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Interlude – Dream’s End (Part 3)

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Author: Himezaki Shiu Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Jiro English Source: Re:Library

Inside the castle, the atmosphere was not as cheerful as it had been the day before. The once cheerful voices of my classmates had faded, becoming almost inaudible. During this time of the day, I would pass many of my friends in the area where my room was, but today, there was hardly anyone.

Even when I occasionally passed someone, fatigue was evident on their face. Some even openly showed displeasure when they saw me. Amidst all this, I found Sion and called out to her.

When I looked at Sion, her eyes were cold, lacking the soft expression that usually graced her face.

“If it isn’t the hero, Is something wrong?” Sion asked me in a tone that contained a hint of mockery, making me wonder if this was her.

“We need to talk.”
“I guess I can keep you company. I will not hold your rudeness accountable. You are nothing but a savage who lacks basic manners, after all.”
“A savage…”
“Saira, please escort this thing.”

The escort Sion always had with her lowered her head humbly as she heard this. Then Sion gave me a disdainful look and murmured, “Come.”


I was eventually taken to my room. The only difference from yesterday was that today, there were more people. Yesterday, Sion had only brought one other maid with her, but today she’d even brought guards with her.

Yesterday, I had been excited and impatient, but today I was simply horrified.

“So, what do you want to talk about?”
“Sion, today…”

The moment I started talking, I felt something cold hit my neck. Immediately after, I felt something dripping.

“W-What ha…”
“You are no longer qualified to call me by my name. Let alone call me by that nickname.”
“What do you mean?”
“Even the way you speak is no good. This is why I can’t deal with savages from other worlds. However, I suppose you can’t hold it against me given that you’re simply unaware of how things operate. I’ll let you off the hook this once. From now on, you may only address me as Your Highness or Princess.”

I could hear mocking voices all around me as Sion spoke. I remained silent, unable to muster the words, but that was when Sion tapped my cheek with her fan.

As I tried to suppress the stinging sensation on my cheek, I heard Sion’s voice coming from above.

“You answer?”
“I understand, Your Highness.”
“So, what’s the thing you wanted to talk about?”
“I-It’s about today’s training.”
“Training? I watched it attentively and saw no issues.”

(She was watching? And she didn’t see anything wrong with it? Rather, what is this whole situation? She had a tender glance until yesterday. Why did it change? Did something happen? I’m not sure. I don’t know…)

“You’re useless. How can you be this slow? Nevertheless, I must admit that I was eagerly awaiting this day. I will reveal it all to you. The naive dedication and the foolishness of your heroes.” Sion spoke in high spirits, continuing happily as if she were about to break into a song at any moment.

Her beautiful voice cursed me and my classmates.

(That’s right. This is a dream. Today must just be a dream.)

“You may think that this is a dream, but I assure you, it is not. Yesterday was the last day of your dream, heroes. I’ll explain it in plain terms so you can comprehend. You are now facing reality and seeing things for what they truly are.”

Was yesterday a dream? We were to face reality starting today? I didn’t know what Sion was talking about. Everything we’d experienced until yesterday was without a doubt real.

We’d been summoned to fight, and we’d been practicing since the beginning to be ready for whatever challenges lay ahead. I was getting stronger, and the people of the castle had been kind, praising me every step of the way.

I should’ve done my part. It’s unjust that we have to undergo this irrational training in such short order.

“Answer,” one of the guards said, his voice droning in my ear, and I shook my head from side to side.

“A savage will always be a savage. And there are even 25… Or should I say less than 20 of them? We did summon a lot of these savages, but I’m glad it worked out.”

(Less than twenty? Twenty-five of us should’ve been summoned. Why did she say less than twenty?)

It was then that I remembered what Captain Comantle had said before today’s training. The total number of people that added up between all groups was 20. There were only twenty of us when there should’ve been twenty-four.

“What happened to my friends?!”
“You say they’re your friends, yet you didn’t even notice they were gone. How ironic.”

Feeling my face turn red with embarrassment, I could do nothing but shut my mouth.

“Rest assured, we haven’t interfered with them. The four who ran made a wise decision. I would love to pursue them now, but they aren’t worth my time. Even if they turn against Fraus, we have the necessary tools to handle it. I wouldn’t call those who fled smart, but they at least recognized the situation they were in. They can still be considered human for that reason. Those of you remaining here, however, have relinquished those privileges. You and the other tools are not even allowed to interrupt me. Only royalty has that right—though perhaps in dire circumstances, you might too. Many commoners never get the chance to see me; consider yourself lucky to be one of my tools.”

(Did the four of them run away, leaving their classmates behind? But Sion said that they can still be considered human. Then what does that make us? Are we tools?)

Looking at Sion, I could see her staring at me with a look of contempt. It was as if she were looking at someone stupid. The same way we looked at Toriyama.

“This is all just too absurd. I have to admit, you played your part well. But where should I begin? Perhaps with our original plan? As I mentioned yesterday, I intended to give you that ring the day you were summoned. My aim was to gain 25 loyal puppets effortlessly. You must have realized that by now, haven’t you? You did catch on, right?”
“This ring…”
“That’s right! Once you put that ring on, you can’t remove it. After all, that’s a Slave Ring.”

Sion exclaimed, totally ecstatic.

I tried to take off the ring on my left hand’s ring finger, but it didn’t budge. I felt as if my head was about to burst as I strained myself. It hurt like crazy, like it was drilling right into my brain.

The pain was so severe that I even forgot to breathe. I couldn’t stop sweating due to the extreme pain.

“Every hero has already put on one of those rings. Furthermore, anyone wearing that ring cannot defy the Fraus royal family. For example, I can say this: Lick my shoes.”

My body instantly reacted to Sion’s command. Despite having no desire to lick it, I knelt down and brought my face close to Sion’s tiny foot. I couldn’t resist at all. Eventually, my mouth opened, and I ended up licking Sion’s shoe.

It didn’t hurt, nor was it hard, nor was my life in danger. Yet a miserable feeling filled my chest.

“I don’t even enjoy having my shoes licked; I simply don’t have that taste. However, there have been times when people kissed the tips of my shoes out of respect.”
“That happens only when the commoners dedicate their lives. It’s a show of devotion from the people of Fraus to Your Highness, quite different from this.”
“I see. Stop. Additionally, You may not speak of what you saw and learned here today, and You must not harm the people of Fraus except in special circumstances. I think that covers everything for now. I hope you realize that you’ve been reduced to a slave, a tool for our personal use.”

I could only shake my head up and down at Sion’s question. After all, I didn’t know what she’d make me do if I didn’t answer.

Seeing me agree, Sion nodded in satisfaction and continued speaking.


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