Chapter 13.1

Cura inclined her head and turned to Serin. “The Grand Duke… Can he touch this flower without any harm?”

“Vanaichi,” Serin emphasized with conviction. “He can handle it directly or even brew it as tea.”

“But earlier, you mentioned it was a poisonous plant…” Elena interjected.

A sly grin played on the corner of Serin’s lips. “He’s been consuming it since his youth to build immunity to poisons. And not just Vanaichi – he ingests various poisons.”

“But isn’t there a risk to his life in doing so?” Elena was too astonished to complete her sentence. The idea of Kennard willingly ingesting deadly toxins made her stomach churn.

“He’s teetered on the edge of death many times during his youth. Ingesting poison, detoxifying, ingesting another poison – that’s how he built his immunity. Vanaichi, in particular, is classified as a lethal poison.”

“But why on earth…”

“The role of the Grand Duke demands it. To safeguard the position, one must be willing to risk everything. Being closest to death is the only way to stay alive in that role.”

Elena shook her head. “It still doesn’t make sense. Even if he’s building immunity, shouldn’t he cultivate such poisonous plants in a more controlled environment than this open greenhouse?”

“Why bother? Who would dare to poison the Grand Duke with something like this?” Cura retorted.

“It’s possible,” Elena muttered, but quickly realized that her words might be misconstrued as suspicion towards those around Kennard, so she fell silent.

“No sane person would even think of poisoning the Grand Duke within this castle. If anyone were to try, it might be from a rival tribe, such as the White Fox Tribe, or perhaps spies sent by them,” Serin remarked. Elena felt the intensity of Serin’s gaze, as if he were trying to probe her thoughts.

“But it’s beside the point. The Grand Duke has developed immunity to Vanaichi. He continues to enjoy it as tea because he appreciates the scent. Why he’s so fond of the aroma of this poisonous plant, I can’t fathom. His tastes are rather peculiar.”

“What about you, Lord Serin?” Elena asked. “You must also be exposed to these poisonous plants.”

Serin chuckled, derisively dismissing Elena’s concerns.

“I’m not as intimately acquainted with them as the Grand Duke, but I, too, am in the process of building immunity to poisons. With the Grand Duke by my side, there are those who might be foolhardy enough to target people like me.” Elena’s gaze fell upon the leather gloves Serin was wearing.

Sensing her curiosity, Serin looked at his own hand, then removed the gloves and casually placed them on a nearby bench.

“I don’t fear having immunity to poison,” he added briefly.

Draped in a cloak of the same azure shade as his eyes and wearing a mask, Serin carefully inspected the opening of the bag containing Vanaichi. He slung it over his shoulder and made his way towards the greenhouse’s exit.

“In this garden, you’ll find herbs like Ervejo, which were used to treat you, as well as poisonous plants like Vanaichi. Exercise caution, especially within this greenhouse, where most of the trees and flowers contain toxins,” Serin cautioned.

Elena hurried to keep pace with Serin, taking long strides. Cura also followed closely behind, her expression serious.

“Maintaining this garden involves more than just watering and repotting,” Serin explained.

Elena nodded. “I understand.”

“Starting tomorrow, I’ll teach you the names and types of these plants, so you can leave it for today.”

Elena replied, “Alright.”

Then, without warning, Serin halted and turned to face Elena. “I don’t trust you. If you ever harbor ill intentions against the Grand Duke in return for his kindness, know that you’ll meet your end at my hands before that can happen.”

“What?” Elena stood there, dumbfounded by his sudden and ominous declaration.

Serin gave her one last piercing stare, then swiftly exited the greenhouse, muttering something under his breath in evident irritation.


Elena luxuriated in a bath filled with warm, herb-infused water, courtesy of Cura’s meticulous care, before returning to her bedroom.

She took great care to gently dry her hair with a soft cloth, and then applied fragrant oil, running a brush through her fiery red locks, which flowed in graceful waves, almost as if engaged in a dance.

With each brushstroke, the rich aroma of the oil enveloped the room.

Seated in front of the fireplace on a comfortable chair, Elena began to drift off to sleep.

“Your hair has certainly improved since you first arrived,” Cura commented with a radiant smile.

Elena, rousing from her drowsiness, gave Cura a grateful smile. “It’s all thanks to your care, Cura.”

“It would be even more beautiful if you gained a bit of weight. Are you naturally thin?” Cura inquired.

“I had quite a meal today, so I might put on some weight soon.”

“Do you think so?”

Elena found it challenging to engage in casual conversation with Cura.

〈You should gain some weight. With that body, you won’t be able to withstand even one night.〉 

These words triggered a recollection of what Kennard had mentioned in the study the previous day.

An inexplicable sensation stirred within her abdomen.



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