Sleeping by the water’s edge, Ruby had a dream.
Inside the dream, she was a doll that could not speak.
Her owner was the hero Yuutarou.
Yuutarou had several other dolls besides Ruby.
They were adorable, they were gorgeous.
But they were toys in the shape of people, unable to do anything by themselves.
Yuutarou kept adding and adding more and more dolls.
Every time he went on an adventure, he would return with another doll.
They decorated his doll showcase.
He doesn’t let anyone else touch them.
They were only for himself to enjoy.
— Treasures only meant for Yuutarou.
As long as they remain dolls, he would guarantee their safety.
Yuutarou takes care of his dolls.
She was not unique, but he always, always protects her along with many other dolls.
Being his possession did not mean that there were no problems.
But she couldn’t move on her own, not after she’d gone this far.
‘You can’t stay that way’
She heard a voice.
‘You are a human being’
The voice denied Ruby’s way of life.
She wanted to cover her ears, but the doll Ruby could not even move her hands.
She frantically, pretended not to hear.
After all, she can’t return to being human anymore.
When Ruby was a human, she always failed and failed.
She couldn’t save her friend.
She lost her parents.
Because she did something unnecessary—
Therefore she should stay this way.
Like this, forever, and ever —
Are you really okay with that?
Of course I’m okay, it’s the best thing.
‘Talk, move, be a human’
The voice insistently scolded Ruby.
Shut up, shut up.
Go away, now.
Don’t lead me astray—!
Right then, something plopped down at Ruby’s feet.
A bundle of paper, and a pen.
A voice leaked out from her throat.
Even though dolls aren’t supposed to be able to do that.
And then Ruby —
As the dream ended, Ruby suddenly awakened.
When she opened her eyes, she saw starlight.
For an instant she was confused, where am I now? Right, I’m on a journey, she recalled.
She was with the Elven woman Shuka, heading towards Sephor.
Shuka wasn’t sleeping next to her where she should have been.
Ruby was all alone by the water’s edge.
Feeling helpless, Ruby looked around her — and right that moment.
She heard a loud scream.
Ruby hurried towards where the sound came from.
Shuka was there.
Shuka wasn’t alone.
There was an Orc there.
A horrible Orc was picking Shuka up.
“Ruby, run away!! It’s a stray Orc…!”
Shuka yelled at Ruby to run.
The Orc violently threw Shuka to the ground.
Shuka let out a groan.
But Shuka soon picked herself up.
She was probably buying time for Ruby to run, she clung to the Orc by the waist, tackling it.
“Hurry up and run Ruby!!”
Shuka was covered in blood, wounded all over.
If this goes on, she would be killed.
“A … ah”
Ruby was petrified.
She remembered what happened three years ago.
She tried to save her friend from Orcs and jumped out of the alleyway.
But she wasn’t able to do anything.
Her friend was brutally killed, her parents too.
She shouldn’t have done anything.
It would have been better if she didn’t do anything —.
She shouldn’t do anything either.
She thought she could do something but in the end—
In her head, she recalled the memory of the past few days.
She picked up the pen by her own will.
She wrote down a tale by her own will.
She was judged down time and time again.
Still, she took it all in.
It was harsh, but she felt an irreplaceable happiness.
She never felt the same when she was a doll.
If she didn’t move now, she wouldn’t be able to see that happiness ever again.
Move move move move —!
Her will flowed to her limbs.
Her white hot will melted her frozen body.
“Shuka, please hold on for a little longer!”
With a hand on the ground, Ruby yelled.
She drew a circle and chanted a spell.
Both her eyes were dyed in red.
Changing into a deep crimson.
“Shuka, get away …!”
Then Ruby invoked the magic.
A secret art passed down among grimoireurs.
The Orc screamed in agony.
Its horrible body went up in flames.
A few seconds later, it disappeared, not even leaving cinders behind.
Ruby hadn’t used magic for a long time, it exhausted her.
Her head felt faint, she staggered —
Shuka caught Ruby’s body in her arms.
She triumphantly smiled at Ruby.
“Thank you, Ruby. You saved me there. If you didn’t I’d be an Orc’s plaything right about now. You’re so cool, you’re the best!”
“N … no … I was able to change because of Shuka”
“No, I only helped you out a little bit. That will, that strength, you grasped it all on your own”
“Ruby,” said Shuka.
“— You’re a fine protagonist now”
That moment, Ruby was wrapped in a strange feeling.
She felt the chains that bound her disappear—
— I feel like I can write a good story now.