Princess Tsubakiri — Chapter 1

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01 - Fairy Tale: Princess Tsubakiri - Part 1

Translator: KynKatan | Proofreader: Dilandau

The following trigger warnings apply: vivid depictions of torture and gore. Please proceed with caution.

Thank you.

A cloudy sky seemed to cover the day with darkness. A cluster of hazy thunderheads towered in the distance, accompanied by low rumblings. A large woodland expanse lay devoid of human life. The spring breeze thickened like a freezing winter blade…

That [girl] suddenly appeared in this world.

The girl had neither been hiding nor had she fallen from the sky. From nothing; that girl was created in this world from nothing….

A girl with bare feet, about 10 years old, who wore only a simple, plain dress.

Her matte-black hair fluttered in the wind and her amber eyes quietly and gently opened, reflecting the surrounding scenery in sepia hues….


A plaintive cry burst from the girl, as if the sound was tearing her throat out.

…Pitter. Patter…. Raindrops began to fall from the sky and quickly turned into a torrent, drowning out the girl's cry.

"It was no good again."


"I couldn't save her again."


The girl has nothing. She doesn't even remember her own name.

And yet, she can still feel something—the fiery rage that boiled up from deep within; the endless hatred which burned and burned and burned some more. Her screams turned to retching blood and she cried tears of grief, the sound straining until her throat tore. The feelings faded from her heart as she was struck by the fierce rain.

So, too, did the memories that remain, the last vestiges few and far between…

It was an old fairy tale. An old tale of a girl who lived one thousand and five hundred years ago.

>Ding, the sound of a ringing bell… dong, a sharp sound that cried… bong, a dry tone that played.

A golden field of wheat. The scent of fruit wine made with apples from the orchard. The church bells, on the hillside of the flower garden, signaling the beginning and end of the day.

It's an old story that took place in a small kingdom a thousand and five hundred years ago.

"Daughter of the Count of the Eastern Frontier, Yuu! The time for your judgement has come!"

Lucius, the crown prince of this country, said this to someone's sister.

Amidst the cries of the people that reverberated and echoed, the sister, bound by wooden shackles, raised her face from her prone position and turned her sad eyes to His Highness Lucius.

"…So this is how it is…"

This was the eldest sister and first daughter of the Count of the Eastern Frontier; His Highness Lucius's fiancée who would be the first to marry him and become First Queen Consort next year when she turned fifteen years old. That is, if all had gone well.

Why did my sister have to go through this...?

My sister and His Highness Lucius were like childhood friends, and His Highness Lucius loved my beautiful sister with her shimmering black hair.

Looking at my sister's sad, lonely eyes, His Highness Lucius was also slightly frightened. His Highness Lucius must have been nervous, too. Even when he announced he was going to condemn her, he had still called her “Yuu”, which was my sister's nickname.

My name is Camellia, the younger sister of Yuu and the youngest daughter of the four siblings of the Count of the Eastern Frontier.

"Are you finally ready to admit your guilt!?"

"No, I didn't do anything."

"So you’re not done pretending!"

His Highness Lucius's words elicited shouts of anger and resentment from the people who had gathered.

Even I, who was only ten years old, knew what had happened. The country had been plagued with a strange disease for a little over a year now. Severe diarrhea, dehydration, and a drop in body temperature. The disease had spread from person to person and many people had died.

The disease had been carried through traveling merchants and then spread quickly throughout the country and many people in the eastern territories, where we lived, lost their lives to the disease. Heartbroken by this, my father, mother, and our family opened up our mansion and accepted the sick, nursing them desperately. Because of that, our father and mother were also afflicted with the disease and were now no longer of this world.

Our kind father and mother… we siblings broke down in tears. We continued to cry. We wouldn’t even eat and our throats wouldn't clear as we drowned in sorrow. Our sister Yuu, the eldest sibling, held us in her arms, even though she had felt like crying herself.

Still, there was no time for us siblings to grieve. We continued to take care of the sick in spite of our grief, even though we were sometimes verbally abused by the families of the sick who had died, even though we were sometimes stoned by children whose parents had died. We continued to struggle to save our people since that was the last wish of our parents, who cared for their people until the time of their deaths.

Sister Yuu, who was frail, and I, who was still young, continued to nurse the sick. My strong twin siblings, a brother and sister, traveled to the neighboring country where they heard there was a cure for the disease. I was sure that one day, the disease would be cured. Believing this, we siblings desperately fought back against the disease until one day a ridiculous rumor that Sister Yuu was the cause of this disease began to spread from the King's Land.

A public execution site. We were to be burned at the stake, so we were shackled like criminals and made to prostrate on the ground. The royalty and the nobility stared at us and from the angry people who had gathered here, who had lost their families, vindictive voices resounded like the rumbling of the earth, unstoppable like a curse.

We were captured by soldiers from the Eastern Frontier and brought here without being given the opportunity to make any pleas. What had we done? How had we let this happen? Why would his Highness Lucius and His Majesty The King call us criminals just because of these ridiculous rumors?

"Your Highness Lucius, please reconsider. Even if you do something like this, the sickness is…"

"Shut up! I've heard from Lady Chloe, the priestess and shrine maiden, that you're the cause of all this!"

Interrupting Sister Yuu with a loud shout, His Highness Lucius held tightly by the waist a woman with chestnut-colored hair who stood beside him.

Shrine Maiden, Lady Chloe. She was the only "priestess" in the temple of this country, even though she was not much older than Sister Yuu. The reason why she was called "Shrine Maiden" was because Lady Chloe was chosen by god to hear its voice and perform real miracles.

Many "gods" coexisted in this world. Lady Chloe was able to listen to the "voice" of one god and was able to heal this terrible disease through a "miracle". The healed were in the minority, about ten people a day, but the ailing queen was included among those. The royal family and the nobles living in the royal city praised her and listened to her as if it were a decree from god, so she would prioritize healing them, protecting first their lives and those of their families.

Still, I couldn’t like this Lady Chloe. How could I ever like Lady Chloe, who is still held by the waist in His Highness Lucius's arms like a whore, while she smiled condescendingly at my sister? His Highness Lucius seemed to be enthralled by the beautiful Lady Chloe, the shrine maiden, as well.

Until a year ago, she had been one of the temple maidens with a different status to His Highness Lucius, who had a fiancée, but after just one year she had reversed her position and had suddenly begun denouncing his first fiancée, Sister Yuu. She had announced that the cause of the illness that was attacking this country was god's wrath on Sister Yuu…

God… no matter how many times I prayed to you, you never helped save my dear mother…. And now… you're depriving me of someone precious.

…Tsk! I… recalled. Suddenly, a scenery that was not here flowed into my mind.

In my confused mind, I knew it was the memory of a different person, in a distant place, before she became Camellia, the scenery that is flowing into me is not now…

A memory of being born in a country far, far away; a memory of being consumed in life and death. Unlike this country where hair was gold, red, or brown, the people of the other country had black hair and black eyes. The clothes they wore, the language they spoke, and even the culture was different. It was a memory of "living" in a very distant country.

I was born in a country called "Owari" as the daughter of the sixth wife of a wealthy family. My mother, even from her daughter’s point of view—my point of view—was very beautiful… an ephemeral person.

Mother, who was not born noble, but a mere peasant girl, was forcibly taken as a wife after she was first seen by my father. Father was enchanted by Mother's beauty and, despite her having insufficient status to marry him, forced her to be his wife. It was done so his own sons, who were older than Mother, wouldn't touch her.

It would have been better if she had only been a beautiful maiden, but after I was born she was shunned by the wives of the house. The wives provided Father with a number of new young maidens and drove Mother and me out of the mansion and into a barn at the outskirts of the residence.

I didn't even know Father's face. We, mother and child, didn't even have anyone to take care of us and we weren’t even able to feed ourselves because of the wives’ neglect. If it weren't for the young gardener who brought us crops and other things, perhaps out of pity, as a little girl, I would have left this world in a heartbeat.

If I, the daughter, had been beautiful, perhaps Father would have paid attention to us. When I was a little girl with no memories, my Father looked at me and spat out, “Ugly iron woman.” I had been born with hair as dull as iron, so I was nothing in comparison to his other daughters who wore their glossy black—almost dark green—hair beautifully tied up.

Mother was fragile… she was a very weak person. She didn't have the courage to run away to her birthplace; she wouldn't defy the wives; she didn’t even have a strong heart to live. She lived her life talking about unrealistic dreams and turning her back on the world. And yet, she is my only mother. My only family. Even if you don't see my reflection in those eyes…

So before I was even five years old, I lived a life of groveling to the men and women in the mansion, begging them for food.

However, there was only one thing that I was able to look forward to and that was living in the mansion. There were many people living in the mansion and one of them was my father's relative, an old man and grandfather figure who was an instructor on swordsmanship.

One day, the old man was standing quietly in front of a magnificent camellia tree in the garden, his cane resting on a branch with a camellia blossom. He stood quietly… I was fascinated by the old man who emitted a very pure spirit.


With a light flick of his cane, the old man cut off the camellia branch. I clapped my hands involuntarily in surprise at the sight and, for the first time, the old man noticed that I was there. While looking at me he poked the fallen camellia branch with the tip of his cane and then left. Thinking that he was telling me to put that branch away, I picked up the branch, revealing a smooth cross-section that didn't look like it had been cut with a wooden cane, and carried it home with great care.

Day after day, the old man would stand in front of that camellia tree and, when I walked by, he would show me how he could cut off its branches with his cane. When the young gardener, who noticed the camellia flowers I brought home every day, asked me about it, I told him and he told me that my grandfather was cutting them for me. A vivid technique was burned into my mind, my eyes, and into me, who had nothing. Years later, when I closed my eyes… I could clearly recall the one and only "swordsmanship" that the old man had shown me.

Mother began to lie on the floor as if she were ill. The main reason for this was surely the weakening of her mind. I could not even see my father. Even if I asked for help, no one would reach out, fearing the wives' backlash.

One day, the young gardener suggested that we run away together, as Mother was growing weaker and weaker every day. The young man said that he, Mother, and I could live somewhere far away, but Mother, who despaired the idea of living outside, did not nod her head at his words.

I prayed to god every day as I nursed my mother. Instead of going to the old man and the camellia tree that I had been frequenting, I prayed desperately every day for god to help my mother. Please, please, please save my mother. If you are okay with me, this ugly-haired woman, I'll give you this life. So please, save my mother's life…/p>

But... my prayers didn't reach god. Muttering about unrealistic dreams until the end, my mother passed away one day without seeing me in her eyes. I cried as I clung to my mother's corpse for days and days…

I passed out from hunger and exhaustion and when I woke up I found that my mother's body had been buried in the corner of the property by the mourning young gardener. As I stood dumbfounded in front of the grave, two fresh-cut camellia flowers were placed in front of me. One is for my mother. One is for me who has lost her mother. When I realized that it was the old man who had brought them to me, my eyes, which should have been dry, began to fill with tears again.

From then on it became a daily routine for me to place the camellia flowers, which the old man had cut for me, on my mother's grave. Every day… every day. Whenever the camellias were in bloom, I would place them in front of her grave. This went on for years and years until the flowers withered and returned to the earth…. Then, before long… my heart withered with tears and I began to lie down on the floor, just like my mother.

"Are you going to pass away before this old man…?"

I heard the old man's voice for the first time. Lying down, I gently opened my eyes and saw the old man staring at me with sorrowful eyes. Beside him, the young gardener displayed the same look, twisting his face as if he wanted to say something.

…It’s fine. If you show mercy to me here, you will be scorned by the wives. So I'm fine with this. I'm so lucky to have two people who care about me. But… if there is such a thing as reincarnation in this world…. Next time, to be loved by someone… I want to be… loved by someone.

Then my consciousness was enveloped in darkness and the last I heard was the voice of the young gardener shouting to me.

A breeze in the blue sky caressed my cheek… I found myself standing alone in a field of blooming blossoms. It was a nostalgic sight, even though I had never seen it before. I took a deep breath, as if I had forgotten how to breathe, and I smelled an unfamiliar wind.


I don't know anything. I don't remember anything. All I know is that somehow I'm "all alone". My anxiety was swelling and my fears were overwhelming me and I cried out like a little child. No, I was actually a little child. Little hands… little feet… a tiny little child who couldn't even walk properly. As I cried, heartbroken and anxious, I suddenly felt something soft and warm enveloping me.

"Hey, why are you crying?"

A gentle voice… a girl with gentle eyes.

The warmth I felt for the first time made me start crying out loud again, but the girl kept hugging me, holding me in her arms. Sister Yuu, that was how I met you. From that day on, I became Sister Yuu's "little sister".

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