Chapter 5.1

“No,” Cura responded. “There was nothing else… If you’re not fond of it, should I consider something different?”

Elena gently shook her head. “No, it’s just a question.”

“In that case, I’ll go fetch some refreshments and herbs.”

With a warm smile, Cura tidied up the sheets and fur before stepping out of the room.

Elena stared at her hand once more.

“Could it have been a dream?” she whispered to herself.

The sensation of the fur, both robust and soft, lingered vividly in her grasp. No matter how many times she brushed the fur draped over her, it just didn’t feel quite the same.

So, what was it then?

She pondered whether it might have been a dream, but the realism was too potent for that explanation to suffice. Moreover, she faintly recalled hearing a sound, soothing and somewhat rhythmic.

On the other hand, considering her memory loss, distinguishing between dreams and reality wasn’t a significant concern.

Elena’s weary gaze drifted towards the snowflakes falling outside as she rested her head on the pillow, drained of energy.

Elena’s room felt like it reached to the heavens, its lofty ceiling extending beyond 20 feet. The walls were adorned with opulent gold and deep indigo, and a series of grand windows were aligned along them, connected by glass doors leading to a spacious terrace. 

At night, rich wine-red velvet curtains shrouded the windows, but Cura had left them slightly ajar during the day to prevent Elena from feeling claustrophobic. This thoughtful touch allowed her to bask in the serene spectacle of falling snowflakes through the window throughout the day.

As she reclined on the bed, her view was dominated by the gray expanse of the open sky, with snow gracefully descending, and in the distance, the oak forest.

Suddenly, she felt a fleeting whim.

She yearned to gaze upon the landscape that extended beyond those windows. Despite her belief that it might resemble the chilly and forbidding demeanor of the castle’s owner, curiosity compelled her.

Elena exerted effort to lift herself from the bed, using one hand for support.

A sudden surge of pain coursed through her body, starting from her bandaged head and cascading down her neck, spine, all the way to her fingertips and toes.

Elena involuntarily twitched, shutting her eyes tightly.

Would Cura come to my aid if I called for her? she contemplated.

With a determined shake of her head, Elena slowly pushed herself upright. No matter how diligently Kennard tended to her, she couldn’t grow accustomed to this way of life.

She bit her lower lip to suppress her groans as she finally managed to descend to the floor.

Perching on the edge of the bed, she took several deep breaths until the pain gradually subsided.

Elena clutched the bed with her hand and gradually hoisted herself back up. As she inclined her head slightly forward, her fiery red hair cascaded like a waterfall, draping down to her waist.

When Elena gently lifted the hem of her chemise from the floor, it unveiled a pale foot with protruding bones, appearing emaciated. Much like her hands, her feet bore the marks of calluses and assorted scars.

This sight aroused genuine curiosity within Elena about her own past. Where did she come from? Could she have been a slave or a captive? Had she somehow managed to escape in secret?

Regardless of how strenuously she wracked her brain, nothing surfaced, and it grew increasingly vexing.

Leto, Kennard’s personal physician, had advised her to persistently seek any triggers that might rekindle her memories, yet her efforts proved futile.

Like a starless night sky or pristine snow, her mind remained devoid of recollections.

With a sigh, Elena tentatively took a step forward.

Pain surged through her feet, as though needles were piercing the soft carpet beneath her soles. Nonetheless, Elena refused to yield. She moved onward, step by step, in harmony with the crackling sound of the fireplace, resembling a wooden figurine.

Finally, when she reached the window and pressed her hand against the wall, a sigh of relief escaped her.

It felt as though an eternity had elapsed.

Elena clutched the bed with her palm and painstakingly lifted herself once more. A wave of agony swept through her entire body, and cold beads of sweat trickled down her back and forehead.

She had momentarily felt like she was subjecting herself to needless torment by moving, but the instant she gazed out the window, all her pain dissipated.

More accurately, it was as though the shock she experienced was so profound that it made her pain vanish.

Beyond the broad terrace railing, a vast garden lay beneath a pristine white blanket of snow, spreading out like an expansive plain. The other castles flanking the garden on both sides appeared alien and fantastical.

It was a landscape that wouldn’t have seemed out of place if fairies had suddenly materialized from the surroundings.

Elena leaned in closer to the window and peered outside.

The oak forest she had observed while lying in bed encircled the colossal castle and its garden, acting like a protective barrier.

At the garden’s entrance, even in the heart of winter, a fountain continued to gush water. In the center, a grand gazebo stood, and on the opposite side, there stood a greenhouse.



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