“Please wait a moment.”

With that, Sophia prevented the owl from continuing the conversation.

She didn’t understand what was happening.

Who was this owl?

Why had it contacted her and not Isaac, the commander?

“There are no talking owls in the human world……”

Sophia calmed her breathing and then said:

“You mentioned ‘border’ earlier, which suggests you are from the Demon Territory, correct?”

“Yes.
Do you hate demons?”

“No, I desire peace between the Empire and the Demon Territory for the sake of my sister, Liana.”

Sophia wished happiness for her sister Liana.

For that, it was best for the country to be at peace.

If a war broke out, Liana, the ‘Princess of the Holy Sword’, would be presented with an increasing number of opportunities to brandish her sword.

She sought to avoid Liana being harmed and she abhorred the idea of Zagran taking advantage of Liana in every battle even more.
She didn’t want Liana to be influenced and changed by Zagran.

To prevent this from happening, she strove for a peaceful relationship between the Empire and the Demon Territory.

“For the sake of peace between the two countries, I am willing to expend myself completely.”

Sophia rose from her chair and bowed formally, as was befitting of an Imperial Princess.

“If you are a messenger from the Demon Territory, you must have come with a purpose.
Would you please inform this Sophia Dolgalia of it?”

“Certainly.”

With that, the white owl shifted from the branch to the window frame.

Upon closer inspection, several owls were perched on a tree in the mansion’s garden.

A black owl.
A reddish owl.
A yellowish owl.

Apparently, many types of owls dwelled in this town.

“I have a request from the Demon Territory.
We would like the Empire to change the location of the military exercises.”

“The location of the military exercises?”

“Yes.
The Demon Territory was asked to come to the border area and participate in the military exercises.
But there was no way the residents of the Demon Territory could go see the training since it was happening in such a dangerous place.”

“What do you mean ‘dangerous place’?”

“They’re being done i n the western plains.”

The white owl stared straight at Sophia and said:

“The soldiers of the Empire are launching magic and arrows at the roads there, making them impassable.
It’s very dangerous.”

“…… Eh?”

“My lord said: ‘We will not participate in military exercises in such a dangerous location.
That would suggest that the Demon Territory has agreed to something that will place the residents of both sides in danger’.”

“T-that……”

Sophia’s face turned pale.

“Soldiers of the Empire were conducting exercises that exposed those that use the road to danger? Why did Isaac order such a thing……”

After contemplating for a while, Sophia realized Isaac’s intention.

“”

He intended on harassing the Demon Territory.

Sophia knew that the residents of the Demon Territory and the Imperial citizens residing in the border area were trading with one another.
She was also aware that the high council of the Empire was tolerating the matter.

Additionally, this region, far removed from the Imperial capital, was swarming with monsters.
As such, both nations were required to cooperate with one another to ensure their survival.

At times they would fight alongside those of the Demon Territory to defeat the monsters, and at times they would exchange necessary materials.

As long as they shared a border, interaction was inevitable.

Isaac was likely attempting to annoy the Demon Territory by obstructing them.

‘──What is the point of flaunting their “strength” in such a manner?’

Sophia understood the importance of demonstrating the power of the Empire to the Demon Territory as a deterrent against battle.

That was why Sophia was meant to cast light attribute attack magic in this place.

However, Isaac’s method was incorrect.

It was completely contrasting to the ‘strength’ of a hero, being nothing but childish harassment.

“We would like you to use your power to change the location of the military training.
The Demon Territory doesn’t want to cause trouble for the people of the Empire.”

The white owl bowed its head as it said this.

“If you do that, our lord will give you a health good.”

“What is this ‘h ealth good’?”

“It’s what improved my circulation.
I had been suffering from poor magic circulation in my body due to too much light magic.”

“Your magic circulation?”

“It was making me feel cold and lose strength very quickly.”

“…… Eh!”

Those were the same symptoms Sophia experienced.

Despite the Empire commanding its own healers, they were unable to cure Sophia.

The white owl seemingly suffered from the same condition.

“But I’m cured now.
My benefactor cured it for me.”

“…… T-that’s possible?”

“I’ll let you use it too.
As long as you keep it a secret.”

The white owl said.

“My benefactor has great power, but he doesn’t want the people of the Empire to know much about it.
But, if you do us a favor and keep it a secret, then we will let you benefit from a part of his abilities.”

“Are you certain you are capable of treating my body?”

“Do you doubt it?”

“With all due respect to your…….
I’m sorry, but this is all too sudden.”

“My benefactor can guarantee that the Demon Territory is telling the truth.
He said that if you had any doubts about the Demon Territory, I can mention his name.”

The white owl suddenly said.

“My benefactor’s name is Thor Canaan-sama.
In the Empire, he was called Thor Regus-sama.”

“Thor Regus.
The one who was sent to the Demon Territory?”

Sophia knew him as well.

It was no secret that Duke Regus had offered his child as a hostage for the Demon Territory.

Or rather, the duke himself openly boasted about it in various social circles.

The duke later met failure and was dispatched to the south.

“I am pleased to hear that Thor Regas-sama is safe and sound.”

“Not only is he safe, but our benefactor is also an important figure in the Demon Territory.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes, it is.
I came here this time partly because he suggested it.”

The white owl unfurled its wings and bowed.

“My benefactor told me, ‘If Her Imperial Highness makes use of any of the health goods and is even slightly displeased or unsatisfied, she may launch light magic at me as atonement.”

“Eh!?”

“Can Your Imperial Highness use light attribute offensive magic more powerful than [Vivid Light Strike]?””

“Y-Yes.
However, were I to cast it, I would be bed-ridden for a few days…….”

“Then my benefactor is willing to receive it.
He has already said that in front of Her Majesty the Demon Lord.
It’s his responsibility now.”

“H-However, if he were to be subjected to such powerful offensive magic, his life would be……”

“We don’t have a choice in the matter.
It’s what Thor-sama wanted.”

The white owl nodded, responding in a serious tone.

“He was so determined that even my master, the Demon Lord, eventually agreed.”

“Thor Canaan-sama is determined to such an extent……”

Sophia’s heart began to beat strongly, as though it would burst out of her chest.

Sophia subconsciously clutched her chest as she breathed heavily.

The white owl continued speaking, mentioning phrases such as “light attribute offensive magic,” “additional UV-Cut experiments,” and “4 parasols,” but none of them registered in her brain.

Thor Canaan’s determination had struck a chord within Sophia.

‘Thor Canaan is a man who is willing to risk his life to become a conduit between the Demon Territory and the Empire.’

He swore to the Demon Lord that if Sophia was not satisfied with the health good, he would have light attribute offensive magic unleashed against him.

Just how much courage would it require to proclaim such a matter…….

“”

Sophia wondered if she harboured the courage to do so.

Sophia Dolgalia is a princess.

She may not possess the right to succeed to the throne, but she is still the daughter of the emperor.

And now, here in the north, an Imperial commander was harassing others in a childish manner.

‘As an Imperial princess, I must stop him.’

‘I too must respond to the courage of Thor Canaan.’

‘A boy involuntarily sent to the Demon Territory was attempting to facilitate relations between the Empire and the Demon Territory.
How can I, an Imperial princess, not respond in kind?’

However, in order to restrain Isaac, a body that was healthy to some extent was required.

If the health good of the Demon Territory could accomplish that, then…

“I will cooperate.
I will stop the Imperial soldiers.
Please permit me use of the health good for that purpose.””

Sophia determinedly declared to the white owl.

“In the name of Imperial Princess Sophia Dolgalia, I will keep this a secret.
I leave this with you as proof.”

After saying so, Sophia grasped the fingers of her right hand and then removed the ring she was wearing.

She placed it on the palm of her hand and presented it to the white owl.

“This is a memento of the nanny who raised both Liana and myself.
She was akin to a mother to us sisters, and she gifted it to me because of the deep love she held for us.
My sister, Princess Liana, wears the same ring.
They do not hold high monetary value, but we consider them priceless treasures.
Please accept it.”

“Are you sure?”

“It is trivial compared to the bravery of Thor Canaan-sama.”

“…… Very well.”

The white owl held out its talons, around which Sophia hooked the silver ring.

“Will this suffice as evidence of my trust?”

“It will.
Now, this white owl, Soleil, is going back to the Demon Territory.
Then, when everyone has gone to bed, I will bring you the health good.
Your Highness can use it and see if it works.
Is that all right?”

“I understand.
Then, I will make preparations on my end as well.”

After hearing Sophia’s response, the white owl, and the owls that had been perched on the nearby branches, took flight.

 

 

 

 

 

Then, at midnight.

“Sorry to keep you waiting…”

The owls returned with what appeared to be a square tub.

The owls placed the tub on the floor in front of Sophia, who rubbed her eyes from sleepiness.

They poured water into the tub from bags attached to their legs.

The tub filled up quickly despite the small size of the bags of water.

She asked them how it worked, but they simply replied with, “We have a secret box.”

“Please put your foot inside.”

“What… is this?”

“It’s an item from the heroes’ world called a [Footbath].”

“[Footbath]….”

She had never heard of this item.

However, the mere fact that it was from the world of the heroes made her feel as if she could trust it.

Sophia knew that heroes were those that wielded supernatural abilities.

‘And…… I have decided to trust the Demon Territory and Thor Canaan-sama.’

Sophia removed her shoes and dipped her bare, white feet into the [Footbath].

Witnessing this, the white owl, Soleil, suggested, “You might want to…… cover your mouth so you don’t make any noise.”

“Is it meant to be painful?”

“Er, no, it just feels too good.”

As Soleil touched the edge of the [Footbath] , the hot water began to vibrate, the vibrations being transmitted to Sophia’s feet.

“────Ah!”

Sophia immediately covered her mouth.

‘Wh-what is this? My feet…… no, it’s as though my whole body is relaxing.’

It seemed as if her legs were being massaged by countless hands.

Gently, she felt her tense body loosen.

Sophia realized for the first time that the magic power in her body was stagnant.

It had been inhibiting her body’s circulation, but it was now liquefying and flowing smoothly.

‘──It feels amazing, similar to being immersed in flowing hot water.’

Sophia let out hot breaths.

“You have to continue for a while or you’ll go back to the way you were.
So you should use it the next time as well, when you meet with Her Majesty the Demon King.”

“────!”

Nod, nod nod

Sophia nodded, her mouth still clamped shut.

Then, after using the [Footbath] for a while…

“…..
Phew.”

Sophia lay down on the bed, momentarily sapped of all strength.

She raised her arms and clenched her fists.

After recovering for a few moments, she now felt as if her body was brimming with strength.

She stood up and wandered around her room, her body light.

‘I don’t feel sluggish or weighed down.
My body feels as light as a feather.
But……’

Her clothes felt cumbersome.

The sleepwear was interfering with her improved magic circulation.

Sophia stared at her clothes with this feeling…

“Thor Canaan told me to give this to the princess.”

Soleil pulled out two pieces of cloth from a bag.

“These are underwear for those who have too much light magic.
You can wear these.”

“…… Eh?”

Sophia unfolded the clothes she was given.

It was indeed underwear, one upper garment and one lower.

“”

The top was a camisole that would cover her waist, and the bottom was slightly longer.

Also, for some reason, they were transparent.

While she grasped it in her hand, she could clearly see through it.

“If I give away anything else, the people around will notice.
So, please be content with these for now.”

The white owl announced in a serious tone.

Perhaps she was not joking, this underwear may truly be important.

“Just by wearing this underwear, you will feel much better.
I found that wearing light attribute underwear on the parts of the body that come into contact with the skin helps with the circulation of magic power.”

“S-such a thing……”

Sophia nodded, underwear in hand.

She had witnessed the effects of the [Footbath], so she was certain that this underwear would function as described as well.

However, if that was the case…

‘The technological development of the Demon Territory is a decade, if not decades, more advanced than that of the Empire.’

It was far too foolish to antagonize the Demon Territory.

‘Isaac must be stopped.
After that, I will be the bridge between the Empire and the Demon Territory.
The two nations must never, ever fight each other.’

Sophia determined herself to do so.

“Thank you very much.
I will return this to you now.”

Sophia handed the [Footbath] to the white owl.

The owls perched on the surrounding branches took the [Footbath] and then returned to their positions.

After waving to them, Sophia turned to the white owl.

“My body feels…… a little bit better.”

“I’m glad.”

“I believe the shortest way to stop the Imperial soldiers is to publicise the fact that there has been a formal objection from the Demon Territory.
To that end, would it be possible to be granted the opportunity to speak with your lord?”

“We already made preparations, a messenger will come tomorrow.”

“I understand.
Is there anything else?”

“The person who made the underwear said he wanted feedback.”

“Feedback?”

“He said, “I intend on asking many people to use the item, listen to their impressions, and use them as a reference to improve the product.
As this is the first time that I have made undergarments for those possessing the light attribute, I would like feedback regarding it.”

“My impression of these transparent undergarments……”

Sophia held her cheeks.

It was slightly embarrassing.

As she wondered just what kind of person designed this underwear, she nodded back at the white owl.

“I understand.
Please inform the creator of this underwear that I will present an evaluation.
Also, please convey this message to Thor Canaan.
“I admire your courage.
I look forward to seeing you again.””

“I understand.
I’ll make sure to tell him that.”

After Soleil murmured her response, the owls extended their wings in unison before flying off into the darkness of the night.

A few moments later, Sophia slipped into the underwear the owls had left behind.

The transparent underwear was somewhat uncomfortable and unsettling.

“”

“What if I develop strange habits?”

Sophia donned her nightgown over it and then lay down on her bed.

She felt faint.

It was different compared to when she suffered from a fever; it was as if her body was loosening slowly.

She closed her eyes, sleep swiftly answering her call.

Princess Sophia drifted off into a deep, relaxing, dreamless slumber…

 

 

 

 

“It’s morning already?”

Sophia raised her body, leaving her bed shortly after.

She quickly removed her nightgown and stared at her translucent underwear to ensure that yesterday was not simply an illusion.

She then changed into her dress and…

“What?”

Sophia found her movements to be light.

It was completely different compared to yesterday.

She usually got up sluggishly, dragging her heavy body and remaining in bed for a while to catch her breath.
Then she would slowly rise and start getting dressed once her condition settled down somewhat.

That had been her daily routine.

Yet today Sophia was out of bed and getting dressed like a healthy, normal girl.

Sophia shook her arms and legs.
She tried walking.
She tried bending downwards.

There were no issues.
She could walk around the room without becoming short of breath.

Furthermore, it felt as though her body was overflowing with magic power.

With just a slight chant, a ball of light appeared at her fingertips.
It was the ‘light’ used in the magic lamp.
It was a simple spell, but until yesterday she would feel exhausted each time she cast it.

However, she experienced no difficulties in casting magic today, it now seeming as easy as breathing to her.

‘…… The Demon Lord trusts me, doesn’t she?’

Mending Sophia’s body would result in there being another wielder of light magic in the Empire.

Yet, the Demon Territory allowed Sophia to use the [Footbath].

This meant that they believed that Sophia would not become their enemy.

“I’m not unsatisfied at all, Thor Canaan.
In fact, I have never felt so comfortable in all my life.”

Sophia mumbled to the boy who was supposed to be in the Demon Territory.

Her heart began to race for some reason at the thought of a person whose face she had never seen.

The boy, Thor Canaan, risked his life to earn Sophia’s trust and encourage her to use the [Footbath].

Had he not stated that he would bear her offensive magic with his body in case she was displeased, Sophia would not have been able to completely place faith in those of the Demon Territory.
As such, she would never have used the [Footbath].’

Thor Canaan’s courage supported her.

Therefore, she had to live up to his expectations and the trust of the Demon Territory.

Sophia walked out determinedly.

She pushed open the door with her hand and stepped out into the hallway.

 

“Y-Your Highness?”

“What’s the matter, Your Highness?”

“”

“This is detrimental to Your Highness’s body!”

 

The maids waiting in the corridor exclaimed in hushed tones.

Sophia smiled calmly.

“I’m pleased that you care for me,”

Sophia said, continuing to smile gently,

“But I’m fine.
I’m feeling better today.”

She lifted the hem of her dress and started to walk energetically.

 

“──Her Highness is walking spiritedly.”

“──The complexion of her skin has also improved, and her cherry-red hair also seems more lustrous.”

“──Sophia-sama laughed when acknowledging me.
Her Imperial Highness smiled at me…”

 

The maids couldn’t help but turn their gazes from Sophia as she walked, her steps brimming with energy.

Sophia continued on her way and arrived at the entrance of the mansion.

There, she realized that the mansion was smaller than it had previously seemed.

While she had been confined to her room, it seemed like a boundless prison.

“Your Highness, please wait!”

“It is dangerous for you to be here alone!”

At the entrance of the mansion, numerous soldiers shouted.

They were the soldiers stationed here by Isaac and Mariella.

Sophia turned to them.

“Thank you for your service.
I am grateful for your constant protection of the mansion.”

“…… Eh?”

“Y-Your Highness?”

“I am sure it would worry you were I to go out alone.
Therefore, could I ask you to escort me?”

Sophia smiled at the soldiers.

Her radiant smile caused the soldiers to gasp in shock.

 

“E-escort you?”

“Where are you headed, Your Highness?

 

“Yesterday, I was supposed to tour the town, but I had to abandon my plans.
Today, I am instead intending on visiting the castle gate.
I would like to request an escort from among those who are available.”

Sophia stared into the eyes of the soldiers and told them firmly.

The soldiers seemed confused.

Their commander, Isaac, was absent, and his second-in-command, Mariella, had not yet returned either.

The one currently holding the highest status was Princess Sophia.

Every one of the soldiers knew that Princess Sophia had been caged in the mansion.

She was the one who told the soldiers to escort her.

Her eyes were shining.
She looked different.
She looked healthier than usual.

 

“──The person in charge here is Her Highness Sophia.”

“”

“──We will escort you to the gates.”

“──It would be my honour to escort Your Highness around the town!”

 

The soldiers kneeled on the floor and declared.

“Thank you.”

Sophia lifted her skirt and curtseyed.

“This is the selfish request of myself, Sophia Dolgalia.
If anything happens, none of you will be at fault.
Everyone in the house is a witness.
Please remember that.”

With that, Sophia walked out of the mansion with the soldiers escorting her.

 

 

 

Once outside, chaos ensued.

Sophia, the Imperial princess, who had not been seen since her arrival in the town of Nosa, appeared while bathed in the morning sun’s rays.

The people of the town shouted as Sophia passed by, protected by the soldiers.

They exclaimed her praise.

They expressed their desire for peace.

They requested that Sophia avoid conflict with the Demon Territory.

Sophia nodded to those who spoke up and proceeded towards the town gate.

As she approached, the northern gate opened slowly, behind it sitting a soldier on horseback.

He turned towards the commotion in front of him and realized that it was centred around Princess Sophia.

 

“E-excuse me for my rudeness.
I didn’t realize that Her Imperial Highness Princess Sophia was present…”

“It is of no importance.
You were executing a reconnaissance mission, correct?”

“Yes.
I found a letter at the location used to contact the Demon Territory…”

The scout slowly approached Sophia and kneeled in front of her.

“The commander and his adjutant are out of town at this time.
As their substitute, I will receive the letter.”

“Y-yes.”

The scout handed Sophia a piece of parchment rolled into a cylinder.

Sophia opened the letter without paying much attention to it.

She did not need to examine it.

It was an offer to meet, on behalf of Demon Lord Rukie Evergard.

It was addressed to Princess Sophia Dolgalia.

The letter stated that the Demon Lord desired to speak to the princess for the sake of maintaining peace between the two nations.

“Let us send a response to her immediately.”

Rolling the parchment up, Sophia nodded.

She then turned to the soldiers.

“As soon as you finish writing it, please transport it to the location in which you found this letter.
Then, would you please summon one of the townspeople who is familiar with the Demon Territory to the mansion? I have a few inquiries I would like to make.”

“Un-understood.”

“I will do what I can to maintain peace between our nations.”

Sophia clenched her fists and told him.

She knew that this healthy condition was only temporary.

‘So, I will make use of my life to the utmost while I am still able.
I will repay the debt I owe to the Demon Territory that healed my body and ensure a peaceful life for the people near the border.’

‘Also, I need to ensure peace between our nations, for the sake of my sister, Liana.’

“The people of the past summoned heroes from other worlds in order to bring peace to the world and reassure their people.
As the princess of an Empire that honours these heroes, I want peace to be maintained within these borders.
I will exhaust my body for that purpose.
……”

She declared to the soldiers around her while her heart was pounding, seeming like it would burst out of her chest.

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