Every month, my father Lant Agriche organized a family dinner and invited his three highest achieving children based on their academic evaluations and accomplishments.

Despite the significant preparations for the occasion, it was essentially just a time for my father to have a conversation with a few of his children over dinner. Being invited to one of these dinners was considered a great privilege among my siblings and me as it indicated that our father was proud of our upbringing and achievements. During the dinner, we would discuss various topics such as current affairs, academic goals, and accomplishments in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

My siblings and I felt that every conversation we had with our father was like an examination where he would analyze and judge everything we said. Due to this, our discussions were typically serious, and I often rehearsed my responses to ensure that I chose my words wisely.

Despite this, there were occasions when a casual topic would arise during dinner, just like it had during my initial family dinner.

As I sat down for dinner, I braced myself, aware that my father was grinding his teeth, a habit he had before getting into discussions about punishing the Pedelians.

As soon as my father mentioned the name “Pedelian” to me for the first time, I realized that I had been reborn into a novel. It was clear that the Pedelians existed, and I couldn’t help but wonder about the connection between their name and my own family name, Agriche.

Is father going to start again, Jeremy showed a bored expression with his thoughts clearly displayed on his face. He had received his third invitation to dinner and it was not uncommon for the order of rank among the siblings to change at these dinners.

Among the children of the Agriche family, my half-brother Dion was considered the top-ranking member without any doubt. There were two older brothers and one older sister who had been acknowledged by my father as well, and they were still alive. Dion, who was the second oldest son and 19 years old, had already held the first rank even before I attended my first family dinner. However, I believed that Jeremy, who was the main villain in the novel, might surpass all of us in the future.

I felt relieved that Dion was not present. Whenever I had to sit across from him during family dinners, I had to force myself to act as if I was enjoying my food while looking at his face.

“My ears have been itching recently from his nagging. I’ll have to rip Rischel Pedelian’s lips from his face if I want to feel better” my father said. 

Rischel Pedelian, who was the leader of the Blue Crests and Cassis’s father, held a low opinion of Lant Agriche due to his intimidating and bloodthirsty demeanor. Rischel had never gotten along with my father, and their enmity would only grow once he learned the truth about what happened to his son.

It all started with a minor disagreement, but my father’s anger got the best of him, leading him to kidnap Rischel’s heir with the intention of killing him.

As I swirled the red wine in my glass, I couldn’t help but think that the Pedelians were ignorant of the Agriche customs and values. If they knew more, they would realize how little my father valued Cassis, as well as children in general, even his own.

Lant Agriche, my father. A man who would casually dispose of his own children for his own convenience does not deserve to be called a father.

I said,”Father, you look good today.” “You must have done something to earn his distrust.” I put my cup down and put a napkin to my lips. I gave him a quiet smile. “Is it because of the prey you caught recently?”

My father’s abnormal crimson eyes fixed on me, and the corners of his mouth twisted into a grin. “Roxana, you pick things up quickly. You have inherited your intelligence from me.”

I kept a doll-like smile on my face and thought, “I don’t need that kind of complement.”

“What, are you talking about the toy in the dungeon?” Jeremy became interested in the discussion. He put his fork on his plate and gazed raptly at us.

With the expression of a satisfied beast, father leaned back against his chair.

“I was really gentle with the Pedelian puppy today” His features assumed the features of a villain. His laugh was genuinely evil. A man with a darker personality was not something I could imagine. Was this wicked appearance a talent? Fire easily imagined bursting around him. He added, “No matter how busy I get, my mind keeps drifting to that prisoner in the dungeons.”

“Who is he?” Jeremy asked blankly. It was uncommon for us to keep prisoners. Only a select few were significant enough to bring home alive. 

Lant Agriche, my father, turned to face me. He wanted me to respond as though this were one of his tests once again. I met his eyes with coolness since I already knew the answer.

“He is the Blue Scion, Cassis Pedelian,” I said.

“Really?” Jeremy frowned in disbelief.

My father gave me a nod of approval. He was amazed at how quickly I understood.

“Wow, Father. Wow,” Jeremy laughed. He was impressed that our father had kidnapped the Pedelian heir and accepted my father’s sick behavior easily.

“Amazing, Father. Wow” Jeremy chuckled. He was amazed that our father had abducted the Pedelian heir and readily accepted my father’s sick behavior.

“How are you going to teach this toy, Father?” I questioned after observing his proud face.

Jeremy gave me a surprised look when I brought up the subject. If I was talking to Father about the new toy, Cassis Pedelian, then I must really be interested in it.

My father spoke slowly while letting his chin rest on his hand, as if he were a beast that was content after a successful hunt. 

He said, “Roxana, tell me what you think.”

Today, Lant Agriche showed kindness. My father must have been in a better frame of mind than I had anticipated after witnessing Rischel Pedelians’s heartbreak as he desperately searched for his oldest son.

“I’ve developed an interest in the toy,” I said. I already had a speech ready for him. “The Pedelians are reputed to be a just and generous family. The Pedelian heir stands out among them for his proud and upright nature.” The table became silent. All of us had stopped eating. My father was  listening to my words carefully and I took the chance now to convince him while he was in a good mood.

My eyes fluttered as I said, “The noble, Cassis Pedelian.” I broke eye contact and smiled softly into space, as if I were beginning to daydream. “It would be fun destroying the ugly Pedelian dog. I want to hear him whimper in agony like a mutt moaning in heat. His neck would look good under my feet.”