Pricia and Marybell

She cried.

She cried again and again. She cried with her fangs bared as she ripped and tore at the armies of those that killed her family. Her family had died protecting her as she stood powerless.

“Tsk, the barrier can’t hold any longer. Valentina, I’ll leave the rest to you. There’s some leftovers, but my poor Schrödinger’s tummy is already full. Isn’t that right, Schrödinger?”

“Meowww~”

“Leftovers? Oh, the child. Don’t worry about her, the girl is little more than a paper tiger. An empress like myself need not concern herself with such trash. What about you? Alice did manage to escape after all.”

“We needn’t worry about that either.”

“Then I’ll be doing as I please, then.”

“Please do.”

Dark Alice and Valentina departed from the Yggdrasil Forests. The shadows blotting out the sky dissipating as the two fled the hill, and the peaceful sounds of the forest belying the horrific murders that had taken place.

In a secret clearing, nestled near the great tree Yggdrasil, a young girl sat on the ground, clutching her legs to her chest. Her body shook as the events of the day replayed over and over in her mind. Her eyes were wide and transfixed on a distant point, invisible to all but her. She only spoke to repeat the same phrase over and over.

“I’ll...never forgive you, Valentina.”

Pricia was the only king to survive the betrayal, but she had lost more than just Faria. During the battle with Dark Alice, as Arla, Faria, and Machina fell, the Four Sacred Beasts gave their lives to protect Pricia. The four had come with Pricia to the summit, as they were just as much the rulers of the forests as young girl was. When Valentina sprang her trap, the four noble creatures jumped to Pricia’s defense without hesitation, but were not prepared for the power they faced.

“Friends...I promise...I’ll finish what you started. In the meantime...please wait for my return.”

Pricia set to the bitter work of burying her family. When the four were laid in the earth, Pricia could hear a faint sound echoing nearby. It sounded as if something was attempting to cry, but it was too stiff and methodical to be natural.

“Who’s there?” Pricia stood as if ready to fight, but her hands were shaking.

Searching for the sound, Pricia made her way to a small hill, barren of trees, on the outskirts of the forest.

“...Nothing. I could have sworn I heard someone crying.” Pricia pondered to herself if she was merely losing her senses from grief.

“Huhuhu...Master...Oh, Master...”

“I knew I heard something. Where are you? Did they hurt you too? If you can hear me, please answer!

“Huhuhu...I am right in front of you.”

“Wha? I’m standing at the foot of a hill...wait...You’re that big doll that Machina brought! You’re okay?”

“I, was saved by Master. Because of the barrier I was temporarily rendered unable to move and Master was eaten by that shadow. Huhuhu...” Marybell’s mechanical weeping was interspersed with the clanging of metal.

“Please don’t cry...You’ll make me start crying again. Wait...if you’re crying...does that mean you have feelings? I thought things like you only moved when someone ordered you to.”

Pricia gazed at the construction with an aura of amazement and suspicion. To a girl who had grown up in the forests of Sissei, an artificial life like Marybell was a nearly unthinkable existence. Yet this poor creature weeping before her very eyes was clearly different from the heartless doll Pricia had once believed it to be.

“Huhuhu...I am the first in a line of machines to be built with true feelings...that’s because I am actually...”

“It’s fine, don’t bother telling me. I’m not good with complicated stuff. As long as you can understand and talk normally, it doesn’t matter to me.”

“I see. Understood, Ms. Pricia.”

“Good, good. So, do you have a name, giant doll lady?”

“I was given the name Marybell.”

“Marybell huh? Well since you’re so big, how about Giant Mary?”

“Ms. Pricia. Um, Mary is just fine, in that case.”

“Oh...okay...I mean I thought Giant Mary was cooler, but I guess that’s fine. Don’t bother with all that Ms. Pricia stuff, by the way. Everyone’s equal in Sissei.”

“ ‘Ms Pricia’...is no good?”

“No it’s not! I can’t replace your master, but I think I can be your friend. I’d much rather just speak plainly. All that frilly manners type stuff is a waste of time.”

“I see. Understood. I’m afraid I don’t have much data on the interactions of friends though.”

“Okay! So I’m thinking you’ll probably want revenge against Valentina too, right? So I was thinking we could work together. I hate to say it but...she really is too strong for me to handle on my own....probably. You were crying, so  you want revenge for Machina, right?”

“But...without my Master...can I...really be useful?”

“You can! You can! I promise! I’m not exactly the most elegant of the seven kings, so you don’t have to worry about all the details. I think we can leave that black cloaked weirdo to Alice, that’s what Faria said before she...that’s what she said. If Alice survives, she’ll definitely be going after Valentina too. Plus, if there’s any chance Faria and Machina could be brought back, I bet it involves taking those two down.”

“No matter what chance there is to save Master, if there is a chance, it is possible. Even if I should be destroyed, I do not consider this a regrettable course of action.”

“Exactly. You and me, we’re the same now. We both want revenge for our friends. That’s our reason for living now.”

Until today, Pricia had always lived as a carefree child. Rarely leaving the forest and far removed from the troubles of that world. That ended today. The beast queen wondered if she would ever see her home again. But it did not matter. Hope for a peaceful life died when she buried her family, only the desire for revenge remained.

“Alright then, can you move okay, Mary?”

“Yes, Pricia, I am operating at optimal efficiency. When we meet Valentina, what shall we do? I want to hear the opinion of my friend.”

“Mary, something you should know about me is that I’m a fantastic improviser, but I think we’ll start with a loud knock, as we kick in the front door.”

The two had lost more than they could have imagined today, but took small comfort in each other’s company. Together they mourned the lives they lost, including their own.

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The World of the Seven Kings



Part 6 The Twilight Wanderer