It was a reasonable observation. Elise didn’t simply dismiss Lady Petisson’s resolute demeanor as mere stubbornness.
Elise, by outward appearance, seemed fragile, and she had unknowingly become embroiled in the complexities of the Rotiara family, a world completely unfamiliar to her. It was only natural that she would prefer the security of having numerous individuals attending to her needs.
Of course, this was all predicated on the assumption that there truly was a child growing within her womb.
The memory of the maids’ gentle and professional smiles resurfaced in Elise’s mind. And in that moment, she had a sudden realization.
This was Rezette Kyrstan’s domain. Lady Petisson, Alfredo, and the other servants were all Rezette Kyrstan’s loyal followers. They were there to ensure their safety from external threats, as Rezette had assured. However, they couldn’t escape the watchful eyes and ears within the confines of Rotiara.
Furthermore, these individuals would be the closest attendants to her in the future. Thus, Elise couldn’t rely on any of them for genuine support.
Engaging in such lengthy discussions to assign a maid was a novel experience for Elise. She didn’t harbor any particular displeasure or anger. In fact, if she contemplated it further, it was even more peculiar for Rezette Kyrstan to treat her with such princely regard.
Nevertheless, life in Rotiara is not destined to be tranquil. She must remain vigilant.
There were no secrets that could remain hidden indefinitely. Already, three individuals were privy to the knowledge of Elise and Rezette’s contract, including themselves and the parliamentarians.
Regarding the parliamentarians, as they had been swayed by the Duke’s influence, they wouldn’t dare to betray his trust. However, in essence, a secret ceases to exist the moment it escapes one’s lips.
Above all, the greatest concern lay with Lady Petisson. How long could Elise evade the scrutinizing gaze of the astute matron responsible for the castle’s internal affairs? Lady Petisson’s insistence on personally verifying Elise’s physical condition suggested that she was prepared to promptly petition the emperor should any falsehoods be detected.
“If only I could gain her favor.” Elise mused, well aware of Lady Petisson’s evident disapproval. Yet, she couldn’t fathom a way to earn the matron’s favor. With that option seemingly out of reach, there remained only one person left for Elise to rely on.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“Whose servant do you consider yourself to be?”
“I am, of course, the servant of both Your Highness and His Grace,” Ivetsa replied, perplexed by the question. However, Elise pressed on, seeking further clarity.
“Where did you work prior to this? Were you a palace maid?”
“No, Your Highness. I served at the residence in the capital where His Grace resides. It was Your Highness who personally summoned me.”
“Did he instruct you to attend to me and relay all information pertaining to me?”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“Then you are indeed his confidante.”
Elise scrutinized Ivetsa’s bewildered expression, realizing that she was the sole person she could rely on at present. Could she place her trust in Ivetsa?
“Ivetsa, do you remember when the carriage veered off the cliff? I saved your life then, didn’t I?” Elise reminded, her words laced with a hint of gravity.
“Yes, of course. I can never forget your kindness. If Your Highness hadn’t pushed me to safety, I wouldn’t be alive today,” Ivetsa replied, acknowledging the debt she owed.
“In that case, would you consider exchanging your loyalty for your life?” Elise proposed, her tone calm and composed.
Ivetsa’s mouth dropped open in astonishment, taken aback by the unexpected request. Elise continued, maintaining her composure.
“I don’t ask for much from you. It doesn’t mean you have to betray the Duke. I simply ask that you safeguard one secret of mine.”
Elise knew that even the maids who constantly accompanied her couldn’t be deceived. In a month or two, it would become evident that her belly wasn’t growing, and her secret would be exposed.
“I don’t need any other maid beside you. Perhaps the situation will change if I truly bear a child,” Elise remarked, a gust of wind blowing through the open window, causing her silver hair to sway gently.
“In truth, there never was a baby to begin with.”
For some reason, Ivetsa felt a hollow emptiness in the princess’s voice, akin to a desolate winter branch.
Just then, a soft knock echoed through the room, drawing Elise’s attention. She composed herself, adjusting her tousled hair, and turned towards the door.
“It appears that someone has arrived to provide evidence of that fact,” Elise remarked, her eyes fixed on the door.
Standing before her was Freya, the elderly physician who had previously treated her at the Van Yela Palace.