Spoiler: Spoilers 41 - 45 FL has made strawberry goodies for ML, which he seems to enjoy. The two are fairly awkward together, as he is still keeping the wolf secret from her and she sees him as a fairly cold and inaccessible (but reasonable) person. She has asked for permission to expand her home into the forest so she can grow strawberries and build a home for Griffon-chan. FL also presents him with a pet brush and gives him the rights to it, as she thinks that it can be beneficial for the kingdom - especially the beastmen. She also wants to keep her smelting abilities (that it's superior to what others can do) secret. FL learns about Natalie's fate - she is to be excluded as a candidate and her father will have to pay a steep fine for a few years. This will undoubtedly impact their standing, in my opinion. We're introduced to a new character, Melvin the king's confidant. Not much is really given about him, just that he seems to be pretty aware of ML's life and so on. There are more signs that ML is starting to fall for FL. FL runs into Natalie as she's talking to a cat and her whole personality and appearance are very different. Natalie is embarrassed but manages to pull on her ojou-sama face as a servant approaches. FL helps by giving her a bit of an out when asked why Natalie is out petting cats. They end up hanging out together and FL discovers that Natalie likes talking to cats and animals when she's worried or depressed. FL reassures her that there's nothing wrong with that (damn right there's not), only to find that others have told Natalie the complete opposite because of the prejudice against beastmen. Even talking to an animal would seem like disrupting their belief of human superiority. Natalie apologizes for her family's actions. Her family put all of their hopes and aspirations on Natalie, since her sister is too sick to serve as a candidate. So they pressured a 16 year old girl to put herself up as a candidate to marry a 25-ish year old king and deal with all of the court drama and intrigue, as well as putting up with all of her family's anti-beastmen nonsense. (Her own opinion on this isn't quite clear yet, however.) Spoiler: Chapter 46-50 Apparently Natalie still has to remain in the castle because while her chances of becoming queen are one in a billion, her family wants her to remain because "there's still a chance". She has some people who are sympathetic, but most aren't and just want to involve her in their own games. The only reason that her aunt and uncle were chosen to care for her instead of her parents was because they had to provide care for her sister, which was taking a fairly large toll on their own health. Now they're gone and she's expected to atone for them (despite them getting punishment already), so she's on her own. So basically, she's still experiencing all of the pressures of being a queen candidate without any of the perks or potential of becoming queen. FL invites her to come to her house and hang out, since Natalie seems to actually be a sweet, timid girl. FL meets Edgar (wolf herder)'s animal companion Sana, ie, his dog fur baby that he sees as his own flesh and blood practically, something that's common with beastmen, particularly in Edgar's race. She learns that Edgar passed a fairly difficult test that is nearly impossible for commoners to pass and admires how well he's trained Sana, musing that he trained her in anticipation of becoming a wolf herder. As they talk, she learns that Silver Wolf (or what is described as practically Silver Wolf) was the reason he wanted to get the job, as the wolf helped guide him out of the forest as a child. She invites him to tea, which he's hesitant about since he thinks that isn't really proper, but agrees. She wants to introduce Natalie to wolves, since she thinks that the girl will like them. (I wonder if this is setting the groundwork for a Natalie and Edgar pairing...) Forest clearing has started and FL briefly debates clearing the forest by burning the trees with magic, but decides against it since it'd look really, REALLY bad for there to be a huge fire on the castle grounds. (Not to mention the poor animals in the trees and risk of the fire spreading! Bad FL for thinking that! Bad FL! Still, at least she showed more common sense than some of those gender reveal party parents...) She uses a different type of magic, wind blade, to cut them down instead, which impresses the lumberjack assigned to the job.