Episode 447 – The Priestess of Avalon
The 23rd day of the Dark Moon month.
Nell had already returned safely to Avalon, but her condition was as bad as ever. The people of Avalon cannot help but feel concern for her body and soul when they see Nell’s lifeless, fragile, and morbidly beautiful figure.
In particular, her own father, Milliardo Julius Elrod, the King of Avalon, shed tears of grief at the way his daughter had changed so much. But even as she watched her father weeping profusely, Nell’s eyes did not show any human emotion.
This tragic reunion took place on the 17th, almost a week ago.
From then until this day, Nell’s father, concerned for her well-being, arranged for her to enter a quiet life of recuperation deep within the royal palace.
However, today, the 23rd, Nell was not in her warm, soft bed, but walking alone under the winter sun in the vast, atmospheric, snowy gardens of the Royal Castle of Avalon.
This was no morning stroll. Since her return to Avalon, Nell has been as motionless as a very sick person. Not once has she voluntarily gone out.
What she is here for is because of her father, King Milliardo order.
“Nell… Go and see the Priestess of the Shrine of Fire. I’m sure she’ll be able to hear your problems and help you solve them.”
My father had already heard that my illness was psychological in nature. That’s why he gave me this advice.
King Milliardo was not foolish enough to think that he could solve the problems of a girl her age. It was a wise decision to choose a Priestess from the Shrine of Fire in the Temple of Pandora in Avalon, who had been a friend of Nell’s since she was a child, as her advisor, rather than a doctor or a mage.
In fact, even though her expression was as expressionless as ever, Nell gave her approval and walked out, which showed how much she trusted and expected from her. Or was it just a matter of calculating that it would be less troublesome to follow this order quietly?
Either way, this was how Nell had come to see the Priestess.
“… will not change.”
The “Shrine of Fire” is located at the end of a small forest in the royal garden.
Looking at the strange symbolic object that looked like a gate, but had no door, roof, or walls, Nell murmured with a bit of emotion in her voice.
The bright red vermillion lacquered pillars look particularly vivid in this white snowy landscape. The two pillars sticking out of the ground, with a single pillar connecting them, like the skeleton of a gate, is simple, yet somehow mysterious.
Like a gate, Nell reminded herself, but in fact, this was a gate. She had told me that a long time ago. Yes, I’m pretty sure this is a–
“It’s called a torii, which means ‘a bird is here. This is the gate to the sanctuary.” (TN: Japanese Torii Gate)
Nell went straight under the torii gate. Of course, there was no change in the surrounding scenery, no transformation into the magnificent world of the gods depicted in the painting.
This torii gate was nothing more than a religious object. There was not even a single magic formula engraved on the outside or inside of the red pillar, so there was no way that any magical or mystical changes could take place.
Just ahead of me was a stone staircase. They are not very solidly built, nor do they have a well-calculated, precise shape. It was a crude stone staircase made of rough-hewn stones.
This is a small mountain, or should I call it a hill? The terrain is one step higher than the surrounding area. It’s not so high that I would bother to write “elevation,” but even so, climbing up these stone steps makes you feel as if you have come to a height that is somehow isolated from the outside world.
Well, in that sense, this may indeed be a sacred place. As Nell climbed the stone steps with a light step, she suddenly thought of such a thing.
“It’s been a long time, Nell.”
As soon as my feet left the last stairs and I reached the top, I heard a voice call out to me.
Her tone was that of an old man in retirement, but her voice sounded very young.
“… It’s been a long time, Lady Bell.”
It was an unexpected greeting, but Nell was not particularly surprised. I remembered that she had always been waiting for me here, even if I hadn’t told her that I was coming.
And in front of Nell’s gaze was the same Priestess she had greeted a year ago when she was on her way to study abroad in Sparda, and the same Priestess she had met for the first time as a young child, looking exactly the same.
“Well, it looks like you’ve grown a bit again. Your height, magic power, hmmm, and breasts are also quite large. …After all, people grow up so fast.
It was a young girl who giggled like a child, but smiled like an old man looking at his grandchild.
She has lustrous black hair and sparkling crimson eyes – black hair and red eyes. However, she is not a member of the Elrod royal family. No, to begin with, she is not a person, and therefore has nothing to do with the bloodline of the Demon King.
Her waist-length black hair flowed silently in the gentle winter breeze, and her crinkly, winsome red eyes stared straight at the Princess of Avalon. She has a lovely appearance, as if she were a first-class work of art in the form of an angel, but at first glance, she seems to be nothing more than a child.
However, the atmosphere she wore had the dignity of the Chief Priestess in charge of Pandora’s Great Temple.
Yet, her attire was somewhat different from the white vestments worn by priests.
The upper garment is the same pure white, but it is made in such a way that the left and right sides are worn together like a gown. The most distinctive feature of the outfit is the hakama, which, like the torii, is a brilliant shade of crimson. Of the countless Pandora temples scattered around the country, only the one working at the Shrine of Fire would wear this loose-fitting outfit, which looked like a combination of pants and a long skirt.
This white upper garment and red hakama are called “Miko-fuku” by her and the people of Avalon Castle. It is said to be a venerable costume that has been handed down since the time of the gods, even further back than ancient times.
(TN: Miko-fuku is basically the costume or dress of the priestess in Japan. The red and white are the same as well.)
Such a girl in a Priestess outfit. Yes, this little girl is the one who has been given the sacred and inviolable responsibility of being a Priestess at the Temple of Fire, an ancient ruin in the Royal Castle of Avalon, for 250 years.
Her name is Bell Rosen.
The royal family of Avalon and a few of their senior officials, who know of her existence, call her “Priestess-sama” with respect. The children of the royal family, including Nell, call her “Lady Bell” in a friendly manner.
” Why don’t we go to the main hall and talk instead of standing out here in this cold weather? You’ll find hot tea and the potatoes I got from Fauren a while ago there.”
“No, don’t mind me. I don’t intend to stay long.”
Nell refused the smiling Priestess’s invitation with the same dark, impassive expression.
However, as is the way of old, Bell did not seem offended at all, but rather looked back at Nell with an ever deepening smile.
“Well, that’s not very nice.”
“I’m sorry. I’m a little under the weather.”
“Well, well. That Nell is a liar now! It was a good decision to send her to study abroad in Sparda after all.”
I’m not sure what’s so funny about that. I didn’t want or need to make any more excuses. Even when Nell was called a lair she didn’t move.
“But you do seem to be ill.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it.”
“I’m not worried about you. I am worried about Millardo. He was quite distressed. Elrod bloodline, perhaps.
A slightly nasty smile appeared on Bell’s face. Her appearance was that of a child plotting a prank.
“It’s no wonder you’re all so unaware of your illness, let me take care of you.”
“No, I am not sick.”
“No, you are indeed suffering from it. No, you’re certainly suffering from it, and it’s quite serious.”
“I think you’re making a …mistake.”
“Hmmm, there is no mistake in my diagnosis. Nell, if you are so stubborn in your denial, then I dare to pronounce it.”
“… What is it?”
In spite of such a cold reaction, Bell smiled fearlessly and said with full confidence.
“Oh, I’m sad that the man I fell in love with was separated from me in battle… and I’m returning home with a broken heart.” (Bell)
For a second, two seconds, three seconds, Nell stared at the smug face of Bell, who had an expression saying, “Right?”
“What … eh … eh?”
A crazed scream echoed through the surrounding.
Nell’s pale face, drained of blood, turned red in an instant. Not only were her cheeks red, but even her ears were red.
Her eyes were wide open, showing her astonishment and agitation. The blue eyes were not cloudy at all. They were clearer and bluer than today’s blue sky, and their sparkling brilliance had suddenly returned.
Nell, who wore a mask of gloomy expressionlessness as if she had lost her emotions, now writhed fiercely in the flames of shame at a single word from Bell.
“No, no ! No, it’s not, it’s really not!”
She was flapping her hands and wings. Instead of wanting to dig a hole and hide in it, she felt like using this momentum to fly into the sky like a dragon.
How much credence can be given to the high-pitched screams of denial? It was highly doubtful, but Nell continued her explanation in a panic.
“I just… Kurono-kun… that”
“So, this Kurono is your lover, huh. Is he so handsome that he can make Nell fall in love with him?”
“Kurono-kun is not just handsome. Certainly, he is always dignified and very cool, but he is also cute when he laughs. …Ehe, he is also really kind..”
“It’s too late for her.”
In front of Nell who was finally showing some emotions again, Bell writhed in itchiness. Why did I let it go until it was this bad?
“She has been in love with him for a while now, but she is not aware of it. Hmm, is this because of the dullness in her blood?…”
Bell mumbled to herself as she looked at Nell, who blushed but seemed happy as she talked about how Kurono was a wonderful man, even though Bell hadn’t even asked her about him.
How can you be so crazy and deny that you’re not?
“Very well. Nell, this mistress will listen to you, so why don’t we go up to the Main Shrine first. You’ll catch a cold if you sit here and talk for too long.”
“Oh, yes, that’s right. …I’m sorry to bother you then, Lady Bell.”
And so, this time, Nell accepted the invitation.
“Well, I look forward to hearing your love story.”
“Oh, my God! That’s not what I meant, Lady Bell!”
Nell’s cheerful voice echoed across the snowy grounds and into the garden.
Avalon was at peace today as well.
Nell has never used any kind of words like “like” or “love” to Kurono even in the monologue. If you reread the story from Nell’s point of view, I think you can confirm that she is not aware of her love for him. It’s not an afterthought!