The Captive Princess
Louise quickly responded while staring at the other person. Although the demon did not show that he was angry when he heard Louise’s reply or any expression in particular, he looked down at her and said.
“Whatever. There’s enough time. Once you realize that no help will arrive, you have no choice but to accept me.”
“No matter how long the time would pass, I will never accept you. No matter how many times you will come, my answer is still the same.”
Louise said in a harsh tone but the demon did not reply, just said, “I’ll come again,” and disappeared from the spot.
While sitting on a chair, Louise stared at the spot where the man was with bright green eyes for a while, but knowing that the man will not come back, her whole body was drained with strength and she let out a trembling sigh. But as soon as her tension loosed, those that were suppressed by her willpower appeared on her mind. Both the hands on her knees started trembling.
What Louise was suppressing was―her fear of the demon. She cannot show him her weaknesses as a princess so she was fortunate that she doesn’t have to feign such emotions everyday, and exposing her disgraceful behavior in front of the demon is thus avoided. However, her fear never disappeared.
If only that man appeared like a simple human. Then Louise would not have felt so much fear. However, the man is the most powerful among the humanoid demons―the demon is also the king. In front of that person with overwhelming magical powers, she would feel fear that would break her pride into pieces. Just now, she felt it just by thinking about it.
The Demon King abducted her from the castle of Schwarze and locked her in this high tower room. Everyday, he would come to meet and ask her to be his but he has never hurt her. That’s why after one month of being locked up in this place, she was almost accustomed to this.
However, Louise’s human instinct never forgot to fear the Demon King. Humans are instinctively terrified of demons, since demons are born to be hated by humans. He was the king of a different race that was in conflict with humans for hundreds of years―perhaps it was an instinct that has been cultivated against the Demon King who can be said to be the synonym of fear.
The man’s appearance also induces her fear. The Demon King who appeared in the “Hero’s Tales”, a book that was written to tell the success of the generations of heroes, was said to have a bewitching, handsome appearance. However, the appearance of that demon who claimed himself to be the Demon King of the present age is far from handsome.
His face looked harsh, which can be likened to a middle aged human being. His big body is all muscles, which is something in common with the imperial guards under the command of her eldest brother. In other words, he is what Aria described as “macho”.
Thinking about that, when she recalled those words, a smile appeared on Louise’s stiff face. Fear left her and the mirth she originally possessed was revealed.
Fufufu. While laughing, she turned her eyes towards the tea set that was placed in the table. The tea set reminded her of a certain woman.
“Unfortunately, it seems that what you emphasized was wrong, Aria.”
What came to her mind was Aria Milford, her first lady-in-waiting, who fist-pumped and said with emphasis.
“The Demon King is handsome without a doubt! That’s the common route! It’s a promise!”
That was when the ladies-in-waiting were talking with her in her room. Aria insisted so earnestly that the other maids almost shrank back. Having seen the Demon King of this present age, Aria was wrong but somehow her assertion would always pop up in her mind and allay the fear that paralyzed her heart. That memory didn’t fail to make her smile.
“I’m okay. I’m still okay.”
Louise told herself, hit her chest with her trembling hands, and stood up from her chair.
The Demon King has no reason to come here today. The Demon King would come to meet Louise only once a day but he never stayed long. He would always just say, “Be mine,” and then leave when she refuses.
―But she didn’t know. That the Demon King’s power is too powerful and she would lose her life if he stayed too long by her side. For that reason, the Demon King would come while keeping his powers to a minimum and then leave immediately. The Demon King was doing that out of consideration for her but she didn’t know about that.
Louise moved toward the only window of the room, stretched her arms and pushed to open it. The gentle sunlight shined in directly into the room and glowed brightly. By that alone, the gloomy atmosphere of the room changed completely and she heaved a sigh of relief. The bedding and furnishings of the room were of bright colors in accordance to her tastes, but surrounded by gray walls, it all looked dull. The colors were finally regained after being hit by the light of the sun.
Louise looked outside of the open window. She tried to look far beyond. Because if she looked at the black and gray castles spread under her eyes, it reminded her so much of her current situation.
“……I wonder, how is everyone? How is the barrier? Aria was safe, right?”
She believed they were safe but since she’s here, she doesn’t have a way to know about it.
“Everyone also…… They are worried about me.”
Aria must be crying. At that time, Aria alone was near Louise and the Demon King kidnapped Louise under her nose.
―That time. Louise did not know what happened at the start. A forceful vibration shook the room. When she reminisced about it, that shock must have been due to the destruction of the barrier. Louise, who thought that it was just a simple earthquake, instructed Aria to examine the damage of other rooms. When Aria came to the doorway, the window and the wall suddenly collapsed and a shadow appeared over the rising smoke.
……Who is it?
While she was spacing out, a thick, muscular arm seized her.
Louise’s screams resounded.
The hysterical Aria’s screams overlapped hers.
―She can’t remember clearly what happened after that. When she came to herself, she was already confined in one of the rooms of this high tower of the Demon King’s castle.The man, who was the Demon King Glydios, told her to become his wife. However, there was no way Louise would accept such a thing so she refused the man while fighting the fear in her heart, and when she noticed it, almost one month has passed since the day she was kidnapped.
Perhaps if it was an average lady, she might already have lost much of her sanity because of fear. But whether she is fortunate or not, her pride as a princess made her overcome her fear.
Louise was born as the Second Princess of the Kingdom of Schwarze. She was the youngest child and she grew up being loved by her parents, elder sister, elder brothers and also by the prime minister. However, instead of being spoiled by everyone, she was strictly educated. They hammered into her that being the country’s princess is a pride and a responsibility. She did what they said, because she has a goal. It is her older sister, Mariage (/Maria-juu/).
Once Louise was able to understand, Mariage was already known to be the “perfect princess”. Besides her beauty and intelligence, she was loved by the servants and the citizens for her very gentle personality and her elegant manners. However, she was not born with intelligence but it was rather acquired through her efforts. That’s why Louise was aspiring to be like Mariage; she was her ideal woman.
Even today as she overcome her fear, her thoughts were, “If it was Big Sister, she’ll never lose her composure even in moments like this. She would be absolutely resolute.”
However at that time, Louise also had complex feelings towards Mariage. Louise knew she is inferior to Mariage in everything, so she felt no jealousy or envy. But when the others would compare the two of them, she, who was seeking for perfection, could not help but feel hurt.
“Mariage-sama can be easily understood.”
“When Mariage-sama is at the Princess’s age, she’s already . . .”
“Princess, please emulate Mariage-sama properly.”
It’s not that she is not doing her best. But no matter how much effort she gave, she still cannot imitate the “perfect princess” image and she is exhausted. Also, it was unfortunate that Louise was surrounded by a lot of ladies-in-waiting who once served Mariage and they would immediately bring up Mariage’s name every time.
Even if she pretended to be outwardly calm and put her best efforts, the vicious cycle of bringing up Mariage’s name continued. It was only during these times where she doesn’t want to see Mariage’s face.
It was her mother, the Queen, who noticed her feelings. As soon as got the grasp of the situation, she drastically changed the people surrounding Louise. It is because it is better to have a young lady-in-waiting beside the young Louise who can act like her friend. Besides, if the appointed girls, who just entered the castle as apprentices and have never served Mariage, they will not cite her name in front of Louise. Those girls were Aria and Belinda―who are now the ladies-in-waiting serving Louise.
They did not compare Mariage and Louise. They purely adored Louise, their master.
“I like you very much, Princess. ―Mariage-sama? I think that the perfect princess is wonderful. But when I was just starting as an apprentice, I was scolded by the chief lady-in-waiting because of my careless remarks and it was you, Princess, who told me, ‘I like Aria’s frank speech very much’. It was not Mariage-sama. So for me, you are the ‘perfect princess’.”
“M-Me, too. I like the princess who enjoys talking and laughing with us……!”
Not wanting to lose to Aria, Belinda also raised her voice.
―Oh, I was saved by those words at that time …!
How happy Louise was when she was recognized for herself and not as a shadow of Mariage. Surely, those two didn’t know that Louise was moved deeply. Because of too much happiness, she could only say “thank you”.
Louise pressed her lips together and turned her determined eyes outside the window. Perhaps she will not be released unless the Demon King is killed. And as far as Louise knows, only heroes can kill the Demon King. And the Demon King is always defeated by the hero. Then, she can only be rescued during that time.
……But it won’t be soon. As she tried to remember the information about the hero which, according to Aria, was written in the “Hero Times”, she calmly analyzed. The hero had already defeated four of the top brass demons. They still need to beat the other three before they can confront the Demon King, which is true at least in the “hero tales”. If that’s the case, then it would take them time. It will be a drawn-out war. She might succumb to her fears and lose her sanity. She might surrender. But……
Louise touched her chest and muttered. There was a strong light in her eyes.
“I will not give up, Aria. I will never yield, so that you and Belinda would say, ‘Our Princess is amazing.’ Whenever or whatever situation it is, I will stand firm like Big Sister. So wait for me, because I will come back.”
―Louise did not know that her words of determination were carried by the wind even beyond the barrier of the Demon King’s castle.
* * *
The one who heard the voice was the hero, who came from the neighboring town to save Louise.
“The one she yearns for, the courageous princess.”
Greed dispassionately mentioned the condition and words of the princess to his friends. Since it is rare for him to praise a woman, perhaps she is quite admirable.
Rufaga, who was informed of the princess’s words by the spirit of the wind, assented.
“Yeah. I definitely want to save her by all means.”
There was someone who became interested at what they were saying. It was Rufus, the party’s magician.
“You will feel helpless if you’re alone standing up against the enemy, right? Being a princess, I bet she will surely encourage herself.”
Rufus, who is also a prince, can somehow relate to the feelings of the princess. Being a royalty is sometimes a double-edged sword. You cannot voice out your complaints even if you want to. You can only hold it inside.
“We must rescue her soon and send her home where she can feel weak without having to worry.”
At first, it was sympathy and admiration. He still has to know that a great change will occur soon.
* * *
Since morning that day, Louise felt some kind of premonition. Her heart is discomposed by something of an omen. Unlike the usual where she cannot stop herself from looking outside the window, she sat still in her chair. The Demon King has not visited her yet today. She thought that if it’s the usual, he should have already appeared, so she felt anxious.
……Perhaps, something happened?
Thinking about that, she rose from her chair and then she heard something from outside. If that was really from the outside, Louise can’t tell since she’s confined. It was outside the door that she can never open.
Is a demon or maybe someone beyond that door……?
However, if it’s a demon, he doesn’t need to enter the room through the door. The present age Demon King looking after Louise, who has not yet appeared, also does not use the door. He just enters the room through teleportation magic on his own volition.
Then outside this door, what……?
While keeping her eyes on the door, Louise gradually retreated. That time, a voice was heard from the outside of the room and Louise stopped in her tracks.
“Princess? Is Princess Louise, the Second Princess of the Kingdom of Schwarze, in there?”
Different from the demons, it was clearly a voice that belonged to a human. But Louise could not answer immediately. Whether that person outside the door is aware that she is wary, that person continued.
“We are the people who are requested by His Majesty, the King of Schwarze, to rescue to princess. While the Hero is fighting the Demon King, I will take you to a safe place. Princess, we will break this door. Since it is dangerous, could you please stay away from the door?”
The voice was composed, and she can’t detect any unpleasantness or calculation.
“Yes. I understand.”
Louise wanted to take a risk. Even if she will be deceived, there might be a chance for her to escape if she gets out of here.
“I’ve moved back.”
She informed that person, just in case, immediately after she backed off a little from the door. She wondered if the door is going to be broken and smashed into pieces. However, unlike that time when the Demon King demolished the wall of Louise’s room in the castle of Schwarze, it was a magic that required delicate control, breaking only the door without affecting the surrounding structures.
Louise’s heart beat faster.
With anticipation and anxiety, she looked where the door was once was.
A person appeared from beyond the remains of the door that fell like sand and scraps on the floor.
―A person. Yes, it is a human. It is not a demon with red eyes. It is a human with an unmistakable black hair.
The one who first entered the room was a man wearing a dark colored robe. The color was different from the ones that was used in Schwarze but she recognized it at once as a magician’s robe.
The man was not alone, because two women―one of them wearing an armor seems to be a warrior―were following behind him. But those two were not noticed by Louise for a while. Because her attention was robbed by the male magician standing right in front of her.
“Are you all right?”
The man had a relieved smile as he looked at Louise. There was a hint of worry in his bright brown eyes.
“We’re here, so it’s all right now.”
Replying with trembling lips, Louise nodded. She wanted to say that the intense heartbeat was due to relief from her anxiety that the Demon King may come for her soon.
―As a princess, she is determined to marry for national interest. That’s why, this is definitely different.
“Thank you for coming to rescue me. But…… If ever the Demon King comes, please do not think of me and escape. Do not throw away your life.”
Louise told them while holding a dignified smile that is fitting for a princess. During this time, she did not know. That those words will move the heart of Rufus―the man in front of her―and will bring her a new fate.
―The captive princess was bound to the magician who came to her rescue, and the two lived happily ever after―
―But their love story is a different story.