This continues from the Prologue, and is the common route Slen and Nalan‘s routes will all go through. R-18 game! But I will not post any R-18 CGs in my reviews and there will be spoilers.
As Naala is taken to Slen’s residence, she’s slightly confused by how he’s showing her around the house, introducing which room is which. He then shows her to her own room, yet again surprised since she thought she’d be treated like an animal. But not only does the room look normal with no torture items, it’s even decorated to suit a woman with room decorations and make-up. Naala wonders if this room belonged to his previous wife, lover etc. But Slen says that he has no interest in giving his wife pain, and she’s the first woman to enter this room. Naala wonders if he’d been preparing all this for his future bride, but then again there’s no way he’d do such a thing. But since this is supposed to be a punishment, someone has to witness this so Slen orders the guy to stand outside. Naala mentally prepares herself and strips when he orders her to do so. Seeing her body, he remarks that she could well have 5 kids. This topic surprises Naala, but he explains that the more children the better – leaving behind a successor with your lawful wife will allow a common general like him to become a noble. Naala snidely remarks that he can get a prostitute but Slen answers that since it’s his wife, he’d rather get one of his liking and who is a virgin with a strong body.
Anyway, I’m not going into the details but Naala is taken aback by how Slen gently treats her, especially since this is supposed to be a punishment. But she tells herself that there’s no way that can happen and she lets slip a couple of sarcastic remarks at him – that he can’t possibly be kind and it’s better to get it done and over with, that she hates him more, and suggesting that every time he does this it’ll just be torture for her. This eventually sets Slen off as he ends up roughly doing it – well, considering that she’s a virgin. Though he appears to be irritated when he sees her tearing up from the pain. Towards the end though, Naala is suddenly overcome by fear as she’s met with the reality that she’s going to be having his kid. ‘Cos of this she struggles at first, but Slen easily overcomes her as he tells her that she’ll always be his woman from now on, and will have his children. At the end, Naala can barely move but she mutters to herself that they are really the worst husband and wife.
The worst husband and wife
Not long after Naala wakes up, she hears a knock on the door but decides to ignore as she pretends to sleep. She still feels a dull pain and she has no idea how to face Slen after what happened, moreover as his wife. It’s not Slen though, but Nalan, and they surprise each other instead lol. Nalan reintroduces himself, and that he’s a follower of Slen. Though Naala feels that he’s a bit different from the other servants with his bright personality. And it’s shown as Nalan praises how beautiful Naala is and how awesome Slen was to have married her. He then recalls what he was here for – Slen sent him to call for Naala to come and have breakfast. Naala gets up to prepare herself, but also realises that she’s fully-clothed already, and wonders if Slen had dressed her up when she was unconscious. Just then, Nalan spots an empty bottle. He recognises it as the medicine Slen asked Luji to make – he’s not entirely sure but Slen said that he’ll need it after marrying his bride, and it’s effective even on the most tender of skins. Naala recalls that Slen used it on her last night, while muttering that he was using it differently than its actual purpose. It’s a mystery to Naala as to how Slen can say harsh words at one go, while taking such actions with her consideration.
Nalan leads her to Slen’s room, where all the servants greet her as his wife. Naala doesn’t have the appetite to eat though as Slen keeps staring over at her. When both Slen and Nalan talk to her over this, she continues her cold treatment to Slen while talking normally to Nalan. Slen eventually gets tired of talking and gets up to leave, while Nalan gets flustered as he says that Slen should be kinder to the bride which he finally managed to woo. Hearing this, Slen denies that he has ever wooed anyone, and never will. Naala came to him on his own accord. When Nalan continues to pursue the matter, Slen teases him and tells him not to direct him around since he hasn’t even kissed anyone yet. Nalan immediately flushes, as he explains that he’s saving it for when he has someone he likes. Aww~ As Slen leaves the room, he orders Nalan to make sure that Naala properly eats her lunch. One of Toya’s men is also here to look for Slen over his marriage to Naala, but Slen tells them to delay it. After Slen leaves, Nalan wonders if he’s worried that Toya will think that Naala was forced into this marriage seeing her weak figure now. So Nalan guesses that he’s buying time now, but tells Naala not to let Slen know that he said this.
Naala then confirms with Nalan about Slen being able to become a noble if he has a successor. He explains that it’s ‘cos Slen is a military general that he has that privilege. But it’s considered amazing for a commoner to have his current rank, since Nasula has a lot of constraints in terms of heritage and class. But Slen had a lot of credit when fighting against foreign invaders 5 years ago and hence was recognised by the previous king for it and given that tabard he wears now. Nalan was also saved by Slen that time. Nalan praises on how Slen is a man among men, and asks if Naala fell for him ‘cos of that reason. She is pretty much speechless though, and is reluctant to tell Nalan the truth since it would hurt his image of his beloved older brother figure. Later that day, Naala remains in her room as she’s still being watched outside by one of Slen’s men. Nalan comes to find her again as he apologises for what he said in the morning. He went to ask one of Slen’s right-hand men and found out the truth about their marriage. Naala reassures him though, and says that he thinks for her sake even more than Slen himself. Nalan thinks otherwise though, for example in Nasula it is customary for couples to sleep together in the same room, but Slen gave her a room. Naala remarks that he probably doesn’t want to be attacked in his sleep but Nalan still remains convinced that Slen is waiting for her to be less scared of him.
Out of the blue, Nalan seems to be reminded of something and runs off, before coming back with a bottled drink. She’s probably feeling thorny right now since she’s hungry, so he offers her a drink which he’d made himself. Naala gladly drinks it, and he assures her of its nutrition value – since he is living proof having gained such a strong body now pfft. Naala laughs at this, but soon after she realises that she’s crying – even though she never once cried since being captured here. Feeling confused, she tries to cover it up but Nalan tells her that even though he may be an enemy to her, he wants to support her. Even though it’s presumptuous of him to say this when he can’t let her return home, he’ll work hard to make her happy. Awkwardly, he takes the empty bottle from her and offers to get another one for her before running off. Even though Naala should feel hatred towards the men here, she’s confused as there are ones like Toya, Luji and Nalan. But she soon brushes away these thoughts. Slen didn’t come to her room that night and though she’s relieved, she’s also left worrying over whether he got tired of her and went to get Sharu instead.
Just then, Nalan comes to greet her and bring her to have breakfast with Slen. Naala wants to try and make a deal with the guards to allow her to search for everyone else though, and decides to avoid contact with Slen lest she worsens his mood and gets her movement restrained. She tells Nalan that she’ll pass and he’s extremely worried, kneeling at her side as he tries to persuade her – in Nasula couples should eat together if they’re both at home, and hopefully she’ll grow to like Slen too if they interact more. Though she feels bad for him, Naala doesn’t change her mind as she says that she’ll have her lunch, and it should be enough if she only fulfilled her duty as a wife at night. Nalan silently leaves the room, only for Slen himself to appear as he orders the servants to shift the breakfast things over. Slen explains the same custom Nalan said and tells her to come over to eat. Though Naala knows that she should obey him if she doesn’t want to stir up any trouble, she finds herself remarking that even though he misbehaves at night he sure is old-fashioned and modest in the afternoon. She stops him from getting closer, and states that she’ll fulfill the role he wants of her (giving birth to a child) but other than that she’d rather not interact with him and doesn’t want him to cross the imaginary line she draws out.
Slen remains silent at first, but soon bursts out into laughter. It’s like he picked up an injured mountain cat, it’s kinda cute. Annoyed, Naala tells him that they are scary when angered. Slen casually agrees with her and tells her to eat. But once again, Slen keeps looking over at her and Naala loses her appetite to eat. That night Slen comes to her room, and when she continues her silent treatment towards him, he remarks that Sharu comes to find him everyday to switch places with her and he may very well do so. Naala gives in, though he points out that she’s different from when she speaks to Nalan – she smiles more. Though Naala didn’t realise it herself, it may very well be the case as she’s always tensed up when with Slen. She wonders just how much he has been looking at her, and that perhaps he isn’t only interested in her body. Slen then tells her to talk to him more normally to, ‘cos he’s her husband. Naala’s too tired to argue with him and just agrees with him. When he sees that she isn’t drinking the drink Nalan made for her, he takes it from her and forcefully feeds it to her mouth-to-mouth. Though Slen reassured her that he wouldn’t do it tonight, he eventually gets in the mood much to Naala’s annoyance. He reminds her that it’s her duty as a wife and there’s no division line between them at night. Though she struggles at first, things take a turn when she spills the remaining drink all over herself. Naala then tries to reason that he didn’t show up last night and he takes it that she’s sulking over being alone and apologises since he was busy with work.
Again I’m not going into the details. But once more Naala is confused when he treats her gently and is unsure how to react. After they’re done, Naala is tired and slowly falls asleep. But she hears Slen commenting that she sure is a stubborn woman, and tells herself that it must be her imagination since his voice sounds gentle.
The husband and wife’s first cooperation
It’s been half a month since that night, and ever since then Slen would always come to her room to do it, and fall asleep together with her in her bed. Perhaps it’s to make sure that she doesn’t run away, but in any case it has become a daily schedule as long as he doesn’t have work to do. As she wakes him up, she gets slightly annoyed with herself at acting like a wife to him. Even Slen catches up with this and teases her, though she insists that if he slacks up so will his men and the Rusu women will be in danger. Apparently he has to act as security for an event organised by Toya and prepared for Rusu women, though Slen refuses to explain just for what and doesn’t want her to turn up either since other men may target her. Though he doesn’t mind letting her go to see the Rusu women if she sees him off like a proper wife. Naala immediately brightens up, but he teases her again since there’s no meaning if he has to remind her so.
After Slen leaves, Naala notices that he left his sword behind on the bed. Apparently, he’d always sleep beside her with it and she wonders how he doesn’t worry over whether she’ll attack him with it. She recalls that previously she did attempt to attack him with it one night, but she reasoned with herself that it wouldn’t do the Rusu women any good. Though inside she was also hesitant as she grew aware that he was treated her kindly. But no matter how kind he is or how much of a husband he tries to be, Naala tells herself that he’s still an enemy and only sees her as a tool. She ends up going to give him the sword though, telling herself that she’s doing it for the Rusu women so that he can properly defend them. Slen thanks her and kisses her, catching Naala by surprise. He tells her that since she saw him off she can go outside, but should take Nalan along with her. It takes Naala a few seconds to realise what happened and what he said. Just then, Nalan comes to find her and apparently he already heard from Slen about her going out. Naala is further confused as to why Slen did all that then, and is even worried over him trusting her so much – such as leaving the sword on the bed when they sleep. Even though she should be happy over this since now she has greater freedom, she’s in conflict with herself too as she feels a pain in her chest.
After breakfast, she goes outside with Nalan to the residence where all the Rusu women are. She meets Haru along the way, who happened to be visiting them too. Inside, she reunites with everyone. Naala does notice two things though – first they appear a bit too happy even though it should be known that she was married away as a punishment. But it turns out that Slen ordered Nalan to come over everyday to tell them about Naala’s situation, so that they don’t worry. Next, she asks about Sharu and Sarana. Apparently Sharu holed up in her room ever since that day, but recently started going out most of the time. Naala is worried over Sharu, but Haru eases her worries as she recalls that Sharu came to see her the other day, apologising for saying harsh things to her. She adds that she’ll do what she can for her too. Naala still hopes to see Sharu soon. As for Sarana, she has been getting along with a guy recently and often goes to meet him.
Naala learns from Nalan that the festival is meant to cheer up the Rusu women with performances and good food. It’s for unwed women so he guesses that Slen didn’t want men approaching her. Naala is doubtful of this, as she also points out her odd hair colour. Nalan likes it though, saying that it shines like the sun and suits her. Just then, there’s a ruckus and Nalan asks what happens. It turns out that a fierce beast escaped from one of those freak show stalls, and is heading in the direction of where the festival is. Alarmed, Naala dashes off, grabbing the bow and arrows from a stall as she tells the owner to charge it to the general’s place. Nalan chases after her, wanting her to return instead. But she pleads him to tell the Rusu women at the residence not to leave since she can only rely on him. Naala soon loses sight of him, and guesses that he listened to her as she thanks him in her heart.
It switches to Slen’s POV. The beast has already ripped apart several of his men, as they had to protect the women. At least the king isn’t present, and Slen eventually stabs the beast successfully. After catching his breath, he sees a cowering woman behind him and offers to help her up. But to both their horror, the beast is still alive and without any time to react, Slen instinctively protects the woman and prepares to be attacked. But it doesn’t come and he looks up to see the beast struggling with an arrow in its eye. It switches back to Naala’s POV, after having shot the beast. She goes up to Slen’s side, who thanks her and asks for her support as he goes in to finish it off. When it’s finally dead, Slen goes to do some victory action with Naala, and remarks that it’s their first cooperation together as husband and wife. Naala recalls that in Nasula, couples have the custom of barbecuing a piece of pork together at the wedding ceremony. Seeing the beast’s corpse though, it’s like an inauspicious sign instead. But seeing Slen protecting the woman back then, Naala can’t help but see him in a better light.
However, the air is heavy as lots of Slen’s men lay dead on the ground. He asks Naala to return first as he goes to say words of farewell and honour to them, and Naala realises that he must have lost numerous men all this time. Later that night Nalan comes to find her. He’s evidently uneasy, and finally reveals that there’s been a rumour going around – that the beast was set loose deliberately. There is a group of military officers loyal to Slen and appeared in today’s festival, and they generally oppose to Toya’s way of doings things as it’s rather drastic and even want Slen to be king instead. It’s rumoured that those who support Toya planned this, in order to kill off those group of Slen’s supporters. Naala isn’t quite sure what to think of this either except for one thing – there’s quite a bit of conflict even within Nasula to have such rumours floating about.
The reason for the pain
Recently Slen has been busy with work and Naala has hardly seen him. She feels uneasy for some reason, but denies to herself that she’s feeling lonely or anything. She never saw Sharu either despite going to visit the Rusu women, and only received a letter from her, apologising for not meeting her and that she’ll definitely do so when she has prepared herself. Just then Nalan enters with a package from Slen, but flushes and awkwardly points out that she isn’t properly dressed yet. Naala doesn’t seem to get that he’s embarrassed and after she’s done she opens the package to find a note from Slen, saying that it’s a reward for her defeating the beast the other day. Inside is a beautiful red dress though she remarks that the long sleeves are inconvenient and she’d rather have a sword or bow. Nalan tells her not to say this in front of Slen but it’s too late as Slen was behind her all along lol.
By coincidence or not, he gives her the bow and arrow she took from the store the other day. This surprises Naala since he’s giving her a weapon, even though she should’ve been confiscated of all dangerous items. Asking how he knew what she wanted, Slen merely answers that it’s ‘cos he’s her husband. Naala thanks him sincerely and he appears happy too. It’s almost like a husband smiling over his wife’s positive response over his gift, and Naala quickly convinces herself otherwise while an indescribable pain spreads in her chest. Slen takes his leaves as he has work early in the morning and Nalan remarks that they’re both not honest with each other – Slen should just say that it’s a gift for his wife, and Naala has actually already realised that he’s a kind guy. Though there may be still a lot which she can’t understand, he feels that Slen is treating her as a proper bride. When Nalan asks if she still hates Slen, Naala tries to reason that she was kidnapped here after all, and goes quiet when Nalan asks if she thinks that’s why you should not fall in love. Naala tells herself that it’s not what Nalan said, but her chest continues to hurt, especially when she recalls Slen’s smile.
Trying to divert the topic, she goes to check what else is in the package and finds a fancy accessory for the neck. As Nalan compliments how she’ll look great with it, Naala speaks modestly again and Nalan sadly remarks that she should have more self-confidence. Just then, Naala realises that since Nalan is quite pretty in a sense, he would fit all these too. But he’s a guy after all and upon that note, Naala gets self-conscious as she looks at him. Embarrassed, she pushes the dress onto Nalan despite his protests – and Slen walks in on the scene, since he forgot to give Naala the arrows. Seeing this, Slen awkwardly apologises that he didn’t knew Nalan had such interests and promises to buy him some similar gifts in the future before disappearing pfffffft. Seeing Nalan’s sulking face, Naala apologises but can’t suppress her giggles. She can’t help but see him as a younger brother, due to the honest and cute nature. Nalan gets visibly upset though, as he points out that they’re actually the same age. She didn’t realise this at first since he always called her Nee-san (older sister), and Naala apologises for treating him like a kid. Nalan sadly asks if it’s ‘cos he’s a kid that she feels at ease with him. She quickly denies this, and says that he’s a good kid.
Nalan would always be taking care of her needs, and be a listening ear to her. He hesitantly asks if his existence heals and comforts her, and Naala agrees that she’s always thankful to him. Hearing this, Nalan says that it’s okay for him to remain a kid in that case, and mutters to himself that he’s in no position to wish for anything more. He asks her to pat his head more as he likes it – though it should be noted that when he says that he “likes” it a second time, it is possible to infer that he’s not referring to the same thing. Naala laments over how if only all the Nasula men are as kind as him. But Nalan points out that he isn’t particularly kind – if the other party doesn’t accept that kindness then that kindness won’t be felt anyway. Naala realises that he’s referring to Slen, and wonders why she’s so guarded against him. By right if she built good relations with the general it would be beneficial too. But when she thinks further as to why, her chest hurts and she dismisses it immediately.
It’s raining and Naala pauses her sewing, as she observes that Slen may return before she’s done with this – he told her to stitch up his uniform the other day. She realises that she’s acting like a real wife and shakes away that bother from her head, as she tells herself that she’ll have to go check on how the Rusu women are doing tomorrow. Even though barely 6 months have passed, it’s scary how everyone has adapted to their lives here. There are still women who are resistant, but on the whole all of them are looking better than when they first arrived. Naala has been asking around too and apparently Oli managed to persuade his people to save them. Though what the merchants say may not be 100% certain, at least there still remains a glimpse of hope. Slen has also been treating her well, listening to her, and she tells herself that she doesn’t hate him. But at the same time she remarks how horrible this state is, for her to slowly no longer think of the enemy as an enemy.
Nalan happened to overhear this though, and even Oli’s name. Naala quickly makes the excuse that he heard things wrongly, and asks if he’d like to eat together. Nalan looks troubled, as he says that she should only say that to her husband since married women shouldn’t eat with other men if their husband isn’t present. Naala feels that Nalan should be alright though, and that Slen wouldn’t complain if it’s him. After some thought, Nalan suddenly asks her to pat his head. As she worries as to whether something is wrong, Nalan denies this – it has all been happy things, but it hurts him too. He knows that he shouldn’t continue like this and should leave, but he can’t bring himself too and it hurts him. Naala empathises with him. Just then, Nalan observes that she’s less afraid of Slen now, and they’re looking more like a married couple. Though Naala tries to correct him, Nalan wonders if having that physical connection really closes the distance. She’s at a loss of words at this, and he quickly apologises for saying strange things, even though he should be happy over their progress.
Naala assures him that she’s okay, stating that he must be busy recently and hence tired – in which case he can focus on helping Slen and doesn’t need to come and see her all the time. Nalan immediately rejects this idea to her surprise, and he quickly adds that he’s stronger than he looks so it’s alright. He also gives into the idea of eating together as long as she’s okay, and Naala happily remarks that it’ll just be their secret. Realising just how much she relies on him, Naala asks if she isn’t troubling him all the time. He reassures her since he likes being with her too, and then asks if she would be troubled if he isn’t here. Naala immediately answers that she would be both lonely and troubled. He laughs weakly, saying that she should be more honest with Slen like this. Naala feels that she can only be this honest with Nalan though, but when asked for the reason she isn’t quite sure herself. But she realises that one day he will take his own wife too and can’t always stay by her side – and for some reason that makes her sad.
They hear a ruckus outside and Nalan goes to check the situation. He soon comes back hurriedly as he tells Naala that Slen fell from a cliff. Though his life isn’t in danger he did sustain heavy injuries. Naala pales at the news and wants to go check on him, only to be stopped by Nalan. This surprises her, and he awkwardly says that Slen has already fallen asleep for the night and she can go see him tomorrow instead.