Chapter 7.2

“How is your body?” Kennard asked.

“Thanks to the grace of the Grand Duke, it has improved significantly,” Elena replied.

Kennard seemed displeased with her response, and one of his eyebrows rose sharply. Elena remained silent, her lips sealed. At that moment, Kennard reached out towards Elena.

As his hand neared her face, Elena instinctively took a step back.

“Elena,” he softly said, just one word.

At the sound of her name, Elena lifted her head as if under a spell. She swallowed hard, shifting her gaze from his hand, which had frozen in mid-air, to his face.

Elena’s heart raced as she gazed into his eyes, marked with long scars that seemed like living creatures, piercing through his lowered eyelids.

His long, thick eyelashes cast shadows on his pupils, making his gaze even darker. It felt like her gaze was being stolen away. Elena couldn’t look away from Kennard or evade his stare, even though she wanted to. It was as if her body had been immobilized, frozen in place, and she was being drawn into Kennard’s eyes.

His hand, which had hung in the air, slowly moved, and his fingertips lightly brushed against Elena’s cheek. The touch on her skin was brief, yet it sent a shiver through her entire body, making her hairs stand on end.

The hand that had touched her cheek now moved through her hair. Fiery red strands of hair flowed like flames between Kennard’s long, prominent fingers. Throughout this, Elena remained still, caught in Kennard’s gaze, unable to move.

Kennard silently looked down at the strand of Elena’s hair wrapped around his fingers.

“It’s wet,” he said deeply, his voice flowing gently like calm waves from his lips.

“I had a bath…” Elena managed to reply, but even one word felt hard to utter. Kennard looked up at Elena, who had responded. She quickly closed her lips again. Her entire attention was on the strand of hair entwined in Kennard’s grip.

Every nerve in her body seemed to tingle at Kennard’s touch, as if her hair could feel it, or even as if her heart was connected to it.

“The corridors are cold at this time. If you keep walking like this, your head will freeze,” Kennard commented.

“We were planning to go to the bedroom to finish drying it. I thought it would be warmer in there than the bathroom,” Cura quickly added, responding to Kennard’s words.

Elena had anticipated some sort of scolding for her behavior, but it was only when Cura spoke that Elena finally snapped out of her daze and averted her gaze from Kennard.

Kennard nodded at Cura and fell into silence, opting not to speak further. Instead, he removed the coat he had been wearing and placed it gently over Elena’s shoulders.

Cura’s eyes widened, and she shifted her gaze between Kennard and Elena in surprise.

“Your Grace, I-I’m fine,” Elena stammered.

Elena took a step back, startled by Kennard’s unexpected gesture. Nevertheless, Kennard approached her confidently and fastened the front of the coat securely.

Unconsciously, Elena lowered her head, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment.

When Kennard had worn the coat, it reached down to his knees, but when Elena put it on, it trailed along the floor.

“Go back quickly so you don’t catch a cold,” Kennard advised before stepping away.

Elena watched him in a daze as he walked away, and the attendants, who had been stunned into stillness, followed suit.

Holding onto the hem of the coat Kennard had given her, Elena huddled up, feeling not only the warmth of the clothing but also the lingering warmth of Kennard, who had worn it just moments ago. It was as if the coat embodied Kennard’s presence itself, both comforting and heavy. Her heart felt burdened, yet oddly reassured.

To conceal her confused emotions, Elena shut her eyes tightly.



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