Chapter 02: Interrogation and Situation Report
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
We exit the dazzling hall and walk through the dark hallway for a moment.
According to Crimson Eagle-sama, some invited guests are assigned private rooms.
Sieglinde confidently strides through the hallway with stealthy steps. I thought she was rather tall, but she seemed to be wearing high-heeled boots. I looked on in admiration that she could walk so quickly in such uncomfortable shoes. The distance increased while I wasn’t paying attention for a moment, so I picked up my pace.
After walking for a while, we arrived at Sieglinde’s room. She herself opens the door and we enter. I ended up getting surprised at a room without any servants.
Although Sieglinde may be a terrifying soldier, she is still an esteemed daughter of a noble, so I asked if she was fine, but she just laughed.
“Have I said something funny?”
“No, it is just that I never had men get concerned about me. Please do not mind it.”
Since she said so, I excused myself.
A faint glow of the moon lighted the room. Somehow, I felt agitated, so I lighted the candlestick on the table.
“No, thank you.”
After I was seated, I was offered alcohol but I refused. I’m not a very strong drinker, and who knows what I might do when I get drunk.
Not caring about my choice, Sieglinde poured some for herself and quenched her thirst.
I felt a bit at ease as there was alcohol involved, as it suggested that this was not a severe interrogation.
“About what you said before.”
While I was staring at her legs, those buxom thighs, she lobbed a question out of nowhere so I ended up flinching.
As I turned my eyes upward, my eyes locked with hers.
“Why did you say you want to marry me?”
Her gaze was sharp, as if she were censuring a criminal.
So was it an interrogation after all…… Beads of sweat formed on my brows.
“As you may see, my appearance is a long way from a woman’s. Moreover, I do not know the etiquette wives of nobles should have.”
Indeed, her shoulders look broad and solid for a woman. She’s also tall, so it is hard to tell her sex on first sight.
However, I can’t really explain how I was drawn in by her in an instant. I know what this feeling is called, but it is very embarrassing to say it out loud.
Also, I did not even consider nobility here. Since our people are a race of people who hunt in a harsh environment. Survival is more important, we can’t afford the time to be elegant.
“In addition, I am not young.”
“…… Mother bore ten children starting from the age of eighteen.”
What’s the relation between age and having many siblings?
“Considering my age, I can’t bear that many children.”
“No, you don’t have to bear that many. Even one child and the village will be in a festive mood.”
Sieglinde said that she is the youngest of ten siblings. As she was grown in family of soldiers, she did not receive any education as a noblewoman.
Noblewomen must have it tough. They are scorned if they don’t marry by the age of twenty.
From a quick glance, I originally expected that she would be around my age or a little younger. Of course, in high society, where women are expected to marry, she is not that young for an unmarried woman.
“Please don’t mind the age.”
“I turned 31 last month.”
— I’m sorry, I’m the younger one.
I did not expect her to be in her thirties.
Seeing me like that, she snorted.
“End of story, is it?”
She asked after she finisheed her glass of wine.
I came to by the clanging of glass on the table.
“But, I, too, have a story.”
Her grey eyes widened in surprise.
Regarding all the women I brought so far, they broke their engagement as I brought them to my homeland without explaining about it.
This time, I resolved to explain beforehand, so I started talking on my own.
“Our people live a life of hunting and crafting.”
Living close to the Arctic regions, our people lived a life where we coexisted with nature and reindeers.
In spring, we pick flowers for usage as spices or dyes and make dairy products from reindeers in their pregnant period. In summer, we pick the abundant berries from the forest. In autumn, we pick mushrooms from the hills, hunt wild animals and even fish for salmon. In winter we hunt the animals for their fur, and store them in the cold underground cellar.
For anything we lack, we buy from merchants and sell traditional handicrafts for money.
A long time ago, we roamed as nomads with reindeers, but a few centuries ago we were driven to our current territory and had to settle there.
After we settled as sedentary people, reindeers became livestock living in fenced areas.
Spring passes quickly, and in summer a strange phenomenon called white night in which the sun never sets the whole day.
Autumn is almost non-existent. The beautiful autumn leaves just barely fall on white snow. In winter, just breathing in feels almost as if the lungs are freezing up, and the gale is even painful. Then for two months there is period of the polar night in which the sun never rises.
“……Well, it’s this sort of place.”
I also added that the birth rate is low due to the repeated endogamy.
“There is higher chance that there won’t be children. The fault is all ours.”
“Is, that, so.”
I also told her about the animals in the forests: bears and foxes, rabbits and deers, and even wolves. And that some of them have white fur and cute. However, I also warn that they, as creatures living under harsh condition, are quite ferocious. Especially, when we encounter bears, we have to be prepared for death. It’s not easy surviving in the snow country.
I can’t just say ‘come along with me’ so carelessly.
Although it was I who explained the place, I ended up feeling depressed. No wonder that the ladies I brought disliked the place.
Worst case where I don’t have any children, I am planning to concede my position as the lord to a wise person in the village. Since we are all kind of related by blood because of all the endogamy, I’m not too worried about the succession problem.
However, I’m alone.
My parents already ran away from home, saying, ‘Are we really living here!” And then they sent some people they met during their travel back to my fief.
I’m currently living with a family of a martial race from foreign lands. I don’t know where they’re from, but as we can’t communicate well yet, I couldn’t ask where.
No, it really doesn’t matter who they were.
I’m just feeling lonely. The point is, I want a family.
“Sometimes I wonder just why I am working everyday, and what I am living for. Well, it would be easy to say that it is for myself, but it’s all in vain.”
As a lord, I can hear out the complaints of the people, but everyone leads a busy life so one can only really trust and rely only on their family.
“……I get the story.”
“I’ll accompany you if it is fine with you.”
Surprising, that Sieglinde would come to the frontier lands.
“Do I look like I’m lying to you?”
“It is convenient for me, shall I say.”
She too had her circumstances.
Sieglinde von Wattin was enlisted in the army from the age of 13. Thus she pledged her loyalty to the monarch and threw herself into war as she was told, but now that it was peaceful, people suggested that she should marry and sent her to the ball.
“……I did not know how I should live from here on. My useless dignity did not allow me to just live in peace by relying on a husband.”
“However, if it is your country, I believe I can discover my new self.”
I was excited at this sudden development, but then Sieglinde imposed a condition.
“I have one request.”
“I want to us to be a temporary husband and wife for a year.”
“What might you mean……?”
“I want to live together for a year, and then if it does not trouble you I’d like to become an official wife.”
“Why would you suggest that?”
“I have to organise my thoughts. I am sure the same goes for you. There are also some aspects we may only see after we live together. Only after we know all the ups and downs of each other, will we not be able to call ourselves husband and wife?”
“……That is…… true.”
Thus I ultimately accepted her condition.
I’m just thankful that she’s coming to the frontier. She also said to hold off child making, so I’ll just be patient.
Thus we exchanged our promise, and since Sieglinde held out her hand, I also reached out and grabbed her hand.
Since it was a bit more forceful than I imagined, I became teary-eyed, but I’ll just say that these are tears of joy.
As the other story gets dark, this gets lighter.
Here are some more pics:
Here’s Ritzhard and Sieglinde. Concept art I think.