Instead of answering, Rezette conveyed his permission through a gesture, silently acknowledging his consent.
“I always wished for you to marry the person you cherish in your heart,” Petisson confessed, her voice infused with hope and tenderness.
But Rezette’s response was a puzzling outburst of laughter, rejecting Petisson in a bewildering manner that momentarily baffled her. Nevertheless, Petisson persisted, unwavering in her words.
“I still remember the day when you, just a nine-year-old boy, stepped foot into the magnificent Van Yela Palace. Your eyes were filled with longing, searching for a place to belong. Whenever people spoke of individuals of high standing, they gazed at you with admiration, especially His Majesty, the revered Emperor.”
A heavy silence lingered, pregnant with unspoken thoughts.
“As you were granted titles and vast lands, I genuinely hoped that Rotiara would provide you solace and stability. May this place become a source of strength, a solid foundation from which you can reach unimaginable heights.”
“I never anticipated being treated like a child,” Rezette interjected, his tone dismissive. It was an unspoken command, an implied directive to depart, yet Lady Petisson remained resolute, steadfastly continuing her discourse.
“Once, you gazed upon His Majesty the Emperor as a child, and now you behold Her Highness the Princess. Have you truly found a lifelong companion instead of a subservient and worshipful master?” Petisson questioned.
“Why does it matter?” Rezette retorted, his frustration mounting with each inquiry.
“I’ve heard rumors about the Princess, rumors that she faced a grave threat to her life in the capital. It’s been said that she avoided execution by abdicating her throne. Tell me, Your Highness, is it true that she has borne your child?” Petisson probed, searching for the truth amidst the swirling speculations.
The conversation continued, questions begetting more questions. Rezette’s irritation became increasingly palpable.
“Did Ruben Diark write and send such a detailed account to Rotiara?” Rezette inquired.
“I received separate information from the capital. There has been no communication from Ruben,” Petisson clarified.
“Then why ask if you already know?” Rezette questioned, perplexed by the redundant line of inquiry.
“It’s strange. Even if I can’t approve of it, it would have been more believable to say that desire blinded you when you brought her here,” Petisson remarked, her voice tinged with skepticism.
“That’s not entirely inaccurate,” Rezette pondered.
However, the Duke skillfully avoided addressing the crucial point, deflecting with evasive responses that left the heart of the matter untouched.
While the Emperor may have overlooked the ambiguity of Rezette’s words, the perceptive gaze of the elderly Petisson could not be deceived.
“What is the true reason behind bringing the Princess to Rotiara?” Petisson questioned, her voice laced with doubt. “If it’s not admiration, desire, or sympathy that guides your actions, is there perhaps a secret agreement between the two of you?”
In response, Rezette’s hand struck the table with frustration, followed by a sigh that carried a hint of exasperation. He placed a parchment before them, signaling his discontent.
“Rebecca,” he said, his tone tinged with annoyance. “Whether you view me as an ignorant child or a lascivious creature, it matters little to me. But I find it difficult to tolerate insubordination.”
Silence filled the room.
“You wanted to know why I brought the Princess,” Rezette stated calmly. “It was my desire to do so. Does that answer your question?”
“In the end, my initial guess was correct,” Petisson remarked.
Petisson alone knew the true nature of the knight, concealed behind a stern facade and an air of indifference. Like a crow, she possessed a keen eye for all things that shimmered, harboring a secret longing that ran deep within her.
Rebecca Petisson stood as the sole witness to Rezette Kyrstan’s childhood, entrusted as his caretaker after Emperor Noyer plucked him from the gladiatorial arena.
Time had passed, over two decades slipping away since those early days. The once innocent nine-year-old boy who entered the palace had transformed into a seasoned knight, blessed by Rotiara and trusted by the Emperor.
Beneath his rough exterior, Lady Petisson held a deep understanding of the enigmatic layers that adorned Rezette, surpassing all others.
Rezette Kirstan possessed an undeniable attraction to those who radiated a divine essence. He couldn’t easily avert his gaze from those adorned with status, beauty, and lineage.
Yet, this attraction didn’t stem from genuine affection, envy, or idolization. Instead, it originated from a deep-rooted self-loathing that had been imprinted on him during his formative years.
The weight of history’s subservience clung to Rezette, an enduring mark that even the ravages of war couldn’t erase.
“I urge you to refrain from considering Princess Argan as your master,” Lady Petisson cautioned, her voice tinged with caution. “Unless your intent is to bring about Rotiara’s downfall with charges of treason. It would be more sensible to regard her as a valuable addition.”
Trying to lecture a man who had surpassed thirty years held little purpose. With poise, Lady Petisson lifted her chin, calmly concluding her words.
“Go to your bedroom and rest. The Princess is waiting,” she stated before leaving the office.
Even after Petisson’s departure, Rezette remained engrossed in perusing the remaining documents, maintaining his silence.
Rebecca Petisson understood well his aversion to sleeping in the presence of others in the same room. Nevertheless, she deliberately instructed him to rest there, sensing that he wouldn’t need his own bedroom for the foreseeable future.
The candle that bathed the office in its gentle glow remained lit for an extended period, its flame refusing to wane.