“That device you mentioned, don’t tell me it’s the platform they’re sitting on…”
“That’s right, the very same. Those platforms are called Elemental Segregation Platforms and are one of the greatest inventions in our clan history.” Even though those words were clearly filled with respect, Anmi’s mood was still noticeably low: “Unfortunately, because too much time was spent on researching the platform, most of the already-dwindling Shadowcat population have already died from self-combustion leaving only the researcher and one other Shadowcat…”
Wide eyes blinking, Mo Na proceeded to spit out another trademark question of hers that almost made me vomit blood in exasperation: “Just two? What a coincidence for them to be a pair of male and female Shadowcats then.”
“…no…” Clearly incensed by her disrespect, Anmi was about to berate the little devil but upon seeing the raised fists of No.3 and Big 4, he caved in once more and merely continued explaining in a defeated tone: “Both of them were females.”
At that point, Mo Na adorably gave me a couple bat of her eyelashes before saying: “Mama…how did those two female cats give birth?”
“Sweetie, that’s not the point you should focus on…”
‘How would I know the answer to that and even if I knew, I wouldn’t tell you. Speaking of which, how did those two female cats give birth? Perhaps there’s a chance of a pure Shadowcat being born from two Purgatory Shadowcats?’
Anmi rolled his eyes at the little devil: “Because one of them was already pregnant…”
Initially, we only wanted to know why he was so vehemently opposed to marrying the Princess but as the conversation dragged on, it somehow ended up straying further and further off course. However, Anmi wouldn’t have mentioned all that if they were truly irrelevant…
‘Did that mean that the reason had something to do with all that? Hold on a second, can a Purgatory Shadowcat even bear a child with a Shadowcat? By mutating, the Purgatory Shadowcats have basically turned into a new type of Shadowcat. Although they might still have some traces of Shadowcat DNA, strictly speaking they aren’t even the same creature anymore. In that case, if Anmi and Princess Meisian were to get married…would their child be a Purgatory Shadowcat? Or a Shadowcat?’
‘Given that only Shadowcats can succeed the throne…that’s actually a very important question worth digging into.’
Because the environment within Purgatory was filled with fire elements, the platform itself had to be tuned up to a high setting. At that time, a portion of the Purgatory Shadowcats tried to use this device to return back to being a Shadowcat but all of them failed; the mutation was irreversible.
Back then, there wasn’t really much of a difference between the two species except for the addition of their fire element so no one really minded the difference. Other than those two surviving Shadowcats, no one paid anymore attention to this matter.
As time passed however, the difference between the two races became more and more pronounced with the most problematic issue being that they lost their ability to Dreamwalk.
As the saying went, ‘only by losing something will one realize how precious it was’, only after they lost their ability did the Purgatory Shadowcats realize how much they relied on it. They were terrified, from the bottom of their hearts, they felt an overwhelming sense of fear. That one ability of theirs not only bestowed a wealth of knowledge onto them, it was also a part of their identity, their pride. With it, they felt a sense of superiority compared to the other races. Now that they had lost it, they felt incomplete as if a part of them had been wrenched out…
In a sense, it was like having your favourite website taken away from you. Having browsed it everyday for god knows how long, one day you discovered that not only did the government block access to that website, they also fined anyone who had used it…that was exactly how those Shadowcats felt right now.
Just like that, the two Shadowcats who persevered in their pure-bloodedness suddenly became objects of reverence. The Purgatory Shadowcats raised their status to that of a ruler’s and thus the first Cat King was born.
However, a tale when told too long tended to get dry. No.3, clearly bored and irritated by now, snapped at Anmi: “What’s the point of telling us all this historical nonsense? What we want to know is why you do not want to marry Meisian. Will you die or something?”
“I think I get the big picture now…” I turned towards Anmi and sighed: “It has to do with that platform doesn’t it?”
“That’s right, at the end of the day, it has to do with that Elemental Segregation Platform…” Anmi gave a bitter smile before continuing: “I said so before, the main purpose of that platform is purge all fire elements from our bodies. But us Purgatory Shadowcats are mainly made of fire elements now…once we lose that…”
In other words, standing on that platform would cause him suffering…as for how painful that was…only he would know.
Because of their comparatively frail constitutions, the Shadowcats weren’t able to endure any elemental imbalance in their bodies. That was why Meisian and that Eldest Prince would never leave their platform willingly.
Given that, should Anmi marry Meisian…he would probably have to spend his entire life with her on that platform. The problem then, was what about the fire elements in his body?
The platform would purge his body of said elements and cause him harm so how was he to spend an extended period of time on that platform? That was the unsolvable problem facing Anmi right now.
“So you’re saying that by marrying her, you would have spend your life on that platform?”
“It’s not to that extent, but after getting married, I would have to spend quite a bit of time on it.” At that point, he shivered uncontrollably: “If I were to stand on that platform, the mana in my body would rapidly deplete and that sensation…can only be described as torturous…”
“Still, there’s one point that I’m still rather curious about, if you were to marry the Princess…” The moment the word marry left my lips, Anmi shivered once more at which point I hastily explained that it was just an example, several times in fact before he finally calmed down: “If you were to marry her and then have a child with her…will your child be a Shadowcat?”
“…that’s…what I’m most afraid of…if we didn’t have to have a child, I could still accept this outcome. After all, I wouldn’t have to spend every single moment on that platform. But given how little Shadowcats there are, if…”
He abruptly stopped and banged his head against the floor several times before he managed to calm himself down.
“Purgatory Shadowcats are a mutation of Shadowcats so we still have some Shadowcat genes in our body. If…if…Meisian and I were to do that together…I would first have to spend an entire month on the platform during which I can’t leave it, not even for a second…if that were to happen, my mana would be mostly sucked dry and my elemental balance would be destroyed…at that point, my shadow element would naturally be the dominant element…and the child we bear would most definitely be a Shadowcat…however…”
“You would end up as a cripple, wouldn’t you?”
“Mhm…I’ll be ruined.”
‘So that’s why…his choices are basically die or live a life worse than death…truly a hard choice.’
“In that case, Prince Weiderly, should he desire offsprings, would have to find a mate from the Purgatory Shadowcats as well?”
“Precisely. After all, the only surviving female Shadowcat is Meisian and doing that with a sister is…well, even us cats can’t do that.”
‘Speaking of siblings…’ I subconsciously turned towards Sasani and Sinmosa at which point they both awkwardly jerked their heads away. Just like that, the atmosphere suddenly became a little awkward with their little action bringing even more attention to them instead.
“What’s the matter?” Noticing the stiff atmosphere, Anmi couldn’t help but ask out of curiosity.
He only knew that the two Cerberuses were married but what he didn’t know was that they were also siblings…
‘What’s that proverb again… ‘There are no taels to be found here’…’
(TL: The phrase ‘There are no taels to be found here’ stems from a story where there was once a man called Zhang San. After expending a great deal of effort, he finally managed to accrue 300 silver taels and was naturally delighted by that. However, he lived in constant fear of someone stealing that fortune away from him so he found himself a chest. He stashed the three taels in the chest and then buried it behind his house. However, that still wasn’t enough to allay his fears so he thought of an ‘ingenious’ idea.
He took a piece of paper and wrote: “There are no taels to be found here”. Having done that, he stuck that paper onto the side of the wall and then walked off, fears completely put at ease.
Unbeknownst to him, his little action was discovered by his neighbor, Wang Er. In the middle of the night, Wang Er dug up those taels and spirited them away to his own house. In order not to get discovered however, he left a note on Zhang San’s wall, saying: “Your neighbor, Wang Er, would never steal.”
The next day, Zhang San woke up to find his taels missing and a new note placed on his note. It was then that he finally understood the error of his ways.
Later on, this story became a way of mocking a foolish person whose attempts at hiding a secret ended up exposing it instead.)
Truly, that was a vicious slap to the two dogs’ faces but being out of the loop, Anmi had no way of knowing that. That however, just made the slap that much more painful…
Now that the truth was out, we decided to let him off the hook for now.
It had to be said however, that had he not come clean with us, none of us would have ever expected that a simple marriage would belie such a calamity…still, how did he even end up as the potential son-in-law of the previous Cat King?
Seeking to change this awkward mood, I ever so naturally, turned the topic back to Anmi: “Anmi, why did the previous Cat King choose you?”
“That…honestly, it has to do with a bit of a dark history during my childhood…” As he said that, he lowered his head in embarrassment.
Like that, I was treated to another tragic tale of childhood ignorance.
It turned out that the two cats used to play a lot with each other. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the two of them were childhood friends. Because of that platform, Meisian didn’t have any other playmates other than her two brothers so the little princess treasured Anmi’s companionship deeply. After all, he was only the one brave enough to stand on that platform and play with her…
Even though his cat parents told him not to approach that platform, let alone climb onto it to play…he didn’t pay heed to their warnings at first. Each time he played with her, his body would feel extremely weakened, however it wasn’t to the extent where it couldn’t be recovered just by eating some food. Because of that, little Anmi didn’t pay much attention to it either. It was only after he spent an extended period on the platform did he finally learn his lesson. One fateful day, after playing with the little princess for a longer time than usual, he ended up losing too much of his fire element to the point where he fainted on the platform…