“I just want her to be my disciple?”
“Without a reason?”
“Do you really need a reason? Why does it matter who I like?”
Airn couldn’t respond.
That was right. There was no law that stated you needed a reason to like someone.
There really could be no reason, but there could be a vague way to explain it.
But what was really important to Airn was whether the weird cat really liked his sister or not.
‘I don’t understand.’
The natural outcome. There was no way Airn, who was socially inept, could understand the cat’s heart.
He looked at the cat, just in case he could read its expression, but there was no way he could read it.
At that moment, Marcus, who had been silent, spoke.
“Just asking. That one, the stone… the chatoyancy stone, the thing you just said, about our estate…”
His way of speaking frustrated the cat.
The stutter, the dancing around the matter, and how he vaguely ended his words.
However, his intention was communicated.
Lulu, the cat, who waited for Marcus to finish, frowned and asked.
“What? Are you asking me if I am aware of the concept of money?”
“What no. What do you think I am? An idiot? Despite being a cat, I know how expensive this stone is!”
“A gem of this size can buy me more than a thousand smoked salmon.”
Marcus’s expression stiffened, but Lulu didn’t care.
Rather, the cat began to speak more about its thoughts in a confident manner.
“Anyway, humans are the ones who care about valuables like gold and jewels. There are a lot more important things than that.”
The cat shoved its paw into the space beside it.
It was a strange sight, but since sorcerers usually do stuff like that, no one seemed too shocked.
Rather, they were interested in what other objects Lulu would bring out.
However, the object brought out by Lulu was nothing more than an unsightly wooden ball.
“This is my treasure which I will never exchange, not even for a dozen chatoyancy stones.”
“This wooden ball’s fragrance is my favorite, and there is no way that I can get another thing like this.”
It if was the fragrance, one could ask a perfumer or magician to recreate it.
However, the fragrance from the wooden ball was very faint to the extent that it could only be smelled by the cat, which had a sensitive nose.
“How is this? You can’t get these things no matter how much gold or jewels you have.”
“I guess… that’s right.”
“In addition! There’s this!”
Lulu’s treasures didn’t end there. As if wanting to brag, the cat kept pulling things out.
A foxtail that reminds the cat of its memories before learning sorcery.
Stitched stuffed toys which it received from a wandering cat.
Lots of other miscellaneous items.
Lulu looked proud as it explained one after the other.
“I see. I understand now.”
Marcus nodded as if he understood something. Not just him, but even the people around them seemed to get it.
Of course, it wasn’t something that they could deeply sympathize with. They knew what Lulu was talking about, but money had its own value.
There weren’t many people who would choose something precious to their memories instead of a mountain of gold.
However, that wasn’t all.
Airn Pareira was like that.
‘Is it because I’m a noble?’
Unlike most people, Airn never ran out of money.
He could live his entire life without ever worrying about that one thing. And he was accustomed to being served by maids.
The reason he could truly sympathize with Lulu’s words might be because of the thoughts which sprouted in his mind due to living in a satiating environment.
However, it wasn’t a bad thing.
Airn liked the cat for some reason.
‘This means that it will care for my younger sister.’
The point was that its relationship with his sister would also be a ‘precious thing which money couldn’t buy’.
That was what mattered to Airn.
The boy looked at the cat with a faint smile, and the cat, which felt his gaze, quickly grabbed the treasure and leapt in front of Airn.
And while holding out the chatoyancy stone, it spoke.
“Anyway, just take this and talk to her.”
“Sorry, that won’t be possible.”
“Why! I told you right! This is very expensive!”
“I thought you said there are things more important than money.”
“And like I said before, I don’t think it’s right for me to intervene in her matters.”
“Talk! It’s just a talk! What’s so wrong with giving advice as an older brother to your precious sister?”
“You’re right, but if I give advice… I will talk about how I feel about you and what I saw you doing. I won’t be taking a bribe and feeding her good information about you.”
Airn spoke with a calm expression.
No regrets in the slightest. Rather, Marcus, who was right next to him, had a different and greater expression.
Lulu knew that too.
Looking at the stone, the cat spoke.
“Ugh, I didn’t know about Kirill, but I thought I could convince you.”
“Well, nothing can be done. Even then.”
“You look more docile than Kirill, so I’ll come to persuade you more and more often from now on. And…”
Airn was a little more fun than the cat thought.
With those words, Lulu disappeared.
This time, everyone was shocked. Airn, who had seen the cat do that before, was a bit shocked too.
‘Teleporting is said to be difficult even for skilled magicians, but it looked easy.’
Was it because Lulu was a sorcerer?
He looked at the spot where Lulu vanished.
Of course, he didn’t stare long. Airn immediately turned his head and went back to practicing.
And as always, he swung the sword.
After the talks failed once, Lulu spoke to Airn more often.
It didn’t have any reason behind it.
Now was the same.
“Just come here. Hurry.”
The black cat urged once more, and Airn approached the cat with a curious expression.
Lulu looked at him and took out a bowl of smoked salmon.
“Stay by my side while I eat.”
“… is that the purpose?”
“It feels uncomfortable when no one’s around while I’m eating.”
It wasn’t just this once.
Lulu has always been like that.
Unpredictable requests, unpredictable topics, and unpredictable embarrassing actions.
However, it never brought up Kirill anymore.
But Airn never thought that it was strange.
‘It reminds me of school.’
Krono Swordsmanship School was a challenging place for Airn, but at the same time, he missed it.
It was the first place he made actual friends and where he could come out of his bubble and talk to people outside his family.
And… it was sad, but Airn thought he would never have the same opportunities after leaving the school.
But that didn’t seem to be the case.
This unusual, pure and outrageous cat would treat Airn without hesitation.
It seemed like there were no walls between them. Or as if the concept of walls and boundaries didn’t exist between them.
In a way, she⁽¹⁾ was more ruthless than Judith.
Even though Airn had difficulty approaching others first, he was generous when it came to accepting other people’s approaches.
“See that kitten over there. Do you know what it’s thinking?”
“I don’t know… what could it be thinking?”
“Well, I asked you.”
“I asked you, so why are you asking me the same question?”
“… I thought that you could guess?”
“How would I know what other cats are thinking?”
The cat, Lulu, was back to saying nonsense again.
Seeing that, Airn smiled.
He wasn’t sure what his relationship with the cat was, but at least it didn’t feel bad.
“Why are you smiling?”
“That so? Hmm.”
Like a human, Lulu laid on her side with her head resting on one front paw.
Weird but a bit cute.
Seeing that, Airn smiled again.
However, his expression stiffened as he looked at his sword.
‘What is my sword?’
The same anxious question which had been tormenting him since the moment he left the school.
However, there was no progress.
Not a strange thing.
He already knew what ‘wasn’t his sword’.
However, avoiding that one wasn’t letting him find his own. No, Airn didn’t even know the process of finding the correct answer.
All he knew was to swing his sword without relying on the man’s emotions.
Naturally, that wasn’t an easier task.
In the past, things weren’t this tough.
He swung his sword harder than anyone and abused his body longer than anyone else… it didn’t matter then.
The man in the dreams would always point out the direction Airn had to go, and the boy simply followed. All Airn had to do was work hard.
The Vast Ocean.
Airn, who felt like he was in the middle of the ocean, closed his eyes.
The man’s sword.
He didn’t know what to do.
He knew that he used his own will and not the man’s to raise the sword.
However, the current Airn was tired, exhausted, and his head was full of complicated thoughts, which made him want to search for a place to lean on.
A desire to get away from the endless ocean and come onto land.
And with that, Airn, who was once a lazy prince, picked up the sword again.
… after completing a series of movements. Airn slowly opened his eyes and looked around.
Fortunately, nothing happened.
Unprecedented power didn’t unfold, nor did the ground crack.
Maybe it was because he wasn’t 100% immersed in it. The miracle didn’t happen again.
No one was interested in him.
For them, what just happened wasn’t such a strange thing.
For them, their young lord was swinging his sword as usual.
No, he closed his eyes and swung it, so that was a little different, right? Right, he must have been more focused than usual. That was what ordinary people would think.
However, there was one who didn’t think that.
Seeing Lulu approach him, Airn answered.
He had no idea why.
Because it wouldn’t be the first time, they were talking without any topic or aim.
However, the words of the black cat which followed were heavier and more important for him.
“Did you ever learn sorcery?”
“… what is that supposed to mean?”
Airn was dumbfounded at the question. The cat, Lulu, rose slowly into the air to make eye contact with Airn.
He could finally feel it.
An opponent who exudes a different atmosphere from before.
Before long, a proposal came out of the black cat’s mouth.
“You, be my disciple.”
⁽¹⁾ The translator and I have been using gender-neutral pronouns for Lulu as her gender hasn’t been stated, but as Lulu is a girl’s name going forward, we will be using she/her to avoid confusion. If she is later stated to be a boy, I’ll go back and change the pronouns, but we will be assuming she is a girl until then.
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