Chapter 30.1

Knock, knock. The hefty door emitted a muffled thud, resonating quietly through the space. Receiving no response from within, Elena persisted with another gentle rap on the door. Silence prevailed, yet a palpable awareness told her that Kennard lingered inside. Even from outside, she could discern the faint trace of his pheromones. A nervous swallow betrayed her apprehension.

Interpreting the lack of response as a desire for solitude, Elena hesitated on the verge of departure. Just as the decision hung in the air, a decisive command shattered the stillness. “Come in.” Kennard’s voice, a welcome but tense summons, emanated from within. Relief washed over Elena, but tension lingered in her frame.

Entering cautiously, Elena found Kennard at a desk, engrossed in scrutinizing documents. Her eyes lingered on him, head bowed in contemplation. The lamp’s glow cast elusive shadows on his face, rendering his expression inscrutable. His glossy black hair caught glimmers of light, and the absence of a jacket revealed a powerful, muscular upper body. A few undone buttons exposed long scars on his neck and chest, previously unseen by Elena. While logical given his wartime and White Fox Tribe encounters, the revelation of new scars weighed heavily on her heart.

“What is it?” Kennard’s attention remained fixed on the documents as he spoke. Elena intertwined her fingers within the long sleeves, mustering determination as she clasped her hands together.

“I came to make a request,” she said, her words hanging in the air. Kennard maintained his silence, engrossed in the papers spread before him. The tension in the room escalated, and Elena, despite the unease in her chest, reassured herself that she had made the right choice.

“I’m planning to visit the village with Mr. Leto tomorrow,” she continued, her voice breaking the silence.

Kennard’s fingertips momentarily halted in their task of signing the papers. His amber eyes, reminiscent of flames, slowly rose to meet Elena’s gaze. As his scrutiny bore down on her, Elena’s shoulders involuntarily slumped, feeling the weight of his intense stare.

“The village? Why? If you need something, just tell me. I’ll buy it for you,” Kennard offered, his voice cutting through the stillness.

“No, it’s not that…” Elena began, her throat tight despite her resolve. “I want to leave the castle and live in the village.”

Kennard’s raised eyebrow, accompanied by the subtle movement of a long scar from his forehead to his eyelid, betrayed his surprise. “Why?”

“I feel like I’m causing too much trouble for His Grace. I can’t repay this favor right away, but I thought of finding work and repaying little by little…”

“You’ve never been a burden, and I’ve never asked you to repay anything. If you’re going to talk about such useless things, just leave,” Kennard dismissed her words, lowering his head back to the documents as if ending the conversation.

“I… I feel uncomfortable,” Elena admitted.

Thunk. The feather-adorned pen collided forcefully with the desk. “Elena!” Kennard’s voice resonated with a low, sinking intensity. A sudden surge of pheromones enveloped the room, stifling the air and making each breath challenging. Elena, caught in the tense atmosphere, found even the act of blinking awkward. Holding their joined hands with increased tension, she struggled to maintain clarity amid Kennard’s overpowering scent.

“Continuing this lifestyle that doesn’t suit my station, it keeps bothering me. Clothes, food, even Cura’s assistance is too much for me,” she confessed, her words carrying a weight that seemed to hang in the air. Fearing that she might falter if she stopped talking, Elena continued to ramble, uncertain if Kennard truly comprehended her sentiments.

“You must have heard about the old scars on my body. You saw when the White Fox tribe attacked last time. I must have been a fleeing prisoner or a slave. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make sense for my body to be like this.”

“Enough!” Kennard’s abrupt shout cut through her words. “I’ve never said a word about your status. But why are you so concerned about it?”

“It bothers me. I can’t understand why I receive such care from His Grace. I feel even more uneasy because I don’t know why he does so much for me,” Elena confessed, her body trembling with vulnerability. As she spoke, she sensed the pitiful nature of her situation, akin to a child whining for understanding.

“However, I’ll repay this favor no matter what. So please permit me not to be indebted to you any further, Your Grace.”


“Your Grace!”

“If it can’t be done, then it can’t.” Kennard’s face froze with cold determination, his gaze cutting through the air like a deadly weapon. Elena clenched her fingers so tightly that her nails dug into the back of her hand.

“Am I just a servant or a mere laborer in your eyes?” Elena hesitated before voicing her inner turmoil. Though reluctant to utter such words, she recognized that failure to do so might jeopardize the purpose of her visit and the pretext for leaving the castle.

“What?” Kennard’s glare bore into her with evident disdain. “Have I ever treated you like a servant or a lowly worker?” he retorted sharply.



not work with dark mode