Slay the Princess is a captivating game that skillfully presents an enigmatic tale with complex philosophical layers. For those still struggling to fully comprehend the intricacies of the game’s storyline, we present Slay the Princess: the story explained. Please note that this article contains extensive spoilers, so we highly recommend reading it only after completing the game. It’s important to remember that the game intentionally maintains a certain level of ambiguity.
The initial part of Slay the Princess’ story is relatively straightforward. The game’s opening narration succinctly outlines the premise: you, the player character known as the Hero, find yourself on a path in the woods leading to a cabin. In the basement of this cabin, a Princess is locked away. Your mission is to slay her before she unleashes destruction upon the world. The simplicity of this premise naturally raises questions and doubts. Why does a world-ending Princess reside in a cabin? What prompts the need to eliminate her? How did you even end up here? Unfortunately, no amount of pestering The Narrator or questioning the Princess will yield concrete answers. The Narrator simply states that you are “special,” while the Princess insists she has no recollection of her past or even her own name.
However, the Princess is not all that she appears to be, as The Narrator warns. Despite being confined to the basement for a considerable period, she shows no signs of hunger or thirst. Moreover, she possesses unexpected strength, capable of overpowering you even while chained to a wall. In certain scenarios, she acquires claws and attacks you ferociously. Adding to the strangeness of it all, the game operates within a time loop.
No matter what actions transpire, you will inevitably meet your demise in chapter one and subsequently find yourself back at the game’s starting point. However, things have changed. Perhaps you now encounter walls when attempting to leave, or maybe the cabin’s interior has undergone a transformation. One thing is certain: the Princess is not the same as before. She has evolved, assuming a more significant role in both appearance and personality. Remarkably, she remembers you from previous cycles, although The Narrator stubbornly denies the existence of past iterations. A mysterious mirror within the cabin, which The Narrator vehemently claims does not exist, further contributes to the sense of intrigue. Any attempts to interact with the mirror only result in its vanishing. Additionally, the Princess’s demeanor towards you is entirely contingent upon your previous treatment of her. Should you accede to her requests, your journey may not progress beyond chapter two. Nevertheless, if you defy her, a third chapter unfolds in which both the cabin and the surrounding woods undergo a peculiar transformation. The mirror reappears inside the cabin, obscuring the door to the basement until you touch it. The Narrator interprets this development as a sign of your influence waning and the Princess’s influence reaching its tipping point. Once The Narrator finally accepts the reality of the time loop, he claims that the worlds you abandoned must have met their demise.
Irrespective of whether you have reached chapter two or three, you eventually reach a juncture where the world itself disintegrates into nothingness. The current iteration of the Princess is whisked away by a multitude of hands, leaving you alone in a silent, empty void with the persistent mirror. Finally, you have the chance to gaze into the mirror and catch a glimpse of yourself, discovering that your true form does not resemble the bird-like creature visually portrayed. This revelation leads you to encounter an entity later referred to as The Shifting Mound by The Narrator. She explains that she is connected to the Princess but distinct from her, existing in a realm beyond reality. The Shifting Mound implores you to continue navigating the time loop, gathering various perspectives. Through your actions and perceptions of the Princess, you shape her into different versions, and by claiming these vessels, she seeks to become complete. Currently, she describes herself as being “full of you” and lacking “something like her.” Intriguingly, she remarks that you share similarities. Since neither you nor The Shifting Mound can kill each other, you must agree to complete her objective. Subsequently, she resets the time loop for you, gradually acquiring more understanding and personality as you bring her additional vessels.
Upon delivering all the vessels to The Shifting Mound, the trajectory of the story in Slay the Princess takes a dramatic turn. You finally confront The Narrator within the persistent mirror, where he abandons his cryptic nature and discloses the truth. The world within the game is a construct of The Narrator’s creation, designed to stave off the imminent annihilation of his own world. While the exact cause of the impending oblivion remains unknown, there are subtle hints suggesting it might be linked to the heat death of the universe. The Narrator fragmented the cycle of life and death itself, symbolized by the Hero and the Princess, with the expectation that you would slay her within the confines of this construct. By eliminating the Princess, The Narrator’s world would enter a state of perpetual stagnation, a choice between salvation from oblivion at the cost of eternal immobility and stasis. Both the Hero and the Princess are akin to gods, with the Hero’s true name being The Long Quiet, a name shared with the realm beyond the construct. As The Narrator is merely an echo of a past existence, he fades away, leaving you alongside The Shifting Mound in her complete form.
At this stage of the story in Slay the Princess, as the player, you are presented with the option to embrace godhood alongside The Shifting Mound and break free from the construct entirely, uniting in an amalgamation of absolute reality. Alternatively, you can reject godhood and instead choose to return to the core Princess residing within her heart. From there, you can either utilize her to reset the construct, slay her and ascend to godhood alone, or leave the cabin together as your true selves, stepping into an uncertain outcome. Conversely, if you heeded The Narrator’s advice and eliminated the Princess at the beginning, you are forever trapped in an eternal void. Repeated attempts to exit the construct result in The Shifting Mound exhausting her resources, leading to everything disintegrating into nothingness.
The Hero, known as The Long Quiet, serves as the central pawn in the plans orchestrated by The Echo and The Shifting Mound. It remains somewhat unclear whether The Long Quiet is a mere reflection of The Narrator. The glimpses of him in the mirror and accompanying artwork suggest otherwise. Despite similarities in appearance and shared vocal characteristics, The Echo declares that The Long Quiet is fundamentally different from her. Notably, The Long Quiet is never depicted with a bird-like beak or wings, despite allusions made by the Princess and the story’s conclusion. The Echo asserts that he is truly “nothing like” The Long Quiet, despite the apparent avian resemblance and shared voice.