Chapter 26.1

It was a narrative Elena encountered for the first time, or perhaps one she struggled to recollect.

“Yes. Even without being imprinted, you can experience emotions for someone. However, marrying such a person and later becoming imprinted by someone else is said to be incredibly agonizing,” Cura explained.

“Is it not permissible to form a bond with an imprinted partner again?”

“It’s not that it’s forbidden, but rather challenging. To dissolve a marriage, one needs the High Priest’s approval, a daunting prospect for commoners. Some choose to abandon their original partners and elope with their imprinted ones, but if apprehended, severe consequences await. Pursuit squads are even dedicated to chasing such individuals. Nevertheless, nobles often opt to marry someone deemed suitable for the family rather than an imprinted partner.”

Elena directed her body toward Cura. Pain surged through her, and her expression involuntarily contorted.

Cura approached, assisting Elena to lie on her side and carefully covering her with sheets and fur up to her shoulders.

“What exactly is this imprinting?” Elena inquired as Cura settled by the bedside, leaning towards her.

“Are you curious?” Cura asked with a smile, causing the freckles on her nose to wrinkle, and she continued speaking. “I haven’t been imprinted yet, so I don’t know the details. I’ve only heard that when you meet your destined partner, it feels like your soul is being sucked into their eyes.”

“Soul sucked in?” Elena repeated.

“Yes. It’s a sensation that only those who have experienced it can comprehend.”

“How fascinating.”

“Yes. One more thing to tell you…” Cura paused, looking down at Elena, who tilted her head in curiosity. “As far as I know, you probably haven’t been imprinted yet.”

Elena, meeting Cura’s gaze, found herself unable to respond. Not a single word surfaced, and even a forced smile eluded her. Slowly, with a thought that occurred to her, she opened her mouth.

“You can know your destined partner as soon as you meet them, right?”

“I think so. Oh, but they say imprinting can also happen when you’re a baby. In those cases, it’s too early to remember, but later in adulthood, if you meet the person again, the moment of imprinting comes back to you.”

“Really.” As Elena responded, she felt her heart sink. Every time she looked at Kennard, thoughts of fluctuating emotions and the sensation of being drawn into his eyes overwhelmed her.

Could it be that it happened because we were imprinted? At that moment, Elena realized she was facing a presence she couldn’t dare to confront or scrutinize.


“Are you certain you’re up for moving around?” Cura hesitated, intertwining her fingers nervously.

“It’s fine, really. Look! I’m walking just fine.” Elena shifted her steps slowly, accompanied by a gentle smile. Despite the chill in the air, she wore a thick cloak over her velvet dress.

Suppressing the pain throbbing through her wounds, Elena made a conscious effort not to display any discomfort. She knew that acknowledging the pain would likely result in Cura or Leto insisting on her staying in bed for the day.

She understood their concern for her well-being, but the thought of remaining still, doing nothing, felt stifling – almost suffocating, as if she couldn’t catch her breath.

Even with Cura clapping her hands and Leto shaking his head, recommending a walk, Elena insisted on venturing out. 

“Then just take a leisurely stroll along the corridor,” suggested Cura.

“I want to go to the greenhouse.”

“No, you can’t. It’s already cold, and it’ll get even colder outside. Your wounds haven’t fully healed yet. It’s not advisable to wander around in the cold.”

“Alright.” Elena chuckled and nodded. If she pushed any further, she knew Cura might just pick her up and carry her back.

Walking through the corridor, a profound stillness enveloped them, with only the rhythmic echo of their footsteps breaking the silence. Torches lining both sides of the passage cast flickering shadows, illuminating tables adorned with vases of vibrant flowers and suspended paintings placed at regular intervals.

Elena meticulously examined each flower and painting as she moved at a measured pace. Even in her careful exploration, a sense of vitality coursed through her. It became apparent that a life of idleness and mere relaxation didn’t suit her temperament.

Despite the ache in my body, moving feels more comforting, Elena mused silently, reflecting on a recent conversation with Cura. I wonder who I will be imprinted on. Cura mentioned I haven’t been imprinted by anyone yet. Could it be that I’ve already met my destined partner?

The weight of her own thoughts caused Elena to sigh involuntarily. Cura, who had silently accompanied her, expressed concern as she reached out to support Elena.

“Are you feeling unwell? Should we go back?” 

“No, I’m not in pain. I just sighed,” Elena reassured her. 

“Is there something on your mind, then?” Cura pressed, sensing an unspoken burden.

“No,” Elena replied tersely, deflecting the inquiry with a dismissive shake of her head.



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