Chapter 15.1

“No, after I showed her how to transplant, she ended up cutting all the roots. I even told her the names of the flowers, but she can’t seem to remember them properly. I warned her to be cautious around the Vanaichi, but she casually touches the poison ivy. She can’t even water the plants correctly, and now you want me to help with the gardening?” Serin grumbled.

Kennard raised an eyebrow. “Are you referring to Elena?”

“Who else could it be but that woman?” As expected, Serin’s grievances centered around Elena. He fell silent when he noticed the intense look in Kennard’s eyes.

“Why do you dislike Elena so much?” Kennard inquired.

“Why are you so fond of her?” Serin retorted.

“Are you going to keep picking at this?”

Serin abruptly turned his head and resumed sharpening his sword. 

“Could you please tell me how to handle Elena?” 

Kennard sighed upon hearing the subsequent question, his gaze shifting to survey the forest in the darkness. Despite his acute awareness of the forest’s surroundings, Serin’s voice kept interrupting his thoughts.

Kennard grumbled, “What do you want to do?”

“Am I allowed to do as I please?” Serin retorted.

Kennard’s voice grew even deeper as he suppressed his anger, saying, “Serin Elus! Do you want to be the prey today?”

Serin muttered, “You shouldn’t hunt members of your own species.”

Kennard responded, “Because I might not be able to?”

“Don’t talk nonsense. But seriously, give me an answer. Should Elena be treated like a noblewoman, a commoner, or a servant? It’s not just me; Lassino and other servants are also puzzled about how to treat Elena.”

Kennard struggled to answer Serin’s question as he gazed down at the large rock where Elena had been found. 

Two months ago, on the day when he had gone hunting alone, he had followed the massive pheromone signature of the White Fox Tribe. More precisely, he had followed a subtle, unadulterated pheromone amidst the White Fox Tribe’s signature.

When the overwhelming pheromones had filled his nostrils to the point of dizziness, Elena had rolled in front of him. As he recalled the moment when their eyes had first met, his breath trembled uncontrollably.


Observing her appearance, she appeared like an ordinary person, perhaps a commoner or a peasant. However, her mannerisms and speech hinted at a nobility that puzzled those around her. Serin, deep in thought, elaborated, “That’s what’s perplexing. It’s not the usual scent of the local tribe, but a completely unique one we’ve never come across.”

Kennard’s body briefly tensed, and his shoulders stiffened. Turning to Serin, he inquired, “You sensed Elena’s scent as well?”

Serin replied with a hint of sarcasm, “Well, isn’t it evident? My sense of smell rivals yours, Your Highness.”

Kennard gave Serin an intense look, briefly entertaining the idea of twisting his neck, but quickly dismissing the thought. He asked, “Is that all?” He knew the question was almost pointless. Elena’s scent could be detected by anyone with a keen sense of smell, such as himself and Serin. Yet, it didn’t sit well with him, and the possibility of something more gnawed at him, igniting a spark in his chest, even though he knew it couldn’t be true.

Serin, with a hint of defiance, retorted, “What else could there be?”

Kennard frowned but decided to ignore Serin.

“Planning to catch something other than deer today?” Serin asked casually.

Kennard’s response was curt, his teeth clenched, and a metallic taste of anger in his mouth. The tension in the air threatened to boil over. “Why do you ask?”

“Remember what I said last time?” Serin’s voice carried a hint of frustration. “If you’re not going to dry the Terra Demorte deer meat, then why bother hunting it? It’s not an easy kill, you know. There are plenty of other game options out there. Why fixate on deer?”

Kennard retorted, “I did catch a grizzly bear yesterday.”

Serin, not easily swayed, responded, “Whether it’s a bear or a deer, we end up with extra meat and leather. Perhaps it’s time we consider a side business with them.”

Kennard brushed off the suggestion, stating firmly, “I won’t dry it, so don’t worry about it. If you want to head to Montefiano or your territory, feel free to go. I’ll send Cura with you if you decide.”

“Your Highness!”

Kennard sighed, frustration etched on his face. “There’s no need for stubbornness. You two are equally stubborn. Why did you bother coming all the way here to pester me?” 

Kennard continued to gaze into the darkness, exhaling deeply. He tried to muster a smile for Serin’s determination but ended up turning his head away.

He inhaled deeply, letting the crisp, icy mountain air mingle with the earthy scent of wildlife, filling his lungs. The closest aromas were of rabbits and owls, while a bit further off, the faint traces of bears and deer wafted in the breeze. The bear’s presence might be linked to the one they’d caught yesterday, or it could just be one of the creatures living in the vicinity.



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