Kiss the Black Cat: Chapter 8
First published on Ainushi
From then on, my nightly spot was on Legato’s lap. Once I’d confirmed that the prince had fallen asleep, I’d quietly leave the bed and approach Legato. Legato too would quietly bend his upper body and lift me up from the floor.
Within the bedchambers, Legato and I were like partners in crime.
Partners in killing time.
The Prince was able to sleep soundly now, and, as time passed, little by little, Legato inched his chair closer to the prince. When something happened, the closer he would be to the prince, the easier it would be to protect him.
Even while petting me, as I lay on top of his lap, Legato watched over the sleeping prince.
There were instances where I slept just for a bit, but I’d try to stay awake as long as possible. When I felt sleepy, I’d sway my tail and wrap it around Legato’s arm.
I think Legato was originally liked by animals. However because he’d been hated by them, he wasn’t able to dote on them, and he was now looking after me to settle all of his pent up feelings.
It felt good to have Legato pet me, his long, bony fingers moving slightly nervously. It was a perk of transforming into an animal. Because of human etiquette, since I’d become an adult, and more so was a man, I had not been petted from head to toe by anyone.
Every evening, as he looked after me, Legato’s petting skill improved. At first he’d only pet near my back, but he soon began scratching me under my chin, and gently petting near my belly. He’d mastered various types of petting techniques.
Especially when he would scratch my chin, I’d unconsciously want to purr and it was difficult to resist the urge. If the prince woke up, I’d be in be a situation like that of a woman having an affair with someone while her husband was sleeping.
Thanks to Legato, I came to think of the guard time as not something bad. Legato also got to play with a cat every night, and it probably acted as stress relief for him. It felt as if his expressions had grown softer compared to how he was in the beginning.
Of course, our main purpose was guarding, and it wasn’t as if we had lost focus: we remained alert for the whole night. No, I slept for a bit. Legato didn’t sleep a wink though, since the hand petting me never stopped.
I came to completely like Legato’s slightly hard lap and his surprisingly gentle way of petting me. It was to the extent that I harboured stupid thoughts like occasionally transforming and being taken care of by him at home even after the guard duties ended, if I ever managed get through without my identity getting exposed.
For me to have gotten a chance to get close to Legato like this, life sure could throw unexpected surprises.
While sprawling on Legato’s lap as usual, I remembered about the incident that had occurred nearly 10 years ago.
There was actually a reason as to why I felt familiarity towards Legato. Legato didn’t remember it, but I remembered it quite well.
It was a story from when Legato and I were 18, soon after we’d entered the Royal Palace.
I had, from the beginning, been assigned to the Technological Magic Order, but it was quite a shocking thing for me. Because I, like any aspiring magician, had wanted to join the Royal Palace Magic Order.
In terms of ability too, I thought I had the talent to enter the Royals Palace Magic Order, but for some reason I was sent to the Technological side and it was a shock to me. I now feel glad that I went to the Technological side, but for a young, 18-year old greenhorn, it felt as if the door to the future of him becoming a magician had been closed.
When I asked about it much later, it turned out that the number of youngsters in the Technological Magic Order had decreased, and the number of unsociable people too had increased. They had wanted someone who was a young and normal magician,
so I was chosen. I didn’t have any connections in the Royal Palace Magic Order either, so I didn’t think there were any complaints when I was chosen by the Tech Order.
When Hunon told me later that they had thought, If it’s this guy, he’d get influenced by the Tech order, I had mixed feelings. Well, just like Hunon thought, I got used to it.
I was handed over to the Technological Magic Order that I hadn’t aspired for, and I, who had my hopes thoroughly crushed, sulked every day.
On one fine day like that, I was sitting on a bench by the side road in the periphery of the Royal Palace, a place I still visited when I wished to be left alone.
A young Royal Knight passed by. It was Legato.
His build was thinner than it was at present, and when the pure and innocent Legato noticed me, he vaguely stopped his steps. Since I felt a gaze on me, I too looked up.
It wasn’t as if I knew all the knights and magicians who had entered the palace at the same time as I did, but I recognised his face. Even among the many rookie knights, Legato stood out.
I don’t know whether Legato had recognised me or not. Perhaps he had not.
I avoided Legato’s gaze, whose eyes had met mine, and looked at his hand. Blood still oozed out of the back of his right hand and there was quite a vivid gash. He’d possibly gotten injured while training with the sword.
When I held out my hand, Legato made an incomprehensible face.
「Your hand, give it. The injured one.」
When I said so, Legato looked at me in a hesitant manner, but still held out his hand. I took that hand, gathered magical power, and stroked the wound. I wasn’t that good at treatment magic, but if it was something simple, I could do it.
When I removed my hand to check, the wound was still there, but the blood had stopped flowing. Surely the pain must also have subsided.
When I let got of the hand, Legato took at long hard look at the back of his hand and then looked at me.
Usually you wouldn’t use healing unless it a huge injury. If you had to use healing magic for even the knights’ lightest of injuries, no matter how many magicians you had, it wouldn’t be enough. It wasn’t as if all magicians could use healing magic either; healing magic consumed a considerable amount of magic power.
But since I spent every day sulking in the Technological Magic Order, unable to get a chance to use it, I had a lot of magic power left and I felt like using it.
「Do your best」
I gave the words of encouragement thoughtlessly, as if it were someone else’s affair. It was something like sarcasm. At that time, I was thinking of quitting the Technological Magic Order and resigning from the Royal Palace.
With feelings of desperation like, I can’t do my best, but you can, I said「Do your best」to Legato.
Legato, after opening his eyes wide in a slightly surprised manner, loosened his serious and stiff expression and laughed.
「Ahh, you too. Let’s protect the country together.」
Legato said the honest lines with an extremely calm smile, You sure say a lot of embarrassing words like that, lightly touched my shoulder, and left.
I saw off the silhouette of a well postured back in a dazed manner.
It wasn’t as if Legato’s words had left an impression on me. It’s just that I’d felt as if I’d been drained of all my malice.
I got up from the bench and decided to return to the tower.
From then on, though I still played truant, I got used to the Technological Magic Order bit by bit. Sometimes, I’d catch sight of the knight from then: Legato. When we met the first time, I still hadn’t begun wearing the black robe and my face was exposed, but soon after, I began wrapping myself in the black robes like everyone in the Technological Order, and because I pulled the hood over my eyes, the other side wouldn’t recognise me even if they saw me.
Even before that, there’s no way Legato would remember such a small incident with me.
Nowadays, I had to show my face often at the Royal Palace, having a Public Relations kind of position, but basically all the members of the Technological Order are usually cooped up in the tower. As a result, I had very few chances to catch sight of Legato, but now and then, whenever there was an event or something in the castle where the knights were present, I’d unconsciously search for Legato.
He was the one and only man whom I had contact with among the knights. And Legato soon began to distinguish himself as a knight.
Since I felt a sense of closeness towards Legato, I felt happiness at seeing him grow stronger. I admired him, thinking He really is giving his best. He was surely giving his best earnestly in order to protect the country.
Looking at that figure, despite not having a similar personality I’d think 「I too should try doing my best」and felt like someone had patted my back.
That’s why, the person called Legato was a special existence to me.
While I reminisced on Legato’s lap, his finger tickled me near my face. When I looked down by chance I saw blood oozing out from near the cuticle  of the nail on his middle finger.
If I were in human form, I could have healed him, but in cat form, it was a hard task to use anything other than transformation magic.
But I could still spare some magic power.
I raised my head and licked the injured spot with my tongue. Legato stopped his hand. While I licked multiple times just to lick off the blood, I poured in just a little bit of magic power. It would make him suspicious if it healed at a glance, so I thought it’d be enough if the pain were relieved.
When I finished pouring in magic power, I licked one last time, and turned my face back. Feeling a gaze on me, I lifted my face up, and saw Legato looking at me with a joyful expression. He then bent his body and left a fleeting kiss on my face.
As expected, I stiffened in surprise and Legato relaxed his well featured face, giving a joyful laugh.
Following that, his hand once again resumed petting me gently.
It seemed like my feelings of wanting to heal his injury reached him
I felt embarrassed, my body felt as if something were softly scratching it and it felt as if my heart would jump out; there were all kinds of strange feelings. My face would’ve surely been red had I been in human form. I was glad I was a cat.
With those restless feelings, I settled on top of Legato’s lap
 He’s talking about this part. It hurts when you poke yourself there (speaking from experience lol). And yes, this is my pathetic attempt at art.