As Rezette’s brow furrowed in thought, a devious grin crept across Yanok’s lips. His question dripped with sinister implication, “Could it be that you know nothing at all?”
“I’m not sure what you’re referring to,” Rezette replied evenly, though he knew there was danger lurking in the air.
“Hah! So you really did fall for her?” Yanok sneered, relishing the opportunity to provoke Rezette. “A love as fiery as the century itself. Even Kyrstan, who is said to be colder than the winter mountains, couldn’t resist a fox’s charm, could he?”
Rezette remained silent, unwilling to let Yanok’s words ruffle his composure. But the Ugel prince wasn’t finished yet. “You claimed the princess belonged to you under a covenant, so does that mean if I were to take her away, you would obediently comply without any objections? Answer me, you dog!”
Despite the insult, Rezette couldn’t help but smirk. Calling a hybrid dragon a dog was a grave affront that would strike at the pride of the Great Dragon Sameshita. But Rezette knew better than to let his emotions cloud his judgment. “I’ve heard that the warriors of Ugel boast about their strength, calling themselves barbarians,” he said coolly. With a swift movement, he removed Yanok’s finger from his hand, exerting enough pressure to turn the prince’s complexion pale. “If we consider barbarism, there is no one in Grandel who can match a dragon. That’s what I think, Prince Yanok.”
Yanok stuttered, flustered by Rezette’s audacity. “What, what do you mean?”
Rezette continued, unrelenting. “If I were like you, I wouldn’t attack a non-human being with a human body. This is also a rule in the North, isn’t it?”
Rezette knew the importance of assessing the balance of power before recklessly challenging someone. While southern knights may not understand this, northerners never shy away from a fight that comes their way. There is no room for mercy. And Rezette was no exception. He couldn’t leave the Ugel prince unchallenged – the consequences would be dire.
Rezette pondered the idea of simply crushing Yanok under his weight and departing. He gazed down at his hand, where a faint blackness began to spread. His tough flesh thickened, hardening like obsidian – as a dragon, he had no qualms about silencing the prince’s deceitful tongue. But Noyer’s pleading eyes halted him in his tracks.
“Don’t cause any accidents and leave quietly. If there is anything that I have to personally take care of again, I will enjoy myself in Rotiara without any worries this summer.”
After weighing the importance of the situation, Rezette relented. The dark, hard epidermis covering his right hand vanished without a trace. He bid Yanok Sihat a brief farewell, “Then please take a look around.”
Yanok’s glare bore into the Duke’s retreating figure, seething with rage. “It would be better to be careful, Duke. That silver fox will tear you apart and disappear without a trace,” he spat. “Like that emperor, Argan…”
At the threshold of Van Yela’s gate, the stalwart knights of Rotiara stood vigilant, waiting. A procession approached, and amidst it all, a carriage emerged. As the procession neared, Elise felt the weight of numerous eyes upon her. It was unmistakable – nearly two hundred people had their gaze fixed on her. Habituated to her role as a princess since her very birth, Elise naturally made eye contact with them, refusing to be the first to avert her gaze, as was customary for someone of her noble status. But to her dismay, the knights who met her gaze all turned their heads simultaneously, leaving Elise to regret her decision.
As she quickly lowered her eyes, Ruben, who accompanied her, apologized profusely, his forehead drenched in beads of sweat. “Uh, well, they’re all knights who only know how to use their bodies, and they’re all from the north, so their expressions are a bit awkward. Please understand, Your Highness.” To which Elise replied, “It’s okay. Don’t worry about it, Ruben.”