Chapter 28.2

“Diamond mines?”

“Yeah. After the Lord took control of Terra Demorte, mining in the region came to a halt. But the White Fox tribe probably continues to infiltrate because of those mines.”

“Oh, right,” Leto continued, remembering something. “Among the taverns I frequent, there’s a place called ‘Draulf,’ and the owner there is a real beauty. Her personality is quite bold, and you won’t find a bolder landlady anywhere. At first, her speech was fierce, and I thought she was picking a fight. We had a massive argument. Now we’re friends, though.” A gentle smile appeared on Leto’s face, sparking curiosity in Elena.

“Are you around the same age?”

“No. My friend is in her mid-forties, I guess.”

“But still, you’re friends?”

“If your hearts match, you’re friends. Age doesn’t matter.” Elena chuckled, and Leto scratched his beard, looking somewhat embarrassed.

“Oh, do you remember the hot springs I mentioned before?”

“Yes,” Elena nodded, and Leto’s face brightened even more than before.

“There’s a place called ‘Seven Point Hill’ a bit away from the village. It’s more like a mountain than a hill, and there’s a hot spring near the summit. Soaking in it feels like paradise. Since there are hardly any people, it almost feels like it’s my private spot,” Leto chuckled.

“Because of that, you keep wanting to go back to the village?” Elena inquired.


“The tavern owner plays a role too.”

“Well… not that much.” Leto was about to answer that way but changed his mind and clapped his hands. Observing the old man’s face turn red with embarrassment, Elena felt oddly serene. It seemed that regardless of age, when someone liked someone, an involuntary happy expression appeared on their face.

“Teacher,” Elena redirected her attention to the fireplace and addressed Leto.


“How long does it take to travel from here to the village?”

“Well, if you take a carriage, about an hour?”

Elena hesitated on whether to voice the thought that had crossed her mind. She was aware that decisions made in the heat of emotion were often unwise. However, it was the most pressing desire she had at the moment. Even if the outcome didn’t match her expectations, she might end up regretting it if she didn’t try.

“Can you take me to that village as well?” Elena inquired.


“Instead of the teacher staying here to treat me, wouldn’t it be better if I went there?”

“Don’t talk nonsense. If you insist on going to the village, would the Lord allow it?”

“There’s no reason  for them to stop me if I decide to go…”

“Nonsense,” Leto raised his voice, fixing his gaze on Elena. “Is it because of that incident with the young lady from the Blade Duchy last time? She’ll return to the capital soon. Until then, even if it’s a bit frustrating, just endure it and stay here.”

Elena rubbed her forehead with her hand and let out a deep sigh.

“I’m not a person of the Duke. I’m grateful for the kindness, but it feels really inappropriate for me to stay here any longer.”

She wanted to say it wasn’t because of that, but she couldn’t. That incident was the cause, making her more aware of her status and even harboring feelings that should not be entertained.


Elena’s gaze remained fixed on Carmen’s retreating figure, her expression revealing the weight of each step as if she were marching to her doom. The compulsion to follow made the ordeal all the more agonizing, a fact evident in the discontent etched across Cura’s face as she trailed behind Elena.

Cura, positioned just behind Elena, couldn’t conceal her displeasure, casting disdainful glares at Carmen over Elena’s shoulder. Carmen, maintaining an unsettling silence, brought them to a halt in the dining room.

Throughout Elena’s tenure in Kennard’s castle, Cura had dutifully delivered meals to her quarters, rendering the dining room a rarely frequented space. Only occasional forays or insights from Butler Lassino prompted Elena’s presence there. The dining room, designed for grand celebrations, boasted glass doors on one side, revealing a garden beyond. Elaborate golden patterns adorned the walls between the glass doors, extending seamlessly from floor to ceiling.

A domed ceiling, slightly protruding, showcased an expansive mural, while a magnificent chandelier hung in the center. The extensive table, capable of accommodating scores of guests, dominated the room’s horizontal expanse. Long silver candlesticks with evenly spaced candles illuminated the space, casting a radiant glow. Equally spaced flower arrangements added a touch of elegance to the grand setting.

At the head of the table, Kennard occupied the central seat, flanked by Hazel on his right and Serrin on his left. Lassino and attendants moved gracefully around them, trays laden with a sumptuous meal in hand. Amidst the faint clatter of utensils, Lassino’s voice broke the silence at the dining table.

“Carmen, and Miss Elena?”



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