Chapter 30.1

The grand duke and the princess, though seemingly close, maintained an air of formality in their addresses to each other. Their titles echoed with a weight that created a certain distance, setting them apart from everyone else. Yet, despite this apparent separation, there was no sign of conflict between them.

“Did they truly uphold such formality even in their private moments?” Sobeul pondered silently, his curiosity threatening to consume him. Duke Rezette Kyrstan, a master of reserve, had little patience for idle chatter.

“Yes, Your Highness. I shall also relay the message to Alfred and Lady Petinsson,” Sobeul replied, suppressing his overwhelming inquisitiveness.

“Very well. I shall make my way to the office after visiting the military site. Wait for me there,” Rezette commanded.

Rezette tugged on the reins, directing his horse’s course. As he rode away, a flicker of discomfort passed fleetingly across his face. Perhaps it was just a misunderstanding, Sobeul mused, refusing to believe it stemmed from the princess’s dismissal or anything more severe.

“They say ‘probably’ catches nobody. Ah, well, still, probably,” he muttered to himself, a wry smile tugging at his lips. With a deep bow, Sobeul bid farewell to his departing master, leading the knights and soldiers. Concealing the bitter amusement etched on his face required a measure of effort.


The main tower of Rotiara Castle stood tall and proud, a testament to the prosperity of the land. Despite its sturdy stone construction, the tower exuded an elegant allure, thanks to the refined touch of white marble and plaster.

Elise explored the castle’s various chambers—the warehouse where food and wine were stored, the bustling kitchen, the dining room reserved for esteemed guests, and the grand hall where lavish banquets were held.

“The second floor houses the tapestry exhibition hall, showcasing the rich history of Rotiara and Van Yela. Normally, when Your Highness summons the knights of Rotiara, they await you there,” Alfredo informed her as he led her through the corridor.

“Follow this path, and you’ll reach Your Highness’s office. It’s where most of the time is spent. If you open the inner door of the office and use the spiral staircase, you can ascend directly from the study to the top floor, which is connected to the bedroom. So, if you have any business in the office, that entrance comes in handy. Currently, the door is blocked, as we can’t rearrange the furniture without permission. However, we plan to open it soon,” he explained.

The grand duke’s office exuded simplicity, adorned with a red mahogany desk, plush velvet sofas, and low bookshelves. A sizable map showcasing the northern region of Grandel graced one of the walls. Everything was meticulously arranged, adhering to a minimalist aesthetic, devoid of any unnecessary clutter.

“Here we are,” Alfredo declared, gesturing toward the office. Elise’s eyes briefly scanned the space before she hastily retreated. A strange mix of intruding upon a man’s private domain and an insatiable curiosity lingered within her.

Adjacent to it stood the conference room, with more rooms unfolding like a series of interconnected spaces. Each room boasted a generous square footage, yet the uniformity of their shapes brought a sense of monotony. Countless sculptures and exquisite frescoes adorned the walls, lending an air of artistic opulence.

While it couldn’t rival the grandeur of the Argan Imperial Palace, the castle exuded a remarkable luxury on its own scale. Above all, it was evident that meticulous care and management were given to every nook and cranny, leaving no detail neglected.

As Elise’s eyes shimmered with admiration, Alfredo puffed out his chest with pride.

“Most of the castle’s decorations are gifts bestowed upon us by His Majesty the Emperor. His favor runs deep, to the extent that carriages laden with treasures—gold, silver, and whatnot—make a grand entrance every month,” he shared, a note of awe in his voice.

Naturally, among the lavish offerings, there were a few underwhelming “gifts” included. Since they were bestowed by the Emperor himself, it was impossible to simply return them, leaving those less impressive trinkets to quietly linger within the castle’s walls.

“His Majesty mustn’t know about this. It would surely displease him,” Alfredo cautioned, his words laced with a hint of apprehension.

Lady Petisson would keep an eye on the maids. Meanwhile, Alfredo diligently carried out his duties, cleaning and organizing the castle. Spotting Elise, he motioned for a few maids to greet her before dismissing them with a wave.

From that point on, Elise continued her exploration of the castle, guided by Alfredo’s knowledgeable presence.



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