Chapter 190 – New Possibilities
Thirteenth arc – Tenth chapter
Suddenly, a large sound echoed through the castle, and Aquasteed, who was reading in his room, stood up in a hurry.
The sound came from downstairs, and now there was some rumbling sound coming from the floor too.
Tiararose and the others were having their girls-only gathering there.
“Tiara!?” Aquasteed exclaimed when he realized that.
He thought it would take too long to run down the stairs to get to their meeting room, so he instead jumped out of the window onto the balcony of the room below. It was a rough method, but it was the fastest way available.
And the first thing he saw after landing on the balcony, was a giant ball of fluff filling the room, with Akari and the others being cornered by it.
“This is…?” Aquasteed muttered.
“Meowmeow…” The fluff ball growled.
“… T-Tiara!?” Aquasteed exclaimed.
That fluff ball was actually a gigantic cat… It was Tiararose.
Aquasteed gasped as he realized that his fears had come true.
He thought, ‘if only I had been more careful’ and, ‘if only I had a vessel that could accept the power of the Starry Sky’, then this kind of thing wouldn’t have happened.
He bit his lips at his own powerlessness.
But then, he shook his head and focused on the task at hand. Saving Tiararose was the priority for now.
However, he couldn’t attack her, and Aquasteed did not know how to undo the transformation.
While he wondered about what he should do, Akari shouted, “Lord Aqua!” then threw something at Aquasteed, “Catch!”
Aquasteed caught it, “T-the ring of the Starry Sky!?”
“Due to some circumstances, it was removed! Please give it back to lady Tiara!” Akari exclaimed.
“… Got it.” Aquasteed replied.
He was wondering why Tiararose had suddenly become like this, but it made sense now that he knew that the ring of the Starry Sky had come off.
This ring served as a safety device that helped her body properly accept the power of the King of the Starry Sky, after all.
Due to that, even if she struggled with controlling her magical powers and ended up becoming a cat from time to time, for as long as Tiararose had the ring, she should not become a monster.
Therefore, it was extremely important to give the ring back to her as soon as possible.
“Tiara…?” Aquasteed muttered.
As he stared at Tiararose, Aquasteed noticed something.
Even if she was growling, Tiararose was not attacking anyone.
Her gigantic body was trembling.
“Mmmeoow… Meowmeow…” Tiarose was growling.
“You’re working hard to withstand it…” Aquasteed muttered.
Apparently, Tiararose’s strong desire to protect the people that she loves made her withstand the power and not lose her sense of self, stopping herself from completely becoming a monster.
Right now, she was just a large trembling cat.
Aquasteed looked at his surroundings and confirmed that everyone had evacuated.
Tarmo, who had been waiting right outside the door, and Levy, who had been on standby, probably reacted quickly to the situation and started helping everyone evacuate as soon as Aquasteed arrived.
So, with just the two of them in the room, Aquasteed slowly approached Tiararose and called her name, “Tiara.”
“Meoooow.” The meow felt like a roar, but she still answered properly.
“Even if your appearance changes, you’re still my cute Tiara.” Aquasteed stated.
He touched Tiararose and buried his face on her fur. She was fluffy and warm, and even in this situation, Aquasteed still felt happy to be with her.
But in the next moment, Tiararose’s tail was swung vigorously towards Aquasteed. Tiararose was suppressing herself with willpower, but she was clearly at her limits.
Aquasteed lowered his body to avoid the tail, then jumped backwards.
He knew that Tiararose would surely blame herself a lot if she inflicted as much as a single scratch onto someone else.
That’s why Aquasteed approached her again and reassured her. He told her that he would never be hurt by Tiararose, and that he would do anything if it was for her.
“That said… What am I supposed to do here?” Aquasteed muttered.
He had never dealt with such a big cat before.
It would be cute if she reacted to teasing in the same way that other cats did though.
“Tiara.” He called her name again as he thought of what to do.
Her ears twitched at the sound of her name.
Aquasteed wondered if she could still properly hear him… If she could, then Tiararose would surely be in a lot of pain right now, as her body isn’t properly listening to her mind that is still conscious.
Aquasteed avoided another tail swipe, then he moved closer to Tiararose’s neck. He hugged the giant neck and whispered, “Can I give you a ring again?”
The ring felt restless if it wasn’t on Tiararose’s finger, after all.
And with his words, Tiararose’s movements stopped for a second. Perhaps she really was listening, Aquasteed thought.
He then used this opportunity to grab her left front paw, then touched the ring on it… At that moment, she went back to human form.
“A-A-A-A… Aqua…” Tiararose muttered.
“It’s okay Tiara… I’m sorry to have made you go through that.” Aquasteed replied.
Then, he gently put the ring of the Starry Sky on her left ring finger, then proceeded to gently kiss that finger, then the back of her hand, her cheeks, her forehead, then her lips…
“I-if only I wasn’t so unskilled… I-I almost hurt everyone…” Tiararose started crying.
“No one was hurt. It’s alright…” Aquasteed gently comforted her and told her to not cry.
He then gently kissed her eyes, which were filled with tears.
After putting Tiararose to sleep on her bedroom, Aquasteed moved to his office while leaving Tiararose on Philiane’s care.
“I see, so Lucia wanted to wear the ring.” Aquasteed nodded after hearing about the circumstances from Olivia, “Of course, it would be ideal if she could learn to control the magical powers, but we need to think of other methods to counter this as soon as possible…”
Tiararose had never taken the ring of the Starry Sky off before, but they couldn’t be sure if something like this wouldn’t happen again in the future, so Aquasteed thought it would be better to take those unexpected occurrences into account and try creating countermeasures for future troubles.
“No matter what though, the root of the problem still lies on the magical power… As expected of lord Aqua’s and lady Tiara’s power. It’s really a lot.” Akari commented.
But then, Liliarge intervened, “I have an idea.
“Basically, what we need is someone that Tiara can safely pass her magical power to, right?”
“Whether or not such a person exists is another matter entirely, but that should be the best solution.” Aquasteed nodded.
“Do you have any good ideas, lady Lilia!?” Akari exclaimed.
Liliarge gave a wry smile to Akari, “I have one.
“It’s very difficult to make it come to fruition, but I think Tiara might be able to do it.”
“Mmmm…” Tiararose muttered.
“Lady Tiararose! You woke up!?” Philiane exclaimed.
“Philiane?” Tiararose said.
“Yes, it’s me.” Philiane replied.
Tiararose woke up, looked around the room for a bit, then stared back to Philiane, who was in front of her.
She was in her own bedroom, not in the bedroom where they held their girls-only gathering.
Tiararose wondered if she had fallen asleep and was carried away, but… She then remembered it.
“Ah, my ring…” Tiararose stared at her left hand, and saw that the ring of the Starry Sky was there again, which relieved her.
Tiararose didn’t have many memories of what happened after Luciarose took the ring, but she remembered that that time was very painful for her.
“Philiane, please tell me what happened.” Tiararose said.
“… Alright.” Philiane replied.
After Aquasteed gave the ring of the Starry Sky back to Tiararose, and Tiararose went back to being a human, Aquasteed told Philiane that it was alright to tell Tiararose everything that had transpired.
He knew that Tiararose would be worried about it, and they had wondered if it would be best to keep the truth from Tiararose in case her memories were unclear.
However, Aquasteed decided that it was better for Tiararose, who was the main person involved, to properly understand the situation.
Moreover, she is the queen of Marineforest, so it was important for her to know about this kind of thing.
Not to mention that there was a chance of Tiararose remembering it herself without them needing to tell it to her in the first place.
So, with those instructions in mind, Philiane told everything to Tiararose.
By the time Philiane finished retelling the events, Tiararose had become dizzy.
‘Just what did I do!?’ Tiararose thought.
She felt relieved that she had not hurt anybody, but she was also extremely worried about Luciarose, “What about Lucia? How is she?” Tiararose asked.
Tiararose understood that, if Luciarose realized that it was her fault that her mother almost became a monster, then Luciarose would most likely be deeply hurt.
So, right now, Tiararose couldn’t help worrying way more about Luciarose than about herself.
But Philiane just gave a gentle smile to the impatient Tiararose, “She’s alright.
“She did cry at first when seeing your change, perhaps because it surprised her, but now she is peacefully sleeping.
“Would you like to go see her?” Philiane suggested.
“… I’m worried about waking her up, but I want to at least look at her.” Tiararose replied.
“Alright, then let me help you get ready.” Philiane said.
After Tiararose got out of her bed, Philiane gave her a coat, so as to let Tiararose leave quickly without changing her clothes first. With this, she could go to Luciarose right away.
“Thank you, Philiane.” Tiararose said.
“Don’t worry about it, milady… Though it feels strange to take care of you for the first time in such a long while, lady Tiararose.” Philiane replied.
It’s been a few years since Philiane got pregnant and got her first motherhood leave.
She was planning on coming back not long after giving birth, but then she quickly became pregnant again, and then one more time, so Philiane ended up staying quite a while away.
She still visits the castle regularly and drinks tea with Tiararose though, so they still talk to each other plenty.
And so, with Tarmo escorting her, Tiararose entered Luciarose’s room.
Luciarose looked cute. If one were to stare at her, they might think she was being buried within the big bed.
Tiararose felt relieved when seeing that her daughter was sleeping comfortably, “You’re sleeping well.” She muttered.
Tiararose then sat on the edge of the bed and gently stroke Luciarose’s forehead… Tiararose thought that she must have scared Luciarose.
Originally, Tiararose was just planning on quickly looking at Luciarose, but she now wanted to be with her until morning came. She wanted to be able to say ‘good morning’ to Luciarose first thing in the morning, then hug her as strongly as she could.
Though with the matters of the ring, it may be troublesome for Tiararose to just decide on that by herself, so she thought that she should consult with Aquasteed about it.
And when this thought came to her mind, “I woke up, but I didn’t contact Aqua…!” Tiararose exclaimed.
She was so worried about Luciarose, that she ended up neglecting everything else.
But Philiane just giggled at Tiararose’s reaction, “It’s alright.
“As I told you earlier, everyone is now holding a meeting to decide on their next actions.
“Before we came here, I asked a maid to tell lord Aquasteed that you had woken up, lady Tiararose.” Philiane then also told Tiararose that Aquasteed would probably be with her soon.
“Thank you, Philiane.” Tiararose said.
“You’re welcome, milady. I’ll be with you, so you can lie down with lady Luciarose until his majesty Aquasteed comes, if you want.” Philiane suggested.
“… Well, I think I’ll do just that.” Tiararose said.
“Very well.” Philiane replied.
Philiane understood that Tiararose really wished to be with Luciarose right now, so she made this suggestion.
And Tiararose decided that it should be fine to do that until Aquasteed came, so she lied down next to her cute daughter.
Aquasteed’s office had gone silent.
Everyone’s eyes were focused on Liliarge, and each of them wondered whether or not they should trust her idea. Whether or not it was truly possible to execute it.
Had anyone even considered doing something like this before, Aquasteed wondered.
However, since it was something that Liliarge suggested, Aquasteed thought that there must be a real chance of success.
And so, after taking a deep breath, Liliarge said it one more time, as clearly as she could, “Make a new fairy, and give Tiara’s magical power to it.”