Elliana heard it, but for some reason, she didn’t want to do it. However, she knew that she had to make a good impression on Ian so that she could feel comfortable at the Icewood Education Center in the future.
‘Yes, no problem, I’ll call you that.’
However, the word felt unfamiliar. It was the first time she had ever say hose words. Elliana pursed her small lips and barely managed to pronounce it in a very faint voice.
Ian mischievously smiled and playfully covered his ears.
“I didn’t hear it. Say it again.”
This person… really.
Though boiling inside, Elliana looked at him and said,
“Bwother, bwother, bwother!”
‘I’m a magpie right now. I’m just crying out like a magpie.’
While grinding her teeth, Elliana called him brother with a soulless voice.
“That’s right. Keep going.”
Ian chuckled and gently stroked Elliana’s messy hair. A sigh escaped her, unbidden.
“… Stwop! I dwon’t want to do it. (Stop it! I don’t want to do it.)”
In the end, Elliana exploded, but his smile remained, never fading.
By the way, it seemed like the first time Elliana witnessed Ian laughing so brightly.
‘Is he laughing because he’s in a good mood?’
Ian’s smile was not something only Elliana witnessed. Under his silver hair, his bright eyes formed crescents, and the surrounding girls squealed with excitement.
“She’s the first one to make Ian smile!”
Such comments could be heard. After the joint class ended, the girls flocked around Elliana, asking if they could join her group, offering desserts or presenting letters and gifts.
Some wanted to become friends with her. In that moment, Elliana was known as Ian’s younger sister.
‘Is it because brother is handsome and interesting?’
At first, she was taken aback, but now she seemed to understand the ways of the world a little better. Elliana smiled softly.
* * *
Elliana’s days had been incredibly busy lately. She had been attending classes, training one-on-one with the High Priest, and taking care of the field where she had planted the Loro’s seeds.
Then, one day, Sarah hurriedly entered Elliana’s room and whispered to her, “Oh, Your Highness! Something big happened. Master Ian is here. Hurry and transform back into your human form.”
“……Woof! (What!)” Elliana’s black eyes widened in surprise, and she shrunk her body even more.
Of all times, he had to come when she was in her dog form. Moreover, Ian, that brat, had been frequenting the Dandelion Palace quite often these days.
‘What could he want?’
With a ‘poof,’ Elliana quickly transformed back into her human form.
“Your Highness, your hair looks fluffy like wool,” Sarah said, showing her a mirror.
When Elliana slept in her dog form, she would sometimes rub her head with her front paws, causing her hair to get messy. So, as Sarah said, it looked fluffy like wool.
However, Elliana liked the look because it made her hair appear fuller. At three years old, her hair hadn’t grown much yet.
According to her sister Daisy’s words, one of the conditions for an elegant beauty was having thick and luxurious hair.
But in her past life, Elliana couldn’t fulfill that condition. Even before going to the Imperial Palace, her hair had been shiny and luscious. But after going to the palace, due to working all day and starving, her hair became thin and lifeless. It wasn’t just her hair either; her body became frail and emaciated as well.
However, in this current life, thanks to the care of the maids and the excellent cooking skills of the head chef, she was gradually gaining weight and becoming plump.
While Sarah was combing Elliana’s hair, Ian entered the room recklessly, moving around restlessly.
“Hey, don’t just barge into someone’s room. What awe you doing?” Elliana scolded.
But Ian didn’t care about such things. “Why? We’re siblings,” he said.
Was it just her?
Ian’s cold gaze seemed to warm up a bit. He reached out and gently stroked Elliana’s head, then sat down on a chair that didn’t fit his body at all, adjusting himself to match Elliana’s size.
“Why are you so small?”
“What do you want from me?” Elliana’s cheeks puffed up even more, and her brown eyebrows twitched.
“Why, can’t I touch your cheeks?”
‘What did I do wrong?’
Elliana’s cheeks puffed up even more, and her cute and squishy cheeks became even plumper.
‘He suddenly shows up in the morning, he’s really annoying. The existence of an older brother…’
Was he really a silver lion?
Ian smiled slowly, while Elliana looked at him with suspicious eyes, her arms crossed. She reluctantly tilted her cheek as a sign of acceptance.
“Go ahwead. Do it quickly.”
Ian reached out his hand and pressed Elliana’s soft cheek firmly with his long finger. It was fascinating how his hand seemed to sink into it as soon as it touched it.
Even though he tried to exert as little force as possible, it was still incredibly soft. And it was so slippery too.
“Are baby cheeks naturally this soft? They’re as tender as eggs.”
He felt the urge to bite it, but Ian resisted the impulse. Instinctively, lions were predators that sought strength. However, he felt that this small, soft, and fragile thing broke down that barrier.
There was something about it that disarmed the person looking at it.
“It’s you who’s not soft.”
Ian gently stroked Elliana’s chubby hand, which was held in his own hand, and chuckled.
Even her murmuring voices were cute.
* * *
Since that day, Ian visited Elliana every day.
“…Let’s play, Softie.”
“Let’s go for a walk.”
The coldness that used to emanate from Ian’s purple eyes as he tightly held the small child’s hand in his own hand had disappeared. Elliana also no longer wanted to curse Ian as a bad guy. She somehow felt that he resembled their father.
The bright spring sunshine bathed the siblings, and the Duke had always been watching them from a distance.
Derrick, the eldest, still hadn’t contacted them, but they received a reply from Celia saying that she would soon arrive at the castle.
‘Maybe one day, all of the family will be able to gather.’
While waiting for that day, she returned to her room.
* * *
There were no training sessions with the High Priest or lessons at the Icewood today. Elliana was enjoying a sweet rest, rolling around in the puppy’s crib.
Perhaps it was because of her fluffy fur, but Elliana often enjoyed resting in that state because it was warmer and cozier.
But when it was too much trouble and she wanted to eat a snack, she transformed back into a human. The maids were worried that her disguise might be exposed, so they only gave her dog treats when she was in her puppy form.
Now that Elliana had discovered the world of desserts that humans ate, dog treats like that didn’t suit her taste buds anymore.
However, she was fine with drinking milk.
Elliana, with milk dripping from the area around her mouth, perked up her ears at the sound of footsteps. Then she trotted to the door and wagged her tail.
Just from the sound of the footsteps, she knew who it was. Sarah had a slow and heavy gait.
Since the maids often brought things that Elliana liked, she was looking forward to her arrival.
Today, the sound of footsteps seemed to have a more rhythmic quality, and it seemed like Sarah was in a good mood.
“Woof! (What is it?)”
As Elliana tilted her fuzzy head and looked at Sarah, she approached and gently stroked her head.
“Oh, my lady. Thank you for greeting me so warmly. A gift has arrived for you. It doesn’t say who it’s from, though.”
‘Who could it be from?’
Elliana also tilted her head.
Sarah placed a large box on the ground. It was a light purple box decorated with a white ribbon.
Whoever it was, they had a great taste.
Feeling even more excited, she blew out a puff of air and spun around in place, hopping up and down.
Every time she did that, the swaying of her chestnut-colored tail and fur looked so soft.
“You’re enjoying it that much? Then let’s open the present.”
At those words, Elliana transformed back into her human form with a “Poof.” Read ahead here.