Chapter 36.2

As the winding staircase made her head spin, she eventually stood before a firmly closed door. A small window, slightly above her eye level, allowed a gentle morning sunlight to filter through.

Elise stretched on her tiptoes and peered through the small window. The sight of the Duke’s study, which she had passed without noticing the day before, filled her golden eyes. The desk and chair were neatly arranged, showing no signs of recent use. The person she sought was not present.

“I just wanted to see his face…” Elise murmured to herself. Should she enter for a moment? Since she was already at the door, it wouldn’t be impolite to step inside the study and wait.

Elise hesitated briefly, then placed her hand on the doorknob. The metal latch clicked against the lock and turned.

However, the door remained closed.

No matter how hard Elise pushed, the door remained stubbornly immobile. Undoubtedly, something solid blocked it from the other side.

There was only one explanation for why the fastest passage between the lord’s study and bedroom was obstructed. The staircase was simply unused. If the room above was his unused bedroom, it all made perfect sense.

After all, the lord’s bedroom was strategically positioned at the top of the tower to deter intruders. As a knight and the heir, he wouldn’t have chosen the top floor unless there was a valid reason to endure the inconvenience.

Elise let out a sigh tinged with melancholy, stepping back from the door. The prospect of ascending the stairs again felt daunting.

Was this the consequence of her attempt to sneak a peek like a cat burglar? She shouldn’t have foolishly done such a thing.

Perhaps if she waited a while, he would return to the study. However, the idea of awkwardly waiting with the window obstructing their view made returning to the bedroom a hundred times more appealing.

Elise gave the door one last forceful push, but it refused to budge.

“…Really!” Frustration surged within her. Elise clenched her fist and pounded on the door, feeling a profound sense of pitifulness.

At that moment, she heard a noise emanating from outside the door. Elise startled and took a few steps back. Someone was peering at her through the small window with narrowed eyes.


All the windows in the bedroom at the top of the tower were wide open. Yvetsa and Laria, the new attendants of the princess, diligently cleaned the bedroom and sitting room. The stone walls maintained a refreshing coolness even in the warm late spring, but the draft made it challenging to ventilate when the princess stayed there.

At that moment, the lord was absent, and the two maids worked quickly to finish cleaning. Yvetsa halted her dusting as she entered the sitting room and caught sight of the Duke partially visible through the open doorway.

“Your Highness,” Yvetsa called out. The Duke glanced into the bedroom, which was revealed through the open door.

“Is she inside?” he inquired.

“Pardon?” Yvetsa appeared bewildered. “Your Highness, she went downstairs quite a while ago…”

Rezette’s brows furrowed at the unexpected situation. Elise had already left this early in the morning?

It was still before 8 o’clock, and Elise usually woke up around that time or slightly earlier. Rezette had planned to check on her safety before heading out to inspect the territory. He had intended to ensure she was soundly asleep and then leave. But now she was already awake and had gone downstairs?

“You didn’t accompany her? What were you doing?” Rezette asked.

“She insisted on going alone. She was quite determined, and I couldn’t possibly go against her wishes. I apologize,” Yvetsa explained.

“…I see.”

The castle had numerous staircases and corridors, but Lady Petisson and Alfredo had provided Elise with an overview of the castle’s layout. They assured her that she would be well-fed, receive her medication on time, and need not worry about getting lost or collapsing somewhere.

Rezette surveyed the cozy space. The bedroom, which had remained empty for almost 15 years, had undergone an unrecognizable transformation. It exuded an appropriate sense of luxury, comfort, and safety. There were no apparent deficiencies in his eyes.

“Was there anything out of the ordinary?” he inquired.

“No,” came the maid’s response.

Rezette’s eyes narrowed, sensing hesitation in the maid’s demeanor. It was not something she should be doing—carefully choosing her words when answering her master’s question.

“Tell me. Every little detail,” he insisted.

“Well… it seemed like Her Highness had trouble sleeping for the past two nights. She appeared to wake up multiple times, even in the early morning. However, since she didn’t call for me, I didn’t realize until after sunrise,” Yvetsa explained.

“She had trouble sleeping?” Rezette furrowed his brow deeply, recalling the past few months. When Elise was first captured and inflicted wounds upon herself, she clearly suffered from frequent nightmares. She would often tremble or groan in distress during her sleep.

However, during their journey to Rotiara, she slept soundly without any interruptions throughout the night.



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