This continues from the Prologue, and is the common route Noor, Sefu and Esta‘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.
Noor appears at the scene and asks the guards on what’s the situation like. After getting the picture, he decides that he needs to inform Toya for his decision first. None of the girls were aware of this punishment rule within the groups of three so doing it freely may cause confusion. Hearing this, Naala immediately realises that Noor wants to make use of this opportunity to get her and Toya together, since that is Noor’s goal. And knowing Toya, he will definitely not sit back. Naala hates the idea of being made use of quietly and not being able to help anyone out – in that case she’ll make use of him instead. She clarifies with the guard as to whether she can still make her choice on who she’d like to marry – ‘cos in that case you don’t have to get married to just anyone. The guard confirms this and so Naala expresses that she wants to marry Noor. If she were to marry, it’s better to marry someone whom she can try to negotiate with concerning the Rusu women. Moreover Noor previously said that he has no interest in women so hopefully she doesn’t need to do the deed with him. Noor immediately rejects her with his polished smile, but of course Naala doesn’t give up – how can the parliamentary assistant not be an example to his subordinates by not marrying? Is he planning to watch his country continue with its low birth rates with a detached attitude, despite being proposed to by a woman? She remarks on how boring his job is, and Noor promptly replies that it isn’t with bold, aggressive people like her, in fact there are not enough “stables” to go around – oops, he actually meant to say “prison cells”.
As much as his subtle threat displeases her, Naala continues to provoke him knowing that he dislikes it when someone talks back in the same fashion. Noor’s smile disappears, and he remarks that it’s just as Toya said, she’s an interesting person to the point that his insides are twisting. Naala takes it as a compliment, but she’d be happier if he takes her as his wife. He goes quiet, but soon his smile returns and he offers his hand to her and agrees to her proposal. Naala is taken aback at first since she thought she’d have to do more cross-talk with him. Noor orders the guards to see Sharu back and Naala can only try to ignore Sharu’s cries. When they’re alone, Noor tells her not to be so guarded and Naala takes his hand and thanks him. As she does so, he chuckles as he whispers that he didn’t think she would thank him, as expected of Tenger’s beloved daughter, who possessed a strong sense of duty. Naala feels that one should say their thanks even if the person is an enemy. But he advises her that she won’t live for long if she keeps feeling gratitude to enemies. Naala insists otherwise, and would rather live a short life if that’s the case. Never did she think that she would regret so soon about thanking him.
In Noor’s room, he throws a paperweight on the bed as he pulls a chair to sit down on, telling Naala to hurry up and deflower herself. Naala is confused at first, but he then confirms with her if she’s a virgin. He finds them most troublesome, though it’s convenient if there’s blood too since it can serve as proof that they did it. After taking some time to connect the dots, Naala asks if he means for her to insert the paperweight inside her. Noor casually confirms this, saying that it has all the right proportions, with a tone that seems to suggest “good for you”. If she wants, he could help her with it. Naala can only think how he’s the worst man ever, even worst then Slen. It’s the first time she has felt anger to the point where her heart is turning cold. But Noor merely reminds her that she chose him after all. As he lightly threatens to have Sharu punished instead if she doesn’t want to do it, he also insists on seeing through everything and tells Naala to face him. As Naala’s pride is battered down, she psyches herself to go through with it, even meeting back Noor’s cool gaze at her. But he suddenly gets up and gestures for her to stop, asking if she’d like to make a bet with him. As Naala tidies herself up, she can only wonder what he has up his sleeve now.
He offers to do all his can to send the Rusu women home if she fulfills his wish, on the condition that she will listen to all of his “orders” no matter what – if she doesn’t he won’t help her at all. It sure appears unreasonable to Naala, or more like a slave contract to her, but first she asks what his wish exactly is. Noor explains that there are people who disagree with Toya’s rules, and the main representative for that is Orte. He jokes that he wanted to poison him, but it would be a pity to lose his influence and connections. With this situation, it’ll also be hard to fulfill her wish too. So he’d like for her to persuade him. It isn’t an easy task after all, but if Naala doesn’t work towards it that also means that she’ll have to listen to Noor forever. But still it’s a way out for the Rusu women, even if it’s a gamble, and Naala accepts his offer. She then asks if it’s okay not to leave any evidence of the punishment, and he assures her that he’ll do something about it – after all he has control over the witness. This only solidifies that he merely wanted to see her in a difficult position. Naala provokes him by remarking that he must’ve witnessed so many boring sexual intercourse between men and women that he’s no longer interested in women. Noor calmly agrees that he’s no longer interested in any other women.
Taking a peach from a fruit basket in his hand, Noor relates that one will tire of it if you continuously eat it. But in that case you can cook it to your own liking too. Knowing what he’s referring to, Naala replies that the “fruit” this time won’t be cooked so easily. Agreeing with her, Noor says that that’s why it has a sample value. He grips the peach tighter and his fingers dig into its white flesh. Though he doesn’t see a necessity to take the effort to cook something he’s tired of, it would be interesting to tear her “fruit” apart so he’ll make her delicious when he has the time. Turned off by his suggestion, Naala remarks that it may turn into poison then. But he merely smiles back as he says that he’d like to taste it. They shake hands after forming this new agreement between each other. This is like making a contract with the devil, but she’ll do her best to win him over for the sake of the Rusu women.
The closed doors
As Naala wakes up, she sees Noor working in a distance. As she wonders if his job is that busy, he answers that ‘cos of someone, he couldn’t get any work done last night. Naala lets out a reluctant apology, but he says that she shouldn’t since it was a fun night after all. Noor then gets up to dash some liquid on the bed, and Naala realises that it’s blood, and asks him where it’s from. He gestures to the window and answers that it’s from her own kind. When Naala looks out, she sees stables and realises that he’s referring to the horses, much to her displeasure. She then goes to change her clothes and when she’s conscious of his presence, Noor reassures her that he has no time to be interested women’s bodies right now. However, he ends up glancing over to Naala’s annoyance, and comments that though he has no interest, he should know how his wife’s body is like. When Naala asks for a screen, he threatens again with Sharu and she quickly changes before him, throwing away the last of her pride.
But she realises that the cloth she uses to bind her chest is missing, in fact it’s with Noor – who purposely asks her to come over to get it, to raise her arms so that he can wrap it, and then dropping it and asking her to pick it up. The worst thing is that he refuses to move so Naala has to bend past his legs to reach for it. As she calls him a pervert, he calmly threatens her again and so she has no choice but to do as told. To make things more difficult for her, he kicks it further away from her. As Noor comments on what a nice morning it is, Naala only spitefully remarks how she’s in the mood to strangle him with the cloth. But his legs purposefully rub against her and after a while Naala accidentally lets her voice slip. Though she quickly bites her teeth together, Noor appears pleased as he laughs and finally goes to pick it up for her. He laughs at how a princess like her got turned on like this and when she denies this, he even asks to check then. Flustered, Naala quickly gives an excuse that she’ll catch a cold if she keeps remaining like this and to her surprise he agrees with her.
He helps her to wrap it tidily, almost like a mother would for her daughter. Noor then asks why she rolls this around her, and Naala simply explains that it gets in the way when she’s moving. In response to this, Noor sighs at how not sexy she is lol. But then again it’s good that men can’t see the part which gets hard immediately and Naala feels like hitting him, but he threatens her with the paperweight. Having to put up with all this, Naala can only see him as a devil even though he has such pretty features on the outside. Noticing her stare, Noor asks if his appearance is that unique. Naala is curious as to where he’s from, since neither Rusu nor Nasula people have these features, not that it has anything to do with the bet. After a brief silence, Noor answers that he’s from an island to the north before ending the subject. Though curious as to why he came here, Naala decides to to pursue further and gets dressed.
Soon after, Toya comes in after having heard what happened to Naala. Noor reminds Naala to address Toya more politely now that she’s his wife, and his change of attitude kinda gives her the goosebumps. But Toya dismisses this as they’re friends, but also doesn’t apologise as he sees the blood and an apology would only anger her. This makes Naala uncomfortable since they didn’t actually do anything. Toya goes on to say that now that she’s married into Nasula, he’d like to ask to become his comrade – he wants to improve the treatment of women here, but can’t do it alone. It’s best to have more help and would like her strength to improve both countries’ futures. Though Naala is surprised, she can see that he’s serious but also knows that it’s a difficult task. She would like to help too since it’s beneficial for Rusu, but asks for some time to think about it. Toya apologises for rushing her and agrees with this. He tells Noor to not be late about the meeting whilst being engrossed in his new wife. But Noor merely asks him to not be jealous which embarrasses Toya.
After Toya’s gone, Noor tells Naala to also show up for the meeting. He’d like her to see Orte at least once, and thinks it would be good for everyone else to see her as his wife too. He explains that there are 12 ministers and it’s his job to get a final, agreed opinion from all of them. The king sits in as the head of the meeting. Usually, law revisions (excluding military ones) are made if more than half agree. But in the case that it’s a revision suggested by the king, only 1/3 need to agree. In other words for issues regarding the women, they need that 1/3 favour and that’s where the influential Orte comes in. Naala wonders why the ministers can’t be made up of people who mostly favour the king then, and Noor explains that it’s rigidly structured by connections – in the end the king can only have the freedom to pick who is the parliamentary assistant aka Noor’s current position. He’d also like for Naala to keep quiet about the fact that she’s Rusu’s king’s sister, and to avoid saying anything stupid – he wouldn’t like for anyone to interrupt their ongoing bet.
Noor then introduces Esta, his secretary, to Naala. Though Naala notes that it’s more like for Esta to recognise her. She also observes that he’s similar to Noor in how he’s smiling for the sake of it, yet she doesn’t feel any nerves – maybe it’s ‘cos she can’t feel any ill or goodwill intention, it’s like facing a wild deer. As she offers to shake his head, Esta waits for Noor’s permission before shaking it. Seeing his strong gaze he’s like a machine, yet the warmth of his hand tells her otherwise and it all puzzles Naala.
With Noor’s introduction of Naala at the meeting, she notes that everyone is more under the impression that “Noor married”, as they all seem to wonder what caused him to do so. The meeting goes rather smoothly up till the end when Toya voices that he wants to raise a suggestion about the punishment rule for the groups of three. Everyone immediately advises him against it, since he’d barely just implemented the “choice” rule – one of them is Orte. But Toya stands firm as he says that the women will become uneasy when they learn of Naala’s case. They should do away with it as he wants to avoid burdening them further, and they just need to strengthen security if anyone tries to escape. One minister says that they should do away with the choice system instead, and that will make them subservient. Orte strongly expresses his objection to this though, as he feels that the choice system benefits their government to make things more orderly and in terms of the people’s spiritual nature. Seeing Orte’s reaction, Naala observes that he isn’t just someone who makes use of his power, but that makes a greater opponent.
Yet he supports the previous king’s rule of kidnapping women from Rusu, as he sees it as a solution to their situation versus Toya’s disease cure which appears like a dream. If Toya doesn’t prove that it isn’t the spirits’ curse, then they can’t walk down an unknown path. Though he appears to have a point, Naala sees this a mere sophistry. In other words he’s asking for evidence. But rather than an opposition, he does appear to be standing on middle ground. After the meeting, Naala waits to talk to Orte as she waits for the ministers crowding around him for consultation to disappear. However, his partial attitude towards her is visible, as to be expected. Naala expresses that she wants to ask of his opinion after having observed the meeting, and asks why he doesn’t support the king if he doesn’t believe in spirits. Orte vaguely answers that it’s not that he doesn’t believe in them – but is there any proof that Kushi is a sickness? There is no proof as to what the cause of it is, so it is no different from “what proves that Kushi isn’t caused by spirits”? And if people believe that it the spirits’ curse, even if death awaits them at least they can seek hope by being pious to the spirits.
Orte feels that life and death is all predestined, and he excuses himself. Naala calls out from behind him, saying that even though it might be true she doesn’t feel that awaiting death is fate. One should seek out new paths, since we’ve been given the ability to think by spirits. However, Orte merely remarks that she’s a dreamer like the king – possibilities are pointless if they can’t come true. Not knowing what else to say, Naala can only thank him for his time. Later that night, Naala decides to seek out as much information as possible before the next meeting in 3 months. So the next day she goes to find Toya to ask him on whatever he knows about the disease. Apparently he already heard about her seeing Orte, as there’s rumours going on of her seeking a fight from Orte lol. Toya is heartened to see that she’s working in his favour, but Naala feels bad as she’s doing this ‘cos of her bet with Noor.
Naala first asks Toya for his reasons as to why he believes it’s not the spirits’ curse but an illness. But his strongest reason is a personal one, as a really pious maid he knew passed away ‘cos of the disease. But as for other reasons, there are those who aren’t affected by the disease even though they don’t believe in spirits; temple priestess have passed away from the disease. Though he has information on these subjects, he’s hesitant to reveal about them since the belief in spirits is very strong and hence it may be hushed up to avoid shaming the people. But he agrees to hand over the information he has on to Naala. In addition, praying has no effect but if one has fever medicine in the initial stages of contraction, the patient’s life can be extended. And if you come into contact with a deceased body it’s likely that you’ll contract it. In Nasula they burn the bodies of the diseased – but usually one also burns the body of those who committed severe crimes as a punishment. That’s why if Orte didn’t use the excuse that it’s to purify the bodies, many wouldn’t have been able to accept this – that’s why it’s also convenient to pass it off as a curse.
Afterwards, Naala goes to Orte’s residence but is told that he isn’t in, nor can she make an appointment through them. In the end Naala decides to wait but later that afternoon she spots his figure through the window. She decides to ask them to pass a letter, if they refuse she’ll continue to wait. The guards accept it after hesitation, and she also wishes for them to convey that she’ll be here tomorrow, the day after etc. That night, Naala pens a letter asking to meet for an appointment, though Noor doesn’t think Orte will respond that easily. Still Naala refuses to give up and even remarks that he’s less twisted than someone so he’ll come to listen to her. Unexpectedly, Noor starts to touch her hair and casually twirl it before letting go. Naala has no idea how to react to this since she can’t read his expression at all, and wonders if he’s having fun confusing her. The next day Naala goes to Orte’s residence again but is refused by the guards when she wants to pass the letter asking for an appointment. She ends up waiting the whole day again before returning in a tired state, as she buries her head on the desk. She hasn’t seen Sharu since that day either and can’t help but worry, even though Noor said that he explained to her in secret already.
Feeling discouraged, Naala murmurs as to how she hates her current self now. To her surprise, she hears Noor commenting on how weak she sounds now. Naala sits up abruptly and Noor asks if she won’t welcome him back. Slightly ticked off, she greets him woodenly and insists that she isn’t giving up yet. Noor puts up an act as he remarks that it’s a pity since he thought that he would indulge her, and she instantly calls him a liar. In the end, he hands her some information on Kushi. He teases her, as he states that he isn’t planning on cooperating with her but it’s from Toya. Taking it, Naala thanks him since she didn’t expect that he would pass it over to her. Noor merely replies that it wouldn’t be fun if the bet wasn’t held fairly. He usually hides his true intentions and creates a front in order to draw out the other party’s reactions, but right now his face looks expressionless to Naala. Thinking back, he hasn’t given her any weird requests since that day too. As if reading her mind, Noor assures her that he’ll be doing plenty of it later on, as it appears that the “lessons” for her would require some effort. He asks her to mind her health, since it wouldn’t be fun if she ends up dead tired at that time. Annoyed, Naala reassures him so though she admits to herself that her energy is getting eaten up with each visit to Orte.
Naala ends up visiting Orte’s residence for a whole week but is told that he isn’t present every time. But there’s still some hope if she hasn’t been given a direct rejection. Just then, she sees people wheeling carts of fruits in and she realises that there must be a back entrance, so she could try slipping in from there. But should she?