Chapter 2: I Never Heard Anything About Being Wolf Beastman! Part 1

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“Hm~ What an interesting girl.
I will take you as my wife.”

I was selected as a bride by a talking big dog.
It was the beginning of the prime of my life. 

I thought to myself, how did I end up in this situation? 

There was a deep, deep series of events that led us to this situation right now. 

 ◇◇◇

Early in the morning, I got woken up by the sunlight, shining through the crevice of the curtains. 

“Fuwahhh~”

I was still sleepy but I had to get up.
Trying to motivate myself, I sat up straight.
The hard bed made a creaking sound at the slightest movement.
The floor was made from stone so it felt cold to touch.
I must be careful to not touch the floor with my bare feet. 

Once again, I yawned.
It wasn’t like I was still feeling tired but no matter how much I slept, I still ended up feeling sleepy. 

The best way to freshen myself up was by washing my face.
I then went to the bathroom and there was already a basin prepared, filled with water.
This place was a dormitory and the maid was the one who prepared this basin for me every morning. 

I roughly scrubbed my face with soap laying in the bathroom.
The soap was cheap and didn’t lather very well.
Ah, I wanted to buy a good soap to use once in a while. 

Recently, I heard there was a new trend between the noble ladies to use beauty soap with the scent of roses.
If I had one of those beauty soaps, the soap would definitely lather well.
The soup would definitely make my skin all plump and soft too. 

As soon as I washed my face with cold water, my sleepiness quickly got blown away.
I wiped my face with a rough cloth and was brought back to reality at once.
Right now, without having any guardian under my name, this cheap soap that wouldn’t lather well was the only thing I could afford.
I didn’t have any spare money to buy rose scented soap. 

When I looked into the mirror, I saw the reflection of myself.
Long, light purple hair along with almond-shaped green eyes.
My nose was neither too short nor too high and an extremely normal looking lips. 

I had always been told that I gave off the impression of a slightly cold person.
Although I was already 18 years old and in the prime of my life, I didn’t have the luxury to get carried away with things.
I needed to save up money as much as possible. 

Why? Because I didn’t have any living relatives left.
My kind parents, both of them died in an accident when I was 10 years old.
Both of my parents didn’t have any other relatives too and so, I had no one to take me in. 

From then on, while living in an orphanage, the director of the orphanage discovered that I could use magic.
I took the entrance exam to a magic school, learnt healing magic there and joined the Royal Chivalric Order as a magic soldier. 

For three years after becoming a knight, I participated on a low ranking mission and was able to live on my own without anyone’s support. 

It seemed a knight’s salary was better than the salary of a maid in a noble’s house and I guess that was true.
After all, a knight had to risk their own life and body during duty.
However, even though the pay was better than a maid, most female knights retired earlier than a maid would.
I heard most female knights retired before they reached 25 and most of them retired because of marriage. 

Due to my current conditions, getting married was a difficult feat to achieve.
In this day and age, a girl without a guardian or parents was deemed as undesirable as a marriage partner.
Growing up, I also wished I could get married with someone I mutually love, just like my parents but now that I have experienced losing both of my parents… The thought of losing my family again really terrified me. 

Hence why, it was impossible for me to form a deep connection with anyone.
The only thing I could do now was keep on saving money so I could live well even after I retired.
That was why I couldn’t afford to buy a rose scented soap.
I lived a life where I couldn’t let a single coin go to waste. 

Despite that, I still have one prized treasure in my stash.
It was a letter that my deceased parents had left for me.
They gave me this letter when I was 10 years old.
They told me I should open it on my 18th birthday, the day I became an adult.
Coincidentally, today was my 18th birthday, which meant I was already an adult.
I wonder what kind of thing they wrote in this letter?

I had already planned on reading the letter after I got off from work.
Trying to suppress my excitement, I donned on my uniform, getting ready for work.
The uniform for magic soldiers was more similar to that of a nun rather than a knight.
It was a one piece, thick navy blue cloth covered with protective magic.
It came with a beret and cross amulet to wear around my neck.
I grabbed a staff with a crystal on the tip and headed to the dining hall. 

The female knight did not eat their meal elegantly.
Our meal came in buffet style and people were allowed to eat their favourite food as much as they wanted.
Hence why people would even fight to get the most popular meal. 

Missing breakfast would become a hindrance later on when you go on a mission.
In order to get the energy required for the day, you need to eat meat, fish and vegetables in an equal amount.
The people who would go on queue were those robust female knights only.
A frail magic user like me wouldn’t stand a chance against them.

As for today’s loot, I was able to get one meatball, one fried fish and a bowl of soup with nothing but root vegetables floating on the surface.
Being able to procure one meatball was actually a really good achievement though. 

There was a table filled with stacks of bread so I would fill my stomach with bread instead.
These bread, they were not fluffy, buttery or even filled with a delicious smell.
The surface of the bread was rough, like a tree bark and the inside was as hard as a rock.
I must eat this bread by soaking them in soup first.
Back when I was still young and inexperienced, I just bit into them directly and ended up hurting my mouth instead.
Right now, I would never do such a foolish thing ever again. 

I properly chewed the food and swallowed them in one big gulp.
The food in the dining hall was free to eat as much as you wanted but they didn’t taste good.
Sometimes, I miss the meat pie and pancake my mother used to make.
At times like this, I tried to suppress those memories from floating around, closing them in a tightly shut jar. 

After finishing breakfast, I went straight to work.
I belonged to the 17th Patrol Unit.
My duty was to patrol around the royal capital.
Keeping vigilant for any dangerous place, people and monsters.
There were 30 people in my unit and we had to alternate working the night shift every week.
I was in a platoon commanded by a female captain, Mille Toll-san. 

“Good morning, Captain.”

“Good morning.”

Captain Millie was tall enough to be mistaken for a man.
She had short, cropped black hair and sharp eyes.
Even though she was a woman, she looked very manly and tough.
Captain Millie was already 28 years old.
To be able to continue being a knight up to her age, she must’ve overcome numerous obstacles on the way.
She looked so cool and I really admired her way of living. 

“Magic Soldier Miltia, have you eaten your meat properly? You… You look so thin like a newly born fawn.”

“Despite how I look, I really did eat my meal properly.”

“But you’re still skin and bones.
I will take you to eat some meat with me next time.”

“Thank you very much, Captain Millie.”

I was told I was skinny again.
I actually wanted to be muscular like Captain Millie too but I just couldn’t gain any weight or even have any muscle.
Both of my parents were slender too so maybe this was all in my genetics? Hanging my head low in disappointment, I lined up for the morning assembly. 

“Today we will go to the West Forest to exterminate monsters.
Each of you has to prepare your own equipment and gather together with a horse in tow.”

After the morning assembly, we all went on our own way.
Everyone went to the stable simultaneously.
The horses in this stable could be used by the members of 17th Patrol Unit communally.
Only rich noblemen or people in managerial positions could afford to own a horse.
The people in lower position  had no other choice but to communally share the horses in the stable according to their knight squad’s budget. 

There was only one stable keeper in here.
The old man was definitely not enough to handle more than a dozen people swarming his stable.
The stable was practically in chaos.
The horses’ personalities also varied.
From meek, obedient horses to rambunctious horses.
Of course, everyone wanted to get the obedient horses. 

“Um- excuse me! I want the dapple-grey one-”

In here as well, I was the last one to choose a horse thanks to my weakness.
I just couldn’t push through the line like everyone else. 

“Melodia-chan, only Rambunctious Crow is left.
Are you fine with him?”

“I’m… Not fine at all but….”

This Rambunctious Crow, he was a new horse that had just arrived last week.
He was a beautiful black horse with glossy hair and supple muscle.
He was a ferocious one and it was not an unusual sight to see him biting the stable keeper.
It seemed he used to belong to a brave knight who often ventured the battlefield.
The said knight then was killed in battle and so, the horse lost his master. 

At first, Crow was assigned to a knight unit who were also fighting in the frontline like his previous master but Crow would never let anyone ride him.
Anyone who tried to ride him would end up falling from the straddle.
Every time this happened, Crow would be transferred into a different unit. 

Crow was a prideful horse.
He would never let his guard down in front of anyone else but his previous master who had died in duty.
Because of the circumstances surrounding him, the talk about putting Crow to rest emerged to the surface.
Then, it was Captain Millie who stopped the other from putting Crow to rest. 

“Man~ I’d feel bad if Melodia-chan were to fall or get bitten by him.
I think you should give it up.
Look, this is the bite mark I got from him five days ago.”

On the stable keeper’s arm, there was a very apparent bite mark.
Crow had really bitten him good. 

“He’s a dangerous horse.
You should trade him for another horse with the other knight.”

“But my position is on the low side.
It’s going to be difficult for me to ask that…”

“I see….”

The stable keeper took Crow out of his stall.
Crow kept on moving his head, he refused to have the stable keeper leading him. 

I finally faced Crow in person for the first time. 

“S-So big…!”

As expected from a war horse.
He was double the size of a normal knight’s horse. 

“H-Hello.
Nice to meet you.”

Crow squinted his eyes, staring at me steadily.
His gaze was really sharp.
He was far from cute but… I could feel a hint of loneliness spreading through the depth of his eyes.
This boy, he was just like me.
He was all alone in this world.
When I think about it, I could feel a pang of pain in my heart. 

“Crow, will you keep me company for this whole day?”

After I said that, Crow bowed his head down.
Not entirely sure the meaning behind this particular gesture, I turned my head toward the stable keeper. 

“I say, he wants you to stroke his head.”

I almost said, “Huhhh?” but I swallowed my words down.
Petting a very bulky and big horse was terrifying but I had to do it for the sake of our budding friendship.
At times like this, the animals could notice the fear exuding from yourself.
Hence why I focused all of my attention to stroke him boisterously.
Then, Crow wagged his tail up to the sky ecstatically. 

“Oooh! Amazing! Crow is feeling so happy!”

It turned out my rather aggressive skinship was a great success.
Crow even let me put a saddle on him.
All that was left was for me to straddle him.
My heart was thumping but thankfully, Crow let me ride him without making a fuss. 

“Melodia-chan! What a superb horseback riding skill!”

I didn’t know why but ever since I was little, I always had no problem getting along with any animals.
My beloved dog Fulmoff, whom I’d never forget, he was wary of me at first too but he quickly got attached to me. 

Also, I think I had pretty good luck too.
A long time ago, most of the people in my unit got an upset stomach because of the rations given to us but I was perfectly fine.
When I dropped my wallet, my wallet would come back to me without anyone stealing my money first.
I guess this incident with Crow too must be part of my lucky strike. 

“I think you’ll be alright.”

“Yes, somehow!”

I replied in a bright tone but alas, life never went smoothly.
Crow… He ran as per my instruction but he was running at full speed as if he was on a real battlefield. 

“GGYYAAAAAAAAAAAA….!!”

Crow even overtook Captain Mille’s horse.
He kept on running in the lead.
He must be the kind of horse that would never let any other horse run in front of him. 

“Hey! Don’t run ahead of me!”

“M-My apologiesssssssssss!!!”

As expected from Captain Mille! She managed to catch up with Crow who had been running wildly and taught me how to stop him in the midst of my confusion.
She was really a great help since my mind had been completely blank.
Fortunately, Crow stopped on command.

“As I thought, this horse is too hard for the knight to take care of.”

“U-Umm… So… Are they still going to dispose of him?”

“It appears to be so.”

He was actually not a bad boy.
He properly listened to my command.
If that was the case then, I was the only one who could handle him. 

“Umm, may I be allowed to take care of Crow for a few days? I’m sure with enough training, this kid can be of great assistance to our knight unit.”

“…….”

Captain Millie’s expression was grim.
I knew I was asking for the impossible.
Even though I was aware of how ridiculous my request was but still, rather than sitting around and doing nothing, at least I wanted to do the best I could for Crow.
That was why, I stood on my ground, waiting.

“Please, I beg you.”

“Fine.
I will let you train and take care of him for a little while.”

“T-Thank you very much!”

I said to Crow, “Good for you.” and Crow made a ‘bururururu’ sound with his gums.
I chuckled at Crow’s antics but it was not the time nor the occasion to act frivolously. 

After completing the mission and returning to the barrack, I did not go to my dorm but instead I went to the stable to help train Crow.
They said Crow was ferocious but in reality, he was far from ferocious.
He was very docile when I rode him and he didn’t go out of control at all. 

But… But still… When I told him to run, he’d instantly blast off like lightning.
He was really a horse designed for the battlefield.
As I continued to train him over and over again, the stable keeper came up to me and said. 

“Melodia-chan, it’s going to get dark soon.
You better head home now.”

“I’ll return in a little while.
I will properly lock the stable for you too.”

“Is that so? Then, I will be counting on you then.”

I took the key to the stable from the stable keeper and put it in my pocket. 

“Okay, one more try!”

The knight’s barrack was still brightly lit.
Captain Millie must be staying up late to finish more work.
I, too, only had a few things left to do. 

I didn’t plan on going to the dining hall for dinner.
Today was my birthday so I should get something delicious to eat from the night market and after that, I’d read the letter my parents had left for me before I went to sleep. 

After training with Crow for about an hour, I returned him to his stall.
I needed to go to the office to return the stable’s key too.
Looking up to the sky, I saw the sun was about to set.
The day was coming to an end.
As I watched the sunset, my heart was beating wildly. 

I wondered why? Suddenly, I was reminded that I was all alone in this world.
Maybe I was feeling sentimental because today was my birthday? It had been quite a long time since I last mourned about my parents….
This hollow spot in my heart would never be filled no matter how much time passed by.
I’d kept on feeling this emptiness for a long time to come. 

It turned out Captain Millie was still here.
She was worried about me for suddenly feeling down for no particular reason. 

“Magic Soldier Melodia, don’t dig your root too deep into this matter.”

“Yes.
I’m going home soon too.”

“You did good today.”

“Thank you very much.”

I bowed my head and left the office.
I didn’t know why but my heart wouldn’t stop beating wildly for a while now. 

Yes.
I’ll definitely be fine.
I will continue to live strongly on my own just like usual.
Even if I’m alone… I’ll be strong…

“ —Whoa!”

The moment I left the barrack, I felt a very painful sensation springing from my chest.
Unable to keep standing up, I fell on my knees.
If I called for help from here, Captain Millie would surely hear me.
But… I was choking on my breath, I couldn’t let a word out. 

“Haaah….
Haaahhh….
Haahh… Hah!!”

Up until now, I had been very healthy.
I didn’t push myself too hard at work.
I had enough sleep.
So why? Maybe my body was consumed by a disease without me noticing it?

“Haa… Haa… Haa….”

As I held onto my chest, the image of my parents floated to my mind.
Maybe my parents came to get me? Maybe they came to congratulate me for my birthday? For finally becoming an adult? 

I… Finally I don’t need to try so hard anymore. 

With that thought in mind, tears began to well up from the corner of my eyes. 

“Uu… Huuuu….”

I’m not alone anymore.
I can come to where my parents are. 

But still, dying in front of the knight’s barrack….
It was too much, it’d be a very bad omen.
At least, I had to go to someplace where no one else could see me…

Mustering the last ounce of my strength, I stood on my feet.
With unsteady, shaking steps, I once again collapsed onto a thicket of bushes behind the knight’s barrack.
My whole body grew weak, my body felt so light.
The pain also completely disappeared. 

“AAHHH…!!”

With this… Things will get easier for me.
I won’t be alone anymore.
Well, I still have one regret though.
I can’t help Crow until the end…

With that kind of thought running through my mind, I started to lose my consciousness. 

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