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The Warming of Princess Lamielle

May 9th, 2021
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  1. After coming home from a long day, you hoped that today would be the day the stars align and you can finally get it done. You firmly clutch the small box that hasn't left your possession since you bought it, for fear that the object of your affections stumbles across it before you can do the deed yourself. The object in your hand is a ring box containing a wedding ring, fit with a sizeable diamond and multiple sapphires that you are certain will look excellent on the hand of your long term girlfriend Yukihana Lamy. Despite every moment spent at the side of the lovely and gentle snow elf being a blessing you feel is too good for you, there has been a certain issue that has prevented you from proposing, despite your best efforts. Taking a quick inhale as you unlock the door to Lamy's apartment, you hope today is the day she's ready to hear you.
  2.  
  3. The circumstances you walk in on would be shocking to anyone else, but you have grown quite familiar with them. Sprawled out on the couch snoring peacefully is Lamy, several sake bottles surrounding her as she sleeps off her afternoon booze so she's not too tipsy to drink at supper. This is the issue that prevents you from proposing to Lamy. She is always cuddly and warm towards you, but she is also perpetually at least somewhat drunk. You genuinely don't know if you've ever seen Lamy sober, and so you have no idea how serious she is about your relationship. Aside from the legal implications (you're pretty sure she needs to be "of sound mind and body" to sign marriage documents eventually) it feels like you might be taking advantage of her lowered inhibitions if you pop the question while she's hammered. You'd hate to feel like she didn't get to think things out fully before accepting. Sighing inwardly, you accept that this is not your golden opportunity today, and begin cleaning things up. You stack the bottles in the recycling bin (which is already getting quite full with Lamy's previous "donations") and toss a blanket over her so she's comfortable when she wakes up. You consider buttoning up her top, but after watching the slow rise and fall of her chest you decide (with no ulterior motive, of course) that she'll probably sleep more comfortably if her clothes aren't restricting her. In about an hour or so she should wake up and welcome you home with a kiss, after which she'll get to work on supper. Lamy insists on making all of the meals you share together at home, and you have little reason to complain as she's an excellent chef, even if she occasionally overestimates her current capabilities. Judging by the number of bottles you cleaned up she isn't *too* drunk right now, so you don't have to worry about trying to come up with a meal she can prepare without using knives. One time around Christmas she sliced her hand quite badly due to her lack of focus, and she was also too drunk to remember how to use healing magic. It ended up being her familiar Daifuku who had to close up her wound.
  4.  
  5. As you reflect on that memory, Daifuku himself floats into the room. You've always seen him as a rather funny looking polar bear stuck in a jar, but judging by how the more magically inclined of Lamy's coworkers react to him, he is apparently quite a powerful being in his own right. He serves Lamy unquestioningly and you occasionally see him helping around the house with simple spells, or bringing Lamy her house keys when she forgets to grab them. You've gotten into the habit of sharing your concerns with him, as you're fairly certain he understands what you're saying but his expressionless face doesn't judge you, making him the ideal companion for talking out loud to yourself without seeming too strange. You haven't brought up wanting to propose to Lamy to him yet, but seeing as Lamy is out like a light you decide there's no harm in sharing that with him today.
  6.  
  7. "I just don't know, Daifuku. I've always wanted to ask Lamy why she drinks so much, but that just seems like a heavy topic. The fact that she's never sober makes me feel like she's drinking to forget something. What do you think?"
  8.  
  9. A deep and monotone voice suddenly echos a response, "I have permission from Princess Lamielle to explain the situation in her stead, should you wish."
  10.  
  11. Despite the calm tone of the voice, every hair on your body stands on end at the sudden response, which you quickly realize is coming from the bear that is currently staring into your soul.
  12.  
  13. "I additionally am authorized to explain that Princess Lamielle has requested that I refrain from speaking unless one of several conditions has been fulfilled, as I am bound by the contract placed upon me to exclusively refer to her by her noble title, which she does not wish to share with others unnecessarily."
  14.  
  15. You were already aware that Lamy was some kind of nobility, but the princess?! She did have a habit of brushing off the topic whenever it came up, so the idea that she wanted to cover that fact up isn't surprising, though her secret identity certainly is. You decide to ask Daifuku what conditions you fulfilled to get him to speak, and his eyes shift to your pocket as he begins his (apparently telepathic) reply.
  16.  
  17. "In her own words, Princess Lamilelle has authorized me to expand on her history before arriving to this world should you consider proposing to her so that you may 'know the terrible things I have done' before making your decision."
  18.  
  19. "Though I am not obligated to add this detail as it is my personal opinion, I feel Princess Lamielle misinterprets the sins she was forced to commit under the tutelage of the 14th Frost Emperor as her own responsibility. At her core she is a caring person with boundless empathy, who has treated me as a friend despite my contract allowing her full control over my mind, body and soul."
  20.  
  21. But moments ago you were sighing to yourself over your girlfriend's drinking habit, and now you are listening to a telepathic floating bear discuss his opinion on how she copes with her grief over evil deeds she committed in a fantasy world. Sitting down to let your whiplash induced dizziness subside, you give Daifuku the go ahead to start his story from the top.
  22.  
  23. Nodding, Daifuku begins to send images into your mind to supplement his verbal explanation.
  24.  
  25. "Princess Lamielle was born as the 15th successor to the throne of the Land of Silver, the northern most kingdom in the world where the princess hails from. This is also the world where several of her associates come from, including the other fantasy races not found in your world. The Land of Silver is a fierce nation characterized by magical supremacy and a global empire. This is due to the Land of Silver being unable to produce any crops due to their climate, as well as the layers of permafrost making acquisition of materials from the earth nearly impossible. Additionally, incredibly powerful monsters are abundant in the northern most areas, capable of razing a city overnight should they stumble across one."
  26.  
  27. Daifuku shares an image of an almost impossibly large metallic supercity that is surrounded on all sides by a blindingly intense blizzard, with several exotic creatures lurking in the storm.
  28.  
  29. "Despite these weaknesses, the Land of Silver has had the longest unbroken dynasty of any nation and has been a dominant political force throughout the entirety of written history. This is due to one thing: the strength of their leader. Snow Elves are known for being powerful mages, calculative planners and ruthless combatants. Each of these attributes is brought to the extreme in their leader. The Frost Emperor maintains an impenetrable wall of magical ice that surrounds the kingdom to protect it from invaders, while still having enough magical energy to spare to conquer an entire city state single-handedly. Even the most prideful of nations considers surrender when the Frost Emperor enters the battlefield, and he is no less intimidating when negotiating. Every slight against the Frost Emperor will have a cost, paid in coin or blood. The godlike nature of each Frost Emperor is maintained through the acquisition of the most magically powerful breeding stock to produce successors and centuries of training being administered by the previous Frost Emperor."
  30.  
  31. As Daifuku transmits an image of a terrifying caped figure clad in black armor and crown, you glance over to Lamy in recline on your couch, and try to envision her being forced to wear such a thing. But as you eye her up and down, you remember a fact that complicates the narrative Daifuku is spinning.
  32.  
  33. "Wait, isn't Lamy a half elf, though? If she's supposed to be royalty, why is she half human?"
  34.  
  35. "Yes, that is a difference between her and other inheritors of the throne. She is the first princess of the Land of Silver raised by a human mother, and one from your world at that."
  36.  
  37. Your eyes widen at the implication that somehow a human from your world made it to Lamy's.
  38.  
  39. "A woman by the last name Yukihana managed to (by pure accident) will a dimensional door into existence, a legendary spell which has been lost to the sands of time. Only a few ancient artifacts either buried in lost temples of held in the treasuries of the world's most powerful people are able to recall such a spell. Whether entering on a whim or to escape the oppressive life she lived in your world we will never know, but a moment later she found herself in a new world. But dimensional travel is not a subtle practice, and soon rumors spread about the woman who came from another world. Realizing the implications of an untrained woman being capable of ripping open the fabric of reality, the 14th Frost Emperor personally tracked her down and brought her back to his kingdom in order to pass this incredible talent onto his heir."
  40.  
  41. Once again Daifuku gives another image to you, this one of a woman with a soft expression on her face and striking amber eyes that are definitely recognizable as the same one's Lamy stares at you with.
  42.  
  43. "Royal tradition states that the mother is solely responsible for raising the heir until they reach a certain age, so Princess Lamielle grew up swathed in love and tender affection never before given to a successor to the Land of Silver's throne. It was this time that warmed her to her core and prevented her from ever developing the frozen heart that was her birthright."
  44.  
  45. Numerous images of a young Lamy at numerous life stages flash before your eyes. In each and every one she is flanked by her mother, who despite looking progressively older in each image had the same beaming smile throughout.
  46.  
  47. "Eventually, Princess Lamielle's education under the 14th Frost Emperor began. At first they were mundane lessons on etiquette and world affairs, though the harsh attitude of the Frost Emperor left no room for failure. Then it moved onto magic, swordplay and tactics. The young princess would often return to her room bruised, cut and exhausted, but with her mother as a comfort she had no complaints."
  48.  
  49. You do think you've noticed a slight scar or two on Lamy's back. It seems not everything can be healed with magic after the fact. Though the story has been decidedly heavy thus far, you swear you can see Daifuku's expressionless face darken as he describes the next section.
  50.  
  51. "It was this comfort the Frost Emperor decided to use to teach Lamy what he considered to be the most important lesson. The ability to commit heinous acts without regret when they are necessary. Expecting a standard lesson on enchantment spells, Princess Lamielle entered her classroom to see two figures tied up: her mother, and an elven servant from the castle. What the Frost Emperor explained was that in order to protect the kingdom, the princess would need to do commit ruthless acts with extreme efficiency, lest the Land of Silver suffer for her indecision."
  52.  
  53. With this image Daifuku also provides sound, and for the first time you heard the voice of the man who is apparently Lamy's father. The voice was chilling, both literally and figuratively. Even this memory transmitted into your brain genuinely makes you tremble, and you notice you're exhaling smoke as if you were walking around in the Arctic.
  54.  
  55. "What you see here before you are two things: an enemy and a consequence. Your mother is the consequence. Your enemy is this servant. Before you entered I explained to this servant that if she told you the names of any of her family members I would have them tortured and then executed. Your goal is to extract the name of every single one of her immediate family members. If you do not achieve this within three hours I will torture and execute your mother in their stead."
  56.  
  57. Even from just sound alone, you can hear the fear and betrayal in Lamy's voice. She tries to remove most of the emotion from her voice and asks her father if this is simply a test, and if nobody will actually be hurt.
  58.  
  59. "Have you already forgotten your last lesson on negotiation, child? Never call a bluff if you aren't prepared to accept the consequences. You two, out in the hall: gouge out the human's eye.
  60.  
  61. You can hear Lamy hit the ground, begin to cry and then attempt to beg for her mother's life in the most cordial and eloquent way imaginable despite her lack of composure. Her father's sole reply is to tell the guards to alert him if the princess succeeds and stride out of the room.
  62.  
  63. You're thankful Daifuku is only supplying you with static images rather than a video, as the image in your head does not update as you hear the pained wails of both Lamy and her mother, combined with unsettling squelching you try not to contemplate for too long. Eventually the image does change, and you see Lamy standing unsteadily on two feet before the woman, a series of icy needles tucked between Lamy's delicate fingers.
  64.  
  65. "In my opinion, this is all you need to see. Princess Lamielle insisted I show you this memory specifically, as she sees it as one of her darkest moments. She did in fact extract the information from the innocent servant, though by the time she had finished her mother had succumbed to her wound, leaving Lamy without the light in her life. What followed was several decades of the princess heeding every whim of the Frost Emperor's demands, too traumatized to even consider what would happen if she doubted him again. She still had great affection for her people, and she now knew that the Frost Emperor was more than willing to use innocent lives as fuel to shape her into his successor. This was also when it became evident that Princess Lamielle was just as powerful as her heritage would lead one to believe.
  66.  
  67. A cascade of gruesome images flood into your mind. You were aware Lamy had magic powers, but you've never seen her do anything more with her ice magic than make some ice cubes for her drink. Even on the hottest days she insisted on using an air conditioner rather than using her ice magic on any kind of large scale. You now see why. Entire colonies of Wood Elves frozen where they stand. Proud paladins in armor reduced to bits of gore as red tinted ice crystals explode out from their chests. Though no shortage of these individuals are running at Lamy with weapons drawn, there are a few images where it seems like they are running away in fear.
  68.  
  69. "Let me add that each one of those memories was also hand picked by Princess Lamielle to provide you with 'the truth' about her, though I will add she let as many individuals escape as possible while carrying out her father's requests, often at great cost to herself."
  70.  
  71. You see an image of the Frost Emperor holding Lamy above his head by the throat.
  72.  
  73. "Eventually, Lamy was able to unearth the ability to move between worlds that her mother's bloodline secretly held, and escaped to the Earth her mother had told her stories about as a child. She then met several friends who were employed at a company which manages demihuman and extraplanar individuals, which she joined in order to support herself. Having never taken the time to speak to the mother of his offspring, the Frost Emperor had no description of her homeworld with which to track down the princess, and so she sits in self imposed exile. Perhaps one day she will gather her courage and companions and confront her father, but for now she needs to let time heal her inner wounds. She's in no condition to fight after almost two centuries of trauma."
  74.  
  75. Daifuku floats over to Lamy's side and stares at her with affection before returning.
  76.  
  77. "So Lamy drinks to forget all of…that?"
  78.  
  79. You curse your voice for shaking, but learning all this in such a short time in such a raw way was unsettling, even if it doesn't shake the love you feel for Lamy.
  80.  
  81. "No, being with her companions achieves that, you especially. She drinks so that she can think with her heart rather than her head. To ignore the lessons which taught her to distrust anyone who offers her aid and to check every meal she eats for poison. To suppress the urge to freeze anything that startles her and the city block that surrounds it. Princess Lamielle has the nature of a young maiden, but she was forced to live against her nature for some time. Her penchant for drinking is an act of rebellion that also serves to remove the inhibitions which were designed to shape her into a ruthless monarch. She is more aware of her surroundings and herself while intoxicated than most are while entirely sober."
  82.  
  83. You nod solemnly, reassured by the fact that your presence makes Lamy feel at ease despite how she has suffered. There's no doubt in your mind left.
  84.  
  85. "So, I ask you, son of man and first of your name: will you take the hand of the Princess of the Land of Silver, despite knowing that they were once soaked with blood? Will you accept the flaws that come from a girl with a heart of warmth but a mind tempered by frost? Will you love the girl you know as Yukihana Lamy?"
  86.  
  87. You see Daifuku wince as he utters this last phrase. It seems going against his contract is painful for him. You smile, reply with a confident "Always" and extend your hand as if to shake his, before remembering that he has tiny paws, and you are still talking to what looks like a stuffed animal jammed into a nice looking flower pot.
  88.  
  89. "A fine answer. Let's use that outstretched hand to get something from the closet. I procured a special bottle for this occasion."
  90.  
  91. You follow Daifuku to the hall closet, where you find a bottle of super-premium sake tucked under some spare blankets and pillows.
  92.  
  93. "To answer the question about how I managed to procure this, all I will say is that it was achieved with great difficulty."
  94.  
  95. You take the bottle, grab the appropriate glassware for the two of you and pour the most expensive drinks of your entire life. You set one near Lamy's sleeping form and put the other near yourself. Then, with Daifuku looking on attentively, you set the ring box next to Lamy's glass and wait for her eyes to flutter open.
  96.  
  97. She sees your face before the ring or the drink, and smiles with her characteristic warmth and welcomes you home. Only after noting your eyes shifting downwards to what sits before her does she perk up from her drowsiness. She looks to the box immediately, and her eyes widen. She shifts back and forth between you and the box robotically as she processes the information she sees. When she sees Daifuku floating nearby, she looks at him with an accusatory stare.
  98.  
  99. "D-Daifuku! You were supposed to tell him before he-"
  100.  
  101. Lamy's scolding is put on pause when Daifuku wordlessly nods, a small smile crossing his face. This entirely halts her train of thought once more.
  102.  
  103. "You couldn't have. Th-that's…but he's right here!" Lamy waves in your direction, suddenly bursting with energy.
  104.  
  105. "I am bound by our contract to follow your commands to the letter. I showed him everything I was told to."
  106.  
  107. Lamy steals a few quick glances in your direction before readying herself with a deep breath. She turns to face you and looks into your eyes, the intensity of her complex expression betraying her nervousness.
  108.  
  109. You've decided the confusion has gone on long enough. You walk over to Lamy and try to put every ounce of affection you have into the most reassuring hug you can muster. It's not going to purge every moment of suffering from her 210 year long life, but it's a promise that you aren’t going to let her be along ever again. At first she wiggles and writhes, but eventually Lamy sinks into your chest while you stroke the top of her head, your hand smoothing out her shy blue hair which had been displaced due to her nap.
  110.  
  111. "But I'm so cold. I've been cold for so many years. You don't want to hold something so cold…" Lamy chokes out this criticism of herself as your shirt begins to dampen as she digs herself into it.
  112.  
  113. "You feel really warm right now.", you whisper into her ear.
  114.  
  115. It's true. As you've gotten to know Lamy, she's gotten warmer and warmer very literally. She used to be cold to the touch except when she was absolutely drunk, but her body temperature has gotten higher and higher. Perhaps that's her human half kicking in. She looks up at you from your chest and her cheeks are rosy as more positive feelings begin to well up and show on her face.
  116.  
  117. "Okay!" Lamy smacks her cheeks as a method of regaining her composure. "If I'm the only person feeling nervous, I should just let you take care of me."
  118.  
  119. With one hand she covers her eyes, and the other is extended towards you. Grabbing the ring box, you slide the ring onto her finger and wait for her to uncover her eyes. Not even taking a moment to look at the ring, she leaps into your embrace, whispering a series of raspy"thank you"s and "I love you"s.
  120.  
  121. With her resting her head up against you, Daifuku floats over to your glass and levitates it (?) until it reaches your hand. You pick up Lamy's and hand it to her.
  122.  
  123. "Don't worry, I purchased the kind of sake that does not require chilling.", Daifuku adds, in what you assume is a joke to lighten the mood.
  124.  
  125. "Cheers!" Lamy chants as she points her glass to you own.
  126.  
  127. "Cheers." you reply, feeling relief and satisfaction well up in your chest.
  128.  
  129. You sip your drink and spend the rest of the evening listening to Lamy's thoughts on what kind of venue would be best to house all of the crazy character she wants to invite to the ceremony. She settles on something outside in the Summer.
  130.  
  131. "Something warm would be best, I think."
  132.  
  133. "Yeah, warm suits us best."
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