In the beginning, we were given awesome hospitality thanks to the fact that we were friends of the Shrine Maiden.
As for the treatment of Shrine Maiden herself, it was exactly what the King had told her.
A huge personal living quarters, an assortment of dresses decorated with tons of beautiful gems and stones as her daily clothing, anything she wants she gets. Absolute preferable treatment all around.
In contrast to the treatment Ruri was given, a lot was left to desire. That said, at the very least, food and accommodation were provided. So she didn’t have much of a qualm with the situation.
After all, she was used to this manner of prejudice. It wasn’t much different from the past.
Or should I say, as expected, Asahi’s devotee increased even after coming to this fantasy world.
Her reputation of being the ‘Shrine Maiden who would bring glory to the kingdom’ acted as an accelerant more than anything.
Ruri had hoped that things might start to favor towards her after her transfer to this parallel world, but the appearance of Asahi destroyed her hope for any of that.
Taking that into account, she decided that it would be better for her to just learn the common sense of this country asap, and leave the castle. So begins her days of learning the language of this country.
She thought that being able to speak normally with the people of this world would make her learning process for the letters of this world easier. What a naive thought that was.
To make things worst, Asahi was sticking onto her constantly.
And it was also exactly at moments when she wanted to do her study, when Asahi would come bother her.
“Here you are, studying again~ Just forget about studying and play with me! We are in a parallel world, so why waste time on something that useless~” -Asahi
“Because it’s important” -Ruri
(It’s exactly because we are in a parallel world that we have to study up. You should do some study yourself too darn it. And this brainwashed prince we have here is a pain in the ass too. Isn’t he a prince? Why is he sticking onto Asahi?)
Behind Asahi stood the prince and her other former classmates. She was given hatred filled glances that Asahi’s devotees from the previous world would normally throw at her.
It seems that the charmed prince tried visiting Asahi a few times in the past, only to lay eyes upon the scene of Asahi being all friendly towards Ruri. He started to harbor bad thoughts towards Ruri.
“Shrine Maiden seems to have a very good relationship with Ruri-dono.” -Prince
“Un. We are close childhood friends after all!” -Asahi
(How many times must I say this but that is flatly untrue)
Upon hearing that, the prince squinted even more at the scene in front of him. The dense Asahi don’t even notice that the Prince is holding back on sighing.
And then, the incident happened.
Morning came, and she changed into the long sleeved One-Piece dress and boots that she wore at the time she was first transported here.
Although the people here did prepare some local clothing for her, the thought of wearing a dress with excess frills and decoration was embarrassing for her. As so, she politely declined.
The same can’t be said for Asahi and the rest of the gang.
Without warning, the door to her room was forcefully flung open. Soldiers started pouring into the room.
“?! What’s all this about?!”
Ignoring the shocked Ruri, the soldier rope cuffed her and brought her to the king’s chamber.
Her head was forcefully being held while she was made to kneel. The rope knot on her hand was hurting her.
“It hurts…” -Ruri
Many soldiers were surrounding the room. Amidst them were the prince and her former classmates. Asahi was nowhere to be seen tho.
Unlike the genuine hatred that the soldier was showering onto her, the face both the prince and her former classmates made was a distorted smile. She had a bad feeling about all this.
“You dare tried to murder the Shrine Maiden even though you were given ample treatment thanks to her benevolence. You should know your place!!” -Prince
“HUH?! I did no such thin…..ugh” -Ruri
Ruri retorted the moment she heard the false accusation of the prince. However, she was promptly given a kick by the knight behind her.
“There is a witness.” -Prince
After the prince finished saying that, the girl from the group of former classmate stood to the front.
“There is no mistake. She harbored thoughts of wanting to kill Asahi-san because of the different in treatment she was receiving. She even came to me, asking for my help in killing her.” -As*hole former classmate
(Ah, I get it now. Elimination of the nuisance one. They even collaborated with the prince to get rid of me.
Being put into a hopeless situation, Ruri was still calm as ever.
“Plotting to kill the Shrine Maiden is a heavy crime. I propose we exile her into the hidden forest. What do you say, your highness?” -Prince
“Umu, we shall do just that.” -King
Upon hearing the word ‘hidden forest’, the soldiers all gasped. Ruri was instantly hit with a bad feeling.
“…Does Asahi know about this? She won’t believe this farce of me wanting to take her life. Even if I really did attempt to kill her, she would ask for you guys to spare me you know?” -Ruri
Her former classmates made a frustrated expression upon hearing that. They had no guts to deny that truth.
Instead, the prince spoke out.
“We couldn’t bare to inform her that her best friend was plotting to kill her. We will tell the kind Shrine Maiden that you left the castle because you hated it.” -Prince
“I doubt she’ll accept that easily…” -Ruri
I’m sure she won’t believe that.
It was obvious that they kept Asahi in the dark to get rid of Ruri. From Ruri’s standpoint tho, it was them who doesn’t really understand Asahi.
Asahi’s obsession with Ruri was abnormal. It was to the point where if Ruri were to exclaim that she was ‘leaving her house for good’, Asahi would probably do the same.
(Once again, I got messed up in a pain-in-the-ass situation all because of Asahi. She should really put on a leash on her crazy devotees!!)
Even though being the primary suspect of most of Ruri’s trouble and misfortune, Asahi was totally oblivious.
She had more to say about the situation but gave up on it since this whole thing was probably a done deal. No matter how hard she tries to prove her innocence, her opponent was the King of this country. Fabricating a murder or even ordering an assassination of her is but a simple matter for him. There’s just no meaning in giving a rebuttal.
If so, being sent to the ‘hidden forest’ would be miles better than getting killed here. There’s the small detail of her not knowing what kind of place this ‘hidden forest’ is.
And so, she was put onto a horse carriage with her hand tied-up.
She couldn’t really tell how long they had traveled because of the occasional eye shut she had. However, the shaking of the carriage was unmistakenly getting worse and worse as time passes.
After an undetermined time, she was rudely forced off the carriage.
“You have only yourself to curse for your current predicament.”
“Oi, hurry up!”
“Aa, we should escape soon or else it’s over for us too.”
Sprouting such ominous words, the soldier left the scene hastily.
“At least release me from this rope knot…” -Ruri
Ruri was still being rope cuffed. It was so tight that wiggling about her hands was the most she could do.
Calmly, she opened up a hidden compartment in her boots. Inside was a blade the length of her palm, which she then used to cut herself free from the rope.
“To think that this would come in handy.” -Ruri
Caressing her newly freed wrist, she started looking about her surrounding.
A deep forest surrounded by tall trees.
As Ruri wasn’t that well equipped with the knowledge of this world, she hasn’t the slightest idea where she was.
No water or food ration, holding only a small blade, the situation is quite dire.
It wouldn’t be weird for me to die out here anytime.
But one thing was for sure.
“I will definitely survive this. And I will take my revenge. What’s with this bullsh*t about my fake crime? I wasn’t happy that Asahi was sticking to me like a leech the slightest bit.”
Quite the contrary, I would happily offer my place to anybody else.
That said, I had nothing solid planned for my revenge. If anything else, surviving in this forest is my current priority.
Ruri brought up an image of the rough world map of this world she saw a while back during her studies, in her mind.
“If I remember correctly, there was supposed to be another big country beside Nadarsia.” -Ruri
Ruri remembered reading about a country much bigger than the Nadarsia Kingdom in the northeast direction.
The country was said to be the home of a race called ‘demi-humans’ and was the target of scorn from the Nadarsia Kingdom.
“Any place that Nadarsia hates might actually be a good place considering how Nadarsia is.” -Ruri
That said, she was not sure where she should start walking towards if she can’t even determine her current location.
The day was coming to an end.
For the moment, the acquirement of water and a shelter goes first.
She puckered her ears to listen for the sound of river flow. Disappointedly, she could only hear the rustling of the leaves around her.
Just as she was about to give up, she heard a faint ringing sound of a bell.
Holding the hope of there being somebody else out there, she started walking towards the sound that was seemingly drifting further and further.
She lost track of how much time has passed since she started desperately chasing the sound.
Her legs soon gave in to the extreme exhaustion as she landed butt first.
It was thanks to the moonlight that she wasn’t totally shrouded in darkness. It was only then, did Ruri started regretting acting recklessly as she did.
A sound of water flow entered her hearing range.
Mustering any power leftover within her, she started walking towards the sound source where a sight of a small river presented in front of her.
“… I wonder if it’s alright to drink this. Uuuu, ah who cares. Anything is better than dying from dehydration.”
Preparing herself the possibility of getting a stomach ache from drinking the unpurified water, she started gulping down on it.
Ruri was so occupied, that she did not even notice that the ringing of the bell had stopped.
Once she was hydrated enough, she started the next step of securing a bedding.
Ruri gathered dried leaves from the surrounding and spread it on the ground. Her makeshift bed was completed.
However, It wouldn’t be fun getting attacked in the dark.
Although she wanted to lit a fire to light up her surrounding, there was no flint or anything of that sort.
“If only I could use magic during a time like this…” -Ruri
She began to think back to the time when one of the priest cast magic to convince them about this whole summoning mumbo jumbo.
What was shown to her at that time was fire and water magic. Those would really be of huge help for Ruri right now.
She closed her eyes and started imagining a fire while muttering.
“…As if that’ll work” -Ruri
There’s no way that I could do it.
After all, it was said that in order to be able to use magic, one has to have the innate talent and the required training.
That’s why those who were able to use magic was given high ranks in the country.
If magic was so easy to obtain, the world would be filled with magicians.
I was ashamed that I even thought that I was able to use magic.
After drifting through her inner thought, she opened her eyes, surprised by the flame that is currently burning strong in front of her.
Amazed by what just happened, she placed the flame that was getting smaller as time goes by onto a pile of leaves.
For the moment, she was relieved that the problem of the light source was solved. She started thinking about what happened.
“… No way right? It can’t be…” -Ruri
There was no way that I could use magic.
Even though she was saying that, she held a twig and started imagining a flame. The end of the twig lighted up like a candle.
“Ahahaha… this must be a dream. Let’s go back to sleep so that I’ll wake up from this dream.”
Here, we have Ruri that is totally trying to escape from reality. In any case, she fell asleep quite easily because of the fatigue that accumulated for the day.
The next day, she was forced awaken by the pain she felt all over her back and shoulder.
To think that she was able to sleep through the night like a log even after being subjected to such trial, even she herself was flabbergasted. She was also disappointed that what transpired the day before was not just a dream.
And just like that, 5 day passes.
Ruri managed to stay alive.
Ignoring the fact that Ruri was able to use fire magic, her grandfather was a former army staff and a survival junkie. Since she was little, her grandfather trained her in basic survival skills needed to survive in a jungle. Be it on how to secure food, water, and shelter, or skills that could mean the choice between death or alive, they were all cramped into her Sparta style.
The idea of hiding a blade under the boot was his teaching as well.
“You should always prepare yourself for any situation that might arise to stay alive, no matter what!” was a favorite phrase of my grandfather.
I would really like to take back the thoughts I had in the past which was things like ‘Stop embarrassing me with your otaku-talks grandfather! We are living in a peaceful land of Japan. There is no need for you kill or die antics.’. I’m so sorry grandpa~
Life is unpredictable.
“Dear grandfather, thanks to your teaching, Ruri is still alive and well.
I should have packed survival gears on myself at all time like you told me to…”
If I managed to find a way back to my original world, I swear that I would do a Sliding Dogeza in front of Grandfather.
“… That is, If I am able to go back anyway…” -Ruri
Honestly, Ruri doesn’t really feel like it was possible. However, by traveling to other countries, she just might find a way back home. That small hope she had in her was what’s holding her.
Suddenly, she heard a ring of a bell.
It was the same ringing sound she would hear time and again since the first day she was exiled here.
Whenever she follows the direction of the ringing, she’ll undoubtedly find herself at places with water source and fruits.
It was a little bit unnerving thinking that she was being observed by someone unknown. But she couldn’t think badly of him/her because it was thanks to that person she was able to survive until now.
Although, She was hoping for more luxuries like a change of clean clothing and food with thicker flavors.
She started searching around the surrounding for food at the location of the ringing. However, something felt amiss this time.
The ringing was loud.
As if it was trying to signal the arrival of something, the ringing sound increased in its volume.
It came to the point where she could practically hear it ringing right beside her ear. Just as she was about to shout ‘Noisy-‘, a rustling sound could be heard coming from behind Ruri.
She nonchalantly turned around, only to find herself facing a 3-meter tall hybrid creature of a pig, bear, and scorpion.
That creature that was in an excited state made a “Fuhyaaa” sound and started chasing after Ruri.
“Kyaa! What’s that? WHAT IS THAT?” -Ruri
Seeing the onslaught initiated by the creature, Ruri started sprinting full speed while letting out a cry.
And so we’re back to where we started our story at.
I maneuvered around the trees efficiently, trying to escape from the creature. But all was to no avail as the creature just rams down the trees in front of it, not slowing down his chase on me.
“I’m pretty sure I am able to create a new world record in sprinting… ha ha…… Oi, You’re damn insistent aren’t you? I’m not delicious at all ok?!”
To Ruri who was running for her life, the branches that were hitting her were a total hindrance. Fatigue was catching up with her fast.
It’s all over…
As I thought that, I felt as if I just passed through a barrier of some sort. Surprised by it, I tripped and fell to the ground.
I quickly stood up and look behind me. But the creature that was supposed to be following me stop dead on its track and started looking around.
And just like that, the persistent chase of the creature ended as it walked away, ignoring Ruri that was in front of it.
“…I-I’m saved… But what was that…… ”
I let out a huge sigh and started looking around. It was then something caught my eye.
“… A house? Why… how?? There wasn’t anything there just now…”
A huge house appeared in the middle of the forest that used to be filled only with greens.
No matter how desperate I was trying to escape, there was no way that I would miss a house like this.
While I was still trying to take in the situation, I started walking towards the house. Smoke suddenly started to billow out from the chimney.
“Someone is there…” -Ruri
It was without a doubt the person that was helping me in the background ever since I was exiled to this forest.
As if the whole sequence with the creature never happened, I started to relax.
“I wish that the person inside is a good person!” -Ruri
Inside Ruri’s head was filled with the hope of a warm bath, change of clothing, and a satisfying meal.
Holding onto the hope that she will be blessed with those things, she prayed with her palms joined, while approaching the house.
“Oi girl. How did you come in here?”
I was taken by surprised by the voice I heard which I promptly turned my gaze towards.
It was an old lady holding a kitchen knife, with blood covering her everywhere.
“Kyaaaa, It’s a ghost haggggggggggg!!” -Ruri
“WHO ARE YOU CALLING A HAG!!”
I wanted to play the straight guy and say ‘That’s what you’re concerned with??’. But due to the fatigue from running so long and the unbelievable situation unfolding in front of me, I blacked out from the shock.