Chapter 44.1

Elise’s throat was held firmly, the grip unyielding. When he attempted to exert force, his fingers encountered an unexpected resistance. It felt as if invisible chains bound each digit, pulling them taut.

What is this? Rezette groaned irritably, removing his lips from Elise’s. He noticed a bruise on her partially exposed bre*st, resembling a crimson burst of flower juice on white paper. For a fleeting moment, a primal satisfaction coursed through him.

But as Elise struggled for breath, his senses snapped back. Her breathing sounded abnormal. “Your Highness?” he called out, briefly lifting his head to assess her condition, only to discover a handprint on the back of her neck.

Confusion struck him like a sudden blow to the head. That mark was definitely not there a moment ago. And then, his gaze fell to his own hand, and his heart sank. Dark, glossy scales were spreading over his wrist and the back of his hand.

Rezette hastily withdrew the gathered mana in his right hand. The dragon’s power, confined within his human form, surged uncontrollably, almost taking the shape of a dragon. For Rezette, this manifestation centered around his right arm and hand.

“Damn it,” he muttered, a wave of dizziness washing over him. He realized with a shudder that if he had clenched his hand a bit more, he might have snapped her neck. Actually, had his hand not stopped abruptly, as if restrained by an unseen force, the damage would already be done. The handprint on Elise’s neck was evidence of the agony she endured. He carefully examined her pale face.

“Your Highness, are you alright?” he asked, concerned. Elise tried to hide her pain, but her labored breath betrayed her efforts.

Rezette’s frustration intensified. Why wasn’t she speaking? He couldn’t bring himself to finish the thought, wincing at the realization. She didn’t need to speak. This woman was determined not to utter a word, no matter how much she struggled or suffered. Her purpose wasn’t to engage with him or indulge in pleasure.

It was as if someone had splashed cold water over his head. The overwhelming desire that had clouded his judgment and heated his mind suddenly waned, revealing itself as a delusion.

“I’m fine, but…” Elise gasped, trying to catch her breath. “Why did you stop?”

“I think I’ve found what I was looking for,” Rezette replied cryptically. “Unavoidable circumstances.”

“What?” Elise looked perplexed. As she tried to gather her shawl around her, Rezette hurriedly helped her button it up.

In an instant, her fair skin, previously exposed to the sunlight, vanished under the dress. The fabric that had been pulled up to her thighs returned to its rightful place. However, the red mark on her neck stubbornly refused to hide under the collar. Rezette pressed it firmly with his thumb. It seemed like a blemish from her flawless beauty, rather than a mark of his possession.

His gaze turned ominously dark. He had almost lost control, almost shattered her life in just a moment. The idea that his attention slipping for a mere second could have led to her suffocation haunted him.

“Rezette?” Elise’s voice brought him back to the present. In an attempt to divert her attention and avoid the situation, he released her body and instead clasped her hand tightly

Rezette lifted Elise’s hand, and the wide-open sleeve cascaded down her forearm like a trumpet. It revealed her delicate wrist, which appeared quite slender.

“Weight,” he murmured.

Elise was taken aback, not understanding his comment. “What are you saying?”

“You need to gain some weight,” he clarified.

Naturally, Elise was not amused. “Are you kidding me right now? I don’t feel like playing along with this!”

“I’m not in the mood for jokes either,” Rezette retorted, taking a step back from her. Elise tried to pull him closer, attempting to prevent him from escaping, but her efforts were in vain.

Rezette gently wrapped his hand around the back of hers and guided it to her shoulder, then down her arm and wrist. “Shoulder, arm, wrist. And from here, to here,” he explained, prompting Elise to touch her own body under his guidance. A warm flush crept up her cheeks.

As she followed his directions, she faintly felt the outline of her ribs just below her chest. Rezette released her hand and pressed that area firmly himself, releasing a low chuckle. Elise stiffened, clutching her shoulders tightly.

“Now, breathe normally,” he instructed.

Elise finally let out the breath she had been holding. Rezette’s hand moved down to her waistline.

If he had flicked his hand the wrong way, it could have easily resulted in a fracture. Perhaps the mysterious force that blocked him a moment ago was still present. However, the intangible, claw-like energy that had been caught between his fingers had now vanished.



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