The Underground Princess
The lighting in the prison that they called a room did not allow her to see everything near the corners. However, she sensed the presence of shadowy monsters on the other side of the wall. And one after another, they were coming into the room.
The small gazer floated up in front of Chiharu as if to protect her.
It seemed like a frightening sight, but no matter how vicious the monsters appeared to be, they could not harm Chiharu. If anything, they would just disappear if they touched her.
“Tell me. What happened?”
She couldn’t help but ask. That’s how many monsters there were. And their emotions seemed to swirl around the room.
But they did not answer. The four-legged monsters pushed their way through the iron bars. Humans could not get through, but the monsters were made of miasma, and so it was easy for them. It was likely that the inland people were very much aware of this.
That’s why they had locked Chiharu down here. She was an automated machine that would make magic stones.
Still standing on her feet, Chiharu looked at the monsters with a troubled expression. They had been gathered in the other room, unable to go outside. They hadn’t the strength to grow, and they could not return to their original form either. It must have been painful.
She wanted to return them. That was the power of the Saintess, after all. However, if she did, she would be going along with Lord Adol’s plan. Chiharu thought about it. Maki-chan, what should I do?
She thought about Maki, who would still be in the beast lands. When the monsters started to move, the small gazer bumped into them as if telling them to stay away. Chiharu clenched her fist in front of her chest.
“I believe in you, Maki-chan. Not just you. Sauro, Saikania and Zynis as well. And Edwy and Aaron. And Aeris.”
If Maki were there, she would have told her to not forget Kaider and Nyran, as they were also working so hard.
“Maki-chan. Yes, even if Lord Adol gains something temporarily from this, so what? He’ll clearly be caught soon and lose everything. The monsters don’t care what the magic stones will be used for. They just want to quietly return to the cycle of life.”
Chiharu stretched out her hand to the monster in front of her. Are you sure? She heard the small gazer ask.
“It’s fine. It really is.”
The monster rubbed its forehead against Chiharu’s outstretched hand, and then returned into a magic stone. It fell down onto the carpet.
Upon seeing this, the other monsters were filled with joy. Chiharu softly touched her chest.
“Listen. I’ll return those who just can’t take it anymore. But if you can wait, please wait. Don’t you want to stop the people who locked you in here?”
However, the reply was not what Chiharu expected. No, I don’t. They replied.
We’re just tired. We want to rest. It will be hard going into a small place again. But it’s just part of the cycle.
But our hearts are with you, beloved child. If it is hard for you, we will take away your sorrow. If you have a wish, we will make it come true.
“Oh, you always talk in riddles. You’re saying that if I’m consumed by anger, you don’t know what will happen to me, right?”
In spite of the situation, Chiharu chuckled. Now, let’s think. She was mad at the people who did this to her. And mad at the people who would use the monsters in this way. Of course, they were likely the same person. The image of Norfe and Chouze by the lake suddenly appeared in Chiharu’s head.
Norfe had said horrible things to them in Midland, but in the lakeside villa, he had thought about his people, eaten oranges, and laughed. Chouze had been cold and looked down on the Saintesses and beast folk, and yet she had become obsessed with a merman. Could those two be involved in this?
No, surely not. But this was no time to search for the culprit. She had to think about what she could do now.
First, she would return the monsters who were in pain. The monsters swayed in the air with gratitude. And when Chiharu asked the ones who could wait to wait, she heard their affirmative replies.
Maki-chan and the others will come and save me. I just have to wait. But what can I do in the meantime?
“Alright, I’ll think about it while returning them to stone. Okay, line up and come to me.”
Thank you. She felt their relief as the gazers that filled up the room started to decrease in number. Once there were only about half of them left, she heard a noise coming from the wall near the hallway. Chiharu stopped what she was doing and looked. There was a glass window in the wall that allowed people to look in from the other side.
Chiharu couldn’t help but mutter.
Someone was on the other side and talking while they watched her. But she could not hear what they were saying. Eventually, a different window opened up in the wall near the floor.
A tray was pushed through. There was a steaming pot, a cup, some sweets and a light meal.
“I really am a prisoner.”
She could do nothing but laugh. It was the kind of treatment of prisoners that she had read in novels.
“That being said, the room is fancy and the food actually looks good. So perhaps it’s like being a princess being locked up in a tower.”
Well, except it was underground instead of a tower.
The window closed, and there were no signs of anything else happening. Chiharu had finished turning monsters into stones for the day.
“There’s no doubt that they’ll come to collect the stones. While I seem to be trapped in here completely, they’ll have to send people to clean and do other things. Besides, it seemed like the opening for the food was connected to the hallway.”
Chiharu counted all of the things that she had noticed.
“There must be something that I can do. I’m not some princess. I won’t give up!”
After making this declaration, the remaining monsters suddenly became restless.
“What is it?”
Someone is coming. Should we weaken them?
“No, no, don’t do that. But they only just left…”
Over there. The monsters directed her towards the iron bars and the wall that was on the other side of the door.
The wall screeched as it moved. It sounded like a door that had not been used for many, many years. And then a hole appeared. And the person who came out was…
“You! The orange girl!”
She had only just declared that she wasn’t some princess. And yet she did feel like a princess locked up in a tower, as there was a prince right in front of her now. Chiharu’s long day seemed like it would get even longer.
You can read up to Chapter 169(final chapter on Patreon)