Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu! Support the Translators and Editors!
Chapter 54: Nasha
Nasha Laturi was running.
She raced purposefully through the dark underground passage, searching for the exit with her lantern raised.
It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way, Nasha thought.
Nasha’s mind had gone blank when, after being dragged to the capital from the village of her birth, the Head Priest told her that she would be sacrificed to the dragon. Before she could rage at his absurd statement, her legs trembled at her own helplessness.
The room prepared for the Sacrificial Priestess was in the middle of the royal castle, and to Nasha, who had been raised in a family that was not well-off, the gorgeous, lavishly decorated room was like a luxury straight from a dream. When Nasha realised it was a cell meant to cage her in, however, her heart sank again.
Beginning with the Crown Prince waiting for his enthronement and his Royal Guards, young men including knights from the Royal Knights Order, civil officials, and many others would regularly visit Nasha’s room to ask after her. They claimed to be there to help teach Nasha, who would become Sacrificial Priestess. She wasn’t sure how education could be of any use, but staying silent and doing nothing would have been akin to accepting her fate.
Though Nasha was wary at first, everyone was friendly to her and she quickly became accustomed to these interactions.
As Nasha was born and raised in Palcemith, she knew that the country benefited from the Ancient Dragon Kharis’s blessings. As she learnt more and more about their history and culture, she nevertheless began to feel that the role of the Sacrificial Priestess, chosen wilfully by the Shrine for an arbitrary death, was extremely unreasonable.
Nasha expressed her opinion to the Crown Prince and others who visited her. She requested that she be allowed to visit not just the castle, but also the Shrine to the Ancient Dragon Kharis and the library full of wisdom. And after several days, with the condition that she be accompanied by someone, she was granted permission to leave the room to which she was confined.
When she headed to the Shrine, His Highness accompanied her.
The Crown Prince had beautiful golden hair, deep blue eyes, and a gentle demeanor. Despite his position at the top of the country’s hierarchy, he was always supportive of Nasha, who was prone to crippling anxiety. She was charmed by him before she knew it.
The shrine was where she first met the [Dragon Priestess], Julieta O’shayne Asbal. Frankly, Nasha harboured hostility towards Julieta’s arrogant attitude from the moment she was introduced by the Crown Prince as his fiancée. The same could be said of Julieta. When His Highness spoke about his hope for them to get along as contemporaries, Julieta hid her face, which was stiff with caked-on made-up, with her fan and spat out a reply.
“I refuse. I do not think I can converse with such a plebian.”
“…That’s what I should say!”
Julieta laughed scornfully at Nasha’s shout. His Highness covered for Nasha because of her frustration at her inability to retort.
“Julieta, you’ve said too much. Besides, Nasha is the Sacrificial Priestess. She may have been born in town, but her status now is equal to that of the King….She is not lowborn.”
A large, warm hand tightly held a soft handkerchief…
Gently wiping away Nasha’s involuntary tears.
Unsurprisingly, Julieta, the Crown Prince’s fiancée, was infuriated by the romantic scene unfolding in front of her.
Nasha stayed a few days in a guestroom meant for visiting patricians in order to investigate the Shrine’s internal affairs but Julieta harassed her at every turn. The attempts to break Nasha down backfired; His Highness distanced himself from Julieta even more as a result.
Meanwhile, Nasha’s twin Melia was chasing her missing sister and eventually, arrived at the royal capital.
She was delighted at Nasha’s safety but surprised at the role imposed onto her, and offered to help look for a way to escape. Nasha was greatly relieved to learn of their family’s current good fortune from Melia. Their current circumstances weren’t bad and it seemed like her brother would be able to undergo surgery thanks to a generous aristocrat. Having learnt of their family’s status from Melia, Nasha was greatly relieved.
Nasha’s affection for the Crown Prince grew stronger as they spent more and more time together thereafter.
Even so, he had an established fiancée. Further, she was fated to be killed as a sacrifice. She could do nothing.
Her twin sister with an identical face was the one who consoled Nasha earnestly through her depression.
Just like Nasha, Melia was in love.
It was with the taciturn knight who had saved her from the kidnappers moments before she lost her chastity, and it had happened right before she entered the capital.
“Nasha, you’re in love with His Highness, right?”
“…Love, huh. Is it that obvious?”
“Definitely. Even if we were not twins, I could tell. Especially since…I am also in love.”
They swore to each other that they wouldn’t give up on their love.
His Highness would visit Nasha’s room everyday at that point, as if seeing her was part of his daily routine.
Nasha took the plunge one day and handed the Crown Prince a letter, asking him to come to her balcony at night.
His Highness snuck in to visit Nasha, who waited nervously.
The Crown Prince led Nasha by the hand, guiding her. The pair faced each other on the balcony at night.
Underneath the starry sky they pledged their secret love to one another.
Resolute, the Crown Prince and his close aides acted quickly.
After gathering evidence of Julieta’s attempts to harm Nasha, they uncovered the misconduct of her father, Prime Minister Anderheim, and his collusion with Head Priest Malacia. They successfully obtained the forbidden drug [Suimo] that had been smuggled to foreign countries.
Finally the fateful day arrived.
They denounced the Dragon Priestess Julieta in the middle of the audience hall with all the nobles and vassals gathered. Adding insult to injury, they freed Nasha by condemning the unconscious Julieta, victim of a broken engagement, to take over as Sacrificial Priestess.
His Highness’s proclamation that he would protect her made Nasha ecstatic.
Moved to tears and embracing the Crown Prince before the throne, a clear voice entered Nasha’s ears.
“You wish to annul your engagement with my daughter Julieta and install Nasha Laturi, who was brought into the castle as the Sacrificial Priestess as your new fiancée. And Julieta, who has long served as the Dragon Priestess, shall now become the Sacrificial Priestess…Is that the gist of what the Crown Prince said? “
The evil Prime Minister.
Anderheim Yucht Asbal.
That man, disliked even by his own son, confirmed the Crown Prince’s intent with indifference. In contrast to the expectations of Nasha and the others, he easily accepted the matter.
The Crown Prince’s close aide and child prodigy Morino had expected that Anderheim would surely have been enraged at what happened to Julieta. Anticipating that he would negotiate secretly with his allies among the nobility, they had made a plan to confirm his actions.
That plan went spectacularly awry.
Come to think of it, it was as if a cog came loose in that moment, and unexpected things kept happening as a result.
The Dragon Priestess wasn’t a figurehead but a position with a severe burden for the priestess. The role of Dragon Priestess was handed to Melia in exchange for Julieta taking the position of Sacrificial Priestess. Julieta, no longer concerned about her complexion, was freed from her thick makeup, and her divinely pure face attracted those gathered at the banquet unanimously, both the high-born and their retainers.
The Suimo Morino had prepared as a trump card was both a form of medical treatment and a means to conceal royal corruption.
One by one, the close aides who had gone to observe the former Prime Minister Anderheim’s actions in order to know their enemy ended up admiring him.
While Nasha was granted freedom after her betrothal to the Crown Prince, she now had to face unaccustomed lessons to prepare for becoming a queen. She undertook the lessons for the sake of His Highness, though she was a reluctant student who did not learn easily. Nasha gradually started throwing tantrums which caused a drastic increase in the turnover rate of her instructors.
In the meantime, foisted with the role of the Dragon Priestess, Melia slowly went mad. She was eventually sentenced to the Dona’s Penalty for attempts on Julieta’s life.
“I’ll achieve enough happiness for my sister, Melia, as well. Otherwise, I can’t forgive myself.”
Only the Crown Prince remained as kind as ever to the lip-biting Nasha.
Despite the Crown Price’s attitude, as Nasha began to wield her power without regard to her position, the others near her treated her with increasing coldness.
Just a few months more, she told herself.
Nasha had no choice but to believe this was true: As long as Julieta was offered as the Sacrificial Priestess to the Ancient Dragon and His Highness was crowned as King, things will definitely turn in her favor.
Then, on the day of the coup d’état.
After getting the three of them out of the audience hall, Jolga instructed Morino to take the Crown Prince and his fiancée Nasha to hide out in the basement of the former Asbal mansion. He bought them time by staying behind alone to hinder pursuers.
Morino immediately ran to the Oswein mansion to request reinforcements. With utmost reluctance, the remaining pair finally arrived at the Asbal mansion where they found the promised underground shelter for royalty. His Highness Vikram and Nasha spent a full day hiding there, fearful of shadows.
Nasha then discovered the entrance to an underground passage at the back of the room.
She recalled the words Jolga had secretly whispered to her a few days ago.
Misfortune had befallen her family and they were saddled with debt. Her whole family with the exception of her parents had been sold to the circus.
Coincidentally, it was the same Abyss Ring Circus that was in the capital now. If she negotiated well, they might release her family. However, she could neither inform His Highness nor allow him to find out. After all, it would be difficult to become queen when her family was in debt.
Nasha heeded the words spoken by Jolga moments before they crossed the drawbridge connecting the castle and the capital: “The enemy came to the capital from the east. It’s possible that they have left men on the road or at the checkpoints. So if you’re going to escape, run towards the south! With any luck, you’ll be able to find the circus tents…! “
She persuaded the Crown Prince and then dashed through the tunnel. In the dark passageway, she ran unwaveringly in the direction she thought was south.
Soon, the passage before her brightened slightly.
Gasping for breath as she snuck a peek outside, Nasha saw the exit was in the corner of the grasslands, under a bridge built over a small river.
She exited with trepidation and looked around, In the gradually dimming light, she spotted a few tents set up beyond the grass.
In the center of the tents was the giant big top decorated with red and white stripes.
Doubtless it was the Abyss Ring Circus tent she had visited a few days ago with the Crown Prince.
“There it is…!”
Huffing and puffing, Nasha sprinted towards the circus tents.
The circus in the evening hours was usually filled with spectators. Perhaps due to the incident happening in the capital that day, there was no sign of anyone today, neither at the fence that separates the pavilion from the grasslands, nor at the gates.
“Oh no…What should I do now?”
Bewildered, she nevertheless climbed the fence.
She peered at the area which seemed to house the animals, wondering if there was anyone around.
A familiar voice called her name, and Nasha turned to see.
Dressed only in thin clothing and trapped in a cage were her two elder sisters.
“Sisters, what happened…!?”
“Shh… Nasha, be quiet…”
In response to Nasha’s fervor as she hurried to them with wide eyes, her two sisters spoke calmly in hushed tones.
“…We were sold into debt slavery.”
“No way!…Both of you!?”
“Eugene is likely in one of the tents as well but…I’m not sure he can be rescued.”
“I’ll save him! You two should also escape!”
“…Can you open this cage?”
At her sister’s words, Nasha looked around and noticed a bunch of keys hanging on a pillar in the tent. She grabbed them immediately.
After trying several keys in the cage’s lock, it finally opened with a click.
“Well, hurry up…!”
She opened the doors of the cage wide and stretched out her arm towards her sisters, only for it to be grasped tightly by both pairs of hands.
Startled, Nasha was dragged into the cage by her sisters while still dumbfounded.
While Nasha was unable to comprehend the situation, one of her sisters approached the entrance of the cage and shut the door. She removed the key that had remained inserted in the lock and threw it away outside, confining them with her own hands.
“S…Sister…what are you…?”
At Nasha’s doubtful words, her two sisters’ only reply was a simple smile.
Within the kennel.
A black-furred magical beast that already impregnated both his beautiful wives rested leisurely.
The magical beast was dozing off after playing with his wives, but he roused upon sensing someone entering his nest.
He slowly padded closer to see his two wives grinning and an unfamiliar human.
A female with an aroma similar to his wives.
She stood right there.
Nasha was found squatting with her arms around her knees in an alleyway in the capital.
Two days had passed.
The gestation period of magical beasts is half a year.
Hasr: Say Hello to our new Editor, Evelet!