The Little Duchess' Home Tutor (Novel) - V2 C0
Volume 2 – Prologue
——This place was filled with the stench of death and hatred.
It had probably been left abandoned for hundreds of years. Traces of ancient magic formulas could be seen, but most of them had long since ceased to function.
The metallic spiral staircase rang with each step taken downward, and yet there was no echo coming back. The place was deep.
…Perhaps calling it the staircase to hell was apt.
Apparently, we were the only living people in this tower. This was troublesome, both for me and for these people.
“Oi! Walk faster! Don’t even think about escaping, you got me? Those collar and bracelets you got are specially made. You can’t use magic as long as they’re on you. Try to escape if you want, we’ll just recollect you.”
“Hell, we’re surrounded by cliffs and beyond that is the sea. Give up. It’s because you stand out too much. You better be thankful that we didn’t sentence you to death out of the blue——though, well, maybe dying is a better fate.”
Two magicians said so as they pushed me from behind.
They were smug about their victory over me and gave me a strong look of disdain.
……Aah, that rattled up some old memories. The same kind of gaze was directed to me a lot during my student years, huh.
Whilst my lip smiled from nostalgia, my body shook on its own. Nothing is going to happen, though.
We continued descending the staircase.
It was very deep. Not to mention……this mana. It seemed that there was ‘something’ in here, as unbelievable as it sounded.
I glanced at the two people behind me and saw their faces had changed a lot compared to before. They were pale with fear.
“……Shouldn’t it be fine by now? I can continue down all by myself.”
“N-, nonsense! You’re just trying to find an excuse to run away, and I won’t fall for it!!”
“R-, right! Allen……We-, we won’t go back until we personally lock you behind the bars in the innermost depth of this tow——”
With a surge of mana that stirred the gut, a roar thundered.
I reflexively cowered. Yeah……this is scary alright.
The magicians that had brought me thus far——sons of some powerful aristocrats, shuddered and practically hopped up the stairway like rabbits.
Good grief. You can’t call that accomplishing your work, you know.
I shrugged my shoulders and walked down one step at a time.
On the way to my supposed holding cell, I saw numerous human bones and some unidentified animal bones scattered around. I see, this place was once a prison, huh.
I had no idea where this place was on the map because my head was covered with a bag up until I was brought here. However, judging from the deterioration of the bricks, it should have been at least several hundred years old.
And then, taking account of what he said before, ‘We’re surrounded by cliffs and beyond that is the sea.’
Coupled with……this endlessly ongoing underground tower.
——This is, most probably, the Kingdom’s Northeast Archipelago. One of the few remains from the Demon Old War, huh.
They sure went over the top just to imprison a lowborn civilian. I don’t remember ever doing anything that would warrant so much enmity.
Most probably it was something about Gerald’s incident that went around the nobles coming back biting me, but……this was a pickle. I really couldn’t be less interested in the whole ordeal.
I wiped my cheek with the back of my hand. It was red.
It was still bleeding. My body hurt all over from the beating I took. Not being able to use magic at a time like this was a predicament alright.
Now I could understand how Tina felt, if just a little bit more. This is hard.
……I need to get back soon. Those girls would be worried sick. Even though we were in the middle of our summer vacation in my hometown.
Has Felicia managed to escape?
Considering that it’s her, she should be fine, but……I don’t want her to force herself. Also, it would be best if she could convey it to them as calmly as possible. After all, those girls, with Lidya leading them, can be quite scary when angered.
I should get myself out of this mess before they even notice I am gone. Yeah, let’s do that.
——The more I walked, the denser the mana in the air was. It was almost suffocating.
Is it……a living being?
If it was, it had to be a monster. I wouldn’t be a match for it even if I could use magic.
I can’t die just yet, though. Not at least until we establish a sure method to control the ‘Flaming Qilin’ and ‘Ice Crane’ that dwell in Lidya and Tina respectively.
The area all around the tower has to be closely guarded.
I will surely be killed if I step outside. The fact that they have kept me alive means they still have a plan for me, but……that’s like walking on thin ice. I can’t place a bet on that condition.
Which means, my only option is to go down there and face whatever awaits.
——Just how far down does this place go?
Finally, I reached the deepest open space within the tower. There were huge prison cells on all sides. This place really wasn’t meant for holding humans.
Three of the four cells were empty, while in the last one…………there was ‘something’.
The air felt a little thin down here, a little bit chilly as well.
It seemed like the roar came from the deepest cell.
I’ve come all the way here, I should take a peek at what it is.
Just as I was about to take the step forward, a group of knights and magicians walked down the stairway, making a racket with their steps. There were more than a dozen of them.
They surrounded me with their swords and staves at the ready. Then, one of the magicians struck me with his staff as hard as he could.
“……Lower your head, lowborn. How prudence of you not to attempt to escape. I applaud it.”
“G-, gee, thanks…… What do you, want from, me?”
“Simple——Fulfill your role and die. Aah, that doesn’t sound too good to come out of my mouth. You are a ‘sacrifice’ so that my lord can rule this land.”
“What do you——? Kgh!”
“……I don’t speak with a mutt. Throw that thing into the cell!”
An electric shock ran through me as the spell struck me. My face hit the cold ground.
……Oh no, my consciousness is……
I knew that I was being held on both sides, but I couldn’t resist.
In my hazy vision, the huge cell was steadily approaching.
Who’s there in the deep? My spine feels so numb in its presence.
The knights who were holding it must have noticed it too. One of them screamed——and turned into a lump of flesh before sound even came out of his mouth. The smell of something burning wafted.
The other knight was stunned when he looked at his peer. He drew his sword, and as soon as he did, a thin streak of lightning flashed from within the cell, shooting through his heart. The knight collapsed right on the spot.
‘It’ also shot a spell at me——but the spell vanished midair. Are you calling for me?
Gritting my teeth, I crawled on the ground with my arms tied into the cell.
And then, I was————