Is there ever an easy time to tell someone that you’re not actually a cat? That’s not an issue most of us will ever face, granted, but for Ruri, it’s become something of an all-consuming problem. Ever since she found the ring of transformation in her storage space (courtesy of Lydia, the Time Fairy), she’s had the ability to go between feline and human forms, which seemed like a good thing when she got to the capital of the Dracodom; after all, if thugs were after a platinum-haired woman because they thought she’d fetch a high price in the slave markets of another nation, then wouldn’t hiding out as an adorable white kitty be the safer route?
The answer, as it happens, is yes with a rather large caveat. Ruri’s cat form, which she’s still wearing when she finally manages to reach the home of Chelsie’s son Claus, makes him assume that she is a cat, one hundred percent of the time. This is largely his own fault – despite being an official and relatively higher-ranked courtier at King Jade’s palace, Claus is completely unprepared to have a Beloved Child turn up on his doorstep, with or without a letter from his mother. This isn’t the reaction Ruri was expecting, since Chelsie more or less took her status as Beloved of the fairies and spirits in stride, so Claus’ freak out takes her completely by surprise. She initially can’t get a word in edgewise (and perhaps thinks that transforming in front of the poor man in his current state wouldn’t be a good plan), and when she finally has the chance to sit and talk to him, some of the first words out of Claus’ mouth are the equivalent of “thank god you’re not human.” Understandably, this does not make Ruri feel as if she can come out and reveal the truth.
Anti-human bias is something that was touched upon in the first volume, along with other forms of prejudice in the fantasy world Ruri was summoned to. This book makes it more clear that it doesn’t simply stem from a random mutual hatred between dragons and humans, but rather a product of the actions of the strictly-human kingdom of Nadasha. As you’ll recall, Nadasha was the country that initially summoned Ruri, Asahi, and several of their acquaintances, hailing Asahi as the Priestess Princess and eventually tossing Ruri out with the trash. While they were hardly what you’d call a sympathetic group, they come out looking even worse once Ruri meets Joshua, Claus’ son who works as a spy for the Dracodom. Nadasha, we find out, has attempted to wage war on their neighbors in the Dragon Kingdom many times in the past, all of which ended in failure. They claimed to have summoned the Priestess Princess to aid them in their time of need, but Joshua’s espionage discovered that simply isn’t true, and that they instead made up a legend in order to drum up more support for another war and then summoned random people to make it work.
Even if we discount the fact that that’s clearly a terrible reason to rip someone away from their world and family, it’s a very good indicator of why humans may not be all that popular in the neighboring, much more racially diverse kingdom. To a degree it’s a case of “you don’t like me, so I won’t like you” when it comes to humans in general, but it’s much more likely that Claus was relieved to find Ruri a cat because he was afraid that Nadasha would use her existence as an excuse to invade. (Or to attempt it, anyway. The length of the wars between the two countries is typically about two days, and that’s not because Nadasha’s a powerhouse.) Ruri being human would make her, and the Dracodom, more vulnerable to other countries’ attacks and attempts to secure the Beloved Child for themselves, and Claus knows that housing a Beloved of any species is going to cause a stir.
And while Ruri is frustrated at being stuck as a cat – in public, at least – there is an unexpected benefit. It turns out that Jade, the Dragon King, has been suffering from a distinct lack of fuzz in his life. As a dragon (and remember that dragonpeople can take both human and dragon form), smaller animals are terrified of him, so he has never been able to indulge in his love for cats and dogs. Ruri being a human transformed into a cat means that he finally has a kitty he can love – he can hug her and squeeze her and squish her little toe beans and snuggle her at night and and and…While obviously this scene (or rather, these scenes) are present in the source light novel, this is truly where the manga adaptation shines, because aki has a real gift for drawing both a man in the throes of his kitty fix and a cat enjoying a good petting. There is sort of a weird element to it, because we know that Ruri’s not a cat and is also the woman that Jade’s ministers are desperately searching for in the hopes that he’ll marry her, but stranger things have been done in service of the romance subplot of a story.
That subplot is heating up as Ruri realizes that she and Jade are on the same spiritual wave-length, so when he does eventually figure out what Joshua (who saw her in Nadasha) already knows, things are likely to escalate. But first Ruri has to figure out what she wants to do about the war brewing between the two countries, because as a Beloved Child, she could absolutely end things before they start. What’s going to be best for her, the people of both countries, and those who were summoned with her? Does she even care about Asahi anymore? Nothing is all that easy, and with this manga volume still not quite finishing out the material in the first novel, this is a nicely-paced adaptation that’s worth following for the art even if you’ve already read the light novels.