14-21. Snow Kingdom (2) SS
I'm Pipine of Nadare village in the northwest of Kiwolk Kingdom.
<TLN: Nadare means Avalanche.>
Pon-san, a merchant of Shiga Kingdom said that this kingdom is a country of snow and frost-covered trees, but it's just a cold poor little country.
We've been on bad terms with the neighboring Kogeoku Kingdom, repeatedly having wars with them for several years.
My grandfather, father and brother were taken away as soldiers and never came back.
"Onee-chan, you can't hunt."
"That's right, Pipine. If you go hunting by yourself, you'll get eaten by the Snow Leopard."
"I'm sorry, but I have to do it now that the snowstorm has stopped."
My little sister and grandmother tried to detain me, but I don't have any choice.
In this house with cold air entering through the drafts, there's no dried meat, dried fish or snow vegetable remaining, let alone wild plants and pickled vegetables we picked during the short spring.
We had milk from yaks when we still had them, but during the long two year of winter that still continues, we had disposed all of them.
In this three days, I feel my body has grown weaker from taking nothing but water.
If we don't get some food during this chance, we'll die of starvation sooner or later.
I won't ask for something as luxurious as snow rabbits.
I'm fine even if it's only fog insects, squirrels or weed under the snow, I have to get something anything.
I kicked the frozen front door and stepped forward to the snow.
--White, white, white.
In the usual scenery, I continue to walk toward the Kiwolk Mountain as the landmark that can be seen in the distance.
"It's the Frost Weed."
We can't eat this weed, but Pon-san the merchant will buy it at a high price for [Alkemy] or something.
If we're still alive until Pon-san comes, I'll exchange it for preserved foods.
I smile thinking that I'm lucky to have an unexpected harvest.
I'll have to make use of this luck to find something to eat.
--Snow, snow, snow.
Even though I'm wearing snowshoes, this new soft snow swallow my feet, stealing what little left of my strength.
I saw a small shadow moving beyond the snow.
Perhaps it's a snow rabbit?
It looks like I'm really lucky today.
I take the short bow on my back full of expectation.
Thud, with a sound, snow fell from a tree nearby.
--No! What am I going to do if the snow rabbit escapes!
I put an arrow on the short bow while cursing.
The snow jumps up on the place where I can see the shadow.
--I won't let you escape!
I reflexively ran and what came into my view was a pink-colored triangle inside the snow.
The dancing snow and the fog-like steam flicker around the pink thing.
It was already too late when I noticed it.
The thing rising from the snow is a snow-colored beast.
A beast that even makes the Snow Leopard into its prey, the ruler of snow field--Rocket Wolf.
It blew the snow behind sounding like a snow slide and then it showed itself before me in the blink of an eye.
The warm foul breath blew against my face.
Saliva dripping from its sharp fangs left a deep trace on the snow.
--Ah, I'm going to die here.
I'm worried about leaving my little sister and grandma behind, but if I can leave this suffering-only life, this isn't so bad.
While resigning myself, warm drools blew onto my face.
--I don't want to die, Idontwanttodie, I don't want to die!
"So-someone, save meeeeee!"