I woke up in a Japanese-styled room that smelled of freshly-picked citrus.
It was a room far different from mine. I felt disoriented and my heart beat faster, clutching the unfamiliar thin blanket over me.
I couldn't move, couldn't scream; I feared that if I do something, I might never wake up back to my familiar bedroom. So I waited.
My ears twitched, a strange new sensation. I hear footsteps on the wooden floorboard heading towards this room. My little sister? No, the steps were too heavy and sure.
The door slid open, revealing a Japanese beauty in a revealing Kimono.
"Dammit cat! How many times do I have to tell you, wake up on your own!"
She was looking straight at me, almost as if she knew me all her life, but I've never seen her before. I'd never forget a refined beauty like her, unlike the haggard office lady neighbor. Me staring at her only boiled her anger more.
"Damn nyagger, every morning! Every single morning, I swear one day I'm going to drive a knife at your thick skull!"
She stormed in, grabbed the collar--of my kimono--and dragged me out the room and into the kitchen.
There was a table with a modest meal prepared on it and three chairs. She threw me on a chair and sat on her own.
"Eat up, we've got a big day ahead of us."
She served me cooled-down mushroom soup and some bread. There was a faint smell of mold on the bread, but my stomach felt too hungry to notice. I have never felt this hungry before.
"We'll keep up our strategy. At this rate we're not gonna earn enough copper to last the coming winter, so we've got no choice but to attend the tourney to increase our rank. But I'd like to avoid that as much as possible."
I licked the remains of the bowl and burped. My stomach just couldn't resist the filling, homey flavor of the mushroom soup, so much that I almost forgot all my troubles.
"Are you listening, cat?"
"Can I ask a question?"
She glared at me but waited for my next words quietly while sipping a bit of her hot mushroom soup. As concise as possible, all my questions and fears could be boiled down in one question:
"Where... am I?"
After explaining my situation to the kind lady, who kept her eyes on me the entire time, she ate the last of her bread.
"So you're from this place, and when you woke up, you found yourself here."
"Yes. What is this place, kind stranger?"
Her eyebrows furrowed, but she kept her composure. She closed her eyes, looked above and took her time -- and when she awoke, the clouds on her eyes cleared up.
"You, what's your name?"
"It's-- it's-- I, forgot."
She didn't like that answer.
"I'm... I'm from... Who I am, where I'm from... why? What's happening?"
My eyes burned and everything blurred. I tried to keep my shaking hands so I wouldn't embarrass myself in front of the beautiful Japanese lady, but I think it was too late anyway.
What was happening? I was sure I remembered everything, how my room looked like and all.
Every single memory, slipped away from me, like a long-lost dream.
"But I know... I'm not from here."
"Yes, that much is sure. Not once while you talked did you say a single nyaa, so I know you're probably not Niihime."
I tilted my head, unsure of who she was talking about. But that name sounded familiar. I knew there was no use trying to remember now, but it only hurt my brain to try.
"Niihime, your name. Follow me."
She brought me to her room, a subdued place with old books lining up most of the walls. She took out a mirror and faced it towards me.
"This is you, the catgirl Niihime."
A spark of memory came back to me. A memory of last night, and a certain onee-chan.