Chapter 14 : In Pursuit of The Wolf Witch Part 4
It had been about half a month since I first arrived at the Fenrir family’s house. It seemed Crow was spending his time everyday flirting with an adorable mare. That mare was Dietrich-sama’s favorite horse but given his current predicament, he couldn’t ride her.
I truly felt happy from the bottom of my heart when I saw them running through the field together. On the other hand, I kept on turning into a wolf every night but unexpectedly, I wasn’t found out yet. I didn’t mean to hide it from them but for some reason, I couldn’t say it outright either. Though recently I felt like it was better if I didn’t tell them about it.
Because… Dietrich-sama grew even more fond of me as the day passed. Today, after our meal, Dietrich-sama invited me to walk in the garden with him under the cold weather. While we were on a stroll, we took a break at the gazebo and there, Dietrich-sama whispered to my ears,”I love you.”
Though his voice sounded like a proper adult male, his appearance was that of a dog. I felt happy when he said he loved me because he looked exactly like Fulmoff but beneath that exterior, he was still the cursed Duke Fenrir. I really couldn’t honestly feel happy about his declaration of love.
Nevertheless, I wondered just what part of me that made him fall in love with me? It was truly a mystery. I might’ve made quite an impression on him because I wasn’t afraid of him when we first met. I even hugged him instead. But… Based on the story I had heard about his previous suitor, I had a feeling that he didn’t like aggressive women.
You really couldn’t tell what was going on inside someone’s heart. The people I didn’t understand weren’t Dietrich-sama only. Gilbert-sama and the servants as well, they didn’t treat me like a hindrance, instead they just watched our exchange without making a fuss. Even though if I were to accept Dietrich-sama’s marriage proposal, they would be the one who was in great trouble.
A marriage between a commoner and a nobleman was simply impossible. Just like if the king himself were to marry a frog. This was our current situation. For the time being, I kept on refusing Dietrich-sama’s marriage proposal by saying things like.
“I’m just a commoner so I’m afraid I can’t respond to your feelings.”
But of course, Dietrich-sama kept on insisting my status was not a problem.
“It doesn’t matter.”
Gilbert-sama also added.
“The most important thing is love.”
Given my current situation with these two brothers, if I told them I was actually a wolf beastman, they’d definitely said I was a perfect fit for Dietrich-sama even more. I absolutely couldn’t reveal my secret to them.
On the other hand, the secret of Dietrich-sama’s curse where he was stuck in the form of a wolf, was only revealed to the king and the royalty. That was why the rumor about Dietrich-sama never appeared in any high society gathering, began to spread.
For me, the king was something that was so far away from me, a distant figure beyond my imagination but for Dietrich-sama, the king was simply his uncle. That was why such an outrageous rumor could easily flow in the society as if nothing extraordinary had happened.
“Melodia, I’ve been invited to the king’s tea party today. We will go to the royal castle this afternoon.”
It was impossible for me to attend the king’s tea party. After all, the king… He was a ruthless one. People even called him Freezing King. He’d definitely glared at me and reduced me into a block of ice. Meeting the king was pushing my limit way too far. I immediately refused.
“It’s… It’s impossible. I can’t meet with His Majesty….”
“I see. You can’t, huh. I got it.”
He backed off so easily, it made me feel uneasy. I stared at Dietrich-sama intensely, trying to find his real intentions.
“Even though I’ve been trying my hardest to find out what had happened 8 years ago….”
The incident from 8 years ago, that must be the one where my parents were assaulted by someone.
“Melodia, do you really not want to go?”
“I-I want to”
“Is that so? Then let’s go there together.”
It was only after I excitedly answered that I remembered. Right. The king had already said he would never talk about that incident.
Did I just fall into his trap?
Dietrich-sama was staring at me with a big smile on his face, as if his tactic had yielded a great success.
On a peaceful afternoon, I was on a carriage with Dietrich-sama, heading toward the royal castle. I had thought Gilbert-sama would be coming with us but he only saw us off and said.
Currently, Dietrich-sama was resting his chin on my lap. He looked like he was sleeping so comfortably. Which reminded me, Fulmoff often laid his head on my lap as he slept just like this. Dietrich-sama looked like he was already deep asleep. It should be alright for me to stroke his fur for a bit, right?
Slowly, I slid my fingers between his ears. The feeling of his fur between my fingers was sublime. I continued stroking his fur, enjoying how soft his fur was to my heart’s content.
“My fur is the best, right?”
Dietrich-sama opened his eyes and looked up at me.
“Si-Since when have you been awake?”
“Since the beginning.”
“You were pretending to be asleep?”
“If I didn’t, Melodia wouldn’t touch me, right?”
He was right. I ended up dancing on Dietrich-sama’s palm so easily.
“You still haven’t had enough, right? It’s alright, you can stroke my fluffy fur as much as you like.”
“No, I’ve had enough.”
“You don’t have to hold yourself back.”
“Even if you said so, people don’t normally touch and cling to someone of the opposite sex so freely, right?”
“So Melodia sees me as a man?”
“Well, I won’t deny it.”
“Then it’s time for me to stop pretending to be a dog while clinging to you.”
“You were pretending to be a dog?”
“That’s right. Otherwise, I won’t put my chin on the lap of the woman I love.”
To my surprise, Dietrich-sama was quite pure-hearted. Though I shouldn’t accept his words without thinking twice since this might be another of Dietrich-sama’s tricks.
Dietrich-sama then separated himself from me and jumped on the seat on the opposite side of me.
“I can see Melodia better from here.”
“I don’t think there’s any merit in staring at me.”
“No, there is. I just can’t get tired of looking at Melodia.”
“Well, that’s good to hear.”
When I talked with Dietrich-sama, it felt like I wasn’t talking like usual. It made me wonder, had I always been this outspoken when talking with other people? Wasn’t I supposed to be a timid one? I was honestly surprised at myself.
In the first place, I remembered I was a chatterbox when my parents were still alive. I was a tomboy and cheerful kid. I guess right now, I was reverting to my state when my parents were still alive.
Since my parents’ death, I have been living in solitude. Whenever I felt alone, I would end up thinking about my late mother and father and then, I would feel even more dejected. But now, there was something else occupying my mind. It was Dietrich-sama.
Though I didn’t really know why, I was honestly happy about his marriage proposal. No one ever desired me before. However, whether I’d accept his proposal or not, it was an entirely different matter.
The difference in our status was the biggest reason why I couldn’t marry him and then, the fact that I was a wolf beastman. But… Deep down in my heart, I know those weren’t the real reason.
I was afraid. Of having family again. Of having to mourn for my family again. Fulmoff was the first one to disappear from my life and then, my parents. Losing your precious one, it felt like your bare soul was being torn apart. No matter how much I mourned and mourned, my family would never return. I didn’t want to go through that experience ever again.
That was why, I kept on pushing myself during work so I could live all on my own.
“Melodia, what are you thinking about?”
“Nothing, I’m not thinking about anything.”
“It doesn’t seem like nothing.”
“What makes you think so?”
“It’s like, I’m right in front of you but you’re not really looking at me. Your eyes look lonely, as if you’re shutting yourself in.”
I was caught in my own breath at how precise and accurate Dietrich-sama was. Did Dietrich-sama see through my mind?
“If there’s something troubling you, you can talk about it with me. Melodia, I wish you will share the burden you’re carrying with me.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that. My suffering is mine to bear.”
“So you won’t open your heart to me yet.”
“After all, I still don’t know anything about Dietrich-sama.”
When he heard my reply, Dietrich-sama’s ears flattened on his head and his tail, which had been standing on its end, drooped. Seeing him being like that made me feel sorry for him so I once again, reached out to him.
“Dietrich-sama, what are your hobbies?”
“Please tell me more about yourself, Dietrich-sama.”
“Why of course! My hobby is taking a walk!”
Dietrich-sama’s hobby was taking a walk but because he said so while still in that dog form, I ended up laughing.
“I find it the most pleasant when Melodia is the one holding my leash when we go for a walk.”
“That… Please don’t say that kind of thing again after your curse is broken.”
“If it’s Melodia then I will gratefully accept it.”
Which reminded me, I heard he had been stuck in this dog form for years already.
“Isn’t it inconvenient?”
“Of course it’s inconvenient. I can’t do anything like this. Especially during meal time. I can’t show anyone else how I look when I eat. I can’t use any knife or fork. I eat straight from the plate.”
I didn’t laugh because I found Dietrich-sama eating straight from the plate funny. It was actually because I knew how it felt. I also had to eat straight from the plate at night. I understood his feelings, that was why I laughed. Indeed, I also didn’t want other people to look at me when I ate in my wolf form.
After that, Dietrich-sama told me about the numerous failure stories he had made when he started taking the form of a dog.
“The king is actually a big dog lover. When he first saw me, he started smiling and stroked me. I instantly shuddered. After all, he’s that infamously ruthless Freeze King, you know? People said he could freeze someone just by looking at them.”
Every story Dietrich-sama told me was so amusing. It even made my stomach hurt from laughing too much.
T/N: Not only Melodia but even her horse is able to find love in this estate