The little one released a long cry and gazed at me expectantly. The way it was sitting obediently with its chest puffed out made it seem enormously proud. Calix looked at the item it had put down in front of him on top of the documents. It was a small glass bottle. When he looked at the little one again, it let out another long cry, Nyaaa—
“…Are you giving it to me?”
At his question, it tapped the glass bottle with its adorable black paw and nudged the bottle closer to him. And it cried again, Nyyaa—
From its expectant eyes, it could no longer hide the overflowing pride and boastfulness. The little one was presenting him with the spoils of war that it had earned with all its effort. Feeling a tingle of warmth spread in his chest as well as a strange emotion come over him, Calix took the glass bottle given to him.
Inside the small glass bottle, there was a small amount of finely ground powder. Even with just a glance, the dark-colored powder gave off an ominous feeling. There were many scratch marks around the glass bottle’s narrow opening. They would be from the little one’s teeth as it carried it here in its mouth.
Calix held the glass bottle up and looked at the little one.
The little one’s fur, which always shone with a black luster, was now indescribably unseemly, as if it had rolled around in dirt. Its entire body was covered in dust and moisture, and bits of grass were clotted thickly around its mouth. It usually detested uncleanliness. For its appearance to have become like this to bring that item here, it had put in its best efforts.
It was merely a small glass bottle, but with its slippery surface, it must have adjusted its position countless times in order to prevent dropping it. Its jaw and teeth must hurt so much from carrying it for so long. It overcame all those hardships in order to deliver this to him. This very small little one.
Calix pressed his hand gently to his chest.
A deep emotion powerful enough to make him feel short of breath for a moment flared up inside his chest. It was so intense that he could not endure it… Like that, the something that surged up within him swelled so that his heart was about to burst. It slowly permeated his entire body and dispersed.
Closing his hand tightly around the glass bottle, Calix smiled at the little one. And he spoke.
At the brief acknowledgement, the little one’s eyes sparkled. Puffing its chest out in a dashing pose and turning up its nose, it meowed, Nyang— as if saying, it’s not a big deal.
Calix picked up the little one covered from head to toe with dirt and grime and pressed his lips to its head.
The little one’s small body fit easily in his two hands with room to spare.
That this small, delicate creature had come to him by its own will was unexpected and joyful. As each day passed, the little one he held close in his arms filled his heart. Opposed to its body, which would not grow no matter how well fed and rested, the little one grew in his heart as much as it desired.
As Calix stroked the purring little one’s back, he felt frustrated.
This small form was lovely and adorable, but it was a shame that the human form could only be seen at night for now. There wasn’t much of a difference because he was still a small thing even when he transformed into a human, but there were more areas to stroke and embrace. The little one’s black fur was extremely soft. But once his fur disappeared, the youth’s silky smooth skin was peerless.
Should he look forward to tonight?
Calix ignored the strong disappointment and narrowed his eyes.
Turning his head at the sound of someone calling him from the side, Calix held out the thing he was holding in his hand. It was the small glass bottle. Simon wore a peculiar expression as he received the item and glanced at the little one purring as it slept.
“It gave this to Your Highness?”
By his reaction, he could not believe it. Calix stroked the head of the little one sleeping on top of a plush cushion on his desk and smiled. Reading his affirmation in Calix’s smile, Simon’s gaze became complicated.
“It is a clever one.”
At Calix’s words, Simon gave a look of silent acknowledgement.
Having constantly followed the little one by his orders, Simon was not unaware of that intelligence. He knew that it was far too smart to simply attribute it to a cat’s intelligence.
The small, excessively clever black cat and the small, black-haired youth that suddenly appeared at night.
It was impossible to have infiltrated the Crown Prince’s room, avoiding the attention of all the guards on high-alert. Even more so to repeat the feat every night. At the same time, every trace of the cat disappeared. Although it was not something easy to accept, there was only one thing that could explain it. The two creatures were the same being.
Simon had been suppressing any doubts because of Calix’s order to be completely silent on the matter. The other knights most likely had the same thoughts. He was vaguely unconvinced, but not a sound left his lips.
Calix thrummed his fingers on the desk and pulled back Simon, who had been looking at the little one. As long as the little one was content, Calix didn’t care if it went and amused itself with someone else while it was awake. But he had no intentions of sharing the little one with someone else while it was asleep.
“Should we cleanly abandon the exposed ship and take action to transfer to the next?”
Simon refocused his gaze and asked. Calix sank deep into thought as he looked at the exhausted little one sleeping.
It would be disappointed if it didn’t see any results from its painstaking effort. But at the same time, if the Emperor awoke at this time, it would create some troublesome situations.
“Would it be better to just kill him—”
At Calix’s words to himself, Simon’s eyes grew fierce.
“Immediately, if you give the order.”
At Simon’s eager words, Calix chuckled quietly.
The Emperor’s death, was it now…
It was a cleaner disposal than giving him the medicine and putting him to sleep. However it was a shame to let him go so easily.
He— It would be very helpful if his greedy uncle would fill Emperor’s current position and keep his eyes peacefully closed. At least, until he cleanly eliminated the influence of the Emperor’s remaining supporters. If the Emperor died now, the surviving resistance would, hide deep below ground again, and that would be a source of unnecessary trouble after he became Emperor.
Perhaps, while thinking about the current Emperor and his uncle, his bloodthirst had leaked out, because Simon was clenching his fists. Calix withdrew his bloodlust and studied the little one. Fortunately, the exhausted little one was deep asleep.
“Keep him asleep. And…”
Calix stroked the little one’s curled back and added.
“And it will suffice to hint to this little one that the Emperor has woken up.”
“…Yes. Your Highness.”
Sugar Prince asked in an amused voice. I readily took the piece of sweet-tasting fruit that was placed before my mouth and began chewing.
“Mm. So Park Hyeokgeosae is my grandfather’s great great great great great… Anyways, it’s like that.”
Sugar Prince nodded his head at my mumbled words. I sent a look at him saying he shouldn’t worry about it too much since we both had royal blood. It wasn’t untrue, anyways. The progenitor of the Miryang Park clan was Park Hyeokgeosae, so.
Sugar Prince slipped another piece of fruit into my mouth. I began chewing again.
But really, it seemed that this guy was suffering from a bad case of affection deficiency.
I hadn’t noticed when, but he had placed me on his lap, and, again, at some point, he had started to stroke my back and head whenever he felt like it. I really didn’t know when it had started, but I missed the right timing to remove his hands. I think it was because I had gotten used to his touching recently.
It definitely wasn’t that I disliked his touch. Rather, it felt good, so it didn’t seem necessary to stop him… No, I wasn’t a cat but a strong, sturdy man so I shouldn’t just allow him to touch me like this.
As I thought for a second, another piece of food appeared before my mouth. As I took and ate it, I erased the unnecessary thoughts. My gramps and granny always sat me on their lap and petted me too, so what. And only better if it felt good.
As I lowered my voice and called for his attention, Sugar Prince put his ear to my lips. I cupped my hand against his ear and whispered.
“I heard the Emperor has woken up?”
At my whisper, Sugar Prince nodded slightly. With much effort, I erased the smile spreading slowly across my lips; ahem, I let out a fake cough.
My lips itched from wanting to tell him that this was all because of me, but since I had already been thanked in cat form, it couldn’t be helped. Since I couldn’t even tell him I was that cat. No matter how urgent I felt, perhaps I should have waited until night to give it to him as a human.
“Then I guess you’ll have less work?”
As I asked while stealthily checking his reaction, the guy laughed with a rumble resonating in his throat.
“Well, I’m not sure… Even if he has awakened, he won’t be able to leave his bed for some time.”
“…Is that so?”
Damn. Then I had done all that hard work for nothing. His work would have to decrease considerably for the two of us to have time to play together. No, but since I had taken the burden he was worrying about, that was a significance on its own.
As I was deep in thought, the hand that was stroking my head moved downwards and began touching the back of my neck. I hunched my shoulders at the ticklishness and giggled.
“Hey. It tickles. Hee hee.”
When I thrashed my legs about, a large hand held my waist and pulled me back up. Then it crawled inside my clothes and hid itself.
I stared pointedly at my clothes where the hand that was gently stroking my side was hiding and turned to look at to Sugar Prince’s face. His gold eyes smiled gently. It was a face that was no different from usual. When I looked down again, the hand under my clothes was still stroking me. Sugar Prince’s hand was warm, so when he touched my bare skin, it wasn’t cold. However…
…this seemed a bit weird no matter how I thought of it.
I stared at the wriggling fabric with narrowed eyes.
Neither my gramps nor my granny had ever stroked my side like this. I briefly considered swiftly swiping at his hand.
The movement of the hand underneath my clothes stopped once I poked at it. As I watched it, it moved from its spot at my side and was now stroking my stomach. I glowered at Sugar Prince’s face with narrowed eyes.
I was shooting a look at him that said I would shred his face to pieces if he didn’t take it out immediately, but his golden eyes curved gently. Then, he said,
“I’m doing this so you don’t get a stomachache after eating cold fruit at night.”
I moved my gaze downwards and looked at the movement of the hand underneath my clothes, which was stroking my stomach, and nodded my head. Thinking about it, my granny did rub my belly often while saying, “My hand is a medicine hand.” I lifted my head and said to Sugar Prince.
Sugar Prince smiled gently again. I felt a bit apologetic and patted the guy’s shoulder. I’m such a bad guy for forgetting that he was such a nice guy.
As he stroked my stomach, drowsiness gradually came over me. I yawned sluggishly. There was a bed when I looked to my side. It wasn’t as large as the one in Sugar Prince’s room, but it was quite big. It occurred to me that it would be quite nice to lie down there and sleep for just around an hour. But I had to bear it. If I slept now, I would definitely keep sleeping straight until morning.
It seemed I had been mistaken in not having us meet at the library. Being in a comfy room like this, I could only think of sleeping and keep eating. I looked at Sugar Prince, who had made the useless suggestion, with sour eyes.
This was all his fault. The one who had said that since the servants would look for the book anyways, so we should meet in a comfortable room and tempted me was this guy. It was nice since it was more comfortable and warm than the library, but…
“If you’re sleepy, should you lay down for a bit?”
Sugar Prince whispered in my ear. Feeling sleepiness come onto me again at his smooth voice, I blinked heavily. As I rubbed at my eyes, he patted my butt. For some reason, it felt like he was only doing things that would make me sleepier.
I looked at the bed right in front of me and considered.
I felt like it would be fine to sleep just a little bit and get up. There were several hours left until the sun would rise, so it should be alright.
“Try to wake up after sleeping for just one hour. I will wake you up.”
As if to entice me, Sugar Prince whispered into my ear again. I rolled my eyes to look up at him. As soon as I saw the smile in his golden eyes, I trusted him. This kind and sincere guy would definitely keep his promise. In the end, I nodded my head.
“Then, wake me up after one hour.”
No sooner had I finished speaking, Sugar Prince scooped me up and strode over to the bed. As soon as I was put down on the bed, I crawled underneath the sheets and yawned drowsily.
But as I rested my head on the pillow and was tossing and turning and settling in, something was missing. The pillow was too fluffy. And it wasn’t even warm. I glanced at Sugar Prince, who was sitting on the edge of the bed. It seemed that the problem was because it wasn’t Sugar Prince’s chest bed. Having to sleep alone in a cold place with the highest-quality chest bed right in front of my eyes was nothing but a great problem.
I was staring at Sugar Prince’s chest bed as I squirmed about when suddenly our eyes met. As I blinked my eyes and stared, dumb as a doorknob, he suddenly came inside the sheets and lay down. The Sugar Prince who had laid down right beside me stared at me intently. I didn’t know what kind of situation this was. Who was going to wake me up if this guy was going to sleep too?
“…What are you doing?”
As I asked in a quiet voice, a hand reached over and, in the blink of an eye, lifted me up onto his chest. At the instant, I blinked my eyes dumbly. What had just happened?
He patted my back. With Sugar Prince’s own warm chest bed underneath me, I could only think that this was exactly it. Telling myself that what’s good is good, I closed my eyes.
…As I thought, Sugar Prince’s chest bed is the best.
Sorry for the delay! I was super mind-blown by the revelation in this chapter, as well as creeped out by SP…