“Well, that’s a relief.”
Adandito readily believed what I said.
I knew it was obvious what kind of reaction I would get if caught later, but still.
‘Lies are the root of all evil.
Lies give birth to more lies, and breed laziness and greed, along with all kinds of sins… Look ahead! Can’t you keep your hands straight?’
Ugh, anyway, if I don’t get caught, it’s all good!
As I recalled the terrible memory, I unconsciously frowned.
Adandito looked at me with a questioning expression.
“Why are you suddenly like that?”
“You say it’s nothing, but your complexion doesn’t look good at all.
Are you feeling unwell somewhere?”
“I’m really fine! Aren’t you busy? It’s hard to see your face during the day.”
Whether he noticed that I was trying to avoid the situation or not, Adandito narrowed his eyes.
“High priest! What are you doing here?!”
Before Adandito could finish his sentence, a voice calling out to him came from somewhere.
As soon as that happened, Adandito staggered back, but the owner of the voice was faster.
“We have a meeting soon, and I was so surprised when you suddenly disappeared! Where on earth have you been?”
Upon hearing that, Adandito froze his expression as if asking when that happened.
However, before he could say anything, I urgently shouted.
“What? A meeting? If it’s urgent, hurry and go! Take him quickly!”
“Yes! Thank you!”
The appointed official didn’t hesitate and took Adandito away.
I waved my hand vigorously toward them as they moved away.
“Go well! Even if that’s the case, you still have to work hard! I’m fine!”
While being pushed away, Adandito shouted at me.
“Still, please meet the representative!”
I got it!”
Go quickly, go far away, and don’t come back.
With a heart full of joy, I watched them disappear into the distance.
* * *
A massive chandelier hung high above the lofty ceiling, flickering and illuminating the space.
Beautiful melodies resonated from various corners, and people began to gracefully move around the hall, displaying their charm and elegance.
While everyone exchanged polite greetings, in reality, they all had one purpose.
Dianel le Delif Orthous.
The crown prince and the obvious successor to the Orthous royal family, in essence, the one who would ascend to the throne.
What caught the crown prince’s eye was… Dianel had been one of the members who left to subdue the demon king.
Because of that, he had been absent for three years, yet none of the dozen or so brothers could surpass his position.
On the contrary, as soon as he returned, he quickly tidied up the disarray in the royal atmosphere, reaffirming his status.
The crown prince was already twenty-five years old, but he was still unmarried.
Considering the early age at which aristocrats typically marry, it was a rare occurrence.
‘He’s done with the conquests, and he’s close to succeeding to the throne, so he must be looking for a bride.’
Under a common goal, the banquet hall was a silent battlefield.
However, Dianel, who was the center of attention, didn’t show any particular interest in them.
He simply leisurely took his seat and passed the time.
After a long silence, Dianel murmured,
Although he used to enjoy the pomp and circumstance of the royal culture more than anyone else, lately, he seemed to have forgotten all interest in it.
People freely speculated on the reasons.
“Perhaps he can’t forget the freedom he experienced during the subjugation campaign.”
“Could it be because the throne is imminent, and he’s feeling restless?”
Despite their noisy conjectures, Dianel didn’t react.
He casually emptied his glass and absentmindedly glanced at a blond woman.
Adorned in various colors to make a striking impression, the attendees overflowed into the hall.
Among them, nobles with blond hair accounted for more than a third.
However, nowhere could one find someone with honey-like, sweet blond hair.
A vague darkness shrouded the elegant atmosphere.
As Dianel gazed at the hall filled with people in a daze, he softly whispered,
It hadn’t been long since he saw her, but in that time, his heart had become captivated.
At that moment, a subordinate rushed over and relayed a message to Dianel.
In that instant, a captivating smile curled on Dianel’s lips.
“Hierian is missing?”
“Yes, I have come to request contact with the crown prince from the mausoleum.”
Once again, he would have a reason to return to the temple.
Concealing his smooth laughter, Dianel slipped away from the banquet hall like a shadow.
* * *
A while after successfully sending Adandito, as I was relaxing in my room, I felt a presence outside the window.
However, when I quickly turned to look, there was no one there.
‘Did I sense it wrongly?’
Trying to dismiss my curiosity and turn my head back, I heard another tap-tap, the sound of something lightly tapping against the window.
When I turned to look, I saw the beige-furred cat I had seen before.
It seemed to have escaped Adandito’s pursuit and returned safely.
The cat, with its chubby expression, tapped the window and stared at me intently.
I’ll open the door soon.”
The cat seemed to understand my words and stopped its intent gaze, slowly turning its body.
As I stood up from my seat, I noticed some salmon prepared next to the salad, as if suggesting that I should eat it.
‘It’s supposed to be healthy, but it’s not very appetizing.
Should I eat it if it’s offered to me?’
I scooped some salmon onto an empty plate and got up from my seat.
When I went out to the garden, the cat, which had been quietly sitting on the windowsill, perked up its head.
‘Did you wait for me?’
With a generous heart, I bent down and placed the plate in front of the cat.
‘Kitty, try this.
You must be hungry.’
However, the cat alternated its gaze between the plate and my face, flicking its tail and turning its body, but not making any move to eat.
‘Why won’t you eat it?’
Feeling perplexed, I approached the cat, getting closer.
“Why does it look like it doesn’t taste good?”
“If you’re full, there’s nothing I can do.”
I waited, but the cat didn’t show any interest.
Since I couldn’t just leave it outside, I tried to clear the plate, but the cat suddenly leaped up and swiped its claws toward my face.
Startled, I moved back and avoided getting hurt, but a few strands of hair grazed by its claws fell to the ground.
The cat innocently licked its front paw as if nothing had happened.
However, I couldn’t help but furrow my brow in confusion.
There’s no point in getting angry at a speechless animal, but I couldn’t just leave like this either.
So, in the end, my displeasure spilled out in a resentful tone.
You’re a feisty cat.”
“Still, you shouldn’t attack people.”
Does it understand? The cat lifted its head and looked at me, then lowered its gaze.
Its eyes were pointing downwards, indicating something in the space.
Following its gaze, I saw a ring.
‘Are you asking to see the fairy?’
But the fairy hadn’t shown herself ever since.
She had been sleeping the whole time.
Even now, she remained unresponsive.
Thinking of that, I showed the cat the ring with the sleeping fairy inside and said,
“Look, the fairy is sleeping.
Isn’t she pretty?”
“Since it’s normal for her to be asleep, it won’t be easy to see her awake.”
I tried to explain incoherently, but the cat still had a chubby expression.
I couldn’t tell if it was understood or not.
‘Ugh, what am I even doing?’
As I said that, I began to feel pathetic.
I turned around to leave, but the cat once again blocked my path.
At that moment, a flicker of reddish light mixed with the crimson color in its red eyes that were staring at me.
‘…There’s something strangely familiar about the change in eye color.’
With a strange sense of foreboding, I observed the cat closely.
Pure white beige fur, changing red eyes, a graceful and elegant movement, and even an unmistakable aggressiveness.
For some reason, it reminded me of a very unpleasant person.
‘Could it be… Prince Dianel?’
That fierce beast wandering around in the form of a cat…
In that instant, Adandito’s hurried words came to mind.
‘Hasn’t a cat come here?’
…Could it be Dianel? And Adandito noticed that, so he was running around looking for Dianel?
Adandito’s rare sense of urgency suddenly surfaced in my mind.
Along with it, one thought followed.
‘I have to escape!’
Dianel was the cruelest of all the male leads.
Not only did he manipulate the male leads to torment the female lead, but he was the ultimate villain who completely isolated her from the world.
Dianel’s power was the ability to transform into an animal.
An animal with beige fur and red eyes.
And the cat in front of me…
‘It has beige fur and red eyes!’
The reason I didn’t suspect the cat was Dianel was simple.
‘He has never transformed into a small animal even once!’
He always transformed into a large beast that matched his temperament.
No matter what happened, he never turned into a small animal.
So, a sudden transformation into a cat was unimaginable to me.
‘I have to run away.’
The reason I was on such high alert wasn’t just because he was a character with a despicable personality.
The day before sealing the demon king, while gouging out his eyeballs, he said to me.
‘Wait until the subjugation is over.’
The atmosphere was so ruthless, it felt like he would bite my throat off as soon as the subjugation was finished!
‘But I had forgotten all about it after being abandoned like that.’
I never expected to come face-to-face with Dianel again.
I didn’t know I would meet him…
I looked down at the cat, not knowing if it was Dianel or not.
It looked back at me innocently, wagging its tail.
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