“Princess, Prince Lart is here to visit.”
“Tell him to come in.”
Whatever Belinda was about to say was retracted back like a snail’s eyes. Her open lips were tightly closed again.
Lart came in with a grin.
Lucy almost answered with a rude, “Then go back out!”.
She put on a displeased expression.
Come back later! Why did you come now of all times and stop Belinda from talking to me?!
However, she soon put aside her inner thoughts and bowed.
“I greet the Great Star of the Empire, Your Highness.”
“You came, Lart?”
Belinda greeted him with a wave.
As soon as he came in, Lart plopped down on a chair and began talking.
Belinda listened to him with a half-dazed face, surprised that he still had so many new things to say even though they met almost every day.
“Belinda, remember Blackwind? I’ve shown him to you. My gorgeous black horse.”
Blackwind was his favorite horse. According to Lart, he was the fastest and most beautiful horse in the world.
Even the prince, who could have everything he wanted, held some things special to him, and Blackwind was one of them.
“Blackwind turned six this year, you know. It’s time for breeding!”
Lart continued with an excited face.
“Ahh. I see, Your Highness.”
While Lucy gave a disinterested reply, Lart was still excited.
“We’re in between spring and summer now, right? It’s breeding season.”
“Yes. It’s a beautiful season.”
Lucy replied in a kind tone but with dull eyes like she was doing homework.
Still, Lart didn’t notice the boredom of his beloved. Not paying attention to others was an attitude he’d developed as a royal.
“Fertility rates are the highest now, so I decided to give Blackwind a chance to have children!”
“Yes. That’s nice.”
“Lucy, you know that Blackwind’s lineage is the best in the Empire, right?”
Lucy had no idea.
Lart arrogantly raised his chin with a noble’s pride and honor of owning a well-descended horse.
“Do you know how fiercely the nobles are competing for Blackwind’s foals?”
“I’m sure they’re all coveting them.”
“Mhm. That’s why I was planning to give Count Herb the first chance to get a foal…”
Lart eventually said the word “Herb”.
It had been his goal all along: to tell her that he’d decided to give her a horse which even money couldn’t buy.
It was a great favor to bestow upon the girl he loved.
Lart held out his chest proudly, but it was Belinda, not Lucy, who responded to his comment.
“Lart, did you say it was the breeding season?”
Belinda asked wide-eyed.
Lart replied to the sudden question.
“Is it the season?”
“Yeah, the right time to raise babies is from spring to summer, and….”
“Is it like that for other animals? I mean, animals besides your gorgeous Blackworld.”
“Yes or no, then?!”
Belinda asked fiercely.
“Yes, most likely.”
Lart replied blandly with a shrug.
Soon, he began to spout all his knowledge. Although no one was curious about the feeding quantity of stallions, breeding costs, or Blackwind’s value, it was a topic of great interest for him.
Belinda, who, of course, had no interest in the information, half-heartedly let the words slip by.
It felt like something was taking shape.
The reason he was behaving like that… Because it was dangerous and hard to control.
Yes! It was because it’s the breeding season!
It was now clear why Aymon didn’t come to see her and stayed in the forest alone, avoiding her. Had she really gone out to find him not knowing that?
Imprinting must be what the Shinsu call mating. Seemingly, she’d tactlessly gone after him while he was keeping to himself because he couldn’t stand his urges.
His kiss under the pretext of consolation, his warm body, his scarily strange gaze…
It’s all because of instinct. Aymon is an animal too, after all.
She’d been agonizing over why he suddenly started to act like that, but it was the chatty Lart that gave her the answer.
Yes. It was because of instinct and because it was mating season for all the beasts. Aymon was the beast among beasts, a Shinsu with stronger instincts and desires than anyone.
For the first time, Belinda thanked the heavens infinitely for his instincts.
The breeding season has given me a gift!
“Even if humans and beasts’ ideas of chastity were different. She wouldn’t let him get away with just a kiss. She’d keep him by her side.”
Aymon was accepting and responsible. Besides, he cared about her, so he’d surely take responsibility.
Everything seemed to be going well. If things didn’t work out, why couldn’t she just run away and live in the Shinsu forest?
Neatly ordering her future, Belinda stared out the window with a smile.
The scenery was beautiful. The brilliant sun filtered through the clouds like cotton balls, just as bright as her mood.
She was very grateful for the season.
The big leopard sneaked through the door, closing it with his tail and making sure there was no one inside before languidly walking up.
Since Lart and Lucy had gone to the library to borrow some books, Belinda was alone.
She leaped out of her seat and ran straight to him.
Before Aymon could answer, she hugged him and rubbed her cheek against his forehead.
Perhaps because of the flower bushes near his house, Aymon always smelled of wild flowers and trees.
After a long while of petting, the stiffened Aymon finally breathed out.
He used to say it was because he’d grown up, but this time, it seemed to be because he was in heat.
He’s a very sensitive beast for being a Shinsu.
Belinda hung on to him as he slowly walked away, and soon, they were lying on the rug.
Lying on her stomach with her chin propped up on the floor, she stretched out her hand towards Aymon, who was staring at her.
As usual, she rubbed his nose, and he closed his eyes with a purr.
How did he turn out this beautiful?
Aymon’s black fur glistened under the sun, showing his soft curves and firm jaw. The reason for his pride in his appearance was again undeniable.
Not to mention how pretty his eyes were. The sparkling vivid purple always made her feel like she’d been possessed.
“Aymon, you’re in heat now, right?”
Belinda asked quietly, stroking his forehead and ears.
The leopard’s fur stood on end.
As innocent as she was, Belinda’s question was straightforward.
Aymon slowly blinked.
「Where did you learn that?」
Belinda tugged on his ear. He was younger than her! In any case, she’d have learned it two years earlier.
“I’m not ten years old. I don’t need to learn these things anywhere, I just know. Anyways, I heard it’s breeding season for beasts. Doesn’t that include leopards too?”
Aymon frowned, dumbfounded.
「Am I an ordinary beast?」
“No. You’re the majestic and solemn Shinsu.”
Aymon sighed at the joke. He didn’t want special treatment in the first place.
“Anyways, what I meant… You don’t know this, but…”
Belinda said, stroking his head soothingly.
She gulped tensely and unraveled the thoughts she’d been having since last night.
“Humans don’t do such things with just anyone. Animals don’t care who they’re with in that season, but, um… I mean…”
“Those people are often called playboys or lechers. They’re treated like very bad guys.”
Belinda whispered firmly as if she was teaching him.
Aymon stared at Belinda and her red lips, not answering.
“You’re not a human, but I’m talking from my point of view as one. Anyway, you’re in your human form, and I’m like…. Because of that contact, if you act like an animal, you’ll be one of them too.”
You touched me, so take responsibility.
Struggling to formulate her thoughts, Belinda was grabbing at smoke.
Aymon wagged his tail slowly.
「So if I don’t want to become a bad beast, I can only be in heat with you?」
That was exactly right, but Belinda was too embarrassed to answer. Aymon smiled as if he was having fun.
「Breedee, you thought I was thinking…」
Belinda bit her lips and looked down at his feet, embarrassed and speechless.
Something sneaked into her dress. It was Aymon’s tail, creeping up her calf.
The dress rolled up, revealing her white calves.
“What are you doing?”
Belinda asked, pulling away her leg to avoid the ticklish feeling.
「Slowly adapting you.」
After the mysterious words, he rubbed his tail on her thigh.
Then, trying to sneak in, he finally stopped when Belinda smashed him on the nose.
“What are you talking about all of sudden?”
「It’s because you’re so innocent.」
His sticky tongue came against Belinda’s skin.
“Stop it, you stupid cat!”
Belinda exclaimed with a red face, pulling back her thighs.
As much as anyone was in heat, this was a bit embarrassing to do. She didn’t like her reaction to Aymon’s tail touching her.
Aymon blinked at the words and showed his fangs.
His deep purr didn’t fit.
Belinda huffed and tugged on his ear.
“The big cat is pretending to be small.”
「You said I was a cat.」
Aymon answered with a smile, pushing his face into the back of Belinda’s neck as he slowly began to lick and tease her skin.