Killian smirked, tickled, and took me from his shoulder into his palm.
He asked, our eyes locked, and my heart began to race.
How am I going to tell him this?
I opened my mouth to say, then closed it in pain.
Just because I can read doesn’t mean I can speak!
I looked down at my feet as a thought flashed through my mind.
I might be able to write!
I looked down at the palm of his hand I was holding.
‘I just came into this body.’
I tried to write, but my feet wouldn’t listen.
‘I know a little of your future.’
What is it? Could I read the words, but not write them?
I decided to write something about me this time, not about his fate.
‘I can read the letters.’
Finally, my feet are moving!
As I slowly wrote the words on his palm, Killian squinted and looked down at his own palm.
All I could do was tickle him and giggle.
Ugh, this is frustrating!
He must not have realized it was a letter.
I took a deep breath and once again, slowly and loudly, traced the letters on his palm.
‘I…… write…… letters…… too…….’
Killian’s eyes stared at my feet, and gradually a crack began to form.
His shoulders seemed to stiffen for a moment.
His pursed lips were as tightly pressed as his cold eyes.
“I can read letters…….”
Killian looked down at his palm and said in a low voice.
I nodded, puzzled by the sharpness in his tone, but I knew he was waiting for me to respond.
“Are you back?”
Memories? I wondered what Killian meant when he asked me about a distant memory.
Ah. Killian could only assume I had amnesia, so if I could read, he could assume my memory had returned.
I think he was asking if there was anything he could do to help me get my memory back.
But I had no memory of the original owner of this body.
I shook my head.
“Do you remember……?”
No way. I sulked even more and mumbled.
“Anything else, do you remember anything?”
Killian asked calmly, his cooled eyes studying me intently.
The only memories I have of this world are of the original story, and the thought of writing it makes my feet stop moving.
I felt like I shouldn’t give away what would happen in the future, or reveal that I was an alien to this world.
I shook my head, not knowing what else to say or do.
“You mean you don’t remember.”
I nodded, meeting his long eyes in a double check.
His long eyelashes fluttered down and up, and then he let out a light sigh, like a man relieved.
The fierceness that had filled him in the last few hours was gone, and he was looking at me with his usual nonchalant, nonchalant eyes.
Weren’t you sure you were upset about something just now?
“That’s interesting. Isn’t it?”
Killian laughed coolly and rubbed his thumb lightly across my forehead.
I wondered if it was an illusion, but his touch was so light as he slowly ran his fingers through my hair.
Was I sensitive?
He seemed pleased that I could read, too.
My heart leaped at the realization that I could read like I might actually find a way to be human someday.
Killian soon put the books down and sat down on the floor.
It was a relatively inconspicuous shelf.
I wondered why he didn’t order the librarians to let anyone in.
It would have been advantageous to order no one to enter the library so that he could browse in peace.
– His Highness the Crown Prince is here, and I want you to put it up.
Oh, it’s times like these that a cat’s highly developed ears come in handy.
I could hear the librarians talking through the doorway.
That’s right, the original story said that his every move as a crown prince was reported to his father.
Emperor Adolph, Killian’s father, was always open to the possibility that one of his children might plot against him and bring him down, so he knew the whereabouts of all his children, starting with the crown prince.
If Killian had ordered no one to come in, it would have been assumed that there was something going on behind closed doors, which would have drawn even more scrutiny.
I didn’t realize it when I read it, but when I was there, it took my breath away.
I may never fully understand Killian’s descent into madness, but I can’t help but agree that this unusual environment played a role.
I leaned my head down on his shoulder, trying to read the books he was looking at.
I had no idea what the crown prince was doing with all of them.
“Strange. It is said that the gods protected you so that your line would live on, and then they gave an oracle to kill the cats…….”
Ah. He’s trying to find out about the oracle now, but how about these books?
Of course, I agreed with Killian.
The Oracle had said that the Empire would fall if the cats weren’t exterminated, but the cats had survived for hundreds of years by the grace of God.
What’s more, with the cats still alive and well, the empire has flourished, far from collapsing.
“Since the original oracle has been destroyed, we’ll have to look for contemporary records of the oracle. It’s been said that when the Empire was just founded, factions jockeyed for power, and different groups wrote different accounts of events depending on their point of view. Revisions were made to correct that, and that’s what we’ve been learning from ever since.”
So, does that mean we’re going to look for events in these books that were recorded at different points in time when the oracle was passed down?
It’s hard to tell without looking at the records, but from what he says, there’s no doubt that there were factional disputes.
Given that mages and other races had been labeled as targets for elimination in order to strengthen the imperial power, and that many of them had disappeared or fallen, it was possible that there were factional struggles during the time of the founding.
“If I had not found you. I would not have dared to harbor any doubts about the oracle…….”
Killian said in a tone that was both lush and strangely amused.
“I suppose that’s what happens when you start having doubts.”
He tilted his head at an angle and looked down at me with a bored expression.
“I wonder if it was really God’s will.”
A wry smile crept across his beautiful face.
He hadn’t batted an eye at my frightening statement, which cast doubt on an interpretation the Empire had long held fast to.
Rather, he seemed slow and amused, like a bird of prey that has captured its long-awaited kill.
Killian’s hand caressed my face out of habit, then flipped to the cover.
Why is he doing this?
Killian was trying to find clues that would lead him to believe, with high probability, that the oracle had been manipulated.
Is he just trying to find proof that the interpretations have been manipulated so he can destroy the masterminds and make himself a stronger emperor?
But in the original story, he killed everyone at his coronation to achieve his infamous absolute emperorship.
In a way, that would have been a much quicker and easier way for him.
Why would he venture to the wizarding Duchsens, offer an alliance, and reveal his Auror status just because he found me as a cat?
That didn’t fit Killian’s personality.
It had been said that Killian Günther Reinhardt was by nature a man who favored meticulous planning and efficient movement.
The young emperor had made sure that every nobleman who tried to stand in his way, and their attendants, deserved to die before beheading them all at his coronation, leaving no room for protest.
In a coronation ceremony that marked the beginning of a new era, the emperor who had been called God’s masterpiece unapologetically revealed his madness.
Of course, it was the arrival of his female lead that shook him to his core,
So what is it that Killian has discovered about the oracles and hopes to accomplish in the end?
“I’ll start with when the interpretation of the oracle was published.”
Looking relaxed, Killian first searched the opening pages of the History of Huppert to find the date of the Oracle’s descent and the time of its publication.
Then he opened the Cabinet Composition section to identify the imperial officeholders and powerful families of the time.
I also found a brief description of social phenomena.
The book dropped from Killian’s shoulder onto the table as he stared at it intently.
My hair stood on end as I realized I was face-down in a grotesque drawing.
As Killian scooped me up again, I instinctively recognized what it meant.
The fiercely upturned eyes and eerily descending fangs.
Claws curved ferociously like rakes.
The killer eyes.
These were the pages of a cat’s rampage across the Empire.
「Infant deaths, 11th to 16th Imperium.」
A spike in infant death cases across the Empire, beginning in the capital city of Huppert and continuing through Menetana, Hadenon, Passéan, and beyond.
Below the brief description was a large black-and-white illustration of a demon and a cat, printed on both sides.
It showed a grotesque cat from a nightmare stealing a child’s soul and handing it over to the devil.
Killian slid off his shoulder and tried to pull me away from the book I was staring at and put it down on the floor, but I bit his hand urgently and pressed my hind paw against the book to keep him from flipping the pages.
Beneath it, the grown men and women sitting in the chairs in the painting were sagging, their eyes closed, like people in a deep sleep, unaware that their child had died.
The picture of a cat grinning eerily as it pecked at their souls looked terribly eerie.
Below the picture, in small print, it read.
「The cats sat on the laps of humans and sang quietly with angelic faces to lull them to sleep, then choked the life out of their children. The devil was fond of newborn, noble souls, so the cats sold their babies’ souls and received an extension of their own lifespan in return. That’s why the cat had nine lives.
It was investigated as a localized special case, but it was later discovered to be an empire-wide phenomenon, as a demographic census discovered and tracked a phenomenon that had been occurring every year since the eleventh year of the Empire, with deaths outpacing infant births.
The common thread among the affected families was that they either kept cats in their homes or indirectly cared for stray cats.」
Cats were making deals with the devil and killing children to give their souls?
Over a long period of time, over five years?
Is that even possible?