“Don’t you think Her Highness might be feeling uncomfortable sleeping alone?” Ivetsa spoke cautiously. “She’s only been in Rotiara for a week, and it takes time to adjust.”
“Indeed. Keep a close watch on the Princess and inform me of any developments.”
As Rezette gave a brief instruction and began to leave, Ivetsa hastily added, “Even during the day, it seemed like Her Highness yearned for human companionship. She deliberately went downstairs to spend time with others.”
The longing for human warmth. Rezette recalled the tale of the princess confining herself to her bedroom despite living her entire life in the grand Argan.
“Perhaps I should encourage her to explore the territory at least,” Rezette pondered.
Recently, Rotiara Castle had been bustling day after day. The halls hosted daily celebrations to commemorate the end of the war and the safe return of the army. The streets were alive with festivities that had been ongoing for several days.
Rezette was well aware that whenever people gathered, they would inevitably discuss the princess of Argan. The princess, hailing from a fallen kingdom and known as the disciple of the Great Dragon Sameshita, made for a captivating subject, ensuring no shortage of provocative remarks.
Furthermore, rumors had a way of spreading like wildfire. It wouldn’t be long before the princess’s reputation, having been sold as an offering even in the capital, reached the ears of Rotiara’s residents.
Since Rezette didn’t want to turn the princess into a spectacle for the public, he had no intention of letting her wander freely outside. If it were up to him, he wouldn’t even consider allowing her to explore the territory.
After all, Rotiara Castle was already vast, offering plenty of unique sights within its walls. There was no need to take unnecessary risks by sending her beyond the castle’s confines.
Rezette was on the verge of reaching this conclusion when Ivetsa cautiously interjected, “We shouldn’t rely solely on the servants for communication. If Your Highness takes the time to ensure the Princess doesn’t feel lonely, she will adjust soon. It seems like she longs for companionship, perhaps even a husband.”
“Are you suggesting something?” Rezette inquired.
“Even without saying a word, certain things become apparent when you are in her presence,” Ivetsa explained.
‘She needs me. While it may be a maid’s flattering request, there’s no harm in hearing it,’ Rezette thought.
‘Should I accompany her outside?’
If he accompanied her personally, there would be no room for idle gossip or any potential danger. Rezette was inclined to believe that he could allow at least that much.
Observing Rezette’s hesitation, Ivetsa swiftly pressed on.
“For instance, wouldn’t it be a good idea for you to head down to the study instead of remaining here? The Princess went downstairs to see Her Highness, but your paths never crossed.”
“…Fine, I understand,” Rezette conceded.
“Great, this way to the door…”
Rezette squinted his eyes slightly.
“A door? What door?”
“Um? It’s the door to the staircase that directly leads to Your Highness’s study.”
Only upon witnessing the maid’s perplexed expression did Rezette finally recall the existence of that door. The staircase connecting the lord’s bedroom to the study was a passage he had long neglected, as many years had passed since he last set foot in this bedroom.
“She went in there?”
The door to the study had been treated almost like a wall, rarely utilized.
There appeared to be a side table and a safe positioned in front of it, but even with a rough estimation, it didn’t seem like something she could have opened alone from the inside.
Rezette hardened his expression and strode confidently into the bedroom, then pulled open the door partially concealed by curtains.
The dimly lit corridor stretched out before him, resembling the gaping maw of a distant creature. Rezette’s countenance vanished from his face.
The firmly sealed door swung open, revealing a flood of bright light that washed over Elise’s face. Startled, she instinctively shielded her eyes and hesitated to retreat.
“No, I heard some constant rustling, and when I opened it, I thought a mouse had sneaked in. Your Highness, why are you here?”
Fortunately, the person standing before her was someone Elise recognized. The sight of a familiar face filled her with joy.
“Yes, it’s been a while.” Ruben scratched his head and took a step back from the door. “For now, please come out. This staircase, or rather, the path that leads directly to the upper level… I suppose it hasn’t been used in quite some time, so it must have gotten blocked.”
“Thank you.” Elise tightly grasped the handle of her staff and entered the study.
“Thank goodness. I’m relieved that I didn’t have to witness you struggling in the middle of the stairs.”
Only after he let out a sigh of relief did Elise’s mind shift to her disheveled hair and imperfect appearance. She stole a sidelong glance at her reflection in the glass window. While it wasn’t embarrassing enough to be ashamed of in front of others, it still fell short of a graceful appearance.
However, Ruben Diark had already seen her in a far more disheveled and unkempt state than she was in now. Unless she was in the presence of Rezette Kyrstan, there was no need for her to strive for a pristine appearance.