Chapter 4.1

“Cura, you’ve arrived quickly,” Leto remarked.

“Yes, His Grace requested my immediate presence. He mentioned it a few days ago, so I’ve been getting ready,” Cura replied.

Leto arched an eyebrow. “A few days ago?” His surprise was evident in his voice once again. “And you didn’t inform me?” 

Cura chuckled as she gave Leto a teasing look. “What could I do? It’s His Grace’s directive.”

“That’s true,” Leto muttered.

Cura moved past Leto and approached Elena, wearing a broad smile that revealed her teeth.

“Elena, starting today, I’m Cura, your caregiver.”

“Oh, I see.”

Elena felt a bit self-conscious, despite her young age, seeing Cura exude such confidence towards her. She couldn’t help but think that she was receiving a lot of attention, especially considering her memory loss and the fact that she didn’t even know her own status, as Leto had mentioned.

Regardless of Elena’s thoughts, Cura finished her greetings and set the tray she had brought on the bedside table.

“Teacher, what should I use as medicine?” Cura rolled up her sleeves and inquired. Leto let out a small sigh and pointed to several bottles of medicine, providing explanations.

Cura nodded as Leto spoke, seeking clarification on the things she didn’t fully grasp.

“Alright, please rest in the reception room and enjoy some tea while I prepare the medicine,” Cura suggested.

“What?” Leto’s forehead furrowed even deeper.

“I’d like to give Lady Elena a gentle cleansing before applying the medicine. After all, she’s been here for two weeks now.”

“Ah! Ah, I see. Hm.”

Elena, watching Leto leave the room with a cough, turned her attention to Cura. Cura, making sure Leto had completely departed, skillfully began her preparations. She had a long piece of cloth draped over her arm, which she dipped into a basin of warm water, evident by the rising steam.

“Lady Elena, if you’ll pardon me for a moment,” Cura said politely.

With care, Cura gently moistened the thick fur enveloping Elena’s body.

Elena let out an involuntary shiver, although she remained unaware of it. Despite the room’s warmth, courtesy of the fireplace, Elena couldn’t help but feel a chill as her body, previously swathed in thick fur, was exposed to the cooler air outside.

What flustered her even more was the revealing attire that left little to the imagination. It was pulled down to her chest, baring her shoulders and making the chill on her back more pronounced. Her back was in a similar state, and although fur covered her up to her chin, it was hard to believe that she was now standing in front of these people for the first time today, wearing such attire.

Elena blushed deeply, her embarrassment radiating throughout her entire body.

“Are you cold?” Cura inquired. “I’ll be quick; please endure a little longer.”

Startled by Cura’s voice, Elena quickly averted her gaze. “It’s fine.”

“Feel free to speak,” Cura smiled reassuringly.

“But…” Elena hesitated.

“His Grace has entrusted me with your care, Lady Elena.”

With utmost delicacy, Cura tended to Elena’s body as if handling something fragile, using the damp cloth to cleanse various parts of her skin.

As the warmth of the cloth caressed her skin, Elena felt a shiver travel down her spine, accompanied by a simultaneous sense of relaxation. Cura, after thoroughly wiping down one side of her body, dipped the cloth in warm water once more and gently guided Elena into a reclining position.

A sharp pang of pain coursed through her back for a moment, causing Elena to let out another groan.

“Lady Elena!” Cura exclaimed in surprise, her hands gently gripping Elena’s shoulders.

“It’s alright,” Elena forced a smile through the pain. She couldn’t bring herself to complain about the discomfort when she saw Cura, her forehead glistening with sweat. She lay there, enduring it as best she could.

Following Cura’s guidance, Elena slowly shifted to lie on her other side. The pain was excruciating, akin to a sharp spear piercing her entire body, but she gritted her teeth and bore it.

Cura placed several large, soft cushions beneath Elena’s chest and legs before resuming the gentle cleansing of the other side of her body with the cloth. Her touch was considerably more tender than before.

“Oh my goodness! How did you sustain such injuries?” Cura removed the thin cloth covering Elena’s wounds, emitting a brief sigh. Even in her voice, Elena could detect the furrowed brows of concern.

“I don’t know.”

“Ah, it must be terribly painful.” With each application of herbal treatment to the wounds, Elena clenched her lower lip and squeezed her eyes shut. The pain in her back seemed to radiate to her fingertips and toes.

Why did this happen to me? 

Elena was filled with frustration as her past remained an unreachable mystery, even though she was the one who had lived through it all.

Who am I, truly?

As Cura tenderly draped a fresh cloth over Elena’s back and carefully adjusted her attire, the distant sounds of logs being added to the fireplace and the soothing crackling of the fire drifted into the room.

Listening to Cura’s soft humming, Elena’s eyelids grew progressively heavier.

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