“Princess Rosemarie, it is almost time.”
Klaus’s voice pulled my nose out of the book I was reading, and I blanched when I checked the clock.
Shoot, there were only ten minutes left until the meeting.
I inserted a bookmark and closed the book, getting up from my seat in rush. After lightly straightening my attire, I left the room.
My pulse was racing, but a princess of the realm does not dash through the halls, so I speed walked with a care for elegance. What the heck does elegant speed walking even mean, a voice mocked.
I had asked Lady Irene for some of her time today, and I’m to meet with her to discuss the fever countering medicine. Georg asked to be present as well whenever the conversation took place, and, for some reason, it seemed like Michael was tagging along as well.
My intent had been to arrive early so that I could greet them in the room, but I was cutting it close on time. I thought I had some leeway to relax, but am I not allowed to do that either?
There was a lot of time to kill before the appointed time, and against my better judgment I opened a book gifted to me by Master Julius from a foreign country. Was that the reason for my downfall?
If you’re a bookworm, then I think you’d be able to relate. I love books, and when I read I often forget the time. I slowly tear myself away, prolonging the inevitable as long as possible, telling myself, Just a few more pages, just one more page. Two to three hours disappearing in this fashion was common.
If you already know what will happen, then don’t read! I have no comeback for this.
I’ll just take a peek, I lied to myself, and cracked it open, only to find the words incomprehensible. I started by looking at the pictures, but then got curious despite myself, and couldn’t help taking a closer look. It seemed to have originated from an island nation under the rule of the Kingdom of Schnee. The language was a little different from Schnee’s official language, but I was positive it originated from the latter, for the basic structure was similar.
Maybe it’s a dialect, I thought, and the time I spent staring unblinkingly at a dictionary passed by in a flash.
I’ve inherited a bit of the geek from my previous life. Once I become interested in something I have a habit of becoming invested. It gets to a point where I seem to block out the sound from my surroundings, and I remember how often it shocked my friends and family.
I don’t consider it a bad habit, though if it got to a point where it hindered me from making it to appointments on time, then I should probably work on it a little.
I flew down the stairs in a quick pace. I was rushing, so I couldn’t help it if my steps were hurried, but I was careful to make as little noise as possible, and…
I strained my ears as the chiming of bells reached me.
Today’s outfit and accessories shouldn’t have bells on them.
My light pink dress was scattered with small flowers, ribbons at the front, and lace on the cuffs, but not a single metallic piece of ornament. Even my lace choker was adorned with a single small rose.
My low-heeled pumps were also very simple simple in design.
I looked down at my feet, and my eyes widened at the speedily approaching small shadow.
The black cat with its glossy coat looked at me with its gem-like blue eyes, head tilted ever so slightly. A silver bell jingled lightly where it hung on the red ribbon tied around its neck.
The black cat meowed cutely back at me.
My baby is so smart! … Pull yourself together!
I crouched and picked him up.
Nero made no resistance and settled easily into my arms as I scolded him, No!
“What are you doing here? Didn’t I tell you not to run around?”
I looked at him sternly, but he showed no sign of being intimidated. He looked up at me with big eyes and nothing else but puzzlement.
Damn it, he’s cute! My baby is so cute! So cute the whole world is jealous!
He purred contentedly when I brushed him under the chin in circles with the back of a finger.
Michael can’t keep pets at the Great Temple where he stays, so I took Nero in instead, and now I’m hopelessly in love.
Like a grandfather enamored with his first grandchild, I’m a hopeless owner who wants to spoil him with everything, but I still can’t allow him to freely wander through the castle.
“You were hurt just the other day.”
Brush aside the fur and at the base of his right hind leg you’ll find a scar.
However, in a strange turn of events, the same day I adopted Nero, the wound had almost completely closed, and in the span of a week with me, he could walk around indoors. The wound was severe enough he might never have been able to walk again, so even now I don’t understand how it was possible.
I was just afraid his wound would open up again if given the chance, so I made him stay inside my room.
I walked while talking to myself. “I don’t have time to go back to my room. I wonder if there’s someone who can take you back for me?”
Nero protested in a louder voice. I wondered what he was saying.
Stretching in my arms, he reached for my cheek with a limb. His paw made firm contact. Sooo cute.
I brought my face close to his, and, unable to escape, Nero meowed again.
“Don’t you meow at me.”
I’m all better but you keep locking me inside. Let me out once in a while, he probably said.
It won’t be a formal session, and they’re all friends, so even if I take Nero along they probably won’t get upset, I thought. Besides, he was a very smart boy.
“You won’t cause trouble?”
“OK, it’s a promise.”
Let’s ask everyone, then, I whispered with a little laugh.
“Princess Rosemarie,” said Klaus in a placating tone from behind.
I answered without bothering to turn around. “What is it?”
Making conversation with your beloved cat, and sometimes baby talking them, is the fate of a cat owner.
Obviously, I won’t do it carelessly in public, but this area close to the greenhouse has restricted access, so it shouldn’t be very populated.
“I said, what is…it?”
A little irritated he kept saying only my name, I looked over my shoulder and froze in place.
He wasn’t the only one standing there behind me.
Wide blue eyes stared at me.
Theo rested both arms against the wall, head hung down low. I couldn’t see his expression from my location. An awkward silence ran through the area.
Half a step behind them, Klaus’s expression was saying, “I was trying to tell you.”
Too late now, Klaus. You should have warned me earlier!!
“Hey you, what was that?” Lutz asked gravely.
I wanted to die on the spot.
Even if he asked, the only answer I had was, What indeed. I speak to my cat, but I don’t exactly have a reason for it. Must I spell it out? All cat lovers have this ability!
“What are you doing? What do you want to do? I mean, what do you want to do with me!” Lutz grumbled in a flat tone. For some reason, he became more and more heated, until he exploded at the very end.
“Um, I have no reason to want to do anything?”
“Ahhhh! What is this I’m feeling! This dark desire burning inside!”
Watching the visibly irritated Lutz, a terrible thought occurred to me, and I paled.
“Um, murderous intent?”
“No!” he growled. He denied it instantly, scratching at his chest. “I don’t really … get it, but anyway, can I ruffle it until it’s all messy?”
From a crouched level, Lutz glared in my direction, hands moving excitedly. I held Nero protectively and scooted back a step.
It didn’t matter how much Nero had healed up, I didn’t want to hand him over the Lutz. Something scary was happening.
“Cats are delicate. You’ll scare him if you do that.”
“Don’t worry, that’s not what I’m talking about.”
I paused. “What do you mean?”
When I moved further away, Lutz inched closer.
Klaus observed the situation with cold eyes, hand rested on his sword’s handle. I want help, but don’t pull out your sword!
A big hand landed on Lutz’s shoulder.
He slowly shook his head when Lutz met his eyes.
“That’s not it, Lutz. Just because it’s not a cat doesn’t mean you can be rough.”
He spoke admonishingly, but whatever he spoke of was rather ambiguous. My head tilted to the side as I listened to the conversation veer off tangent. The two ignored me as they nodded at each other.
“Girls are even more delicate than cats, and it’s easy to hurt them. Being rough with them is out of the question.”
“You’re right. The truth is, I have an overpowering desire to tackle it to the floor and shower it with affection.”
Lutz chewed his lip thoroughly, and Theo looked on kindly.
The conversation was so far beyond me, I’ve already come back to my senses.
I was keeping Georg and the others waiting, so was it okay for me to leave now?
Deciding it would be best to take my exit, I slowly and quietly took a step away so that I wouldn’t make a sound.
Both of them looked in my direction at that exact moment, as if a signal had passed between them. Theo smiled at me sweetly with his whole face when he saw me frozen in place, breaking into a cold sweat.
“That is to say, don’t you think one should be gentle, princess?”
“Regarding?” I could not help interjecting.
Just like Lutz, Theo’s hands were moving excitedly.
“This is troublesome. Let’s turn them both to rust on my blade.”
A single guard knight stood behind the two, similarly smiling with his entire face as his sword drew free.
The throbbing vein popping up on my forehead must be my imagination.