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    Shadowless Night

    Chapter 33


    Translated by Wook
    Edited by Iris Sakura


     

    It was a fact taken for granted by other creatures. But for ‘It’, this was a more significant deprivation than the loss of limbs. A death sentence more terrifying than the threat of sharp fangs. Rosaline trembled after becoming a human for the first time. She instinctively realized that this anomaly was something of a punishment, some side effect from the taboo. Partial variation was possible, such as borrowing the muscle tissue of a tiger, borrowing the hearing of a hawk, or borrowing the hard skin of a beast. But Rosaline said she could no longer return to her complete ‘It’ form.

     

    If ‘It’ had encountered this fact in the early days when it had just covered Rosaline’s shell, ‘It’ might have plunged into a great panic. But currently, ‘It’, Rosaline, is gradually melting into human life. She had a younger brother named Calyx and a friend named Raymond. In the world of these creatures walking on two legs, various emotions and intense sensations she can’t feel as an animal were mixed in ‘It’.

     

    ‘It’ may have lived a boring life as a shadow. The life of a human, which broke the routine of hundreds of years of sleeping like a dead person, eating a corpse when the time came, and waiting for time to fall asleep again, felt much better.

     

    ‘It’ felt some kind of power that began to blend faintly into the magic within it. The black-haired human Rosaline: there was some power within her that every living creature has, the primordial power that makes living things come alive— Life. Little by little, Rosaline realized that life was fusing into her. Perhaps the taboo of ‘Them’ was to be wary of that vitality rather than the living creatures themselves.

     

    Of course, Rosaline was also quite upset at first. ‘So, I can no longer imitate other creatures to run away? Does that mean if someone or something wants to kill me, I have to die as it is?’ It was shocking.

     

    However, she had a sudden thought. ‘Why do I have to run away? Why do I have to imitate someone?’ It was the natural providence of nature to die and be buried in the ground to rot. That was the principle of the cycle of life. It was only then that she realized that she and her kind might be the strange ones living outside the laws of this world.

     

    ‘’I’ will die. Now that I have a body, even if there is no incident or accident, on the day the power in this body wears out, my breath will stop. ‘I’ will die as Rosaline.’ It was a reasonable thing that happens with all living things and life. Thinking like that, she wasn’t too afraid of not being able to achieve perfect mimicry anymore. The instinct to constantly run away from someone and the reluctance to not attack or kill something also subsided.

     

    Since then, Rosaline has occasionally dreamed or recalled particular memories. They weren’t ‘It’s’ memories’, but were Rosaline’s. The contents of a book Rosaline studied came to mind. Or she was chased by someone in the Black Forest. Sometimes, she looked at her, ‘my’, little brother, and said softly, ‘Well done, Cal. Our Calyx.’ ‘It’ thought that these memories were Rosaline’s pieces of life.

     

    After all, the shadows’ taboo started from having a real life. Since life is the starting point to death. A taboo created because they were wary of death. Some said life was premature, and some said life was a stupid thing. But Rosaline was already at the crossroads of life and death. She didn’t know what the outcome of this would be.

     

    Rosaline put her hand on her chest. She felt her heart pounding violently under her skin.

     

    ***

     

    Rosaline explained step by step from the beginning about her encounter with the dying dark-haired human. She asked for it, so ‘It’ had to eat her alive. The woman looked at Rosaline while contorting her pretty face. She had an odd expression on her face.

     

    “What are you saying now? I don’t understand you at all, even if you explain it from the beginning. Right, that… Even among monkeys, occasionally there are some who can’t climb trees…”

     

    ‘There will always be that one individual that’s a little more likely to fall in a group.’ The woman cut her words. She seemed to want to avoid the fact that she and Rosaline were of the same race. The woman recalled a long-ago past similar to Rosaline’s situation.

     

    This other ‘It’: the woman had seen her fellow kin commit the taboo. The long-starved kin luckily found a large, dead snake and absorbed it without even dreaming that there might be a rabbit still alive in its belly. This fellow then lived as a rabbit and said that their mimicry ability was disappearing. A partial mutation was possible, but no matter how much it borrowed the leopard’s muscle tissue, he couldn’t escape the shell of a rabbit. After that, this fellow had been captured by hunters. It was a comedy one couldn’t even laugh at.

     

    Without weapons, humans are a weak race with no sharp nails, no fangs, and no strong muscles. It’s better than a rabbit, but in the woman’s eyes, a rabbit and a human were the same. The woman could turn into a beast the size of a house if she wanted to. It was only natural that her standards for strength were high.

     

    As her fellow kin talked about her well-being, the woman adopted a ‘You tell me, I listen, but I won’t do more than that’ attitude and merely stared at the barracks built by the humans.

     

    However, the woman couldn’t help but be worried. Just by looking at it, it seems like this fellow kin doesn’t know the world’s affairs, and she’s committed a taboo on top of that, so she won’t be able to mimic any more. That ‘one fellow’, who lived as a rabbit in the past and had been captured by the hunters, kept coming to the woman’s mind. She sighed deeply.

     

    “I ate humans a long time ago.”

     

    She won’t just listen anymore. And…

     

    “Thanks to that, I’m a little more… What’s the word again? Oh, more of a thinker. Aren’t humans a bit more intelligent than animals?”

     

    “Mm-hmm.”

     

    The woman approached Rosaline a little. The smell of the grass from her body reached Rosaline’s nose at once.

     

    “You’ve been living with humans, so you know what community is, right? That’s why I’m worried about you. Now, listen up, you wench!”

     

    Knights passed by near Ricardis’ barracks. As Rosaline’s senses naturally turned to them, the woman slapped her on the forearm and became furious. The woman bit her lip once and grabbed Rosaline’s shoulder. There was sadness in her gray eyes.

     

    “You see…”

     

    “Mm-hmm.”

     

    “I will watch over the end of the people who committed the taboo.”

     

    ‘At the same time, if it looks dangerous, I will rescue you.’ Running away with a human was not a thing the woman did. But Rosaline merely widened her eyes a little and didn’t react. The woman noticed this. ‘Honey, did you not hear me…’

     

    She fixed her words, “I will follow you in the future.”

     

    “Oh,” Rosaline said and nodded her head, giving her a simple answer. “Okay.” 

     

    Someone made a life-long decision. ‘Honey, living is all about thinking, right?’ The woman realized once again that she had made the right choice and sighed deeply.

     

    “In that case… I hope we get along well.”

     

    “Mm-hmm.”

     

    Rosaline held out her hand. The woman smiled and took her hand. She seemed to have remembered this kind of greeting. It was the warmest feeling in a long time.

     

    ***

     

    “A squirrel?”

     

    “That would be strange. Who would take a squirrel around?”

     

    “A deer?”

     

    “I’ve seen people walking around with deer. It was a hunter who killed it and hung it on his shoulder.”

     

    “A bear?”

     

    “It must be something that’s able to travel with people. The only place for people near a bear is inside its stomach.”

     

    The two women were still chatting in the trees. The woman decided to follow Rosaline, but she had no intention of following her in human form. Whether humans or animals, even if they were of the same race, there was a tendency to reject outside existences that suddenly appeared. Moreover, human intelligence was often higher than that of other animals. They will soon start questioning her clumsy human mimicry.

     

    The woman listed the kinds of animals she had eaten in the past, and Rosaline pointed out the flaws one by one. She didn’t know if there was someone somewhere in this world who brought a squirrel around, or a person who carried a deer, or perhaps someone who took a bear and other beasts around. But this one was a rare situation, in any case. The woman had a habit of avoiding people’s gaze, just like Rosaline.

     

    Afterward, she presented various options like a snake, a black panther, a stag beetle, and a raccoon, but all were rejected. After thinking for a while, the woman said, “Ah!”

     

    “Once upon a time, when I was living with that grandmother, I saw someone with animals!”

     

    She barely remembered. The small hut of the old woman who lived on the hillside had occasionally been visited by hunters looking for shelter from the rain. Most of them carried only materials for bows and traps, but, on occasion, some hunters had hunting dogs or hawks. There were two candidates, but the woman had never eaten a dog. Still, she smiled.

     

    “I have eaten an eagle.”

     

    Rosaline exclaimed, “Oh, oh.” 

     

    Certainly, hawks and eagles are both large flying birds of prey. ‘That’s it.’ The woman’s body trembled as she began to mimic the eagle, and her figure dyed black. Before long, the woman took the form of a full eagle. The size was quite a bit larger than expected, and Rosaline marveled at the sheer size. The eagle spoke calmly in a human language. It seemed that only the vocal cords had mutated into human ones.

     

    “It was the eagle called the king of this neighborhood. It used to fight with beasts, but unfortunately, it was killed in a surprise attack one evening. A black-and-chestnut colored eagle is similarly strong whether in the day or night.”

     


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    Wook's notes:

    I kind of forgot if it's been explained before, but yes, 'They' can partially changed the 'structure' of their body parts to whatever they've eaten which explains Rosaline's extraordinary hearing, agility, and strength. This is the starting point where Rosaline starts to 'accept her body' and vice versa.

    Wook

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