Author’s note: I decided to go with “it” for the the 3rd person narration, before “it” was given a name. :3
“Stay in this spot okay, kids?” Alasdair placed his hands over his hips as he commanded Alenaire and Luce like a general. They were currently in the middle of the Mystic Forest. “My magic tutor gave me a very important task now that I’m ten years old! I gotta kill ten crystal spiders to increase my mana!” Alasdair said merrily. “I’ll be back! Don’t wander around so much, okay? I’ll be back!”
A small army of Royal Knights came with the children to protect them from any perilous advances from the magic beasts, and a portion of them followed prince Alasdair further into the forest.
The rest of the Royal Knights fanned out across the forest, staying a few meters away from the children in order to give them privacy. They were guarding the princess as well as their general’s son. They felt that it was both an honor and privilege.
“Luce, what should we play?” Alenaire asked as she held Luce’s hand. They were always seen holding each other’s hand, as they were both afraid to lose sight of each other, even if they were just in one room.
“Dunno. Maybe we can catch magic beasts?” Luce said.
“But no magic beast will come near us when the knights are around,” Alenaire said dejectedly.
“Let’s sneak out, Awi!” Luce suggested eagerly as he squeezed her hand.
“Okay!” Alenaire cheerfully agreed.
With their hands held tightly together, they decided to sneak out of the guarding perimeter…and failed.
“Where are you going princess? Luce?” One of the knights asked as he looked at the children who looked a bit sneaky.
“Luce wants to pee!” Alenaire said, squeezing Luce’s hand forcefully to indicate that he should just concur without questions.
“I wanna pee!” Luce played along.
“O-Okay…” The knight looked at his partner. “Shall we escort them?”
“No!” Luce protested. “Awi will come with me!”
“Yes!” Alenaire nodded her head, looking strict.
The knights laughed. “Who is the personal knight between you two? It seems the roles have switched.”
“I can be a knight myself!” Alenaire folded her arms over her chest. “I don’t need anyone to protect me!”
Luce looked at her, a bit pale in the face. “But Awi, papa says I’m your knight. If I’m not, then what am I gonna do?”
“Oh.” Alenaire looked conflicted. “Okay, you can still be my knight!”
Luce held Alenaire’s hand as his face brightened considerably. They began to walk away from the two knights.
The knight whispered to his partner, “Those two have a better love life than the two of us combined, Toni.” He sighed miserably.
Toni laughed. “Don’t be jealous of two kids, Raoul!” He then looked at the two small figures in the distance. “Don’t forget to keep an eye out on those two. Spread your mana to see if magic beasts are lurking somewhere close. We’ll be dead if those two have even a slight scratch on them.”
Raoul shudder involuntarily. “I can’t imagine what Great General Cassius would do if his son were hurt.”
“We’d be flogged to death,” Toni said gravely. Although they had never seen the general punish anyone so severely, they also didn’t want to be the first to experience such a thing.
A bit far from where the knights stood, Luce and Alenaire were busy giggling to each other.
“They fell for it!” Alenaire giggled.
“I know!” Luce looked pleased, but then suddenly his face contorted. “I actually wanna pee now.”
“Okay…” Alenaire looked uncomfortable. “Go pee somewhere far! I don’t wanna see your winkle! It’s gross!”
Luce made a face, and started to say something in protest, but thought better of it as he walked away to find a secure spot where his princess wouldn’t see him tinkle.
Alenaire squatted on the ground, drawing an unidentifiable shape on the ground with a random stick. She heard the tall grass rustle behind her, but didn’t mind it until she heard a voice.
“Master! Huhuhu! Maaaaaster! I can’t believe you left me in Heaven on your third life! You’re a meanie! Do you know how long it took me to find you? I’ve been lost in the forest for years until I could finally smell your soul!”
Alenaire turned around, wide-eyed. She dropped her stick on the ground.
“I mean, meow~” the meow sounded somehow scratchy, as if its inflection had not been tuned for a millennia.
“Ah?” Alenaire saw a fat brown thing slowly wiggle its way through the blades of grass. It gradually formed into a cat.
“Kitty?” Alenaire said happily as the cat languidly made its way towards her.
“Meow~” the cat tried again, this time with a higher and cuter inflection in its voice.
“Cutie!” Despite how muddy the cat was, Alenaire tackled it with her arms and buried her face in its brown belly.
“Awi! What’s that!” Luce called out panting, as he hastened to her side, thinking that she was being attacked.
“It’s a kitty!” Alenaire scratched the cat’s belly, and it immediately reclined on the ground, its limbs spread apart with a blissful expression on its face.
“It’s dirty, Awi!” Luce didn’t look impressed. He tried to pull her already muddy hand away from the cat’s belly, but she refused. “Awi, look! We don’t know where that cat came from! It might be a magic beast pretending to be a cute cat!”
“It’s not ‘it’! It’s a ‘he!’ You should know the difference! Don’t you listen to Nanny Rika when she teaches us stuff?” Alenaire was a bit upset. “Nanny Rika will be sad! You don’t listen as much as I do.”
Luce turned red in the face. “I do listen to her! I just don’t know if the cat is a boy or a girl!” He said defensively.
“I know how. You should know too!” Alenaire said proudly as she peered at the cat’s butt. “It’s the balls! You have to look at the balls to know if it’s a boy or girl! The balls and the winkle are a pair!” She reiterated what Nanny Rika said to her own child in passing.
The cat screeched as it felt all eyes on its butt, and it stood on its hind legs, hissing in outrage. The children laughed as they found this stance rather amusing.
“Don’t you have balls, too?” Alenaire turned to Luce. “All guys have that. Big brother says the bigger the more manlier.”
Luce turned crimson as he stuttered, “I-I do…but…I don’t think it’s that big…” His voice turned faint.
“That’s okay!” Alenaire patted Luce’s shoulder with a sympathizing look. “It doesn’t matter to me!”
Since the children could not carry the cat, as it was too heavy for their small stature, they just told it to follow them. They walked back happily to where the Royal Knights stood on standby.
“Are you gonna bring the cat to the castle, Awi?” Luce looked troubled.
“Yeah! He’s cute! And fat! I like fat people!” Alenaire said as she stroked the cat’s head. She turned her head to assess Luce’s body. “But it doesn’t mean I dislike people who aren’t fat! I like everyone!”
“Okay,” Luce said, happy that he was included in the people she liked.
“We should give him a name!” Alenaire said. “It’s too sad if we just call him kitty.”
“How about kitty cat?” Luce suggested.
“No way!” Alenaire objected emphatically, making Luce look crestfallen.
Alenaire looked like she was thinking very hard on the matter, and then her face brightened. “Ah! I remember mommy telling me a story before. It was about a dragon! I just forgot his name.”
The cat perked its ears as it anticipated the name. It was as if that certain story was made for him! He couldn’t wait. His tail flicked back and forth with excitement.
Alenaire’s shoulders drooped. “I still can’t remember. Ah! But what I do remember is the toad’s name! It was Bastian!”
The cat looked tense, its tail curled downwards as it felt a portentous foreshadowing of future events.
“Okay, his name is Bastian!” Luce nodded his head in agreement.
So he was named after a toad?! Bastian inwardly wailed in horror.