Tigris was occupied with something else, so only the twin brother had come. Since they had come at the right time, it didn’t really matter which brother it was.
Karin rushed over behind the brothers, and I eagerly clung onto Karin, chattering away.
“Lady, are you alright?”
“She said she wanted to eat me! She said she wanted to taste me because she smelled something delicious!”
“Goodness, how can something like this even happen…!”
Golden energy radiated from my twin brother as they heard my words. Each one was weaker than Tigris’ energy, but as there were two of them, it was quite threatening.
My twin brother’s voice lowered.
“Ha. Trying to lick my sister for the sake of something so absurd as a snake? This is the first time something so ridiculous has happened.”
“Hey, ♪♬ snake. Do you think we’re on the same level as you, slithering our tongues like that? We haven’t even groomed her, yet you dare to lick her?”
“Right. We’re barely holding back the desire to groom her.”
…Wait a minute, brothers.
Were you trying to groom me?
If my mighty tiger brothers were to lick a hamster like me, my body would be drenched in saliva and flattened on the ground, wouldn’t it? So, I’d rather not be groomed…?
Just imagining my whole body damp and sticking to the ground made me involuntarily furrow my brow.
Seeing my change in expression, the discomfort of the brothers holding onto Kokorosa’s nape became even more apparent, and they tightened their grip.
Kokorosa begged with a face pale as a sheet of paper.
“Ugh, I-I’m sorry. I’ll make sure this never happens again, I’ll be careful… Please, please forgive me just this once!”
“Huh. You thought you could be forgiven for enjoying tasting Sisthy?”
“No, no! I haven’t tasted or enjoyed anything! I did consider it for a moment, but I didn’t do anything! It’s too unfair to be punished for something I didn’t do!”
Hmm. It seems she finally regained her senses and is speaking correctly.
But I’m not going to let this girl off the hook that easily.
I lowered my head sulkily while being cradled in Karin’s arms.
“Yes, that’s right… Kokorosa was telling the truth. She didn’t lick me.”
Razvan snorted as if in disbelief.
“So? You want me to just forgive the person who tried to lick you? I don’t want to do that. How can I let the heir of Gladwin be threatened and blackmailed over a snake?”
“But Kokorosa is a maid working at the Yehokin’s place. I don’t really want to make a big deal out of this.”
“Big deal? Did you just say big deal? Hey, are you going to be so kind when you’ll govern Gladwin? With something like this happening, how can you let it slide without any consequences?”
“I’m not planning to let her off without consequences either. I don’t want to impose a severe punishment. That’s all.”
“I see. Then that’s how it is. I thought you were going to forgive her without punishment. So, Sisthy. Do you have a punishment you want to impose on her?”
“Yes! I’ve got one!”
I quickly shouted the punishment I had thought of.
“Hold her upside down and shake her ten times!”
“…That’s the punishment?”
“Yes. That’s the punishment. I really want it to be that punishment.”
“Sigh. Anyway, what should we do with her?”
He said that, but he knew he should do it as I wanted.
Would they do it? I looked up with a hopeful expression, and my brothers cleared their throats and scratched their heads.
I faced the pale Kokorosa who was retreating and trembling
“Oh, no. Holding me upside down and shaking me… Please, I’d rather receive a different punishment…!”
“What can’t be done? You’re lucky, you know. If it wasn’t for Sisthy’s plea, I would have stripped you and made a bag out of your skin.”
My brothers collected the hem of Kokorosa’s dress so that it wouldn’t flip, and they lifted her upside down.
Kokorosa clung tightly to his waist.
“Oh no! Don’t!”
Shake, shake, shake, shake…
When Kokorosa’s body had shaken about four times.
Tiny seeds spilled onto the floor.
That was the reason why the smell of sunflower seeds had been so strong, making my head dizzy.
Everyone except Kokorosa jumped in surprise and leaped back.
“Ugh! What’s this? They’re sunflower seeds!”
“Sunflower seeds? Why did they fall from the snake? You, you little brat, did you…!”
Kokorosa, who had hidden the sunflower seeds at her waist, covered her face with both hands and sobbed.
For Kokorosa, who had been embarrassed for exposing the sunflower seeds she had hidden, a mere punishment wouldn’t be enough.
But what crime had she committed, really? Hiding in an unauthorized place? Stealing unauthorized items from there?
Even if it was just sunflower seeds, the fact that she had stolen something meant she needed to bow her head and apologize to us.
Seeing Kokorosa, who had confessed to stealing sunflower seeds, I smiled at her while burying my face in Karin’s chest.
Receive punishment for touching my sunflower seeds, you snake!
* * *
Late at night when everyone was asleep, Yehokin came alone to the underground chamber of Gladwin Castle to find Kokorosa.
‘That servant tried to lick Sisthia.’
Though he had never been hot-blooded or passionate, Yehokin’s feelings toward Kokorosa at that moment were colder than ever.
Yehokin slowly lifted his hand and touched the bars.
At the light sound, Kokorosa jumped in surprise.
“Y-Your Highness Yehokin?”
As Yehokin exerted a slight force, the iron bars made a tremendous noise and bent.
Kokorosa’s face turned pale with cold and fear. She looked like she had just seen a ghost.
“H-How could you bend those…?”
“I can also straighten them back.”
“What did you say?”
Yehokin, who had entered the prison through the bent bars, stood them upright again.
Like molding clay, Yehokin carefully adjusted the iron bars, then turned around and approached Kokorosa with an indifferent expression.
Terrified, Kokorosa cowered.
“Why did you do it?”
“I’m sorry! I’m really sorry! Those seeds are hard to come by in Evanoyl… I thought they might tempt the mice if I left them there, so I just sneaked them…”
“Besides that, why did you try to lick Sisthia? How could you…”
She pressed her lips shut, as if she might let something slip that she didn’t want to say.
How could she want to taste Sisthia? His fiancé, whom he couldn’t even touch?
Anger surged through Yehokin at the thought of this ignorant snake trying to humiliate Sisthia.
He had endured countless beatings, hunger, mockery, insults, and humiliation, but he had never felt this way before.
‘Why am I so furious?’
The irises of the Imoogi beastmen were all red, but Yehokin’s irises were dark.
Evidence of misfortune.
Yehokin thought of the countless negative label that referred to himself.
He had thought that it was because he was born wrong, so there was nothing he could do.
He understood it, accepted it.
But when he heard that this snake named Kokorosa had ridiculed Sisthia, and when he heard that she needed time to calm down, he felt as if his head would explode.
He felt like his blood was boiling.
He suddenly felt anger he had never experienced before.
What if this incident became a reason for Sisthia and Gladwin to break off their engagement? He felt a sudden fear.
“How much have you eaten to say that? Keep going. More, more. We have to eat six more plates.”
“…If we’re done eating, I suppose we should go?”
“Yehokin is my fiancé! He’s nice and handsome, with vertically elongated eyes, and smooth, sleek skin. He’s my fiancé, so don’t you dare strike him!”
Images of Sisthia urging him to eat more, reaching out to him to go together, and shouting not to hit him suddenly flashed through his mind.
His fist clenched with anger.
“Tell me, Kokorosa. Why did you try to lick her?”
“I… I’m really sorry. Because I could smell the scent of mice from Sisthia, I unconsciously… I wanted to lick her to find out if she was a real mouse…”
“Sisthia is Gladwin’s heir. The sole heir of the Great Tiger family. Do you think it’s reasonable to want to lick Sisthia to find out if she’s a mouse or not?”
Kokorosa, who was lost for words, lowered her head.
Although Yehokin hadn’t yelled or directly emitted his aura, Kokorosa felt suffocated by fear as if she might die.
For a long time, Kokorosa, whose lips trembled, spoke.
“P-Please spare my life, Your Highness…”
“I don’t intend to kill you. This is Gladwin. I can’t afford to do such things where Sisthia lives.”
“Ah, thank you, thank you so much, Your Highness!”
Yehokin lowered himself to Kokorosa’s eye level and raised the corners of his mouth.
“Make sure you never even think about wanting to lick Sisthia again.”
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