After changing back into my normal clothes, I go to Lady Aenwyn’s office. I knock on the door.
“Who is it?”
“It’s Patrick Boots.”
I open the door and enter her office. It’s messy as always. Swift is sitting near the window and reading… the Encyclopedia Magicka?!
“The Encyclopedia Magicka?!”
“Yes, he’s gotten the hang of reading basics quite fast. It’s easier to practise reading if you read something that interests you.”
“I’m still too slow… So I can’t enjoy it yet. But I’m learning quite a lot about magic.”
I still don’t know why, but something about Swift is so entrancing…
“By the way,” Swift puts down the book, “how did Matt’s business go?”
Matt’s business? Oh, the trial!
“The tri…, I mean, the business did not as expected. Matt has got some follow-up business to attend to. So I’ll be keeping you company instead.”
“I see, he doesn’t have it easy…”
I breathe heavily. I have to tell him the truth.
“Swift, please stay calm, I need to tell you something about the business Matt was attending to…”
“But Patrick…” Lady Aenwyn interjects.
“No, we shouldn’t keep from him…”
“So it’s about that woman, Lady Luket?” Swift asks.
“Yes, it is.”
“So… let me guess: for some reason, she’s gotten sentenced to death.”
“Erm… yes. How did you know?”
“Just guessing from how you’re acting.”
“You aren’t angry?”
“Even though she did bring it upon her herself I do feel a little responsible. But just be honest with me, why capital punishment?”
“She… committed contempt of court. Multiple times. With the king as the judge.”
I tell him about what Matt had originally planned and what had transpired in the throne room.
“So should I get you a seat in the coliseum?”
“Do you feel responsible for her fate?”
“I do… a little. But as you told me, she self-destructed and more or less insulted the king. I feel me going there would just be me expressing my schadenfreude so I’ll happily refrain from that.”
He continues reading out his book. He does at a slow but steady pace. I sit down and watch him. I could watch him like this forever…
“Don’t start drooling while watching him!” Lady Aenwyn whispers to me.
“What? Me?!” I answer. I can feel my face turning red.
After a while, Swift puts down the book again.
“Lady Aenwyn,” he says, “I just remembered. Sain suggested me asking you about this. Let’s start at the beginning: do you know about my Ailuranthrope abilities?”
“Your Ailuranthrope abilities? No, I don’t,” Lady Aenwyn answers.
“I can turn into a cat.”
He can? Well, I can, too. But that’s not something you share with others. Doesn’t he have any basic… Oh, wait, he didn’t grow up among Ailuranthropes!
“You can? No, that shouldn’t be surprising, after all, lots of Cynanthropes and Lycanthropes can. And it’s been postulated other Therianthropes can, too,” Lady Aenwyn tries to hide her excitement.
“Well, at least with Ailuranthropes,” I interject, “we don’t like bragging about our abilities. That includes showing them in public.”
I jump on the table while transforming into a cat. My clothes fall down to the floor.
“Oh, you can, too?” Swift sounds excited, “as you can see, the clothes fall off when transforming. It’s inconvenient being naked when turning back.”
“I agree. It’s very inconvenient being naked when turning back.”
“I see,” Lady Aenwyn answers, “as far I know, Lycanthropes are known to not care about that. Cynanthropes have come up with a solution, at least for fabric. It should work for the two of you as well. Let’s go to the workshop!”
“Well, you go on ahead,” I answer, “I need to get dressed first.”
“We’ll wait outside,” Lady Aenwyn and Swift leave the room.
I turn back into my Ailuranthrope form, get dressed quickly and follow them. In the workshop, Lady Aenwyn addresses a Cynanthrope aide: “We need two Magic Spindles for those two.”
We’re led into a room. Lady Aenwyn shows us how to use that tool.
“Just pour your Mana into it and roll up the thread you receive. While it’d be better if you can manage a stable Mana output, the tool is able to adjust for you to a certain extent. The thread is called Magic Yarn. Since it’s made from your Mana, it’s a part of yourself and transforms with you. Usually, only Cynanthropes use it for transforming. Others use it as a premium resource.”
“Premium resource?” Swift asks.
“It’s very comfortable and durable. A set of clothes made from Magic Yarn usually lasts for dozens of years. It can only be worn by the one who created the Magic Yarn. For other people it usually feels unsettling to wear them. The only downside is it can’t be enchanted. So it can’t be used for protective gear.
But if Ailuranthropes are really that secretive about their abilities, it’s might become a problem with the budget allocation for Magic Yarn.”
“Well, most Ailuranthropes don’t even know that Magic Yarn could be used for that,” I add, “even less use their ability to transform. Some say turning into a cat is being too unrefined…
Ailuranthrope high society is all about acting more refined. Some would happily give up their tails if it wouldn’t mess up their sense of balance. I think in truth they’re just still not over the Hume supremacists. Oh, I’m rambling too much. Sorry about that.”
“Don’t worry about it, it gave a lot of insight into Ailuranthrope high society,” Swift says.
“I agree,” Lady Aenwyn says, “we’ll just run the costs for your Magic Yarn as running research costs.”
“What costs are involved?” Swift asks.
“Various things. The most expensive part is getting Sky Salmon scale power that acts as a catalyst.”
“I see,” Swift answers. He’s already finished a half spindle. I’m really struggling with this one. What is he? How is he spinning those so fast?! I need to just power through. I am the healer of the group. I should be the last person to give up!
“It’s sure draining…” I sigh.
“You’ll get used to it,” Lady Aenwyn answers.
At the end of the day, I have three spindles. Swift has five. We get our sizes taken.
“It’s already late, we’ll order your stuff tomorrow. It should be done in a week or two.”
“Thanks for your help! See you around!”
“Thanks for your help!”
I lead Swift to Matt’s office. Luna is waiting in front of the office for us.
“Hey Luna, how are things going?”
“Prince Matthew has finished the documentation and the time for the execution has been decided for tomorrow,” Luna answers in her usual non-emotional tone.
“That’s way too fast.”
“The guards have asked for a faster schedule. Anyway, it’s about dinner time. We should enter.”