――When I woke up I could hear the sound of something crackling.
「……？where am I」
I sat up. The sky was already pitch black……and a camp fire was illuminating my surroundings.
「Ara, you’re awake? Good evening」
「――W-who- ! ?」
I heard someone’s voice and jumped up.
……I was strong enough to move. which meant that I was no longer hungry.
「Oh my. big sister will get sad. if you’re that scared…… 」
「……b-but I don’t even know you」
Th woman,ーー who had waist length black hair, red eyes, and was clearly older then me, hang her head down as if to trying to make me feel guilty.
Her body was womanly, unlike me who was skinny.
――at that moment, I remembered the events last night from before I fainted.
「I …… ate you……w-why-」
「Why did I let you? I wonder…… It was a quite interesting experience. The feeling of being eaten alive is- 」
「N, no, not that! I ate you, so why are you……!」
「If it’s just that, then I should tell you that it felt good enough to make me want to let you eat me again.
How about it? Are you hungry right now?」
It was madness.
Moreover, it was weird.
Right now, I was not hungry, on the contrary, I was full of energy.
And if my memory served me right, then I had eaten that woman――I should’ve had eaten her but-
「Haah……well, I have a special constitution you see. I can stock up lives, as many as I’ve taken. get it?」
I backed away and put some distance between us.
My instincts told me to be afraid…… I need to run away from this place, right this instant.
Fortunately, I couldn’t feel any hunger starting to set in yet.
Right now, I should be able to run away through the forest,ーー
「Fufu, Are you scared? But you see…… the way I see it, I’d say that the karma of your soul is even more wicked.」
「……what do you mean?」
「Seems like that got you interested? Then first is, let’s see―― do you know about “status”?」
「No idea, what is it?」
「Arara. It’s really as if you were a slave…… I’ll teach you, so why don’t you sit down for now」
I wanted to run away but I was still weirdly drawn to her, she had that kind of charm.
……if I needed to, then I could just run away.
At the very least, I had to keep that optimistic.
「Status is, so to speak, is the representation of the form of a person’s soul. I think it might be faster if I just showed it to you.」
After saying that the woman took a branch and started writing something on the ground.
「so then, over here is my level, skill, and title……the one that showed me that is my status. Are you keeping up so far?」
「Nn? What is it?」
I timidly raised my hand and asked a question to the woman that had been proudly asserting something.
「Um, what’s written there?」
There was something written on the ground, but I couldn’t read any of it.
「Well whatever. I’m the only one that knows about the concept of status in the first place……That aside, why don’t we talk about your soul instead?」
「Your soul is ……a complete mess. It’s like everything’s been mixed and boiled together like a hotpot. Like this―― it’s hard to tell just how terrible the karma of your soul is.」
「The form of a soul is something that’s predetermined. Adding onto it later isーーwell, it’s heresy. I’m the same way though. 」
「umm, big sister……you um, also have a terrible karma?」
「Yes, after all I can turn the souls of those that I’ve killed into my own――because I have the power of 【Lust】」
【Lust】 , I couldn’t tell what it meant but for some reason my chest was pounding.
I backed away from her unintentionally.
……even though that woman seemed sad……she continued smiling.
「Come to think of it, I haven’t introduced myself yet. My name is Cattleya. What’s your name?」
Would it be okay if I told her my name.
But I figured that it’d be nothing but trouble if I lied here――
「Iris. That’s my name.」
「Is that so, that’s a nice name. Then let’s leave that conversation at that. Let’s talk about what we’ll be doing from now on instead.」
「eh……? w- why？ 」
That woman…… Cattleya decided that we would be going together as if it was only natural.
and as if it was only natural, she also laid out to me――the reality of my current situation.
「After all, if you don’t eat then you’ll die right, Iris-chan? But the number of monsters still in this forest is…… hmm. they’re about nearly all annihilated you know?」
「in that case…… why don’t you travel together with me? As luck would have it, I’d just come back to life no matter how many times you eat me. Our compatibility is perfect! 」
……truth be told, I couldn’t trust anything she said.
Her motives were unclear, and everything about her was suspicious.
But……for some time, I’d be provided with food.
If it’s like that, then I wouldn’t have to go hungry.
I was troubled.
I couldn’t use my hunger as an excuse.…… and, the prospect of not having to be tormented by hunger was too attractive.
…… I thought about the hunger that I had yesterday and the day before that-
「So how about it? I’d love it if we could join forces but……」.
I didn’t want to suffer through that pain anymore.
――which means that I should go with her after all.
I don’t understand…… whatever it is she might be thinking, her objective, her motive.
But, I didn’t have to be hungry.
Thinking only about that one single point, I decided that I wanted to go with her.
I don’t want to be hungry anymore.
「……yea, I’ll go. but, I can’t really do anything for you, you know?」
「Noo……that’s not true at all though?」
「……? what do you mean?」
Cattleya said something strange.
I became suspicious, when I asked for an exploration she lowered her gaze as if thinking for an answer.
and then, she pressed her hands to her cheeks, and while blushing a little……she started talking.
「After all――after having that done to me, I don’t think I can go back anymore……」
「Getting eaten by your partner, if you really really think about it, isn’t it something incredibly ,majestic? It absolutely is. after all, you become one don’t you? 」
「……y, yea. I get it so……」
「By the way, A part of my soul has blended in inside of you! Isn’t that great!」
That was probably the first time……that I’ve ever felt regret from eating something……
……Cattleya was what you would call a “pervert”
For some reason she wanted me to eat her, and she kept trying to touch me…… for me “other people” only referred to people that would hurt me..
There was nothing like those bright and warm people that appeared in drama and anime……I thought it was nothing but fantasy.
But I couldn’t understand her true intentions.
I couldn’t understand it, so it was scary.
……”let’s leave the forest.”
When I heard her say that I froze up. The outside world seemed so frightening.
It’s only been a short while since I’ve come to this world but……the fact that people are awful surely hasn’t changed.
But when I Cattleya said that she’d starve here if we stayed here, I stopped protesting.
……I knew that dying from starvation was more excruciating than any other pain.
If I really needed to, I could just consume Cattleya.
I couldn’t understand how she could agree to that.
Would you normally be able to happily accept someone wanting to eat you?
If it were me, then I would’ve killed them immediately and eat them instead.
I thought about those things while looking over at a sleeping Cattleya.
It was my first time dealing with physical intimacy and it only made me feel confused
The fact that I couldn’t sleep as carefreely as she did right now also made me wonder―― if there was something wrong with me as a person.
As a living being there was certainly nothing wrong with me.
……but if I were to view myself as a person…… it didn’t seem like I’d be able to call myself “normal”
There was no way I wouldn’t be considered weird.
Difficulties and suffering was part of my life…… there was nothing but pain and hunger.
And then I was reincarnated, and I gained the ability to sate myself and a strength that didn’t match my body’s stature.
……it was distorted.
Satisfying my hunger is the only thing I knew, I didn’t even know what I’m living for.
I would never be able to properly make contact with other people as I was.
I don’t know how. I don’t want to know how.
If I started thinking about those useless things―― then I might starve to death again.
Other people are scary. The world is scary.
I might get hurt again.
I might get abandoned again.
Those were the only kind of thoughts going through my mind.
But what did I even want to do?
Eating to satisfy my hunger……that’s how I lived my life.
But. there was nothing else left.
That was just surviving…… it’s true that I didn’t want to die…… but is it really okay for me to keep on going like this.
Doubts formed inside me after being around Cattleya.
I’m not just some animal. I made the conviction to interact with other people.
“I am weird.”