Cat, Human Hybrid
I didn’t travel through the night for there was no rush. We had camped at the place each time we went back and forth between the North and the imperial capital. We lit up a bonfire and slept wrapped up in blankets around the fire.
Leah returned to the carriage, while I lied on the lawn with Veirya. We had settled our feelings, so we could finally enjoy the bright stars overhead. It was the first time I felt that the stars were so nice. I took in a few deep breaths. The clear scent of the grass lingered by my nose and Veirya’s ever so faint scent excited me. I turned my head to the side to see her looking at me. I felt awkward as though I stole something and got caught.
To hide my awkwardness, I turned back to gaze at the stars and dryly chuckled: “The stars are pretty, huh…?”
By the sounds of her bland reaction, Veirya probably wasn’t interested in stars. She didn’t think the stars looked good.
“What’s the matter, Veirya?” Is something wrong?”
“Nothing. Just. Want to hold hands.”
Veirya’s hand crept out from under the blanket. I lingered for a moment. The ring on her finger was more sparkly than the stars. I carefully extended my right hand out and gently grabbed hold of her left hand. Her hand wasn’t smooth or supple. I could feel the blisters and scars from wielding a sword. Even so, I was happy. Shy, I turned back to gaze at the stars. Veirya turned to gaze at the stars then commented, “The stars. Are truly beautiful.”
Veirya mused, “I had fought out in the wild for many years and had lived through thousands of similar nights. I had seen thousands of bonfires and identical scenery… but the stars are only this beautiful when you’re by my side… Maybe it isn’t that the stars are beautiful but that your eyes are…”
Even though we were lying on a lawn, I nodded off quickly. Perhaps it was because we would soon arrive home. The biggest possibility was because Veirya was next to me, obviously.
The scream came from the carriage. I jolted awake, while Veirya pulled her hand out of my grasp. Next thing I heard was a deafening sound of a sword exiting its sheath. She stood next to me with a cold aura and her sword sitting horizontally on someone’s neck. Despite it being night time, I couldn’t have mistaken the large green eyes – they were the eyes of a cat.
Scared out of his wits, he froze in place. Perhaps Veirya didn’t deal the finishing blow due to him being a child. He glanced over to me and frantically waved his hands while stammering, “Mr. Lin… umm… umm… chest! Very big chest! Umm… she’s just a child, but enlarged… Very big chest!”
Others might not have understood what the kid was saying, but I realised what happened. I overlooked it. I didn’t think Leah would hide him in the carriage! The kid was referring to Leah. He somehow sneaked into our carriage, and then Leah decided to volunteer to hide him. He didn’t know that Leah would transform at night, which was why he skedaddled in fear. Veirya didn’t know what exactly he was talking about, so she asked me, “You. Know him?”
“Yeah. I mentioned to you a kid who wanted to be my pupil. That’s him.”
I walked over to the carriage. Leah hid inside, wanting to explain herself. Nevertheless, I made a hush hand gesture to tell her to keep quiet. I didn’t reproach her. I, instead, blocked the carriage. Veirya still had her sword on the kid’s throat. She inquired, “Leah. All right?”
Angelina and Ciara came over with their swords, as well. The kid raised his hands and declared, “Mr. Lin… Mr. Lin… I harbour no ill will… I harbour no ill will…”
“Why did you follow us?” I questioned.
He trembled as he explained, “I… I really want to be your pupil… I have nowhere else to go… so I can only follow you… Please… take me in… I… I really have nowhere to go. I will do anything. You can order me around as you please. I will do anything!”
I scratched my head: “Veirya, you head back with everyone else first. Leave me a horse so that I can take him back.”
“No! No! Please… Please take me in…” he pleaded, as he went down on his knees and grabbed onto my leg.
“Can we. Not take him in?’
“Taking in someone with a background that we don’t know anything about puts at risk.”
All of a sudden, Angelina said, “You’re from the cat race, aren’t you? I remember that you all have tails. Where’s yours?”
“It… it… it was chopped off… when someone said… it was a nuisance…” The kid quivered and sobbed.
Angelina exhaled as though she knew his pain: “It’s been tough on you. There are always creeps who like cute boys, like you… Mm, I think that it’s fine to take him in. The cat race highly values their tail. Paying with a tail is too steep of a price, isn’t it?”
Veirya waited for me to sound out, while I waited to hear her opinion. The kid crawled over to Veirya and tightly clung to her leg…
I stared at the kid to convey, “Oi, squirt! Get your hands off her! Who said you could hug her leg?!”
“Meow,” gestured the kid.
Me in my mind: “What the hell? What’s that supposed to mean?! Yeah, it’s cute, but you’re a boy, squirt! I think I know why those nobles like this kid now…”
“Take him in.”
It worked on Veirya, apparently…
“… Fine,” I drawled, thinking, “Since it’s Veirya’s wish… fine, then, kid…”
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