Eventually, we arrived at the market where many rat Shapeshifters were said to be infested.
“Rat Shapeshifters run away as soon as they notice signs of movements, so please keep a little distance and follow us from far away.”
“Yes, I understand.”
I asked the personal escort driver in advance.
He was the knight Dimitri had attached to take with me whenever I went out.
And so, I followed Coco, who was full of curiosity and confidently took the lead.
‘What would a rat beast actually look like’
I have heard that, unlike other beasts, even if they were in a human form, they were very small.
They have a small figure that only reached my knees.
Moreover, it was mentioned that they did not use human language but developed their own language instead.
‘As long as you do not fall asleep, you will be fine as it is stated that dream demons only harm people who sleep.’
I was blown away by the thought that Coco would find a bunch of rat beasts tonight and would get lots of demon hearts.
“Trust me, angel.”
Because Coco looked so confident.
…However, it did not take me long to find out that it was a bluff.
* * *
‘What the hell are they doing’
Dimitri was going crazy with frustration.
‘Are they going to hunt with that kind of thing’
Coco’s actions were so pathetic.
‘He was practically announcing for all the rats in this area to run away.
How can he make that sound when he is catching them…’
Thinking that, he tightened the straps of the flowing bag strap, then sneakily followed Rowaine and Coco.
‘This is so upsetting.
I cannot watch this anymore.’
Unbearable, he secretly caught a rat that ran away after seeing Coco.
The rat beast, who had turned into a rat and fled, let out a short scream and fell over.
The next moment, it quickly turned into a human.
It would have been calculated that Dimitri would not be able to attack anymore if he was a normal cat, since turning into a human would make him a little taller.
Even if Dimitri was a Shapeshifter, the rat beast might have thought that it would be better to quickly reveal that he was a beast, as beasts do not eat each other.
The male rat beast was terrified and took a desperate pleading posture.
The next moment, he brought out a bat-like dream demon hiding in his shadow and offered it to him.
Nonetheless, Dimitri did not take the demon, though just silently struck the rat beast with his front paw and knocked it down before turning it around like a spinning top.
The rat Shapeshifter shook and let out a strange scream.
After being distracted for a while, Dimitri dragged the rat beast and tossed it near where Coco was wandering.
Coco, who had turned into a cat and focused on the search, found a staggering rat beast and shook his butt violently.
It was an action to gain momentum—wriggle, wriggle.
Dimitri rubbed his forehead.
‘How long will he wriggle!’
While Coco shook his butt, the rat beast came to his senses and ran away.
Seeing that, Dimitri clenched his fists with his round paws and slammed the wall.
The front paws covered in soft fur absorbed the sound, so Coco did not notice.
However, at that moment, something suspicious caught Dimitri’s eyes.
A quick shadow.
It paused for a moment as Rowaine raised her head and glanced around her, hiding its body in the corner of the building, and then crept back towards her as she turned back to Coco.
Noticing that, his pupils, who found an object to be wary of, opened wide.
He quietly put his front paw on the strap of his bag.
If something suspicious happened, he intended to turn into a human and run towards them with his clothes on.
* * *
I cheered inside as I watched Coco, who repeatedly failed to hunt over and over again.
Then, the opportunity finally came.
As if it had stumbled while running away, a rat Shapeshifter fell from the sky.
‘That is a rat beast!’
Although it was the first time I had seen the rat beast, I could recognize it at once.
A fairy-like small body, wrinkled gray skin, and black eyes like peas…
Coco, hiding behind an obstacle, stuck out his head while his ears folded low.
As he was shaking his hips as far as possible to avoid being caught by the rat beast, his bountiful tail swayed in the sky.
I was mesmerized by the wriggling little butt.
But, while Coco was hesitating, the rat beast put something invisible to its head and ran away.
Perhaps, the thing on his head seemed to be a dream demon that was invisible to the human eye.
“Oh, I could’ve caught it! That’s too bad.”
Coco glanced back at me with an awkward face.
‘Since he did not even get to catch it, it is kind of sad to say that he missed it…’
Nonetheless, contrary to my heart, I encouraged Coco.
I’m sorry about that, Coco! It was a close call, though.
Next time, you’ll be able to catch—”
It was then.
From the direction in which the rat beast escaped, a loud cry was heard.
The next moment, behind the rubbish piled high on the side of the road, a rustling chuckle could be heard.
“Who is it”
Coco asked, staring into the darkness.
As I got a little closer and looked as well, I could see someone standing tall with a piece of rag over his body.
The silhouette was clearly a child even though the surroundings were dark since the sun was setting.
I wondered if he would be around twelve years old.
The child was standing on one of the rat beasts’ feet.
Meanwhile, I could see the rat beast struggling under his feet.
The boy glanced at me alertly, and I stood silently from afar.
Seeing that, he extended his hand to the rat beast.
As if begging the child to live, the rat beast rubbed his hand and handed him something invisible to my eyes.
Then, the child released the rat beast and bit the thing in his hand.
Of course, it was a movement that looked like a mime to my eyes.
Suddenly, a dark red stone that shone slightly fell from the air.
The child who picked up the stone, perhaps the devil’s heart, turned back to me again.
‘Is he being wary of me stealing it’
Thinking that, I stepped back a little for the kid.
Despite that, the child kept staring at me.
He sometimes held his nose up and sniffed the air.
Thud, thud, thud.
The child abruptly ran towards me, leaving about three steps between us, and snooped around me.
“Who are you!”
Coco growled threateningly at the child.
‘He must be scared.’
If a cat growls when it sees a stranger, it means that although it was growling inside, it was actually scared.
It was a pretentious bluff so that a strong-looking opponent could not tell that it was actually afraid.
Cats are all about bluffing.
‘Coco… He acts much younger than when he is a human—’
What should I do with this incompetent cat
I glanced at the child who was hovering around me with a brave face as if Coco was not a threat at all.
He looked dirty and thin.
Though when I saw the blue cat eyes of the child that glowed in the dark, I knew that the child was a cat Shapeshifter.
‘Is he maybe… a stray cat’
Coco shouted as he hid behind me.
The child held up his nose in the air without paying any attention, and he kept sniffing.
Little by little, he came closer to me.
Then, I saw the child’s face clearly in my eyes.
He had a strikingly dark face, cream-colored hair like a magpie nest.
The next moment, he unexpectedly pointed at me.
“Good smell! Is it you Is it your smell”
“Do you mean… me”
What does it smell like In the first place, I did not even wear perfume, so why is everyone saying I smell like that… At this point, it occurred to me that Dimitri might not have been talking about smells just to quarrel with me.
‘I will have to ask him in detail later.’
The child came up to me and sniffed his nose frantically, almost like falling into a trance.
“Mwiss, it smells good.
The smell of grass.”
[ T/N: The way he says the word ‘miss’ was written differently in Korean, and later in the next chapter, it will be mentioned that it was because he has an accent~ ]
After saying that, he bravely approached me before placing my hand on his hand and sniffing it.
It smells good.”
Even though Coco threatened him in a low voice, ‘mrruhhh!’ the child just glanced at him and stamped his foot once.
“What Get lost.”
Startled, Coco closed his eyes tightly and fell down.
The posture with the cat exposed on its belly and raising its four paws was not a surrender posture, but a pose that if you attacked it, it would use all four feet to attack you back.
‘You cannot close your eyes while fighting, Coco…’
Although he looked pathetic, he was also cute.
At that time, the child abruptly held out the devil’s heart to me.
“Do you need this I’ll give you this, so be my servant!”
“Not him, but my servant, mwiss.
I’ll take good care of you.”