Held in Sugar Prince’s arms, the humans bowed low everywhere we went. What respectful greetings, giving me a good look at the maids’ cleavages. I admired the beautiful view while maintaining my refined visage. As I am of a different species, specifically a cat, there was absolutely no way such staring was cause for concern to my reputation. Just as a human touching a dog’s teat or penis would never be considered molestation.
Ah. But I’m obviously an exception. I would never allow someone to manhandle me just because I’m a cat. When I first arrived at the palace, a manservant tried to look between my hind legs to check my sex. I made an example of that shameless man by engraving my claw marks into his face. From then on, no one attempted to carelessly touch me.
A familiar set of doors entered my view. I leapt down from the Crown Prince’s arms and started to walk ahead towards the baths.
I could see steam rising rapidly from the huge bath as soon as I passed through the double doors. Perhaps it was more fitting to call it a swimming pool filled with hot water than a bath. In any case, a fragrant floral perfume wafted from the huge bath. I turned to look behind me. Through the door, I could see the maids disrobing Sugar Prince. He looked quite princely as he held out his arms a bit, allowing himself to be undressed. I also wanted servants to do the same for me, but as I didn’t have any clothes, that was a pass.
Dipping one paw in the bath, the temperature was perfect.
Being polite, I gave one meow towards Sugar Prince in the other room before jumping in the water. I felt the warm water soak through my fur. Raising my chin above the water, I paddled my feet and began swimming. A cat swimming with such grace. How cool I must look.
I planned to swim for a bit, but then Sugar Prince picked that moment to take a seat in the bath. So I changed course and made a beeline for him, causing ripples as I got closer. I stood on his thigh, not because I was tired, but because swimming for too long can be detrimental to one’s health.
My considerate Sugar Prince gestured to the manservant who then placed my personal platform into the bath. Sitting on the platform next to Sugar Prince, I enjoyed the bath leisurely. I saw black strands of fur floating on the gentle waves of water, but I didn’t pay it much mind. I wasn’t responsible for cleaning it after all.
Looking beside me, I saw Sugar Prince’s eyes gently closed. He appeared to be tired. After a moment of gazing at him, I covertly moved my tail underwater to gently touch his side. I deftly twitched it to tickle him. Sugar Prince opened his eyes and looked at me. Acting innocent, I glanced up at him with round eyes. Of course, I drew back my tail. He glanced back and forth between me and the now-tailless water at his side and with one finger stroked my head. Getting all mischievous with Simon like this would have him huffing and puffing by now, but this guy was utterly enjoyable to tease. I felt I could get away with nearly anything with such a kind Crown Prince, but I also worried I might get kicked out of the palace if I went too far and he turned out not to be as naive as he appeared, just like in some of those historical TV dramas.
As a signal, I tapped Sugar Prince’s shoulder once with my paw and got out from the bath. The Sugar Prince also exited the bath as I shook the water off my body. Seeing him chase after me like a lost duckling, there was no doubt that his life at the palace had been a lonely one. Although a bit awkward, I unknowingly started to feel responsible for him. What a sorry sight he was, this kind and gentle, yet lonely soul with no one to turn to in the entire palace. But I couldn’t let myself get roped into feeling bad for the guy; my only goal was to rid myself of this curse and get back to my normal life ASAP.
Sitting beside Sugar Prince, the maids dried my fur. That being said, the only one allowed to touch me was my exclusive maid, Julia. Her pretty face and ample bosom saved her the wrath of my claws; the ugly and flat-chested maids were less fortunate. It only took a few swipes for the point to sink in, and from then on I was attended exclusively by the big-breasted Julia.
After drying off Sugar Prince and myself, the maids left. Sugar Prince fell into his same daily routine, and picked up a thick book to read. I observed while sitting next to the book. In my world, these kinds of thick, leather-bound books were something of a rarity, thus it piqued my interest. I couldn’t read the squiggly letters filling the pages, but it didn’t matter. Since I was a cat.
It didn’t take long for me to get bored of patiently waiting for him to finish, and my impatience grew. It’s his own fault anyway, how dare he ignore me for a book?! Doesn’t he know only reading books day in and day out just make him a shut-in? Humans are social creatures, go learn how to socialize! If you just read all day, you’re gonna turn into a shut-in NEET.
Ah ah. It’s the truth. And without my help, this guy would be doomed to life as a bookworm. It would be a pain, but the duty fell to me to save him.
With renewed vigor, I set my mind to helping him change his ways.
I stepped onto the book Sugar Prince was reading and sat down. His golden eyes looked toward me, and I stared back shrewdly.
Are you gonna keep reading even like this?
Sugar Prince remained expressionless as always. But I didn’t miss the subtle change in his eyes as a new emotion surfaced, one of exasperation. Looking at me like that for a moment, Sugar Prince pushed me away with a large, careful hand and again focused his gaze on the book. Indignant, I hit my tail on his forearm several times. But the guy merely stroked my head with his hand at my pestering, as if calming a child’s tantrum, and continued reading the book. It only served to make me even more obstinate. This time I set myself down on top of the book, sprawling on my stomach.
He swept annoyed, golden eyes towards me. Narrowing my eyes, I met his gaze.
Are you gonna read even like this? Like this?
Sugar Prince let out a light sigh as he rubbed my head and asked,
“Are you bored?”
At that, I stood up and hopped off the book. It’s not like I was bored or anything, it was just to fix his bookworm ways. But it didn’t seem particularly necessary to explain all that.
Wisely, he closed the book. He opened the desk drawer and took out a new feather pen. Seeing the shape of the feather pen that had entertained me yesterday and the day before that, my pupils narrowed.
Calix felt momentarily helpless while looking at the cat sitting atop his book. He could tell the cat, looking up at him with those big round eyes, had no intention of getting off anytime soon. The book wasn’t something he urgently needed to read, but for the past few days he hadn’t been able to read more than a single page; every time he cracked open the book the cat would interrupt.
The Crown Prince gently pushed the cat off the book. But just as soon, a black tail repeatedly tapped his forearm. He stroked the black head and fixed his gaze on the book once more.
This time, the cat climbed on top of the book and laid down. Even though he couldn’t read the cat’s mind, he could guess it was thinking something along the lines of 「play with me」. The cat was by no means intimidating, but it exuded a kind of intense, unrelenting pressure.
“Are you bored?”
He asked quietly, and as if it understood his words, the cat got off the book. Finally, the Crown Prince closed the book he had been trying to read. As he did so, he opened the drawer and took out a clean feather pen. Seeing the feather pen in his hand, he thought the cat’s gaze sparkled with anticipation. Calix began to wave the feather teasingly in front of the cat’s nose.
How odd, Calix thought to himself.
The cat energetically chased the feather here and there, its eyes wide. However, compared to most other cats, its movements were quite sluggish and its reactions slow. It lacked that distinctive feline agility and acute sensitivity. At first, Calix thought it was the sudden change in environment, but now, having shown no signs of improving, that didn’t seem to be the case. Perhaps it had been born this way.
After ruining the feather pen, the cat whined at Calix. Calix took a new feather pen from the drawer and threw it in the direction of the bed. Quickly taking off after the feather, the cat tripped and fell with an audible thud, only to get up again and continue running. Definitely un-cat-like reflexes. At this degree of severity, it was likely impossible to hunt for food.
A feral cat with feeble instincts…
Perhaps that was the reason it came up to him fearlessly, so unlike other animals.
Apparently bored of the feather pen toy, the cat looked at Calix discerningly and meowed. Calix extended his hand leisurely and stroked its head. At being petted, its eyes closed slightly. This expression appeared to hint that it felt content, but Calix, as he was, couldn’t be certain. That it was pleased rather than repulsed by his touch… Several days had already passed, but every moment he spent with the animal, he was overcome with an unfamiliar feeling.
Calix lifted the cat from his feet and placed it on his knee. Without even an indication of surprise, it sat on Calix’s knee and swished its tail, fully relaxed. He lightly wrapped his hand around the slight neck, one he could easily crush with a single hand, but there was no reaction. It was the complete opposite from an incident he had as a child; the cute dog he embraced in his arms struggled so frantically that it twisted its neck and died. Far from being frightened, the cat blinked at him blankly.
“You’re a strange one.”
Calix ran his hand over the cat’s soft fur, and a faint laugh rumbled in his throat.