At that moment, everything flashed before my eyes.
My breath, which had been tight, eased as my gaze lifted quickly, and my view became clearer.
Light poured through many glass windows, dazzling me so much that I had to tightly shut my eyelids again.
Gradually, a sensation of floating in the air emerged, and Killian, who was holding me, looked at me with surprise.
Startled, I pointed at him with my finger and unintentionally touched his hair.
Killian, also startled, stood frozen, trying to check on me but unable to speak.
My silvery hair fell in soft waves towards his face.
I had become human.
Without any particular reason.
I was still floating in the air when I felt a soft snap of a chemise around my ankle.
That was when I felt a firm touch encircling my waist.
Killian’s large hands were holding onto my waist.
Startled, as our eyes met.
Realizing too late, Killian quickly let go of my waist.
But did he have to let me go like that?
I fell hard on the carpet, the sharp pain in my tailbone making me involuntarily groan.
It seems I’ve really become human.
The pain of hitting my tailbone is something humans must feel!
Unable to voice my frustration, I looked up at him, and outside, we heard murmurs.
“Your Highness! What’s the matter?”
“I stumbled… and it ended up like this.”
Was it possible that even the Crown Prince, who seemed to never make mistakes, said that?
The guards, looking puzzled, saluted and went back to their positions.
Killian, with a mix of emotions, closed the door, sighed, and ran a hand across his face.
Lost in thought, he gazed at the view from the study, and suddenly, a corner of his mouth lifted.
Behind the sofa, he saw someone with long hair catching his attention.
Reinette seemed quite flustered, perhaps overlooking the fact that her legs were visible from the sofa.
It was as if she thought covering her face would hide her, like a child playing hide-and-seek.
With deliberate steps, Killian walked towards the sofa, gradually getting closer.
“Surely, you’re not hiding here.”
Leaning slightly with one hand on the sofa and the other around her waist, Killian leisurely asked.
She, who had been sitting hugging her knees, suddenly raised her head to look at him.
“Did you get caught?”
As Reinette began to look around the spot where she was sitting, a brief sigh escaped her lips.
“Oh… It was a sofa with legs.”
Her regretful tone made Killian almost chuckle, nodding calmly.
“I didn’t realize it was a floating sofa. But, you weren’t caught, right?”
Reinette stood up, asking with a puzzled expression, wrinkling her nose.
Despite her worried tone while asking questions, her hand absentmindedly brushing off her chemise was oddly nonchalant.
Killian replied ambiguously, causing Reinette to pause and slightly narrow her eyes, seemingly suspicious.
Then, she stepped closer to him.
Approaching him, in an instant, Reinette looked up at Killian from his chest, causing a momentary freeze in his gaze.
“Your Highness, do you happen to know about this?”
As she made a tiny gap with her fingers, Killian belatedly furrowed his brow.
“What is that?”
“Your Highness, sometimes you speak a little, just a tiny bit, well, somewhat irritatingly. Have you noticed?”
Reinette tried to express her feelings without upsetting the prince, softening Killian’s stern gaze.
Even though she referred to the times when he said unlucky things.
He replied, sounding completely unaware.
Renette nodded, continuing.
“Yes. But when you do, I don’t get angry or upset. Do you know why?”
“Why is that?”
“It’s only when there’s absolutely no reason for me to worry that you joke like that.”
Killian’s smile faded slightly.
“So, when you said ‘Well,’ you meant there was absolutely no chance I’d be caught in the study today.”
“Every time you playfully tease me, there has never been a real danger.”
Reinette concluded and distanced herself as usual.
His teasing gaze softened, his eyelids slightly hesitated.
Seeing Reinette move away, with a subtle smile, Killian hid his sinking feeling.
She understood his habits, even the ones he wasn’t aware of, making him feel oddly strange.
No, it made things oddly different.
She looked ethereal in the study bathed in radiant sunlight, standing near a green sofa, her appearance contrasting with the surroundings.
Her silvery hair glistened like white snow under the winter sky, her pale skin now having a subtle rosy tint.
She seemed delicate, like a fragile biscuit or the dewdrops on the nearby table.
Her eyes, shifting from blue to green, seemed to capture the essence of a lush summer forest.
Attempting to relax the atmosphere, Killian casually suggested,
“Take a break.”
However, the hurried footsteps following him made him pause.
“Your Highness, resting on that sofa by the door might not be suitable.”
Killian paused as he realized the furniture layout didn’t offer any hidden spots in the study.
Quickly, he fetched an armchair and placed it nearby.
Reinette sat down and joked,
“I’ll hide under the desk if someone else comes.”
“No one can enter here without my permission. How are you feeling?”
As Killian sorted through documents, he subtly inquired about her condition.
“Oh… I’m okay. Well, definitely fine.”
“So, what was that earlier?”
“What do you mean?”
“I thought you were going to fall off your desk.”
“Oh, I thought I was going to do that too. But I guess it was me trying to become human.”
As she explained with widened eyes, Killian placed the documents aside, studying Reinette intently.
“Could Sanua have done something?”
Reinette’s speculation might be correct.
Considering Sanua played a significant role in her transformation into a human, it was possible that Sanua’s influence contributed to Reinette’s recent change.
“If that’s the case, perhaps Baron might have sent a correspondence.”
Killian opened the top right drawer of his desk. Placing his hand inside the empty drawer revealed a magical inscription made of lines and dots. It was arranged so that when Baron’s letters are touched by Killian, they become visible, but remain invisible to anyone else’s touch.
As Killian touched the drawer, Baron’s previously sent letters appeared, drawing a gasp from Reinette.
Yet, as she attempted to close it, a faint blue light revealed a new letter dropping inside.
To allow Reinette to see the letter, Killian tore the Duhsen-Gar seal and unfolded the paper. It mentioned Sanua momentarily refining and discerning his inner power and suggested that since there had been no change in animals, the influence might have been on the Cat Lady.
The letter warned that if the power reached the Cat Lady and turned her into a human, Sanua’s power could still be unstable, indicating caution as she might alternate between human and cat.
“Sanua seems to be progressing a bit.”
Killian murmured, turning his gaze to Reinette.
In that moment, Reinette, who had been sitting on the armchair looking bewildered, transformed back into a small white kitten, just as Baron mentioned—an unstable power that shifted her between human and cat.
* * *
“I’ll be back.”
Killian mentioned that he had to join the Emperor and his aides for tea in the greenhouse.
As he left and closed the door, I lay in bed feeling a sense of disappointment and restlessness.
Finally, it felt like I was becoming human even in daylight.
“Meow, meow, meow.”
Becoming human is quite challenging.
Sanua needs to refine and distinguish her power as soon as possible so that I can use it freely. Despite the rapid progress, there’s still a long way to go until I can fully live as a complete human being.
However, I believe I won’t be able to access Sanua’s powers until her mental strength improves because of me.
Looking up at the canopy on the ceiling, I suddenly got up from the bed.
But if I become human…?
If I can live completely as a human, what should I do then?
Originally, I had firmly decided to escape from the empire as soon as I found a way to become human. But now, what should I do?
Can I still stick to that plan?