“No way…even if our Uncle isn’t the most reliable of dogs…at least he won’t try and scam us…right?” Having said that, Sinmosa shook her head: “Well our Uncle is kinda… ‘eccentric’ normally.”
“How about we talk about the Purgatory Shadowcats instead. Being solitary, does that mean that each cat lives on its own plot of land?”
“Apparently, there aren’t many Purgatory Shadowcats here so each and every cat has its own territory. The young Purgatory Shadowkittens would stay with their parents till they mature into adulthood at which point they would automatically leave.”
“Rumor has it the Purgatory Shadowcats have a Chief Overlord, a Cat King of sorts who possess absolute authority within the clan. This king has a large number of its kin serving it so that counts as a Purgatory Shadowcat Community of sorts.”
‘So what you’re saying is that they normally live alone or in small households except for the Cat King who is served by a large number of cats? And that’s the only reason for them to form a community? Sounds pretty complicated to me. Don’t tell me madness is a common trait amongst all cats, no matter which world they are from? I wonder if it’s hereditary…’
Sinmosa continued explaining the matters regarding those cats but I still had a lot of unanswered questions regarding their living conditions. However, there was one thing I was certain of, and that was that the Purgatory Shadowcats weren’t dumb. The reason for that was simple, to create such an environment rich with plant life required a great degree of intelligence.
However, the question that continued nagging at me in my head was: exactly what forced those cats to migrate here?
According to Sidarth’s words, Anmi was the closest Purgatory Shadowcat to us. In other words, we were most likely in Anmi’s territory already.
“Look Mama, we found a fruit!” Never one to stay idle for long, Mo Na immediately went exploring with little Cinderel in tow, right as we started talking about the Purgatory Shadowcats. It wasn’t until they finally got tired that Mo Na came flying back to me with Cinderel in her arms along with some strange red fruit that looked kind of like a strawberry.
“Don’t run about so much, this place isn’t safe.” I picked up the little puppy and with my other hand, placed Mo Na around my neck.
As she rode my neck, she lowered herself and pressed that dark red fruit against my mouth. “Mama, this fruit is edible, try it.”
“How many times have I told you already? Don’t eat strange things.” Being in a foreign environment like Purgatory, the first thing I taught Mo Na was the importance of safety. Unfortunately, with her personality being what it was, she didn’t care too much for my advice and merely ignored them. ‘Perhaps I spoiled her a little too much when she was young, that’s why she dares to ignore my words like that…’
“Aunty Sinmosa said these are edible. Besides, Mo Na and Cinderel already tried them, Mo Na thinks they are tasty.” She continued pressed that fruit against the corner of my mouth, swinging it before my eyes from time to time.
“I told you already, you mustn’t eat such strange things…”
“Eat it, eat it…” She continued egging me on in that adorable loli voice of hers.
“Fine, fine, just this one time.” I finally caved in seeing as her incessant badgering wasn’t going to stop otherwise.
Seeing me swallow the fruit instantly brought a smile to her face after which she promptly planted a wet one on my cheeks, several in fact. Not satisfied with just kissing, she excitedly licked my lower jaw, roughly caressing its contours with her tongue and causing it to itch slightly. That was how she usually showed her affection but sometimes, it just felt a little too much for me.
The dark red fruit left a lingering sweetness on a tongue along with a slight spiciness that was caused by its fiery elemental nature.
“We should harvest more of these fire fruits for Cinderel.” I said while petting the little puppy in question. Turning around to face a smiling Sinmosa, I followed up with a question of my own: “Do you know the name of this fruit?”
“This is my first time in the lands of the Purgatory Shadowcats as well so I’m not too familiar with such matters. Normally, such an environment shouldn’t be possible in Purgatory without some sort of terraforming; most likely that’s the handiwork of the Purgatory Shadowcats.”
“Well, since the fruit is fine, we should harvest some more. Given Cinderel’s special condition, being a little cautious would be better.”
“Mhm, I’ll go pick some more with Sasani, it shouldn’t take much time.” Sinmosa called out to her husband and the two trotted off into the distance.
“No.3 , Big 4, I want you two to go harvest those fruits as well. Also, make sure to observe the surroundings while you two are out there. I’ll be waiting here in the meantime.”
“Understood, Master.” Upon acknowledging the order, the two of them left in a direction opposite from that of the Cerberus couple.
As I stood there, admiring the slightly warm field of grass beneath me, my spirits couldn’t help but be lifted by them. While their black and reddish hue was still a little depressing, the mere fact that they were grass made them a lot better than the rocks we had to contend with up till now.
“Yawwnn…” Yawned little Cinderel as she curled up in my arms and used my arm as a pillow. This little puppy was rather close to me, perhaps by nature even. In all likelihood, it was because she knew that I was the one who gave her that elemental core when she was still an egg.
“Mama, Mo Na has been having all kinds of strange dreams recently.” As she said that, she gently squeezed aside the little puppy to make space for herself in my arms. Having done that, she leaned in on me and rubbed against my chest, giving a satisfied purr every so often. “In Mo Na’s dreams, a beautiful big sister dressed in black always appear to teach Mo Na new things.”
“Beautiful big sister in black?”
“Mhm mhm, she’s really nice. She teaches Mo Na all kinds of spells but Mo Na doesn’t like some of them.
‘Why is Mo Na dreaming about such things?’
“Are they all real spells?”
“Of course they are. Just look at this.” Mo Na flipped her right palm around and summoned forth a cloud of white mist. Just from a glance, it looked like any ordinary cloud but after giving it another closer look, I started to notice the strangeness within it. Swimming about in that cloud was a barely visible outline that resembled a human’s face. Even though that face lacked any contours whatsoever, having only holes for eyes and a mouth, I could still feel the intelligence dwelling within.
“What’s that spell called?”
“It’s called Vengeful Soul, it summons a creature of lower intelligence that can scout the surroundings for us. With its intelligence, it’s still able to differentiate friend from foe but isn’t really suited for combat because of its low combat strength. Also, the soul isn’t suited to the environment of Purgatory and will dissipate given time.”
Mo Na briefly gave me a run down of the spell. Based on what she told me and what I knew of such summoning spells, summoning such a soul would most likely require some sort of material. Furthermore, multiple instances of the spell should be able to exist concurrently.
I reached forth and gently stroked her purple hair: “Is there anything else?”
“There is, there is. Mo Na has a ton of other interesting spells!” As she said that, she gripped down on her right hand, dispelling the Vengeful Soul in an instant before then pointing at a distant patch of grass where a black mouse hid within. “Look Mama, there’s a mouse hiding in there.”
“Mhm, it’s a mouse all right.” Cats loved to eat fish and mice, everyone knew that; since the Shadowcats made sure to terraform this environment upon arrival, it wouldn’t be strange at all if they brought over some mice to rear as well.
“Mo Na can stop that mouse from running away.” Having said that, she spread her arms out before cupping them around her mouth. There, a cloud of green mist swiftly coalesced after which she gave the cloud a gentle blow and sent it on its way towards the hidden mouse, neither too quickly nor too slowly.
Within mere seconds of being engulfed by the cloud, the mouse collapsed onto the ground twitching as it was under some kind of curse. It desperately tried to claw its way forward but no matter how many times it tried, it failed as if there was some kind of mysterious force immobilizing it.
“That’s right, that’s an Enfeeblement Curse. It can rob a person of his physical energy.” She then went on to describe how great and fun the curse was.
“Good girl, you’ve learnt a lot of spells, didn’t you.” I gently rubbed her on the head. Yet amidst all that, my heart couldn’t stop pounding for a second. Whether it was the Enfeeblement Curse or the Vengeful Soul spell, they were clearly connected to the Grimoire of the Dead. Back when I still had the grimoire with me, I remembered seeing a ton of such spells recorded within. I even learnt a curse then, known as the Weakening Curse. Compared to the Enfeeblement Curse however, the Weakening Curse was at least a tier weaker.
‘In that case, was the big sister Mo Na mentioned the Grimoire of the Dead? Come to think of it, the fact that it was even able to deflect lethal blows for me, was a miracle in of itself. Don’t tell me it’s a Semi-divine tool…”
‘So that big sister is the spirit of the tool then? But why would it fuse itself into Mo Na?’ Truth be told, while I might not show it often, the fact that the Grimoire was inside Mo Na worried me a ton. After all, it was Mo Na we were talking about—no amount of caution was enough.
“Didn’t you just say that the big sister taught you spells you didn’t like? What were they?”
“Oh, it’s that spell to revive those smelly zombies.” Mo Na rolled her eyes as she said that before continuing: “Those zombies are just too ugly, I would rather summon skeletons instead, they’re cuter.”
“Mhm, they are rather ugly…though they are stronger than skeletons…” With that, I could basically confirm that the big sister Mo Na mentioned was the Grimoire of the Dead. Still, what was it up to exactly? Mo Na’s soul didn’t undergo any change so it probably wasn’t a possession.