Elizabeth awaited his return. The sensation of someone fervently yearning for his homecoming remained entirely unfamiliar.
Whenever he received such sentiments from her, Rezette invariably found himself at a loss for words. Initially, he had been perplexed by it, but now, for reasons unknown, it unsettled him.
The wavering quality of the handwriting captured his attention. Was she anxious?
Before departing the castle, Rezette had issued stringent orders to all, including Alfred, Sobeul, and Lady Petisson, emphasizing the utmost priority of his wife’s safety above all else.
He had privately summoned the maid, Ivetsa, to ensure she wasn’t plagued by nightmares during the night. Rezette was confident that nothing under his purview posed a threat to Elizabeth.
Still, he couldn’t forget the unease etched across her face when he disclosed his departure from the castle. She had always been that woman, resolute in her determination to keep him by her side at all costs. Initially, he had found it somewhat awkward, but over time, it ceased to be a bother.
In fact, when that woman enveloped him with tearful eyes and a flushed face, he experienced a unique sensation.
“Am I really pretty in your eyes?” she’d inquire, her cheeks tinged with a rosy hue.
Whenever she held back with that bashful expression, Rezette’s emotions took on an unusual flavor. It was in the trembling pupils and nervously nibbled coral-colored lips, the fluttering eyelashes and a small tongue darting into a dry mouth—a concealed secret slipping through.
“Come back quickly. Remember, Rotiara without you is not a place where I can rest…”
If one were to label it, it might be deemed provocative. The instinctual desires he had suppressed through rationality now stirred within him restlessly. Rezette reignited the flames that had momentarily been extinguished by his cigar.
Yet, as he inhaled the continuous smoke, he realized it wasn’t a repulsive lust driven by madness. It wasn’t an ailment to be subdued with potent cigars.
If he were to finally claim her, how would Elizabeth react? What sounds would she make, and how would she endure the sensations of pleasure? She was a woman who remained as innocent as a child when it came to men but had grown familiar with him alone.
It appeared that there would be certain limitations on his actions when dealing with her, alleviating some of his concerns about inadvertently harming Elizabeth. Thus, he contemplated whether he should approach the situation with utmost care and gentleness. It was a notion he couldn’t simply dismiss as madness whenever it crossed his mind.
The sweet fragrance of fresh flowers seemed to caress his senses.
[I hope you come back soon.]
The solitary sentence in the letter tugged at his heart, inducing a peculiar sensation. Rezette undoubtedly found solace in Elizabeth’s unwavering adoration.
He felt satisfied. The knowledge that she had no refuge except within his embrace satisfied Rezette. Moreover, moments when he found beautiful women particularly enchanting were often those he cherished.
But why? Was it because she embodied beauty from head to toe? Was it because she belonged to the category of individuals he had always admired since childhood? Well, these reasons likely played a role in this transformation.
Nonetheless, Rezette had no desire to subject her to prolonged anxiety.
The corners of the letter bore signs of being crumpled, marked by the evidence of moisture.
Did she cry?
His heart stung sharply.
Her apprehension was not unwarranted, especially with the appearance of an unwelcome guest, a confidant of Emperor Van Yela, no less, while he was absent from the castle.
The fleeting satisfaction swiftly dissipated. Tears. When they clung to her golden irises and traced a path down her pale cheeks, his heart invariably bore this weight. Even the woman refrained from sobbing aloud like a child.
Rezette folded the letter and stowed it in his pocket. It was time to return. He had been away from Rotiara for quite a while. Perhaps owing to the various distractions that had arisen, this departure had taken an unusually extended period. To meet the deadline he had promised Elizabeth, he needed to expedite his journey.
Ruben, who had been vigilantly monitoring his master’s mood, approached with a cloak.
“Shall I make preparations for your departure?” he inquired.
“Yes, I’m heading back. Fetch my horse,” Rezette commanded.
“Very well. Isaac will be here shortly.”
Ruben maintained a watchful eye on his master. Normally, even after such an episode, it would take a day or two before the Duke could engage in conversation, as the lingering, untamed magic would still linger ominously around his being.
However, this time marked a distinct departure. Rezette had regained his composure with an unusual clarity. His eyes, which had exhibited an unsettling gleam, had reverted to their customary dry blue.
The meticulous vigilance he practiced stemmed undoubtedly from the knowledge that the one awaiting him was exceptionally fragile and delicate. Even a momentary lapse in his guard could lead to her severe harm.
Summoning his courage, Ruben ventured, “Your Highness, is the statement about Her Highness returning to the palace when autumn arrives still valid?”
The execution platform in the central square of the capital, Opel, would likely still stand. Would she indeed step onto it when autumn arrived?