Chapter 30.2

The magnificence of Rotiara Castle was undeniable, with its imposing stature and towering height. The grandeur was further accentuated by the presence of monumental staircases that stretched skyward from different points of the castle.

Of particular note was the staircase that led to the bedroom atop the main tower. In Elise’s eyes, it resembled the rugged, untamed mountains that dominated the northern region of Grandel—a formidable path to conquer.

“I could use a brief respite,” Elise declared, feeling the heat building up within her body. She removed her hood and wiped her forehead with the back of her hand. Ivetsa, equally flustered, dabbed at her neck with a handkerchief.

“We’ll prepare a bath once we reach the top,” Ivetsa suggested.

“Take your time. Enjoy the view as we ascend,” Elise replied, her voice filled with anticipation.

Beyond the window, a breathtaking vista unfurled, with the Grenthern Mountains and verdant forests stretching as far as the eye could see. Elise paused on the staircase, taking in the invigorating scent of the mountains, filling her lungs with its freshness.

Truly, it was a place of exquisite beauty and tranquility, deserving of its moniker, the Blessed Land. Here, she had found a haven free from the menacing claws of wild beasts, the shadow of gallows, and the harshness that pervaded the northern region.

“But I must remain vigilant,” Elise reminded herself, her resolve firm. She was no longer the innocent child naively believing in an endlessly beautiful world beyond the castle walls. The day the walls of Argan crumbled had shattered her sense of security. Whether this place would be a sanctuary or yet another battleground remained uncertain.

Elise took in slow, deep breaths, hoping to quell the restlessness in her heart. How many breaths had she counted? She could discern the subtle sound of footsteps steadily ascending the staircase behind her.

“Ah, the familiar sound of footsteps,” Elise mused, recognizing the approaching presence without even turning around. Alfredo, Ivetsa, and the other servants all simultaneously bowed their heads, their gaze fixed behind her. From above, a voice resonated, its tone not much different from an hour ago.

“It would be wise for you to refrain from further exploring this area,” the voice advised.

Before Elise could react, her body lifted off the ground. In an instant, she found herself enfolded in someone’s embrace. She didn’t need to lift her head to know it was the duke.

“You’ve returned already?” she questioned, a mixture of surprise and relief in her voice.

“I was worried, so I came back,” he replied.

Oh no. It seemed he had once again set aside his work for her sake. Elise felt a pang of guilt, knowing she had inconvenienced him.

Rezette swiftly interjected, as if preemptively silencing any objections she might have.

“I have a packed schedule today, just as you mentioned. However, if Your Highness’s condition worsens, my focus will be compromised due to worry. So please, remain still and avoid any unnecessary movements,” he insisted.

“I had no intentions of moving this time,” Elise assured him, nodding in compliance. She settled herself comfortably within his embrace, finding a position that suited her well. Above her head, she caught snippets of his murmurs, almost as if he was muttering something peculiar.

“It seems you’ve been feeling fatigued,” he remarked, taking her aback slightly. Nevertheless, she dismissed it as a minor matter, unworthy of dwelling upon.

With a remarkable swiftness, he ascended the stairs, outpacing her own pace effortlessly. Elise leaned her head closer to his familiar embrace, finding solace in its embrace. Finally, she could breathe freely, the constricted breaths now alleviated.

The restlessness that had previously consumed her, tossing her about like seagrass in the relentless waves, now subsided quietly.


Rezette, determined to underscore the legitimacy of his claim regarding his workload, swiftly carried her up to the top before promptly descending to his office. Waiting by the bedroom of the castle’s central tower was Lady Petisson, ready to take over as Elise’s guide.

“This is the designated area for the lord and lady of Rotiara. I will show you around from here,” Lady Petisson explained, her presence commanding despite her age. With white hair and a wrinkled face, she stood taller than Elise, her straight posture exuding an air of determination. Her tightly coiled hair and round spectacles added a touch of stubbornness to her dry countenance.

“This is the shared living room for the both of you. Inside, you’ll find the bedroom, alongside a bathroom and a dressing room,” she continued, leading Elise through the carefully appointed rooms. Every space within the castle held immense significance, displaying the authority and opulence befitting its owners. The bedroom, in particular, was adorned in such luxury that Elise momentarily felt a sense of confusion, momentarily reminiscent of the grandeur she had witnessed within the halls of the Argan Palace. She made a conscious effort not to direct her gaze towards the bed, its canopy draped in a rich shade of dark blue.

Upon completing their circuit of the interior and returning to the living room, Elise was greeted by a gathering of more than a dozen maids. Lady Petisson proceeded to introduce them to Elise.

“These are the maids who will attend to Your Highness,” Lady Petisson announced. Elise couldn’t help but question their status, sensing that they were more than mere ordinary maidservants.

“Surely, they’re not all just ordinary maidservants?” Elise inquired.

“You are correct. These individuals have undergone extensive training to serve the princess with the utmost proximity and skill. You will find their service to be impeccable,” Lady Petisson reassured her.

Elise suppressed her perplexity, withdrawing her hand and relinquishing her objections. She had never been accompanied by such a sizable entourage, not even within the walls of Argan Palace.

“There’s no need for so many people. Aside from Ivetsa, one more person is sufficient,” Elise insisted.

“Two individuals won’t be enough, naturally,” Lady Petisson countered gently, dismissing Elise’s suggestion. Startled, Elise turned her head, only to be met with a gaze as sharp and piercing as that of a predatory bird.

Elise’s lips sealed gradually, her words fading away. Lady Petisson tugged at the corners of her mouth, fashioning a graceful smile.

“As the ruler of Rotiara now, you should understand that His Grace is not an ordinary lord. As such, this old woman couldn’t help but worry upon receiving the news,” Lady Petisson explained, her voice filled with a sense of concern.

“Above all, I wondered if you would arrive in Rotiara unharmed. To see you here, safe and sound, puts my heart at ease,” Lady Petisson admitted, expressing her gratitude.

“Thank you for your concern. There’s no need to worry; everything is proceeding as expected,” Elise responded, attempting to assuage any lingering anxieties.

“No, that’s not entirely true. While one worry may have been alleviated, the true challenges lie ahead,” Lady Petisson revealed, gesturing towards the entrance as someone politely made their way in. It was a middle-aged physician.

“His Grace has instructed us to promptly evaluate Your Highness’s condition once you are in the bedroom,” Lady Petisson informed her.

“And?” Elise inquired.

“The physician who accompanied us from the capital is presently settling in the designated room. Therefore, the resident physician of Rotiara Castle will be responsible for examining Your Highness,” Lady Petisson explained.

Elise was caught off guard. A new physician? The individual seemed oblivious to the fact that she was not pregnant.

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