Saturday, June 20, 2015

Volume 3 - Chapter 9 - The Circumstances of the 1st Princess

Previously on EC…

The quartet went tunnel hunting and succeeded, allowing Dosnak to scout the interior in his slime form. The group also attacked a camp in the middle of the night, forcing them to run into the defenders at the underground entrance, setting off a domino effect in which the different camps set off to do battle. After their success, Bell volunteered to act as bait and entered from the front entrance alone, causing chaos as the defenders tries to chase her down while the others tries to rush in lest they miss their chance. After exploding the small hole they used for the slime scouting, Bell redirected the debris from below, keeping the new tunnel clear. As Rick and Till emerge from the dust, the youth exclaims at the female elf leading the group of guards that’s confronting them.


All eyes turns toward the middle-age woman, causing her to take a step back unconsciously. Her eyes narrowing while readying her sword. “Do I know you?”

“‘Do I know you?’? GOD DAMN IT, WE WENT THROUGH HELL CAUSE OF YOU!” Rick drops his arms and clench his fists, shouting at the bewildered figured in front of him. “If it wasn’t for you, the kids wouldn’t have to go through that shit, Till wouldn’t have to snap, I wouldn’t have to… UURRAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH” The youth screams unintelligibly in anger, at the top of his lungs, causing loose earth and grovel to drop from the corridor and hole above.

Bell is still recovering from her ringing, but most of his speech got through, surprising her greatly. The Rick she knows in the past has always been a selfish brat that just loves to joke around and take things easy, laze away when he can get away with it, and have an easygoing take on things. The fact that he actually cares about the so-called NPC students and noticed Till’s abnormality to be that angry about it shows that he has changed. Of course, he has changed quite a long time ago, but as their interaction is merely limited to «Second Phantasia», even though she noticed some minor changes a while back, she never realized the extent of it.

The woman and the guards flinch, their weapons wavering, with doubt filling their eyes. The guards alternately look at their leader and the seething youth in front of them.


The felinoid shakes her head once more, walking past the stunned Till and softly patting Rick on the shoulder. “Calm down first, we still have to save the Princess, otherwise everything would be for naught.” Walking in front of the shaking youth, she opens the quest panel just to be sure as that’s the only way to identify the quest giver in this case. She’s slightly surprised that Rick had it opened the entire time, but that’s short-lived as she realized Rick is no longer the naive and stupid youth she knew. Her gaze shifts from the panel and toward the woman, her gaze and voice turning icy. “You were the one that requested the rescue of the First Princess, no?”

“I did no su-”
“You requested it from a god.” The felinoid’s eyes narrows into a slit.

The woman starts, trembling slightly, the guards look at their leader questioningly. Although it’s known that a god had offered a quest in rescuing the First Princess in Lilyheim, no one would know that it’s a request someone else petitioned to said god. To have identified her in a glance, she can only think of two possibilities, either that the god is watching, or that they are the emissaries of the god.

“I apologize, your Lordships.” The elf sheaths her sword, gets on one knee and offers a salute with her hands cupped.

The guards become flustered as they back off slightly, unsure of what’s happening, their grips on their weapons becoming tighter.

“Stand down!” The woman shouts as she retrieves a dagger from her belt and slashes the bottom of her left palm before holding it up for the guards to see. “I’m not charmed, I will escort them to the Princess. Stand guard at the other corridor and make sure no one gets past!” The guards hesitate for a mere moment before quickly coming back to themselves, forming a seemingly impenetrable wall in the only remaining corridor connecting their section of the fort.

In order to become the Princess’s Imperial Guards, there are three requirements: First is being a female that never bore children. Second is having both martial and arcane prowess within the top 2% of any of the military branches. Lastly, mental fortitude that can withstand any situation, follow orders and think on their feet. As such, they are able to carry out their order even within this strange situation.

“Guide us to the Princess.” Bell walks casually toward the woman, hinting at their urgency.

“Kun-ni, we are safe, please standby~” Till sends a message before dropping her right hand.


A damp, gentle breeze blows within the tunnel, removing dust and dirt from both Bell and Rick.

“This way please.” The elf arches her brows at the casual display of power before leading them deeper into the corridor.

The four of them walk silently, the elf has a million and one questions for them, but forcefully holds back her tongue lest she somehow offends them.

*kon kon*

“Milady, these Holy Emissaries are here to see you.” The elf carefully opens up the door and urges them inside. A stiflingly dry and hot gust of air escapes from the door. The elf ushers the group in quickly and then closes the door in a flash.

The room is dark save for the two braziers that are burning brightly, placed at the two ends of a bed. The bed itself is covered by a satin canopy, with the sides draped with layers of silk. Next to the braziers are two female attendants who are carefully controlling the flame while another attendant stands right next to the bed. Aside from the piles of herbs and firewood, there’s little else of note inside the room.


The attendant next to the bed reacts immediately to the sound from within, quickly entering the curtains of silk and gently raising a shadow from the bed.

“Wel… come…” A soft, gentle, voice greets them, the syllables sound like two bells chiming.

“Conserve your strength~ just nod for yes, shake for no, or you can squeeze your attendant’s hand to relay your answers~” Till interjects herself before the Princess can finish the rest of her sentence. Causing all eyes to turn to her. “Explain the situation to us, concisely.” The young girl turns toward the woman that led them in, expectantly.

The elf stares blankly at the young girl’s commanding tone, contrasting sharply with her instructions to the Princess. Normally, such disrespectful manners would normally be rebuked, but this is not a normal situation nor does the young girl seem to be normal in the woman’s eyes. “Milady was poisoned while on tour about half a year ago by someone who we thought was our ally. As a result, her deteriorated health weakened further, nary a day she didn’t struggle through pain. Now she doesn’t have the strength to walk due to fatigue and pain, and struggles to even grace us with her speech.” The woman pauses, turning to the shadow hidden in the curtains, who in turn nods.

“Then there’s no need to ask for a god’s intervention. Can’t you just get the antidote?” Rick tilts his head.

Bell corrects him as soon as he finishes his sentence. “Them asking for god means there’s either no known antidote or that it doesn’t work.” To which an “Oh” came as an answer.

“Then I don’t think we can help them, I mean, we didn’t even know about that Ni-… ni-… that whatever spider that bit Till.”

“Let’s listen to the rest of the situation first.”

The woman’s face drops overhearing the exchange, the shadow behind the curtains also seems to slump slightly.

“By happenstance, my esteemed colleague and fellow Knight, who follows the Noble by appointment, discovered the plot and brought the knave to justice by means of subjugation and execution. Alas it was too late, the poison was set in Milady’s meal the night before and struck her the following day. The Noble twas a greedy fellow, trying to embezzle funds and advance by both crook and hook, and naked flattery, unbecoming of a Baron. Assured as he was of his exposure, he plotted to poison Milady and incur accusation against a man of the Republic faction, hoping to escape his crime and reap the reward of his scheme most foul.”

The shadow’s head moves vertically ever so slightly to affirm the story.

“Thus, it led us to seek the truth evermore. Sadly, the knave was merely the paper puppet. Scurrying beneath the cloth, the villain moves his sticks.” The woman pauses for a bit. “If thy God and Master refuses to grace us with his powers and rend the path of our destiny, we beseech his Eyes and Ears to bear witness to the blaze of glory as the last burst of our candlelight and relay the Truth to mine King and Queen.”

[T/N: Referring to as 紙影絵, that last kanji tripped me up since it’s so rarely used that I mistaken it for something else >.>]

“Blaze of glory?” Bell’s eyes narrow as she understands where this is going.

“Wait, wait, wait. Can you do me a favour and speak normally?” The youth forcefully blinks his eyes and shakes his head. “You are giving me a headache with the way you are speaking.” Both Bell and Till rubs their temples to alleviate their forming headaches, dismayed at Rick’s lack of ability to read the mood.

“As- as you wish.” The woman, mistakenly thinking that the other two were agreeing, stutters a bit as she switches from her highly formal manner of speech into something more casual, unsure if she annoyed the three of them by chance.

“Before that, let us see if there’s anything we can do to help her.” Bell moves toward the bed casually, brushing the curtains aside. She looks at the frail looking Princess’s exposed face and arms, observing her closely.

“How… how dare you?!” The attendant that’s holding up the Princess rebukes sharply and angrily, reaching for the dagger strapped to her thigh.

“St… Stop. Let… them…” The beautiful voice appears softly before fading into the air.

“But th-”

“Are you deaf?!” The leader of the guards questions the attendant with an extremely icy voice. She thinks she had already offended the trio with her manner of speech earlier, she don’t intend to agitate them further.

“No ma’am.” The attendant stands down, lowering her head as she carefully maintains her support of the Princess’ back.

Rick and Till move forward as well, walking past the silk curtains. A blast of herbal scent temporarily causes them to close their eyes and shake their heads. After settling down, they too take a closer look at the Princess. The Princess’ skin is ghastly pale with open sores here and there, her lips are a pale purple, her eyes sunken from fatigue, even with her horrible condition, she still has a certain form of natural grace unique to youthful beauties that are in the prime of their life. On closer inspection, there are bumps and scabs on her elfin ears, her joints are red and swollen, contrasting greatly with her pale skin. It wouldn’t surprise them if the rest of her body is the same underneath the satin blanket covering her.

“What have you been treating her with and why?” Bell is the first to finish her observation and asks the attendant.

“None of the best Royal Apothecarists nor Briar Mages we had in our employ knew how to further treat the poison aside from the initial stages, so we were limited in our options lest we further harm Her Highness. The symptoms are fever, chills, growths on her skins, swelling of the joints, pain throughout her body and random rampaging of her mana. Dry, warm air seems to alleviate her pain somewhat, as does scents that soothes the mind and body. We have to control the heat very carefully to make sure that it doesn’t affect Her Highness as badly should a fever strikes. As for her mana, we limit its flow to keep it from leaking and going wild.” One of the other attendants tending the brazier answers instead.

“Hm~ ‘her deteriorated health weakened further’ was what you said, right?” Till looks toward the leader of the guard. “So she was ill before?”

The elf nods. “She had a weak constitution since she was young. We managed to keep her somewhat well by feeding her nutritious food and numerous supplements in controlled dosages, it was adequate prior to the poisoning, but it no longer seems to be effective.”

All three of them remain silent as they try to think of a solution. Bell has broad knowledge in any and all fields that tickles her fancy, of which medicine is one. Till was in a hospital for quite a few years of her life, so she has both first hand experience as well as daily references that she can draw on. Rick has little to no knowledge of medicine aside from sport injuries and diseases that his family had to suffer. Although they can’t be counted as experts, something is nagging at them.

“Endocrine diseases?”
“Chronic poisoning?”

Various diseases and ideas gets muttered softly before being thrown out. They can’t even be sure if they share the same biology, or if the system even replicates it faithfully, it could just be a part of a scenario for all they know. The frowns are obvious on their faces as the minutes trail by.

“It… too… late…” The teenage girl on the bed smiles weakly, reaching for something in her sleeves. An envelope and an azure medallion appears from within the folds, struggling to lift her hands up, she places them into Bell’s paw.

“What’s this for?” The felinoid looks at the items in her hand.

“Please relay the letter and the medallion to the King and Queen after our last work is accomplished. The letter will explain the situation to Their Majesties after our deaths, the Azure Mist Moondrop Orchid Medallion will be the proof of authenticity when you tell them ‘Red Tear Raindrop Camellia’ as the message.”

[T/N: Respectively 青い霞月露蘭記章 for Azure Mist Moondrop Orchid Medallion and 赤い涙雨水椿 for Red Tear Raindrop Camellia. 青(Ao) can be either green or blue, so I went fuck it and went with Azure. It could be Azure Mist or Azure Fog or even Azure Haze, I just went with Mist. As for Moondrop, it could be moondew, but in english, they are referring to the same thing, since raindrop appeared in the second part, I chose moondrop to somewhat preserve the poetry/symbolism of it. The flowers have meaning, cause god damn Zinnia alone wasn’t enough, now there’s Orchid and Camellia! Orchid means something along the line of “something rare and precious” or “in the process of perfection” while Camellia has the meaning of “love/longing” as well as “regret/death” for warriors. I’m not sure which one applies :P.]

“What… are you people planning to do?”

“We will rally all the Royalists along with the immoral Immortals to stage a rebellion to completely wipe out the Republicans. In the midst of it, we will make sure that our side will lose horribly and hopefully get annihilated instead.”

Bell and Till both look at the woman in disbelief.

“Why… why would you go so far…?”

“My… sister… hope… kingdom…”

The woman tightens her lips into a thin line before clarifying. “The 3rd Princess had been correct in her assessment on the decline of the Kingdom. We only realized too late that the Nobles supporting the Monarchy are only interested in their personal gain while the country suffers. It wouldn’t be too surprising if they’d help another country to carve up the Kingdom should we be invaded. On the other hand, the Republicans are trying to move more powers into the hands of the people while keeping Their Majesties intact. To ensure a better future, we need to take out the poisonous weeds by the root.”

With her dying breaths, the 1st Princess is still looking out for the future of her kingdom. She could have easily taken her own life or willingly succumbed to the disease to end her suffering. Yet, she endured, for the sake of her people. The heartfelt sincerity and love in her action speaks louder than any words, ignoring the fact that she can barely speak. It would be strange for either Bell or Till to not feel their heartstrings tugged, without saying a word, they both already accepted the request in their heart.

*dun dun*

With a dull notification, they see their quest filled with question marks replaced with the one that’s just been asked of them.



Rick grabs the Princess’ blanket and throws it to the side, revealing her white legs underneath. Everyone save for the Princess lets out vague sounds of disbelief, staring at him. Without a word, he goes on one knee and grabs the Princess’ bare left foot, staring intently.

“You damn pervert, this isn’t the time for your god damn fetish!” Bell flexes her fingers with an audible *kiku* as she makes a fist. Unexpectedly, Till presses the felinoid’s arm down.


The three attendants each pull out their daggers, one resting on the back of his neck, one next to his liver, the final one resting between the fingers of the attendant behind the Princess, ready to be flicked into his face. Yet, the youth’s concentration didn’t break as if he doesn’t realize the situation he is in.

“Huh? What the, seriously?” He rotates the ankle ever so slightly, taking a closer look at the joint before the big toe. “Hey, could this possibly be something like Gout?” Rick gently places the left foot down onto the bed before reaching for the right foot. “Eh…?” “EH?! Umm… what happened?!” He ceases all movements as a blade is pressed onto his skin, drawing a thin line of blood on his neck.


Bell and Till exclaim at the same time, information being dug out from the recesses of their respective minds. As doubts clear and a more complete picture appears, they both connect to their external browsers to look for more information. They both knew the superficial information, but they need to be sure.

Seeing the sudden frantic activities, the attendants look at each other in doubt, before looking back at the stiffened youth on one knee. The elf woman’s eyes flash sternly, sending chills down their spines. Although they don’t know what ‘Gout’ is, it’s obvious something that’s known to the trio. Should the youth really identify the cause and possibly the cure, they would have committed a crime against their saviour. Realizing this, the attendants withdraw, allowing Rick to collapse onto the floor.

“You, ‘nutritious food and supplements’ right? So lots of meat and suchlike?”

“W-We also balanced it out with fruits and vegetables of course.” The attendant behind the princess stutters, displeased with being called ‘you’.

“What about the supplements?”

“Herbal tonics for fortifying the body as well as nourishing soups from land and water.”

“Tonics~? As in alcohol~?”

The two girls of very different age are rapidly moving their fingers in thin air, startling the others. One question after another gets asked, each more specific than the previous. Hope starts to appears in the non-users’ eyes, they were resigned to their fate… but what if…? What if there really is a cure? They don’t dare to hope, as it would be extremely cruel to their Mistress if it proves to be a fool’s errand. Nevertheless, they faithfully answer every question that’s asked of them, down to the meals prior to their Mistress’ poisoning.

“A lot of things matches up, but it still doesn’t explain some of the other symptoms.” The felinoid furrows her brows at the screen only visible to her.

“Can’t we deal with the Gout first~?”

“She’s very weakened already, can we even hope to do any of the treatments though?”

“Right~ and Gout isn’t a fatal disease as far as I know-~”

“Then could it be Mana Gout or something?” Rick finally speaks up after being quiet for a long time, half terrified and half awkward as the leader of the guard treats his wound.

“You moron, pay attention god damn it! She was poisoned or didn’t-” … “oh son offa-” The felinoid immediately presses her right ear. “Kun! Get down here ASAP, we need you!” She turns to Till who is already rushing out the door, leaving everyone else in a daze. “You! Get us something to write or draw with.” Bell orders one of the attendants, who is still staring with a blank expression.

“Go! Quickly!” The guard leader bellows, causing the woman to run out the door. “What… what’s going on?”

“That kid there is either the biggest moron or her luckiest star. It’s possible that she isn’t poi-”


The door opens in a rough fashion, revealing Kun and Till.

“-tiple ways of draining the mana gradually~ Is that possible~?”

“I am… not sure, I will try to think of something.” Kun gives the non-users a nod as a greeting before closing his eyes, his brows steeped in concentration.

The attendants, guard and Princess alike are too confused and stunned by the rapid developments to respond. Bell, Rick, and Till move themselves to one side, as the two girls wait impatiently for the writing tools. The non-users can only tensely swallow their saliva. They were curious as to who this young man is and what he’s doing, but they are afraid of breaking his concentration since the felinoid called for him with such urgency.

Time feels distorted in the stone chamber as seconds feels like hours. Everyone save the Princess fidgets restlessly as they shift their gaze from Kun and the door.

“Got it!” Kun opens his eyes in a snap just as the attendant comes rushing in the door.


  1. Noooo a mystery being a mystery.

  2. Thanks for the chapter and the cliffhanger.

  3. Damned Cliffhanger.
    Well, you have my thanks either way.

  4. Okay, I thought it was strange when they mentioned nutritional supplements and food, but Gout....

    Is there even a way to observe microscopic crystals or tiny concentrations of mana to confirm if it's mana gout?

  5. My goodness. The first four chapters or so, I was on the fence...but now I'm truly enjoying EC. I'm looking forward to more! Keep up the good work.


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