Chapter 74: Mother
I went up through the spiral staircase and headed to the Queen’s room.
The Queen had only one piece of bread a day. I felt sorry for her because of how poorly they treated her. Therefore, I tried to give a fruit for her dinner.
I gently opened the door while holding an apple in one hand. The Queen was lying in bed.
「Glu, glu? 」
I called her. But, she was on a deep sleep. I placed the fruit on top of her table, and then, I took the hand of the Queen.
…Soon…Pretty soon now. The hero was always a bit cold-hearted, but I was sure that he would succeed with the Six-Hexagram plan. Tarmine will be saved of sure. And finally, the Queen will be able to get out from this tower…
On that moment. Suddenly.
…Ah…What was this?
I noticed that the Queen was holding something in her right hand.
I became anxious, so I slowly opened the Queen’s fingers one by one without interrupting her deep sleep. I took out the thing that she was holding tightly on her hand.
It was a small doll. It looked like a handmade girls’ mascot. It was probably made a long time ago. It was old, worn-out and the color was washed out. Well, even if it wasn’t dirty, this old doll was not made with very good workmanship. This handmade doll had weird proportions on her face and the hair was unkempt and out of place. This wasn’t certainly a good work.
However, when I looked at its back and turned it upside down…I was surprised.
『From Tiana. To mother. 』
These letters were sewed on the backside of the doll with a black thread.
…Was…Was this perhaps a doll that I…I made when I was human…!?
On that instant. The old doll disappeared from my hand.
「…Such a weird old hag. How can she sleep on a place surrounded by beast men with a peace of mind. I never seen this happen before.」
That rough voice froze my spine! When I turned around, I saw the large stature of the Beast Emperor…the Grand Lion was standing behind me with the doll he took away from my hands!
「Don’t fret. I’m not going to threaten you. I was just a little bit curious. Yesterday, I noticed that that old hag’s eyes were looking at you…in a different way. It was as if she wasn’t looking at you with hatred. In fact, she can sleep this deeply even with a beast like you standing by her side.」
The Queen finally woke up because of our fuss. She saw the Grand Lion. Then, she hardened her face and took her defensive stance against him. However…
She suddenly made a desperate voice when she looked at his right hand. The thing that seemed precious to her was in the hands of the Grand Lion.
「What’s up, old hag. Is this your private little thing? Where have you been hiding this thing? Under the bed?」
「Ah, that doesn’t concern you! Give it back! 」
The Queen, who was always calm and easygoing, was nervously exalted as if her blood was boiling hot. It seemed that the Grand Lion also sensed her unusual behavior. He stared at the doll even more.
「What is so important about this doll? 」
And then, the Grand Lion looked at the doll’s back.
「“Tiana”…That was your daughter, wasn’t she? I see, so it makes sense. Was this thing a gift from your daughter?」
「Gi…Give it back…! 」
The Queen walked from her bed and approached the chest of the Grand Lion. She tried to get the doll back by reaching the massive stature of the Grand Lion.
「Give it back! Give it back now! 」
「You damn vixen. You are annoying me. 」
With a roar of anger, he pushed the Queen away from him with the hand that didn’t possess the doll. The Queen was blown away and fell on the floor.
I rushed to the Queen immediately. I tried to hold her up, but the Queen wasn’t even looking at me. She was staring at the Grand Lion with distressed eyes.
「I beg you…Please, give it back… 」
The Grand Lion spit on the floor after he heard her pitiful voice.
「Is your dead daughter’s thing that important? 」
「Tiana…Tiana isn’t dead! 」
「Ah? What the hell are you talking about, you vixen old hag. I thought you knew that long ago. Your daughter died a miserable death at the hands of Artemaeus. Look, this is how she died.」
Then, the Grand Lion put some power on his hand and tried to smash the doll. The Queen’s body trembled convulsively.
「Stop it…Give it back…! 」
But, on the next moment, the sound of torn fiber echoed in the air! The Grand Lion ripped the doll in half with the upper part separated from the bottom part! Then, he threw the doll to the floor!
The Queen uttered a quivering voice at the sight of the damaged doll.
…I was watching the Grand Lion’s heartless actions while gritting my teeth. Of course, I wanted to stop it, but I didn’t have enough power nor the strength to do it. But, it was hard for me to see the Queen suffering like that. So, at least, I hugged her from behind to give her my support.
「Ugh…! Tiana…Tiana…! 」
On that occasion…
Something fell on my arms after I gave my shoulder to the Queen to lean as support.
…Ehhh…! It can’t be…! The Queen was…!
Tears were overflowing constantly from the Queen’s eyes even though she never cried when she was tortured before.
「Hey, c’mon, c’mon…! You’re crying…You’re crying for real…! You’re the old hag that didn’t cry even once for a whole year! Is this dirty doll so important for you?」
I was also confused like the Grand Lion. Was the doll that I made when I was a human so important that even moved the Queen’s heart? But…But, why did she go this far just for an old handmade doll…?
I looked attentively at the doll that was torn to pieces at my feet. I thought instinctively, “I want to know the reason why”, and then, I activated my Appraisal skill without realizing it.
『A doll made for the Queen by a young princess Tiana…【Warning!】Do you really want to know more details?』
…War…“Warning”!? What’s that!?
I hesitated for a moment. Even so, I decided that I wanted to know the reason why the Queen behaved like that. I spoke that I wanted to “know” inside of my head.
Suddenly. On that moment, my head swirled and I felt dizzy.
…I was still on the top floor of the Fool Tower, and yet, my surroundings were black and white as if I were seeing a movie. The bedroom had a different feeling and the furniture was of high quality …
「Mother! Mother! 」
A five-year-old girl in a white dress jumped around and ran energetically inside the room. In the corner of the room stood Queen Carmilla, who wore a similar colored dress. She tightened her expression.
「Tiana! Don’t run! Its bad manners! 」
After my young-self was reprimanded, she lowered her head and looked sad.
「But, you know…I just wanted to show this to you mother… 」
「What is that? 」
「A doll…Tiana made it for you. 」
When the Queen was about to receive the doll, she noticed that Princess Tiana’s hands were full of bruises.
「You injured yourself too much. You’re clumsy, so don’t push yourself too hard. 」
「Because, mother, you’re so busy with work that we can’t see each other that often. 」
And then, Princess Tiana showed her a big smile.
「So, think of this doll as me and have it to yourself! 」
The little Princess Tiana moved the limbs of the handmade doll and showed it to her mother.
「See! Now we can be together all the time! Even if you’re away, Tiana will always be with mother!」
「Oh my. The ideas that my little girl comes up with… 」
After receiving the doll, the Queen stroked my young-self’s head and smiled dearly.
「Thank you. I will treasure it. 」
…Then, the black and white scene disappeared from my eyesight and a huge body like a mountain stood in from of me. It was the Grand Lion. That monster stared wickedly at the Queen, whom I held with my arms.
「Are you so sad that I destroyed your dead daughter’s personal belongings? Jeez, I can’t really understand the meaning of human feelings.」
The Grand Lion approached the Queen, grabbed her hair and brought his fierce lion face next to hers.
「But…this was perfect! I wanted to see your miserable face! Everyone died! They died for real! Your daughter, the King, your vassals and the townspeople! Everyone that was important to you has died! Listen, old hag! There is no hope for this world!」
When he released his hand from her hair, the Queen fell abruptly.
「I feel like I’ve waited too long for this moment. With this, Tarmine will be completely domineered by the beast men…」
The Grand Lion spoke happily.
「I’m going to cut your head at the execution ground. 」
…He…He’s kidding, right!?
「Glu…Glu, glu, glu! 」
I couldn’t stand anymore. I stood in front of the Grand Lion and tried to stop him from going to the execution ground. Nevertheless, the Grand Lion approached me and put his hand on my shoulder.
「Yeah. I didn’t forget the words I told ya’. You did it. First, you devoted yourself on opening this old hag’s heart. Second. Because of that, we were able to get this old hag’s weakness. I praise you for that. I’ll put you in the royal palace as I promised you.」
…Wro…Wrong! I didn’t mean to…!
The Grand Lion took his hand of me and moved his hand aggressively. I thought he was going to attack me. The fish, whose earth snake changed inside of my body, appeared from below my legs and stripped its fangs. Nonetheless, the Grand Lion just laughed aloud.
「I’ll give your reward later. Now the execution of this old hag comes first. 」
As soon as he declared those words, he forcibly grabbed the Queen’s arms and dragged her towards the door. The fish that Seiya left with me would only attack others automatically if my life were in danger. When it sensed that the Grand Lion did not intend to harm me, it returned to my body.
…This…This can’t be happening! The Queen will definitely be killed by this rate! I had to stop the Grand Lion!
I rushed to the door and tried to chase him. I looked down on the long spiral staircase, but I couldn’t see the stature of the Grand Lion anymore.
…No way!! How did he get down so fast from this long staircase!?
I became so nervous that I rushed down the spiral staircase without hesitating. I was too impatient. So, while I went down, my legs got entangled with one another that I even rolled down through the stairs.
Ugh! What was wrong with me! Why was this happening at such a time! It has been only one hour since I’ve met with Seiya! His sword dance was not even half-away through!
I left the tower in a hurry. And yet, I couldn’t see the Grand Lion and the Queen anywhere.
…The execution ground! She was looking at that place from the window…So, the direction would be that way!
My intuition was right. Many of the beast people were talking aloud and moving quickly towards the direction I was headed to.
「I heard that they’re about to start the Queen’s execution. 」
「What? I didn’t know that old woman was still alive. 」
Although I wanted to hurry, I couldn’t move fast because there were many beast men walking in front of me.
「Glu, glu, glu! 」
The irritated beast men looked back when they heard my loud fish-man voice.
「Ah, what’s up with this annoying fish-man? 」
「I’ll eat you, bastard. 」
No matter how much they argued, or threatened me, I tried to pass through them and moved ahead without stopping.
I continued to walk recklessly among the crowd, until finally I could see the back of the Grand Lion. He had a henchman carry the Queen, while he walked calmly ahead.
…I…I felt relieved! I finally caught up with them!
Nonetheless, on that moment. My feet stopped.
What…What on earth was I doing!? I ran and caught up with them…Then, what was I supposed to do now!? Was I this stupid!? I won’t be able to go against the power of the Grand Lion!!
Suddenly, I noticed a gravel floor under my feet. Crucifixion pillars were placed horizontally on the center of this wasteland. And a guillotine was placed on a different position. The Grand Lion had already arrived at the execution ground.
…I won’t be able to do anything under these circumstances!! Seiya!!
At this point, I heard Seiya’s spirited voice inside of my head.
『I’ll give absolute priority to the Six-Hexagram plan over anything else. 』
I…I mustn’t!! Was I going to be a hindrance to Seiya once again!? Absolutely not!! It would be completely useless to call for Seiya right now!! Besides, the Great Goddess Isister also warned us about this!! She said to avoid a direct confrontation with the Grand Lion!!
The feeling of remorse gradually transformed into anger.
All…All of this was my fault! The Grand Lion wouldn’t have noticed it if I hadn’t taken the doll from the sleeping Queen’s hand! It was just like Seiya cautioned me! I shouldn’t have involved myself personally with the Queen more than necessary! And now, it had become like this…!
Even if I regretted my actions so deeply, it was too late now. But, I couldn’t stop regretting it. The end of my constant repentance lied on my reliable hero.
That…That’s right…Maybe, if it were Seiya, he would be able to do something about this situation? Yes! I knew that fighting directly with the Grand Lion was dangerous! But, Seiya was extremely cautious! Perhaps, he would know how to save the Queen with a good but cautiousness plan…!?
『Se…Seiya won’t be able to win. 』
Yet, this time it were Adenela’s words that resonated on my mind. The Goddess of War, Zeth, taught Seiya the “crazy warrior” state…Even if Seiya transformed into that state, he wouldn’t be able to reach the “Phase 2nd” because it was something impossible for humans to achieve. He wouldn’t be able to defeat the Grand Lion in a direct fight. There was no point in asking Seiya for help this time. The success of the Six-Hexagram plan was absolutely necessary to defeat the Grand Lion and save Tarmine. In…In other words…
…I’m so sorry, Queen Carmilla…! Forgive me…! I won’t be able to save you…!
The beast man dragged the Queen forcibly as if she were a mere luggage. And then, I saw the blade of the guillotine rising up. Blood was dripping from that terrible spot.
The Queen had a tiring expression of her face. She looked as if she gave up on everything. As if she lost the will to live. Such a contrast from her happy expression when she received that doll from my younger-self.
…I broke into the Cave Along immediately. When I came inside, an intense sound squeezed my ears violently. My eyes became blank for a brief moment. It was probably due to the difference in space and lightening as opposed to the surface.
Seiya, who was dancing with a sword, stopped moving instantaneously and struck the Platinum Sword on the ground.
「…Lista. Do you realize what you have done? 」
He snapped his finger and I transformed back to normal with the power of the art of change.
「All of the hard work I did in order to defeat the Grand Lion…all of that vanished on this precise moment.」
「Ah, you know…Right now…the Grand Lion is about to….execute the Queen… 」
Seiya remained silent. I didn’t know what expression I should make, nor did I know what to say. I just began to smile pathetically and pitifully.
「Ah…Ahahah…I am a nuisance, right? How long do I need until I become a levelheaded person? “I am a goddess, and Seiya is a human”…I was determined to follow that rule, you know? Even so…I don’t even know what to think or what to do anymore…」
I approached Seiya to seek salvation. I pressed my head against his chest.
「Just hate me. You can hit me and kick me whenever you want. But, please…I beg you…please, save the Queen.」
I wondered what nonsense I was mumbling about. Seiya won’t be able to defeat the Grand Lion without the success of the Six-Hexagram plan. And yet, I wanted him to save the Queen. Even if I were a mere insect, I just wanted to save her. That’s all I asked for.
「Even if I don’t remember anything…Even if I became a goddess…Even so, she was the only mother I ever had…!」
Tears fell from my eyes. I pled to the human hero for help as if I prayed to the gods.
「My mother…Please, save my mother…! Please…I beg you…! 」
After a minute of silence, Seiya opened his mouth.
「You are a goddess and I am the hero that you’ve summoned. We are no more and no less than this…You certainly said something similar back then in the heavenly world, am I right?」
My body trembled after hearing the sarcasm that echoed on the top of my head.
「I am sorry…! I am sorry…! 」
As soon as I apologized, Seiya grabbed my shoulder and threw me away.
That was the “denial answer”. Just as I separated away from Seiya’s body, at the same time, I felt as if my soul also separated from my body. I was so sad that I couldn’t stop crying.
However…I was wrong.
I heard a metallic sound. When I slowly raised my wet face full of tears, I noticed that he had the Platinum Sword on his waist.
「You are correct. 」
「There’s nothing to neither like nor dislike. “Save the Queen”… If that’s the will of the goddess who summoned me, then I will follow that will.」
The hero took a deep breath and pressed his fists.
「After all. If I can’t beat this enemy with my ability alone, then I won’t be able to save this world from bigger threats.」
On that occasion, he looked at me with eyes full of determination.
「Let’s go, Lista. Let’s save the Queen and defeat the Grand Lion. 」
EN: I knew that Lista would interfere with seiya’s plan, that’s how the story goes… Either way I’m surprised that Seiya just went along with it, maybe he prepared himself for this.
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