It was early morning when she woke up.
All the kidnapped women are laid down in a large round room.
The surface of the floor was covered with a lot of pink soft and nicely scented cotton.
It’s a huge difference from the livestock cabins’ stinky and hard beds.
“Where is this?”
The room is circular like a birdcage, and the sunlight coming in through the vertically long windows illuminates the surroundings.
All women aside from Maru were asleep.
Spotting a very familiar face among them, she unconsciously called her in a loud voice.
Salami, who she should have parted ways with back in the livestock cabins, was there.
When Salami slowly opened her eyes, she gave Maru a gentle smile.
“Huaa~*. Good morning, Maru-chan. I got caught after that.” (TN: Yawn)
“I’m so glad you’re not hurt, Salami….. Although it’s too bad that you also got brought in here.”
The other women also seem to be waking up one after another.
However, there was that event last night and some of them are in a state of confusion, screaming, or banging on the walls and door.
The door seems to be locked so it doesn’t budge no matter how hard they hit it.
“Calm down! Our situation won’t be solved even if you make a fuss!”
Salami shouted but the people around her didn’t hear it.
Maru also tried to help Salami but it wasn’t very effective.
Despite being a former royalty, Maru didn’t receive any education that ordinary royalties received because she was raised in isolation. The only knowledge she remembers is from the books she read secretly.
There was no way that the beastmen who were at their wits’ end would listen to the former princess’s words.
After a while, she could see the panicking women starting to give up.
As if in despair, tears fall down the eyes of the women kneeling on the soft floor.
“Salami, this is the elves’ dwelling, right? They should be contacting us soon.”
“Yes, I also think so.”
As expected, the closed door soon opened and a number of men came in.
This time, they aren’t wearing suspicious black hoods.
The tall and slender elves all have well-featured faces.
Their pointed ears were on the side of their faces like humans, but they didn’t look like the caricatures they were shown when they were young.
However, the clamoring and crying women froze while looking at them. They’re afraid.
“You don’t have to be scared. We don’t want to hurt all of you.”
A tall elf with black hair and reddish-brown skin stepped forward and spoke to the women.
However, they are still frozen.
It could be because the black-haired elf has a fierce face.
“Rumors circulating around the Beastman Country like “elves eat beastmen” or “they kill for fun” are all lies. We only want to “get a bride”, and we don’t have any hobbies of hurting beastmen.”
At the elf representative’s words, the women shrink back even further.
They’re scared that they will be chosen as the bride of someone they don’t like.
“Well, it’s probably better to experience it than to get an explanation.”
When the black-haired elf raised his hand, a magic circle appeared on top of his hand again.
At the same time, the walls of the room surrounding Maru and her companions disappear.
Beyond the wall that disappeared, there were many elves.
Maru reflexively hugged Salami upon seeing a lot of male elves suddenly appearing.
Their eyes were scary like that of carnivorous beasts looking at their prey.
Salami’s body also turned stiff from fear.
The black-haired elf started talking to the surrounding elves.
“As you can see, the brides are scared. I sincerely ask you not to do anything that will hurt them! That’s all from me…….”
When his speech finished, the elves started becoming restless.
“Now then, we are about to start the 103rd Bride Acquisition Festival!”
A very loud sound from a drum and sounds from a flute came from somewhere and at the same time, the elves started moving.
“What, what’s going on?”
Baffled, Maru’s ears twitch.
The elves started moving towards different female beastmen and started talking to the frightened women.
“It’s okay, Maru-chan. They won’t hurt us…… I think.”
“Yo, you, ‘re right……” (TN: She’s so scared her words broke down.)
While the two of them were hugging each other stiffly, Maru’s ear was squished by something.
“Ham-chan, so this is where you are! Ah, your ears are so soft……”
Maru unconsciously screamed “Gyaa”, and tried to bite the other party.
For beastmen, their ears and tail are places that only people close to them may touch.
Maru has only ever allowed Salami to touch them.
“You’re so energetic. Well then, let’s go together.”
He picks her up from behind and takes her away.
Not knowing the reason why, Maru resisted.
“Le, let me go! Salami, Salami!”
Salami couldn’t stop the person who carried Maru away.
She looks at Maru with troubled eyes but she doesn’t move.
Thus, the hamster princess was taken away from the women and was brought into the large wooden building nearby.
“Haah, what a relief. With this, you won’t have to be taken by another guy.”
Upon entering one of the building’s rooms, Maru was finally put down on the floor and was able to look at the other person.
“Nice to meet you, Ham-chan. Strictly speaking, it’s been a day since we last met.”
“…… Who are you?”
Standing in front of her was a young elf with pale silver hair that appeared like it was studded with starlight and eyes reminiscent of the fresh green of early summer.
His face is slender and well-featured just like the other elves. His droopy eyes that make him look like a good-natured man make her feel like letting her guard down a little.
“I’m Aiden, the elves’ doctor. This is my house and workplace. You don’t have to be scared, I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Can you tell me your name?”
She just told him her name but Aiden’s whole face brightened up.
“It’s a cute name.”
“Uh, uhm…… Are the beastmen left in that place alright?”
“Hmm~. I think all of them are in the elves’ houses respectively by now. Just like you now.”
Hearing that, Maru reflexively leaned forward.
“You’re talking about the girl with you, right…… Well, probably. I think Riley brought her home.”
“He’s the black-haired man who managed the elves earlier. That guy likes fair-skinned beauties.”
The black-haired and reddish-brown-skinned elf who looked strong passed through her mind.
“…… Is Salami okay?”
“I think she’s safe. Male elves are gentle towards women, and there are no m*r*ns who will harm his wife ―― of course, I’m also kind so please don’t be scared, okay?”
At the end, Aiden nonchalantly pitched for himself.
Maru was confused.
“Uhh, Aiden, why did you bring me here alone?”
“……Are you asking me that here?”
Aiden’s eyes shook as if he was troubled while looking at Maru.
She only wanted to know his intentions for bringing her in here, but she may have naively conjugated it in a weird way.
“Uhm, we’re sacrifices to the elves, right?”
Seeing the confused Maru, he hurriedly continued what he was saying.
“Just like the earlier explanation, the beastmen gathered there are to be the elves’ wives. It seems that bad rumors are circulating in your country but all of those aren’t true.”
After saying that, he continued speaking with a sincere face.
“With that said, Maru…… If it’s possible, will you be my wife?”
“……Eh? …… Haa?”
“The elves who are allowed to attend the festival can marry the woman he likes among the beastmen gathered in that place. And I chose you, who I’ve had my eyes on already.”
“You already had your eyes on me?”
He chuckled right next to the puzzled Maru.
She can smell a faint scent of herbs from his body.
“I know this scent…… You’re the person who made me faint, right?”
“Oh…… So that’s how you remembered me. Beastmen sure have good noses. I’m sorry for treating you roughly back then. But I’ve seen you way earlier than that. The nuts, were they delicious?”
When Aiden asked her, Maru realized.
He’s probably talking about that time in the livestock cabins.
“Could it be, at that time, are you the one who gave me the nuts from behind the wall?”
“Yes, I secretly sent it with magic. I felt sorry seeing your withered appearance while looking at the buts outside. But I thought you might get scared if I showed myself.”
“……Thank you. I’m grateful for the nuts.”
As she mumbled, Aiden was intently staring at Maru.
“I love small and cute things…… Hey, Maru?”
“Wha, what is it?”
“I understand that it was unfair for the beastmen to be brought here all of a sudden, but I promise to treat you preciously. Please, please be a pair with me……”
Eden’s eyes that were staring at Maru were sincere.
After hesitating a little, Maru carefully opened her mouth.
“…… Eh, are you really sure it’s okay?”
He was stumped at her quick reply.
However, Maru, who has lived in the castle for a long time, can identify a malicious person.
At least at this moment, Aiden means no harm to herself. And that was enough.
“Excuse me, you do understand what it means to become a wife, right? I heard that the women that were brought here are no less than eighteen years old.”
“I’m also eighteen. As for what to do after the wedding, you’ll naturally hear it in the castle if you live there for a long time.”
It looks like the bridal night is always important regardless of the country.
Even if she was being kept in her room, she heard so many things from the servants’ mouths until she was sick of it, like how a wife from the such-and-such place had an affair and brought a man into a room, or how a count from such-and-such place got a girl who has a fiancé pregnant and it became a huge issue.
“……It looks like you had some issues in your house.”
After hearing what Maru said, Aiden weakly shook his head and muttered.
((TN: Chapter 4 will be up tomorrow night at the latest.))