The laws of the new world and ours differ greatly. Even though this has resulted in countless dimensional tears between the worlds, these tears are simply too small to allow anything greater than a Two-stars undead to cross over…we have tried our best to widen the tears yet their self-regenerative powers are simply too much for us…I beseech your Highness to dispatch more reinforcements…with our current manpower, it would be difficult for us to enter the new world given how attuned we are to the laws of our current world…
—<<A report from an invader of the New World>>
“Just a while more and we’ll reach the battlefield, I hope you’ve prepared yourself mentally.” Standing at the head of our little troupe, the kitty cat who was noticeably more wilted after a run-in with Princess Meisian, turned around to address us. Just looking at him now, I could have sworn that his entire feline self was about to crumble.
‘Please, this brother has slain countless undead and devils during his time in the Prison of the Dead. No matter how bloody your clan’s battles are, there’s no way they can compare to my vast experience…-truly those were harrowing times…days where corpses piled as high as mountains.’
Seeing me so nonchalant, Anmi elected not to explain any further but merely said so in a steady voice: “You’ll understand once you see it yourself.”
Since he wasn’t willing to dwell any further on this subject, I decided to ask something else instead: “Anmi, is it really alright for us to…cause trouble for the Eldest Prince, Weiderly?”
Normally, an outsider’s interference during a civil war tended to draw the most hatred to themselves. Just thinking about that point was already enough to give me a headache as is.
“Don’t worry, while Meisian might not be the most reliable cat in a number of matters, this task of hers is definitely not a trap. As long you all don’t cause any lasting harm to Weiderly, the elders won’t interfere.” With regards to this mission of ours, Anmi seemed extraordinarily confident about it, going so far as to say: “Moreover, Weiderly has already dispatched his armies to fight against Meisian’s. Those guarding him shouldn’t number more than twenty. That, I’m willing to stake my life on.”
‘Hmph, such confidence, you’d better watch out for when those words come back to bite you.’
“Oh right, exactly how does your clan settle its succession disputes?” The importance of a succession dispute was never in doubt, else why would the three siblings ever come to blows over it. However, there was one point that left me confounded even till now, if they knew how important the war was, why weren’t they commanding their armies? The fact that the majority of their armies were outside fighting while less than twenty of their soldiers stayed behind as guardcats just seemed a little odd no matter how one looked at it…
“How huh…” Anmi paused for a second before saying: “It’s actually really simple, both sides send out their armies to fight over territory. Once one side has successfully claimed the territory as theirs, it counts as a victory for them. Also, a castle is a private belonging of each cat, even if another cat wants to claim it, that can only be done at the last battle.”
“Is calling for outside help even allowed?”
“It is, to us, being able to call in outside help is a show of one’s success. However, such help must not infringe upon the clan’s interests. If a candidate betrays the clan’s interests, the elders won’t acknowledge him or her even if that cat wins.”
Having said all that, Anmi lowered his head and fell silent, clearly not intending to talk anymore. Seeing that, I glanced at Sinmosa next to me and gave a helpless shrug before moving on. As of right now, all we could do was handle the issues as they come.
Honestly, if the worst was to happen to us, I had already planned for Sinmosa to leave us behind and escape with Mo Na. After all, we were visiting an enemy’s castle here, no amount of preparation was enough and a single mishap might just lead to our downfall.
With nothing else to talk about, the journey proceeded quietly till Anmi stopped in his tracks a short while later.
“Past this black forest is the battlefield…” As he said that, his mood was noticeably sullen.
For Anmi to have such a crestfallen reaction was actually…rather understandable. After all, this was his clan’s civil war, no matter what the reason was, the casualties at the end of the day would always be their cats. Was it so strange for him to be sad then? Did these rulers really have to use such barbaric means to settle their disputes; was there truly no better way or did the river have to run red before they would finally be satisfied?
“Don’t be scared Mama, Mo Na will protect you.” For some reason, Mo Na seemed rather attached to this whole concept of ‘protecting me’ and would often throw out those words at the drop of the hat. Even though she was just a child and couldn’t be that strong in the first place, my heart calmed down somewhat upon hearing her sweet voice. Was this what people called kinship? Right here, right now, all I could think of was how to guarantee her safety and that no matter what, I didn’t want her to get hurt.
“Good girl, Mo Na, but you seemed to have a made a mistake there, it’s Papa who will protect you.” Patting her on the head, the worries on my face seemed to disappear with each rub and all that remained behind was the pride of a father. “If something happens, remember to hide behind your Papa.”
“Kay~” She somewhat reluctantly acceded to that. “…but Mo Na is really strong…”
“Mhm, Mo Na is strong but as long as Papa is here, it is Papa’s duty to protect Mo Na, that is what it means to be a Papa.”
“What do you mean duty??” Blinking those lovely eyes of hers, Mo Na gave me a perplexed look. Even though she had her inherited memories to teach her, it seemed like duty wasn’t one of those lessons passed down. Perhaps the devils didn’t really have such a word in their dictionary.
“Duty huh, duty means to do what has to be done. Just like how Papa has to protect Mo Na when she is in danger, that is ‘Papa’s duty’.”
Her fists tightened and she lifted them up in a forceful pose. She seemed to have understood what I was trying to convey but given how tiny and adorable she was, her posture just couldn’t display the solemnity she felt, instead it just made her even cuter: “Then Mo Na will protect Mama as well, don’t worry, Mo Na take responsibility for Mama.”
‘Why does it seem like we are on completely different wavelengths…’
“We’ve reached it…”
Amidst our idle chatter, we unknowingly left the pitch black forest and entered the battleground. Lifting up my head upon his reminder, I found two armies facing against each other.
On each side were hundreds of Purgatory Shadowcats with the closer army belonging to Princess Meisian. As for the other side, that naturally belonged to Weiderly. The two armies stood a mere hundred meters apart from each other and violently hissed at each other, filling the entire region with a tense atmosphere in the process.
Right in the middle of these two armies were two lone cats who were chasing each other; from the looks of things, they were probably engaged in a duel of sorts. A leap here and a swipe there, their battle was truly a ferocious one.
“Is that the heads of each army squaring off against each other?” Looking at two giant kitty cats claw at each other, I was suddenly reminded of those generals from the Three Kingdoms era who would hold multiple general faceoffs in order to raise morale, at least it was so for the winning side…
“You could say that.” Anmi rolled his eyes and curled his lips sideways: “Why is it those morons again…”
“The cats from your clan can only fight with their bodies? What about magic?” After watching them for what felt like a half a day, I never once saw them throw out a single spell.
Before Anmi could even reply, it seemed like a victor had been decided. All we saw were the cats biting on each other’s tails…because of that, both cats gave off a muffled cry filled with indescribable pain. Still, both sides refused to let go of the other’s tail no matter how much pain they were in.
For cats, their tails were a sensitive spot which gave rise to the saying ‘a cat which had its tail stepped on’. Clearly such a saying wouldn’t have existed if the pain wasn’t excruciating.
Even so, just as I thought that they would end up biting each other till one side collapsed, the two cats suddenly loosened their bites and collapsed, both falling towards each other and supporting the other.
‘Eh? So they aren’t fighting anymore?’
Just as I was about to ask Anmi however, the two cats suddenly stood up and as if pre-rehearsed, both sides bowed at each other like they had just come to some kind of agreement that only the other cat knew about. One of the cats bellowed: “It’s a draw once more.”
A moment later, both sides erupted in cheers and the field was filled with frenzied ‘NYAAHs’ in an instant.
‘What’s going on here…’
Once both sides had finally quietened down, the other cat who had his tail bitten bellowed as well: “With that, I announce the official start of the 38th Succession Battle between Prince Weiderly and Princess Meisian!”
“The topic of the first match will be—hunting.”
“The rules will be the same as always, both sides will dispatch one team and within one hour, the side that brings back the most spoils will win…”
Very quickly, two teams of five Purgatory Shadowcats were formed and sped off in opposite directions from each other. As for those two cats who had their tails bitten, they each took out an hourglass and placed it on the floor.
The other cats on the other hand…began breaking off into groups of three to five and started playing games. Some started chatting while the more bored ones just went to sleep instead. Some even started teasing each other…essentially, they were all having fun.
“So this is the civil war you told me about?”
‘How the heck is this even a war, it’s just a bunch of cats horsing around!’
“What’s with wrong this? Don’t tell me we have to duke it out till one side was decimated in order to qualify for the term ‘civil war’?” As he said that, he gave me a strange look of both complacency and embarrassment, either way, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at them.
However, I had to admit…this warring method of theirs truly exceeded my imagination. No wonder he didn’t wish to speak about it then. Thanks to that, I mistakenly assumed it was some kind of horrific and bloody affair. I was clearly wrong about that however…the way those two cats were trying to bite each other just now…maybe it’s just my imagination but…that just seemed like them being gay with each other more than anything else!