Horizon:Volume 3B Chapter 46
Chapter 46: Storyteller Among Classmates
The depths of the night
Tend to help people grow
Point Allocation (Not referring to their breasts)
The darkness of the night was amplified in the depths of the forest.
When three girls gathered in the faint light of spirits, stories were bound to follow.
…This feels somewhat nostalgic.
Mary had that thought as she had the light spirits float around them. In England, the children and women would sometimes gather together for a lively night.
“Well, you see,” said Mitotsudaira as she looked at the other two girls. “My mother’s family originally ruled this area. …Or so it seems. But when I say ‘ruled’, I mean as the beast at the top of the food chain. But…”
“But?” asked Mary to urge Mitotsudaira on.
Mary and Naito had already moved up so all three were on the same level with Mitotsudaira in the center.
“Oh, the water has boiled. Have some herb tea.”
“Yay! Made by a real Englishwoman!”
“Thanks,” said Mitotsudaira as she grabbed both ends of the container made from bent leaves.
She blew on the tea to cool it and the aroma filled her surroundings.
“What a calming smell. …Anyway, my mother was from the Reine des Garous' family, but the number of humans outside the forest grew and the forest was divided up by roads and wars. Also, the people began working together to hunt down the Loup-Garous. My mother’s family… Yes, I laughed when she once said she came from an unrivaled family, but I never thought she meant the Reine des Garous' family… Yes…”
“Don’t let it get you down, Mito-tsan! Pretend you’re eating some meat!”
You can cheer her up like that? thought Mary in amazement.
Meanwhile, Mitotsudaira smiled bitterly.
“Um, sorry if I’m not entirely consistent in how I say things. Anyway… Partially due to pressure from the lower Loup-Garous and other races, my…yes, the Reine des Garous' family promised to support the humans in the Hundred Years’ War to ensure the rights and safety of non-humans. But after that, the lifestyle of the non-humans became a lot more like that of humans. It might have been an intentional strategy on the humans’ part. It was a way of acclimating and taming the non-humans.”
What she said sounded harsh to Mary, but that may have been because England was so centered on non-humans. But even if she understood that, stating an objection would not help the situation.
Instead, she urged Mitotsudaira to continue.
“What did you mother do during all that?”
“Eh? Oh. From what I’ve heard, when her mother died, the noble who ruled the area tried to make a name for himself by taking advantage of the situation and hunting her down. My mother apparently purged all of his hunters. From then on, it seems people stopped coming here. But…”
“The humans were pretty clever. They knew they could not stand up to her, so they put a weak noble family in charge of this forest and then sealed it off by dividing it up with roads.”
“They divided up this forest?”
That question filled a room now lit only by a single flickering candle.
A boy asked the question to the Reine des Garous.
His nosebleed had finally stopped, but he had been told not to move from his back and the Reine des Garous lay on her side next to him.
“That’s right.” She nodded. “My family had originally allowed a few roads so that the humans could pass through because some generations preferred to avoid any complications. But they used that permission to expand all of the roads, even the ones that had fallen into disuse, and they started dividing up the forest.”
She thought back to an old memory that was also a regret.
“And, well, the circulation of the ecosystem doesn’t work well when the forest is too small. Once we could no longer secure enough animals for food, we began to weaken as well.”
“Yeah, Nate does eat a lot of meat.”
…If she has been keeping that up away from me, I must have taught her well when she was younger.
She felt satisfied in her education but brought her thoughts back to the past.
“My fellow Loup-Garous were hunted down or left for human society. Eventually, I was the only Loup-Garou in this area.”
She naturally let out a bitter smile.
“Honestly,” she sighed. “The humans did an excellent job. They knew they couldn’t hope to defeat me directly, so they isolated me and my forest so I might as well not be there at all. And the next noble family to rule the land was too weak to ever defeat me, so they were just telling me to die here all alone.”
“How did that lead to meeting your husband?”
“Well,” she said while looking to the boy.
He lay on his back and turned a look of expectation toward her. Not that this is all that interesting a story, she thought to herself.
“The head of that noble family died during Hexagone Française’s Reformation and his son became the next ruler of the land. He was small and weak and disliked athletics, but he was a serious boy who loved books.”
She took a breath.
“And he would eventually become my husband.”
“When my father inherited the land, yes, he was a very diligent person. He saw the rulers of other areas hunting down the werewolves for their people, so he decided to do the same. But my mother had already been isolated and what she had done in the past was well-known, so no one would help him.”
Mitotsudaira saw the other two girls nodding eagerly and she took a sip of tea. She quite enjoyed the way they leaned forward and the way their gazes told her to hurry up and continue the story.
“But my father knew fighting was not his thing, so he asked a friend for some advice. That friend… Well, according to my mother, she was a sickly girl and my father’s childhood friend, but in the academy…um, uh, to be blunt, she saved him from being bullied a lot.”
“What kind of advice did that girl give him?”
Mitotsudaira leaned back and waved a hand to copy the act her father would sometimes make to match her mother’s story.
“ ‘You really are stupid. There’s no way you can win in a fight, so that means you need to lay a trap. Yes, a trap.’ ”
Mary applauded after realizing she was acting out the part. Mitotsudaira was not sure if that was a good or bad thing, but she smiled regardless.
…I don’t have many opportunities to act like this on the Musashi.
“Anyway, he decided to lay a trap. And then…”
“But when I realized the humans had isolated me, I felt I had finally been freed from all the annoyances of life and decided I could live the rest of my life in quiet solitude.”
The Reine des Garous lay on her side with her back to the wall and Musashi’s chancellor to her left. She gave him a bitter smile.
The werewolf queen placed her cheek on his left shoulder and wrapped her left arm around his head.
She stroked his opposite cheek with her hand and he narrowed his eyes. That reaction removed the bitterness from her smile.
“But my fellow Loup-Garous were gone and my mother had died, so…”
“You weren’t lonely, were you? You are the Reine des Garous, after all.”
Whether he was being considerate or not, she swallowed the weak words she had almost said.
“Testament. That’s right. Royals are always isolated from everyone else. But…”
“Testament. When you are alone, you begin to think about the meaning of your own existence. I had books, cooking implements, clothes, and even food in this candy house that any child would be delighted to visit. …But I no longer had anyone to talk to, so there was no meaning in entertaining, protecting, or dressing up. That was when I realized the lifestyle my mother had taught me was a human lifestyle.”
She had realized something then.
…I put distance between myself and the neighbors who lived the same way as me.
Whenever one of the others had approached the humans, she had laughed and called them dogs, but she had only been able to do that because she had those others there in the first place.
Once she was all alone, even being queen had no meaning.
But at the time, she had thought she was unclean for being so immersed in a human lifestyle.
She had even hated her mother for immersing her in it. She had even wandered naked through the forest to return to being a beast.
But she had been shocked to realize even her appreciation of the beautiful scenery came from a human mindset.
…And that tree grew in front of the house.
It was a fruit tree. Not only that, it bore a strong-smelling citrus fruit.
When her mother had still been alive, a lost child had apparently reached the house and planted the fruit seeds he had with him. A fruit tree looked perfect with a candy house and her mother had said it would be something for her generation to look after, but she had seen it more as a threat.
The smell reached its peak when spring shifted to summer and the tree began to bear fruit.
The smell seemed to have been telling her to leave the house, so she had stayed out in the forest a lot more.
“Well, a lot happened, but I thought it was all the result of the current age, of destiny, and of what I wanted. …So I decided to throw away everything I had.”
“Throw it away?”
“My first thought was to wander through the forest every day and, if someone had the guts to face me, I would obediently let them kill me. …But I couldn’t find anyone like that. That was when I decided to give in to my lifespan and just let myself rot.”
“I found a poorly hidden trap set up on the road back to this house. It was a spring-loaded kind that would capture my leg.”
“Did your husband do that?”
“Testament,” she confirmed.
She thought back to that time and did not bother stopping the smile that ran from the corners of her mouth to her cheeks.
“When I saw it, I realized someone would definitely come for me if I was caught in that trap. Yes, and it would be a knight in shining armor who was willing to face the Reine des Garous.”
“Maman, you’re pretty amazing, aren’t you?”
“Any girl would think the same thing.”
She had nothing to be ashamed of as she clenched her right fist and said that.
At any rate, she went on to say what she had done back then.
“So I returned to the house, did the best I could to dress up for my knight, searched through my books to find the perfect way of expressing my thanks…and I intentionally let the trap catch me.”
“Intentionally? I don’t think I would go that far,” said Naito.
“Well, to be blunt, a trap like that can’t even scratch my mother.”
We really are a strange family, realized Mitotsudaira.
…Yes. Now that I think about it, we weren’t even a normal Loup-Garou family, but she kept it such a secret that I just thought we were an amazing family!
That overly honest and diligent side must have come from my father, she decided with a sigh.
“But anyway,” she said. “After my mother waited for about two days, my father showed up. He was in his first year of high school at the time and he ran over to her when he saw her.”
“Was he excited that he had caught her?” asked Mary.
Mitotsudaira hesitated but finally answered.
She hesitated again but made up her mind.
“When he saw her leg in the trap, he started crying and saying ‘I’ve done something awful’, ‘I didn’t think it would do this’, and ‘I’m so sorry’.”
“I wasn’t hurt at all, but he had a weak body, he was bullied at the academy, and he had experienced a lot of… How should I put it? Not so much painful things, but restrictive and hurtful things.”
When setting up the trap, he had likely aspired to be a hero, but then he had seen her caught in the trap.
“He suddenly realized what exactly it was he had done.”
“That’s a lot like Nate.”
She stroked him from the cheek to neck and he acted ticklish.
But anyway, that had surprised her too. She had expected some great hero to appear, but it had been a skinny boy who was short enough to mistake for a girl. And far from wearing shining armor, he had worn an old worn-out school uniform.
“He cried and apologized while trying to remove the trap, but that kind of trap takes a lot of strength to remove. He had a lot of trouble and hurt his hand. As he tried, it even started to rain.”
She had not helped him, but she chose to believe it was out of respect for him.
“After he removed the trap, he put his coat over me so I wouldn’t get wet. At the time, he was a full head shorter than me, but he still tried to carry me.”
“Did you let him?”
“Testament. How could I not after all the effort he put into it?”
“He collapsed once we reached here. …It was because of the rain soaking him without his coat.”
“And because he had to carry such a heavy- ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!!”
“Then I placed him in this very bed and had the spirits heal him. Once he woke, I tried to look frightening and told him I was the Reine des Garous. That name has a lot of power, after all. And then he said, ‘Sorry, but thank you for saving me, Miss Loup-Garou.’ ”
She had spent a busy week after that until he had recovered. She had been so busy because it was filled with things she had not had to do before.
“He was still weak, so I made food for him, did his laundry, and…”
She had felt shy. After all, she had been alone in the house with a boy. That tension and damage to her honor had never before been present in her life. And with all that…
“We talked about so many things. Including why I was here and why I was alone.”
The most interesting part was that he could remove the parts of the candy house.
…The condition the Technohexen set for removing the candy was to be a child.
The Reine des Garous would not attack children. She had told him that and seen him off after he recovered.
“When we parted, I made sure to tell him never to return.”
She answered the boy’s surprised question.
“That is simple. Because he smelled amazingly good.”
She thought back to that time.
His scent had not changed, but she had never smelled it before back then. It was not the smell of an herbivore or a carnivore. She had assumed it was the human smell of an omnivore, but…
…I had never smelled it before.
She had only realized the source of the smell later.
At the time, she had simply thought it was a good smell and sent him safely back to his village without eating him.
“Then what happened to him?”
“Apparently, he consulted with a local friend. That person did not believe he had actually met me and assumed he was making an excuse for getting lost, but he asked that friend a certain question. He said he wanted to properly thank and apologize to ‘Miss Loup-Garou’, but he did not know what to do since I had told him to never return.”
“And what did his friend say?”
The Reine des Garous waved a hand and did an impression of that friend’s voice.
“ ‘You do not need to worry about her telling you not to come back. If she really didn’t want you to come back, she wouldn’t say that the first time around. If she really wanted to keep you away, she would act nice the first time but in a way that made you want to stay away if you wanted to be a good person. She would only reject someone who missed the clues and came back the second time. She kindly nursed you back to health, didn’t she? Then you’ll be fine.’ But…”
“Apparently, that friend asked what was so great about me.”
“The boobs, right?”
He had apparently answered differently.
“He said he had never seen someone so beautiful, he said I was cool, and he said he wanted to talk with me more.”
“I see,” said the boy. “That must’ve been a shock to the friend. Your husband doesn’t have much tact, does he?”
“No, he doesn’t.” She could not help but smile bitterly. “I think we both realized what we lacked and from there it was an issue of compatibility.”
And then he had arrived.
“Anyway, a few days later, I caught him entering the forest and demanded to know why he had come.”
Looking back, she could tell she had been happy. She had known the only reason he would be there was to see her. She had been proud that he wanted her, but she had tried to reject that feeling back then.
“I came at him a little too harshly.”
“But wasn’t that the perfect attitude for a guy who liked the cool Reine des Garous? Wasn’t it a real thrill for him?”
“Yes… It has always been a mystery just how well we communicated with each other. It feels like we focus so much on the convenient parts of the other.”
But that was likely what compatibility was.
“When I approached him, he got down on one knee and held out a wooden box. He said my clothes had to have been torn by the trap, so he brought me some new clothes. My heart was racing as I opened it on the spot and I found a Hexagone Française uniform of all things.”
“Your husband is into some crazy things.”
She hit him once and then thought back on the past.
…So much happened back then.
She had refused the uniform and brought him to the house. She chose to believe she had done so out of respect for him.
“By the time I tried on the uniform and showed it off to him to see if he liked it, it was already night.”
Since it was late, she had made him spend the night. She had stood guard over him, he had gone to sleep first, and she had slept in the following morning.
…But I found something amazing when I woke up.
He had gotten up early and cooked breakfast. And he had made jam using the fruit on the tree outside.
“When staying with my mother before, my father had realized from her cooking that she had trouble with citrus fruits. But the Reine des Garous had to take care of the forest, so she could not let the tree die. So my father decided to use the candy house’s sugar candy to make jam.”
Naito tilted her head.
“That’s citrus marmalade, right? But did your mom really like that? If she was living in the forest cut off from human civilization, she wouldn’t have access to flour and wouldn’t have any bread, right? Even a single fruit tree would make a lot, so how would they use it all?”
“Um, Lady Naito? There are more ways to use jam than putting it on bread.”
After speaking to Naito, Mary turned to Mitotsudaira and said exactly what she expected her to.
“He used it as a sauce for cooking meat, didn’t he?”
“Judge. By mixing it with mustard and other sauces, he could make a salty-sweet sauce a lot like sweet vinegar. And doing that uses quite a lot of the jam. My father belonged to a poor noble family and there were a lot of fruit trees around their house, so he cooked like that a lot for himself too. That was why he thought to do the same for my mother.”
She took a breath.
“When he saw how much she liked it, he taught her how to make the jam and tried to leave. He assumed he would never meet her again. But then…”
Mitotsudaira smiled as the other two girls asked her to continue.
“My mother said the uniform would no longer fit her after eating so much, so she asked him to bring another one for her.”
That was when she had realized the identity of that unfamiliar scent she had detected on him.
…Yes, it was citrus.
When a poor noble family was surrounded by a variety of fruit orchards, what would happen as they tried to keep food on the table?
Most of their food would come from those fruits and it would become a part of their scent. The smell of citrus was an irritant to Loup-Garous, but after passing through a human body, it became the smell of meat.
…The sharp, harsh aroma is sweetened and dissolved inside the meat.
The jam sauce was an artificial reproduction of that.
…That first jam sauce he made was so very sweet.
She had felt like she was eating his scent.
It had dumbfounded her to the point that she had to look over at him to make sure his body was still intact.
She remembered everything from the days following that. He had visited to teach her how to cook and she had taught him what edible plants he could find in the forest. Their repertoire of jam had increased, they had been able to eat all sorts of things together, and the forest environment may have been good for him because his health had not declined quite as often.
She remembered it all.
Their eating habits had grown more similar, so the citrus smell she had supposedly hated had started coming from her own body and the meat smell she loved so much had started coming from him. This had delighted her and they never had the exact same smell because one of them was a carnivore and the other was an omnivore.
She had wanted to smell like him, so while helping him with his studies or something else, she would pretend to peer down at the textbook while really leaning in from behind and pressing her throat against him. That may have been the reason for something else.
“Helping him study was especially fun. I taught him history, old languages, and war while he taught me about new sciences, politics, and economics. But on occasion, he would mention his friend from back home. To be honest, I did not like that very much.”
“You said she was a sickly girl, right? That’s definitely the heroine type. …And the Reine des Garous is the jealous type, is she? Oh, and does Nate say not to compare girls with other girls because of that?”
“That is simply the nature of women. …But anyway, I didn’t really understand what I was feeling back then. I simply wondered why he was talking about someone else when I was with him. Thinking back, I can tell he saw no problem with bringing her up because he thought nothing of her. But…”
“He seemed to have talent at managing his land and did well with that, but he seemed to have trouble getting along with people. Word spread that he was meeting with me or with a Technohexen. Once people realized it was partially true, rumors spread that he was working with me to expand his territory.”
“What did he say about that?
“Oh, I heard about it from the birds because he never said anything. But when I indirectly turned the conversation in that direction, he said not to worry and that he would solve everything once he became a man.”
But would he really?
“I didn’t really understand what he meant by becoming a man. He was short, weak, and looked just like a child, but…”
One day, an incident had occurred.
“Suddenly, my father was no longer able to remove the sugar candy from the candy house.”
“You mean he became an adult?” asked Margot.
“My mother tried to comfort him, but he only apologized and said it was because he had thought things about her he shouldn’t have.”
“He had been thinking of confessing to her that he would come for her once he had grown to be her equal and could truly say he loved her. But it seemed the house had seen through it, so he assumed it was rejecting him so he couldn’t take her from it.”
“That wasn’t it, was it?” said Margot. “The candy house was telling your mom to go with him, wasn’t it?”
“I may not be one to talk, but I don’t think either of my parents really understood the other’s feelings or their own feelings. My father thought my mother was someone who protected the forest and my mother thought she would lose her excuse for not eating him once he grew up and was no longer a child.”
The two other girls stiffened at that last part.
“My mother hadn’t realized what it meant to have someone she didn’t want to eat. But since my mother didn’t want to eat him and my father was ashamed of what he had thought about her…”
She took a breath and shrugged.
“They stopped seeing each other.”
“I see,” said the boy in the flickering candlelight. “This is starting to get exciting.”
“Y-you sure are taking this lightly! But anyway…”
The Reine des Garous nodded and found the boy had turned to face her at some point. Fortunately, he seemed to have stopped bleeding, so she grabbed the shirt next to the bed and placed it over him.
“You’re welcome. Well, I was an idiot too. Once I stopped seeing him, I thought I had done a decent job of withdrawing from it all, but it was really just him feeling ashamed. But I was convinced I would have to eat him the next time I saw him because I was the Reine des Garous.”
“Well, there’s no helping that. You lived in two different worlds.”
“Testament. That’s true. He had a good friend back home. …And from what I hear, that friend had feelings for him. I had convinced myself it would be better for him to say he loved her instead of me. I thought that would end that relationship between Loup-Garou and human.”
She smiled bitterly.
“After he left, I even said it. When he was still there, I was too afraid to do so, but I used the words to convince myself.”
“Maman, you shouldn’t bring yourself down like that.”
“I know that,” she said as she stroked his head and gave a genuine smile.
She then continued with the story.
“But I began to hear unpleasant rumors from the birds and some of the spirits. When he entered the third year, classmates from a neighboring area approached him and accused him of taming the Reine des Garous. And if he wanted to prove them wrong, he had to go defeat me. And…”
“They said they would accept him as a man and obey him if he did. It was actually a trick to take control of the land that had developed so well under his management. They wanted him to challenge me and be killed by me. And the council of feudal lords told him he could always run away but gave him these instructions: drive a stake into the Reine des Garous’ body to take her soul. But if you are going to run, we will decide you lack the ability needed to protect your land. …They were worried about the rumors of him conspiring with me. When I heard about it all, I decided I would die for his sake.”
“Wasn’t that a bad idea?”
She smiled and realized it had been a long time since she talked about this. She had not had anyone to tell it to since her daughter had left, so she hid nothing and did not try to make it sound better than it was.
“At the time, I was stupid, inexperienced, and desperate, so I wrote a letter and had the birds take it to him. It said, ‘On the night of the next full moon, come prepared to take my life. I will give you my entire being.’ ”
“The chancellor would definitely lecture her about that.”
“He probably would,” agreed Mitotsudaira.
…Horizon would too, but hers would be expressionless.
“Judge, but my father was also stupid, inexperienced, and desperate. He thought as much as he could until the day of the full moon, but he apparently decided he wanted to see her and so he went. He also asked his friend for help. He said he had these two letters from the council of feudal lords and from ‘Miss Loup-Garou’ and asked what he should do.”
“And she said, ‘You really are dumb. If you do what I tell you, the Reine des Garous will be a piece of cake. Did you know you have to use a special weapon for a Loup-Garou?’ ”
Was that night even quieter than tonight? wondered the Reine des Garous.
“I set up the silver chain obelisks in front of the house and wrapped the chains around my arms and legs to…well, to make sure I couldn’t resist. Yes, and I opened the uniform he had given me from the chest to below the navel to make sure he could pierce my heart with a stake or a cross.”
“You’re into some crazy stuff, too.”
She hit him twice and then smiled.
“C’mon. It set the mood and was perfect for being so full of myself. And halfway through the night when the moon was almost directly overhead, he showed up in front of the house. I was so excited!”
“Ah, wait! If you hold my head like that and rub it with your chin, my face goes right between your breasts and it’s really amazing!”
She laughed and released him.
Noticing heat in her cheeks, she continued to speak.
“I hadn’t seen him in a while, but he had grown a bit and he had brought a large basket with him. Also…he looked extremely uncertain of himself, so I told him to calm down and assured him I would obey him. …I said I would offer everything up to him.”
“And what did he do?”
“Testament. He moved so close I could feel his breath on me, he opened the chest of my uniform even more, and he said he had come here after being told to kill me.”
But he had said more with a serious look on his face.
“He said a friend had told him of a way he could avoid killing me.”
“A way to avoid killing her? Was there a way to do that, Lady Mitotsudaira?”
“Judge,” replied Mitotsudaira with a nod to Mary who was looking sleepy.
…I can’t believe my parents.
With that thought, she continued the story.
“My father didn’t really know how to kill a Loup-Garou, so his friend had given him instructions. ‘Listen. First, remove her clothes and look closely. Like at her breasts. And then say this.’ ”
“ ‘I heard from a friend that the stake and taking of your soul are metaphorical. So I was told to ask you what to do. I was told you would guide me through it all.’ ”
Her mother had apparently not known what he meant. She had supposedly even asked if there really was a way to do that, but her father had nodded and said what his friend had told him to say.
“ ‘As a man, I apparently already have the stake needed to take everything that you have but also still be with you. …But what is that stake? If I do have it, what am I supposed to do to you? Please tell me.’ ”
“ ‘I don’t want to kill you and I want to be with you. So teach me what I’m supposed to do.’ ”
I didn’t know what to do either when he said that, thought the Reine des Garous.
She had thought he was there to take her life, but he had no intention of doing that and on his friend’s instructions…
…He wanted to give me his stake.
That meant for the Reine des Garous to be with a human and a weak one at that.
It was unthinkable. To ensure their lineage remained, each generation of Reine des Garous would devour a powerful male and bear a mixture of their soul and her own soul as her child.
“But being queen had already lost all meaning for me.”
For that reason and because the chains prevented her from moving, she had asked him something.
“I said the clothes he had given me had gotten tight again. So I asked him to remove them since I couldn’t use my hands at the moment.”
When he had moved in close to remove her clothes, she had brought her lips to the corner of his eye.
The first time she had tasted him, it was through his tears.
The Reine des Garous recalled what had happened after that.
She had thought she might resist that first time and she had been afraid of any slight discrepancies in their understanding, so she had remained chained up in the moonlight.
She had then taught him what to do.
“The etiquette of wolves is to start by moving in close and sniffing each other’s scent.”
They had rubbed their cheeks together, brushed their hands through their hair, touched their necks together, and felt each other’s breathing and warmth.
That was the first time she had allowed herself to tell herself she loved that smell.
He smelled nice, he was attached to her, he wanted her, he fed her delicious food, and he thought of her first in everything. She had tried to sacrifice herself, but he had never considered the possibility and insisted on them being together.
If she thought or said she loved him, no one would blame her at that point.
So as they rubbed their bodies together, disturbed their clothing, and became enveloped in each other’s warmth, she gave another instruction.
“Now, please hold me tight.”
…Thinking back, we had gone a little overboard during our normal study sessions. Bad queen.
But he had awkwardly and hesitantly embraced her.
“Now the lips.”
Their lips had met.
“Um, is your…tongue ready?”
He had answered yes by sticking out his tongue. While they wrapped their tongues around each other, tugged, and licked each other’s tongues, she had realized something.
She was tasting him.
But had he understood that as well? Urgency filled his movements as he embraced her and hers as she pressed against him. Their movements filled the gaps in each other’s skin and pressed them against each other.
She had not been drinking his blood, devouring his flesh, or chewing on his bones. They had been smelling him and pressing their skin together, rubbing their tongues across each other’s mucous membranes and soft flesh, tightly embracing as they brought their bodies and minds together, and wiping away or licking up or even rubbing in their saliva and tears.
…And it was intoxicating.
Loup-Garous were nearly spirits, so they could control others through ether. It was a type of assimilation, so they would even obtain their prey’s thoughts when eating them.
Those thoughts would be submission, fear, and futile resistance. Feeling those ensured their status and the joy of being devoured that some felt was the power and pride of being a predator.
But what if they did not eat the other person and instead wanted to be with them?
…Our thoughts, movements, and feelings all passed back and forth between us.
As she accepted his feelings, her own feelings reached him via the ether. Not only was it impossible to hide anything, but what he thought about her thoughts and her own thoughts inside him would return to her through the assimilation.
Simply remembering it was enough to make her shudder. The more they had thought, the more their thoughts had combined. She had lost track of who she was and simply felt good and happy as they intertwined.
He had done exactly what she wanted. The feeling would reach her and circulated between them, so…
…I accepted him as if offering myself up to him.
He had been a different being from herself. She had wanted to be closer to him and his scent resembled hers, but he was definitely a different creature.
But as he had kissed her and attacked where she could not resist, she had spoken up.
“O-okay. Let’s try to go deep in there.”
She could now say they had done a little too much studying then, but that was because she was calmer now. At the time, they had both been very serious. She even had a faint memory of saying “three, two, one, go”, but she hoped she was imagining that one.
But that gathering of his flesh and scent had reached a place she was unable to see.
The empty part of her she could do nothing about was expanded and filled by that flesh and scent of his that she wanted more than anything else. As she had wetly wrapped around it, she had felt a strong pain.
She had wondered if this was really okay, but had that been due to surprise, fear, or joy? Without finding the answer, his embrace had grown even stronger. Instead of simply bringing their lips together, they had started seeking each other to the point of exchanging breaths or kneading each other.
The two of them had continued pushing or groping each other’s bodies yet never moving away from each other. As time went on, they fulfilled each other or were fulfilled countless times.
After remembering that much, the Reine des Garous sighed.
…My inexperience took that in an interesting direction.
After desiring each other for a while, the two of them had realized something about their condition.
First of all, they never grew tired.
She was a non-human royal, so she had predicted her own endurance, but he could also continue without end due to receiving her feelings and regenerative ability through the ether.
One could say he had received the protection of the Reine des Garous.
And on top of that…
…The regenerative ability of the Loup-Garou race kept trying to heal my “wound” right away.
To teach her body it was not a wound, they had needed to keep at it for a very, very long time to make a “mold” of his shape.
…We really did just keep doing that.
But he had been incredibly worried about her “wound”.
“Um, are you okay? Should we stop?”
“No, no, no, no, no, no! I’m fine! Perfectly fine! I really am, so just a little longer!”
…Thinking back, if I was, then I could have stopped. Well, I can chalk that up to a discrepancy in our understanding of each other. Yes, that was it.
But as they brought their bodies together, those kinds of words had melted into warm thoughts and circulated between their hearts.
It had all been perfect for desiring each other without end.
For the first three days and three nights, they had continually desired each other and answered that desire while still standing.
She had started off offering herself to him, but because she was sharing her pain with him and receiving his feelings, she soon began to prioritize what she wanted. Worst of all, she was able to request whatever she wanted in the name of “teaching him”.
“N-now, there. Work hard there and keep at it. Don’t give in until I say it’s okay.”
“C-can you be more specific, Miss Loup-Garou? Make your instructions more specific.”
…How could he ask a girl to say something so embarrassing? …I did tell him, though.
But to be absolutely sure she would not resist, they had only loosened the chains a little and they had remained standing while desiring each other, answering each other’s desires, begging for what they wanted, and responding to those requests.
On the fourth day, she had been relieved to find she still had no desire to resist. They had loosened the chains further so she could get down on her knees and elbows in front of the house. In that position, she could reach any part of his body with her lips and she could finally hold him in her arms.
That was when their mutual desire had truly begun.
Instead of only being on the receiving end, she could directly desire things, wrap around him, and bend her back to offer herself to him since the chains weighed down her arms and legs. She had also answered his desires when he cried out like a child or like he was crying.
She had wanted to pay him back for everything he had done over the past three days, so she had continued doing all sorts of things for him.
…It was wonderful that my mouth could reach.
She had sent out her tongue and licked over every single part of him. She had trembled as she felt his scent reach her nose from inside her mouth, on her tongue, and in the back of her throat. When she had made him stand with his back pressed up against the pillar and kneeled in front of him, her lips were at the perfect height to reach him.
She had done anything for him in the name of “teaching him”.
“To tame a Loup-Garou, you must stick your spear everywhere you can. And to keep a beast from biting, you can stick something in the back of their throat. That prevents them from closing the base of their jaw and… Well, just stay still.”
“H-huh? I feel like you gave up explaining partway through!”
…Again, why are you trying to make a girl explain all the details? …I did explain them, though.
She had kissed him, used her tongue to guide him deep into her throat, and slowly moved her head forward and back while sucking and moving him back outside of her lips. She had also used the pressure of her lips to pull his scent from him and savor it. When he could no longer contain himself, she had taken her reward onto her tongue, the backs of her teeth, and the back of her throat before carefully swallowing it. She would also sometimes gently bite him with her back teeth. After repeating this again and again, a new thought had come to her.
…I’m glad I didn’t eat him.
The flavor that soaked into her mouth, the back of her throat, her skin, and inside her body was the human flavor she had wanted so much.
If she ate him, it was over after the one time.
But by not eating him, she could continue to enjoy this flesh and this scent as she felt it thick on her tongue, sticky in her throat, and resilient against her teeth.
And it went beyond her mouth. She felt it in her skin, in her flesh, in the sensation of being touched, in the sensation of him pressing up against her, in being groped, in being pinched, and in being embraced.
She could stay with him forever because she had not eaten him.
And the grooming and regeneration of a bestial spirit was perfect for refreshing and preparing their bodies. Even after experiencing it countless times, it would quickly fade and leave them wanting more.
So they had both decided to keep going until the other was exhausted and they had continued for another three days and three nights. Only then did they finally remove the chains and fully remove their clothes.
“Now, can you take off my clothes? …Oh, but you can do that without me telling you how, right?’
“Well, um… I’ve imagined doing it for so long.”
He had apologized, so she had no choice but to embrace him and whisper that she had too.
Newly exposing their naked bodies to each other had been embarrassing, but it was no longer a one-way situation of doing something or having something done. Once they had begun intertwining their bodies, there had been no stopping them. When she had taken his hand, he had pulled her hand to him. When she had moved her body in close, he had moved back toward her and deep inside her. When she had turned her back, he had embraced her and filled her up. Without saying a word, they had known exactly what the other wanted done and they had fulfilled those desires and had their own desires fulfilled.
The biggest change was that she could have him lick her now that she had removed her clothes. His wetness reached the places filled with her scent and he had licked all over every part of her, front and back. She had moved around at the ticklish feeling and done the same to him, but she had grown nearly intoxicated from having his scent washed all over her by his tongue and she had asked one thing. She had gotten on hands and knees in front of him, traced her tongue along him, and spoke.
“Now, will you cover me with your scent?”
She had wanted him to mark her, but he had hesitated. Once she had urged him on with her tongue and gaze, he had granted her desire. That was when she had nearly passed out. While she lay face down and trembling in the puddle of his scent, he had moved up behind her.
“U-um, to tame you, I have to drive my stake everywhere, right?”
They could not allow a discrepancy in their understanding. She had raised her hips toward him, he had grabbed them, and to tame her, he had “driven his stake” into a place he had not yet done so. But…
“U-um, Miss Loup-Garou, this doesn’t seem to have tamed you at all!”
“W-work harder! Yes, work harder! The Far Eastern character for hard work is a combination of the characters for ‘woman’, ‘crotch’, and ‘strength’, so keeping this up will give you strength!”
…I really am stupid, aren’t I?
But she had offered him every place she could accept him, received what he gave her when he could not hold it in any longer, was covered by it, licked it up, and swallowed it. They had continued embracing and desiring each other without interruption for another three days and three nights.
…Yes, we really did. I even used my high-speed techniques to…um…be tamed. Yes, that’s right. I was tamed at high speed.
But eventually, their bodies had begun to lose their strength. Thinking it was finally over, they had moved into the house while still embracing each other.
During this break, she had thought back on the past days and begun to realize just how horribly embarrassing everything they had done was.
Right inside the front door, her weak feet had stumbled and she had fallen so her knees and breasts reached the floor. She had tried to get back up and managed to raise her knees, but her arms had been too weak. The next thing she knew…
She was on the floor with her knees spread wide and her hips sticking up toward him behind her.
It was an embarrassing position and the way she had asked him to hold her up had been a mistake.
Their mutual understanding had failed, so he had come at her with even more desire than before. In truth, she really had cried several times. Because it was so good.
Her carelessness had led to an even more embarrassing time over the next three days and three nights. After the battle, the two of them had ended up collapsed on the floor in each other’s arms. This time, she truly, truly had thought it was time for a ceasefire. Any more education would have definitely been wrong. Not that everything up until then had not been wrong. At any rate, she had not seen how it could get any worse.
But after she got up first, she had seen him next to her covered in sweat, gasping for breath, and red in the cheeks. She had found him incredibly cute and he was amazing no matter what he did.
He had looked up at her with teary eyes and reached out a hand as if asking for help.
A failure in their mutual understanding had suddenly filled her with even more desire than before. In truth, she really had almost cried several times. Because his reactions were so good.
She had been fairly certain that the “teaching him” excuse was still valid. Probably.
“Heh heh. How is it? C’mon, don’t hide your face. I’ll hold both your hands down if I have to. And – heh heh – tell me exactly how good it feels. …Now, begin.”
She had made him say all sorts of things, but she had later “taught him” all sorts of things to balance it out.
…But even if our understanding could be a little off, our amazing compatibility was the real problem. Yes, that was the problem. A huge problem. And he didn’t help with what he said.
“Wh-what if a lost child shows up?”
…Of course that was going to fire me up even more.
They had continued for another three days and three nights on the floor, below the table, or next to the chairs. Their movements of desire had formed a slow crawl toward the neighboring room. She had decided that they would surely get some sleep once they were in the bedroom.
But she had been too naïve.
Another problem had arisen because the bedroom had a bookcase and it of course contained a health textbook.
“Y-you need to study before going to bed, don’t you!?”
“Eh? What is this acrobatic position? Can humans really do that? Wow!”
She had been unsure why he was so impressed.
Regardless, they had studied the book on the floor, had a hands-on lesson, and then went over it again just to be sure. They had confirmed their own techniques, blushed as they taught each other just what they should do when they were alone and thinking about the other, and then finally made it onto the bed.
She had exposed her defenseless stomach on the soft sheets, spread her thighs to receive him, had her knees lifted up from below, raised her own hips, looked down on him from above, and embraced him again.
She was no longer “teaching him”. They simply obeyed their circulating thoughts, spent a final three days and three nights as she accepted him in from above countless times, and finally fell gently to sleep while still embracing each other.
Although he had woken up five minutes later as he suffocated in her breasts.
Afterwards, they had slept like a log for three days straight, pecked at each other as they dozed, and repeatedly desired each other and answered the other’s desire to confirm they were there when they woke up.
Their connected and overlapping minds had shared a single thought from the moment they had begun until the very end: I never want to leave this person.
…Come to think of it, I’ve done just that here.
Remembering it all filled her heart with love instead of embarrassment.
She also remembered what had happened after they had woken from their excessive time together.
They had both gotten up, exchanged a glance, smiled, shared a meal, and played in the water together.
He had then tugged on her hand.
He had been ready then. When seeing his thoughts, she had learned that he knew human society would never allow him to marry the Reine des Garous.
But he had made up his mind, so she had done the same.
“Yes, let’s go.”
She had taken his hand and she had wanted to go with him.
“And when my parents left the forest together…”
Mitotsudaira stopped at that point. Mary was slowly nodding off to her right.
…Was the story too boring?
But she also remembered the exhaustion from the day.
“Ma-yan must be tired after all the healing and other stuff she did. From what I saw, she fell asleep around the time your mom tied herself up with the chains.”
That would explain why she had never been asked for details about her parents joining together. Tenzou would probably have some difficulties concerning that at some point, but it was not her problem. For now, she supported Mary’s head with her shoulder, but…
…H-her breasts are pressing against my right elbow!!
She felt some fresh surprise at realizing what it felt like with someone who actually had something there, but she managed to support the girl. Naito opened a new Magie Figur and moved the meter down to zero before speaking.
“Now, get on with the story.”
“Margot, you really like this kind of story, don’t you?”
“It’s called having taste,” she said with a smile and a wave of her bandaged right hand.
But Mitotsudaira raised one corner of her mouth in a smile of her own.
“I say that, but I don’t really know much more. No one would approach my parents after they left the forest and his friend went to Paris where her brother lived. But my parents lived a fulfilling life and they eventually realized my mother was pregnant with me. And…”
“Paris…that is, Hexagone Française’s central academy, École de Paris, summoned my parents. They thought the time had finally come to be punished for what they had done, but when they got there…”
She had a feeling they had always be vague about this part of the story.
“According to them, they were given a plea to spare some people’s lives. It had been sent by the classmates and feudal lords who had plotted against my father. They traveled to Paris and they gave their swords to my parents.”
“They…kept their promise?”
“A lot must have happened, but they had the blood of knights in their veins and they had promised to serve my father if he defeated my mother. He had made her his wife, so they kept their promise and my parents have been protected by them ever since.”
Mitotsudaira smiled bitterly.
“And my parents were forgiven. Based on what my mother said, it must have been in exchange for becoming vice chancellor as the Reine des Garous once Louis Exiv took his inherited name. That allowed her to give birth to me in Paris, hide her identity, claim to have ruled a different land, and yet continue to protect this forest. But…”
At that point, she realized something.
“That sickly girl who was my father’s local friend was probably the same one who judged them in Paris.”
“Anne of Austria. …Louis Exiv’s younger sister by birth and his mother by inherited name.”
“She’s rumored to be in Magdeburg now, right?”
“Judge.” Mitotsudaira nodded and stared into the darkness ahead of her. “She was probably sent to this spirit-filled forest for a restful lifestyle to help with her incurable illness. Her brother Exiv’s abilities were recognized, but the Testament Union’s interference forced her to take the position of provisional chancellor and Student Council president. To her, the Reine des Garous that her local friend had taken as a wife had to have been a reliable existence.”
“Mito-tsan, I’ll erase that last part from the recording.”
Only then did she notice the sharpness of her words.
“Sorry,” she said with a light bow. “From my parents’ perspective, she’s the one that brought them together and then allowed them to remain together.”
“Without her, you never would’ve been born.”
The thought of her own birth got her thinking, but as she thought, she began to wonder what was wrong with her mother for telling her that sexual story when she was so young. She had a feeling she had seen her mother telling it while wiggling back and forth with her hands on her cheeks about once every three days.
She also remembered her mother rejoicing when she copied that action, but she stopped herself because she had a feeling that remembering any more would lead to a fatal dose of painful memories.
…But I really do owe my life to a lot of different people.
“Then again, I guess the reason my mother is my enemy now is so she can pay back the debt made before I was born and right after I was born.”
“Oh, Mito-tsan, you’re so cool.”
She had recovered enough to reply with “I am a knight, after all.”
…But that’s thanks to the others.
She had still not fully recovered, but she was not wrong to think that.
“How about we get some sleep? I’m sure we’ll be moving before the sun is up tomorrow morning.”
“What about Ma-yan?”
“You can just leave her next to me.”
I sure have gotten lenient, she thought while supporting the girl’s back and lying down.
She managed to get both her and Mary lying on the slope.
But Mary fell toward her and gently clung to her.
Eh? she thought, but Mary’s arms were already wrapped around her back and chest and were even approaching her waist. The girl’s head and floral-smelling hair rested on her chest and held her in place.
…Ehh!? Does she like to hold something when she sleeps!?
“Wait, um… Margot! Why are you recording this!?”
“Tenzou! Tenzou! Is she like this with you too!?”
“W-well, I’m always on the top bunk, so…”
Mitotsudaira and Margot exchanged a serious glance.
“Mito-tsan, why don’t we take a major step in your father’s footsteps and teach her some things here?”
“No matter how I look at this, I have to agree with you.”
“Y-you two don’t understand the beauty of conflicting feelings, do you!?”
As they argued back and forth, Mitotsudaira placed her chin on Mary’s head.
Since Mary had not said anything more, she could assume the chancellor was still safe.
…But what are he and my mother doing right now?
After telling her long story and taking a break, the Reine des Garous looked to the boy who was embracing her left arm.
He was asleep. He was curled up next to her and gently breathing.
…Honestly, how defenseless can you be?
This was not a kind place where she would not eat him simply because he did not oppose her, but…
…He really is entrusting everything to me.
This was just like a child feeling safe in his parent’s arms and falling asleep. He was lost in the relief of leaving his safety up to someone else. And if he was doing that, she could do whatever she wanted. Thinking this would be her last chance, she opened her mouth and brought her lips to his forehead.
She smelled something there. She smelled the nostalgic scent of her daughter, the scent of bread, the scent of the incense used at Shinto shrines, a dog-like scent, and…
Curious, she licked him and detected a flavor rising from her tongue to her nose.
She knew it but at the same time did not. Frustrated, she licked him a second and third time to check.
But she really could not place the flavor.
Whatever it was, it was saying “I’m here”. She did not know what was saying “I’m here”, but she had a feeling the words “I’m here” could describe this boy. Wanting to know what it was, she prepared to move from licking to just about sucking on him, but…
She suddenly remembered something she had forgotten for a long, long time.
“It can’t be.”
At the same time, a Signe Cadre appeared next to her face. It was a Catholic type, but…
“Hm? Didn’t I temporarily block any from the Student Council or chancellor’s officers?”
She checked and saw this one was not from either group. It had arrived via her home, so her husband had forwarded it to her and it was originally from…
“Anne, of course.”
She looked to the boy next to her.
“My. Does everyone find this boy to be that important?”
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