The Duke's Companion - Chapter 3 Part 1
I woke up to the soft hand caressing my back. When I looked up, I saw Mamella smiling.
“Aryl, did you have a good nap?”
I rubbed my cheek against Mamela’s outstretched hand while staring at the thick book in her opposite hand.
‘That’s what Mamela is always staring at.’
As I was analyzing the daily life of my cohabitant, which was essential for cats, Mamela had the longest reading time except for sleeping and eating.
‘Is there anything good about looking at that?’
Out of curiosity, I put my paws on Mamela’s legs and glanced at the book.
Looking at the book, I made eye contact with a young boy and some scribbles which I don’t understand. I stared at the book and my mouth gaped at the thick letters that looked repulsive.
Could it be that those are human characters?
‘How can they communicate with that kind of thing…’
Perhaps it was funny that I showed interest in the book, and I could hear a burst of laughter above my head.
“Aryl, do you want me to read you a book?”
Mamela, who had put down the book for a while, lifted me up and placed me on her lap.
As I looked up, I felt a hand stroking my fur. I fell on her lap and purred at the pleasant feeling as she caressed my ears.
“Aryl, do you know about the beasts?” (Beasts = shapeshifter)
Mamela picked up the book again and spoke,
“For a long time, the Holy Empire of Crodelia has served God. Beasts have been a creature that descends from the sky once every 100 years since long ago. It has a human figure, but it’s half an animal with abilities.”
Mamela pointed to the picture in the book. In the centre, a half-human figure was drawn, and the other half was a living creature in the form of an animal.
When I saw that bizarre picture, I was quite shocked.
‘How could that happen…?’
First of all, if it’s half a beast and half a human, wouldn’t the height differ? How do they live?
It was an illustration that I could barely imagine.
Mamela went on without knowing that I was thinking it was impossible, she continued, “It is said that the beasts bring happiness and abundance to humans. But for some unsavoury reason, the beasts haven’t come down for hundreds of years.”
Mamela let out a shallow sigh. When I looked up, Mamela looked a little sad.
“Actually, I’ve wanted to meet them at least once.”
“When I was young, I believed that beasts exist. But my older brother said that all of that was just a superstition. So I no longer believe it.”
Smiling bitterly, Mamela continued the story a little more, pointing to the pictures in the book. Her calm voice began to grow louder as she reached a certain page.
“This was the reason why I wanted to meet a beast. Companion! Their partner was decided the moment they first met. How romantic and fateful is this…!”
I quietly listened to Mamela’s excited voice. But my mind was full of doubts because I couldn’t understand her words.
‘It would be nice if I could understand the human language…’
I looked at the book full of letters that Mamela was holding. I frowned as if my head was spinning.
‘I’m a little frustrated…’
I had a vague feeling that something was about to come to mind. It’s as if I’m trapped somewhere.
I kept trying to think about it, but in the end, I had no choice but to quit because of a sudden headache.
It was just weird… Where did I ever see such creepy, squiggly letters that made me feel that way?
Little by little, my body regained stability. I didn’t have to overdo it yet, but I was able to move around quite actively now.
I stared at my meal that had changed in the meantime.
Previously, she fed me sweet and delicious milk in a baby bottle, but now, a brown feed was poured into a yellow bowl with the same soles as mine.
“Aryl, are you not hungry?”
As I stared at the fodder with a grim expression, Mamela tilted her head and called out again, “Aryl?”
I couldn’t resist Mamela’s gaze and chewed the food. As soon as I chewed it, I had to stop eating it right away.
What kind of taste is this…? It shocked me every time I ate it. Does it taste like moss? No, it tastes like when I licked the sole of my feet.
Something fishy and bitter… It smells like meat, but why does it taste like this?
Mamela was looking at me with her eyes wide open and I couldn’t even spit it out. I was patient and ate it.
How do they make this food?
‘I guess humans have a deficient sense of taste….’
I forcibly poured the food from the bowl into my mouth. Then I sat quietly and looked at Mamela.
There was a reason why I ate the food even if it tasted bad.
Mamela, who was squatting next to me, smiled.
She patted my head and said, “Good job, Aryl. You ate everything, so I’ll give you a snack today.”
Mamela pulled a bag of dried meat out of the drawer. Just hearing the rustling sound made me feel as if the food I just ate was going down.
A snack that she began to take care of occasionally. Even though the feed had no taste, the meat was ecstatic.
I wept brightly and grabbed the piece of meat that Mamela was giving me. It was so small that it disappeared quickly when I put it in my mouth, so I had to eat it slowly.