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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 (The Sneaker)

Pages

55

Adaptation

Appendix (OVA)

For the OVA, see Appendix (OVA).
For the character known as "Briar Princess", see Florence Carabosse.

"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 Carabosse. On their way to his villa they meet Talia, a herbalist that warns them about the dangers of that land.[1]

Summary[]

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[]

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 are 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 like the inhabitants have left their houses just recently, during the harvest period.

Still pouting, Dalian tells Hugh to carry her. He's rendered speechless, since he was already carrying her baggage on his back. She stuns him further after explaining that he's carrying books the entire time. After all, the Biblioprincess doesn't want to feel bored in case they get lost in the mountains. She suggests to carry the baggage while Hugh carries her. Hugh doesn't even bother to answer her. He sees a young girl nearby. He reveals that they plan 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's quickly dissipated by the growl coming from Dalian’s stomach. The face of the hungry little girl turns red. Unlike Hugh, the woman fails to suppress her laughter.

Part 2[]

Thalia's fried bread

Dalian tries Talia's fried breads.

They walk between the houses of the village up the slope after leaving the forest under the setting sun. There are around fifteen homes surrounded by the field. Domestic animals stay on the steep side of the hill. Seeing how Dalian is tired, Talia suggests that they rest at her house. Her place is the oldest in the village and has strange symbols on the doors and pillars, the same ones present on her clothes. The interior is filled with bottles, vials, grasses, roots and ancient texts. Talia 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. Talia tells her to help herself.

Hugh looks out of the window, pretending not to see Talia smiling at Dalian as she eats the bread. Because of that, Talia thinks that they are looking for the house of the head of the village. Hugh denies it before asking about John Carabosse. The latter is 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. Talia is shocked, since no one came to spread the news, not even Miss Florence, Carabosse’s beautiful daughter who stays at the villa built in the village.

Hugh heard that a merchant who traded with Mr. Carabosse saw Florence, the Briar Princess, at the foot of the mountain one month ago. The woman is thought to have set fire on her father’s house. Talia 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 only after the Deep Green Book, an important item purchased by Mr. Carabosse. 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 is covered in thorny vines, blending in with the background. Talia 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[]

Hugh and Dalian leave their baggage at Talia’s house to wander around the village. Hugh makes small talk with a farmer. The latter advices them to avoid checking the castle of the Briar 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 are no signs of interaction with the outside world. The few inhabitants do not seem to know that the village at the bottom of the mountain is empty. Dalian also notices the absence of elderly people and children. Nonetheless, they don't feel that the townsfolk are 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[]

Calobos' villa

Hugh and Dalian reach Carabosse's villa.

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

Dead for half a year, she is positioned as if she is looking down on the village, standing by the window covered with thorny vines. Her lower body is collapsed on the sofa. The other dismembered parts are being held in the air by the vines, as if they are controlling a marionette. The blood marks in the ceiling are another evidence that ruled out the possibility that she has 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 Deep Green Book, since dead people are unable to read. She points out that Talia is the only person who can read in the village. Outside, the red light of the moon reveals that the thorny vines are wriggling as if they are alive, trying to envelope the villa where Hugh and Dalian are.

Part 5[]

The vines shatter the window and invade the observatory room. Hugh drags Dalian down the stairs. A braided vine grabs his foot, but it's quickly sliced with an axe blow. He avoids more vines that rush towards them. Their path is eventually blocked, so Hugh has no choice but to jump through a window. While carrying Dalian, he lands on the courtyard below. He keeps running. He throws the axe at the vines, but the tool is immediately covered, the handle crushed into many splinters. They finally escape the danger after clearing a wall that had just collapsed. The vines have encircled the entire villa, but they don't have the power to chase them. Dalian is in a bad mood because she had been carried like a baggage. Before Hugh can catch his breath, he notices someone nearby.

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

They also become targets of strong farmers wielding sharp pronged tools. Despair and fear are present on the villagers’ faces. Hugh tries to talk to them to no avail. He prepares to use the revolver under his coat, although his bullets wouldn’t be enough to fight such numbers. However, the farmers stop moving. They drop their weapons. They quickly age, their teeth decaying, their hair falling, their skin 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 Talia’s neighbors. Hugh grasps Dalian’s hand and enters the dark forest. He won’t wait for Talia’s next attack. In a split second, the darkness of the trees and the whiteness of the fog disappear.

Hugh and Dalian find themselves in a beautiful plain, back next to the villa that had been covered by vines. Talia laughs at their attempt to take her father’s book. She finally reveals herself as the daughter of John Carabosse. The real Talia is the womanly figure inside the observatory room. Florence, who is said to be missing, has assumed Talia's identity. Florence couldn’t accept the fact that her own father visited the village only to see his lover Talia.

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 gives Hugh the right to open the Labyrinth Library. Florence watches in fear as Hugh removes 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, can 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 changes the scenery around while flipping through the pages of the Deep 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 Ritual of Reality to break the illusions. According to Dalian, Florence hasn’t been chosen by the Deep Green Book, explaining why it was so easy to oppose its powers. Back to the gentle slope of grass, Florence stands in shock, letting the Phantom Book slip from her hands. Hugh gently picks it up from the ground. Now there are no vines covering the villa. Such a view makes Florence think about the time when her father was still alive. She runs towards the building, only to fall directly down a cliff that she fails to notice.

Part 6[]

Wild roses

Dalian sympathizes with Florence's feelings.

The next day, Hugh gets up at dawn to make a simple grave for Florence near the villa. The real Talia and all the elderly villagers have 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 is dilapidated. People thought John Carabosse used to visit the village in order to look out for his daughter in recovery, but his real motive was to meet Talia. In a fit of anger, Florence had killed her father and his lover, then she took the Deep Green Book to herself. Florence 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 endured. Hugh predicts that, in a few years, Florence’s burial site will 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 Talia’s house, so now Hugh has more baggage to carry. The Biblioprincess offers to help him if he carries her in his back. Hugh asks if she takes him for an idiot.[1]

Trivia[]

  • It's the only chapter to be adapted into an OVA.[2]
  • "La Belle au bois dormant" is French for Sleeping Beauty, a classic fairy tale. It was first published by Italian poet Giambattista Basile in a collection of tales, in 1634, posthumously.[3]
    • "The Briar Princess" refers to Florence, similar to how the princess of Sleeping Beauty is referred as "Briar Rose" in the version told by the Brothers Grimm.[3]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, Chapter 1, volume 2.
  2. The Mystic Archives of Dantalian anime, OVA.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sleeping Beauty. (2020, February 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:35, February 28, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sleeping_Beauty&oldid=942301365
Previous Light novel Next

Volume 1

Gastronomy Worship - Pedigree - Book of Wisdom - The Dictator's Book - Turn-Up Book - Book of Lifetime - Libricide

Volume 2

The Briar Princess - Queen of the Night - The Lovers - Book of Equivalence - Book of Fetus - Winning Strategy - The Mystic Archives of Rasiel

Volume 3

Book of Soul Exchange - Book of Oblivion - Book of Twilight - Book of Sleep - The Magician's Daughter - The Beautiful Woman's World - Book of Atonement

Volume 4

Book of Gap - Phantom Score - Book of Relationship - Book of Hypnosis - The Perfumer - The House-Elf's Rough Time - Phantom Book Thief

Volume 5

Timetable - Waterside Flower - The Cat and the Biblioprincess - Book of Fools - The Logbook - The Observer - Book of Connection

Volume 6

The Template Book - The Working Man - Book of Coffin - The Real Me - Book of Humanization - Paradise

Volume 7

Disaster and Temptation - Catalogue - Book of Wisdom II - The Girls' Long Night - Book of Imitation - The Key-Keeper

Volume 8

Phantom Book of the King - The Last Book - Vignette of Eternal Twilight
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