When the beast’s name passed across Lucy’s lips, it cried back in confirmation. But it wasn’t the cute mewlings Lucy was used to. It would be more apt to call it a thunderous roar instead.
Yet still Lucy narrowed her eyes and repeated the name, getting the same response when she did, and tears began running down her cheeks.
Adorably gray Ril¹.
His round silhouette was no longer small, and he was lacking an arm. His soft gray body was covered in a hard skin like cracked dirt, his little paws that felt soft to the touch whenever he allowed someone to hold them were replaced by shiny, sharp nails. Who could possibly imagine that this figure standing here was originally a cat?
They were two completely different animals. There was no similarity in their faces at all.
But it was Ril. This was Ril standing in front of her.
The evidence for this was the love boiling in the bottom of Lucy’s heart. Even though she barely remembered anything up until now, although the emotions rarely returned whenever she did remember something, all of the memories of her holding Ril in her arms and the emotions that followed that embrace came rushing back. All of the times she hugged him close, falling asleep together in bed, laughing when Ril started snoring so loud in bed she couldn’t sleep, licking her nose until she finally woke up in the morning. With those memories, the love between the two increased day after day.
“I see, failing to see you in this appearance…….. You came to look for me…….”
As Lucy was remembering, Ril came to pick her up. Every time she would forget, “What a friendly cat,” Ril would walk up to her, crawl up into her arms, and lick her nose.
“Ah, that’s right. I kept you with me. Surely, your name was……..,” and everything would come flooding back when she saw the cat’s front right leg. The belt wrapped around there would always be enough to bring back Lucy’s memories, and the cat’s name would naturally flow off her lips.
As she remembered it, Ril would always put his right leg forward and the effects would be reproduced every time.
But this time the message did not reach Lucy; all she saw was a thin and distorted leg swaying underneath his new large body. Did the belt bite into it causing necrosis, or was this a problem that occurred to the leg when he became larger?
Either way, only that leg was unnaturally thin, and part of the belt looked ripped.
“You must have been in pain…..You should have bitten it”
So Lucy tried to convince Ril he should have taken the belt off, but the dragon responded with a loud snort.
It was an easy to understand habit of Ril’s that he did whenever in a bad mood. Once you scratched his throat or nose, he would feel better immediately…..when Lucy remembered that, she took a look over him, but she had a feeling that technique might not work anymore.
But when Lucy tried reaching her hand out to make sure, peoples’ voices and footsteps could suddenly be heard from the direction of the school building. Someone must have seen Ril and now the guards were on their way to check on the situation. Ril shuddered slightly and showed a look of vigilance towards the direction the noise was coming from. He let out a low groan before spreading out his wings. He looked almost like a bird although those wings look slightly distorted.
He almost looked like a dragon, was the way Lucy’s mind was processing the sight. “Ah Ril, even though you’re a cat, you can fly through the sky.” The fact that he was no longer a cat hadn’t quite sunk in for her yet.
Ril strongly kicked off the ground and flew up into the air, carrying himself over the old castle and into the moon’s silhouette before disappearing into the darkness of the night.
The sight was fantastic, straight out of a storybook, leaving no sense of realism in its wake. But as Lucy continued to watch Ril fly away until his figure had completely disappeared, she was able to attest it was real, and she continued to tell herself so as she slipped back to her room careful that security wouldn’t catch her.
“……..What were you doing?”
Ortensia confronted Lucy as soon as she had come back to the dormitory.
She swung open the door before Lucy even had the opportunity to put her hand on the doorknob. But when she thought she was about to get yelled at, Ortensia was quiet and controlled. Lucy was so surprised that she didn’t know what to say, so “Where?” she dumbly repeated the question she had been asked.
“…….then there was nothing special. Hurry up and take a bath, and be sure to make my hot coffee when you are done.”
“Seriously, if you think you are going to be away, at least leave behind a croak. This is why I don’t like commoners.”
There was a large question mark hanging over Lucy’s head over Ortensia’s dissatisfied words, but in a huff Ortensia turned away from her and walked back into the living room, recanting what had apparently happened a couple dozen minutes ago.
It turns out there was an emergency message sent out informing students they were not to leave their rooms until they heard otherwise. Moreover, should someone’s roommate be missing, they were to contact a teacher immediately. It was an unusual emergency situation for Liztena Magic Academy. It surely began when the school became aware of Ril’s presence, and they sent out a messenger to assure the safety of the students.
Once she was finished explaining the situation, Ortensia started grumbling to herself, “Why me,” as she constructed a magical messenger bird. She probably told the teachers that Lucy hadn’t come back yet, so this was her messenger to call off the search. It was a bird whose beautiful tail feathers shook as it moved, but the message inside was probably filled with thorns considering how Ortensia was complaining about what a waste of magic power it was.
“I am sorry to have caused you so much worry.”
“Mi~!? Wor-Who said I was worried! Reporting is the duty of those living in the dormitory!”
“Is that so?”
“Of-of course….. If you really regret your actions, then be sure to apologize to Claudio tomorrow.”
“It seems that when he heard you had not yet returned, he tried going out to search for you. Although Conrad managed to stop him, he continued to send me cats with quite the serious messages spelled in them.”
“…….I have caused all of you trouble.”
Lucy quietly murmured another apology, and Ortensia, “Mi~” murmured back in turn.
After that the two of them had nothing else to say, and a strange silence hung over them. Not being able to bear it, Lucy looked away from her roommate and moved to enter the bath passing Ortensia by.
She had always found Ortensia’s high-handed attitude and constant ‘Mi~ Mi~’ to be bothersome, but they were both far easier to endure than this kind of awkwardness. That’s why when she heard a soft, “Lucy” called out to her as she left, she pretended that she hadn’t heard anything and continued on into the bathroom.
After quickly finishing her bath, Lucy came out and brewed Ortensia’s hot coffee. Of course it was hot coffee right before bed, so there was no coffee in it, but Lucy didn’t feel like pointing that out and just silently handed over the cup.
Lucy returned to her room after that, but to her surprise, there was a cat sitting in wait on top of her desk. She was able to see her books and the wall to her room through its body, so it was obvious at a glance that it wasn’t real. But even so, the sight was enough to make Lucy’s heart almost beat right out of her chest, and she had to assure herself that this wasn’t Ril before being able to approach it.
It was a cat with beautifully long hair.
She had read before that the appearance of these animals was proportional to the magic power of the person who created them.
The higher a person’s magic power is, the more beautiful a cat’s coat is and the more nimble its limbs. If it is a bird, then its feathers while shine all the more and the more lightly it will fly through the sky.
Incidentally, upon hearing this story Conrad tried creating a cat that ended looking old, with droopy ears and an oversized behind–and in Lucy’s opinion, extremely short legs. It did not sit up dutifully like Claudio or Ortensia’s cats, and was actually unable to sit down at all for some reason. It was also lacking the all-important tail.
Conrad, “I’m never going to be able send a letter to someone,” lamented his own misfortune…..but it goes without saying that despite its flaws Lucy and Ortensia were fawning over it, and Claudio tried cheering Conrad up by saying, “There are people with all sorts of preferences out there.”
Anyways, if the magical power and the appearance of an animal are proportional, then this adorable cat……..Lucy stroked the cat’s nose, and after narrowing its eyes and purring in pleasure, the cat turned into a letter with a small *pop*.
I’m glad you are okay. Good night Lucy, see you tomorrow.
P.S. There is no need for you to write a reply.
When she finished reading the letter, the stationary inevitably began to fade. However the words written on it remained etched in Lucy’s heart. Was that not just like Claudio? Imagining his appearance when he softly smiles and pats her on the head, a large smile grew on Lucy’s face.
This feeling that makes her heart skip every time she thinks about him was undoubtedly love.
She loved him. Gentle and warm, yet always making her laugh. A dear person…..
But was this her first time falling in love?
Lucy couldn’t remember.
She couldn’t find an answer even when she gave sound to his name.
But as if someone had been waiting for their timing, a small knock on the door echoed in the room, and Lucy’s thoughts returned to her present situation. When she opened the door there was no golden prince standing there…..but a golden princess instead.
“I want to sleep together.”
Lucy wasn’t sure what to say; Ortensia had never announced her intent to intrude in Lucy’s bed before.
But ignoring Lucy’s confused response, Ortensia barged her way into the room without any hesitation and climbed into the bed. And in the most bizarre move of all, Ortensia actually moved Lucy’s pillow to the corner and laid down on top of her own pillow that she brought with her instead.
She then snuggled down underneath the covers and pulled them up to underneath her chin. Lucy watched on, speechless, as she watched this blatant case of room invasion take place.
“……..Did you hear about something scary again?”
“So then what happened?”
“‘What happened?’ is a superfluous matter. Instead of asking something that doesn’t matter, we should just move forward.”
Spiritable, yet she was laying down despite that energy and took a deep breath. She shut her eyes tight to show she no longer wanted to talk anymore.
So Lucy laid down beside her with a wry smile on her face.
She had to manage Ril, and tell her feelings to Claudio, and…..
There were a lot of things she had to do. But for now maybe the best thing for her really was to let her mind at ease and give her conscientiousness a rest. Or so she told herself as she closed her eyes a allowed herself to sleep.
I will take care of everything she had to before she forgot.
Those were the thoughts occupying her thoughts as her consciousness slowly melted away.
1. I just want to say this feels really weird for me because ‘ril’ is the unit of currency in Harassing Thief Girl. So every once in awhile, they say Ril and I imagine a giant gold coin, looming overtop of Lucy.