Kiss the Black Cat: Chapter 9
First published on Ainushi
It was currently peaceful around the prince. Two weeks had already passed since the guard duties started and we had entered the halfway point.
I had been worried about whether my body would keep up, but I somehow managed.
Unlike me, though, Legato, who was in a tense state all the time, seemed to get tired. His face seemed a bit pale, but he still tried his best to not show his fatigued appearance.
Lately, Legato had begun taking care of me with the prince even before the prince slept and after he woke up. I wonder where he got it from, but he even began feeding me pet food. I’d basically eat it out of gratitude, but if he gave me something too cat-like, I’d ignore it.
「He’s quite wilful.」
「Earl likes food that’s for humans!」
Legato and the prince felt quite excited, talking about me. The prince was now thoroughly unafraid of Legato, and the two got along quite well. The two of them raised me well. I’m glad that’s the case, I thought while grooming myself.
「Earl, when I return to my country, come along with me.」
The price had lately been inviting me as such, but it wasn’t as if I could accompany him. Not only was I dissatisfied with my current life, I also didn’t hate my usual life in this country.
It was bad to foolishly raise the hopes of the prince, so I, rejecting the proposal, turned my head away, intending to convey「I won’t go.」.
The prince somehow understood my complaints and slumped his shoulders in disappointment.
「But Earl, what will you do? If I’m not here, there’ll be no one to take care of you.」
When the gentle prince made a worried face, Legato, sitting beside him, laughed and placed a hand on him.
「At that time, I’ll take care of him.」
Eh, is he serious? I was surprised. Was he that moved by my affection?
「Really? If Legato becomes his Dad, Earl too will be relieved.」
「I’ll protect him.」
Dad…I smiled wryly. But when Legato smiled gently and petted me, I felt a little embarrassed. Legato seems quite serious about protecting me, I thought. Anyone, be it pet or a wife, would sure be happy if they’re raised by Legato. For a moment I seriously considered whether being raised by Legato was possible, if I managed to not reveal my true identity. Working during the day, and pretending to be a black cat at night… I wouldn’t say it was absolutely impossible, but perhaps my magic wouldn’t last. But still, if I felt tired I could spend a few days resting somewhere, not returning to Legato’s house, and once I’ve recuperated, I would once again… after thinking so far, I shook my head in refusal.
What am I thinking so seriously about? Whether there existed a possibility was not the point.
I smiled wryly.
It wasn’t only Legato who was moved by affection, I was the same.
The guarding went smoothly.
However, as expected of living a double life, I kept on using magic, and what was hard remained hard. Today was the day of the regular meeting and it would continue through the morning hours. Once I had returned from the prince’s side to the tower, I’d dozed off, but once I woke up, I left early for the meeting room in order to ward off my drowsiness so that I wouldn’t oversleep.
When I entered the room, as expected, there was nobody in it. With the prince’s coming-of-age ceremony fast approaching, everyone was quite swamped, especially the people with administrative posts who usually came for this meeting. Even I was actually quite busy. It was just that I had some time to spare at the moment.
I didn’t sit in the chairs surrounding the huge table that was used for the meeting, but sat in one of the chairs in the corner that did not stand out and slept for a moment, folding my arms. I expected that someone would wake me up if they came. While I was dozing off, someone seemed to have entered the room and sat on the seat beside me. Because there still seemed to be time, I assumed it was someone who came early just like me. While wondering who it was, my head felt heavy and I one again drifted off to sleep.
「Oh, how unusual.」
At the woman’s sudden voice, my body shook in surprise. At the same time a ‘kachak’ sound came from the seat beside. When I looked over there, I saw Legato sitting on a chair. Legato flinched in surprise at the same time as me, and the sound came from the sword on his waist hitting his chair.
Why was Legato on the seat beside me? I see, the person who came early was Legato…I wondered with a dazed expression, a bit drowsy, then turned to look at the person who had spoken. The one who had called out to us was the head lady-in-waiting, who’d entered the room at some point in time. She was much older than us and was quite a prim woman.
「Just the two of you sleeping peacefully. How unusual.」
It’s wasn’t as if the the two of us were sleeping… I thought and looked beside me. Legato seemed to be drowsy too, placing a finger on his brow. This might be the first time I saw Legato looking so sleepy. Unlike me, he doesn’t look tired through all the meetings, and even while guarding, he doesn’t seem drowsy. However, looking at this appearance, it seemed like the fatigue was even piling up for him.
Legato raised his head to look at the head lady-in-waiting and then turned to look at me, making an embarrassed face.
「You were tired, weren’t you?」
Looking at that face, I unconsciously called out to him. Since I was on his lap all night up until just a few hours ago, I didn’t perceive a sense of distance towards him.
「…Since Nidel-dono seemed to be sleeping, I was lured.」
At Legato’s reply, I wondered Is it my fault? I also felt embarrassed about him calling out my name. I knew that he knew who I was, but I ended up thinking He even knows my name.
In such a manner, the two of us soon began chatting; this must have been the first time we’d talked properly since the conversation from that time.
「It must be difficult for Squad Commander-dono to guard the prince too.」
「Not at all, I can manage this much.」
「Is your health all right?」
「Yeah. Nidel-dono is always drowsy, right.」
「Ahh…I too was quite busy these past two weeks, so I couldn’t quite sleep at night.」
「…It’s the same for me.」
「As expected, you feel a bit tired.」
「Till when is it going to continue, I wonder…」
「Till the Coming-of-Age ceremony, I guess…」
Legato and I, while gazing at the head lady-in-waiting making preparations for the meeting, continued our unproductive conversation with our half-asleep voices. Perhaps I was the same, but Legato seemed to be considerably absentminded. Usually, he’d never talk, and moreover grumble in this manner to me. Somehow, I felt an atmosphere similar to that of when I dozed off on top of Legato’s lap.
After that, when the three members of the Royal Palace Magic Order arrived next, they looked suspiciously at us, still absent minded. And thus we sat at our usual seats for the meeting. Surely they must have felt out of place seeing Legato and me together, when we normally had no relation to each other.
I was in high spirits for the rest of that day. Even I didn’t know the reason for my high spirits, but I realised later that talking amiably with Legato had left me feeling happier than I’d thought. Since I’d always thought that I was hated and that my existence was ignored, I’d never thought I’d get to chat with him like that. Moreover, at that time Legato was quite relaxed and seemed to have his guard lowered considerably. I even felt affection. I started wondering whether Legato held affections towards me. Thinking about that lifted my spirits up a lot.
My body feels weak, but I’d feel lonely when the guarding duties ended, I thought. I didn’t have much contact with Legato outside of meetings, and even in meetings, it wasn’t as if we talked to each other personally. Thinking about the fact that once the guard duties ended, I’d once again only look at Legato from afar and cheer him on in my heart, I felt a bit lonely.
At night, I monopolised Legato, sitting on his lap.
Other than the sleeping prince, only Legato and I were there. Legato let me doze off on top of his warm lap, and petted me all through the night. That hand only moved to caress me.
My whole body was petted, and I nuzzled my face against his hand, licking his fingers in return. When I did that, Legato laughed a little. When I swayed my tail, Legato playfully chased after it with his hand, and I stroked his hand and body with my tail.
Without making a sound. The two of us frolicked all throughout the night.
However, there was only a week left till the Coming of Age ceremony of our country’s first prince.
And at last, that day came.
*Dying of fluff*
On another note, there’s 5 chapters left for the intense petting to begin ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Also, a Happy Diwali to everyone!