Chapter 1 — The boundary line, the marriage between a girl and a wolf. Part 4
We left the paved road and went along a dirt path, to a place I had never been to before, where even the air felt distinct from the city’s.
He darted into an opening in the forest, that awaited us like a black hole.
Our silhouettes disappeared into the forest.
It was dark, dark and only dark–––everything but the sensations on my skin had disappeared inside the darkness.
I held on a bit more firmly.
So we wouldn’t be separated, so I wouldn’t let go.
In the darkness, I pictured a senseless quarrel, a senseless death.
I wonder what he wants from me in this darkness.
Everything that had happened was shrouded in mystery, just like the forest.
But there was only one thing that was clear to me.
The shitty world I had been living in until today had certainly started to shatter.
In the end, I didn’t know what I’d lose, or what I’d gain.
It felt like we had been running for an eternity before an opening suddenly appeared within the dark forest.
I opened my eyes.
It was a place shaped like a perfect circle, with grass covering the ground and tall evergreens surrounding it, nothing more.
A meeting place. That was the best description for this place.
There was nothing obstructing my sight, so I could see everything with the help of the starlight.
And because I could see, I could also see that–––Shiro was an outsider here. I could clearly see that he didn’t belong here. The dim light and deep darkness clearly made him stand out too much.
His steps made no sound until we reached the middle of the circle, where I got down from him and stood at his side.
That spot of white amongst the darkness exuded an aura of harsh loneliness.
As if he had nowhere to be, as if he was isolated from everything.
“I will call my brethren now,” he bellowed.
Then howled continuously to far, far away.
It echoed through the trees in the forest, and after a long while passed, slowly declined as if sinking into the ground.
Soon, the sound of several masses cutting through the wind could be heard.
Many wolves appeared from inside the forest, all standing motionless on the border of the circle around us.
This was the forest that was located beside the city that I lived in, but I had never been here before.
It wasn’t just a mere thought to consider this a different world anymore.
This was the kingdom of the wolves.
But they were all–––different from Shiro–––ashen wolves. For most of them, their fur had lost its shine, some even seemed to be crippled.
There were around thirty, or so…Thinking about how many there were drained my energy. I felt weak, there were so many that I couldn’t even see any gaps between them, it was almost like they were a single entity.
A lone, peculiar wolf stood in front of them all. His ashen fur had lost almost all of its shine and he was almost twice as big as Shiro. His eyes were round but they seemed weary, always looking at someplace far away.
He was old, and tired. I noticed those two facts as soon as I saw him.
Beside him stood another gray wolf, about the same size as Shiro. He seemed to be the youngest of the pack as his fur still had some shine and he seemed livelier overall. His gaze was sharp and he glared with hostility at us–––or to be precise, at Shiro.
Something about their looks told me they were parent and child.
“Father, brother, my brethren!” Shiro shouted as he looked at those two. “Let me introduce you to the one standing beside me, my wife!”
A small commotion started among the ashen wolves and I could feel many piercing stares turn to me.
“Her name is Saki and, as you can see, she is a human!”
After he said that, the clamor grew louder.
Well, they just heard of a marriage between a wolf and a human, it’s obvious they would react in this way.
After they had calmed down, the old wolf spoke with an austere tone:
“My child, is what you’re saying true?”
“I would never lie to you, father. This girl is certainly my wife.”
Shiro seemed to be holding in his mirth as he spoke. I stole a quick glance at his face.
He appeared to be on the verge of laughter with his eyes set ablaze.