Crimson Afterglow (紅蓮の残影) is a side story featured in Gekkan Comic Alive.
One day at the Barielle Mansion, Priscilla Barielle decided to read a story from a book that she described as being something like memoirs to Schult. Schult attentively listened as Priscilla began to recount the story of her ownself to him.
Over seven years ago before Natsuki Subaru was summoned into the world, there was a young girl of around 11-12 years of age called Prisca Benedict. She had crimson eyes, porcelain white skin, orange hair and wore a luxurious red dress. One day at her mansion, the girl who had named herself Prisca was readying herself for the visit of her brother, Vincent Abellux. She first went to eat a meal, which had been taste-tested by her poison tester. However, the poison-tester had been poisoned, and had hidden the effects of the poison from the girl called Prisca. As a result, both of them were poisoned leading to both of their deaths. However, it was quickly revealed that this Prisca was just a stand-in body double that the real Prisca had employed to ward off assassination attempts, which were common when it came to Vollachian nobles. Prisca, who had shown herself in the dining hall, knew that the maids present had conspired to kill her and were actually assassins. Prisca ended up in a scuffle with them, but with the help of her closest servant, Arrachia, they easily dispatched of them, with Arrachia using her Spirit Eating powers to burn the majority of them.
A short while after this incident, Vincent arrived at the Benedict mansion with his entourage. He was quickly brought up to speed with what had occurred earlier in the day, and when he asked Prisca what the origins of these assassins were, Prisca replied that she didn't have any idea. Vincent equally wasn't sure, though he offered Prisca that he would try and investigate about it when he returned back to his mansion. During their talk, they were interrupted by Cecilus Segmunt coming back from his patrol of the surroundings. He quickly took note of Arrachia, who was beside Prisca, and riled her up, provoking her into attacking him. Cecilus defended against her attack with one of his katanas, and pulled out a second one, holding it against Arrachia's neck before sheathing them again. Following this turbid exchange, Vincent commanded Cecilus to stop this, since he had no intentions of making enemies with Prisca yet. This wording didn't escape Prisca's ears, and she eventually asked him if it had begun. To which, Vincent replied that indeed it had, that the Emperor Selection Ceremony had begun, and that she too would need to come to the Imperial Capital.
Sometime later in the Imperial Capital Rupgana, Prisca, Vincent and all the other living children of Drizen Vollachia, the 76th Emperor of Vollachia, gathered in a building for the upcoming Imperial Selection Ceremony. As they waited for the Emperor to make his appearance, Lamia Godwin came over to greet Prisca and Vincent; however, Prisca didn't take too kindly to this, and told her to vanish from her sight. However, Lamia continued to taunt her, and brought up the attack that had happened back at her mansion, causing Prisca to burst out in anger. Eventually, after Lamia had moved over to talk to Vincent, the Emperor made his appearance. Nearly all of his present children kneeled as he walked through the building, however, several of them including Prisca, Vincent and Lamia did not bother to pay him any such respects. One of Prisca's older half-brothers, Rommel, took offence to this and called her out on it. However, Drizen was not displeased by Prisca and the others' lack of respect, rather, he was okay with it. He queried Prisca personally about why she hadn't paid her respects after he'd silenced Rommel, and Prisca replied that she saw no value in waiting upon him, and that he'd grown old. She brought up the mantra of the Empire, "The people of the Empire are Strong", mentioning to him that she couldn't think that of him, who was the person standing at the apex of those teachings. This response greatly pleased Drizen, and he then turned towards Rommel and offered him to try holding the Yang Sword Vollachia, which he had just summoned from mid-air. Rommel tried to grab it, however he was incinerated. Straight after Rommel's death, Drizen went to grab the hilt of his Yang Sword, however, he too was incinerated by it, having lost his qualifications as Emperor presumably due to having grown weak. As everyone else was occupied watching Drizen's death, Vincent called out to Prisca and after exchanging a brief glance Prisca grabbed the Yang Sword that had materialised by her without any hesitation. Similarly, many other Yang Swords had materialised by the other candidates, testing whether they possessed the qualifications to wield it. And so began the Emperor Selection Ceremony.
A short time passed by after the Imperial Selection had started. Prisca, back at her mansion, reflected on how only eleven people, including herself, had been left standing after they'd unsheathed the Yang Sword. From the 32 candidates who'd been present at the ceremony, some of them had perished after being incinerated by their Yang Sword, whilst others had refused to even try to take ahold of it. Prisca quickly identified that from the ten people she was competing with, Vincent Abellux was her greatest threat. Which was why she'd allowed Lamia to visit her today, who came bearing a proposition of alliance. Lamia offered Prisca to join forces with her already growing coalition, which would eventually strike against Vincent, which included her infamous Pruning Corps. After some tense exchanges between them, Lamia mentioned to Prisca that she didn't need to give her reply yet, but the next time she came visiting, she'd be coming to hear it. Prisca quickly realised that this would occur after Lamia had finished with the "pruning"; and on that note, Lamia left the mansion. Arrachia, who had been hiding in the shadows keeping an eye on the exchange, came out of her hiding and asked Prisca if it had gone well. Prisca replied that it had gone neither well or bad. After some further conversation between the two of them, Arrachia asked her what Lamia had meant by using the term "pruning". Prisca responded that in short, Lamia was taking care of a few routine tasks to bring the Imperial Selection Ceremony back to normalcy, supplementing her reply with the metaphor of pruning leaves and branches from a tree.
A short while after Lamia left the Benedict Estate, she went to the Fitts Estate to visit her older half-brother Barthroy Fitts. Barthroy had been one of the dissenters at the Imperial Selection Ceremony who'd refused to even take the Yang Sword that had materialised in front of him. Along with him, another nine people had done the same following his persuasions. Lamia had told Barthroy that if she obtained the throne, she'd put Barthroy and those other siblings under her protection. The two of them talked about their agreement, in which Barthroy recalled how when she'd been younger, Lamia had asked him if there really was no way for them to not get hurt. That had led Barthroy to chose Lamia now to help carry out his gentler ideals for the country, and pit his forces, along with the other nine dissenters, against Vincent. However, Lamia had feigned her pact with Barthroy, and as they talked, had poisoned the wine he was drinking from. Barthroy died shortly after, realising just before he breathed his last that he'd been set up by Lamia, meaning that she could pass his death off as an enemy attack and gain total control over the other nine dissenters via fear.
A few moments after Barthroy's death, Berstetz Fondalfon arrived at the scene and reported to Lamia, his superior, that they'd taken care of establishing control around the Fitts estate. Lamia thanked him for his work, and the two of them continued with their plan, which would ultimately involve framing Barthroy's death as the work of the enemy to the remaining nine dissenting siblings.
Some time after achieving that goal, Lamia gathered her coalition forces which were made up of her Pruning Corps, the forces of the nine dissenters, some of her siblings' forces who were participating in the Selection, and Prisca's forces outside of one of the Abellux castles where Vincent and his forces were holed up in. Prisca, who was stationed at the summit of a hill, looked down on the amassing forces realising that this would be the climax of the Imperial Selection. She began engaging in some idle talk with Arrachia, but was interrupted by one of her soldiers bringing her a message from Berstetz, instructing her to move her forces to the rearguard when the attack commenced.
A short while after this instruction was conveyed, Lamia gave the order to attack her Pruning Corps. The Pruning Corps drove forwards into the defensive formation that Vincent had organised in front of his castle, only to be met by Cecilus, who'd been stationed with them. Cecilus began to massacre the Corps members using his lightning fast speed and katanas all on his own. Meanwhile, as the battle broke out, Prisca tried to leave her designated post with her troops; however, she was stopped by Palladio Manesque communicating to her telepathically with his Evil Eye ability. Though Palladio was suspicious of Prisca, imagining she would betray Lamia's coalition army, Prisca laughed off his concerns and cut off the telepathic link with him. Then she turned to her troops and told them they were going to destroy Vincent Abellux, and that they should merely follow her to do it.
As this was going on, Vincent Abellux and Chisha Gold had left the safety of their castle to execute a plan that the latter had come up with. However, as they walked through the forest in the vicinity of the castle, they were interrupted by Prisca who'd predicted their movements. With her troops at her back, Prisca readied herself to fight Vincent.
Following their ambush, Prisca and Vincent began to duel with each other with their Yang Swords. Meanwhile, the men that had come with Vincent and Chisha began to attack Arrachia. However, using her powers as a Spirit Eater, Arrachia was able to fight back against them, killing many. Eventually, Chisha realised that his men stood no chance against her and decided to duel her himself. Nevertheless, Arrachia was able to defeat him by stabbing her wand through his stomach and out of his back, leaving him critical wounds.
A few seconds after Arrachia had defeated Chisha, an explosion came raining down where they were. Berstetz had fired a Mana Stone Cannon at their location at Lamia's order, intending to wipe out both Prisca and Vincent in one fell swoop. The cannon hit the targeted area square on, however much to Lamia's dismay, Prisca, Vincent and their subordinates had all survived the impact. Though shook by the failure of her plan, Lamia still resolved she would use Plan B and C to try and wipe out her enemies. She gave the order to mobilise the Ambush Squadron which was made up of the nine dissenters that she'd tricked to her side; however before her order got through an arrow came hurtling towards her. She barely managed to incinerate it with her Yang Sword, before then realising that she'd been caught in Vincent's trap. She realised that the nine dissenters were in fact on Vincent's side, and furthermore that Prisca and Vincent must have enacted a temporary truce to defeat her. With Berstetz and her Pruning Corps covering her retreat, Lamia tried to flee to fight another day. However, her path of retreat was cut off by Prisca, who stood waiting for her Yang sword in hand.
Face to face with each other, Lamia asked Prisca how Arrachia had managed to shield them from their bombardment. Prisca replied by mentioning that Arrachia was a Spirit Eater who could take in the power of the Spirits she ate, saying that the answer was pretty clear. Lamia quickly realised what had happened and why Vincent had chosen to receive their siege here at this particular castle of his. She realised that the Great Spirit Muspel slumbered in the land around this Abellux castle, and that Arrachia had taken in its powers. Finally understanding what had happened, the two of them spoke out their words of hatred for each other before finally duelling.
Meanwhile, as Prisca and Lamia fought, an exhausted Arrachia and Vincent began to talk to each other about what had happened. Vincent expressed his gratitude for what Arrachia had done, with the latter replying that she'd done it for her Princess. Eventually, after they exchanged a few more words, Vincent told Arrachia that he had something to tell her using the personal pronoun 私 (watashi). However, he then corrected himself and said he had something to tell her using the personal pronoun 余 (yo).
Two months after the seige on the Abellux Castle, Prisca's and Vincent's forces laid seige to Palladio's castle. The seige was a complete success, and in the end Prisca killed Palladio as she'd previously promised him she would. With their recent victory in hand, Arrachia dejectedly commented that they'd need to fight Vincent soon. Prisca agreed that they would need to, though she wasn't sure if it'd be soon or not. Shortly after they were interrupted by Chisha Gold, who'd barely managed to survive the wounds he'd sustained in his fight against Arrachia, at the cost of his hair losing all pigmentation. He came bearing a gift of fine liquor from Vincent, however suspecting that it could be poisoned Prisca ordered Arrachia to break it. Arrachia complied with her order and broke the bottle, spilling the liquor all across the floor and causing Chisha to become disgruntled. After explaining why she'd ordered that, Prisca told Chisha that the sort of correspondence that she and Vincent had could not longer be kept up, telling him to report that to Vincent, that the time they'd settle this would be near. However, instead of obliging, Chisha asked Prisca if she really thought she could win against Vincent. Prisca replied saying of course, because the world was formed solely for her convenience. However, it was a few moments later that Prisca's eyes caught sight of what Arrachia was doing. Arrachia was lapping up the spilled liquor from the floor. This caused Prisca to be shocked as Arrachia apologised with tears in her eyes. Then, she began convulsing, as the liquor had indeed been poisoned. And, exactly as Vincent had predicted, Prisca refused to let Arrachia die and began to suck the poison out of her lips, diminishing the dose Arrachia had taken but in exchanging becoming poisoned herself. Eventually Arrachia's convulsions stopped and she slipped out of consciousness. Prisca, concealing how much her voice was trembling, asked Chisha how her older brother had managed to coax Arrachia into doing this. Chisha however reflected the question back on her. Following an exchange between them, Prisca walked back to the throne present in the room and sat on it, slumping down as the poison continued to eat inside her. Chisha called out to her just before she lost consciousness and told her if he hadn't been serving under Vincent he'd probably be serving under her. Prisca wheezed out some laughter in response and refused him. Then finally after rejecting him as being a charmless clown, Prisca took her last breath as Prisca Benedict.
Meanwhile, back in the present, Priscilla finished reading the book to Schult, and when the latter asked what happened next Priscilla replied that the main character of the story, the Princess, had died there and there was no sequel. Schult refused to accept this and told Priscilla he'd write a sequel to the story himself; this caught Priscilla's attentions who queried what kind of future he'd give to the dead princess. Schult immediately replied that she'd just fallen into a deep sleep because the poison's dose had been split between her and Arrachia. Ultimately, after a brief excahnge, Priscilla was impressed by Schult's continuation and then asked him to tell her the sequel of the story of the poor Princess. Schult obliged and began to recount what he thought happened next, mentioning to her that she didn't die from the poison and then was helped by a very kind person.
Meanwhile, back over seven years ago the scene shifted to Arrachia's perspective after she'd lapped up the poison. A flashback played out to the scene where Vincent had mentioned he had something to tell her, which included the continuation where Vincent told Arrachia that Prisca would die if she fought against him. He told Arrachia that despite that, he couldn't bring himself to let his beloved little sister die, and that she'd grant Arrachia a chance as a reward for her work during the battle to save Prisca.
Cutting away from the flashback, Arrachia came back to consciousness staring up at an unfamiliar ceiling. She was greeted by Chisha Gold, Cecilus Segument and the fact that she'd lost her left eye as a result of the poison. Undismayed by the loss, she realised that Vincent's plan must have come to fruition and she quickly asked Chisha what had happened to the Princess. Chisha replied that she'd passed away causing Arrachia to become enraged. However Cecilus stopped her by flicking her on the forehead before she could snap Chisha's neck. Eventually Chisha cut into their exchange and told her that though Prisca had passed away, Arrachia's princess yet lived. Nevertheless, this meant that she couldn't meet her again. Arrachia started to cry faced with that fact, that her Princess had survived, but her Imperial Selection had come to an end thanks to her own betrayal. As the two of Chisha and Cecilus talked about what they could do with Arrachia, who had no place left to go, Arrachia began praying for her Princess.
Meanwhile, some time after she'd survived being poisoned and having her death faked, Priscilla, now no longer known as Prisca, stood in front of Prisca's supposed tomb. An old woman, who was her supposed grandmother chided her for staying out in the wind, and called her "Princess". This annoyed Priscilla, who was playing the role of her granddaughter, and reminded her that Prisca Benedict was buried under the grave. Then as she looked at the grave she muttered to herself that the girl there was someone who really resembled her, who'd come in handy twice, referencing the body double who'd been killed standing in for her months earlier. Priscilla thanked her for her service and then after shrugging off her servant looked up at the sky. She reached out to it and found that the heat of her Yang Sword was still there in her palm. Having confirmed that Priscilla knew that she would keep on going ahead, because the world was formed solely for her convenience.
- Priscilla Barielle
- Vincent Vollachia
- Drizen Vollachia
- Cecilus Segmunt
- Berstetz Fondalfon
- Chisha Gold
- Lamia Godwin
- Barthroy Fitts
- Palladio Manesque