Ten days have passed since that day, the day of my terrible betrayal.
The day that I conducted the hero-summoning under the divine orders of the Great Spirit. Just as the Great Spirit commanded, I offered the Beast-people that we had kept in stock as live sacrifices and the hero-summoning ritual succeeded.
However, the one who was summoned showed no sign of being able to reason, let alone any refinement.
Even though I would have obeyed the Great Spirit and let the summoned otherworlder* experience a short dream as a hero.
The scars on my back ache.
『I won’t obey you people.
These pieces of trash are warnings from me.
I will definitely treat you to even more than this.
I will take everything from you, so be prepared.
- from the Second Avenger』
My back, which was once praised by my female attendants as being like white porcelain, still has scars remaining from having these words burned and carved into it.
While healing magic can restore HP, it takes time to erase external wounds. The only ones on this vast continent able to use magic that can instantly heal everything are likely the archbishop-class individuals of the republic.
Even so, the healing magic being cast on me every day is having an effect, and the burns cut into my back are healing, little by little. Only faint marks are left now, and they’ll disappear cleanly in a few more days.
Of course, the pain has long since disappeared, but they throb every time I remember that man.
After that man left the room that day, the taut threads were cut and I lost consciousness, as if escaping from the pain. The knights stationed outside rescued us around midnight, and the next time we opened our eyes, we found ourselves in a private room of the royal castle.
Truly strong knights, including the captain of the Knights’ Order, have scars on their faces and bodies from that ordeal. There is no time to spare to remove those scars cleanly, and those scarred faces can even be used to intimidate enemies on the battlefield so we are deliberately leaving them like that. But it goes without saying that their appearance is now fiendish.
We had prepared just enough knights to put on airs so that the Hero, who does not know anything, would not feel overwhelmed. But now half of them are currently lying in a treatment facility.
Even though I received healing magic with the highest priority, it took a whole day to heal the burnt, inflamed interior of my mouth enough that I could manage to speak.
The knights had their limbs broken and bent in cruel ways, their faces were smashed and they were left in a state where their bodies barely survived.
The princess’s face became swollen from being punched; she had her hair dirtied and spread across the floor and words were burned and carved into her back like brands.
Though nobody knew the exact details of what happened and our behavior was clearly unnatural, the information regarding the criminal circulated too late.
A large number of knights surrounded the castle just in case, but it was concluded that he likely used a teleportation power rather than slipping out of the building. Not even basic inspections were conducted in the royal capital until I recovered enough to speak about the situation.
What that man took, saying something about it becoming his military funds, is the necklace that proves the wearer’s position as the first candidate to succeed the throne.
Since it bears the royal crest, it is not something that he can easily convert into gold. If he tries to sell it normally at a store, it will be possible to track him down. Even if he takes it outside the royal capital, it will not be impossible to chase him.
That necklace is something I inherited from my late Onee-sama. It is not something that a beast like him – no, anyone other than myself, should be touching.
「I will never forgive you...」(Alesia)
I will never forgive him. I will take the necklace back, cause that man so much pain that he begs me for mercy and then I will kill him.
This is what I have decided on, and I have had the knights gather relevant information to achieve this. But we did not find any notable clues for several days, so we had assumed that he might have already taken it outside the royal capital.
It was yesterday when we received a report that the necklace has been found by a certain nobleman.
The necklace will be returned to me in today’s first royal audience. There is a family of earls that is disliked in the royal capital because of their overbearing sense of justice, but I heard that they confiscated illegal goods that were being traded in the darker areas of the royal capital and the necklace had been mixed in among them.
「Princess-sama, it is almost time.」
「Yes, I know.」(Alesia)
Replying to the words of my attendant, I adjust my clothing one more time before heading to the audience chamber.
In the audience chamber, my father, the firm-figured King Logia Auraulea sits in the throne. Sitting next to him is my mother, Queen Lecilia Auraulea, whose beauty hasn’t faded at all despite being almost forty years of age.
I am sitting in a seat on the opposite side of them.
The nation’s Prime Minister, Lawbenz, is standing between Father and Mother while Guidot, the captain of the Knights’ Order, is standing between Father and myself.
「I will return this item to the royal family.」
A female attendant accepts the necklace from the nobleman in the prime years of his life that is kneeling before us on a pedestal, and then brings the pedestal this way.
Suppressing the urge to rush over and snatch up the necklace right away, I take the necklace from the attendant and place it around my neck.
And then I realize that my body has been overturned by the mana contained within the necklace. At that moment, a faint green light briefly covers my whole body and then disappears without a trace.
「■-■■■■! Are you alright?!」(King)
My father, the king, looks at me as he asks this question. But I was unable to hear the beginning of his sentence.
「Y-yes, Otou-sama, I am fine.」(Alesia)
As I check the state of my body, I do not feel any abnormalities to speak of.
「I see, but just what was that light? ... ■■■■■, ■■■■■, do you know something about it?」(King)
「■■■, ■■ is a mere knight; perhaps ■■ or ■■ may know something about it?」
「... No, it cannot be, this is...」(Prime Minister)
The nation’s Prime Minister lets out a whisper with a grim expression on his face.
But at this point, even I have realized what is happening to me.
「■■■, ■ am not a specialist either, so it cannot be said for certain, but... that magic light just now may have been a curse.」
「W-what, but there is nothing strange happening with ■■■■...」
「O-Otou-sama, your voices – no, words that identify people, I cannot hear them.」(Alesia)
「W-what? What do you mean?!」(King)
I can hear the words that they are speaking. But people’s names and pronouns are disappearing before they reach my ears.
Panicking, I try to remove the necklace, but it will not come undone.
「I-it will not come off; I cannot remove the necklace!」(Princess)
The anxiety at hearing the word “curse” and the feeling of not completely understanding what is happening rush through my mind.
From this point on, time passes in a chaotic fashion.
First, everyone in the castle who is knowledgeable about magic is gathered. However, the soldiers filling the castle have only learned spells for use in combat, so they do not have the ability to explain the theory behind what is happening.
We come to the conclusion that this is not a curse that needs to be purified by a priest, and something needs to be done about the necklace’s spell formula instead.
A sophisticated camouflage has been applied to the necklace, and apparently nobody other than those with specialized knowledge can do anything about it.
In the following days, people from the college town are invited here and research on how to deal with the curse continues.
「That is enough for today; I wish to be alone. Please leave.」(Alesia)
As I say this and I am left alone in my own room, I grind my teeth in frustration at this terrible situation.
As I am the heir to the throne, it is necessary for me to form as many connections with others as possible right now. Putting it more simply, I need to build a solid foundation for myself.
As this kingdom was founded by a woman, the nation does not avoid having a queen ruling it, but there is still a need for me to prove that I am worthy.
That is why I have had to participate actively in high society, but not only can I not hear people’s names right now, I cannot even hear the words “he”, “you”, “me” or “myself”.
This does not hinder me from living my normal life around the people that I know well, but it is more than a fatal obstacle for keeping up acquaintances in high society.
Even with exceptional individuals brought to the royal capital from the college town, it will take at least two months to remove this curse. And even if I am able to take this necklace off immediately after that, I cannot even imagine the repercussions of being delayed by two whole months.
「Fuh, this is not good. My thoughts are heading in a bad direction.」(Alesia)
Anyhow, I am tired.
I empty a cup of the warm milk inside, lightly adjust the sleeve of my sleep-wear and stand up from my chair.
As I slip into the bed that is made from the highest-quality monster fur, I immediately let my consciousness fade into the depths of sleep.
... With no knowledge of the sleepless nights that are about to begin.
「Kuh, this is not working; the healing magic is having no effect at all.」(Healer)
「I see... Damn it, when will the people from the college town get here?!」(King)
Late at night, someone capable of using healing magic has been hastily summoned to my room, and the king, my father, is here as well.
It has been three days since I put on the necklace, and I am suddenly assaulted by the truth that has been creeping up on me slowly.
The burns on my back that were supposed to be healing with each passing day are worsening instead.
As if the healing of the wounds is being reversed.
Pain runs through my back, as if someone is slowly burning me.
It is the exact same pain that I suffered from these burns that have taken multiple days to heal.
「Guuuh, ugh, haah, haaauh!」(Alesia)
The wounds have returned to a state where I can no longer sleep on my back.
It is the sensation of needles stabbing at my wounds.
As the necklace’s mana is covering the wounds on my back, radiating a faint light, it is clear that this is the necklace’s doing. But even if Father were to announce that, there is nobody who can do anything about it, and healing magic has no effect either.
The pain causes my sense of time to gradually become hazy.
Before I know it, Father and the healing-magic-user have disappeared from my room. No, perhaps I earnestly requested for them to leave.
My pride as a princess will not allow me to be seen in such a state by anyone.
「I will never... forgive him...」(Alesia)
Though there is no proof or anything, I have vaguely understand that this is the doing of that man.
That is why I will never say that it hurts; I will never ask for someone to save me. Instead, I bind the dark emotions caused by the pain with burnt chains, dying them blacker and blacker, into a pure black color.
I will definitely plunge the man who corrupted this necklace, the monster from another world pretending to be a human, into the depths despair.
「I will never... forgive... that man. I will definitely have my vengeance!」(Alesia)
The princess will chew on the emotions that have been stained black by the pain and spend the night savoring its flavor, making sure not to spill a single drop of it.
「Guh, kaaaaaah, higyih, ugh, AAAAAH!」(Alesia)
That is why I, the princess, will not sleep.