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The Briar Princess
Chapter 1LN2 infobox
Chapter 1

Episode 04: La Belle au bois dormant

Japanese Name

荊姫

Romanized Name

Ibarahime

Volume

2

Release Date

June, 2008

Pages

55

Adaptation

Appendix (OVA)

"The Briar Princess" is the 1st chapter of The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, volume 2. It's divided into six parts and contains three illustrations. The chapter is labeled as Episode 04 in the story line.

Hugh and Dalian visit a village to look for a Phantom Book owned by the late John Calobos. On their way to his villa they meet Thalia, a herbalist that warns them about the dangers of that land.[1]

SummaryEdit

The servants were running from the burning house filled with smoke. The owner sighed in relief after reaching the living room where he had access to the exit. However, he stopped when he saw Florence walking towards him. Her daughter had a book in her right hand and an axe in the left. The man couldn’t believe when she attacked him, slashing his shoulder. While he was collapsed on the carpet, she chopped his head open with a beautiful smile on her face. The girl laughed, then she picked a vase on the ground. Oil was poured over the body, which was quickly encased by the flames. Florence cheerfully disappeared into the darkness of the night, with only a book in her possession.

Part 1 Edit

Hugh and Dalian were walking up the bumpy and neglected slope. Surrounded by a thick forest, it was obvious that the mountain path was barely used. Dalian stops to complain of tiredness, boredom, pain and hungry. The young man, however, was unable to drive his car in such an uneven road. Furthermore, it was her idea to investigate the place ahead. Hugh is sure that they were not lost, although the farming village they just passed was abnormally deserted. The policeman that gave them instructions never mentioned this situation. Oddly enough, it seems that the inhabitants have left their houses just recently, during the harvest period.

Still pouting, Dalian tells Hugh to carry her. He was rendered speechless, since he was already taking her baggage on his back. She stuns him further after explaining that he was carrying books the whole time. After all, the Biblioprincess didn’t want to feel bored in case they were lost in the mountains. She suggests to carry the baggage while Hugh would carry her, but he didn’t even bother to answer her. Hugh was prepared to continue walking, when he saw a young girl in front of them. He reveals that they planned to visit her village to search for a book. Because of Dalian’s shyness towards unknown people, there was a nervous atmosphere between them. It was quickly dissipated by the growl coming from Dalian’s stomach. The face of the hungry little girl turned red. Unlike Hugh, the woman couldn’t suppress her laughter.

Part 2 Edit

Thalia's fried bread

Dalian tries Thalia's fried breads.

They were walking between the houses of the village up the slope as soon as they left the forest under the setting sun. There were around fifteen homes surrounded by the field. Domestic animals stayed on the steep side of the hill. Seeing how Dalian was tired, Thalia suggested that they rest at her house. Her place was the oldest in the village and had strange symbols on the doors and pillars, the same ones present on her clothes. The interior was filled with bottles, vials, grasses, roots and ancient texts. Thalia affirms to be the herbalist of the village, acting as a doctor in the community. Dalian examined her books for a moment, but quickly stopped to stare at an earthenware pot containing fried breads. Thalia tells her to help herself.

Hugh looks out of the window, pretending not to see Thalia smiling at Dalian as she eats the bread. Because of that, Thalia thinks they were looking for the house of the head of the village. Hugh denies it before asking about John Calobos. He’s the Lord of the village, a wealthy man who owns those mountains. He died six months ago, when his house in the city burned to ashes. The case is undergoing investigation, but it’s said that an arsonist was responsible for the fire that killed nearly twenty people, including his family and servants. Thalia is shocked, since no one came to spread the news, not even Miss Florence, Calobos’ beautiful daughter who stays at the villa built in this village.

Hugh heard that a merchant who traded with Mr. Calobos saw Florence at the foot of the mountain one month ago. The woman is thought to have set fire on her father’s house. Thalia says that Florence moved to seek a treatment due to her weak body, so she can’t believe these rumors. The herbalist suspects that Hugh wants to arrest Florence, but he reveals that he was after the Dark Green Book, an important item purchased by Mr. Calobos. The merchant mentioned before has seen it in Florence’s hands. Dalian suddenly asks about the villa’s location. The lonely building next to the big northern forest was covered in thorny vines, blending in with the background. Thalia warns them that people easily get lost and never return while trying to reach the place. It had happened even with the locals due to the layout of the land surrounding it. Hugh vaguely distinguishes the silhouette of a woman by the window in the distance. He wonders if she’s the owner of a Phantom Book.

Part 3 Edit

Hugh and Dalian left their baggage at Thalia’s house to wander around the village. Hugh made small talk with a farmer. The latter advices them to avoid checking the castle of the Rose Princess during the night. They may never return from the northern forest. After a while, they bid farewell to each other. Later, Hugh mentions how odd that village was. It’s too small to survive by itself, although there were no signs of interaction with the outside world. The few inhabitants do not seem to know how the village at the bottom of the mountain was empty. Dalian also notices the absence of elderly people and children around. Nonetheless, they didn’t feel that the townsfolk were hiding something or acting suspicious. Hugh looks at the castle of thorns in the distance, wondering about the princess rumored to be resting inside it. Covered by the evening sky, the villa was becoming one with the surrounding forest.

Part 4 Edit

Calobos' villa

Hugh and Dalian reach Calobos' villa.

The uneven land surrounding the villa was difficult to cross as affirmed by Thalia and the farmer. Hugh and Dalian finally reached its front metallic door blocked by thorny vines. Corpses were entangled in the mess of plants. Wearing faded clothes, the suspended bodies were dry, exposed to the weather. According to Hugh, the servants of the villa died a few years ago. However, they had no way of knowing if those people were strangled by the vines. Someone had probably brought an axe to save his companions. Hugh picked the tool from the ground to open a path to the door, which was unlocked. He used his lighter to illuminate the dark interior. The Briar Princess Florence Calobos should be on the observatory room of the clock tower. Hugh saw her figure a few hours ago. However, what he and Dalian found was the body of a young, long-haired girl, about the same age as Thalia.

Dead for half a year, she was positioned as if looking down on the village, standing by the window covered with thorny vines. Her lower body was collapsed on the sofa. The other dismembered parts were being held in the air by the vines, as if they were controlling a marionette. The blood marks in the ceiling were another evidence that ruled out the possibility that she committed suicide. Hugh wonders how Miss Florence was seen at the foot of the mountain one month ago. Dalian suggests that someone else might be using the Dark Green Book, since dead people are unable to read. She points out that Thalia is the only person who can read in the village. Outside, the red light of the moon revealed that the thorny vines were wriggling as if they were alive, trying to envelope the villa where Hugh and Dalian were in.

Part 5 Edit

The vines shattered the window and invaded the observatory room. Hugh dragged Dalian down the stairs. A braided vine grabbed his foot, but it was quickly sliced with an axe blow. He avoided more vines that rushed towards them. Their path was eventually blocked, so Hugh had no choice but to jump through a window. While carrying Dalian, he landed on the courtyard below and kept running. He threw the axe at the vines, but the tool was immediately covered, the handle crushed into many splinters. They finally escaped the danger after clearing a wall that had just collapsed. The vines had encircled the entire villa, but they didn’t have the power to chase them. Dalian seemed unhappy with being carried like a baggage. Before Hugh can catch his breath, he notices someone nearby.

Thalia always knew about Miss Florence’s fate. The herbalist has the Dark Green Book under her cape. She flips over the pages, as if looking for something. The young woman and everything around her became white. It would be hard to leave the land with the dense fog that suddenly appeared. Dalian was holding Hugh’s clothes tightly, afraid that they would be separated by the whiteness. They could only hear Thalia’s mad laughter. Looking behind her shoulder, the Biblioprincess sees a huge dark forest. They had no escape because the dense trees were surrounding them. It would be more threatening to their lives if they just run. Furthermore, they didn’t know which Phantom Book was suitable to be used against Thalia’s Dark Green Book.

They also became targets of strong farmers wielding sharp pronged tools. Despair and fear were present on the villagers’ faces. Hugh tries to talk to them to no avail. He prepared to use the revolver under his coat, although his bullets wouldn’t be enough to fight the enemy. However, the farmers stopped moving and dropped their weapons. They were ageing quickly, their teeth were decaying, their hair was falling, their skin was becoming spotted. They are, in fact, the same missing villagers from the bottom of the mountain, people who forgot their pasts and were rejuvenated to live as Thalia’s neighbors. Hugh grasped Dalian’s hand and entered the dark forest. He wouldn’t wait for Thalia’s next attack. In a split second, the darkness of the trees and the whiteness of the fog disappeared.

Hugh and Dalian found themselves in a beautiful plain, back at the villa that had been covered by vines. Thalia was laughing at their attempt to take her father’s book. She finally reveals herself as the daughter of John Calobos. The real Thalia was the womanly figure inside the observatory room. Florence, who is said to be missing, had assumed her identity. Florence couldn’t accept the fact that her father visited the village only to see his lover Thalia. When Florence opened the Phantom Book once again, Hugh and Dalian ended up surrounded by cliffs as a large canyon was opened in the ground. At that moment, Dalian gave Hugh the right to open the Labyrinth Library. Florence watched in fear as Hugh removed a Phantom Book from the void on Dalian’s chest.

The Biblioprincess finally discovered that Florence’s Phantom Book allows its user to create illusionary landforms to confuse intruders. The illusion, however, could kill as much as the real thing. The old people at the bottom of the mountain may be trapped forever in this hallucination. Florence repeatedly changed the scenery around while flipping through the pages of the Dark Green Book. She plans to understand the Phantom Book better in order to resurrect her father. She wants him all to herself, as if the herbalist had never existed. Hugh reads The Mantra of Reality to break the illusions. According to Dalian, Florence hadn’t been chosen by the Dark Green Book, explaining why it was so easy to oppose its powers. Back to the gentle slope of grass, Florence stood in shock, letting the Phantom Book slip from her hands. Hugh gently picked it up from the ground. Now there was no vines covering the villa. Such a view made Florence think about the time when her father was still alive. She ran towards the building, only to fall directly down a cliff that she failed to notice.

Part 6 Edit

Wild roses

Dalian sympathizes with Florence's feelings.

The next day, Hugh got up at dawn to make a simple grave for Florence near the villa. The real Thalia and all the elderly villagers had disappeared, as if they were freed from the illusion created by the Phantom Book sometime after the fire at the lord’s house. The once beautiful village now was dilapidated. People thought John Calobos used to visit the village in order to look out for his daughter in recovery, but his real motive was to meet Thalia. In a fit of anger, Florence had killed her father and his lover, then took the Dark Green Book to herself. The young woman had lived as the herbalist for half a year, believing that her father loved her the most. Dalian slightly understands Florence’s feelings. Inside the Biblioprincess' body, the soul of a young girl is sealed, waiting for freedom. Dalian places a seed of a wild rose on top of the grave. Although the illusion vanished, the seed would remain. Hugh notices that, in a few years, Florence’s burial site would be covered with flowers.

Dalian doesn’t like the idea of descending the path back to the bottom of the mountain. She took many ancient tomes from Thalia’s house, so now Hugh had more baggage to carry. The Biblioprincess offers to help him if he carries her in his back. Hugh asks if she takes him as an idiot.[1]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, Chapter 1, volume 2.