The couple went over to the castle to meet up with Anna and Ari, and the two also tried on the school uniforms of the duo. Maya was rather indifferent about it, but Sophia needed some time to get used to it because skirts make her feel a bit insecure. The blonde started to enjoy it relatively quick, though, because she liked how comfortable and easy it was to move around in it.
While chatting about the academy, the girls noticed that they actually hadn’t planned anything for the couple’s visit where they’re supposed to introduce the new way of using magic to everyone. Deciding to think about overnight, the girls wanted to get together on the following day again to share their ideas.
"You sure like those clothes, huh?" The couple was on the way back to the castle, and Maya looked at her tiger. Both were wearing the school uniform again. Sophia wanted to get a better feel for them, and the cat-girl simply tagged along with it.
"W-Well…" The blonde paused for a moment. "I, uhh… I want to get used to them before visiting the school… It’s one thing to mess up with this stupid skirt around you, or Ari and the princess, but in front of a bunch of strangers… I might have to burn down the place afterward…" Her tail started to swish all over the place in agitation while she imagined such an incident happening…
"I see…" The cat-girl opted to not make a comment here.
"It really is comfy, though…"
"Yeah, the clothes are super high quality, and you can feel that."
"Yep." Sophia nodded. "I honestly like the skirt and tights combo way more than I want to, too…" She looked down at herself. "My legs are toasty warm, but thanks to the skirt, my movement isn’t hindered in the slightest! It’s amazing!"
"Looks great, too~." Maya stared at her tiger.
"Ari and Anna will definitely put you in a skirt when we go shopping for new clothes. Be prepared for that."
"Well, then I just have to make sure not to tell them how much I like their uniform..."
"Sure." The cat-girl smiled at her. "What will you do about me putting you in a skirt, though?"
"A-Ah." She awkwardly scratched her chin. "Let me get used to this here first, okay…?" The tiger gestured at her current clothes.
"Alright!" As Maya didn’t hear a no in her reply, she left it at that for the time being.
Walking around for a few more minutes afterward, the couple quickly arrived at the castle and met up wither their two friends.
"Long time no see~." Anna cheerfully greeted them once they arrived at her room.
"Yeah, it’s been hours!" Sophia smiled back at her. "Almost like 20 or so!"
"Welcome back." Ari’s greeting was a bit more on the neutral side, and she simply waved at them.
"Hey~." Maya waved back.
"Already liking the uniform, huh?" The jaguar looked at the couple.
"Ahh, that was Sophia’s idea."
"I want to get used to it! It helps that it’s really comfy."
"I see…" Ari focused her attention on the blonde. "I don’t know if I actually said it yesterday, or only thought it, but skirts work really well on you…"
"Yes!" The princess immediately agreed. "I was thinking the exact same thing!"
"I-Is that so…?" She wasn’t sure how to react.
"Absolutely!" The duo nodded.
"Thanks…" Especially when taking the conversation with Maya on the way to the castle earlier into consideration, Sophia could already see the style of her future wardrobe forming before her eyes. While visibly embarrassed, judging by her slightly expectant expression, the blonde seemed to be honestly looking forward to it to some degree.
"By the way," Ari sounded a little more serious again. "I hope the two of you did the homework I gave you."
"A-Ah." The couple turned their heads away.
"Gosh, you two are so useless." Anna sounded incredibly smug all of a sudden.
"Don’t tell me you came up with something?!" Maya was unable to believe such a scenario.
"Of course!" She raised her voice. "I’m not just a princess for show! I-"
"In other words," The jaguar interrupted her. "The moment you left yesterday, she ran to her father, the king, who actually isn’t just for show and asked him what to do."
"Ahh…" The couple almost seemed relieved about this revelation.
"H-Hey!" With a slight blush, Anna glared at Ari. "Y-You didn’t have to tell them!"
"I’m sorry. Whenever you get smug, I get the urge to tease you~." She didn’t sound overly apologetic.
"Ahh." The couple, once more, reacted the same. Maya especially seemed to sympathize a lot with this.
"Do I like this…?" The princess looked honestly confused.
"Yes." All three answered her question.
"Hmm…" Anna tilted her head. "W-Well, if Ari does it…"
"Hey, what about me?" Maya pointed at herself. "You don’t enjoy it when I tease you?"
"…" She went silent for a moment. "S-Shut up."
"Good enough for me~."
"Soooo…" Ignoring the two, Sophia looked at the jaguar. "What did our totally not-for-show princess come up with together with her father?"
"Hey!" The tall tiger raised her voice.
"What?" The shorter, equally striped girl locked eyes with her. "I said not for show, did I not?"
"Those were the words you used, yes. It somehow didn’t feel very sincere, though."
"That must’ve been your imagination."
"Is that so?" Anna had a hard time believing her.
"Yes, I think so, too." The jaguar sided with the blonde. "It sounded 100% genuine to me."
"See?" Sophia pat Ari’s shoulder to show her appreciation.
"Why do I feel less convinced now…?"
"What? You don’t trust our dear Ari?" Sophia had no intention to back down on this.
"There’s no one I trust more!" She got loud again.
"Perfect!" The blonde started smiling. "So, what’s the plan you and your father came up with?"
"Ehehe." The jaguar also liked Anna’s reaction a whole lot.
"Hmm…" The princess looked at the two for a moment before giving up. "Apparently, the two of you can do whatever you want when you visit our school."
"Ari." Sophia looked at the jaguar.
"Yep." She nodded in response.
"W-What…?" Anna didn’t understand their reaction.
"That’s a failing grade for the homework." The duo grinned at her.
"H-Hey! Wait! I’m the only one who did anything at all! Why am I getting a failing grade?!"
"Being allowed to do whatever we want is no different than having found out nothing." Maya sided with the duo.
"W-Well…" There was little the princess could defend herself with. "Father, together with the ministers of schooling and education, decided that it would be best if Eluna takes the leading role. She’s a famous teacher and instructor, after all. Well, Sophia’s also famous, but for being the new and exciting blonde tiger, not as a genius related to magic."
"Uhh…" The girl in question had some difficult feelings about this.
"The students will jump at a public class of the Eluna." Anna continued her explanation. "The four of us will join her classes and help her out. We’ll basically be the living proof that those new methods work."
"Really…?" Sophia tilted her head.
"Okay, Maya and I will be…" The princess corrected herself. "Ari still needs some teaching herself and you… you…" She was unable to finish her sentence.
"I see." The blonde didn’t mind the slight insult. "I’m not a good example for someone who’s still learning the roots of magic…"
"Yeah." Everyone agreed.
"Hey! Just because I’m the one who said it doesn’t mean you all can just agree with it!"
"Ah," Anna looked at her fellow tiger again. "Just because Eluna’s in charge of the teaching, it’s not like she’s getting all the recognition for it. Once the new methods of using magic take roots, you and Maya can show off what magic really is."
"Oh, is that where Maya, Ari, and I will break their common sense? That’s my forte~."
"Absolutely." The three nodded.
"Wait, Ari?" The jaguar pointed at herself. "I don’t destroy common sense. I preserve it."
"I’m sorry…" Maya looked at her with an apologetic expression. "That was over the moment you became besties with my idiot."
"Yep." Sophia smiled at her. "You’re not the strongest in the capital after my group and Ellie just for show, after all~."
"Uhh…" She paused for a moment. "I am, though… I just got so powerful because I was envious of some magic… I can’t even use my new powers yet."
"Uhh… Don’t sweat the small stuff…"
"That’s not something small!"
"If you’ve seen some of Sophia’s other stunts, you’d think otherwise." While it was definitely out of the norm what happened to the jaguar, the blonde did a few and slightly more outrageous things already.
"More than gifting me some of her power…?" Ari looked doubtful.
"Well, she faced off against an entire army all on herself." Anna could agree with the cat’s claim. "That was, at least visually speaking, pretty impressive."
"Nah, Ari’s case way above that." The blonde herself shook her head. "Maya’s still right, though~." As someone from a different world that changed races and almost destroyed a continent not too long ago, she couldn’t disagree with the cat-girl.
"Urgh… I-I’ll try my best to stay as normal as possible, though…" The jaguar didn’t want to join Sophia’s rank of ridiculousness just yet for some reason.
"Good luck~." Maya had little hope for her.
Once the black-haired girl finished being down about her inevitable future, the group made more plans to visit the academy together. However, as they were about to wrap things up for the day, Sophia had heard something that greatly distressed her.
"W-What was that just now…?" She looked at Anna with a shocked expression.
"I said that classes start at 09:00, but it would be best to be at the academy a good bit earlier, like around an hour." The princess repeated herself. "The girls there often asked me about the blonde tiger, and if you’re going to actually show up there now, it’ll be quite the commotion. That’ll take a while."
"So… 08:00 … Like, in the morning…?"
"With getting ready, including my hair… Not to mention breakfast… Even getting up at 7 in the morning could be too late… Impossible." Something like that was outside the realms of Sophia’s powers.
"Don’t worry, I’ll wake you up~." Maya grinned at her.
"That doesn’t make me feel any better!" She didn’t like the sound of that. "Maybe I’ll get some extra hours of sleep while I stop-"
"No." The cat-girl shook her head.
"Aww…" Sophia wanted to stop time to get enough sleep, but the cat-girl was against the idea because she was sure that once the tiger takes a liking to that, she’ll start sleeping for 30 hours a day. The blonde eventually gave up on her idea while announcing to sleep through the classes that weren’t interesting. Ari had a few complaints about that, but Anna was surprisingly silent on the topic.
A big thank you to
- Cidant -
for supporting the story on Patreon to make more art for the story possible. I hope the Ellie illustration from yesterday wasn't too adorable~. It being animated might've been a bit much.