8/8/2019 - "A Blue Dove for the Princess" is an original fictional story from StrangeReal, the original world of the Ace Combat series. The story was first introduced in the campaign of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (October 21st, 2004) as the favorite book of Kei Nagase, a fellow wingman of the protagonist. In the lead up to the release of Ace Combat 5, desktop wallpapers, illustrations and the text of the story were released in Japanese by Project Aces. Years later, a limited run of hardback copies of A Blue Dove for the Princess were printed and sold in Japan only. The hardback copies of the book featured new full page, colored and black and white illustrations.

In August 2019, Project Lighthouse has provided a fresh English translation utilizing the original Japanese text coupled with scans of the illustrations from pages that were physically removed from an official hardcover of the book. We sincerely hope readers enjoy the final result of this effort. 

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Chapter 1: ​Beginning

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This is a story of a small miracle which has been passed down by a certain few.

Once upon a time…


A dove lived In a castle of a rural country enveloped by greenery and warmth. When the dove was a child, it got injured and fell into the castle’s garden and was picked up by the Princess.

 

It was such a severe injury that the dove felt as if its tiny wings were torn off.


It felt pain throughout its entire body and couldn’t do anything other than lie on its side on a bed of leaves. However, it was saved by the Princess.

​The dove stayed in a small cage that was hung close to the window in the corner of the Princess’ room. Even though the dove was inside the birdcage, it didn’t feel any “dissatisfaction.”

The Princess always looked after it, and the dove liked the scenery outside the window and watching the Princess go about her daily life. Eventually it became healthy and the bird would hop around the inside of the cage.

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Chapter 2: The Princess’ Illness

The dove loved the life it was living, and wished that those days would continue on forever, but one day, the situation changed. 
The Princess, who would energetically visit the dove many times a day, did not visit even once. The dove did not get fed at all that day.

The next day, early in the morning, a great number of important-looking people gathered around the Princess’ bed and looked towards her with grave looks on their faces.

 

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It seemed that the Princess had fallen ill and they were saying that she might never get well, that she might pass away. Then, when the conversation shifted to how the neighboring country just recently ended the war and they were on the verge of true peace, one of them suddenly shouted:

​“It’s the Demon of Razgriz!”

"When history witnesses a great change, Razgriz reveals itself, first as a dark demon. As a demon, it uses its power to rain death upon the land, and then it dies.”

“However, after a period of slumber, Razgriz returns, this time, as a great hero.”

​“Only Razgriz can bring about an illness like this!”

The more the dove thought about the Princess’ complexion the previous day and the grave conversations the adults were having around the bed, the more worried it became. At this rate, the Princess might be gone. It might never be able to meet the Princess again. The dove kept pondering very sad thoughts like these over and over again.

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Chapter 3: Thoughts of the Dove

While worrying and reminiscing, the dove faintly remembered the words it heard from its mother, who passed away when the dove was still a chick. 

That, “somewhere in this world, there is a great tree that bears magical fruits that can cure any injury or sickness.”

That it exists “even further away from the steep rocky mountains where no human can ever reach.” 

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“If I had the magic fruit, I can definitely save the princess. As long as I can go and get it,” thought the dove.

 

But the more the dove thought about it, the more anxiety it felt.“Why don’t you go and get it already?” it thought. However, this was natural.

“Will I be targeted by hawks and falcons by venturing outside and facing danger?”
“Can I reach the faraway mountains and the summit even further beyond?”
“Can I even travel that far in the first place?”
“Even if I luckily obtain the magic fruit, can I carry it with this unreliable beak?”
“Can I safely make it back here?”

It would start to think thoughts like this. It couldn’t be helped.
That’s because the dove had been only hopping around in this small cage, protected by the Princess ever since that injury. 

Meanwhile, the Princess’ condition seemed to grow worse and worse.

The next morning, an old maid came to feed the dove in place of the Princess. When the old lady puts the food inside the cage with her wrinkled hands, the gate opens slightly. 

The dove was watching for this with an extremely determined look on its face.
And in that instant, the dove flew out of the cage with great momentum.

The dove passed under the door to the room, weaved through the castle’s walls, and headed towards the sky.

Towards the back, it could hear the old lady saying, “Oh dear!”

Did its anxiety of being attacked by hawks and falcons disappear? That was definitely not the case. Did it figure out where to go? 

It did not.
It didn’t know, but the dove flew out, obsessed in pursuing the magic fruit!

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Chapter 4: The Lark

The dove first reached the forest north of the castle. Then, a lark that was behind the dove lined up next to it and said,

“You seem to be in quite the hurry. And your flying is very awkward.”

The dove answered, “It can't be helped. I was in a cage for a long time. The fact that I can even fly is a big deal.”

“Cages are no good.” said the lark bluntly.
“We’ve got wings right? Using these to fly any time we want is the best. You can go anywhere you want. That’s what’s wonderful about flying. Take a look. The world is so big.”

“But isn’t the sky dangerous? Won’t hawks and falcons come attacking? And if we descend to the ground, there are raccoon-dogs, foxes, and cats.”

“Well, let me ask you this: can you eat whatever you felt like eating if you were still inside a cage? There’ll be days where you want to eat leaf bugs and days where you want the fruits of a baby rose. And what if suddenly you weren’t given food? There is no point in saying whether things are ‘dangerous’ or ‘safe’. When something happens, the only difference is whether it is someone else’s ‘fault’, or your ‘fault’.”

“Is it that good a thing to know the world is so big?”

“The world we live in is made up of only what we can see. That’s why it’s obviously better to know of a bigger world as much as possible.”
The lark said this with a slightly composed face, and with a sense of seriousness.

The dove asks the lark, “I’m looking for the tree that bears magic fruit.”

“Ain’t got a clue. Why don’t you ask the caterpillar. Just look at it. I never want to end up like that. All it does is come and go on top of the same tree. To the caterpillar, the top of that tree is its entire world.”

The dove found a dark green thing crawling on a tree that it was about to pass over.

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Chapter 5: The Caterpillar

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​“I can fly as well, though it’s not as high as you guys can go.” The caterpillar suddenly said this odd statement, and the dove immediately replied,
“But you don’t have any wings, right? So you can’t fly. ”
“You are wrong. I can really fly. I will turn into a pupa, and wings will grow after that. Therefore, I can fly.”
“But you can’t fly right now.”
“There’s no difference in being able to fly today and flying tomorrow. Even you couldn’t fly when you were an egg right? When I become a pupa, my wings will grow inside there. The ‘size of my wings’ is the same as the ‘size of my memories’ I had up until becoming a pupa you know. If I grow wings, my legs will become weak. When that happens, I won’t be able to walk around every nook and cranny of this tree like this anymore. That’s why I am walking around, looking at every nook and cranny of this tree while I still can.”

 

The dove asks the caterpillar, “I’m looking for the tree that bears magic fruit.”
“There was a wise-looking tortoise that happened to pass by recently. It said it usually stays on the edge of the lake that lies beyond this forest. Maybe it will know something about it. The tortoise seems wise, but its been inside its shell all its life and will continue to until it dies. It also doesn’t have wings. Its memories will remain as memories and just age with the tortoise.”

Far, far away, around the area where the forest ended underneath, the dove saw a lake shining from the light of the sunset.

Chapter 6: ​The Tortoise

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On arriving at the lake, the dove came across a wise-looking tortoise.“Having a shell is nice. Thanks to this, I can continue to live no matter how many times I am in danger. Some of you birds also live in a carapace, right?”“You mean a bird cage? That’s not a carapace. They’re being locked in. A lot of them want to leave the cage. Even I was in one of those.”

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“Why did you leave? There’s no reason to endanger yourself. The trick to a long life is to never go near dangerous things. Misfortunes will happen obviously, even if it’s not your fault. In those times, you just.. .go into your shell like this and wait till it passes by. Don’t move around unnecessarily.”
The tortoise said this while imitating how it goes into its shell.

“That solves nothing though.”

“Oh really!” the tortoise said in a shrill voice, and continued.

“Can you solve any problem? Do you have that kind of confidence? Both good things and bad things will always come to an end. On sunny days where the sun is shining, you should bathe in the sunlight as much as you can. In winters so cold that your tears freeze, you endure it with the strength you’ve stored up to that point, until the day the sun shines again. All that we, those with lives, can do are ‘those kinds’ of things.”

“Huh? An unpleasant wind has started to blow. Seems like something bad is going to happen again.”
Saying this, the tortoise tucked its head inside its shell.

The dove asks the wise-looking tortoise, “I’m looking for the tree that bears magic fruit.”

“Beyond the shores of the lake on the other side, there are some rocky mountains. Can you see them? Try going to the fourth peak of the tallest mountain in the middle, counting from the top.”

The dove looked in that direction, and sure enough, there was a faint but jagged silhouette.

“Anyway!”
The tortoise spoke with its head still inside the shell.

“Believe in whatever that thing may be. I’ll believe in the hardness of my shell rather than the fruit of a tree.”

Chapter 7: ​The Old Tree

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Right as the dove finally reached the rocky mountain, the old tree started murmuring to itself.

“An ominous wind is blowing. It’s revealing itself at last. I might not make it this time around. The Demon of Razgriz...hmm is it a hero this time?”

“What is that?” asked the dove casually.

“When history witnesses a great change, Razgriz reveals itself, first as a dark demon.”
The old tree started talking about the same thing the dove heard before at the castle.

“As a demon, it uses its power to rain death upon the land, and then it dies. However, after a period of slumber, Razgriz returns. This time, as a great hero.”

“Hero? Demon? What does it do?”
“When I first saw it, I was but a thin sapling with only a few branches. It was a time where humans fought each other frequently.”

“It caused a storm that raged for 70 days and kept raining large hailstones. Plants were damaged and there was nothing to eat for humans and animals.”

“This land then became desolate. Things that were alive died one after another. My friends, animals with four legs, humans, even your kind as well. After taking all kinds of lives from this land, Razgriz itself, of all things, died. Before long, this area became a bare mountain.”

“So it was an evil being?”
“...no.”
The old tree tilted its neck as if it wasn’t sure, exhaled, took a deep breath, and continued.

“There is a second part to this story. After a considerable amount of time after the land was ruined, a lone traveler came to this land. He cured those suffering from illnesses, resurrected the rotten land, brought the scattered humans together, and built villages and towns. The rivers were refilled, and eventually, wheat started to sprout. And thus, the land flourished once again. When the land began to breathe again, the traveler decided to leave the country. It’s been said that when departing, the traveler told the sad villagers this:

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“I am Razgriz."

The dove finally informed the old tree, “I’m looking for the tree that bears magic fruit.”

“Alright. It’s an important fruit that I only have a very small amount of, but I’ll share one of them. By the way, do you know why this is called a magical tree fruit?”
The dove remained silent, gazing at the old tree.

“This can become medicine, but also poison. On the contrary, it could just be a regular fruit or a rock.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s ‘magic’ because it turns into ‘whatever’ the one who has it believes it to be.”
 

​The dove looked towards the direction of the castle, but it couldn’t be seen even in the farthest hills.

“The winds are finally picking up. Be careful on your journey.”

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Chapter 8: ​Demon from Above

The dove clutched the fruit firmly with its beak, thanked and bid farewell to the old tree, and left the rocky mountain.
The winds became increasingly stronger, and the dove found itself in a storm mixed with hail.​

However, the dove wanted to return to the castle as quickly as possible.

With a slightly valiant look on its face, the dove spread its wings widely to the sides.

Chapter 9: The Magic Tree Fruit

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The dove skillfully crossed over the winds that changed direction constantly, and flew towards the castle where the Princess lived.

Higher, and even higher.

Weaving through the forest, breaking through the clouds.

To heights where it could catch even stronger winds, with a mysterious tree fruit that became ‘whatever’ the holder wanted it to be.

...No!

Firmly holding “the miracle medicine that can cure any illness!”

Further beyond the horizon where the river underneath disappeared to, the dove could see the forest and castle it had grown familiar with.

Just a little further! 
Just a little further and I can meet the Princess!
Then, I will offer this fruit to the Princess.

 If that happens, I can enjoy that wonderful life again!

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Chapter 10: Return

When the dove finally made it to the castle, the Princess' bed was surrounded by a great number of people, with even more serious faces than before. 

Each and every one was weeping.

Among them, the King was sobbing loudly as if he were moaning.

The dove was unable to make it in time, in the end.

It was extremely sad that the Princess was gone.

But the dove did not regret or feel disappointed in its own actions.

That was because the Princess’ final expression was so peaceful.

It was a graceful and calm look that let others know that she did not lose hope, and died loving the world.

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But the dove did not regret or feel disappointed in its own actions.

That was because the Princess’ final expression was so peaceful.

It was a graceful and calm look that let others know that she did not lose hope, and died loving the world.
 

Although it was sad, the dove which was tired from the all-or-nothing journey felt calm and decided to sleep. 

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Chapter 11: Ending

The next morning, the old maid that entered the room found the body of a dove next to the Princess. 

The maid twisted her wrinkled face in surprise, and said in a loud voice,

“Oh my! Is this the Princess’ dove? That’s strange! It was injured since it came here, and couldn’t use its wings. There’s no way those battered wings would have allowed it to fly, but how was it able to venture out and come back again? This young thing! ...how strange.”​

 

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The old maid decided to plant the fresh fruit of the Orion Poplar that the dead dove was still carefully holding in its beak in the garden, just below the window of the Princess’ room.

Eventually, the tree would grow big and it is said that the Princess’ room and the bird cage by the window could be clearly seen from the drooping treetop.

This is a story of a small miracle, passed down from parent birds to their chicks atop the Orion Poplar, from tree branch to tree branch.

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- THE END-

TaskForce 23 // Japanese to English Translation

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