Did an animal get dragged along too or something? Ah well, whatevs. I can’t watch all of them anyway, this summoning’s got more people than usual.

 

So I decided that the main heroine this time would be a girl from my world, but it’s not really working out. I’m not sure if she’s just overly cautious or what, but she’s such a sloth, even after I gave her oracles. Gosh, sooo annoying.

On the other hand, the summoned heroines were so much better. I just gave them a bit of my protection and they went, like, chop-chop-chop.

Afterward, I’d just need to give a nudge or two and the capturing would go fine. So fun.

 

One of the heroines failed.

…why? She had, like, Charm and stuff. It should have been impossible. Hmm, where did things go wrong… There are three villainesses this time, so maybe it’s them who are going off-script. Unbelievable. Like, oh-em-gee.

I’ve been trying to see how close to the games I can get with just indirect pokes and nudges, but maybe I’ve been playing around too much? Maybe I should give oracles to the remaining heroines too? It’s looking kinnnnda bad here.

Whoops, the Saint girl’s getting to work. Elias’s supposed to be the secret character, but I guess I gotta bring him out now. The guy’s, like, totally my type, you know? Super handsome. I’ve been showing him how awesome and cute I am since he was a little kid, so he’s a really tough target, heheh.

 

…something’s really wrong here. Somebody is totally going off-script in my country.

To make this world like the games, I’ve enclosed this country and the neighboring ones in a barrier to allow people in the zone to have Skills.

I actually wanted to turn the whole world into my zone though, but it turned out to be way too big for me. Like, ohmygosh I hate it.

But inside my zone, it’s just like the games! I’ve got maximum influence here, too! My own sandbox to play in! This kingdom’s gonna be the center of this world, heheheh!

Every creature affected by Skills are more or less under my influence already. Like, heroines are just naturally more likable, and the villainesses tend to more easily be hated or have terrible personalities.

Then why is the Saint heroine being put on trial?!

Why is Elias on the prosecuting side?!

I didn’t give Sharon any magical Skills and made sure she was bullied so much too. Why is she still sane?!

Oh, oh, the Saint girl just asked for help!

 

***

 

I have arrived at the location of the monster Stampede, the Third Dungeon — otherwise known as “The Salt Dungeon”.

My first destination is the store I frequent. The shopkeeper finally has a customer and yet he’s packing up for travel, looking rather agitated.

“…little maid.”

“What is it, sir shopkeeper?”

“Haven’t you heard the news?! There’re monsters out there!”

“I have, of course.”

“THEN WHY ARE YOU GOING SHOPPING??!”

“How strange. Is this not a store?”

“It is, but who the hell in their right mind would come here with what’s going on?!”

“What are you saying, sir? At any rate, may I have some of the sugar and spices over there?”

“Did you not listen to a single thing I said?! Why are you still shopping?! Monsters could be getting here at any moment!!”

He’s quite emotional, isn’t he? Maybe he needs some more calcium and minerals. His thatching has degraded even further as well.

“WAAAGH!!!”

Oh my. There are some other customers as well.

“O-orc!”

 

“Nice shot.”

 

I first thought it was a pig-faced customer. Turned out it was just a customer-faced pig. I wipe off the blood on my beloved Orc Killer EX and turn back to the shopkeeper to see him holding his crotch with both hands, his face green and his back bent.

Poor him. This must be the first time he has seen such a violently piggish customer.

 

“Sir shopkeeper, how much would you pay for a freshly hunted orc? It’s still warm.”

“Are you really saying that, maid girl?! Aren’t there more important things right now?!”

Hmm. I suppose he’s right.

“Well, it’s true that its 〇s have unfortunately been crushed. A pity. Those could have been used in energy tonics. Then just the price for its skin and meat would be fine, sir. Please feel free to subtract the butchering fee from the sum total.”

“I told you, this is not the time to be talking business!!”

“Also, the sack of wheat at the storefront seems to have been a little bit trampled by the orc, hasn’t it? Please give me a discount for that.”

“GIRL I AM TRYING TO EVACUATE HERE!!”

 

Ah, I see. I did not realize I was interrupting him when he was hurrying. Regrettably, I am not a very bright maid in that respect.

As an apology, I begin to brew some tea for him and serve some dried seaweed as accompaniment.

I then return to the negotiation. We are interrupted a few times by monsters, which are then swiftly dispatched by my spiked club. The shopkeeper just takes in the sight, his eyes unfocused as though his mind has regressed to infancy, and he sits back down on the chair, his packed luggage left to the side.

He has changed his mind, it seems.

 

“Also, can you throw in some of that maple syrup and rock candies over there as well?”

“Just take whatever you want already, dammit…”

“In return, here…”

I take out another pouch of dried seaweed and place it on the table. The shopkeeper takes a look inside, then surreptitiously tuck it away.

 

Even as close to the dungeon as I am, I find it rather telling that monsters have already spilled to the streets. The situation seems to be  quite dire.

Normally, the soldiers would be around to protect the citizens at the moment, but I do not see any of them. They’re probably at the Third Dungeon at the moment to hold the monsters at bay

Quite a dilemma for them, this must be. All the soldiers have to be at the Dungeon to stop the city from being drowned in monsters, which also means that what few monsters that managed to get through would be able to wreck the streets with impunity.

I elect to head for the Third Dungeon for the time being, crushing any monsters that I encounter along the way. After some time, I notice a few small shadows approaching me.

 

“””Hello, miss!”””

“Hello, little ones. I see that you’ve gotten yourself something quite nice.”

“Eheheh!”

They’re the snot-nosed urchins that I see running around town all the time. In their hands are bloodied kitchen knives and cleavers, while their arms are wrapped protectively around the body parts of monsters that the guild would purchase as proof of subjugation.

“How is the battle going?”

“The local knight leader is heavily wounded and has retreated. Currently, the vice leader is taking command.” “The third knight squadron can barely keep itself together. The second prince’s imperial knights are keeping the monsters at bay, but they probably wouldn’t last another few hours.” “The capital’s knights would take a while to get here.”

“Anything else suspicious?”

“Nothing, really. The foreign spies aren’t doing anything.”

I see.

“Thank you. Here are your rewards.”

I give them the rock candies as I always do, and the children burst into cheers.

“””Thank you, miss!”””

Goodness, the smiles of innocent children truly is a balm for the soul.

 

So, there’s nobody doing anything suspicious. Which means that the intent that I felt is behind this incident is probably the world’s Administrator.

How troublesome. I suppose I’m going to need to be a little more careful now.


A/N: The Goddess is… well, you know the type.


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27 – Interference

“I, Sharon de Michel, accuse lady Camilla and lady Chieri of perpetrating the attack in the dungeon!”

Struck by the villainess Sharon’s accusation, Chieri staggered back, her eyes wide open. The nearby knights silently surrounded her.

“I-I…”

Chieri tried to talk, but before she could get her words out, the other villainess, Camilla, shouted. It startled Sharon.

“Sharon, have you lost your mind?! You would dare accuse me, a duke’s daughter, of such—”

“We have already notified the Reese dukedom,” prince Joel cut off Camilla, while Andy moved in front of Sharon protectively. “The duke himself had expressed his wish for you to admit to your crime, Camilla.”

“No… Father… he couldn’t have! This must be a plot to frame me!”

 

To Chieri, Camilla’s shout sounded a thousand miles away.

Why did this happen, she thought. Why am I here? It should have been me. I should be standing where they are!

Before she knew it, Chieri was already glaring at Sharon and Fleurety. It hadn’t escaped Joel’s eyes. He scowled.

“Lady Chieri… you are one of the Partner candidates summoned from another world. I never would have expected such foolishness from you. I understand you have yet to familiarize yourself with this world, but it does not excuse your actions.”

“No…”

All strength left Chieri. The knights to her sides caught her as she slumped to the floor, and they carried her forward. While their grasps were gentle still, the moment Chieri tried anything, they would not hesitate to pin her to the floor.

Having known no hardships in her life before, the middle-school girl was utterly unprepared for the oppressive air of the court. She trembled in fear.

Camilla looked at her and smirked.

“Speaking of which, I’ve heard that little girl complaining about how Sharon and her maid kept sticking to sir Eric and sir Elias. Is there not the possibility that it was her? That her hideous jealousy had driven her to order the attack?”

Chieri gasped. Camilla was trying to push all the blame to her.

 

The woman hadn’t been lying — Chieri had told her that, and she was jealous, more or less, but it was all to rile up Camilla.

Until now, Chieri had continued to deflect the malice that came her way toward other people — at the moment, it was Kamishiro, the girl who now called herself Fleurety. And now that Chieri was the one being put on the spot, the one being judged, her frustration was crushing. She ground her teeth, her eyes misty.

 

“She’s not saying anything, see? It surely confirms my words—”

Camilla continued, sure in her triumph, when she was once again interrupted, this time by Elias.

“May I have a word, your honor?”

“You may.” Joel readily agreed.

“Sir Elias…”

Chieri whispered, convinced that Elias was going to save her, the heroine. Of course he would be. This was the world of a game. When the heroine was in trouble, surely there would be someone to save her.

She thought wrong.

 

“To my utmost regret, this incident also involved people from the Church. My personal interrogation has revealed that lady Chieri, the next possible Saint, had mentioned in passing her displeasure against lady Sharon and lady Fleurety for their perceived deeds. Acting on their impatience, the priests then proceeded to commit the assault.”

 

Elias’ words only drove Chieri deeper into a corner. She couldn’t even refute. She might have not given an explicit order, but nevertheless, it was a fact that she had spoken while forgetting her own position. Her responsibility in the matter was undeniable.

“See?! The little girl did it. And besides, does Sharon also not share part of the blame for her actions?” Camilla pushed.

“No. Sharon and her maid have done nothing to be criticized for.”

This time, the woman was refuted by instructor Eric. Prince Joel nodded and waved for him to continue.

“I would even go so far as to say that I have not seen any student as earnest and faultless as Sharon. Meanwhile, several male students had told me they were manipulated by lady Camilla to turn against Sharon and her maid.”

“Impossible!” Camilla shouted, outraged.

“I can corroborate as well. The Church’s priests had apparently been convinced that their actions were justified, and that it was lady Camilla who had suggested them so,” Elias followed up on Eric’s testimony.

Camilla was panicking. She cried out in desperation.

“All meaningless testimonies! Are you saying my words hold less weight than those vulgar priests and students?! Where is your evidence?!”

 

“So you want evidence, is it…”

From the hands of his attendant, Joel took hold of a piece of paper, his disgust toward it apparent.

“This is a receipt from a back-alley pharmacy documenting a purchase made by the Reese dukedom. The product is… well, it would suffice to say that it is of an extremely sexual nature, and several of the male students have shown the distinctive symptoms. The investigation had also concluded that it was one of lady Camilla’s attendants who had placed the order.”

 

The substance detected was a mix of Camilla’s usual order and the drug that Fleurety had given her.

Unlike modern Earth, the method to detect residual chemicals that the people of this world utilized was not very precise. But unfortunately for Camilla, the woman had also used in parallel the drug that Fleurety had made, which was so powerful as to leave after-effects for the substance user. More than enough residuals have been detected.

Camilla also found it unbelievable that the pharmacist had betrayed her. Had she not spent more than enough to silence the shopkeeper?

 

No one in the court noticed Fleurety’s demonic smirk.

 

What do I do… what do I do?!

Chieri was seized by panic. The way things were going, Camilla would soon be indicted, which would also mean that Chieri would be forced to confess.

Her crime wasn’t as heavy as Camilla’s, but her prospects of becoming the next Saint would be irrevocably beyond her grasp. Even if the Church would forgive her, she didn’t believe the kingdom would.

Everyone would turn away from her. She would no longer be able to clear the game.

What do I do… somebody… Goddess, save me!

 

For the very first time, Chieri prayed. Chieri, a girl born of a religious family, a girl who had never believed in gods and deities, who was convinced that the game’s Goddess was nothing more than a part of the programming, now prayed whole-heartedly upon facing her crisis.

She gasped.

For the first time, she heard the Goddess’ voice.

 

“Your Highness…”

A young knight carrying what looked to be a magical communicator ran toward prince Joel and whispered in his ear. The prince paled.

Elias looked to the ceiling and muttered, as though answering a voice only he could hear.

“Monsters spilling out of the dungeon…”

 

It was the most important event for a player going through the Saint route. An event where the Saint would make use of her holy power to fight against the tide of monsters together with the capture targets. An event marking the heroine’s transformation into a true Saint.

Like a bolt out of the blue, the Stampede struck.

 

***

 

“…well now, if this isn’t deliberate then I’m not sure what is.” I mutter.

The kangaroo court has been interrupted by a sudden outbreak of monsters.

And right before the judgement was made too, so of course the lady Camilla immediately took the chance to run with her subordinates in tow, saying she would “keep the monsters at bay” and citing her “duty as an instructor”. She did it all before prince Joel could recover from his momentary bewilderment and order her capture. Very speedy, she is.

I don’t know whether she would actually fight or if she was only thinking of running. Well, I have more important things to worry about, at any rate.

As for lady Chieri, she would be going to the frontline as a Saint by the Church’s entreaty. She sure is a hard worker.

This whole situation is just so convenient for them.

And besides, I think Elias also had an oracle from the Goddess…

 

“Letty… shouldn’t we be doing something?”

So, since it turned out that the trial would be suspended until further notice, I have taken lady Sharon back to our room for a rest.

Today’s snack is a baked cheesecake. I personally prefer a more traditional cheesecake, but milady has been tired, what with everything that has happened today. I believe she would appreciate a cheesecake with a bit more… heft in its texture.

“You are still a student, milady. There is no need for you to be facing danger. It is the sort of matter best left to the adults.” I say, pouring her a cup of fragrant black tea.

“I… well, I guess you’re right, but…”

Milady still looks unconvinced as she takes a sip of tea. She must be worried about Andy, who has gone to fight.

In this world, fifteen is the age of majority, but while milady’s fifteenth birthday has already passed, she still also needs to graduate the academy before she is legally considered an adult.

I give her a reassuring smile.

“So please, just leave the danger for the gentlemen to deal with. You should be relaxing and enjoying the calories that you love so much.”

“I told you, I don’t like calories!!!”

 

All the same, I’m sure she is thinking that she should be out there protecting the common people, as is her noblesse oblige. Truly, she is a model for nobles. But as her maid, my own responsibility is to keep her safe.

I could only offer my sympathy to lady Chieri, who has been recruited for the front line. Though I wonder if she would be fine… she doesn’t seem to have the necessary training to survive on the battlefield yet.

Oh well, there are tons of knights there anyway. No need to worry about her.

 

“The knights and soldiers need to work for their pay too, milady.”

“…they sure have it rough. Ah, but his Highness Joel is going too… I can’t just be sitting here drinking tea…”

 

As royalty, the prince has gone ahead to the third dungeon where the Stampede has happened. It is why Andy is with him, and also the reason for milady’s worries.

…it can’t be helped, then. For milady’s peace of mind, I would have to ensure Andy’s safety.

 

“Oh my, what a gaffe. I have forgotten to resupply our store of snack ingredients.”

“…Letty.”

Well, it seems I am not quite a master actress.

“Then I’ll go too—”

“Do not worry, milady. I am simply visiting a store near the third dungeon. I will be back before you know it.”

“…alright.”

I don’t want to say milady would be useless weight if she accompanies me, but… well, it certainly would be difficult for me to go all out. And besides… some people still need to be punished.

 

“Promise me you’ll be fine, Letty. Sir Andy and his Highness, too…” she says, taking my hand in hers.

“Leave it to me, milady.”

I tightly clasp back and give her a smile.

“I’m sure all the stores being attacked are having a 100% off sale right now.”

“No, that’s not what I’m worried about!”

 

I jest, of course. I’m only going to beat the price down to the absolute minimum for the products that are about to be crushed in the chaos.


A/N: Can the merchants ever recover after facing The Haggling Maid?


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26 – Trial

“Lady Sharon, today’s tea is made from some high-quality leaves given to me by the dorm mother. Here is a slice of chocolate cake to accompany.”

“…she sure has changed, hasn’t she? She used to be so strict.”

 

We have made it back to the academy safely.

The souvenir I’d brought back had been very well received by the dorm mother, and I’d also given her a homemade special concoction that would give her so much energy she wouldn’t need sleep or food for a while. She probably wouldn’t leave her room for two, maybe three days.

Sei was there too, and he had on a thousand-yard stare after he witnessed my transaction.

Oh, my apologies, I almost forgot. Hello, everyone. It is me, Fleurety, friend and ally to all big girls.

 

“Perhaps the dorm mother has found true love, milady.”

“My! That is wonderful!”

Though I don’t think the woman is in any state of mind to be finding anything at the moment.

That aside, as her maid, I’m somewhat worried for milady. She has such a sweet tooth, and yet the snacks today are still mostly uneaten.

“Milady, do you prefer more calories in your sweets?”

“Don’t make it sound like I like calories! Really!” She says, pouting as she downs the second plate of chocolate cake.

I still think something’s wrong with her. She’s only just finished her second plate.

I set the third plate of chocolate cake on the table, my worries still unassuaged. As milady sets on it with her cutleries, she releases a faint sigh.

“So milady really wants more calories, then…”

“That’s not what I’m thinking about! …just, I’m still worried about the matter with lady Camilla. There’s also lady Chieri, too…”

Ah, I see. Since long ago, milady has always tried to be strong in the face of all who wanted to do her harm, but it still doesn’t change the fact that she has the heart of a little rabbit. Overt malice still hurts her.

“Milady needs not worry. Leave it all to me.”

 

We’re already back at the academy, but the two of them have still not been punished.

I could just go and deal with them myself, but I am only a maid to lady Sharon, while Camilla is the young lady of a dukedom. Doing anything to her would only bring trouble upon milady.

It’d be simple if I could kill her. Leaves no evidence that way, too. Then again, she’s probably one of those mysterious ‘immortals’ anyway, and it’d be a mess if I try to kill her and she doesn’t die.

High nobles really are quite troublesome. I can simply pump her full of drugs if worse comes to worst, but making her disappear as cleanly as I did with the former marquis madam would be a lot trickier.

Even so, this is not a problem I should inconvenience milady for.

I give her a smile. She keeps her gaze fixed on me, and she takes my hand.

“Letty… I’m worried for you. I’m happy you care so much for me, but I would hate it if you were to be hurt because of me.”

“Milady…”

I could barely believe it. Milady worries for me. She would care for such a monster as me.

Oh, how should I convey this feeling? How should I describe this wonderful moment?

“Milady, I’m thinking of selling a song to extol your virtues. Should I register for a copyright first?”

“How is that the result of our conversation?!”

As it is, I have no other way to express my gratitude other than adding some whipped cream on the plate of chocolate cake.

 

“Is there anything I can help with?” She asks in earnest.

As I wipe off the cream stuck on her lips, I consider the idea.

“Then, may I have your assistance with a small matter, milady?”

 

***

 

“Ahah… it’s working out well.”

In a room that the Church has set aside for Saints only, Chieri chuckled.

After re-establishing the barrier of the Church’s cathedral, she had been welcomed with open arms. For the first time in centuries, the Church had a new Saint.

Due to her upbringing as the daughter of a family operating a shrine, she was used to religious work, and there were occasions when she had to meet with the mayor as the shrine priestess as well. She knew how to present herself.

And so it wasn’t long before the brothers and sisters of the Church all believed Chieri to be the next coming of the Saint. This world only ever had one single, monotheistic religion. It had never known any sort of religious wars such as those in the modern world of Earth, where blood was only washed away with more blood. Chieri didn’t have much trouble bringing the naive believers under her thumb.

 

Her plans made use of a generic event that would only happen for a Saint player character.

In the original game, this was an incident that would be orchestrated by the villainess Camilla alone, after the player had raised their likability with an adult capture target that was in their twenties or older. With her charms, Camilla would get the academy’s students and staff wrapped in her little finger. She would order the attack, and it would fail after the heroine received an oracle from the Goddess. Camilla would then be cast out from the academy.

So Chieri had given nudges to Camilla, turning her against Sharon and her Partner, Kamishiro. But if nothing else was done, then there was a chance it would end in failure just like in the game. To that end, Chieri had also surreptitiously riled up the believers for a second assault.

Sharon was only a villainess, one who would receive no oracles. There was no escape for her. Chieri was sure her plan would succeed.

 

Chieri wasn’t going to kill the two of them. She didn’t have the nerve to do it in the first place. She was only going to get them confined by the men for a few days in order to cast doubt on their purity, and subsequently, their images in the eyes of the capture targets would be heavily damaged. That was all she wanted.

The in-game Church also received the same official request to have a member accompany the group into the dungeon. But the way it went in the game, nobody accepted the request, and the group should only have the imperial knight Andy with them. Chieri thought it wasteful that Andy would be a collateral victim, but as her targets were only Eric Marsaw the instructor and Elias the Holy Knight, she didn’t think it much of a problem.

To finish, she would only need to push all the blame on Camilla, and then she should be able to reach the next event — the Stampede — without any problems.

 

At the moment, although Chieri was still staying at the Church to create her alibi, she thought it was about time she should return to the academy.

In the game, Eric Marsaw would suspect his near-stalker, Camilla. The heroine who was the victim, Andy the knight, and Eric would come together to prosecute Camilla.

But since the victim this time was kidnapped, Chieri, with the oracle she had received, would replace her to prosecute Camilla instead. She would be accompanied by Eric and Elias, who replaced Andy. She was sure these members would be enough to get even a duke’s young lady to be pronounced guilty.

And even if she hadn’t actually gotten an oracle, Chieri was still the person the Church regarded as the next Saint. She believed her words held more than enough weight to convince everyone that the Goddess had spoken to her.

“Alright, gotta go talk to Elias quick.”

 

*

 

“Why is nobody here?!”

Elias almost never left the Church, yet now Chieri couldn’t find him anywhere.

When she returned to the academy, the students were making noises about how somebody had been attacked in the dungeon. It seemed the event was proceeding as she expected, but she found it strange that she couldn’t see Eric anywhere when he was supposed to be the one to reveal the culprit and prosecute them together with her.

Why was it that all of a sudden, she couldn’t find both the people necessary for the trial?

When she asked the other professors, strangely enough, they wouldn’t tell her. At the same time, she couldn’t be seen close to the culprit Camilla either. Chieri could do nothing but bite her lips in frustration.

 

“I don’t know anything! Wai-what are you doing, insolents?! My family is a dukedom, you hear me?!”

Hearing a shout, Chieri turned her head. She saw the villainess Camilla currently being taken towards the direction of the auditorium by several imperial knights.

The event’s already happening?! Chieri screamed in her head.

It was supposed to begin only with the presence of the heroine who had received an oracle. With the high degree of freedom the game offered, the event could also happen once enough evidence had been gathered, but in that case, who could have provided that evidence?

“L-let me in!” Chieri said. The imperial knights standing guard at the auditorium’s hall allowed her entrance.

But there was one thing she had missed in her haste. This incident was a scandal involving a member of a dukedom. The government would either do the trial behind closed doors, or if the scandal wasn’t overly serious, they would ignore it entirely.

In the game, the trial was done at the academy as an occasion of education for prince Joel, and so naturally, noble children wouldn’t be allowed in. Even a heroine who had the fortune of being the protagonist wouldn’t be let in, unless they were directly involved in the incident.

 

“Are you aware of your crime, Camilla?”

“Your highness Joel, this must be a mistake! What evidence is there?!”

Chieri recognized this scene in the game, albeit with some slight differences. In his capacity as the judge, prince Joel would then call for the witnesses, which would be the player’s capture target and the player character themself.

What’s going on?! I’m right here!

 

“May the witnesses enter.”

Seeing the witnesses, Chieri opened her eyes wide.

It was Sharon, the marquis’ young lady who was supposed to have been attacked and kidnapped the other day, and her Partner candidate, the girl who had called herself Fleurety in this world.

And not only that, Sharon was even clad in a gorgeous dress instead of her academy uniform, as well as being escorted by the imperial knight Andy.

Fleurety was still wearing her maid uniform, but beside her was the Holy Knight Elias. Even instructor Eric was with her, if with a stiffened grimace.

All in the court was silent, struck by the sight of such beautiful men and women. Even Chieri was lost for words.

In the auditorium, the academy’s staff and the knights were all captivated by the sight of Sharon in her lovely dress. Only a few could realize that it was not the young lady’s beauty but the oppressive smile of the maid standing unassumingly behind her, of the girl called Fleurety, that truly ruled this hall.

In the bizarre atmosphere of the chamber, Sharon was the picture of elegance and dignity, although a tinge of nervousness colored her face. She stepped forward and spoke, her hand pointing at the suspects.

“I, Sharon de Michel, accuse lady Camilla and lady Chieri of perpetrating the attack in the dungeon!”


A/N: The heroines’ plans are really quite messy.


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25 – The Two

A/N: We get quite a bit of vitamin Sharon this time.


In the dungeon, Sharon’s maid and irreplaceable friend, Fleurety, had been caught in a teleportation trap and had disappeared.

The young lady panicked.

“L-Letty?! Where did she go?! Come on, we have to hurry!”

“Sharon! Sharon, it’s fine, look at me,” Andy said, frantically trying to calm her down. “Elias is with miss Fleurety. He is the greatest knight of Argrey Kingdom. Her safety is guaranteed.”

In his hurry, he hadn’t noticed how he had gotten close to her, had talked to her the way he used to a long time ago.

“Y-yes, right, right…”

Andy’s reminder and her own knowledge of Fleurety’s strength helped her regain a measure of composure.

Her friend had promised her they would always be together. Fleurety was a strange girl, she thought, but more than anyone else, she also knew that her maid wasn’t one to break promises.

…when did we make that promise again?

Sharon was sure of it, that they had sworn to become friends, that they would never be apart, and yet in her memories, there was no recollection of when it had happened, nor how.

There was only their bond carved deep into her mind, into her heart.

 

“Although… why is there a teleportation trap so close to the entrance? Do you know if this has happened before, Sharon?”

“…no, I do not.”

With her reply, Sharon’s thoughts changed tracks. Had she been able to remember what she had forgotten, then perhaps she could have gained a hint to Fleurety’s identity, but as it was, she pushed the matter out of her mind. She simply chalked it up to ‘Letty being Letty again’.

“A teleportation trap’s destination would be somewhere on the same floor. There are no monsters on this floor that could hurt them, and we have the floor’s map as well. I’m sure we can find them.”

“Y-yes… that’s true.”

Sharon was anxious, he noticed, but somehow it felt as though she was worrying about something else.

“…Sharon?” He asked.

“…no, it is nothing.”

“But Sharon—”

Mid-way through his words, he finally noticed his inadvertent return to their old familiarity.

“My apologies, lady Sharon! I was…”

“N-no, I wasn’t worrying about that! Besides, umm, I… I also thought it was nice… it takes me back…”

By the end of her words, her eyes had pointed slightly downward, her ears blushing red. Andy similarly looked away, finding himself unable to look directly at her.

If only there was someone here to prevent the awkwardness.

 

“Ahem… let’s search for them. The dungeon’s map is with… mister Genki?”

Andy spoke, trying to get their conversation back on track, and only then did he remember the existence of their other companions — the two middle-schoolers from Earth.

“…wait, where are they?” Sharon asked in puzzlement.

“Ah, mister Sei!”

They noticed Sei, one of the middle-schoolers, lying on the ground of a hallway some distance away, and they hurried toward him. Fortunately, he was unhurt, only unconscious. Andy took out some smelling salts and Sei woke up, albeit still groggy.

“Mister Sei, what happened? Where is mister Genki?”

“Ah… sorry, I’m not sure what happened either. I just suddenly felt so sleepy…” Sei replied.

He then explained that he could still remember what happened until the trap activated, but immediately afterward, an intense drowsiness had assaulted him. He only woke up just now thanks to Andy.

“Where is he…?”

Only Genki was nowhere to be seen. As far as Andy recalled, Genki hadn’t been caught by the trap. He should have been with Sharon at the back of their group.

“…maybe he’d gone ahead alone?” Sei muttered.

“What?!”

Both Andy and Sharon’s faces paled.

Genki was the one to possess a detection Skill, and he was in charge of the dungeon map and checking for traps. Andy and Sharon thought he might have felt responsible for discovering the trap too late and letting it catch Elias and Fleurety, and so he had gone alone to search for them.

“He might have put me to sleep since he thought we would stop him…” Sei said.

“We should move immediately. With his strength, I do not think this floor is very safe for him.” Andy said, looking at Sharon.

“Yes, sir Andy!”

 

The three began to search through the floor’s rooms, impatience bubbling inside them.

Searching even a single floor was a daunting task. An old dungeon not only had more floors, but each floor was growing larger as well. Each of the circularly-shaped floors of this Third Dungeon were as large as a baseball field.

 

[Ice Javelin]!”

Sharon’s recent intense training had been rewarded. Her current magic control had gotten much better. While her spells were still sometimes too wasteful and sometimes too weak, it was a vast improvement considering that brute-force area-of-damage spells used to be all that she was capable of.

“Now!”

[Slash]!”

The giant lizard was slowed down by the ice javelin, held in place by Andy, and sliced apart with Sei’s Sword Skill.

The enemies of this floor hadn’t posed much of a threat to the three of them. Being the defender of the group, Andy had gotten slightly scratched and hit by some light poisons, but Sharon was able to treat him with her newly-learned theurgical spells.

“T-thank you.”

“N-no, don’t mind it…”

It was neither the time nor the place for them to be embarrassed, but then again, perhaps it might be expecting too much out of these two.

“Andy, Sharon! There’s something on the ground over there!” Sei shouted, pointing toward the other end of the hallway behind the giant lizard’s corpse.

“Ah, yeah, got it!”

Things left on the ground in the dungeon, whether it be an object or a corpse, would vanish in time. This was a phenomenon that everyone in this world took for granted. One of the current theories was that they were reabsorbed by the dungeon, while another claimed they were eaten by slimes. As yet, there was still no proof either way.

Seeing that the object was still there for them to find, the implication was clear.

“This is…”

“Yes. Likely, this was Genki’s equipment.”

It was a dagger, still brand-new. It could have belonged to some other explorer, but generally, explorers that could go in this deep would have gone dungeon-delving for long enough to have their reserve weapon show signs of previous usage.

“He should be deeper in. Let’s hurry.”

The thought of Genki being attacked by monsters passed through their minds. The two advanced into the hallway.

From the darkness, an arrow sped toward them.

“Sharon!” Andy shouted, raising his shield to block the arrow.

“Ah!”

“Who’s there?! Show yourself!”

In dungeons, there were tool-using monsters such as goblins and kobolds, but most of their equipment were either taken from explorers or hands-me-down. Weapons as pristine as the arrow shot at the two of them were rarely in the hands of monsters.

There was only one conclusion to be made.

“They’re… people, right?”

“Looks that way…”

Andy moved in front of Sharon and raised his shield protectively, while she gripped her staff with trembling hands, ready to support him. Sei’s face paled, his fingers in a white-knuckled grip around his sword. This would be the first time he went against a human opponent.

“Sharon, can you cast the illumination spell?”

“Yes!”

Summoned by Sharon, a ball of light, somewhat overcharged with magic, floated into the hallway depths. Perhaps unable to dispel the light, several people jumped out from the hallway’s shadows.

“Who are you?! Why are you—”

“Shut up! It’s all your fault, pestilent wretch!”

“…what?”

They were wearing the typical equipment for explorers as well as masks, so Sharon had thought they were murderers or bandits lying in wait. But once the ostensible leader of the group, a woman, shouted invectives back at her, she was puzzled. She was sure she had heard that voice before.

“Have I done anything to you…?”

“YOU RUINED EVERYTHING!” The woman screamed, then abruptly returned her volume back to normal as she turned to her group, her voice affected and without a hint of sincerity. “…umm, right, subdue that girl! For the Saint!”

“””FOR THE SAINT! FOR THE GODDESS!!!””” They responded with fervor.

Several men wielding maces inched forward. Andy stayed in front of Sharon as the two retreated step by step.

Hearing what they had let slip and seeing the holy sigils on their chests, Andy came to the conclusion that they were fanatic believers of the Goddess. Madmen who ignored the Church to commit murders while still proclaiming the Goddess’ name. Rarely seen, but not non-existent. Andy knew that even if the two of them surrendered, there was no guarantee they would be spared.

Their opponents numbered five. If only we have just one more person, Andy thought…

 

“Finally, finally! Your luck runs out here, you—”

Boop.

“…huh?”

Feeling a hand on her shoulder from out of nowhere, the woman turned around. Standing behind her was the lovely black-haired maid with a blossoming grin that sent an ice-cold rod down her spine.

 

***

 

Hello, everyone. It is me, Fleurety, a very satisfied maid after I’ve kicked the woman in the ■■■■, pumping her full of ■■■■ and causing her to enact a scene that I would prefer not to describe.

“Letty!”

“I’m back, lady Sharon.”

Milady runs toward me with teary eyes, looking so adorable that I couldn’t help but pick her up, spinning her around and ending it with a hug.

“I’m not a kid anymore!”

“My apologies. I was simply going into withdrawal after being too long without your essence.”

“What even is my essence?!”

Gosh, milady, are you really making your pure and innocent maid answer that?

 

“Miss Fleurety. Their identities were as I expected.”

While I was busy ■■■■ing the woman leading the group, Elias had finished dealing with the others and has returned. So they really were from the Church, then.

“Who is she?”

“Just an acquaintance, sir.”

This ■■■■■■ woman was the personal maid of Yohanne of the Michel marquis house. Her name is Mia.

She also used to belong to the house of Balla that no longer existed. Perhaps she has been dreaming that she could take control of the marquis house once again if milady was to disappear.

At the moment, she probably has more of my ‘medicine’ than blood now. Her mouth is agape, her cheeks wet with drool, and her eyes are unfocused. Sweet dreams, Mia.

 

By the way, Genki is one of the masked people.

“Genki…” Sei whispers, looking pained. Andy grimly followed with a question.

“Mister Genki, why have you done this?”

“I-I didn’t want to! L-Lady Camilla told me lady Sharon was up to no good, so I was just…”

Genki fearfully mutters. Yet I wonder why it looks as though he’s being scared of me, when Elias was the one to have taken him down. Did he see what I did to Mia…?

Well, I can deal with that memory later.

“And yet you seemed to be quite willing to attack us, weren’t you?”

Upon hearing my words, Genki’s whole body twitches. From what I saw, he didn’t exactly hesitate in his attempt to harm milady.

A possibility passes through my mind. I whisper into his ear.

“Has your heart been taken by lady Camilla, Genki?”

His face immediately burns red. For some reason, the words ‘A Private Afterschool Lesson’ pass through my mind.

I wonder what they mean. It sounds like a title. Perhaps best to not tell milady.

 

“Sir Elias, sir Andy, may I trouble you to process these men? I would like to take Mia and Genki into my custody.”

“I admit that’d be simpler for us, but are you sure?” Elias asks me back.

“Yes, I am,” I say as I give him a slight nod.

There’s no guarantee we won’t get our arms twisted if we try to prosecute these two, after all.

“What will you do now?” Andy asks, his worried gaze on milady.

…oh, my. Has something happened between them?

“We will return to the academy, of course. There is much to do.” I reply.

I’ll make sure they won’t get out of this scot-free.

 

That aside, it seems Genki here is still very excited. The dorm mother can help calm his nerves, I think.


A/N: The dorm mother continued to be terrified of her horse carriage. It’s been a while since the last time she could go downtown to buy some young men.


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