Chapter 52 – Disappearance and Explosion


I looked out through the window, wondering what was going to happen.

(Young lady, may I have some of your time?) Kajero suddenly asked me that through telepathy. Immediately after, he opened the conference room’s door and went inside it, (I talked to the dolls here in the fortress, and it seems like something strange is happening.)

“Did my brother do something?” I asked.

(That’s not the case… Though I can’t say for sure that he is not involved.

(Some of the dolls are missing.) Kajero replied.

“Aren’t they just lost children chasing butterflies?” I asked.

(If so, it would be a funny story.) Kajero gave a cynical shrug, then stared at me seriously, (Some dolls left this fortress and disappeared.)

“I wonder if it’s because I lost the doll magic…” I mused.

(I can’t say for sure, but it seems like all the disappeared dolls said the following.) Kajero said…

–Lady Altirea is calling from the other side of the mountain.

“It’s like a ghost story.” I muttered.

It may be summer, a good season for horror stories, and… Well, it would be really nice if this just ended as a scary story.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case at all.

After all, the dolls are already missing. A scary story with real harm is just a disaster.

“By the way, do you think that this is related to the fact you can’t get in touch with the ninja dolls in the Empire’s capital?” I asked.

(It’s possible, but we have too little information.) Kajero replied.

“Maybe the government forces are using a magic item, like the Philosopher Stone, to lure the spirits?” I wondered.

With how reckless the spirits can be, the dolls might have ended up being lured, then exhausted by philosopher stones… It’s not an entirely unreasonable theory.

(That possibility should be taken into account.

(Though maybe someone else is using the doll magic. The sage took it away from you, so giving it to a third party…

–It is definitely a real possibility.) Kajero mused.

“… A terrifying possibility.” I muttered.

The story just gets more and more horrifying…

The dolls escaped?

It is… hard for me to deal with that. Those children that called me ‘princess’ or ‘young lady’ are now looking at someone else?

Imagining that feels… Lonely. Painful even.

It’s like someone took my precious toy as if it was their own.

Or more like… As if I was robbed of my best friends and family.

Even if we were separated for years, the dolls in the Wisp territory are definitely my important children.

Had I returned here earlier… Would I have been able to stop them from being robbed?

While I thought about that, I put my hand on my temples and sighed.

(Young lady, do you have a headache?) Kajero asked me.

“Ah, yeah, but it’s fine… Though I wonder why I’m having so many headaches.” I replied.

(Since this case with Solute started, the number of headaches has definitely increased. Why don’t you take a day off for today?) Kajero suggested.

“But I need to find out what is making the dolls disappear.” I told him.

(Leave that to me.) He stated.

“I also need to resupply the magic of the exhausted dolls though…” I said.

(Please take care of yourself first.

(I know I was the one that made the report that made you uneasy, young lady, but please…) Kajero asked me.

He was being unprecedentedly stubborn. Refusing to make any concession whatsoever.

His usual obedience was nowhere to be seen, but…

–Kajero is not just a doll.

He doesn’t simply move according to my will. He has his own feelings and cares for me.

Those feelings have been painfully transmitted, so… “I am pretty tired from the travel, so I guess I’ll sleep early today.” I decided to accept his suggestion, “However, Tourus said he’ll do something outside, so I think I should at least see it first.”

(Lord Tourus will?) Kajero asked.

“Yes, I don’t know the details, but–” As I said that, I stared out the window.

The rain was falling continuously. The sky was enclosed by black clouds, with lightning falling often.

And after a small wait…

–A roaring explosion.

The earth shook the fortress violently. The wind blew strongly, and raindrops fell into the conference room.

“Kya!?” I couldn’t help explaining as I held my ears with my hands… Did lightning fall nearby?

No, that can’t be it. Lightning doesn’t cause an earthquake nor gusts of wind.

While wondering what had happened, I looked out again and–

“A lie… Just… What is this…?” I doubted my eyes. The sight in front of me was unbelievable.

A big hole appeared in Mount Delil. Right in front of the fortress…

Was it made with gunpowder or flame magic? Black smoke is rising from its edges… Could it be a tunnel, perhaps? Did the government forces dig a tunnel through the Delil mountains during this past week?

More important than that though…

–What jumped out of that hole were not imperial soldiers.


They were dolls.

The ninja dolls that couldn’t be contacted and… Not just them. Knights, maids, demons, angels, bears, turtles, snails, fire trucks, tanks, giant monsters–

A very miscellaneous arrangement of dolls.

They moved out of that tunnel… Some familiar children were mixed in there. They must be the missing dolls that Kajero told me about.

But them aside, over 90% of the dolls were unfamiliar to me… But I can sense spirits in all of them.

I should be the only one with doll magic. All dolls that move with doll magic were definitely made by me.

But right now… Dolls that I didn’t know were moving as if they were alive.

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