Neko no Ongaeshi
(The Cat Returns)
|Synopsis - Page 2|
The next scene sees Haru eating a pack of fish snacks while a small white cat follows her from behind. She soon noticed the cat and asked it what the matter was. The cat simply gave a meow and Haru asked it if it was hungry and proceeded to give it some of the fish snacks from her box. Seeing how happy it was, she gave the cat the whole box. Her mother soon arrived to pick her up.
That night, as Haru slept, the neighborhood cats were aroused by glowing lights traversing the road. Their meowing woke Haru up, who got up to see what was going on.
The lights revealed a procession of cats, all walking on two legs. The neighborhood cats tried to interfere with the procession but were chased off by the guards. By then, Haru had come out of her house to see for herself what was going on. As the main carriage stopped infront of her gate, Haru hid behind a pillar. A messenger coughed and was about to begin delivering his message when it noticed Haru hiding. After beckoning her forward, the messenger related the incident earlier on and told her that the cat she saved earlier happened to be the prince of the cat world. As such, the king himself has come to personally thank her. The king gave a groan, then casually thanked her. Haru giggled nervously, then startled back as a scroll was pushed into her face. The bearer of the scroll told her that the entire kingdom would try to repay her as best as they can. The king then groaned again and said goodbye. The procession of cats then left as mysteriously as they had arrived.
The next morning, Haru woke up wondering if it was all a dream. Hiromi called her soon after to ask her if she had sent her new sticks to compensate for her broken one. Haru denied it, so Hiromi was left wondering who had sent her hundreds of replacement sticks.
As Haru looked at the scroll on her desk, she heard her mother call for her downstairs and saw, to her surprise, her front and backyard covered with cattails, much to the dismay of her mother. When Haru left for school later, a trail of cats followed her all the way to school, drawing stares from her friends and earning her a scolding from her teacher. She wasn't spared yet; she found boxes of mice in her locker, which scattered on the floor, causing the cats to chase after them while Haru made her getaway.
In class, Haru opened the scroll. By the pictographs, her fears were confirmed; it was the cats' doing after all. She was counting the number of 'gifts' she had already received when Hiromi called her from behind. Haru desperately tried to hide it from her but Hiromi didn't seem to even bother what it was. She did, however, wanted to ask Haru if she could do her class chores that day. Tsuge was having his ping-pong match that day and she would be late if she was to do her chores. Haru agreed.
As Haru was bringing out the trash, she saw Machida walking with a girl along the covered pathway. She gazed at them walking together so intently that she failed to notice the barrier in front of her and fell terribly. Machida, on the other hand, was seen cautioning his girlfriend about the steps in front of her.
Haru quickly tossed the trash back into the bin. She missed one and went to retrieve it. She paused before bending down, then grabbing the piece of trash, tried to vent her anger by throwing the trash back on the ground, then decided against it. As she lamented, a cat called out to her behind the gate. It grinned.
Haru grabbed it by the neck and accused it for causing all the trouble she had that day. The cat denied it, saying that it was only there to see if she was happy with her gifts. She didn't, obviously, and let the cat know that she liked neither the catnip nor mice.
It was now the cat's turn to be worried, wondering how it was going to report to the king. Haru tried to pacify it by saying that she wasn't really that angry, and that she was just having a bad day. The cat later told her that she was invited to the kingdom. The prince, Lune, would be expected home soon, and there she will be married to him. Haru, who until then just nodded her head, objected strongly, stating that he was a cat and she was not. The cat asked her what the problem was, since the prince was a 'cool' guy.