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We continue through the forest.
The elf Eculate leads us through the most difficult part of the forest, called the Sanctuary.
“I’ve never been through the Sanctuary myself.” (Chloe)
said Chloe, the maid.
“The sanctuary will save us several days of time and distance.” (Eculate)
“That’s very kind of you, but we need to talk about what to do if we meet the Doll tribe.”
When I suggested this, all the women who accompanied me agreed that it would be a good idea.
The Elf Eculate said.
“As I said before, the Dolls are stubborn, so we might get a rough welcome before we enter their village.” (Eculate)
“I’m thinking we can avoid that by having Chloe stand up for us, what do you think?”
I look at Chloe, but she says apologetically.
“I am a young girl who has escaped from this forest, no, from the Doll tribe. I’m no different from any other outsider.” (Chloe)
“Can I ask you why you left?”
“It does not matter.” (Chloe)
Chloe said firmly.
“I’ve always been uncomfortable with the Doll tribe even from a young age, who were trapped in old traditions. I wasn’t good at the antiquated culture of being isolated from civilization and refusing to have contact with the outside world. That’s why I longed for the outside world, listening to the stories of traveling merchants and reading the elders’ treasured books on the human world in secret.” (Chloe)
“So you’re the typical country girl who longed for a city life.”
“In summary.” (Chloe)
“So that’s why you ran away from home?”
“Well, that was part of my motivation, though not the trigger.” (Chloe)
“Is there another cause that triggered you?”
Chloe nodded and told me without any hesitation.
“Actually, I was proposed by the next chieftain.” (Chloe)
I was so surprised my spit went towards my lungs instead.
It is a shameful thing, but her master, Sicily, was similar. Her eyes were wide open and her mouth was hanging open.
After a few seconds of silence and crossed glances, Sicily spoke,
“I’ve never heard of such a thing.” (Sicily)
“That’s right. I’ve never mentioned it your Highness.” (Chloe)
“Are you sure you want to tell me such a secret?” (Sicily)
“Of course. There is nothing to hide from My Lady.” (Chloe)
And she continued.
“We have returned to the Bana Forest, a place from which I hoped to never return to. The fate of the entire army is at stake, so I can’t keep quiet about it.” (Chloe)
Chloe begins by explaining the situation.
“I repeat, I was proposed to by the next chieftain.” (Chloe)
“You were going to be the next chief’s wife?”
“Yes, but I didn’t want that, so I ran away from the forest.” (Chloe)
“I’m sure you don’t like to have your future decided at such a young age, but isn’t becoming the wife of a chief a good thing for a Doll girl?”
“For most daughters, but I was a strange child.” (Chloe)
“I see. By the way, what is the chief like?”
“The chief has the title Hero of the Dolls, the Young Prodigy of Bana Forest.” (Chloe)
“With a bow, a deer between the eyes from hundreds of meters away will be shot dead. A bear would be overwhelmed in a wrestling match.” (Chloe)
“…there doesn’t seem to be any characteristic of him that is lacking as a marriage partner. Is he terrible to look at?”
“No, the chief is not a rugged elder, more like my mother, and considered as good looking as an elf.” (Chloe)
As I tilt my head, Sicily helped me.
“Leon-sama, a man is not just about how he is. Some women like men who are as rugged as bears.” (Sicily)
“I see. Not everyone likes beautiful men.”
As I let out my thoughts, I noticed that the elf Eculate, who was leading us, had stopped in mid-step.
“I’m sorry to interrupt your conversation about love, but we’re nearing the village of the Dolls.” (Eculate)
“As expected from Eculate, you’re faster than I thought.”
“I appreciate the compliment, but I want to apologize for something first.” (Eculate)
“I took too many detours and was out of the Sanctuary sooner than I expected.” (Eculate)
“It means that we are already at the Dolls’ village. We’re entering without permission, so we could be attacked at any moment…” (Eculate)
A bow and arrow pierced the ground beneath Eculate’s feet.
Looking ahead at the point where the whizzing sound came, there were men that looked like oni.
They don’t have fangs, but they all have impressive horns.
They must be the Dolls. I knew that from my knowledge. Doll men have horns on their heads.
“It’s pretty cool, but it’s still a rough welcome.”
“It looks like they missed me, though.” (Eculate)
The elf smiles bitterly, but does not forget the snide remark, “That’s why they are known as savage demons…”
I say the Doll greeting that I learned at the Magic Academy.
The meaning of the greeting is only hello, but it is a basic greeting. Chloe laughed at my faltering greeting, which I could have done without.
“If so, you can talk instead.”
But she shakes her head.
“As I said, I’m already an outsider, and the Dolls can speak the common tongue.” (Chloe)
“I see, but I still think your people will be able to understand you better.”
“It is true, but there are some people on the other side who are not so open-minded towards me. If I take the lead in the negotiations, things might get confusing, probably.” (Chloe)
That said, Chloe takes a step back.
I observed the Doll armed group, wondering why, but could not guess the reason. –But the reason came forward on its own.
The woman who seemed to be leading the armed group of demons stepped forward and said,
“That’s my fiancée, Chloe, right there. How dare you leave the forest without permission and then suddenly come back? Depending on your response, I will not tolerate you, even if you are my beloved.” (Chieftain)
I wasn’t the only one who was silent.
Perhaps the reason for us being surprised is the same.
The woman in front of me seemed to be the next chief of the Doll tribe. And to top it off, she’s Chloe’s fiancé.
Well, that was a common development, but it was an unexpected turn of events.
As I mentioned earlier, there was a beautiful woman in front of me.
She was dressed valiantly in an impressive mix of fur and leather armor, but other than that, there was no hint of masculinity. She has beautiful flowing hair that is tied up at her waist.
She also has a feminine fullness in her breasts and waist. The shape of her face was also very beautiful.
Her voice was also interesting, with a hint of luster and tension.
In other words, no matter how you look at it, she is a woman, but then the question arises.
“…The next chieftain is a woman and her fiancé is Chloe… Eh…? Eh…?”
I’ve never been confused in front of any large army or strong enemy, but as expected, I couldn’t immediately grasp this situation.
My head was filled with, “Eh? What?”. As I waited for the next chief and Chloe’s words.
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