Dolls

Chapter 59 – A name I didn’t expect to hear

 

From here to capital Medea, we’d normally have to spend a lot of time crossing the mountains, but… Fortunately, there was a tunnel available this time around. One that was dug by Altirea’s dolls.

We passed through it and moved south. Our group consisted of Tourus, the knights of the Wisp family, Kajero, Weisster, Phillka, Feria, Fromos, the doll knights and myself.

It was a big group, but as the tunnel was quite wide, our carriages could move side by side.

The trip was being mostly uneventful, and I was quite tired from everything that happened yesterday, so before I realized it, I fell asleep on my seat.

By the time I woke up, we were already outside the tunnel. The sky had an orange tinge to it, as the sun was setting behind the mountains.

We had departed at dawn, but capital Medea was already near us… Due to this huge shortcut, we ended up making this long trip in just half a day.

And also, “It’s quiet…” I muttered. Things seemed to be off.

The empire’s army should have tried to intercept us, but no attack came. We were able to smoothly reach the walls of the capital.

But once we saw the soldiers protecting the gate, we understood what was happening… They were all silent. They did not move, they just looked up to the sky, with empty eyes.

The words ‘mindless slave doll’ suit them well… I suppose they must be victims of that Altirea?

Things were similar within the city. The people all looked lifeless, and they wandered around like zombies.

“This is too creepy…” Fromos muttered. He was shivering at this sight.

However, even in this state, he was still walking ahead of the group, watching the surroundings–

“Eh!?” I exclaimed, as the carriage suddenly stopped.

“Whoa!?” Phillka, who was sitting to my diagonally left to me, was thrown forward by the sudden stop.

“Ah, you okay?” Brother Tourus, who was sitting next to me, asked Phillka as he caught him.

“Yes… And sorry.” Phillka muttered.

(I’ll go outside for a bit. I have a bad feeling about this…) Kajero left my lap and went out.

“I’ll go too, Alty. Don’t let go of Weisster.” Feria too went out to check on things.

(Princess, please be ready to escape as needed.) Weisster told me as I held his handle, (At first I was just weirded out, but now… I feel like we’re already in a battlefield.)

I want this to stop.

I’ve been going through some pretty rough situations recently, but I’m not a fighter… I’m just a 10 years old duke daughter, okay?

Once everything is cleared up… I wanna return to a peaceful life soon.

I’ve been so busy since I regained the memories of my previous life, but I’d rather be doing things that fit my age…

–And yet, when I looked outside the window, it was snowing.

“Eh?” I was puzzled… We’re in the middle of autumn. It’s far too early for the capital to be dyed white.

(Oh, come on!) Weisster exclaimed.

“What’s wrong, Weisster!?” I asked.

(It’s a sign! A sign!) Weisster replied.

“Whose!?” I couldn’t help asking.

(It’s snow! It can only be from that stupid Christophe–) Weisster told me.

“Alty!” Before I could even process what I just hear, I heard my brother shout.

Then, I was lifted up, and flew through the air, being carried by Tourus.

We landed after a brief period that felt like we were floating.

“Sorry for being so sudden.” He told me.

“It’s okay, what happened?” I asked.

“Well–” As he started replying–

A loud sound echoed.

“What the…?” I couldn’t help muttering.

For the carriage we were riding until just a second ago was crushed by a huge icicle.

(Princess, get ready. I’ll be your lifeline.) As Weisster said that, he pulled himself out of the scabbard. I was now holding him with completely unprepared hands.

And the snowstorm gained momentum. Our surroundings became light grey and… It was cold.

And from afar… A thin, tall figure, slowly approached us.

His steps flowed gracefully. Like a moving piece of art.

His pale skin made him look almost unhealthy, but there isn’t any word to describe him other than a beauty.

“… Earl.” I muttered.

Christophe du Vergennes… The Wandering Earl.

His expression was nothing like the usual soft smile he had when talking to me. His eyes were also hollow, giving off the impression of a parent that was sleepwalking.

“The future me also left behind a crazy souvenir…” I muttered.

The Earl had infiltrated the capital before us, so… He probably encountered the other Altirea here and became her slave doll.

“Found you…” The Earl muttered with a voice who lacked any emotion or intonation, “Altirea, for Ruthe’s sake, you shall leave this stage.”

I doubted my ears as I heard those words.

Ruthe?

Ruthe Claves…?

The heroine of Rune Knight Concerto? The artificial life created by Altirea?

In this world, I am Altirea…

–And I did not create Ruthe.

Therefore, she does not exist, and the Earl should not know her name.

Then why…?

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