6.2 Outside the Circle and the Snow Forest
“Aren’t you being overly-concerned about it… what, do you adore this knight or something?”
“No… Joel killed my brother, along with my nanny, the maids of the house, and their children… At that time, Joel was still a young knight, but he was probably an excellent, ambitious knight. Still, I’m this persistent individual who can’t like the one who killed my family.”
“He was the first knight assigned to your residence wing.”
“Yes. It’s so that in an emergency, he would be nearby to extend his hand. Noin, I asked about the dead… don’t you know the answer? If there exist someone like Joel, isn’t it better for me to know how to harm the dead, or how to make it so the dead remain dead?”
Noin was capricious.
He would appear and disappear as he pleased.
Dia didn’t want to waste this chance—after all, he usually wouldn’t stay in her presence this long.
At last, he finally dispelled the sound barrier.
She casted aside her shaky heart, along with her crumpled mind, because she absolutely needed to know.
“…I see, now. Is that why you never asked me about the safety of this knight ever since we met?”
“Whatever the circumstances and the role of this person, he’s still the one who killed my family. Even if we’ve never exchanged words, I’m not a good enough person to feel concern towards such a person.”
—just now, did Noin just smile thinly?
The grumpiness he exuded until now, which was akin to a cloudy sky, vanished without a trace.
For some reason, he appeared to be in a good mood. The brutality which separated him from humanity was contained. He slowly took his hand off the reins and extended it to her.
As if showing her how the container looked like.
“There are ways to deal with the dead. I can pull out their content, hence breaking them. That way, they will never be able to go to the Land of the Death.”
“Oooh, just like how when you’re making a bread stew, you throw out the cut-out bread?”
“Look, in a situation like this, exclude food from your examples.”
“Why am I being scolded.”
“Sometimes I’m in charge, other times, it’s the minions of my genealogy. That’s kind of how it is. It seems that those knights who killed your family received a temporary blessing from the cChurch, making them known as ‘Church Knights’. That’s why your family can’t return to Earth.”
Being taught by him, Dia blinked slowly.
“Meaning, those who have been killed by Church Knights are unable to resurface on the Day of the Dead?”
“This is from an old pact made between the King of the Death and the living—a measure to prevent sinners from returning to Earth.”
The words resounded within Dia.
Her important family was brutally murdered, and as if that wasn’t enough, they were also unable to return to Earth on the Day of the Dead.
Despite losing her family, Dia excitedly waited for her family to return through her window on the Day of the Dead. However, seven-year-old Dia couldn’t find anyone.
She gave up upon such a notion when she became ten years old, thinking that her family had perhaps headed for the next life. But, until then, every Day of the Dead, she was always waiting for her family at the windowsill.
“…if that is so, alright, then. Thank you, Noin. I always feared the day where I would stumble upon the truth, but now, it has become not-so-scary of a thing.”
When Dia spoke with a smile, the Night King disguised in the form of Joel narrowed his eyes.
After hearing such a good story, Dia raised her finger to explain why.
“I’ve always wanted to know if my precious family, who was supposedly an inconvenience for many people, had been miserably treated even after they died. Gentle parents, brothers, and sisters—I have no reason to keep thinking about them, who have left me behind. If I saw them, I planned to hide right away, but… exactly because they didn’t appear, because I can’t see them during the Day of the Dead…”
What if someone have harmed them again? What if once again, someone killed them?
Such truth she deemed too unbearable.
Dia swallowed her next words, and along with it, her tears.
…Then, at the very least, my family had reached the Land of Death… perhaps that’s better than returning to this place, not knowing what to do… they’re safe now…
Because a big palm was suddenly on top of her head, Dia’s head was pushed down.
Lifting her face in a hurry to voice her complain, when she looked next to her, there was no longer a knight wearing a blue-green uniform, but an outsider with a light blue hair that bled into the whiteness of the snowy forest.
“Do you ask me that because you only have a little time left?”
“That might be so. From here until the night of the ball, no matter how crushing it is, I might be able to endure until my last moment.”
Noin’s purple eyes calmly gazed at Dia, who answered so enthusiastically.
Is a gaze that makes the atmosphere suddenly become oppressive a common trait amongst high-ranking non-humans?
Cold sweat slid down her spine due to the coldness. The horse, which carried Dia on top of it, grew restless.
“…Noin, if this horse’s mood becomes bad, I might fall again.”
“…Don’t blame this fragile creature when you’re the one riding on top of him.”
“—don’t shift the blame to me—!? Horse riding becomes an option after the development of tribal culture and life—wait—!?”
Unexpectedly, Dia was lifted gently using his outstretched arms, and was suddenly moved to Noin’s black horse.
As a result, her especially made skirt was crumpled, showing the shape of her leg. In a panic, she quickly fixed it.
The other horse, which had gotten rid of Dia, separated and treaded lightly as if blaming Dia.
“Noin! That horse is borrowed, if it gets lost in the forest—“
“Don’t let it run away, keep it at an appropriate distance. I shall retrieve it later.”
“What are you—…”
Dia became suspicious, that was a tone someone would use to command a servant… she looked around.
Unexpectedly, there was a shadow on the horse Dia previously rode. Only its silhouette could be seen.
The ghostly shadow swayed, the shape was akin to a slender man. Although it couldn’t clearly be seen, he looked like a knight.
“It’s a fairy of my genealogy. Don’t worry about it.”
“…My, a fairy!?”
“Didn’t you hear me said to not worry about it?”
“W-wings, does he have wings—!? This is the first time I’ve ever seen a fairy in my life…”
Dia inadvertently became excited, but Noin only waved his hand, resulting in the fairy cleverly reining the horse before quickly disappearing.
She turned around towards Noin again with ample disappointment in her eyes. Once again, she was smacked in the forehead.
“If you’re truly a human, you needn’t to be told twice.”
“I-intimidation should be very useful for forest creatures. Did Noin finally understand how intimidating I am—!? Other than that, please respect the forehead of a girl—! I won’t forgive you if it’s red—!”
“If you won’t forgive me, what then? Will you growl and threaten me?”
“Fu~ how naïve of you! I have an important plan in a few days, so I packed a lot of hot spice oil in the water bottle. It’s a preventative measure when the forest creatures become rough!”
“Therefore, if you hit my forehead again next time, I absolutely won’t forgive you!”
“Aren’t you one troublesome creature…”
***T/N: My god, look at this closeness and how natural they speak to each other, no fear at all, only chemistry!