I gently hid Coco behind my back before lowering my posture to match the child’s eye level.
“Do you have any guardians”
“I’m strong, so I there’s nothing like that, mwiss”
With an accent at the end of the sentence, when they spoke, the word ‘not!’ sounded like ‘nwot!’
She was a young girl with a rough yet pretentious way of speaking.
Of course, I do not know if I was the only one who felt that way because I like cats.
I glanced at the child’s physical condition.
The child’s cheeks and the back of her nose were covered with scars.
Judging from the long and thin shape, it seemed to have been from fights with other cats.
The skin that was exposed between the clothes, which was more like a piece of rag, was also covered with sinful scars.
I asked anxiously.
“Do you live here alone”
Then, the child mumbled in a slightly smaller voice.
“Oh, there was originally a servant I was taking care of.
But, that servant was stupid and lost me.
Mwiss, I was told to wait for them here.
Oh, they were annoying.”
I tried to interpret the child’s words from a cat’s point of view.
‘She had been abandoned…’
The appearance of approaching strangers bravely, or trying to ask someone to be with her by telling them to be a ‘servant’ proudly, and considering the fact that the servant who was taking care of her had ‘lost’ her… It was clear that the child was abandoned.
“Do you know where your home is”
“I don’t know, mwiss.
It’s far away.
Mwiss, are you going to be my servant or not”
The child held the devil’s heart closer to me.
“Ah, I’ll take good care of you.”
‘This is difficult, I am in trouble…’
I glanced at Coco, who was staring at the child.
‘The child does not like Coco either, and I am sure they would not like Dimitri, too.’
I was barely allowed to take Coco, but Dimitri might kick me out if I brought in another cat.
Nonetheless, I could not just ignore the child.
‘I feel so sorry, the child is so young…’
Fortunately, the child was smart and brave.
It did not look like she had been starving because her hunting skills were excellent.
‘Still, she is still thin, and there are many wounds.’
Even if I could not take her home, I thought it would be better to feed the child a little bit first because that is what I can do right now.
“Would you like to go eat something delicious with me”
The child responded.
At the same time, Coco clung to my leg and yelled.
“I hate the child, angel!”
“I’m sorry, Coco, but I’ll buy you something delicious for Coco instead.
The child, who glanced at the two of us, eventually held out the devil’s heart to Coco and opened her mouth, “Hey, eat this.”
“I won’t eat what you give me.”
“Oh, eat it! Eat it, mwiss!”
The child grabbed his back with great agility and began to shove the devil’s heart into Coco’s mouth.
“Ahh! No! Eup—! Waakk!”
“Eat this and hand over your servant, mwiss.”
* * *
At that time, Dimitri, who had been watching the situation with the intention of jumping out and rescuing Rowaine, burst out laughing.
‘I kind of like this’
What approached Rowaine was a kitten that had not grown up enough.
He liked the idea of getting Coco stuck under the kitten.
If another cat approached Rowaine, he meant to chase them away, but Dimitri changed his mind.
‘It is a baby, so I will let them go.’
Due to the habit of cats that naturally raise kittens together, an adult cat was more generous to a kitten.
* * *
I decided to go to the restaurant with the child.
‘I am not sure if any places are open now.’
If not, it would not be a bad idea to get some snacks, even at a tavern.
Thinking that, I took Coco, who had fallen asleep, in my arms and walked ahead.
Every time I turned around to see if the child was following me, she was gazing at me the same distance away.
When I walked, there was a clicking noise, and when I stopped, the child stood a little farther away with their head tilted.
‘She looks so pretty, but her rough personality is kind of attractive, too.’
What should I do after filling our stomachs
‘This situation is so depressing.’
My mood darkened a little.
If I had my own home, I would have been able to give a room to a cat that had nowhere to go.
It was a thought I often had when I was living with my grandmother.
My maternal grandmother hated me bringing cats into her house, so I spent more time outside with the cats than I did at home.
‘…The situation is similar then and now.’
When would I be able to get out of this situation…
As I thought that I should buy a house first as soon as I saved the money, I checked to see if the child was still following me well.
However, the child suddenly raised her head and looked around.
‘Why is she doing that’
Still puzzled, Coco, who had been depressed in my arms, suddenly lifted his head as well.
“Angel, something’s coming!”
Coco struggled and climbed onto my shoulder.
I turned to the child reflexively.
Behind the child, I could see a herd of dogs running towards us out of nowhere.
I glanced around and saw that it was not just one or two…but rather, we were surrounded by dogs.
Because of the large, black dogs that appeared from all directions, the child was also bewildered and did not know what to do.
The escort guard, who was chasing me from a distance, also seemed perplexed when he saw that many dogs.
“Woof! Woof, woof!”
I was terrified by the sound of a dog barking loud and rough enough that I stiffened my body.
They were obviously hunting dogs.
‘What are these dogs…’
Even if I might be bitten by excited dogs, my body moved on its own because I thought that I had to protect these two cats.
I grabbed the child and Coco before hiding them in my arms.
Since the terrified child suddenly turned into a cat, I was able to hide the two of them.
I crouched down and shut my eyes tightly.
At that moment, the surrounding became silent.
I opened my eyes and lifted my head as if all the loud noises had been erased.
All over the area, it was as if something was covering us up.
Suddenly, someone gently hugged me from behind.
“It’s been a while, Rowaine.”
The cats struggled in my arms, though I held them tighter and pulled away from the man who hugged me.
“What is this”
Who are you, and what are you doing Questions flashed through my mind, though all I managed to get out of it was, ‘What is this’ these three words.
“You must have forgotten my voice.”
The man who hugged me pulled the corner of one of his lips and smiled playfully.
His blonde hair, purple eyes, a very gorgeously handsome look, and the way he spoke like he knew Rowaine…
I immediately knew who he was.
‘His name… Herman Heres or something.’
As if a novel was unfolding in my head, the contents of what was said about him came to mind.
He appeared in several incidents with Rowaine, the villain in the novel.
It could be said that he was her best friend.
At the same time, he was also a relative of the Emperor.
“Who would have thought that you were hiding in Blois after suddenly disappearing without saying a word”
“What did you come to see me”
He smirked at my honorifics.
“What’s wrong with you You took advantage of me and disappeared abruptly, like a stranger.”
‘I used him…’
Seeing that I did not understand, he let out a deep sigh.
“Because of you, I was almost beaten to death by His Majesty after the party, don’t you know”
“You’re not going to pretend you don’t know that, are you You hugged and kissed me at the imperial party to provoke His Majesty’s jealousy.”
I swallowed dry saliva.
‘Come to think of it, Rowaine often used this man to control the Emperor as she wanted.’
At that, I could make out roughly what he was talking about.
‘I must have been possessed right after Rowaine did that…’
As I was contemplating what to say, the cats who were caught in my arms used their flexible bodies to slip through my arms like liquid.
“What is it, cats”
Herman stared at Coco and the child with interest.
Coco and the child did not say anything, as they were being wary, and decided to pretend they were normal cats when they saw a stranger.
Herman sat down and held out his hand to the child.
“Rowaine, how are there cats Are they shapeshifters Were you playing with them again Leaving them like this, it’s unlike you”
To add more information about him, he was aiding and abetting the number of the shapeshifters Rowaine’s abused.
Of course, he not only aided in the abuse, but he was also Rowaine’s regular partner, gambler, and friend who enjoyed drinking and drugs together.
A person who was willing to be used no matter what Rowaine did… Though he did not love her nor share a friendship with her.
While Herman did not expect anything from Rowaine, he was inferior to others.
He was a lonely man.
As if the more you swallow, the thirstier you become.
‘Actually, Rowaine loved him, though she was skeptical of the empty relationship and had for a long time walked a tightrope between the Emperor and Herman.’
He glanced up at me with a beautiful face and grinned.