As usual for this time of year, thick snow was piling up outside yesterday. Today a light powder is falling soundlessly, further increasing the thickness of the snow.
When I arrived at the dining hall for breakfast, Claudia was chatting with Earl Terejia, Bellway, and Mrs. Marshan about something, and she greeted me with an energetic “good morning!” when she noticed me. I greeted all of them as well, and took a seat after asking the cook Boswef to make me something in the kitchen.
Maybe it was a coincidence, Oscar and Mrs. Hortensia came in right this time as well, along with Elise who was feeling better lately and her maid Maya.
The dining hall at my Mansion of Golden Hills is now completely filled. Is this the first time that so many people have gathered here all at the same time, I wonder?
Everyone in the mansion that has some sort of social status is currently here. I heard Earl Terejia muttering under his breath to himself about how unusual this all was.
“……Various different kinds of people have lived together in this mansion up until now. Looking at all this again, I think it’s all so interesting.”
As Oscar, who was the newest person here, made a comment, I mentally agreed with him.
Earl Terejia, Bellway, Mrs. Marshan, Claudia, Elise, Mrs. Hortensia, and Oscar. Before I realized it, the number of people living here increased to be more than the number of family members I killed with poison before. ……Thinking about it like this gives me profound emotions.
Earl Terejia and Elise are going to leave this mansion next spring, however. Also, Mrs. Hortensia will probably also leave once I reach teenage age and a quasi-adult status, having finished her role as my nanny.
Perhaps, the concept known as family was originally such that members will leave the household little by little. No, not all families are like this though. As someone with memories from a previous world, someone with the experience of killing all of her own family, I know better than anyone.
As the snow fell in the dim light, Rashiok was rolling around on the snow excitedly. The snow from this morning is soft and easy to walk around in. My cold weather clothing, a woolen cloak, is exasperating to deal with though. It’s so heavy even though it only reaches to my knee, but when the hems brush against the snow, it absorbs water and becomes even heavier.
As I expected, I really think that I can’t bring myself to enjoy winter.
Maybe it’s a sign of my growth, I feel like it’s not as difficult to walk in heavy clothes as it used to be, but I dislike this sense of inhibited movement. I buried most of my face in my scarf, and I followed behind Rashiok without a word as he turned around in the snow.
We descended the hill, and plowed through the snow-covered fields to reach Claria village. There were lights on in the village, but it was so quiet everywhere that you could hear a pin drop.
This is typical of midwinter. Every house has its doors and windows tightly shut, they’ll add extra wood to the fireplace, and each family will quietly sit around the fireplace together, and not waste unnecessary energy. They might not be sleeping, but it’s really similar to hibernation.
I watched everything in this peaceful silence for a while, and warmed my hands with a glass bottle of hot black tea. Rashiok kept bouncing up and down in the village square, which had no footprints other than his.
I paid a visit to the village mayor’s house, and asked if there was anything that was worrying him or giving him trouble recently. The mayor nodded and told me there wasn’t anything at the moment, so I told him I’d come check things out again the next time it’s snowing weakly like this.
I rode on Rashiok’s back and headed for the next village. I watched the scene of snow-covered trees passing by me silently, at a speed that would be impossible for humans. However, this is normal for a draconis, even with a human riding on his back.
Pat pat, I stroked Rashiok’s empty right shoulder where there was now a missing wing. I laid myself down against him, and although I still think it’s cold, his remaining wing opened up slightly and blocked the wind for me.
I don’t know exactly how it works, but it seems that the draconis manipulates wind magic using its wing as the starting point. This was something that Oscar knew already, and he taught it to me right before my battle with Diferis. That’s how I was able to plan for Rashiok to use his magic in his remaining wing to create a strong gust of wind.
Some materials obtained from magical beasts’ bodies are able to retain a portion of their magic power, such as crystallized fire moth scales that usually act a source of light in this world. Of course, it can’t be used forever though, it’s just like a battery, it will run out of power one day.
Rashiok’s wing that was cut off no longer has the power to control wind, but it’s been stored in a warehouse after being treated with preservative chemicals. It seems that the light and durable film of the draconis wing will be incorporated into my personal armor one day in the future when my body matures.
I will use my draconis’s wing that was cut off, for as long as possible. I feel like I have an obligation, this is the least I can do.
Sorry, and thank you, neither expression managed to make it out of my throat, I ended up not saying anything at all. Rashiok’s long snake-like tail that moves freely stroked me on my left shoulder that I don’t move very much these days. Although we’re a human and a draconis, we understand each other better than anyone else.
I’m glad that you’re here with me. I’m really happy that I didn’t end up killing you.
I remembered another day just like this when I was outside walking in the snow, and I felt sentimental, thinking about the person who’s now only in my memories.
Every time something happens, it feels almost like a little bit of me is being scraped away from the edges, it’s a gruesome idea that’s been sticking with me.
For me to have changed to where I was happy just because we were alive, and being grateful that I didn’t have to kill Rashiok. A sigh containing self-derision escaped from me.
How did it become this way? This world was supposed to be from an otome game. ……And yet I’d gotten used to thinking that this dark way of life was normal. Just how did it get like this?
All these oppressive emotions, swirled down into my chest as if they were snowflakes that wouldn’t melt. As I laid face down on Rashiok’s back, I took long, deep breaths, and exhaled until my lungs were empty.
Author note: This chapter ends the childhood period of Eliza’s story.
End of Act 2, Part 4