Being a hybrid of two species doesn’t mean inheriting the characteristics of both races.
Usually, children would only inherit the appearance of one parent, and it was the typical case.
Snow Leopard and Black Leopard.
At first glance, one might think they were the same race, but they were completely different races, so it was impossible for them to be born with both sets of physical traits.
“Your eyes are gold, but your hair is white. Haha, She’s fascinating, isn’t she, Perdi?”
As Ludian said, Thiel had inherited silver-haired locks, a characteristic of the Snow Leopards, and golden eyes, a characteristic of the Black Leopards.
Thiel was the only person with white hair from Snow Leopard and golden eyes from Black Leopard.
That’s why Zender always called Thiel a “mongrel.” At the same time, he detested Thiel’s golden eyes horribly.
He firmly believed that the reason Thiel couldn’t manifest her abilities was that she inherited the golden eyes from the Black Leopard.
‘What are you looking at with those dreadful eyes!’
Thiel, who recalled a bad memory, lowered her gaze and clasped her hands together.
Cassius quickly noticed that Thiel was not in a good state and intervened with Ludian.
“Ludian, refrain from unnecessary words.”
It was an order. Ludian looked at Cassius with a resentful expression, but Cassius didn’t care.
“Since your sister is feeling uncomfortable around strangers, refrain from approaching her for a while.”
It was a clear treatment of an unwanted guest. In an instant, Ludian, with his fiery temper, was about to retort.
“Understood, Father. Don’t act recklessly, Ludian.”
Perdi chuckled and intercepted Ludian’s response.
He cut a large piece of meat and placed it on the plate as a gesture for Ludian to shut his mouth. Then,
“I’m sorry for startling you. Did you say your name is Thiel?”
Perdi asked in a gentle voice. Thiel, who was receiving comforting words from Cassius while feeling completely overwhelmed, slowly raised her head at the kind voice.
“Yes, I’m Thiel.”
“Okay, Thiel. I’m Perdi Asterian, your older brother. And this is Ludian, your older brother, and my twin.”
Ah, they were twins.
Thiel’s curiosity about the two boys’ strikingly similar appearances was satisfied, and after glancing at Perdi and Ludian’s faces alternately, she nodded her head.
Now that she knew they were twins, their faces seemed even more alike.
“Yes, nice to meet you…!”
“Yes, Thiel. I’m glad to have a cute younger sister.”
Perdi’s warm gaze was directed towards Thiel. The hand that had been tightly clenched due to tension relaxed.
Tia herself was unaware of this fact, you see.
“So, I hope you can become close to us soon. I’ve always envied friends with younger sisters who hold hands and go to festivals together.”
Perdi’s eyes softened with warmth.
Ludian, who had been watching that scene with an expression that said he couldn’t care less, snorted and scoffed.
“What? Sometimes you say you find younger siblings annoying and dislike them.”
“That’s about siblings like you, Ludian. “Don’t you think you’re annoying and troublesome in your own way?”
“… Do you want to die? Why am I your sibling? Our birthdays are the same, you know? Hey, come on, let’s have a showdown and sort out the rankings.”
“You always resort to brute strength. That’s why you’re told that you’re lacking.”
Ludian’s face turned a deep shade of red. He seemed ready to throw something and engage in a showdown at any moment.
Cassius, seemingly familiar with this situation, paid no attention and focused only on transferring food to Thiel’s plate.
In the end, it was Alpheus’ task to intervene and calm the two children down.
Alpheus set down the utensils and spoke in a stern voice.
“Perdi, Ludian. What are you doing at the dining table?”
“Well, but this child…!”
This time it was Cassius.
Cassius called Ludian in a low voice.
When his father, who had never cared about him before, looked slightly surprised as Cassius called his name and stared at him.
“Your sister is eating.”
“What if she chokes or something.”
After Cassius’s words, everyone fell silent and looked at Thiel.
Finally, as if satisfied, Thiel’s mouth was given a small cherry tomato.
“It’s nice to be quiet.”
During 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. Hello.’
‘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.
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.
“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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