“Ah, Ansel, shh!”
He was usually quite bold and fearless, but now, when Mamela urgently brought her index finger to her lips, Ansel quickly covered his mouth with his hand.
‘What’s going on? What could possibly be coming out of there?’
After calming his heart, he looked down at the trembling floor.
What he saw was a small, white kitten with faint black markings. Ansel, after confirming the cute and adorable face, was relieved that it was just a kitten.
Then, he was surprised again, opening his eyes wide.
As Ansel looked at Mamela with a face full of questions, she sighed.
Mamela gestured for Ansel to follow her quietly.
* * *
I was extremely uncomfortable in the current situation. I wanted to push away the human who was staring at me with an expression of annoyance on their face.
Even if I had my front paws free to do so! The human, bending closer to my face, spoke with an amused expression.
“No, have you been keeping this cute little one all to yourself, Lady? Look, here’s a fish toy!”
The human named Ansel, already tired of the fish toy for a while, shook it again.
‘Don’t do that!’
I fiercely pressed the fish’s head against my forehead, even though I didn’t have the paw to do it.
“Hahaha, do you like it that much?”
Since I couldn’t push him away without my front paws, I used my head to hit him, but this foolish human seemed to think I was just being cute.
Mamela, who had been watching us, had an anxious expression. Perhaps she hadn’t expected this situation either. Mamela gestured to Ansel, as if warning him
“Ansel, this is a secret. You must never tell my brother! I’ll tell him when the time is right…”
“Yes, Lady. I, Ansel, swear on my life that I will never reveal this secret to anyone! I promise this secret will be carried through generations of our family.”
“Y-you don’t have to go that far…”
I rolled my eyes at Ansel’s bluff. He was an extraordinary person in the sense that there was nothing moderate about him. I glared at him for invading my territory.
‘I wasn’t supposed to follow Mamela outside…’
Earlier, when Marmella had been teaching me various things, I had absorbed them like a sponge. After receiving plenty of snacks, I enthusiastically started playing.
But then Mamela, who had been lying around bored, suddenly brought out a basket from somewhere.
Unfortunately, Mamela had placed snacks inside the basket. I hopped right into it, and that’s how I ended up taking a stroll in the garden inside the basket.
‘Of course, seeing the things I’ve only seen inside the room from the outside was nice, but…’
I glared at Ansel.
Meeting this human was not at all pleasant. There should be some distance in approaching someone, but this person seemed to know nothing about it.
Ansel pulled his hand away from mine. How much did he kiss my feet? Make me some rice cakes, just do it!
However, it didn’t take long before he grabbed me again. Ansel was blushing with a look of ecstasy on his face. Tears were about to stream down his cheeks.
“Lady, did you name this little one Aril?”
“Could it be that you got the name from the book ‘Ariri,’ which you like so much?”
Mamela responded with a bright expression.
Unexpectedly, now that I knew the origin of my name, I looked at the bookshelf. Come to think of it, I think I’ve seen such a book before…
“To mean ‘bravery.’ What a cute name it is. I hope you grow up to be just like that.”
…Wait, why is ‘bravery’ considered a cute name? Shouldn’t it be considered a cool name? But considering what I look like, I couldn’t argue with that.
Mamela seemed to be pleased that Ansel appreciated the meaning behind the name, and she laughed softly before saying, “Ansel, our Aril is incredibly clever. Would you like to see?”
“If you’d like to show me, Lady, I would be honored.”
Ansel said, his eyes sparkling. I glanced at Mamela with apprehension. Surely she wasn’t going to…?
“Aril, give me your hand!”
What did she just…?!
I couldn’t comprehend it, so I meowed as if to protest.
“Mamela, have you forgotten?That’s not for this human but for practice to show your family!”
Ansel looked at me with hopeful eyes, and Mamela encouraged me since it was alright. Their sparkling eyes were fixed on me.
I reluctantly raised my paw on Mamela’s hand.
‘Ugh, it’s because of Mamela… It’s definitely not because I like that human!’
I glanced at Ansel, who was now watching me closely. Mamela, being fine with it, encouraged me as well. Both of their eager gazes were on me.
I looked displeased as I reluctantly placed my small paw in Mamela’s hand. She held my paw tightly and smiled with satisfaction.
“How is it? Impressive, right?”
Ansel clapped his hands in surprise.
“Even though she’s still so young, she can already give her paw. Truly remarkable!”
I gave Mamela a disgruntled look.
I had trained hard for a purpose that wasn’t suitable. Of course, it hadn’t worn out, but still…
‘This is all because of that human.’
I glared at Ansel.
There was a reason I didn’t like this human. Firstly, he was too intrusive. It took Mamela several days to open her heart to me, but Ansel had no patience and just pushed his way in without any consideration.
Secondly, Ansel smelled too much like Idilos.
“Aril, give me your hand! Do it for me too!”
I turned my back on Ansel and sat down. With a snort, I hit the ground with my tail. I noticed the window I had been observing before.
Ansel was a plump young man with reddish-brown hair. I had seen him with Idilos when they looked out the window together. And during the incident when I was hiding in the bookshelf, he had been with Idilos as well.
I tapped the ground with my tail, feeling strange about the fact that this annoyed me. I felt irritated.
‘Why do I feel annoyed when another human comes back smelling like him, even though it was no big deal when Mamela smelled like him? Maybe because I haven’t become close with my family yet…’
I gave Ansel an envious look. There was a reason I didn’t like this human.
I snapped at Ansel, who was babbling on and on. Just one sentence, you talkative human.
Even as I bit his hand fiercely, Ansel continued to smile without any fear. “Haha, this little one. Did you want to play with me?”
I looked at Ansel with an annoyed expression.
“But Ansel, aren’t you busy right now?”
“Huh? Well, I’m always…”
Ansel’s smile faded as he spoke, and his expression turned serious. I watched him with fascination as his face turned pale in an instant.
Ansel spoke with a tearful voice, “Lady… I think I need to go now.”
“You’re busy after all, huh? Sorry for dragging you here.”
“No, it felt like coming back to life after a long time. It’s really heartbreaking to have to go back.”
Ansel gently stroked my fur with his teary hand. I was startled and swatted his hand away. What were you doing with my precious fur?
“Your Grace will find you. Go quickly.”
“Of course. Don’t worry; I’ll take care of the sofa. Aril, I’ll see you again sometime.”
Ansel, who was looking at me with a regretful expression, politely bid farewell and left Mamela’s room.
I tidied up my fur, which had been ruffled by Ansel’s attention. “Handing my precious sofa over to such a clueless human…”
I inwardly scoffed.
However, the next day, when I woke up, I was left speechless by the sight of a brand new, proper sofa in the room.
Beside the new sofa, Ansel was explaining something to Mamela. He didn’t seem to be bragging or acting smug about it; it appeared perfectly natural.
I approached the sofa and lightly scratched it with my claws. I didn’t have any intention of tearing it up; I just wanted to confirm if it was a real sofa.
‘You never know. It might be a straw dummy pretending to be a sofa.’
As I did so, Ansel said, as if he knew what I was doing, “The new sofa is made of different leather, so it’s less prone to scratches. You can let Aril play on it without worries.”
“Ansel, you’re so reliable!”
Mamela exclaimed. I continued to scratch the sofa a little more firmly.
Ansel approached me, and I quickly turned my back to him. He knelt down to my eye level and gently placed his hand on my head.
“Aril, I’m sorry, but I’m busy today, so I can’t play with you. I understand that you want to play with me, but please bear with it for a little while.”
I couldn’t believe he was trying to console me. Who was he to tell me to be patient?
I swatted Ansel’s hand away with my paw. What was the point of petting me?
“Yeah, yeah. We’ll play next time.”
Just go away!
“Lady, I have to go now because I’m busy. Although I really wanted to play with Aril, it seems I have to wait.”
“I’m sure you were busy. Sorry for bringing you here.”
Mamela pushed Ansel out of the door with a cheerful smile on her face. Ansel, who had been sniffing, bent down quickly and disappeared.
I stared at the door he had just left through, finding him truly annoying and peculiar…