3. First pet?
Merlot had had a few pets in his day, though they never lasted as long as he did. When he was a boy, prattling and scampering along his parent’s property, he had had a small dog, a tough old mutt he’d called ‘Paprika’, because the pup’s fur was the same color of the spice in his cook’s cupboard.
When he had taken up with his lover, and started having a family, they had a few more animal companions, though they were mostly the forest that had wandered onto the property of their little cabin, digging up their garden or bumping its head against the door to beg his lover for a snack. They mostly kept birds at the time, and on quieter nights Merlot would find himself thinking of his lover at her stove-pot, making potions as their birds sat in her afro ponytail like a crown of blue, feathery jewels.
But that was centuries past, and his line of work never really had time for much recreation, let alone pets to make friends with. His servants might bring in a cat or two to keep the house rid of pets put the furry wretches hung around their masters, not him, and he preferred it that way.
And then Mya came home and grew from a baby left on his doorstep in a basket to the loveliest brat the Sha Manor had ever seen, an actual equal to Merlot, and one that he adored.
But then there was that pesky line of work, and Merlot couldn’t be home with Mya all of the time, and after her tutors left she was very on her own, with the servants popping in for the occasional meal and bathtime. And with that horrid trip, she was forced to take with her father…
Yes, some recompense. And the Sha’s were not a poor family. Now, who was the pet dealer in the Sub-district, again?
“What’s that, Papa?” Mya asked, looking up from her junior potions book to peer the covered carrier Merlot brought into her bedroom.
“A friend, baby” Merlot assured, setting the pet carrier down on the side of her bed as Mya she climbed off her desk share to look at the thing suspicion. Then Merlot unlocked the door, and Mya almost gasped in delight as the black panther cub, stumbled out to sniff her hand.
It was a quiet for a moment, Mya observing the kitten and Merlot observing Mya and the kitten sniffing Mya’s fingers, to lick Mya’s fingers.
Mya looked up to Merlot and said, in a superior, “I’ll name her Tiri. Like the Queen”
And Merlot grinned.
And Mya wore the feline atop her like a shiny, black diadem.
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