Chapter 1. Prologue
The cat I brought with me would randomly disappear somewhere and then come back at some point.
Today too, it took a leisurely walk in the garden during the day and only returned to my room in the late evening.
“Kitty, this is a clear dereliction of duty.”
The cat lying on my bed yawned and meowed back.
“I gave you a lot of delicious food. Why don’t you slowly catch the mouse?”
The punk began to doze off, not even pretending to hear it.
“But your Highness, the Princess. Won’t you name the cat?”
At Lora’s question, I gently patted the punk’s fur and contemplated.
“How about ‘Puppy’?”
Puppy for a cat, and kitty for a dog.
[tn— she’s talking about names.]
I asked the cat, lightly ignoring Lora’s gaze that looked at me with disbelief.
“Puppy, how do you like your name?”
At my question, the cat who was dozing off turned its head and turned away from me.
“Oh my, he doesn’t like it?”
Lora raised her hand to cover her mouth as if trying to contain her laughter.
“It seems so…. I’ll put ‘puppy’ on hold then.”
It’s a little sad, but because he doesn’t like it, I’ll have to revoke it.
“Anyway, tomorrow’s class starts in the morning, so you’d better go to sleep slowly.”
I nodded at Lora’s words. She turned off the lights and went out into the hallway.
I carefully dug into the blanket so as not to disturb the cat lying around in the middle of the bed. A cat’s fortune is the best.
* * *
Leav, who came from an early hour, suddenly gave me a red ribbon embroidered with the patterns of Esteria.
“I heard that you will be raising a cat. If you put the ribbon on it, it will not be misunderstood as a stray cat and be harmed.”
“It’s very pretty. Thank you, Leav.”
The soft, high-quality fabric was snugly wrapped in my hand. I was delighted with the unexpected gift and smiled at him.
Leav, who smiled as well, suddenly looked around the room.
“I see that the cat isn’t here today as well.”
“It’s elusive by nature.”
I have no way of knowing where he goes or what he’s doing. Still, I guess I should say that I am glad that he diligently eats the food I bring.
“I have class, so I’ll be going, sister.”
He must have a lot of classes to take. I waved my hand to Leav, who disappeared out of the door.
Near the end of breakfast, the cat reappeared.
“Kitty, do you want me to do this for you?”
When I asked while gently swaying the ribbon, the Kitty’s gaze moved back and forth following it’s direction.
I carefully reached out my hand and tied the ribbon a little loose so that it wouldn’t be tight on the neck.
“Your highness the Princess. His Majesty’s letter has arrived.”
Before I could even appreciate it, I heard the voice of the butler announcing the arrival of the letter. There were a total of two letters, each had the names of Dad and Nanuk written on it.
I took out my father’s letter first and read it.
[To my beloved daughter, Rosiane.
Rosiane, are you doing well? This dad has a lot of worries.
I’m also worried that Eryte might annoy you or trouble you, starting with the small things like whether you’ll pick carrots or mushrooms.
If Eryte is being rude, tell this dad. For I’ll scold him a lot.
The weather here is very hot. It is much more humid than the Empire, so it’s very unpleasant.
I want to quickly see Rosiane again.—]
There were 5 more letters after that.
To be honest, it wasn’t a big deal, but all those little details tickled my heart.
I thought it was a little cute when I imagined him writing something like this in a bold handwriting.
Then, I took out Nanuk’s letter. As he was a person who liked to keep things simple, everything was contained in just one page.
Rosiane, I don’t know if you’re doing well.
Leaving you with a reckless person, this brother’s worries seem to pierce the sky, making it difficult to sleep every day.
But we’re almost finished now, so I think I can see you soon, my dear little sister. I want to quickly see you.]
The contents of the Nanuk’s letter, which was written in a very different, meticulous handwriting, was not much different from that of my father.
Still, seeing the words that they might be back soon made me feel so good.
I corrected the smiling expression I had without realizing. It’s too bad since it’s time for class now, but I’ll have to slightly postpone writing a reply.
* * *
Erdos was in a very bad mood.
At the end of July, a major rainy season begins in Esteria. It was heavy rain accompanied by thunder and lightning.
Before that, I had to go back to Rossiane. Since the young daughter seems to be afraid of thunder.
“Where did they go?”
He twisted the sword that was stabbed into the back of the hand of the Commander of the Knights of the Principality of Karkun, who was lying on the floor, and asked in a low-pitched voice.
“K, keugh! I don’t know! I said I don’t know!”
The general dressed in armor screamed desperately as he writhed on the floor.
How unpleasant. Before Erdos could use his hand, Deus’ sword separated the head from the body.
“I’ve figured it out.”
Following Deus’ words, they arrived at a luxuriously decorated audience room.
It was a room filled with all kinds of expensive decorations, but there wasn’t any luxurious feeling to it even if one were to wash their eyes and look for it. It was just distracting and painful to the eyes.
‘What sh*tty taste you have.’
Deus walked without hesitation and approached the back of the throne placed on the upper area, he pulled aside the curtains engraved with palm trees and eagles, the symbols of the Principality of Karkun, and entered it.
The opposite side was blocked by a wall with a brick that was finely shifted so that it could not be noticed unless you looked closely.
When he grabbed it without hesitation and pulled it out, a secret passage that had been hidden was revealed with a weak vibration.
‘A b*[email protected] called the king ran away to a place like this, how ridiculous.’
Erdos clicked his tongue once and stepped towards the passage. Having a very cold and serious expression on *his face, Deus thought that his master must have been very angry with the king of the Principality of Karkun.
On the other hand, this was the only thought in Erdos’ mind.
‘Did Rosiane eat carrots today?’
* * *
After taking two classes in a row, I returned to my room exhausted.
On the sofa that was immediately visible when I opened the door, was Eryte lying down in a comfortable position as if it was his own room and waving his hand.
“I came to eat with you!”
He smiled brightly and straightened up. I sat across from him and leaned my body which was limp from fatigue.
Learning something is fun, but passion and exhaustion are separate things.
“Rosiane, this cool brother brought you some interesting news.”
Eryte was about to talk while grinning with a hand on his chin, but then a knock was heard.
It was Bernique. Bernique, who was approaching me with elegant steps, lightly frowned when he saw Eryte, but then quickly returned to his original smile.
“I came to eat with you if you haven’t eaten lunch yet….. Brother is here, too.”
His gaze glanced sideways, towards Eryte who was smiling with a mischievous expression.
“I was just about to eat now. Hurry up and sit.”
Eryte continued what he was about to say when he saw Bernique taking a seat next to me.
For some reason, I wanted to ignore Eryte’s words. It’s because that playful expression only comes out whenever he’s thinking of causing some trouble again.
“Anyway Rosiane, do you perhaps know about the gladiatorial arena?”
“I’m not sure….?”
Even though I tilted my head as if I didn’t know it well, Eryte was very excited.
“Well, to put it simply, it’s a place where you can see two people fighting in an area. The capital gladiatorial arena is so majestic that it makes people feel numb if it’s their first time seeing it.”
You’re not asking me to come with you, are you? I was a little nervous and waited for his next words.
“This older brother got a ticket to the gladiatorial fight, which opens in a week—.”
In the situation where you can obviously see what his next words were, Bernique quickly stopped him and spoke in a soft tone.
“The gladiatorial arena is a bloody battlefield. It’s either kill or die. It’s a place where the crueler it is, the more there are cheers from the audience, and the more ruthless you are, the more money you can collect. To bring Rosiane to such a place, brother are you out of your mind?”
“Hey, the gladiatorial arena is so much fun!”
While Eryte was huffing, lunch arrived.
At the satisfying menu, I picked up a fork leaving the two of them fighting each other. The carrots that went in for the colorful color of the omelet were put aside on one side of the plate.
For a moment, I remembered the words in my father’s letter not to be a picky eater, but I decided to ignore it. Dad picks peas too.
“Anyway, its a no. What would you do if Rosiane faints after seeing such bloodshed?”
“I’m telling you this is really fun?! If Rosiane sees it once, she too will probably go crazy and insist on going every day?”
“What do you mean by go, going crazy, such crude words! Is brother really a member of the Imperial family? Such a crude way of speaking!”
“What? Crude? Cru~ude~? Don’t you know that you just said something that insults all of the Empire’s people!! This little—.”
Now that his voice is getting louder, my ear hurt, so I picked up a piece of fruit and put it in Eryte’s mouth as if stuffing it. Nom nom, his mouth shut up in an instant.
I also picked up a piece of fruit and fed it to Bernique who looked at me with obvious eyes as if asking ‘Rosiane, what about me?’.
I continued to eat while enjoying the peace that had finally arrived.
* * *
In the evening, as I leaned against the bedhead with a blanket to sleep, the kitty finally returned to my room after looking around the inside of the Imperial Palace to its heart’s content.
The cat arrogantly walked and lightly jumped up onto the bed, then sat down next to the pillow.
The cat’s yellow eyes shone in the dark. I reached out my hand and slowly rubbed its chin, and he meow-ed, (as if) saying something to me.
“Did you play well today too?”
The cat replied, lying down on the bed as if it were stretching.
That appearance reminded me of the white-haired Nabi and the *mackerel tabby Chorong, whom I occasionally fed on Earth. It was a town with a lot of cat moms, so I’m sure they’ll be fine.
[tn— mackerel is a kind of a pattern on a tabby cat]
As I was about to get a little depressed, the cat came a little closer to me and sat on my leg. The warmth of the cat spread over the thin blanket making me feel better again.
“I think I’ve loved animals since I was little.”
People stayed away from me, but animals would approach me first. There weren’t any words, but I always felt comforted, so I clung onto them to feel that small warmth as well.
As well as people-liking Baekgu who was raised by the grandfather next door, a little squirrel I met while hiking on a field trip, and the cat who was an alley leader in the neighborhood where I started living alone, in a way they may have been my few friends in my life.
Come to think of it,
“You’re the first friend I made here.”
My dad and older brothers are family, and other people are nice to me, but our relationship was uncertain to call them friends.
I smiled quietly at the cat who became my first friend. My smiling face was captured as it was in his yellow eyes.
“I had a close friend, you know? She was called Yoon Jiwoo…..”
The cat’s ears perked up. It was something I couldn’t say to anyone when I came here, but for some reason, it smoothly came out.
This must be why they do animal-assisted therapy when they are in trouble. There’s no way I can be this comfortable.
“She was a really good child. I met her while working part-time, I often starved because I was lazy (to eat), so she bought me triangular kimbap as well as chicken.”
I laughed a little when I remembered my first meeting with her. It was the first time I saw someone treat me so casually like a ten-year-old.
‘Oh, we’re the same age? Talk comfortably then!’
The half-moon-shaped eyes that appeared when she smiled and the misaligned tooth on the upper right are still vivid.
Unlike me, Jiwoo, who was easygoing and carefree, had many people around her.
That’s why I didn’t understand the words that God Esteria said, ‘That child also has no bonds there.’ If like me, Jiwoo also has no bonds, then what do the people around her mean?
“I don’t understand.”
Now that I’ve come back here, everything has become unknown.
My hands involuntarily stopped at the lonely voice that came out, and then I looked at the outside, fiddling with the fur gently wound around my finger.
The cold moonlight fell on the ground, and everything was shining softly.