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The Land of Wolves:
Death unto the Weak, Mercy be None VI

Note: This story is no longer canon, replaced by Arc 7, Chapter 76.


“Miss Katya, do you have a minute?”

The moment she heard the girl’s voice, Katya thought to herself, “Oh no.” She may have thought that, but she couldn’t do anything about the voice coming from behind. It would look bad if she ran away in a hurry, but more than that was the fact that her body wasn’t capable of such a thing. Katya sat upon a wheelchair—a tool that enabled her to move around freely on her own, but it wasn’t simple to use. It was an impossible task in particular for her, who easily became overwhelmed. And while she was flustered…

“If it’s okay, let me come with you to your room. I don’t have anyone to talk to right now,” said the girl, and Katya—who had lost her chance to escape—was now caught up with the owner of the voice.

The one beside Katya was an individual with distinctive footsteps—no, it would be more accurate to say that an extra sound was mixed in. The reason was clear: she walked with a cane.

As the one with the cane came to stand in line with her, Katya deliberately averted her gaze. “...Go find someone more suitable,” she said.

“Everyone seems to be busy.”

“So you thought of me and assumed that I would be free? What a shame, I have things to do too.”

“Do you? What exactly do you have to do?” replied the girl without hesitation, as Katya was trying to get away by using appropriate words.

And when asked for an example, she was at a loss for words. She didn’t have anything she should be doing; it had just been an excuse. No one actually expected her to do anything. She had never been given a role.

Suddenly, thinking how no one ever expected anything from her, a thought crossed her mind. “I...”

“Miss Katya?”

As Katya let out a small sigh, the other peered at her face. It was a girl with pale blue hair and a lovely face with round eyes. She may use a cane because of her bad leg, but unlike myself she’s someone who can bear and raise children.

“...A letter.”

“A letter?” repeated the girl. “Oh, could that be to your fiancé?”

“I… My fiancé… It’s not that kind of relationship…”

Katya had once again fumbled over her words. The excuse that had come out of her mouth had failed to convince herself, let alone the one in front of her. After all, if she didn’t have that kind of relationship, she wouldn’t have been there in the first place. She was being held captive like this because it was known to all that she was that person’s fiancé; there was no other reason for her to be deemed worthy of being taken into custody. Nonetheless, even though she knew it was foolish, she still considered it a comfort that at least she was, in fact, wanted.

“...Yes, I’m writing him a letter,” responded Katya. “So I don’t have time to talk to you.”

“I understand,” said the girl. “Let me give you a hand.”


“I’m sure we’ll come up with more ideas together than if you were to ponder on it all by yourself. If you’re already a good writer, then maybe writing something different for a change would be a good idea. Your fiancé might enjoy that.”

Katya had clenched her hand into a fist and tried to divert the conversation, but her plan was spoiled by that girl.

Katya opened and closed her mouth several times because of how pushy she was, while the other tilted her head and said, “You seem to be very eager, so let’s go straight to your room. It’s this way, right?”

“You… Can’t you see that I don’t want to?”

“I’ve learned to pretend that I don’t see what is inconvenient to see. I’ve spent a long time around someone who acts all stubborn and stays unhinged.”

“...They lack basic human decency, don’t they?”

“Not all of their behaviors are respectable, but there are many I wish to imitate. Now that I’m no longer with them…it seems like a good time to do so.”

With this response, Katya pouted, and she had no choice but to give up. Moreover, she now had to write the letter that had been meant to be an excuse she made to escape. It seemed that her bad habit of strangling herself with her own words had now reached a climax.

“Miss Katya, I’m going in without your permission, alright?”

“Who do you…”

Cane in hand, the girl took a large step and turned to give her name. “I’m Rem.”

Her chest was somewhat puffed out, her back straight. Katya raised her eyebrows feeling that her words carried a strange weight.

In front of Katya, the girl, Rem, put a free hand upon her chest. And with that, continued, “For the time being, I’ll start by trusting that there are no doubts that that is who I am.”


Katya Aurelie was currently under house arrest in the mansion of the Imperial Prime Minister, Berstetz Fondalfon. Once again, this was a situation that made her wrack her brain to understand why. Katya Aurelie came from a non-outstanding, low-ranking noble family. With the next in line—her older brother—having passed away, she was the formal heir, with nothing more than the title of nobility to her name.

In the Vollachian way of thinking, which respects strength above all, Katya would be considered a piece of trash not even worthy of existence. Whereas in terms of self-awareness, it was a feeling of alienation that she had felt since her brother was alive—no, even from the moment of her birth.

Anyhow, it was no trivial matter that Katya, in these circumstances, was hidden away in the mansion of the imperial prime minister, a situation that not even a high-ranking count would easily be able to find themselves in.

But then… “We are hostages,” Katya began, “and if we don’t understand that, then we might get in trouble.”

“I understand that,” stated Rem.

“...And yet you’ve been walking about the premises quite freely.”

“As long as we don’t try and escape, they said we can do as we please.”

Katya looked bitterly at Rem, who immediately betrayed her previous statement with her next words. Seeing the girl asserting her opinions so confidently made her feel uneasy, as though she was the one in the wrong for being anxious.

Objectively speaking, the one who understood best about their hostage situation was Katya. So why should I be the one feeling inferior when it comes to hostage-ness? she thought.

In the room she had been assigned, where every luxury had been arranged so she would feel that nothing was missing, Katya was forced to turn to the desk to take responsibility for her words. She had a quill and letter paper in hand, which Rem observed closely from nearby. Wanting neither the former nor the latter, Katya found herself incredibly annoyed.

“What do you normally write to your fiancé?” asked Rem.

“I hardly ever write letters,” Katya replied flatly.

“Oh, really? Why did you decide to write this time then?”

Rem intervened to help out, surprised that Katya was having a hard time deciding how to begin such a letter. In reality, Katya had rarely written letters herself. Even with a body like hers, she would sign a letter if necessary because of her status, but nothing more. To me, letters are something to be received. The sender had always been my brother Jamal, and these past two years… “I only ever receive them, so I thought I’d send one this time…”

“...That’s… I think that’s really nice.”

“...Tch, what do...” Katya was about to snap and ask what exactly she knew about such things, but she hesitated. The reason being Rem’s expression as she stared at her.

Even Katya, who scattered her hostility indiscriminately, was thrown off by the girl’s soft, downcast eyes. It wasn’t mockery or pity. On the contrary, it was an expression that made her more miserable than being mocked or pitied.

“…You were loved as a child, weren’t you?” Those feelings of envy burst past her lips, leaving Katya to once again regret speaking.

Rem, however, merely replied with a bitter smile, “I wonder about that.”

What a strange answer, thought Katya. “What do you mean ‘I wonder’?” she asked. “The way you said it makes it seem like you’re thinking of someone other than yourself.”

“I lack a sense of self, and it feels like someone else’s life. Since I’ve only been alive for a month, so…”

“Huh?” Her response having been unexpected, she looked Rem from head to toe. It’s nonsense that shouldn’t be taken seriously, but I really don’t understand the point of the joke.

“It’s a figure of speech. The truth is that I have no memories… Whether it’s about me, or the things around me, I remember nothing. I built my current self up from the ground up.”

“You have…no memories…?”

“So just as you said, I have no idea whether or not there were people who cared for me. However, I do think I’ve been lucky enough to meet some good people this past month,” she replied, and seemed to be counting on her fingers while thinking of the people who had met her empty self and that she was lucky to have met them because of that. If she really were lucky, however, she wouldn’t be here.

Her situation was not so different from Katya’s, being a sort of hostage. And if that was the case, then in keeping her there, Berstetz should be able to keep the people close to her in check as well.

“I can’t understand what you’re talking about. Are you saying it was by chance that the last encounter you had was bad?”

“I think there are many kinds of fate… And to me, I think the worst encounter was the very first one.”

The very first one… If what she’s saying is true, then does she mean her newly-born state with no memory? Unwittingly, Katya, who had become engrossed in Rem’s story, asked with her gaze what exactly that terrible encounter had been.

In response to her gaze, Rem replied, “Well…” and raised a finger to her lips. “When I came to, they were holding me in their arms and staring at me with tearful eyes. Helpless, lonely eyes, like those of a child.”

“...They weren’t rough with you or anything like that?”

“If anyone was rough, it was me. I smelled something I simply couldn’t…stand, so I strangled them…”

Katya was about to say “How violent,” but held back as she remembered her own outbursts. Out of frustration, she had thrown vases at her fiancé, or even scratched him a number of times. It wasn’t a particularly smooth way to build a relationship, but it was something she was known for. However…

“I shook them off once…but they caught up with me again and kept following me. And during that time, the stench persisted—it was suffocating.”

“Following you around… That must have been tough.”

“Yes, it was tough… I didn’t remember anything. I could only trust in my own senses, and because that person really did smell like a bad person...”

“...That man did?”

“Because someone like that was trying so hard to protect me…”

Rem’s eyes suddenly became downcast, those words making Katya’s breath catch in her throat without a sound. She had tricked Rem into revealing that the person in her story was a man merely because of the way she looked when talking about him. If they were courting her, of course it would be a man.

But for some reason her expression and situation did not feel like someone else’s problem to Katya. Rather, she understood what Rem was feeling.

Not being able to understand why this person was approaching her, and being treated this way and that, all causing doubts and dislikes to accumulate—but at the same time, being touched by that. It was as though their minds were being twisted to follow someone else’s will.

It’s awful, and painful, and annoying, it’s— “Disgusting, but you don’t want it to stop…”

“...Yes, that’s right.”

It had become so natural to live with that sense of suffocation that they could no longer imagine what it would be like without it. In fact, they had forgotten how they had breathed when that feeling of oppression wasn’t there. Even though she knew it was the life of a pitiful doll-like woman, with nothing else to cling to.

“So you also have someone like that?”


Naturally, when you meddle in someone’s affairs, they will equally meddle in your own. While Katya regretted having said unnecessary things, at the same time, she also thought this:

Rem, who truly knows that suffering, will probably understand her own.

“For me, my fiancé…is the man doing that to me. From the moment we first met, he was over-familiar. He approached me of his own accord, and then…”


“I don’t understand why he chose me. As you can see, I’m disabled, and unable to perform my duties as a woman. I’m worthless. Even so, he whispers to me that it doesn’t matter.” I can’t give anything that should be given. After nearly twenty years of suffering, I had finally accepted it, but then he showed up. That made me hopeful that maybe the last twenty years of suffering had been a mistake, and that this was to make up for it. But I also knew deep down that there was no way that could be the case…

“...You… You’re not saying the usual comforting words.”

“The usual comforting words?” Rem parroted.

“Looking at my body, and saying that’s not true; that who I am on the inside is all that matters, and that he only cares about that…the underhanded words that only sound pretty on the surface.”

“...I don’t know you well enough to say anything like that. When someone is hurt and even if you long to comfort them, telling them something that doesn’t come from the heart is wrong.”

That’s a noble way of thinking. It sounded astonishingly different from the superficial words used by cowards that Katya hated—words which would only make themselves feel good about them comforting someone.

“So what are you going to write to your fiancé?”

“...After what we just spoke about, you’re still trying to make me write it?”

“You’re right… Well, shall we do this then? I’ll also write a letter. Just as you’re doing—to the person with the horrible stench.”

“...What’s the point of that?”

It was offered as an exchange, but there was no actual reason for Katya to accept it.

At Katya’s puzzled expression, Rem thought for a moment, then said, “There’s no way for the letter to reach that person. But it would be a bit sad if no one read it, so it would be nice if you could.”

“I understand even less. Why would I read a letter written to a person you hate? It’s nonsense; I don’t understand.”

“I was hoping you, who are in a similar situation, would help me put my feelings into words,” Rem admitted, sticking out her tongue a little, as Katya was trying to quickly respond to refuse the bargain.

Katya widened her eyes and was thus convinced that she had grown up being loved by those around her. There’d be no way she would know how to be spoiled by someone like this; she wouldn’t be able to do something like this otherwise, she thought.

“So, what do you say?” Rem pressed. “Do we have a deal?”

Katya sighed as Rem repeated her question, wondering how she had interpreted her silence. I still have no idea exactly why she is being held captive, but I can’t be bothered. “I wasn’t sure what to write in the letter before, but I think I’ve thought of something: that there’s a woman staying in the same place as me I don’t get along with.”

At least, that was Katya’s honest impression with regard to Rem.