6.3 Outside the Circle and the Snow Forest
“We’ve just left the road. No one can get here except through the means of magic.”
“So this is no longer the normal road?”
Noin quietly nodded to Dia’s question. Their surroundings still appeared to be the same snowy forest, though…
Her slightly frozen fingertips suddenly felt warm, unconsciously, Dia rested her back on Noin’s chest as she stayed within his arms.
Noin’s horse was probably not a normal horse, either.
It had been trudging slowly but calmly since a while ago.
Other than that, it was something that she shouldn’t be concerned about, but for some reason, Noin smelled very good. Dia couldn’t help but indulge herself in said scent.
…what a nice scent.
It smelled good, warm, and also very comfortable…
Just because he didn’t poison his cooking and appeared alone, didn’t mean he was a harmless being—
—yet, for some reason, Dia felt the embrace of the Night King utterly pleasant.
“…Are you alright, Noin? If you feel fed up and want to squash me, please let me know so we can discuss the next price.”
There was a reason Dia said so.
The day they met, Dia certainly had harmed him—that was why said creature never became fond of Dia.
In addition, even though it was a cliché in adventure stories—to overcome a trial with wisdom, in reality, who would obey an unfamiliar person, much else became a familiar?
There was a reason those stayed as stories—because non-humans weren’t actually that kind.
Still, the reason Noin stayed close to Dia was because they had a contract.
It was actually a fleeting promise made up by the eccentricity of a high-ranking creature, but, on that day, Noin who had recovered from the shock of hot spice oil gave her one condition—
—her wish would be granted on condition that she paid the price—so she was told.
I made a deal with the King of the Night…
Noin agreed to Dia’s wish, and, as capricious as he was, came to visit Dia to fulfil her wish depending on his mood.
However, Noin was still a high-ranking creature whom couldn’t be bound by humans like Dia.
To keep this creature from getting tired of her, Dia promised if he ever felt any sign of that, she would pay additional price and renew their contract.
In fact, Noin felt bored twice, and Dia was instructed to open the window on the summer solstice festival. He also asked for information regarding the management of the forest the Fashitar had as led by the second prince.
Noin asking about the Hydratats Forest might be because he’s wary… after all, there’s a great possibility that area will be deforested in the next major crop failure…
Strangely, there was still no penalty for the inhabitants of the kingdom who had already cut down a portion of the forest which belonged to the King of the Night Kingdom.
Nonetheless, there was also no sign of him forgiving them. Therefore, she concluded this unique being had his own style and time of doing things—waiting exactly for that moment.
…but, I’m also sure that Noin is gradually scraping away the protection he once gave to this kingdom…
The land of Fashitar was slowly withering away, like the ink that slowly faded and became but a filthy stain on a beautiful cloth.
Exactly how would the silentl encroaching doom devour the kingdom?
Noin sometimes looked at the kingdom with sick pleasure in his eyes—something completely impossible for Dia to empathize with.
Then, as the moon slowly waned—as the kingdom darkened—that day would come again.
That day where this kingdom would again rob part of the forest from the King of the Night.
At that time, Dia, whom was no longer a little kid, and no longer the First Prince’s fiancée, would be considered a mere hindrance.
The reason the previous deforestation was only partially completed was because the quality of forest crystals deteriorated.
Investigations showed that the change had been caused by the loss of trees. However, elsewhere, there were also those who suspected it was because of Dia’s presence. After all, Dia still had a link with the King of the Night who ruled the ancient forest.
When that happens, they will consider removing me, who poses a threat against this kingdom, too…
…but, when she considered that their actions—done purely with the intention of saving themselves—incited Noin’s wrath and would resulted in their own demise—isn’t it ironic?
Meanwhile, she would be leaving the world in a calm manner.
In addition, the outsider understood that his actions were slowly squeezing Dia’s neck, eventually killing her.
…This might be my own punishment for being a Gillasfi.
Even though the kingdom was slowly approaching its own demise, Dia would still be the first victim.
The King of the Night Kingdom surely wasn’t foolish enough to not notice it.
“…You’re right. Should we renew the contract?”
“As I promised since the beginning, I’ll refuse anything impossible!”
“Stop shaking that water bottle, stop it. In the first place, wearing such a dress, where did you even hide it…”
“There’s a weapon’s pocket on the back of the mantle!”
“You shouldn’t have told me that—you’ve dug your own grave.”
—Dia, who had inadvertently confessed about the location of her weapon’s stash, was shaking.
Noin told Dia not to leave her room on Evemeria Day as the new price.
“Is it because Evemeria is so busy, are you telling me to do that so I will stay still without bothering you?”
“Perhaps. If you were to kill yourself before the long awaited day of entertainment, it would be troublesome for me.”
“…I’m not an optimistic enough person to venture out somewhere on the day right before I’m going to be killed, just so you know. Besides, Evemeria is a day to be spent with your family without-leaving-home. Outside the room, I have nowhere I want to go.”
Noin never said he would free her or rescue her so she wouldn’t get killed.
She was a little sad about that—Dia soon realized that despite them having similar appearances, they were different creatures entirely.
No matter how close they were to humans, they were totally a separate being from humanity.
As such, it was foolish to wish for such a creature to become her family.
“Then, during that so-called last ball of yours, you’ll just accept your death calmly?”
“Are you going to tell me that’s boring? Well, well, I shall think about what I am going to do during that ball, then!”
“…There’s no way you can forgive them, right?”
“Indeed. I’m unlikely to be compassionate because I’m very obsessive and evil, as many people are. Even if it does feel miserable… thinking about it… there are things I can’t give up.”
In the quiet, snowy, forest, Noin quietly listened to Dia’s words.
Eventually, at the end of the winter hunt, the aforementioned fairy returned with prey, preventing Dia from being suspected of having strayed from the forest and catching no prey.
***T/N: So this is Dia’s way of revenge! Letting that faSHITar kingdom think problem is solved the moment they eliminated the last of the “””presumptious””” clan when by doing so, they would only be speeding up their own doom! The ‘If I fall, I’ll drag you down with me’ in it’s purest form!