༺ Burglar Cat or House Cat? (3) ༻
Cecily Von Ragdoll.
Originally, she was picked up by the Ragdoll Viscount couple and raised as their granddaughter.
The old couple were kind-hearted.
Even now, after the revelation that their real granddaughter was actually the hunter Cariote.
The elderly couple accepted their granddaughter Cariote and continued to lovingly raise Cecily without casting her out despite her unknown identity.
━Having brought this child to us led to meeting our granddaughter Cariote. Like we were fated to meet by the gods, so it feels right to take care of her with love.
━Hohoho, above all, Cecily has become an indispensable child in this Dollhouse mansion.
Truly, they were people of goodness rarely seen in these times.
Looking at Cecily, I felt that it wouldn’t be so bad to pick up and raise a child myself.
Cecily’s princess power was a solid B-.
That put her among the top 30%.
She would grow up pampered no matter where she went.
Street cats are cute, and the young ones often find good owners, right?
People even compete to pick them up.
For an ugly and grown cat like me, the world is a jungle and desolate.
Would I have even had to resort to thievery if I was even a bit more handsome?
Nah. I’d probably still be a thief.
After all, for a thief, having a nice appearance was an ace of its own.
The important thing was that Cecily, with her princess power of B-, was currently skipping school and was at my mansion.
“…Hmph, isn’t it common sense for the host to offer food to a guest?”
Come to think of it, it was lunchtime now.
Cecily must have been hungry, as it was the time she would normally have lunch at school.
“Can someone who enters uninvited and on their own accord be called a guest?”
I made up some excuses and gave Cecily some of the food left over from yesterday’s party.
If Brigitte had been here, she would have heated it up before offering it.
Regrettably, I didn’t have such skills, so the food was just cold leftovers.
“It’s quite edible.”
Nonetheless, Cecily sat at the table and ate the leftover drinks and fruits from the party.
She skillfully used the knife and fork, pushing aside things like bell peppers, mushrooms, vegetables, and ginger to the edge of the plate.
She’s quite picky, it seems.
Just like I was in my childhood.
Finally, after finishing her meal, Cecily elegantly wiped her lips with a handkerchief.
Then, she nodded her head at me in thanks.
“The meal was delicious.”
Quite the manners you have.
To surpass the barrier of a B level in princess power, such manners are indeed necessary.
That’s what Naru lacked a bit.
Naru doesn’t even speak politely to adults.
In that regard, Cecily is well-educated.
Did she learn it from her mom and dad?
It doesn’t seem like something I’d teach, so maybe from Cariote’s side…
I’m not sure.
While thinking that, I asked.
“So why did you skip school?”
To increase one’s princess power, perfect attendance is an essential element.
It wouldn’t be strange if the attendance award item description read, 「Attendance Award: A symbol of diligence and sincerity. Increases princess power and prince power by +1 each.」
To miss out on such an item by skipping class…
Cecily clammed up and fidgeted.
Does she not want to talk?
“If you don’t talk, I’ll tell your homeroom teacher and the count that you skipped school and secretly hid in this mansion.”
“T-That would be unacceptable…!”
She must have come here secretly without anyone knowing.
I spoke sternly on purpose.
“The old viscount and his wife are good people. You shouldn’t worry them. How worried would they be to know you skipped school to play in a thief’s house?”
“…That’s true, but I had no choice. The Ragdoll grandparents are kind people, but they aren’t Cecily’s real blood-related family, are they?”
That’s something I can’t be sure of yet.
Maybe there is a real blood connection.
Unaware of such circumstances, Cecily babbled on.
“Raising a child not connected by blood must be hard. Maybe Cecily will be thrown back onto the streets. I need to find my mom and dad soon, right?”
I thought she was thoughtless, but it turns out she knew how to plan her life.
Before being picked up by the elderly couple, Cecily must have survived like an abandoned cat on the streets.
Having that experience, the fear of being abandoned again and returning to life on the streets must have been a huge stress.
“In that sense, Cecily must find her mom and dad. I have to find them quickly because there’s something important I need to say… If I don’t say it soon, it might be too late…”
Find her mom and dad to say something important?
What is that?
I became curious.
“What’s the important thing you have to say?”
“…I’m not going to tell you…!”
Cecily hissed like a wary cat.
What if I told her right now that I was her dad, what would happen?
Judging by Cecily’s actions and words so far, she seems to think of her dad as some kind of very old-fashioned nobleman or gentleman.
“This mansion. For some reason, when I’m here, I feel like I’m recalling memories of my mom and dad. Like yesterday when I found the secret passage to the basement.”
“You said it was you who discovered Nocturne’s sanctuary underground, right?”
“Maybe, just maybe, Cecily lived here with her mom and dad! Maybe Cecily’s real mom and dad have something to do with this mansion!”
So that’s why you skipped class and hid in this mansion.
Cecily rummaged through her school bag.
Then she pulled out a clinking necklace, jewels, and things like rings or tiaras.
To me, they looked like quite valuable jewels.
“This is the fee for the request. Thief Judas, I’d appreciate your cooperation in finding my mom and dad!”
Is it really a fee for a request?
The amount seemed quite substantial for a child to have saved up.
With jewels like these, an ordinary person could live without working for about 10 years.
In cash value, it would amount to around 200 to 300 million won.
Too much money for a first-grader to carry around.
Perhaps stolen from a noble’s vault?
No, even Cecily wouldn’t do such a thing.
“Could it be the treasure of Bandit Jack?”
Cecily’s surprised expression was noticeable.
Cecily had been captured with other kids at Bandit Jack’s stronghold before, and these treasures seemed to be from there, stolen or acquired by chance.
“D-Do you have a problem? If you refuse, I’ll find someone else.”
Cecily started putting the treasures back into her bag with her small hands.
It was clear that if I refused the request here, she would go to others and offer these treasures.
A young lady with a B- in princess power, carrying around a bag full of treasures.
She’s bound to cause a 150% disaster.
“Alright. I’ll do it.”
* * *
“Let’s open this door here.”
I carried my keys around and opened many doors in the mansion.
I had already checked at least thirty rooms.
“This room doesn’t feel right… Shall we go back to the room we saw before? Was it the 15th? Or the 14th? I also felt a bit familiar with the 13th room?”
Cecily kept asking me to open the doors, wandering back and forth.
But I had no clue what she was looking for, nor could I understand what she wanted to do.
“How long do I have to keep opening doors? I’ve been looking at rooms for an hour already.”
I felt just like a landlord showing apartments to new college students.
But Cecily bluntly told me that she was not pleased with my grumbling attitude.
“You accepted the request…! You should assist me a bit more enthusiastically…!”
She was right.
Still, I had no idea how to be of any help.
“What are you looking for?”
“It’s the room where I, Cecily, used to live. It may look different now, but I’m certain there’s a trace of it somewhere in this mansion. Like, marks on the wall where I measured my height with a knife…!”
Is she looking for her own room?
The problem was, there was no chance those traces she was looking for would be here.
Because if Cecily is right and there was a room in this mansion of hers, it would be from at least 3 to 5 years in the future.
Does Cecily not know she’s from the future?
Moreover, she didn’t seem to recognize me as her ‘father.’
Naru had told me right away that she came from 6 years in the future and that I was her father.
Of course, Naru couldn’t remember much else.
She said her memories were partially lost due to getting entangled in space-time magic.
Cecily must have been affected by space-time magic as well… Could it be that she had a more significant memory loss?
I don’t know much about magic, but I vaguely remember hearing that the side effects of magic can vary greatly from person to person.
Thinking about it this way, I could understand Cecily’s situation quite well.
She must be filled with the thought that she needs to find her mom and dad.
And she must be anxious because she wasn’t making much progress.
I, too, have been in a similar situation where I had to search tirelessly for a wife so I could sympathize with her.
In times like this, perhaps it’s best to be honest and make things comfortable for her.
“Cecily, the truth is… I’m your dad.”
Cecily opened her mouth wide as if she was utterly surprised.
Then she looked at me with pity, as if I was someone who had written ‘Kiritsugu Emiya’ in the ‘person you admire’ section of a school survey.
“…Uncle, are you sick? Why are you talking nonsense? You look totally fine to me though.”
I had expected this kind of response.
Should I say a little more?
“No, why? I’m the owner of this mansion. Not a noble, but I’m called the King of Thieves. I even have a throne. What if you are my daughter and came from 6 years in the future?”
“That’s impossible. Uncle, you just don’t want to work and are trying to loaf around with the fee you got from the commission, I see it all…!”
That’s how it is.
To this girl, the current me just doesn’t fit the image of her ‘father’.
What kind of person will I become in the future to give her that impression?
I must be quite different from the current me if I have multiple wives and raise children!
I can’t imagine it!
It’s time to ask.
“So, who are your mother and father? Give me a hint. You must have some idea.”
“Hmm…. My mother’s chest was very ‘nobility-friendly’ in size.”
“Really? What does a large chest have to do with being nobility-friendly?”
“Huh? You don’t know this? My father said that large breasts are evidence of abundant nutrition. It’s practically a symbol of wealthy nobility. Do you understand?”
“I see. Your father was a very smart man indeed. The idea that big breasts are nobility-friendly is actually quite accurate.”
“That’s right! And Cecily’s father was a really great and amazing person. The very embodiment of noblesse oblige. A gentleman among gentlemen who led by example…!”
“Why are you laughing? Did you just mock Cecily Von Ragdoll’s father? Unforgivable…!”
Cecily growled in a way that was easy to understand.
But there was a reason I couldn’t hold back my laughter.
To call me a gentleman among gentlemen.
Her words were very funny.
Then suddenly, I wondered if Cecily might not be my daughter after all…
But talking with Cecily, it started to feel more and more certain that she was indeed my daughter, just like I did with Naru.
She’s picky with food, after all.
Just like me when I was young.
The problem is that Cecily’s fantasy of her father is so big that there’s a significant disconnect in accepting me as her father, this would be a good way to sum it up.
Was I really a gentleman among gentlemen in the future?
No, that cannot be.
I know that well.
People don’t change that easily.
But this needs to be understood from a child’s perspective.
Why, in the eyes of little children, their fathers look like Superman.
“A gentleman, huh.”
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