Chapter 85 – Funeral and Return
Shiro’s howl echoed through the tunnels. It must have reached every corner.
And then, I heard Fio and the cubs howl in reply from a distance.
They must have heard Shiro, and were replying.
Shiro then stopped howling and went outside.
And then, this time Shiro started to howl louder while looking up at the sky.
It was so loud that I thought it would have reached the entire forest, as well as the heavens.
And then Fio and the cubs…
Even though they were small, they were doing their best.
And for some time, they howled like this.
Once they were finished, the area became quiet again.
I could not sense the presence of any wild animals or even birds in the area.
All I heard was the rustling of leaves in the wind, and some insects.
I suppose the howls of demon wolves had caused them to hide in fear.
And then Shiro pushed her head into my stomach.
And so I silently hugged her tightly.
Shiro barked quietly as if trying to suppress her sadness.
The howling had been like a funeral for Shiro.
A howl meant to express mourning and honor the deceased.
The howl was also meant to help carry the souls up to heaven.
That was why Shiro had gone outside to howl at the sky.
Fio and the cubs had also understood the meaning.
Fio, Kuro, Roro, and Ruru were also crying.
After some time, Shiro calmed down, and I petted her gently and asked,
“Are you alright, Shiro?”
“I see. You are strong.”
With a firm voice, Shiro said that she was fine, and sorry about making us worry.
Ije then petted Shiro.
“Shiro. What should we do with these magic stones?”
Shiro was not sure either.
As they were important, she wanted to keep them close by.
However, Shiro did not wear clothes, so that would be difficult.
“I know. What if I turn them into a necklace?”
“Don’t worry. It will not be difficult.”
“Alright then, I’ll do it when we return to the base.”
Shiro said that she wanted me to make one for Fio and the cubs as well.
“I see. Indeed. Well, we can all talk about it later.”
“Now, let’s go back to the others.”
And so we walked for some time until we reached the place where Hippolius and the others were waiting.
Hippolius was lying flat on the ground, while Fio and the cubs sat on top.
“Sorry to keep you waiting. Was everything alright?”
Said Fio and Hippolius.
Ije and I got onto Hippolius’s back and then petted the cubs.
“Fio, Kuro, Roro, Ruru. Are you alright?”
They also understood about Shiro’s funeral service.
They knew what was found, and why Shiro was howling.
The howling of demon wolves was not merely a sound. It was a method of relaying all kinds of messages.
“Theo. Show them.”
And so I showed Fio and the others the pack’s magic stones as well.
Fio and the cubs also did their best to smell them.
I thought that they would be sad, but they did not cry.
Perhaps they had been ready for this, thanks to the howling earlier.
They were tough in spite of being so young.
And so I petted them gently.
Shiro also got on top of Hippolius’s back and gently licked the cubs.
And once everyone had calmed down, I carefully put the stones back into the bag.
Hippolius then started to walk back to the base.
In the meantime, I carried the wolf cubs and continued to pet them.
Even if they were being strong, they must still feel very sad.
After some time, the cubs began to yawn as if sleepy.
It was no wonder, since they were still babies.
“Kuro, Roro, Ruru. You can sleep if you want.”
Shiro licked that as they started to sleep.
And so I decided to put them inside of my clothes.
Pii was already resting inside. And so I called,
“Pii. Take care of them.”
Pii woke up for a second but then fell right back to sleep.
And so I gently put the cubs inside as well. It became a little heavier.
“Kuro, Roro, Ruru. You can sleep too.”
I petted them gently over my clothes.
While we made our way back, I remembered that there was something important that I had forgotten to say.
“Fio, Hippolius. And Shiro. Ije is going to come with us as well.”
They were happy to hear it.
Ije was also happy, which was nice.