The Drawing Competition and the Three Kitty-Cats
“This is pretty much all I know.”
When Monette finished talking, she entrusted herself to the cushion with a *pashan.*
There were few books left in the Idira family library, and most of them were related to magic. What a witch is and how they interact with one another, very little was written about such things. The reading could be finished in a few days.
There was only one book on witch slayers, and it was more of a dramatic adaptation of a story than an actual account. It lacked authenticity a reliable source.
It had a way of writing that had an exaggerated sense of urgency, focusing on finding and killing the last witch slayer. When I finished reading it, I had felt a sense of accomplishment as if I was the protagonist and had just eradicated the last witch slayer rather than feeling like I actually learned something. Well, it was a really good read, so I guess it’s alright.
“To be honest, I’m not too familiar with witch habits, as I’ve never met one besides me.”
Saying such, Monette rested her helmet back on the cushion.
“That reminds me, why are Monette’s curse drawings……..cats?”
“If it isn’t a ………. cat, will the magic not activate? For example, what about other animals or a word?”
Apparently the interests of Alexis and Percival have shifted from witches to magic.
To that question, Monette looked at her pouch. Their words made her feel like there was something off when they said the word, ‘cats’, but she is a kind girl and will ignore that for now……
She then took out a piece of parchment from her pouch and drew up a cute kitty-cat. There is neither a prop nor a gesture; it is just a simple kitty-cat. It might be a bit simple, but as long as the cat is adorable even without the decorations, it will not be a problem.
She showed it off to the two men, and Monette’s chest swelled with pride. Although since she was wearing armor after all, it only looked like the armor had slightly shaken from the side.
“I can draw anything. It is a curse as long as I imagine the effect, and use my blood in the ink.”
“So the main point is what the drawing represents to you?”
“….. that is a foot, and that is a foot. Then what are these three things coming from behind the hind legs……?
Ignoring Percival’s mutterings of monstrosities, Monette nodded her head in affirmation to Alexis’s question.
The important thing is what Monette, who comes from a family line of witches, puts into the parchment. She combines her imagination with the magic incantation, and she gives it from through the blood-mixed ink. That is how Monette performs magic.
In other words, the parchment and pen are just tools, and if it becomes necessary, she can make do with just ordinary paper and her own raw blood.
While Monette is explaining all of this, Percival’s brow creases as he intently examines the drawing still being held up.
“I understand the method and practice, but ………. why a cat then?”
“Oh, well that’s easy. It’s because…”
Monette proudly examined the spell she had just crafted.
It was just a simple kitty-cat that was standing upright. It is so pretty, and the slightly trembling tail was a nice touch. She showed off how the tail was moving back and forth by drawing three of them with waves passing between them to show it off. It is a truly revolutionary technique she believed.
The reason for why she only draws kitty-cats should be obvious if you are looking at such a picture.
“It’s because I’m best at drawing cats!”
Monette declared so with pride and joy.
The air inside the carriage turned weird after that. The three were all silent, and only the rattling sound of the wheels running along the road ceased to quiet themselves.
Without noticing the precarious and awkward silence, Monette took a satisfied breath and affirmed her own comfort. She figured if she could lean back onto the cushion, perhaps the issue of her stiff shoulders could finally be solved.
Meanwhile Alexis and Percival didn’t quite know what to do with themselves.
“….Num, number one. The best…”
“It’s a little embarrassing. Besides these cute little kitty-cats, I can’t draw that well.”
“….that’s, I see.”
Haha………Alexis nodded his head and gave a cramped smile.
That facial expression says that he wants to say something more, but for some reason he was holding himself back and just continued to stare at the spell she had drawn.
Does he like it that much? When Monette tilted her helmet in wonder, Percival, who had been frozen so completely that it would make you wonder if he was actually breathing, finally stirred. Noticing this movement, Alexis and Monette turned their attention on him who looked at them as if he had just had some sort of enlightenment.
“….I see. I finally understand.”
“Miss Monette. You keep a creature that normal humans don’t know about called a kitty-cat locked away in the old castle’s basement don’t you!”
“There is no such thing!?”
“I see! So your drawings are some kind of monster that I’ve never seen before…..”
“I don’t keep anything and my drawings are really cute!”
“So it’s an unknown animal named Kitty-cat!?”
Percival continued question the origin of the picture while Alexis had become interested in those unknown creatures asking himself, “What would does something like that eat?”
It’s all a seriously rude affair. The only thing in the old castle’s basement is a wine cellar. There is no mysterious being called Kitty-cat living there. The only thing that does sleep there occasionally is Robertson.
In the first place, this is an iconic kitty-cat that everyone should be able to recognize. It is obviously a stray cat that are abundant in urban areas. When they are in a good mood, they will rub themselves up against your leg and allow you to pet them, otherwise they may be feeling fickle and faint and will end up hiding themselves away where people can not see nor hear them.
I tried pointing this out to Alexis and Percival, but they did not seem to be convinced.
“…..Fine then. You two must be pretty good at drawing if you can judge so much like this.”
With a hmph, Monette became sulky inside her helmet.
She then took out two pieces of parchment from her pouch and shoved them out in front of the two men.
“Now, please draw a cute kitty-cat for me.”
Knowing that they couldn’t say no when they heard Monette’s lowered voice, Alexis and Percival both pulled out pens from their bags.
A drawing competition suddenly took place. Neither Alexis nor Percival could disagree, and for the moment, the only sound that could be heard in the carriage were the rolling wheels and the scratches of pens on parchment. Monette was beside herself in the cushioned seat feeling dissatisfied as she observed the two.
They both ended up finishing at the same time and raised their faces while saying, “I’m done.”
“I guess I’ll go first?”
It was Alexis who stood up to the challenge first. He didn’t really have any confidence in his abilities, and he handed over his piece of parchment while saying, “I haven’t seen a cat in awhile,” and scratching his head.
When the piece of parchment was flipped over, Monette took a hard look at it, and Percival let out of voice of admiration.
Everything looked great.
On the piece of parchment was sitting a clever looking cat. It was lovely with a slender yet supple body that looked extremely soft and fluffy. Its tail wrapped around its back foot, asserting itself in front of the cat’s body giving it an aura of magnificence.
Alexis said that the proportions for the feet were off because he hadn’t really seen a real cat’s shape, but it was to the point that if he had not said anything, you would not have noticed.
“Prince Alexis is seriously amazing….. where did you learn to draw?”
“I learned at the palace, but I could not live up to their standards. I was never praised even once.”
With that, Alexis quickly rolled up the parchment. He seems to have zero confidence, and with a bitter smile, he laughed and said, “I’m still only at this level even with all those lessons.”
He lacked any level of humility in his expression, and I could understand the situation well enough. From his birth, the first prince was surrounded by fine arts, spoke with the finest artists, and he probably had the best artists as his teachers as well. Simply put, his standards were too high.
In response to Alexis’s moping, I snatched the parchment from his hands, unfurled it, and observed the cat. Round eyes like marbles were staring back at me.
Is this cute kitty-cat about to cry?
“This is cute. As unwilling as I am and even though it physically repulses me, I guess I am forced to praise Alexis this one time during our journey.”
“I’m glad that you like it.”
Alexis gave a slightly bitter smile.
With that, I laid out two pieces of parchment. The first piece was the one drawn on by Alexis and the second one was the the drawing that I had done earlier. Comparing them both, I could easily understand the difference in skill, and I wonder if I should make a few repairs here and there………I could steal a few notes from this. I should be able to make kitty-cats that are even more beautiful and lovely from now on.
I have to admit, if a third party were to look upon these two drawings, they might not recognize that this is the same cat at first glance.
After doing an in-depth comparison of the two, Alexis seems to have finally been persuaded that I was not just humoring him, and he seems to be happy since his drawing is being praised for the first time. Meanwhile Percival was silently looking at the parchment in his hand.
I turned my gaze onto Percival and had him hurry up. It was his turn to show off his cat after all.
“Percival, please show it quickly.”
“……..N, No. It’s not that interesting.”
“It doesn’t matter if it’s interesting or not. The only thing that matters is cuteness.”
Pushed forward by Monette’s urging, Percival slowly placed his drawing next to the other two already laid out ones.
Monette and Alexis muttered to themselves.
What was drawn on Percival’s piece of parchment was certainly a cat.
Yes…….it’s a cat. That much is obvious.
But how to say it…….it’s just a cat. There’s no liveliness that a real cat would have in the drawing, but it is definitely a cat. I’m not saying it is not cute, but rather it is not so cute that you would really give it a second look.
If you think that a man who devoted his entire life to nothing else but the sword had drawn this, I suppose you could call it good, but it would be very easy to find someone else who could do a better job. With that being said, it is not so bad that you would laugh at it either.
In the end,
“It’s so plain and boring that it isn’t fun.”
It’s just that.
“See! I told you!”
“No, it’s not a bad job! It’s just ……… so plain that no real words come to mind.”
“If you’re just going to trail off like that, then you don’t need to say anything!”
“Percival, do not mind this so much. See……. um……… it’s like…….”
While Alexis was fruitlessly trying to comfort Percival in his own, inefficient way, Monette started releasing verbal abuse from the side such as, “A man who draws for all ages.” It is a stance where she wishes to undermine all of Alexis’s efforts, but harassing Percival is also a nice benefit.
Then, while the three continued to observe the three pieces of parchment for a while and berate each other, the carriage began to sway and stop with a *gattan*.