Chapter 226 Rare Cuteness
Katarina's quiet footsteps echoed through the silent campus of the Mage Academy.
Her golden hair flowed behind her, shimmering in the moonlight, as she made her way toward one of the dorm buildings.
As she approached the entrance, her face became resolute and she reached out to grasp the doorknob firmly.
Entering the building Katarina's eyes scanned the dimly lit corridor, devoid of any life since most of the Students were asleep.
Katarina muttered under her breath as she continued walking down the corridor.
Today was not a very great day for her.
Or rather not a very productive one.
She had managed to rope Aiden into joining her team, however, her other goal to get close to him, seemed further out of reach than ever before.
He was very careful.
It seemed as if he was as wary of her presence as she was of his.
Katarina sighed inwardly.
He was a puzzle she couldn't solve.
A puzzle she couldn't solve, and that intrigued her even more.
Not exactly intriguing but a challenge she had to conquer or who knows what might happen.
'Is he an ally or an enemy...'
She pondered to herself as she continued down the corridor.
During her past lives, she had met different endings.
Killed by a Demon.
Chewed out by a Monster.
Betrayed by a trusted friend.
Every time she died, Katarina learned from her mistakes.
She became more cautious, more calculated, and more determined to survive.
However, one of the toughest deaths was at her friend's hands, someone she had trusted with her life.
Of course, she wasn't going to let history repeat itself.
It didn't mean that she would trust Aiden with her life since it would be dumb but she was forced to acknowledge the possibility that he could be a potential ally or a hidden enemy.
His strength and wits weren't anything to scoff at even compared to her.
Although Aiden hadn't revealed his real strength yet, Katarina was aware that beneath the surface, he might as well be as powerful as one of the four 'protagonists'.
"This is giving me a headache..."
Frowning, Katarina approached her apartment door and inserted the key into the lock.
The door swung open, revealing the familiar sight of her small, cluttered apartment.
Closing the wooden door behind her, Katarina sighed heavily and collapsed onto the worn-out couch, sinking into its familiar comfort.
Suddenly, a soft meow reached Katarina's ears and she glanced to the side, spotting her pet running towards her with a playful look in its eyes.
"Hello there, kitty~"
Katarina greeted her fluffy companion, watching as it jumped onto the couch and curled up next to her, seeking warmth and affection.
"Did you miss me?"
Katarina whispered softly to her cat, gently stroking its fur.
Unknowingly, her face softened as she found solace in the unconditional love and companionship of her furry friend.
If one would see Katarina in that moment, one would have a glimpse of her vulnerability and humanity.
It would be very weird since her character is known for her fierce and strong-willed nature.
The cat was so excited about her owner's return that its wings began fluttering in excitement.
It was at such a pace that the wind created small gusts, rustling papers and causing some loose items to topple over.
"Calm down, little one"
Katarina chuckled, gently restraining the cat's excited wings.
This cat, of course, wasn't normal.
It was a draconic familiar, a rare and powerful creature that had chosen to bond with Katarina.
Katarina was the only person nearby when it hatched so it naturally imprinted on her as its caretaker and companion.
Unfortunately, the familiar was still very young and hadn't fully developed its abilities yet.
Katarina couldn't take it with her since she knew it wasn't safe to reveal the existence of such a powerful creature to the outside world.
Plus, she didn't want to risk the potential danger that could come from others trying to exploit or harm her familiar.
She wanted to wait until the kitty could at least transform and change her into a more inconspicuous form, like a regular household cat.
"Do you want some food?"
Petting her cat, Katarina spoke in a gentle tone.
In an instant, the cat's eyes lit up, and it let out a pleased purr in response.
It understood human language perfectly.
Well, that was normal since the cat was from Draconic ancestry and possessed a level of intelligence that exceeded that of regular felines or even humans.
With a flick of her wrist, Katarina accessed her Spatial Bracelet, taking out a shiny sphere that radiated massive amounts of Mana.
It was a C Rank Core.
Seeing the shiny object, the Cat's eyes widened and it emitted a soft meow of anticipation.
Its dark tail began to sway back and forth in excitement.
Katarina grinned, knowing exactly what her familiar wanted.
"Here you go~"
Katarina tossed the C Rank Core towards the cat, who swiftly batted it out of the air with its paws.
Opening its jaws, the cat effortlessly swallowed the C Rank Core, its body glowing with a vibrant aura as it absorbed the mana within.
The cat purred happily and curled up into a contented ball, settling down for a nap after its satisfying meal.
The location it found suitable for sleep was Katarina's lap, where it felt safe and loved.
"You cost me a lot, you know?"
Katarina chuckled softly, petting her familiar's soft fur.
At first, she fed the cat lower-rank cores but with time, the pet's strength increased and the quality of the cores needed to sustain it also grew.
If not for all the money she had made by exploiting her knowledge of the future, collecting expensive and rare items and selling them, she would be broke.
Katarina viewed this as an investment since later on her pet would become a very powerful entity able to change the tides of many battles.
The cat purred in response, expressing its gratitude and contentment.
Its wings folded behind its back as it settled into a peaceful slumber.
However, this left Katarina in quite a dilemma.
Should she wake up her cat and go to bed, or should she let it sleep and enjoy the warmth and comfort it provides?
Of course, Katarina would also be forced to sleep on the couch if she decided to let her familiar continue sleeping on her lap.
She pursed her lips in contemplation, her emerald eyes scanning the dark fur of her familiar as it peacefully slept.
'Just this once...'
After a few moments, she sighed and placed her head on the backrest of the couch, choosing to let her cat continue sleeping on her lap.
"I'm becoming too soft..."
Muttering something under her breath, she glanced outside the window last time, seeing the full moon shining dimly outside and closed her eyes.
The morning was shit.
I woke up feeling completely exhausted and groggy.
Today I only had one class, Mana Theory and it was after the lunch break.
So I had quite a lot of free time in the morning to catch up on some rest and recharge my energy.
Even though I had slept for more than 8 hours straight, I still felt drained.
This could be due to several reasons such as poor sleep quality, an underlying health issue, or excessive mental or physical exertion.
However, it was probably because of the constant stress.
"Didn't I enhance my mind?"
Massaging my temples, I sighed and rose from the bed, feeling the weight of exhaustion pulling me down.
Channeling my Mana, I felt the energy surging through my muscles and began to stretch, attempting to invigorate my tired body.
I could feel the tension slowly leaving my muscles as I stretched and moved, trying to wake myself up.
After some time, I felt my body start to regain some energy and alertness.
Everything except for my mind seemed to be slowly coming back to life.
However, it was nothing a cold shower couldn't fix.
Entering the shower, I let the cold water wash over me, hoping it would jolt me awake and refresh my weary mind.
"Come on, Aiden, wake up..."
Muttering to myself, I stepped out of the shower and glanced at my face in the mirror.
Although there were visible dark circles underneath my eyes and my expression was still tired, I could sense a slight improvement in my overall alertness.
Putting on some fresh clothes, I made my way to the kitchen.
My goal was to make something to eat.
Did I have the capability to cook an edible meal?
Luckily, I had some bread and butter.
Not a very nutritious meal but a meal nevertheless.
Chewing the bland bread, I looked outside the window, observing the sun slowly rising and bringing light to the day.