Chapter 7: Beginning of substitute life 1

Under a sky full of perfect stars, a golden wolf lay down.

He was now resting his injured body in the shadow of a large tree, and he seemed to have calmed down after receiving treatment.

“Are you hurting so much that you can’t move? If that’s the case, I’ll stay with you!”

Ernesta didn’t want to leave this wolf alone. She wanted to relieve his pain. So she stretched out her small, delicate hand and stroked his smooth fur.

With her eyes narrowed, feeling like she could touch him forever, Ernesta suddenly looked up at the night sky.

“Look. The stars are really beautiful tonight, so you’ll definitely forget about the pain.”

Surprisingly, the wolf lifted his head as she said. His eyes reflected the starry sky, sparkling just like the stars around him.

“Do you know? That brightest star up there is called Vega. It’s the brightest star in the summer night sky and the third brightest star of all.”

Of course, the wolf didn’t react, but Ernesta had a conviction that he was listening to her.

“Vega is part of The Lyra constellation. The Lyra constellation is the lyre of Orpheus. Deneb is right next to it in the Milky Way, and beyond it is Altair. The three together form a summer triangle.”

Ernesta deliberately spoke cheerfully; she knew that talking about stars wouldn’t connect with the wolves, but she thought it would be more soothing than the silence.

“Fufu! I know a lot about stars, you know? My mother used to be an astronomy teacher in the palace. So she taught me too.”

Her foster mother, who was a famous scholar, left the palace due to the secret of Ernesta’s birth. She didn’t think that was something to tell the wolves, so she finished talking about herself and continued talking about the stars.

“I love stars. They’re shiny and beautiful, mysterious, and I can watch them forever. Don’t you think so too?”

Even if she asked, there was still no response. But to Ernesta, seeing his profile looking intently at the night sky was more than enough.

“When I’m feeling down, I count stars. Compared to the countless stars, my worries seem insignificant.”

Compared to this majestic scenery, any hardship was nothing.

The one who told her this was none other than her foster mother, who picked her up when she was about to die. On the day she learned that her foster mother was not her real parent, Ernesta counted the stars.

And so, she spent some time counting stars with a wolf by her side. Suddenly feeling his gaze, she looked beside her and saw the wolf staring at her with his starry eyes. She could tell from the luminance that he had a strong will different from before.

While she was still thinking, he slowly stood up.

“…Are you leaving already?”

The wolf didn’t answer. He stood facing her and rubbed his head against her palm, leading her to pet him. It was as if he was expressing his gratitude.

It was their last moment of contact. The wolf flipped his supple body and began to walk towards the dark forest.

“Goodbye, Wolf-san! Please don’t do anything reckless!”

When she called out to his back, he turned to look at her just once. As their eyes met, his golden body melted into the darkness.

The empty lot, which had become calm and quiet, now looks quite bleak compared to earlier. The space illuminated by the sparkling moon and stars covering the night sky is now just lonely, leaving only feelings of regret in her heart.


Ernesta had a dream that was quite nostalgic.

She dragged herself up, her head feeling groggy. The aftertaste of the dream has scattered like sand, and nothing but reality kept attacking her.

Ivan, who was supposed to be sleeping next to her, was not there. When she slid her hand on the empty bed, it only stole the warmth from her fingertips.

Despite knowing that this was not her own marriage, Ernesta had a longing for a normal married life, and couldn’t help but let out a deep sigh.

Is this what a political marriage is like, where the couple build up such a cold relationship?

Lost in dark thoughts, she was startled by a reddish-brown stain that was discovered by her palm. Oh right, that was a terrible injury. She gave up pursuing it due to the hard attitude, but now she was getting worried. Since she didn’t treat it properly, it might have already caused inflammation by now.

Ernesta lightly slapped both of her cheeks.

He knows well that his only strength is his guts, which are displayed in the oddest situations. If you were worried about his injury, you could just go and ask.

As she gathered her determination and stepped down from the bed, she heard a knock on the door. When she peeked her face looking somewhat frightened, it was indeed Dasha.

“G-Good morning, Your Majesty. Did you sleep well?”

“Good morning, Dasha. I slept soundly.”

When she responded with a smile, the girl’s face showed a somewhat relieved expression. However, her entrance into the room was short-lived, as she stumbled and fell on the carpet.

“I-I’m sorry! I have caused a commotion…!”

“Calm down. Are you okay?”

She immediately calmed down when Ernesta said that, but then became quiet like a burnt-out firewood.

Where did this timid behavior come from? Perhaps it wasn’t because she was a royal family member, but rather a princess from a foreign country that caused her attitude. It was probably not just her imagination.

“Hey, Dasha.”


Dasha jumped in surprise and stiffened as if waiting for a reprimand.

She decided to keep her questions to only asking about the location of the king, as she was afraid she might faint if she asked anything unnecessary.

Today was a day off from her duties as the queen, so when she said she wanted to meet Ivan, surprisingly, receive permission.

The guide took her to the king’s office, and Ernesta felt nervous all of a sudden.

What should I do? Maybe I’m disturbing him by coming here, because he could have been working yesterday or today.

Unfortunately, the office was empty, and the king was temporarily out. The guide left her and told her to wait inside, and Ernesta was left alone in an unfamiliar room.

She looked around to distract herself. The room was of moderate size, with a fireplace and carpet set up just like in the queen’s quarters. The writing desk was several times larger than hers, and parchment papers were stacked in a disorganized pile.

Being alone in a silent room can make a person so restless.

Just as Ernesta began to consider going back, she felt a presence behind her and turned around slowly.

To her surprise, an unexpected guest was there. The door in the back was half-open, and a silver wolf appeared through the gap.

Ernesta stood frozen for a full five seconds.

Why is there a wolf here? Its fluffy fur is beautiful… wait, could it be…

“…Your Majesty? Could it be that you are the king?”

As she said it aloud, she couldn’t think of any other explanation. The wolf that leisurely walked up to Ernesta had a beautiful and rugged appearance, especially when seen up close.

“So it’s Your Majesty, Ivan. Why are you in the form of a wolf?”

The wolf didn’t even try to talk. Ernesta didn’t know much about their bodily mechanism, so perhaps he transformed due to injury or weakness.

“Your Majesty, are you okay? Please answer me, Your Majesty…!”

“What are you doing?”

Ernesta, who had completely failed to notice the visitor’s presence, was almost startled. She turned back as if she had been bounced back and saw the figure of a thin man standing there with an exasperated expression.

“Don’t tell me you thought It was His Majesty? That’s impossible. Think rationally about things.”

The man narrowed his aqua-colored eyes in a derogatory manner, then pushed his glasses up with a nervous gesture.

His name was Johan Orzif Slezak. He wore a black chokha, the badge of a hero, and despite his young age of 28, he had risen to the position of Prime Minister and wielded his power as the king’s right-hand man. According to Engeberg, his influence was a driving force in the alliance concluded this time.

For Ernesta, they had only exchanged greetings at yesterday’s wedding, but she remembered his persistent tone well.

“Lord Slezak. Then, who is this child…?”

“Mikolash, His Majesty’s partner. A real wolf, not a werewolf. Besides, we don’t just turn into wolves for no reason.”

If it were usual Ernesta, she would have cried out in relief and sat down. She had truly believed that it was Ivan and had been worried about his condition.

After the relief, intense embarrassment hit her, and she felt an urge to roll around on the carpet. It was too shameful to be caught in such a misunderstanding, and she wanted to disappear if possible.

The Prime Minister laughed through his nose at the Queen, who turned red in the face. He was a rather merciless man.

“Take a good look. Mikola is silver, but His Majesty’s hair is golden. And the color of his eyes is probably hawk-like, right?”

“Oh, right…I see. Even when in the form of a werewolf, the color is inherited. So, Lord Slezak will become a black wolf, then?”

“Of course. What is Your Highness saying at this point?”

This time, she was glared at in earnest. She couldn’t help but feel frightened by his blunt way of speaking, but at the same time, she felt like he was the one who was confronting her head-on more than any other werewolf she had met so far.

“I see, you don’t even know that. It can’t be helped, let me explain it briefly here.”

“But aren’t you busy? Don’t you have something else to do here?”

“Leaving this kind of ignorance unattended would be negligent of me as the Prime Minister. Do you understand? Please listen carefully.”

Johan looked really annoyed, but he dutifully gave her a lecture.

According to his explanation, werewolves have three forms.

The first is their human form. They usually stay in this form unless there is a special reason.

The second is their wolf form. They can take on this form to gain the characteristics of a wolf when appropriate.

The third form is the werewolf appearance. It is exactly the same as the werewolf that appears in stories, where wolves walk on two legs and handle tools. The body’s innate abilities are further enhanced, so it is said that they transform into this appearance for tasks that require strength or combat.

Werewolf visitors to Weisberg always take on their human form, so Ernesta has never seen any other form. Imagining the smooth transformation process, she relaxed at the strange sight.

“You can freely transform at any time. However, clothes get in the way in wolf form, and changing after returning is bothersome, so we only use that form when necessary.”

“Surprisingly practical.”

“That’s how it is. One of the notable features is that werewolves and wolves can communicate, but only when they are in werewolf or wolf form.”

Ernesta’s eyes sparkled with great interest at the story.

“Amazing. How do you talk?”

“It’s hard to put into words, but you could say that the howling is converted in the brain.”

It feels like a dream. The ability to transform and talk with wolves is a sensation completely unknown to Ernesta, which is why she finds it so alluring.

Johan seems to be in a good mood because the students reacted positively. However, he hesitated a little before saying the next words.

“…However, there is an exception to the transformation ability. Only on the night of the full moon, we transform into werewolves. We return to normal by morning.”

Ernesta blinked both eyes. The sight of werewolves walking around on a moonlit night was like a fantastically dreamy scene.

“That’s wonderful. Werewolf tribes must be loved by the moon.”


She just expressed what she was thinking, but Johan echoed his words back as if he exposed something, surprising her.

As she braced herself, thinking that she may have said something improper, the door opened without a knock, and a waiting person stood on the other side.

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