larly healthy either.


“…What does the zelkova tree symbolize?”


I asked Ner.


After a long silence, Ner whispered quietly.


“…Destined love.”




I nodded and looked at the tree again.




'Dose she thinks our marriage is one of the fates we have to accept?'


I tapped the tree lightly.


Although I didn't know much about the werewolf people's culture, I wonder if this was correct.


Still, it was a ceremony called soul binding, so I wondered if it was okay to pick the tree roughly like this.


'If she wants a Zelkova tree, wouldn’t it be better to choose a slightly stronger and straighter one?'




But I didn’t even worry about it for long.


In the end, things like rituals didn't matter at all.
It wasn't like god was watching over.


Understanding and consideration for each other in our future married life would be even more important.


From that point of view, I didn’t put a toe on the tree Ner had chosen.


Her emotions were so complex at the moment, and if they were expressed in this way, I had to accept them as one of the things I had to embrace.


“…Let’s start.”


I kneeled and sat in front of the tree Ner had chosen.


Ner also kneeled one step away to my right.


It was said that we had to swear to the moon with the tree as a witness, and fortunately, the moon was visible.
It was shining so brightly that there was no room for confusion.


The next step…
was to bind our tails.


Of course, I didn’t have a tail for that.


“The tail is…”




When I asked Ner for a moment, something touched my calf.


When I turned around, Ner's tail, shining silver under the moonlight, was resting on my calf.


It seemed that it was most important for us to be connected in some way.


“…What's next?”


“…We will make a vow, looking at the moon, for our future.
In our heart.”


A vow.
The more she spoke, the easier it was to understand that fact.


I nodded.


As it was a ceremony, I followed her actions.


As she did, I held both of my hands together and closed my eyes.


Then, I repeated the vow for the future in my mind and swore it.




Ner felt relieved that lies could somewhat cover up the situation.


During this soul-binding ceremony, there were things they had to say to each other.


They had to confess their love and vow to be faithful to each other.


However, Berg, a human mercenary, was unaware of such werewolves' customs, so she was able to skip all those procedures.


Since she had bypassed them, it couldn't be said that their souls were bound.


Ner was feeling complex emotions.


She was still afraid of Berg, but he had never performed any actions that would cause fear.


She had not yet witnessed any cruelty, strictness, or belittling of women from him.


He spoke with polite words.


Of course, the situation in which he would go on a rampage hadn’t happened in the first place.


If he became her husband, and immediately reveal his true nature like flipping his palms and starting treating her as he pleases and playing with her… That would break the alliance between Red Flames and Blackwood.


It was said that even in a long-term relationship, one discovers unknown aspects.


It was unknown how well he was hiding his true self.


So she didn’t foolishly let go of her guard against him from the beginning.


…There were still challenges ahead.


Once this soul-binding ceremony was over, the first night awaited.


The moment would come when she must offer her purity to him.


Berg already knew that fact, so she didn’t even know why he was this calm.




When Ner thought about the first night, tears welled up in her eyes already.


She didn't know how many screams she would let out or how much she would cry.


She was also afraid of seeing the side of Berg that he had been hiding.


She didn't want to give herself to a stranger like him, not her destined partner.


Nevertheless, there was a glimmer of hope.


When it came time to kiss, she remembered Berg's hesitation.


He was the one who pretended to kiss and only touched her nose.


She didn't know if such an expression of affection existed in human culture, but for Ner, it was much easier to bear than a kiss.


But if by any chance he was pretending and adjusting himself to her preferences.


If there was no expression of affection like touching noses, and even that was a considerate action towards her.


…It created an opportunity to somehow get through the first night.


Ner had to infuse all her hope into that possibility.


Ner briefly opened her eyes and glanced to the side.


Berg, with a resolute expression, still had his eyes closed, holding her hands.


Ner didn't believe that serious demeanor.


She had already heard it before.


There was no way she would live with this person for the rest of her life.


Ner turned her eyes back to the sky.


She saw her friend, the bright moon.


She pondered for a moment on what she could vow or wish for in the future.


She didn't need much time.


Ner wished for the one thing she desired most at the present moment.


‘I hope I can come back here again.’








After the ritual ended, Berg stood up from his seat.


Ner also stood up, following him.


Her mind was completely focused on the next step.


The first night.


A heavy sense of oppression weighed her down.


The ring on her left ring finger felt uncomfortable.


“…Let’s go back.”


But it was something that could not be postponed.
Ner said that and turned her body around.


“Just a moment.”


And at that moment, Berg pulled out his sword.


Ner was momentarily startled and collapsed into place.


“…Are you okay?”


Berg looked at her with a puzzled expression.


Ner briefly alternated her gaze between the sword and Berg.


It was terrifying to see a large, scary human mercenary holding a sword.




Berg seemed to understand her reaction and slowly closed his mouth.


Without further explanation, he approached the tree where he had just offered his prayers.


-Swish! Swish!


He then swung his sword, leaving marks on the tree.


Afterward, Berg promptly sheathed the sword in its scabbard.


“…This way, I know in front of which tree I kneeled.”


It was a reason Ner hadn't even considered.


She looked at the tree where Berg left marks.


There were prominent, difficult-to-heal marks.


Did Berg want to commemorate it, even though she wanted to overlook it?


Ner looked at Berg again.


“…Let's go.
Get up.”


He said.


Ner nodded her head with difficulty.


The time had come.

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