The Black Female Warrior Races Through – Part 02

Avril silently dashed forward. The warrior’s blood surged through her veins. The lovely charm of a young troubadour she had displayed mere moments ago now retreated to the shadows. She fixed her gleaming eyes on the target.

Whether Victorique was aware of the hunter or not was hard to tell. She toddled along, her steps small and swift, but she made little progress.

Just as Avril was about to close in, Victorique turned a corner and disappeared from sight.


Avril valiantly gave chase. Upon rounding the corner, she abruptly halted, taken aback by the sight of Victorique collapsed on the ground. The ferocity of the pursuing hound dissipated in an instant as Avril cautiously observed Victorique from a distance.

Her target lay face down in the middle of the path, the bottom of her dress spread out. There was no movement.

“V-Victorique?” Avril called fearfully. “Are you all right? Did you trip? I bet you did. Does it hurt? I’m sure it does. Come to think of it, you always complain about even the slightest pain, yet you’re so clumsy. Hey, say something.”

No response came from Victorique, so Avril gingerly prodded her bottom with the tip of her arrow. It should have caused considerable pain, yet still, there was not even the slightest twitch. She was as unresponsive as a lifeless doll.

“Oh, there you are.”

Avril, readying her arrow with a nervous stance, jumped as an unwelcome adult voice suddenly sounded near her ear. Brushing past Avril, a man in a peculiar outfit hurried toward the collapsed girl.

He was tall and slender, and undeniably handsome. For reasons unknown, his golden hair was fixed into the shape of a drill, pointed sharply towards the winter sky.

Garbed in his usual stylish attire, there was a large box attached around his waist. The box bumped into Avril, nearly causing her to stumble.

The odd man—Inspector Grevil de Blois—ran up to the fallen girl. He extended a hand, but the box hindered him, so he knelt down, twisted his body around, until he finally managed to pick her up.

It wasn’t Victorique.

Strands of silk hung down a pale porcelain face, and her eyes, embedded with real gemstones, were wide open. A doll.

Embracing the breathtakingly beautiful figure, Inspector Blois wiped his snow-streaked cheeks with a handkerchief. Then, he glanced sideways at Avril.

Feeling uneasy, Avril took a step back and looked up at the man in a box.

Radiant sunlight poured down from the skies. The winter wind brushed against their cheeks.

A moment later, Avril poked Inspector Blois’s knees with the arrowhead. “Wh-What are you doing?”

“Ouch! Stop poking me with that pointed thing! I dropped my doll, can’t you see?”

“But what’s with that box?”

“Oh, this? It’s nothing important, really. Anyway, my precious Grafenstein’s doll…”

“Grafenstein? What was that again?”

“You’re a girl, and you don’t know?!” Inspector Blois pursed his lips disapprovingly.

“And you’re a guy playing with a doll,” Avril grumbled to herself.

Ignoring her comment, Inspector Blois shook his head ruefully. “I understand. I believe you’re an international student from England. But the name of the doll maker Grafenstein is known all throughout Europe. He was just as famous as your grandfather.”


“Yeah. Look here. The fancy letter ‘G’ on the back of the doll’s neck is proof of its authenticity.” Inspector Blois enthusiastically showed the doll. “Grafenstein moved out of his workshop in Saubreme and resided in this village for nearly a decade before his passing. Thanks to that, I managed to acquire this doll, Grafenstein’s final masterpiece,” he said proudly.

Avril only gave a disinterested groan in response.

“And that’s also how I ended up with this pointy hair.”

“What?! Why? Tell me, tell me!”

“No. Why should I tell you that? Well then, I’m off. I’m in the middle of a chess match.”

Inspector Blois hurried away with the doll in his arms. Avril went after him for a while but eventually gave up. She stopped and returned to her previous spot.

“Oh, yeah. Where did Victorique go?” she wondered, wearing a pensive look. “She just vanished right after she turned the corner, but this is a single path. She couldn’t have gone very far. Hmm?”

Avril looked around and spotted something red.

“Hmm?” She squinted.

Then, she noticed a red flower blooming in a hollow area beside the snow-covered path.

A vibrant red rosebud, which shouldn’t be blooming in the middle of winter, swayed gracefully in the wintry breeze like a snowdrop deep within the woods.

“No way… Is it the garland?”

Avril approached silently and cautiously.

She peered inside.

Victorique was nestled snugly within the hollow.

Avril yelped, and retreated a couple of steps. Then, she smiled with delight.

“What are you doing, Victorique?” she asked.


It sounded more like a low, animalistic growl filled with extreme displeasure than a human voice. Silence fell. Victorique made no effort to respond.

Sounds of students’ cheerful laughter could be heard in the distance. Winter birds chirped high above.

Avril approached the hollow once again, peering into it intently.

Victorique, wearing a red dress, had tumbled into a hole just big enough for her to fit in while crouching down, unable to move. The gardener must have carelessly left it there, intending to plant a new shrub come spring. Sitting at the center of the hole, she threw out her delicate shoes like a broken doll, smoking a pipe sullenly.

She appeared composed at first glance.

“Hey, what happened to you?”

“My shoes got caught on the Grafenstein doll that my stupid brother dropped around the corner.”

“Huh. So, you tripped?”

“… ”

“You did, didn’t you? The proud Victorique stumbled over her own look-alike doll like an idiot!” Avril cackled, dancing around in joy. “Oh, uh, s-sorry. Don’t give me that look!”

Victorique appeared deeply hurt, and Avril swiftly wiped the smile off her face and stopped the mean-spirited song she was about to sing.

For a while, Victorique glared at Avril like a wild animal whose pride had been wounded.

“…look alike,” she finally mumbled, her cherry lips trembling.

“Huh? What did you say?” Avril crouched down and moved her ear closer to Victorique.

Snow fell from the branches. The midday sunlight shimmered brightly.

Victorique let out a soft groan. “We don’t look alike.”

“Huh? What are you talking about?”

“You said it yourself, you farting newt. With that stupid mouth of yours. That I and the Grafenstein doll look alike! How ridiculous!”

“But you do look alike.”

“…Whaaat?” Victorique’s voice rose.

Avril pulled herself back. Victorique was genuinely taken aback by what she said.

Avril blinked in surprise. Then she carefully observed her peculiar classmate, still stuck in the hole, smoking a pipe.

Deep green eyes like a secret lake in a secluded wilderness. Stunning golden hair flowing and glittering like silk threads. A luxurious dress, a crown of deep red roses, delicate lace gloves, and tiny little shoes.

She was the embodiment of every girl’s hopes and dreams. Hers was the appearance fitting of a legendary doll, worth any price, something to desire even if it meant exhausting everything you owned. A one-of-a-kind porcelain doll.


A closer look revealed more than just breathtaking beauty. The deep melancholy in her eyes was immeasurable, more befitting an old person who had lived a long life. Her voice was raspy and terribly low.

An enigmatic appearance that symbolized a grand era lost in the sands of time. It wasn’t just her outward beauty. Looking at her evoked a sense of loneliness and sorrow, a heartrending fondness for something long gone.

“Oh, that’s right!” Avril tilted her head.

“What is it, farting newt?”

“I have a name and it’s Avril. Anyway, I figured out the similarity between you and the Grafenstein doll. You’re both pretty and gorgeous, and the longer I look, the more I feel uneasy. It’s like peering into a gigantic, desolate, gray hole.”

“Neither I nor that doll share any resemblance whatsoever.”

“There you go again, putting on airs. You often get mistaken for a doll.”


“Ahaha, she’s mad! You can’t even get out of that hole. If you’re so mad, come and get me!”

“I-I can get out… Wait, if you know I can’t get out, you should be helping me.”

“No way!” Avril laughed cheerfully.

Victorique pressed the hot pipe against Avril’s knee.

Avril jumped. “Hot, hot!”


“Do that again, and I’ll really leave you here, you meanie!”

“A goody-two-shoes like you is incapable of such cruelty. As a simple act of kindness befitting your simple mind, help me right away. Do you understand, you worthless, British farting newt?!”


Avril wore a pensive look, gazing into the distance. The bottom of her warrior costume fluttered in the cold winter wind.

“I wonder, though.”


“Why does the Grafenstein doll have this sad and cold aura? And why does Inspector Blois always carry a doll with him?”

“Have you ever been told that you don’t listen?”

“Yeah, all the time. Why?” Avril tapped her hand with a fist, nodding. “Oh! Speaking of which, I heard a ghost story at the village store. They say the cabinet in Inspector Blois’ office at the police station is filled with dolls!”

“How is that a ghost story at all? It’s just a fact.”

“But it’s scary.”

“Scary doesn’t equal a ghost story. Try to be a little more sensible. The doll maker Grafenstein’s…”

Keeping her icy expression, Victorique put the pipe in her mouth and blew out smoke.

The winter wind blew. Her icy breath shook the garland atop her head. A clump of snow fell nearby.

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