“Ha… so thats how it is,” Lloyd muttered with a sigh.
She didnt heed his warnings at all.
“So she doesnt care even if she dies.”
Vincent laughed at the sight of his brother who looked so stressed out.
Lloyd immediately headed to the main palace.
He was thinking of visiting the grand duke since it seemed like he had finally gone crazy.
“What are you going to do” Vincent asked.
“If hes really gone mad, then Ill have to snap him back to his senses.”
Vincent followed Lloyd with a big smile.
“Lets go together, brother.”
Even with the cold response, Vincent just laughed and followed him to the palace.
Then, they reached the entrance of the main palace which was blocked with acage. Or to be more precise, thewolf cage and thejaguar cage.
One would only be able to enter the palace through the cage.
It served as a security filter to ensure the safety of the palace from intruders.
Lloyd opened the door to the jaguar cage without hesitation.
Then, a green meadow could be seen from beyond thecage. It was an artificially created space that showed a flowing river, scenery of beautiful flowers, and herbivorous animals that were put in as food for the jaguars.
“I still cant get used to it even after passing here several times,” Vincent frowned as he looked at his dirt-stained shoe.
“I dont know why I have to enter and exit the palace through this inefficient route.”
As he lightly clicked his tongue and lifted his head, Vincent found out that Lloyd didnt listen to him at all.
In fact, he was staring at something else.
Curious, Vincent turned his eyes to where his gaze was directed at.
Then, he came to see a rare sight he had never seen before in his entire life.
“What the hell is that…”
Rabbits, deer, larks, and squirrels were all gathered together. With the jaguars too!
The jaguars were lying idly on the grass while purring very loudly, even though they had food right in front of them.
And at the center was a child that had fallen asleep while leaning on the jaguars back with a peaceful expression on her face.
‘Oh my gosh.
It was astonishing.
The morning sunlight flowed inside the cage, illuminating summer meadows and alpine slopes all the same.
A radiant beam of light draped over her sleeping head as it painted her skin so warmly, and the dust that floated in the air was reflected in the sunlight as it shimmered like a golden light.
‘A forest fairy
It didnt seem real.
It felt like seeing an illustration from a fairy tale book.
The daughter of Count Cortez.
The daughter of a Siren, who was never known to the public.
She was merely an empty shell that was sold by her own flesh and blood.
‘Is it an innate skill But even if she was a Siren, to be able to do that…
Her ability was nothing like humans.
She was more like a forest fairy that only existed in legends.
‘A race that only existed in legends…
Since their ability was powerful enough to destroy the whole ecosystem, his curiosity as a scholar was inevitably piqued.
Vincent began to observe Aria without concealing his eager look.
‘Shes tamed the beast who has never obeyed anyone else except for their master and even tamed the notorious devil…
Taming animals seemed to be her ability.
Was the Valentines lineage more easily tamed because their nature was closer to that of a beast than humans
‘Its certainly plausible.
Vincent thought that his hypothesis could be correct.
Though… if he had said his thoughts out loud, his brother wouldve killed him.
‘The jaguars, the grand duke, then…
Vincents gaze suddenly turned to Lloyd.
‘How will it go
He was still staring at the girl who was asleep.
Unfortunately, Vincent couldnt see his face because he stood behind him.
He suddenly wondered about his brothers expression as he was never one to feel attached to anything.
* * *
Lunch that day was herring fillets sautéed with butter.
Aria stared at the food with admiration.
The fried herring on the plates were arranged with lemon wedges on the side and garnished with chopped parsley on top.
The dish was served with a bowl of rémoulade sauce to further accentuate the flavor.
‘As expected of the House of Valentines chef.
His cooking is very artistic.
Aria saturated the herrings in the sweet, sour sauce and popped a large chunk into her mouth.
The sauce was smooth while the fish felt rough, nonetheless, the meat tasted immensely satisfying.
The warm mixture was pure ambrosia in her mouth.
“What do you think it tastes like” Chef Baker asked with a happy smile.
[Tastes like the sea.]
She had never been there before.
Sophia, her mother, once told her about Atlantis.
A long time ago, there was a small kingdom called the Kingdom of Atlantis.
Atlantis was known to be the home of all Sirens.
But as the years passed by, the Pineta Empire took over the small kingdom and turned it into a coastal city ever since.
Unfortunately, the kingdom had somehow disappeared and now, its existence was nothing more than a myth.
“Yes! Thats right,” Chef Baker said with pride.
He also asked Aria if it would be okay for him to take the card with the [Tastes like the sea.] written on it.
‘Why do people ask me to give them my cards these days
Aria was puzzled, but she didnt have much use of it anyways, so she gave the card to him regardless.
Then, Chef Baker carefully put the card into his arms, as if he were carrying some kind of national treasure.
“You did a great job,” Diana said as she wiped Arias lips with a napkin.
The young lady was finally able to enjoy other dishes besides soup.
So, the chef felt as if a hundred-year-old burden had been lifted off of his shoulders.
Aria peeked down at her belly.
‘Ive gained weight!
Aria used to be so skinny that even her ribs were exposed.
However, she was no longer skin and bones.
Her body was now full of fat!
Thanks to the increasing amount of meals every day, she grew taller and now looked healthier than ever.
‘My socks arent as loose anymore!
Aria stretched her leg forward.
No matter how much she moved, her socks didnt fall at all.
It stuck to her ankle like glue!
Her cheeks, which used to be baby fat, were now plump.
‘But its still not enough…
Despite regaining some health, she could not yet sing the song of healing and destruction.
Healing songs were songs that could heal any disease, unless it involved bringing someone back from the dead.
And the song of destruction was a song that could completely destroy the body or mind of the other person.
It was the same song that Aria sang to the emperor before her death.
And it was the song that she needed the most in the future.
‘Well, I wasnt able to sing those two songs until I turned 14 anyways.
However, four years from now was already after the Valentines Incident.
Aria had to find a way to sing that song before the time was up.
[I want to eat more.]
“Young miss …!”
Diana was so thrilled that tears started to come out of her eyes.
Chef Baker immediately brought the next menu.
It was a turkey topped with brown gravy sauce.
Aria picked up a fork and knife and skillfully cut the corners.
“Have you ever learned table manners”
At that moment, Dianas question stopped Aria in her tracks.
“Ive always thought that it was unusual.
Such precise movements….”
Aria realized too late.
Unlike when eating soup, table manners are inevitably revealed when eating other dishes.
After becoming Siren, Aria learned all the manners of a noble from her father.
She practiced from day to night.
To the extent that it spontaneously wore on her body.
She was caught off guard.
Aria suddenly dropped her fork and knife as if her hand had suddenly become weak.
Then she lowered her head and held out another card.
[Im hungry, so I dont have energy.]
She didnt have the power to lift the cutlery, but had the strength to write.
It was ridiculous.
However, the reactions of the servants were unexpectedly loud.
“Oh, Ill cut it!”
“No, Ill do it!”
“Stop it! I can cut the meat better than you!”
“I have a license in cutting meat!”
Then, while raising his hand, the chef, who stood sternly in the gap between the kitchen maids, spoke, “I am the best at using knives.”
No one was able to refute.
The kitchen maids quietly backed away.
But as the chef gazed at Aria with a face full of anticipation, the young lady stared at Diana instead.
“Oh, shall I cut it” Diana asked.
The head maid smiled brightly and immediately sliced the turkey for Aria.
“Here, say ah~!”
The fork entered Arias mouth as she chewed on the turkey.
Everyone stared at Diana, they were certainly green with envy.
* * *
Diana was dressing Aria up.
She dressed her with a pastel purple gown made of soft, satiny fabric, long and loose.
The arms and neckline were trimmed with decadent lavender and the white ruffled laces were delicately embroidered with small flowers.
“As I thought.
Pastel colors suit you well,” Diana smiled as she saw that Arias new clothes fit her perfectly.
Aria looked at the mirror.
The velvet waist ribbon was decorated with a cute pendant in the shape of a cat.
‘It looks like Lloyd.
Its eyes were black obsidian, the same color as Lloyds.
And as Aria was fiddling with the pendant.
Diana, who glimpsed out the window for a while, hurriedly spoke, “The prince came back yesterday… Do you want me to guide you to him”
But Aria shook her head quickly.
‘Hell kick me out.
It was better not to provoke him until the grand duchess was cured.
Afterward, Aria headed for the library.
There were several libraries in the palace, and all of their walls were soundproofed, so the place was perfect for Aria to practice singing.
Of course, just because the walls were soundproofed didnt mean that her songs couldnt be heard.
Mages could also cast magic to disable them.
‘The grand duke thinks that Im a bookworm.
Aria pretended to browse through the library books, picked up roughly anything, and headed to the office.
Though… that would have been the case even if no one had struck up a conversation with her.
T/N: Hello everyone, so I just wanted to clear things up about addressing nobles.
After doing some research, grand dukes are addressed as His Royal Highness in most kingdoms.
But Ive been using His Grace the entire time because the prince is also addressed as His Royal Highness (according to Wikipedia).
His Grace for the grand duke and His Highness for the prince.
If you guys dont like it or have any other ideas on what I should call them, please let me know because theres not much info about grand dukes and their successors on Google.
Thank you for reading~