Chapter 14 – I’ll Be Back
“Hey, Kassy? What’s the big idea, drawing your sword in the guild?”
To the unidentified creature who suddenly appeared with those words, Kassman and the behemoth alike froze.
Aria was the only one who seemed happy that it showed up.
「Are you okay, Aria?」
「I’m quite alright, as you can see.」
「I’m so glad♪… So, Kassy, what do you have to say for yourself? Since your answer might just stain your honor, the next words out of your mouth should be chosen carefully.」
Deeply frightened by the terror before him, Kassman’s scream came from the bottom of his heart, and for good reason. The one questioning him—the one Aria referred to as Ana—was… a true monster.
Real name: Arnaldo Hwarzenegger. A bundle of muscles in the shape of a 190cm-tall man, his completely hairless body was dressed in some sort of bondage rather than anything resembling legitimate clothing, and his aged and distinctly masculine face was caked in makeup.
In truth, he was once a celebrated B-rank adventurer, and only later became the receptionist lady(?) at this guild hall. During his active years, he was a master of high level ice magic, and known by the name “Snow Queen”.
Not only that, her hobby was a bit special. Regardless of whether they were the same or opposite sex… even if it was complete nonsense, Arnaldo was the kind of person to punish troublemakers without a shred of mercy.
「This is, um… I was just, uh, showing off my prided sword to Miss Aria! Good heavens, would you look at the time! I just remembered I’ve something quite urgent to attend to! I’ll just excuse myself here!」
As if crying that he didn’t want to die, Kassman came up with the most basic lie he could think of and beat a hasty retreat. Arnaldo heaved a dejected sigh once he was gone, apparently regretting scaring him off.
「Really, running off so quickly… He didn’t have to go that far.」
「Thank you so much. You really saved us, Ana.」
「It’s no problem, Aria. Feel free to come to me if you ever feel troubled.」
Hm, this Ana person… Ridiculous appearance aside, it looks like she’s a friend of my master. And I can tell she’s a good person, too.
The behemoth was a wise knight. He wasn’t going to judge someone just because they looked a little… off. The way Aria spoke with her and the fact that she gave her a much needed hand were enough; he soon stopped worrying about reading into Arnaldo’s expression and tone of voice.
「On to other matters, about that little kitten with you. An interesting little one, no? Protecting you from Kassy the way he did, don’t you think he resembles a knight?」
Mm, so she saw that. No, I’m pretty sure… she could even tell I’m a monster.
When the behemoth looked at Arnaldo again, he received a wink in response.
「He’s even more amazing than that, you know. Back in the labyrinth a goblin mage attacked me, but he showed up out of nowhere and used a magical skill to save me!」
He stiffened up. Sure, Aria wasn’t bothered by knowing the behemoth’s nature, but if it were anyone else… chances were he’d be looking at the business end of a sword. Arnaldo looked at him, overflowing with curiosity.
「A magical skill… you say? A cat that can use magic… and this tabby pattern, could he be—」
I’m so fucked…
「—an “elemental cat”?」
Yes, yes, it’s just as you say. I’m an elemen… wait, what?
Rather than being called a monster as he expected, Arnaldo declared him something else entirely, and Aria smiled from ear to pointy ear.
「I knew it, so he really is one, right?! Haa~ that’s wonderful! I thought the same thing!」
Elemental cats weren’t a common animal, but they certainly existed. They were more intelligent than typical cats, and had a solid understanding of human speech. What really set them apart, though, was their ability to use elemental magic.
Smart as they were, they were choosy about their masters, and protected them to their deaths. Since the behemoth followed Aria and recognized her as his master, and used his elemental skills to save her, Aria didn’t actually realize he was a monster. Instead, she thought he was an elemental kitten.
Ha, hahaha… Come to think of it, my striped fur’s really similar to an elemental cat’s, huh?
Remembering that information came with a sudden exhaustion. Ignoring the behemoth’s deflated state, Aria made a loud declaration.
「I’ve decided. The name of this child will be Tama! I’m officially going to raise him as my pet!」
What?! That means I can stay with Master in the open from now on!
The behemoth’s eyes sparkled.
「Hey, Aria, are you sure about this? Elemental cats can grow to over two meters long. Not to mention they have the ability to crossbreed, and they’re known to attack their masters during mating season.」
「What are you saying, Ana? That’s just fine, isn’t it?」
… Oh no. To think Aria had such desires…
Arnaldo reeled back briefly before composing herself again. In a nutshell, what Aria wanted was… Actually, no, let’s stop here.
「Tama… Please grow quickly for me, won’t you? And someday, my first will be… Fufu, let’s “nyan nyan” lots and lots then, okay?」
From her nose to the tips of her ears she blushed like a maiden in love, and an indescribable chill ran down his spine as Aria… kissed the behemoth—Tama, on his forehead.
… Nyan nyan…?