“Where is she? Where is the child?”
Duke Ewald asked, jumping out of the carriage in a hurry, forgetting his dignity.
Alpheus Ewald Asterian.
It was a duke who had never forgotten his dignity, but at this moment, it wasn’t the time to care about such things.
The duke was supposed to have dinner with the emperor, but upon hearing Parden’s words, he dared to cancel the dinner with the emperor.
I heard that my granddaughter, whom I thought was dead, was alive because it was not the time to eat leisurely.
Fortunately, the emperor was a close friend of Alpheus Ewald Asterian, so he readily let him go.
The duke urgently spoke to a maid.
“First, bring Cassius, no, wait. First, bring that child here.”
At his gesture, one of the maids went to call Cassius.
The Duke stood in the central hall, unable to think of taking off his jacket or going to his office until the maid returned.
After a short while, Cassius was seen walking from afar.
His face, as if seen after a long time, seemed to have a slightly flushed complexion. The Duke, without even waiting for Cassius to greet him, hurriedly asked,
“So, where is the child? Are you sure it’s really Lena’s child?”
“… For now, I have her lying in the room where Olivia was staying. I have requested a paternity test…but I’m almost certain, Father. The child is a snow leopard but with golden eyes,”
Cassius replied, pointing to his own iris.
“Like the Black Leopard”
Upon hearing Cassius’s words, the Duke heaved a sigh of relief.
“I must see the child right away.”
“She’s sleeping now. It’s better for you to just see her face and leave,”
Cassius said firmly.
The Duke nodded his head. The Duke and Cassius headed to Olivia’s room, where the child was sleeping, along with the butler, Parden.
When they reached the door of the room, Cassius quietly opened it. Fortunately, the child was still sleeping soundly.
“… You should just see the face and come out.”
“Didn’t I already say that? Anyway, this guy…”
The Duke grumbled as he opened the door and checked his granddaughter’s face.
A girl with snow-white curly hair was lying in the middle of the bed, sleeping soundly.
The Duke carefully stepped into the room. Parden and Cassius were waiting outside, afraid that the child might wake up.
It was his first time meeting his granddaughter, whom he never knew existed.
An indescribable emotion welled up deep in the Duke’s heart. His eyes became moist.
He brought his wrinkled hand to his granddaughter’s face, quickly withdrew it.
Instead, he whispered softly.
He choked up and could not say more.
Instead, he was worried that it might be too cold, so he pulled up the blanket to the neck of the child.
The Duke left the room, leaving the sleeping child behind. Outside the room, Cassius and Parden were waiting.
“How is she, how is she…?” Parden asked in a trembling voice.
“Why do you ask me that? Didn’t you just see her?”
“Of course, I saw her! But I didn’t see her properly because I had to inform you urgently. Is the young lady alright?”
The Duke gestured to Parden as if annoyed.
“I don’t know. I came here in a hurry to see her… But Cassius, what happened?”
Finally, the Duke asked Cassius about the cause and effect of the situation. Cassius, who had been staring at Thiel’s face through the crack in the door, raised his head.
“It seems that she was hidden and raised in Nestian. She’s Lena’s child… They probably didn’t want to give her away.”
Cassius openly shared the story he had heard from Ian with the Duke.
The expression on the Duke’s face turned red and purple as he listened to Cassius’s story until the end. He started to rant wildly.
“That son of a bitch, Zander! That bastard needs to be killed immediately…!”
“Shh, the baby is sleeping,” Cassius said, putting a finger to his lips. The Duke reflexively closed his mouth.
He closed the slightly open door and said to the Duke, “It’s better to move to another room to finish our conversation.”
The Duke, Cassius, and Pardan moved to the Duke’s office, unaware that there was someone else listening to their conversation.
‘Useless thing! You are a disgrace to Nestian!’
The voice of her always-mean grandfather, Zander, echoed in her ears like a buzzing sound.
The faces of Zander, Rowan, and other servants appeared in the air one by one and then disappeared like dust.
Thiel watched herself being scolded by her grandfather in her dream.
Even though she tried her best, her ability never manifested.
And there was Rowan, who boasted about her meager freezing ability as if she was showing off.
Her mother was a powerful ice manipulator, confirmed to be the next queen of Nestian.
She was told that since she was born by consuming her mother, she should have an even stronger ability than her.
Thiel always thought, looking at her palms that never gathered even a hint of blue light, let alone freezing.
Why don’t I have the ability?
If I had the ability, I could have been loved too.
Beyond the glass window, Grandfather and Rowan were moving away. Like when they looked at Cornelia, Thiel looked at herself fiercely.
And she wished earnestly.
‘I want to be loved, too.’
To do that, I need a strong ability.
I need a strong ability so that everyone can love me…
At that moment, she felt a sensation as if a huge hand was reaching towards her face.
It was a terrifying feeling that made her feel like her neck could be snapped at any moment.
And then, gasping for breath, Thiel opened her eyes.
A strange ceiling came into view. It was only then that Thiel realized she was in Asterian territory, not Nestian.
‘Why did they let me live?’
In a situation where only non-offensive actions should be chosen, she ate a lot of cake and vomited. However, the maid helped Thiel wash and put on her pajamas before tucking her into bed.
‘Am I not going to be kicked out?’
Thiel thought while staring at the two droplets dangling from her chest.
At that moment, she heard the sound of someone chatting through the open door crack.
Unconsciously, Thiel got up from the bed and headed toward the direction of the sound.
Looking outside through the crack of the door, she saw Cassius, the grandfather she had just met, and the butler, Parden, standing outside.
At that moment, the Duke spoke in anger, saying, “We must kill that bastard right now…!”
As soon as Thiel heard the Duke’s words, she widened her eyes and stumbled backward.
It seemed like the Duke was talking about him.
It was clear from the way Cassius glanced into the room where Thiel was standing.
Thiel trembled behind the door with fear. Fortunately, Cassius closed the door and left the hallway.
“… Kill me?”
As expected, the Asterian family truly hated her. The servants were only kind to him because they didn’t know who he was. Zender was right that no one liked her.
Her mind went blank, and she couldn’t think of anything. The thought of being killed kept echoing in her head.
“I have to run away.”
To survive, she had come all the way to Asterian, but she couldn’t be killed here.
Thiel bit her nails, then opened the door a little and turned around in place.
Thiel transformed into a small baby snow leopard. The snow leopard looked out of the corridor, trembling.
Fortunately, there was no one in the corridor.
It was lucky for Thiel that it was now the time when soldiers were changing shifts.
The baby snow leopard slipped out of the room.
It wasn’t long before Lia realized that Thiel had disappeared.
“Miss is missing!”
Lia’s scream echoed through the mansion as the soldiers held torches and searched every corner of the mansion.
While Thiel was asleep, the darkness that had fallen over the mansion made it as bright as day.
Cassius, Duke Ewald, Parden, and Lia all held torches and searched for Thiel.
“Miss, can you hear me?”
“Miss! Where are you?”
Due to the large size of the Asterian mansion, numerous people were mobilized, but the search was not easy.
The Duke Ewald spread his hands, and flames rose from his wrinkled hands.
Suddenly, half a dozen small lizards appeared and fell to the ground.
“Find the child. It’s a snow leopard with white hair and golden eyes.”
The salamanders quickly searched every corner of the mansion.
“Where did the child go?”
Cassius also released his salamanders and pondered.
Cassius’s salamanders were a more yellowish color than Duke Ewald’s.
‘Where could she have gone with her weak body?’
No one would have taken the child. The fact that the youngest granddaughter of the Asterian family was still alive was only known within the family.
“I found her, the child. In the basement.”
“The child is crying…crying.”
“Comfort her. In the basement. The white-haired child.”
The salamanders sent a signal at the same time. Without even thinking about letting others know, Cassius ran down to the basement.
Translate from Korean to English:
The basement of Astarian Mansion was very wide and maze-like, and even the servants often got lost. But how did they end up there?
Cassius walked blindly towards where the salamanders led him, with only the thought of checking the child’s safety.
In the deepest part of the basement, where even the light barely came in, a girl sat alone.
The little girl who had been crying blankly turned her head and looked at Cassius.
The girl’s cheeks were once again covered with tear stains.
Seeing the little girl crying alone, Cassius’s heart ached as if it were tearing apart.
“Come here, little one.”
Cassius spoke gently, but the girl just stared at him blankly.
“Little one…, oh.”
Cassius finally realized the girl’s condition and fell silent.
The girl was not in her right mind.
Perhaps because she had been alone in the dark for so long, she kept talking to herself as if she were dreaming.
“Grandfather…? My, my ability doesn’t work, I don’t have any ability…”
The girl murmured with lifeless pupils. Seething with anger towards Nestian, Cassius bent his knees and opened his arms towards the child.
“Come here, little one.”
“But Grandfather…,” the girl hesitated, rubbing her hands together.
“Instead, this came to me,” she said, holding out her palm.
A bright light shimmered clearly on the girl’s palm.
The light took the shape of a fish, then a leopard, then a handful of wind, and then swelled up as if it would eat Thiel.
Cassius widened his eyes at the sight.
The bright light filled the room as if it would swallow everything in the world.
It was Thiel’s manifestation of power.
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