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Chapter: 230


While Sophia was alone with Ari as the two got Ellie’s room ready for heated floors, she asked the jaguar about her latest progress with Anna. As it turned out, there was quite a lot of progress. The duo had gotten so close and intimate with each other that Ari’s current desire was to kiss the princess. Unfortunately, while her urge to kiss her girl was strong, Ari’s ability to plan it out, wasn’t.

"Alrighty, we’re done here~." While clapping her hands once, Sophia looked at Ellie’s room with a satisfied expression.

"S-She actually just let everything disappear, including the floor, added some of the heating stuff, and made everything look like before again…" Ari, on the other hand, looked rather tired instead. "You’re insane."

"Thank you very much." She decided to take it as a compliment. "Should we head over to your room now?"

"S-Sure." Agreeing to it, the jaguar then guided Sophia to her room which wasn’t too far away from Anna’s.

"Ohh, it’s cute!" There, the blonde looked around for a while, taking in how neatly it was decorated and that everything was perfectly cleaned up. Immediately after, her eyes stopped at Ari's bed. "Isn't it a bit small when you two sleep together? Especially because Anna's so tall."

"Yeah." She nodded. "It’s perfect."

"Ahaha!" Sophia loved her reply. "All snug and intimate, huh?"

"Yep." Though slightly embarrassed about it, Ari’s expression made clear that she was enjoying this arrangement a lot. "That’s another point on my list that made me suspicious about Anna…"

"How so?"

"Her bed’s so much bigger, but we spend almost every night in mine since the day she came over to sleep here for the first time. That made me think that she wants to be closer, too…"

"That made you think so…?" The tiger stared at the black-haired girl while tilting her head. "That the princess uses you as her hug pillow every night didn't give it away already? I’m not even talking about the motorboa-, err, suffocating incidents here, either."

"I-I’m sorry for also being a little dense, okay…?"

"Sure, let’s keep it at a little."

"Urgh…"

"Alrighty, let’s get started!"

"Sure…"

"Great!"

----------------

Getting her okay, Sophia then let everything, including the floor of Ari's bedroom, disappear into her storage, leaving only a completely bare room behind.

"Your storage magic sure is something else. All those purple distortions were quite pretty, though. Also, my stuff’s safe, right? R-Right?"

"Want to go inside and take a look at it?"

"R-Right you mentioned before that you can actually enter it, right…?"

"It’s pretty interesting in there~."

"Is it safe, too…?"

"As safe as everything else I do."

"…" Ari didn’t like this answer.

"Good point." Sophia couldn’t blame the jaguar and her overly disapproving expression. "The wolves and even Maya regularly enter the place, too. It's safe enough for that."

"T-That sounds a lot more promising."

"So~?" The blonde smirked at her. "I'm not sure if you'll ever be able to enter your own storage, but it might help you learn it."

"You really know how to win over a girl."

"No, I absolutely don’t." Sophia shook her head. "Also, don't tell the other two that you said this sentence to me when we were alone."

"A-Ah." She noticed her mistake.

"Especially not when you’re about to enter one of my holes. That leads to my storage area, to be more exact."

"…"

"That was stretching it a bit, huh?"

"…" Ari only increased her stare.

"Hmm… A-Ah!" She only now noticed her accidental wordplay. "That wasn't even on purpose! My, what a pervert we have here to interpret my words like that~."

"Sophia?"

"Yes, I’ll shut up now." The blonde knew what she wanted to say.

"Good." Ari’s expression softened again. "Also, absolutely. We really shouldn't tell them. Any of those things, that is."

"Anyway," Sophia decided to end the topic she started. A moment later, one of her usual door-sized purple portals opened in front of her. "Let’s hop in!"

"Uhh…" The jaguar stared at the portal for a while. "I-Is it okay if I change my mind…?" She was heavily second-guessing her decision to take a look at Sophia’s storage.

"Just go already!" Not giving her any choice in the matter, the blonde simply got behind Ari and pushed her inside.

"N-No, waaaa--" She tried to protest but clearly had no chance against the strength of the overpowered tiger. "W-Wow!" On the other side of the portal, Ari's eyes immediately grew wide.

"A-Ah…" So did Sophia’s, but for a different reason. "Wrong room…" She noticed that the two ended up in her portal room, connecting to their mansion and the maze, among other things. It wasn't the all-white space it used to be anymore, Sophia had created an actual room with light steel-blue walls and a ceiling. The portals were attached to the walls, as well.

"Wrong room?" Ari tilted her head. "Also, don’t push me into holes I don’t want to enter!"

"Good one." The tiger was proud of her.

"Hehe… Wait, where’s all my stuff?!" She looked around some more in the room that seemed to be completely empty, aside from a couple of portals.

"As I said, it’s the wrong place. Your furniture and all that is somewhere else."

"I see?" It didn’t seem like the jaguar did, though. "What are all the portals for?"

"Uhh…" Sophia wasn’t sure if she should tell her. "Well, whatever… Each of those portals links to a different place."

"S-Seriously?!" The jaguar got loud. "Are you seriously just a normal tiger?!"

"What else am I supposed to be?"

"I don’t know! All of this seems way too extraordinarily! If you actually were some higher being in disguise, I would totally believe it!"

"Do I look like a higher being to you?!" The blonde didn’t like where this was going.

"The great Canir’s a god, too, and while his statues make him look dignified, the expression he has on every single one gives off a smug yet somewhat unreliable look…"

"…" Sophia had so many things she wanted to say right now, but none of those would make the situation even slightly better. "So, I’m unreliable…?"

"T-That’s not what I wanted to say!" Apologizing once, the jaguar then took a deep breath. "I’m sorry, you’re obviously no higher being… That would be way too over the top even for you, after all... It’s just that surprising. All of this."

"Y-Yeah…" She was still taking damage from her remarks. "Well, I can see where you’re coming from…" She didn’t want to agree with Ari, but it’s not like she could blame her, either.

"So… where do these, uhh… portals lead to?" Looking a little interested, the black-haired girl walked over to one of them and curiously eyed it.

"That specific one there leads to an underground dungeon."

"N-No way…"

"If you think I’m joking, feel free to hop in and see for yourself."

"…" She looked at the portal for another moment. "I-I think I’m good…"

"It’s a pretty fun place, though."

"M-Maybe another time…" Ari had very mixed feelings about it.

"Sure~."

"What about the others?"

"Just some random places like a totally uninteresting and unsuspicious lake in the middle of nowhere not too far from here."

"Sounds suspicious."

"I just said that it isn't!"

"That’s the reason why it is." The jaguar obviously saw right through her. "Also, there are no lakes near the capital."

"With nearby, I still meant around 150km away."

"I see… Wait, the nearest lake that is worth its name I know is even farther if I remember right…"

"I-I guess you forgot one, then…"

"Suspicious…"

"It is not!"

"Sure…" Ari knew her well enough by now that she didn’t believe a single word the tiger was saying. "What about the big portal in the middle of the room?"

"That leads to our mansion."

"Really? That’s a great idea!" The jaguar seemed to have immediately understood the purpose. "Wherever your travel, no matter how far it is, you can always go back home for a nice bath and comfy bed."

"That’s exactly the plan. Well, we mainly planned to use that way of traveling during the cold season because camping is fun when it’s warm. Still, after I found out that it's getting icy around here, I don't feel like traveling at all right now…"

"Understandable." Ari reacted with a nod. "I don’t want to go out at all during wintertime…"

"Yeah…" The two cats had the same opinion on the matter.

"I kind of want to see this nearby and totally not suspicious lake I’ve never heard of right now, though." The jaguar looked at the corresponding portal again.

"H-How about some other time?" Sophia was already regretting having ever mentioned the disaster lake. She then turned around and created yet another portal. "Let’s go through that for the time being…"

"Where does this one lead?" Ari let go of the idea.

"To where we actually wanted to go, your stored bedroom."

"Ah, I almost forgot about that…" Too much had happened at once for the jaguar to stay on top of things. Much less reluctant this time, Ari then stepped through the new portal without having to be encouraged to do so.

----------------

"Ah, we’re right this time." Sophia had followed after her and let out a relieved sigh.

"It’s actually just like my room…" Ari was looking around in the area with a rather complicated expression. "Without walls in the middle of nowhere inside an all-white space, that is."

"Minor details."

"Sure…" Walking around a bit, she eventually sat down on her bed. "The bright white all around you is a bit much, but other than that, you really could live in here, huh? If you make it like the portal room, no one would even notice anything out of the ordinary."

"That’s what I have been saying!" Sophia got loud. "Maya doesn’t let me, though. Also, I remember you agreeing with her opinion!"

"Sounds like something I did, yeah." The jaguar nodded a few times.

"Adding to that, the white space is just the default setting. The portal room had actual walls and all that, after all."

"That’s true…"

"I might even be able to recreate some nature if I put some effort."

"Uhh…" The black-haired girl had a complicated expression again while looking at the tiger standing in front of her. "Creating a whole world with nature and all that inside a space that you rule over… I wonder if the great Canir can do something like that, as well."

"A-Ah…" The blonde remembered the last time the great Canir visited them, where he called her a divine being. "A-Anyway, back to the living in here idea…" Sophia had no intention to continue this topic. "I, uhh… I bet it would be cool to have something like a house in here. You can’t be much more on your own without any interruption than here." She could stop time, which makes one even more alone, but that’s a different topic.

"It does sound interesting and a little fun. Wow…" Ari suddenly stopped. "Anna was right. You are a bad influence. I never would’ve agreed to something as ridiculous as this before meeting you."

"Ehehe, you’re welcome." She didn’t mind being a bad influence if that led to her friend being more playful than before.

"Yeah, thanks…"

Once the two made sure that Ari’s stuff was safe in the storage dimension, the two headed back to the jaguar’s actual room to get the underfloor heating installed.

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