g that time, Thiel felt like she wanted to cry.

* * *

Excuse me.”

“Yes, Miss.
Is there something uncomfortable for you?”

Lia asked kindly.
Thiel looked briefly beyond the tall rose bushes and then nodded her head.

“… No, it’s nothing.”

“Oh my, if there’s anything uncomfortable, please feel free to let me know anytime.”

Thiel was currently having tea time at the small tea table in the garden, thanks to Lia’s suggestion.

The small tea table, perfectly sized for Thiel’s body, was a gift from Alpheus.

The child sat under the shade of a tree, sipping a cup of tea with plenty of sugar cubes in it, planning to spend a leisurely afternoon.

…If only it weren’t for the two older brothers who kept peeking their heads out from behind the rose bushes.

“You’re stupid, it’s obvious.”

“Then you go up there and see for yourself.”

They were whispering as quietly as possible, but the distance between the rose bushes and the tea table was not far, so the voices of the two boys were clearly heard.

“Hey, do you think she noticed?”

Perdi and Ludian had been forbidden to interact with Thiel after mealtime that day under Cassius’ orders.

The reason was that “Thiel is being very cautious with strangers.” Ludian protested, but it was in vain.
Cassius threatened to send them both back to the academy if Thiel felt uncomfortable.

However, Cassius’ threat seemed to be in vain as Perdi and Ludian stayed by Thiel’s side, constantly keeping an eye on her.

They loitered in the hallway outside her room, occasionally peeking in through the window.
Despite, Thiel’s room is on the second floor!

Once, she asked Lia about their strange behavior.

‘Well, you know.’

‘Yes, please tell me, Miss-.’

‘Why do my brothers keep… watching me? What did I do wrong?’

When Thiel anxiously asked, Lia covered her mouth with her hand and smiled before kindly answering.

‘No, it’s not because you did something wrong, Miss.
Your brothers are just fascinated and find you adorable, that’s all.”’

Thiel couldn’t believe Lia’s words, but she nodded her head.

‘They find me fascinating and adorable?’

That couldn’t be true…

Recalling Perdi’s gaze that she glimpsed, Thiel muttered to herself.

During her stay at the Nestian Mansion, she had only seen people who were hostile and banded together out of hostility, so she knew well what people with animosity looked like.

And that day, Perdi, who had been very kind during mealtime, was undoubtedly… 

‘Ah, Thiel.


‘He was on guard…’

Unlike Ludian, who seemed to have no thoughts, Perdi was clearly on guard against Thiel.

He tried to hide it, but it was obvious. 

In the end, Thiel couldn’t even let out a proper sigh as she nervously brought the teacup to her lips, sweat dripping down her forehead.

The taste of the black tea, which had a slightly bitter flavor, filled her mouth.

Thiel, who wasn’t accustomed to the taste of tea, glanced briefly at the sugar bowl filled with sugar cubes, then quickly averted her gaze.

“Oh my.”

In the meantime, Lia approached Thiel, who was sipping the tea with a somewhat stiff expression, and brought her hand to her mouth.

Seemingly, it didn’t seem to suit the child’s taste, even with the sugar cubes. 

Lia put a sweet candy into Thiel’s mouth and asked.

“Miss, if the black tea doesn’t suit your taste, shall I bring you a different type of tea?”

“Yes, please.
Thank you.”

“Hoho, alright.
I’ll bring it right away.”

Lia took the teacup from Thiel’s hand and set it aside.

Just as she was about to go get a new cup of tea, a maid hurriedly approached Lia and whispered something in her ear.

“Oh, now?”

“Yes, they’ve arrived.”

Thiel listened attentively to the conversation between Lia and the maid.

Who could have arrived?

Lia looked at Thiel for a moment, seemingly in a difficult position, and then approached her, kneeling down next to her, and whispered.

“Miss, a guest has arrived at the mansion.
It’s Prince Ianthros.
He said he wants to meet you… Would you like to meet him? It’s okay to decline if you feel uncomfortable.”

To refuse a prince’s visit.
It would be an unimaginable thing in a typical household, but this was the Asterian family, known for their authority that could bring down a flying bird.

Lia calmly waited for Thiel’s answer, expecting her to refuse the sudden visit of the guest.

But contrary to Lia’s expectations, Thiel’s face brightened even more than before, as she smiled and nodded.

“I would love to meet him! I didn’t properly thank him last time.”

At that moment, a sound of something breaking and collapsing came from behind the rose bushes.

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