red for the maid Lia, who had taken care of Thiel before, to be brought in.

Since Thiel seemed to be very reserved, it seemed better to have someone who already knew the child to take care of them until a dedicated maid was assigned.

Not long after, Lia arrived, the same maid who had taken care of Thiel before.
She was also drenched in sweat, as if she had been searching for Thiel throughout the mansion.

Cassius pointed to Thiel, who was sound asleep over his shoulder, and said, “Take good care of the child and make sure she doesn’t disappear again.”

“Yes, Master.”

Lia nodded her head, promising to never let go of the child’s side.

After Cassius and Alpheus took one last look at Thiel’s face, they left the room where the child was sleeping.

***

Thiel blinked her eyes drowsily at the gentle touch that was shaking her.

“… Hmm.”

She wanted to sleep a little longer.

As she turned her body, her soft cheek pressed firmly against the pillow.
As her cheek was pressed, her eyelids naturally lifted.

But everything was blurry in front of her.

It was as if there was a transparent film over her pupils, making it difficult to see properly.
It felt like someone was pressing down on her from above, making her body heavy.

Thiel raised herself up cautiously, puzzled.

Then, she heard a strange voice.


“Miss-.”

“…!!!”

Startled, Thiel turned her head at the unfamiliar voice and met the gaze of the strange man sitting by her bed.
She flinched and quickly hid herself under the soft blanket.

Her ears perked up in surprise, and her heart raced with the feeling of being abruptly awakened from her sleep.
‘Who is he?’ she wondered, trying to grasp the situation.

Moreover, why was she here? After learning that the people of Asteria despised her, she remembered running away.
Thiel wriggled in the blankets, trying to recall her vague memories.

Then she remembered overhearing the conversation between Cassius and Alpheus before running into the basement and crying in the long, seemingly endless hallway.
But the problem was, what did she do next?

At that moment, Thiel’s thought process about what she was doing in the dark corridor finally came to a stop.
And soon, she opened her round eyes widely and jumped out of the soft bed.

Thiel looked down at her scarred and wounded palms as if she didn’t care about the strangers in front of her.

Then, she clearly saw that on her palm…

‘A fish on my palm…!’

While Thiel was frantically examining her palm, a large and warm hand touched her shoulder.

Thiel was startled and looked up.

“!”

“Baby.”

The owner of the warm touch was Cassius.
Thiel instinctively shrunk her body and rolled his eyes, forgetting even the fact that she had just examined her palm, partly because Cassius was frightening, but also because she had never heard the affectionate and kind term “baby” before.

… No, maybe she had heard it before…

“Baby, come here.”

At that moment, Thiel’s ears perked up as she recalled Cassius’s gentle and soft voice calling him in the basement.
Despite being in a panic state at the time, Thiel vividly remembered the situation, Cassius’s warm tone, and the sense of security she felt in Cassius’s arms.

‘… It’s strange, he seemed to hate me so much…’

Didn’t he say he had to kill her immediately in that corridor?


“… I need to kill this bastard right now..!”

Thiel trembled at the memory of the Duke’s enraged voice.

Yes, he definitely said that.

So Thiel ran for her life.

She didn’t want to die, so he wanted to live.

But then… why did Cassius call him as if he was the most precious thing in the world?

Thus, Thiel was confused, but she didn’t avoid or refuse Cassius’s touch.

Cassius was relieved to see Thiel like that.
He was worried about what would happen if the child panicked and refused treatment again.

He stroked the child’s tousled hair and spoke calmly.

“Sorry for surprising you, but it’ll be better for you to finish quickly and rest.”

“… Okay.”

“Here is Kaid, the chief physician of Asterian who will take care of your health from now on.”

At Cassius’s words, Thiel cautiously turned her head and looked at Kaid.

A middle-aged man in a white gown was looking at Thiel with a cheerful smile.

“Hello, miss.
I am Kaid Lester, the chief physician of the Asterian family.
Please feel free to call me Kaid.”

Thiel looked at him for a moment.

Given the atmosphere, I felt like I had to say something to Kaid, but I couldn’t think of what to say.

Moreover…

‘An Asterian physician?’

Thiel blinked.

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