The White Cat That Swore Vengeance Was Just Lazing on the Dragon King’s Lap – Volume 01 – Chapter 10

Chapter 10 – Journey

Two years had flown by since Ruri had started living with Chelsie.
Chelsie taught her the ways of this world, and she continued to search for medicinal plants and fruits in the forest to sell at the marketplace, making her a familiar face around the city.
She went to Lydia’s dimension to keep her company from time to time, helping her in sorting through the rooms slated to be erased. In her spare time she would test how far her control of spirits and magic went, and, of course, teach Kotaro tricks.
She had been living such a peaceful and positive life that she barely ever thought about Asahi or her classmates, if at all. But on one day, Chelsie brought up the subject.
“Ruri, have you been thinking about what your next moves might be?” “Next moves?”
“It’s been two years since you came here. You said that you wanted ‘revenge,’ or what have you, but I don’t get that sense from you now. Also, don’t you think it’s about time that you figured out how you’re going to lead your life here?”
This was a bit of a shock. She’d known this question was coming, but now that the time had finally come, Ruri was in an awkward spot.
She’d hoped to live in this tranquility for just a little while longer. But she decided to hide that, muttering under her breath, “But it’s still not set in stone that I can’t get back to my world…”
This too was one of her closely-held hopes. It was always possible that Chelsie just didn’t know the way back, that there was someone out there who did. Ruri had been holding onto that dream.
“Then why aren’t you doing anything? You haven’t searched for a way back nor have you taken any action against Nadasha. Instead, it seems like you’re trying to spend the rest of your life here. Didn’t you want to go back to your world?”
It did indeed seem that way. As Chelsie said, Ruri had spent the last two years not doing anything very exciting, but Ruri had enjoyed every minute of it. The thought crossed her mind now and then, but she had pretty much put revenge out of her head.
“Of course I’d like to go back. I have a family I miss, and I got snatched away just after I started attending the college they worked so hard to get me into. There is still so much that I have left to do.”

“Then I don’t think you should be spending all your time living in this forest if there’s nothing here for you.”
Ruri hung her head. After a short silence, she blurted out all the feelings she’d been keeping under lock and key.
“But… But if I were to find a way back to the other world, then Asahi would come back too, and my life would go right back to the same rut… I finally managed to get away, so why wouldn’t I want to enjoy my life now a little longer?!”
Her desire to go back was a fact and there was no denying that. Ruri understood that, since Chelsie knew of no way to get back, she would eventually need to leave the forest and search for a way herself.
But even if she were to find it, the thought of her life going right back to the way it had been, to having Asahi around her every waking moment, was deeply depressing. Now that she was finally able to live free of her, it tore her up inside to just let that freedom go.
Not wanting to go back to living with Asahi was the biggest reason why Ruri was so hesitant to take her next steps. And if she were to find a way back to her world, and her life with Asahi started anew, she wanted to enjoy her life here in the forest to the fullest beforehand.
This said, the fact remained that part of her was refusing to make any progress because she was having such a lovely time. If Chelsie hadn’t spoken up about it, she probably would have just kept putting it off.
“For crying out loud… From that grim look on your face I thought it’d be something serious… Then again, I suppose it is quite serious from your perspective,” Chelsie said, slightly exasperated.
“You really don’t want to have anything to do with this Asahi, do you?”
“Of course I don’t! I want to go home, but I don’t at the same time. I’m so conflicted!” Ruri exclaimed, pounding the table with her hands in a desperate attempt to get Chelsie to understand how she was feeling.
“Aah, okay, okay. Yes, I do see how you feel. But like I’ve said several times already, there’s no way for you to get back. It’s fine that you’re not ready to believe that, but I think you should be considering your options just in case you really can’t go back home.”
“Well, you have a point. I can’t keep putting you out, Chelsie-san.” She knew that she couldn’t depend on Chelsie’s goodwill forever.
“I don’t necessarily mind. I live out here by myself, so you being around makes the day-to- day much easier. I’m just worried about whether you should really be living out here in this forest. Then again, I shouldn’t be hiding a Beloved out here for much longer, either.”
“A Beloved?” Ruri repeated, cocking her head in confusion at the new piece of terminology. “Simply put, it refers to someone beloved by the spirits, like you, Ruri. Under normal circumstances, it’s not uncommon for these individuals to be put under custody of the state. Since angering a Beloved means angering the spirits, and it’s unknown as to what kind of damage could come as a result of any given situation. Remember when your off-hand comment rendered all magic unusable in Nadasha? There have been Beloveds who took things to extremes, gotten angry enough to have entire nations destroyed. Since no one knows when or what could set that off, nations prefer to know their whereabouts.”

“When you put it like that, they sound like security risks that need special handling.”
“They are security risks, but they aren’t treated poorly. Doing so would anger the spirits as well, naturally, and the land flourishes wherever spirits gather. They are handled with the utmost care, being so profitable. Not reporting you to the nation was my decision. I considered the fact that you’re not of this world. So I figured I would wait until you’re settled in and have a good grasp on how this world and the spirits in it function before asking what you planned on doing. I could have explained this to you on the day you came to this forest, but seeing as how afraid you were after being abandoned in a different world all on your own, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have taken my explanation to heart anyway.”
“Perhaps, yes.” What Chelsie was saying was right. What with her being thrown into a state of total panic, on top of having been recently summoned to this strange world, if Chelsie were to have told her anything about “Beloveds” or “being put under special custody because spirits have to be managed carefully,” it would have just made her terrified of everything and everyone in this new world. She never would have grown to trust Chelsie. In fact, she probably would have fled, thinking it was all a trap.
“Then, am I going to be put under state custody?” It wasn’t very clear what kind of situation the term “custody” entailed, so Ruri shot a rather worried look at Chelsie.
“You needn’t be afraid. As I just told you, you’ll be treated with the utmost care. …Actually, would you mind going on a little errand for me?”
“An errand to the city, you mean?” “No, to the royal capital.”
That made Ruri’s eyes widen.
“My son just asked me to send him some medicinal plants, and I’d like you to take them to him. While you’re out there, take the opportunity to look around the capital and experience life in the big city. Then, you can decide whether you should have the state take custody of you, or if you want to live as an ordinary person. You’ll probably have better luck searching for a way home at the capital than here, anyway.”
“You want me to run an errand to the royal capital, alone?”
“That’s right. I’ll tell my son to put you up. He’s an aide to the King, so you can trust in him.” Ruri was surprised to hear that he was someone of such high status, but what was really occupying Ruri’s thoughts was indecisiveness and worry over leaving her comfortable life and starting it anew elsewhere. She would be going to the royal capital, all alone, in this world where everything was still new and things didn’t work in the ways she was accustomed to. The thought of that was not only disheartening—it was frightening.

“…If I prefer life in the forest, then may I come back?” Ruri asked, gauging Chelsie’s reaction.
“Sure thing. You can come back home whenever you feel like it,” Chelsie replied with a kind smile, bringing relief to Ruri’s heart. After two years, this place truly had become her home, in this world at least. The fact that Chelsie said she could “come back home whenever” proved that even further, filling Ruri with quiet joy.
Now reassured that she had a place she could return to, she had the peace of mind needed to set out. And so, a few days later, with the requested plants and Chelsie’s letter to her son in hand, she parted ways with Chelsie temporarily.
“You have a safe trip.” “Yes, ma’am~”
“Bmoo bmoooo!” Kotaro howled, bending his huge body nearly in half and nuzzling his snout against Ruri, clearly saying that he wanted to come, too.
“I’m sorry, but you’re just too big to take with me to the royal capital, Kotaro. It’ll cause a huge ruckus. I’ll make sure to come back home though, so in the meantime, help out Chelsie-san in my stead.”
“Bmooo!” Letting out a forlorn cry, Kotaro backed away from Ruri. After seeing him go to Chelsie’s side, Ruri flew into the sky.
“Okay, off I go!” Although she felt tendrils of unrest and sadness, Ruri gave a big farewell wave and headed off toward the royal capital.
Her flying skills were pretty shaky at first, but she had gotten used to it over the past two years. Nowadays, she was so accustomed to flying that when she went into town she would fly solo, without having to ride on Chelsie.
Ruri had gotten to the point where she could go quite fast, but the royal capital was still far away. It took her several days, including a handful of breaks in cities along the way, until she eventually reached it.
She wasn’t in any particular rush, so the entire experience felt more like a leisure trip.
The capital was lined with Western European-styled buildings, and as she walked the stone- paved streets, she mostly just felt like she had traveled to a foreign country. If the people walking down the streets had all been in human form, then Ruri honestly would have mistaken it for a city in her own world, but every time she saw a person with animal ears, a tail, or some other beast or reptilian feature, she was sharply reminded that this wasn’t the Earth she knew—like it or not.

The royal capital dwarfed the other cities that Ruri had seen here in terms of both population and scale. If she were to come to a place like this with spirits in tow, it would probably cause even more commotion than when she entered Chelsie’s city for the first time. She instructed the spirits to come with her, but to keep their distance. That was met with more disapproval than she expected, leaving Ruri with no other choice but to wear a baggy robe and stuff whoever won rock-paper-scissors inside and out of sight.
She’d lent her wig to Kotaro, because he seemed so sad and lonely with her leaving, so she pulled the hood of her robe up over her head so that no one could see her hair.
Since living in the royal capital would be a costly endeavor, once Ruri reached the capital, she first focused on selling off some things for money.
She decided to sell an item of the many she’d inherited from Lydia’s previous contract-bearer —a spear that Lydia had no attachment to and had given her blessing for her to sell. Not only had Ruri never used a weapon before, but, even if she had, this spear would be useless; it was far too big for Ruri to handle. Ruri was grateful she would be able to exchange it for cash.
She told the spirits to suppress their magical presence so that the demi-humans and their sharp senses wouldn’t detect them. Then she entered the weapon shop, which Chelsie had described to her, and was greeted by an elderly man with stubble.
“Welcome. How can I help you?”
“I have something I’d like to sell. Chelsie-san told me that this is a trustworthy shop.” “Oh, you know Chelsie! Haven’t seen the old bird in a while, how’s she holding up?” “Quite well. Fit as a fiddle, in fact.”
“Hah, that’s what I like to hear.”
Ruri quickly pulled the spear from her pocket and placed it on the counter. One look at the spear caused the shopkeep’s eyes to widen in clear surprise.
“Well, I’ll be damned… This is a spear from eons ago. But it’s in excellent condition, and the craftsmanship is top of the line. How did you find yourself with such an incredible piece of merchandise?”
She didn’t want to tell him the truth—that she’d entered into a contract with the Spirit of Time—so she stood there looking torn over what to say. The shopkeep saw this conflict in her and interpreted it in a way that made him nod his head in comprehension.
“Just a guess, but did you get this from a spirit’s mischief?” “A spirit’s mischief?”
“It means one day suddenly finding an unfamiliar item in your pocket of space. It can happen with anything, from national treasures to pieces of garbage. That’s why legend states it’s some kind of spirit up to mischief.”

Hearing this, Ruri had a feeling that Lydia threw things from one room, slated to be erased, into other rooms. That would probably be reason enough to call it a “spirit’s mischief” in the outside world.
That Lydia, she’s probably been doing this for a long time…
“You’re a lucky one, li’l missy. I would love to have a run-in with a spirit’s mischief at least once in my life.”
“Ahaha…” It seemed the shopkeep had the wrong impression, so she chuckled to play along.
“Still, kinda puts me in an awkward position. I’d love to buy this off of you since you’re the old bird’s acquaintance, but…”
“You won’t?”
“This spear would sell for a very high price. But I’m afraid I don’t have enough money to buy this spear off you lying around in this tiny shop of mine.”
And so, apparently out of the kindness of his heart, the shopkeep closed up shop surprisingly early and brought Ruri to a bigger shop.
“Hey, I’m here and I got something to sell ya!” The shopkeep said, with surprising intensity.
There was a back-and-forth between the merchant who wanted to buy it as cheaply as possible and the shopkeep who demanded a high price. In the end, the shopkeep pulled out his trump card. “Alright, then I’ll take my business elsewhere.”
That made the merchant fold, and they successfully sold the spear for enough money for one to indulge themselves in grand style for several years.
“And there ya have it. How’s that? Count on me and you get results!” “T-Thank you so very much!”
With a smile of satisfaction, the shopkeep handed Ruri a pouch loaded to the brim with a massive amount of money.
Ruri considered that she would probably have taken a bum deal on her own, so she tried to give a portion to the shopkeep, but he refused, stating, “No need for that, li’l missy. This is something I did of my own accord.”
Ruri looked troubled, unsure of the right thing to do.
Upon seeing that, the shopkeep said, “Alright, just use that money to buy a bunch of stuff from my shop next time you visit.”
“Yes, sir. Consider it done.” “Attagirl.”
Ruri made a deep, thankful bow and parted ways with the shopkeep… and was almost immediately accosted by two tough-looking men.
“Yo, yo, li’l girly. Our wallets are pretty high ’n’ dry.”
“Looks like you’ve got a boatload of cash on ya right now, eh? Why don’cha toss some coin our way?” They’d apparently overheard the conversation between the shopkeep and the merchant and saw that the money had passed to Ruri, and not the shopkeep, so they tailed her.
It was probably no surprise that negotiating over such a large sum of money was going to draw some attention.

The shopkeep, who knew how the royal capital worked, should have realized that their dealings would bring about this kind of danger, but he was unfortunately too wrapped up in the thrill of beating the merchant and it had completely slipped his mind.
Ruri tried to slowly step back and away from the leering thugs but found herself backed into an even less-populated corner of town.
(Oh boy, this might get ugly…) This was probably the first time she’d truly broken out in a cold sweat since Chelsie had taken her in, but she was also sweating for a different reason—the spirits were squirming around in her robe.
(Yikes, hold on a second!)
She quickly folded her arms around the spirits in an attempt to conceal their movements. Then, she looked behind the two thugs and exclaimed, “Oh!” The two hoodlums turned around, falling for the bait, hook, line, and sinker. With them distracted, Ruri sprinted at full-speed in the opposite direction.
“Ah! Wait, you dirty rat!”
“Who in the hell would wait for you guys?!” As she navigated the corners of the unpopulated stretch of street and made her getaway, some non-too-gentle words came from beneath her robe.
“Any enemy of Ruri’s is an enemy of ours, right?”
“Let’s put them out of commission.”
“Yeah, let’s get ’em!”
“No means no, darn it!” Ruri panted, Chelsie’s warning flashing through her mind.
“The spirits are receptive to your emotions, so they might take drastic measures to defend you. The capital can get plenty dangerous, so you need to make sure to keep them in check so that never comes to pass.”
(I don’t think I can keep them in check, Chelsie-san!) It wasn’t just the spirits under her robe either. Thanks to her contract with Lydia, she was now able to sense the presence of all kinds of spirits, and she could feel a whole bunch of them rallying in her direction.
“Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap.” To further complicate the situation, this was Ruri’s first day in the capital and she was clueless as to the lay of the land. She had no idea where she was even running.
She had planned on going back to the main street packed with people, but she kept slipping into one dark back alley after another.
Meanwhile, her street-tough pursuers knew the town like the backs of their hands. Her game of tag with them was taking her body to its limits.

She was left with not much choice as she pulled out a baseball-sized orb from her pocket space and turned the corner. As soon as she did, she chucked the ball toward the alley in the direction of the two thugs chasing after her.
She closed her eyes and pinched her nose. Immediately, a blinding flash of light and a burst of acrid smoke exploded from the hoodlums’ alley.
She waited a bit before checking, and when she did she found the pair knocked out and an indescribable odor lingering in the air.
“Urk…” In the face of this stench, which surpassed even the odor of Chelsie’s rancid-tasting medicinal tea, Ruri wasn’t the only one wrenching her face away. It was clearly pretty unpleasant for the spirits as well, and she could feel the presences of all the spirits that had rallied to her aid dissipate all at once.
Underneath her robe, she could hear the spirits suffering from the smell. “Pee-yew!” and “I want to pass out, too,” among other complaints.
That orb, which Lydia gave her to protect herself in the capital, had cracked open when she threw it, emitting a bright light and a foul odor in its wake. It seemed to take instant effects on demi-humans, what with their acute senses. However, it was proving too effective and was causing some immense distress to the user—Ruri, in this case.
“I’m gonna barf…” She regretted not putting up a barrier beforehand, but there was no use in crying over spilled milk.
Not wanting the stench to inconvenience the rest of the neighborhood, she quickly used some wind to blow it away, finally allowing her to breathe easy.
“I don’t think they’re dead. Uh, right…?” She didn’t think that smell would kill them, but the felled duo wasn’t budging an inch, which was concerning.
Just as she was looking into their faces to check if they were still alive, “Heh heh heh…” sounded a deep male chuckle from behind her, causing Ruri to quickly turn around.
He was decked in all black, and his face was covered. His eyes, visible through a slit in his face covering, were a deep greenish-blue color and shone strikingly.
Ruri felt like she was being drawn into the stranger’s eyes, but she snapped to her senses and focused on his body as a whole. That was when she noticed he had a long sword sheathed on his hip, painting him as a suspicious individual in almost any situation.
The suspicious man’s ominous aura made Ruri take a few steps back.
“Who are you?”
“It seemed like those thugs were chasing after you, so I followed. You’re not hurt, are you?”
Ruri had asked for the man’s identity, completely on guard, but his answer showed clear concern for her well-being, and upon hearing it, the obviously on-edge Ruri relaxed her guard
“You were trying to help me?”
“Yes, but my help clearly wasn’t necessary, as I can now see,” the man replied, glancing at the two men laid out at Ruri’s feet.
It wasn’t a very charitable thought to have toward someone who was so willing to help you out of a sticky situation, but, in the back of Ruri’s mind, she wished that he’d shown up a tad bit sooner.

If he had, then she wouldn’t have needed to employ her nauseating final measure.
As she looked at the still unresponsive hoodlums, she even pitied their acute demi-human noses. This was a testament to how repulsive the stench in the alleyway was. She could feel it clinging to her nose hairs even now.
“Uh, yeah, thanks.” She was certain he was talking about her defeating the pair of hoodlums, but when the man, now standing in front of her, took a lock of her hair into his hand, she understood he was instead speaking about her hair.
Which is what made her realize, with a start, that her hood had slipped off during the escape and that her distinctive hair was out in the open for all to see.
The man ran his fingers through her tresses as if to test their texture, raising warning flags in Ruri’s head.

Ruri got some distance from the man in order to shake off his fingers and once again pulled her hood firmly over her head.
This was not good—not good in the slightest.
The words “slave trade,” “abduction,” and “suspicious man before me” coursed through Ruri’s head, sending an instant wave of panic down upon her.
She had already been nearly assaulted once today and nothing guaranteed her that the man standing in front of her didn’t pose a similar threat.
They were in an unpopulated back alley and she was finding it understandably hard to trust someone covered from head to toe in black. Just because he said he was going to rescue her didn’t give him any real credit as a trustworthy person. Chelsie was no longer by her side, and her wariness was at an all-time high. It wasn’t as if slave traders would have “Slave Trader” written on their foreheads, after all.
She needed to get to somewhere populated as quickly as possible. That was Ruri’s only priority at the moment.
“What is your name?”
“I-I’m in a hurry, so if you’ll excuse me!”
“Oh, wait a…” She could hear the man call out from behind her, but she steadily ignored him.
Although she didn’t feel him chasing after her, Ruri made haste to get away from the suspicious man nonetheless.

◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

Meanwhile, Chelsie, who had sent Ruri on her way, had written a letter for her son, Claus. Since she was using a magic item that sent things from one water-filled tray to another, it arrived well before Ruri herself.
The letter was extremely simple and to the point: She sent a person named “Ruri” to him on a task, so take care of her in the meantime. She didn’t write a single word about her being a Beloved. That was only written on the letter she had given Ruri.
Had she told him in advance, then he most likely would have gone to meet her in bombastic fashion, out of respect for her status as a Beloved.
If Ruri, who wasn’t a fan of things being overblown in the first place, was greeted in such a way, she would undoubtedly feel uncomfortable and turn right around, back the way she came.
Beloveds didn’t tend to stay long in the Nation of the Dragon King. It didn’t matter if Chelsie did warn them; there were people who would either not listen or be far too conscientious over the arrival of a Beloved into their domain.
Since these were the circumstances, keeping it a secret up until the last moment was the best way to avoid raising any unnecessary concerns.
“I hope Ruri manages all right…” Having finished and sent her letter off to Claus, Chelsie breathed a sigh for the umpteenth time that day.
“I definitely should have accompanied her to Claus. That child seems to have her wits about her, but she’s also a trifle lacking in some areas…” Chelsie said to herself, already regretting sending Ruri out on her own.
After two years of living with Ruri, she felt almost like her mother. All of Chelsie’s children were boys. On top of that, the dragonkin possessed sturdy bodies from a young age, so it was normal to take a hands-off approach to their upbringing. However, Ruri, being a human, was weak—extraordinarily weak in comparison to a dragonkin. A little spill on the ground was enough to hurt her.
Chelsie had never had much interaction with humans in general, so when she saw Ruri’s finger bleed from being poked by a tiny splinter jutting from a wooden door, she was positively astonished at how fragile she really was.
Other demi-humans didn’t have the tough and robust bodies that dragonkin had, but they weren’t nearly as delicate as humans. Thanks to that, she was always worried over when Ruri might get hurt, and she was on pins and needles that time the human girl had chased after the pickpocket in the city.
She felt more worry over Ruri than she had ever felt for her own offspring. Ruri had a lot of mana and many spirits by her side, but those factors only served to stir up her anxieties even more.
Chelsie truly hadn’t wanted to kick Ruri out of the house. If Ruri wanted to hold on to the slight sliver of hope that she would one day return back to her own world, then Chelsie should have just waited until she naturally came to her senses. A dragonkin’s lifespan was long, and Ruri, with all of her mana, would live much longer than a regular human being. She would have all the time in the world to sort through her feelings.
However, Chelsie had decided that she needed to let her meet the Dragon King as soon as possible, all because of the reports she’d received from her grandson, Joshua, who had been gathering intel in Nadasha. These reports told of the Priestess Princess, summoned to Nadasha, searching for her friend only to find that said friend had been abducted by the Nation of the Dragon King, much to her dismay. In reality, Nadasha was covering up the truth in an attempt to use the Priestess Princess’ influence to further their own interests. His report this time around detailed that Nadasha was using the Priestess Princess’ willingness to save her friend to incite a war against the Nation of the Dragon King.

“Those damn Nadashians never learn… I don’t know if this Asahi girl is simple, or just plain stupid, but she’s probably been spoiled for so long that she doesn’t even care as long as what’s
going on isn’t to her disadvantage.” She seemed to either be blind to what went on around her or simply had a tendency to believe whatever was most comfortable for her.
After all, logically speaking, if your friend just up and disappeared, your first and biggest suspects should be the people of the country she’d disappeared from. According to her grandson’s reports, the girl was averse to studying, not willing to learn much about Nadasha, the country she resided in, much less the Nation of the Dragon King. Given that, she had no business assuming that the Nation of the Dragon King was the culprit. For Chelsie, a citizen of that nation, it angered her to no end.
From Chelsie’s perspective as someone who knew the truth, this whole thing was a farce.
To put it lightly, Asahi was pure enough to take what she was given without objections, which made her the perfect puppet for a country like Nadasha.
Chelsie hadn’t informed Ruri of all this—not yet. Reason being, she was afraid of the news sending Ruri off the handle and making her head off to Nadasha to launch a protest. Chelsie naturally wanted to avoid a situation where Ruri’s emotions might cause the spirits to spiral out of control. But the Dragon King’s not knowing of a Beloved, in the off-chance that the spirits did go berserk, would be a problem. Ruri was at the root of this matter. Since she was undoubtedly going to be involved in this one way or another, Chelsie sent Ruri off to the royal capital so that the Dragon King could preemptively deal with these issues.
But would the Dragon King alone be able to stop all of this? That was the real question…
“Maybe I should go to check on her once in a while, just to be sure…” Chelsie was wrought with indecision.

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