Chapter 4:

Some Princess Almost Gets Me Killed

Fighting For My Freedom In Another World

The princess looked me right in the eyes. Maybe it was just my imagination, but it felt like my heart was suddenly beating significantly faster than it should have. Bookmark here

Despite how this ostensibly was supposed to be some sort of trial, the princess neglected any kind of proper proceedings to speak to me directly. Bookmark here

“Tell me, what may possess a girl of your age to commit the acts you have? I hardly believe your actions could be considered those of any normal teenager. To put yourself before any other, and to such an extreme extent. To take lives to the extent you have. To not lie sleepless every night wondering whether what you did was truly justified after committing such atrocities. If your one life really is worth so many others’...”
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“I… don’t know.”Bookmark here

Being called “a girl of your age” by someone who clearly was younger than me felt a bit strange, but I let it slide for now. Bookmark here

“You… don’t know? After committing all of these crimes, you cannot even say why? You cannot even justify what you have done?” Bookmark here

I looked down and blushed, in part because I had no idea what to say, and in part because of how close she was. Bookmark here

I was at my wit’s end. What was I even supposed to reply? I didn’t do it, I have no idea what you’re talking about? Why would anyone ever believe that? I had read these kinds of stories, and it didn’t work that way. People didn’t just believe you if you suddenly told them you’re someone from another world, and that was about the only thing that would save me. Bookmark here

“Your silence speaks for itself. I see no need for going through the full trial proceedings. At this point it would be no more than a mere formality. Is there anyone who would like to object?”

She took a sweeping look around, but all was quiet. Something told me you didn’t just object to things the princess said. She was in charge in… or technically out, here. Bookmark here

“In that case, I suppose there is no reason we cannot end today’s proceedings here. Executioner, you may prepare your instruments. Though I suppose it would be unfair to end her life entirely without a proper trial, no matter how vile a witch she may be…”Bookmark here

At this point it kind of felt like the best I could hope for would probably be for my death. I died(?) in one world, then got transported to another only to die again the very same day! Yay! Bookmark here

“We shall hold some shortened trial proceedings. Let us give this event at least an air of propriety, no matter how lacking in proper procedure and formality it may actually be. The defendant is one Maria Darkfire, known witch and with one of the highest magical aptitudes in the country. It is quite the shame she chose to dedicate her abilities to as trivial misdemeanor as she has considering how ample and plentiful the gifts she has been bestowed would have been if put to proper use.”Bookmark here

I had two main doubts about this whole thing. One: was it really a princess's job to be running trials entirely on her own like this? And if it was, what was the point of assembling everyone else when she could just have commanded my death and been done with it? Bookmark here

Two: Was it just me or was this princess coming across as kind of biased against me? Bookmark here

“Even at a mere seventeen years old, Maria Darkfire has committed crimes more vile than any other could even have dreamed of… and than any other would have been capable of. She is the one witch in the world capable of commiting the crimes she has. I believe that is all the evidence needed for her guilt.”Bookmark here

Seventeen… apparently I was the same age in this world as in my old one(I had gotten lucky and skipped ahead a year, or two, or three). I suppose that would have made the princess somewhere between fifteen and seventeen years old, probably, assuming my earlier speculation was correct. Bookmark here

“But as a final confirmation before her sentence is handed down, we shall hold one final demonstration. Her powers are mostly contained at the moment, but Darkfire should still have enough magical power left to give us a brief show of what she can do… just not to a lever that would pose any real danger to anyone present.”Bookmark here

I was so not ever going to get used to that name. Not that I ever would need to if I was going to die in the next few minutes. Bookmark here

“Defendant, please show us. You should already know that kind of magic I am talking about. Your death will only be made all the more painful if you refuse. So without further ado, please do demonstrate.”
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“Do… what, exactly?”Bookmark here

I, of course, had no idea what kind of magic she was talking about, nor what “magic” even entailed in this world. Bookmark here

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“Demonstrate what?”
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“Are you intentionally trying to cause me affront? Believe me, the pain you will experience if you do not comply will not be trivial.”Bookmark here

“I mean, sure. Your words are scary and all, but that doesn’t change that I genuinely have no idea what it is you’re asking me to do, or what all this magic business is even about in the first place.”
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“You are a witch. It would be most unreasonable for me to believe that you are unaware of not just how to use magic, but its very existence itself.”
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“Doesn’t change that it’s true though…”
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“If pain is what you desire, I suppose you can consider your wish granted. Executioner, you may begin. I officially declare Maria Darkfire guilty of every crime she has ever been accused of… and a few more for good measure.”Bookmark here

The princess started walking away from me, and a quite muscular and very scary-looking, intimidating, fearsome man who was carrying some kind of weird stick came to stand beside me. Bookmark here

I didn’t quite manage to comprehend what happened next. The man may have prodded me with the stick? But despite only being a light touch at worst, it made it, almost impossible… to… think...Bookmark here

It… it hurt… Bookmark here

I didn’t want it, to just end like… this… not again!Bookmark here

“Wait! I-I’m not…”
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“You are already beyond pardon, Darkfire. There is nothing more you can ever hope to achieve in this life… I pray you will treat your next one better.”Bookmark here

The princess’s voice was cold and filled with ice. She clearly meant it. Bookmark here

But she turned around to speak to me, and that meant she could see my face. Tears rolling down it, desperation creeping into my voice, and my face contorted in pain. If I was going to reach her, something told me this was the only chance I was going to get. Bookmark here

“Please, just… listen to me… I! I… I… I STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT ALL THIS MAGIC STUFF IS EVEN ABOUT! I… I PROMISE!”Bookmark here

It took all the energy I had left to muster up that cry, but it was worth it.Bookmark here

For the first time that day, the princess’s confidence wavered. Her mouth was slightly open, her eyes opened wide, and for the first time she looked at me not with contempt, but with insecurity. Bookmark here

Insecurity about if she really had made the right choice. Bookmark here

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