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A cup of volacea infusion in her hand, Bebi Cuirinia was conversing with her brother in the summer lounge of their tree-house, when a serving maid cut into their discussion.

- "Mistress, you wanted to be warned when your niece returned from her walk.
- "Well, what are you waiting for? Send her to me!" said the Royal Embalmer impatiently.

After the hasty retreat of the maid, the light footsteps of a young homina soon sounded on the staircase. Bebi stood up immediately to greet her niece. The two hominas performed graceful curtseys, then Bebi took her protege by the arm and invited her to sit by her side.

- "My dear Chiaera, Master Perinia has just written to me and he agrees to train you! If you still want to study botany, you can go and find him in the Royal Greenhouse and he will officially make you his apprentice.
- “Fila, my aunt!" replied the young noble girl immediately, with measured enthusiasm.
- "That said, do not harbour too many delusions! As I have always told you, your sole concern must be to meet a rich suitor to marry!”
- “Well, my aunt. As you wish!"

Clearing his throat, the imposing Freldo Cuirinia inclined his wide chest and gauged his daughter with a dry and aware eye.

- "We shall have to find her a pretender without delay!"

His sister seemed to share his opinion entirely. She added with a smile:

- "The young Sibre di Varello would be a good match! He will soon be Duke, like his grandfather."

A fleeting gleam passed across the amber gaze of the young Chiaera. She questioned her aunt, not without irony:

- "So then, the Count di Bottirri is no longer to your liking?"

The slap she received in response stunned her for a moment. Bebi Cuirinia was livid.

- "I do not want to hear that name under this roof again! Is that clear?”
- “So be it, my aunt."

Chiaera turned towards her father, but he went one step further:

- "Is this the way you show your gratitude to your aunt for all the effort she has put in to assure you a future worthy of your rank? Rather, prepare yourself to meet Master Perinia and let us take charge of finding you a husband!"

The young homina stood up, bowed, and left the room with catlike stealth, her eyes glaring with anger.
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