Chapter 57.2

Now it sounded like a matter of fact that something had transpired between Genovia Eiren and Rezette Kyrstan in the past. Elise had no knowledge of his past, and unpleasant speculations began to take root in her mind.

Could they have been lovers?

…Could he have been intimately involved with this woman?

“Could it be a one-sided crush then? Oh my, the Duke is truly fortunate. I’m envious. But what’s the reason behind it?” Genovia mused aloud.

“It’s not like that,” Elise replied, trying to clarify.

“I don’t quite understand,” Genovia continued. “It seems you don’t know much about it, Princess. The Duke is a complex creature, nourishing himself on human blood. He left for that very reason, didn’t he?”

Elise remained silent.

“Well, I may not know whether he’s harming people or committing crimes, but it’s horrifying either way. To be so cruel to one’s own kind, even to a celestial lineage, is unforgivable!” Genovia shivered with apparent disgust.

Despite knowing she shouldn’t get involved, a retort escaped Elise’s lips.

“Don’t insult him. At least to me, he was the most compassionate person in Van Yela.”

“You’re quite delusional,” Genovia scoffed at Elise’s innocence. “He’s someone who doesn’t understand human emotions, Princess. Where is empathy for humanity in a dragon?”

Genovia turned her gaze toward Elise with a graceful swish of her head. With her chin resting on her palm, she regarded Elise with clear, colorful eyes.

“If you weren’t a princess, would he have even bothered to save you in the first place?”

Elise couldn’t offer a rebuttal. She had always considered herself fortunate to be a princess.

However, the notion of the word “kill” in connection with that man still unnerved her. She couldn’t envision a scenario where he would take her life, yet she also couldn’t fathom him snuffing out another’s. She had never witnessed him personally ending someone’s life.

“Shall I share one of Rezette Kyrstan’s characteristics that you might not know?” Genovia inquired.

“It’s not nece…” Elise began, but Genovia interrupted, her tone unyielding.

“Shut up and listen, you, the pretty and naive little princess.”

Leaning closer to Elise as if about to unveil a profound secret, Genovia cupped her hand by her mouth and whispered, her words dripping with intrigue.

“He shows affection to those of noble birth, Elise.”

Elise maintained her composure, not letting the revelation faze her.

“He’s drawn to those with noble lineage. It has been that way since his birth. He admires those who possess both beauty and nobility, those who are inherently different from himself.”

This time, Elise responded calmly, pointing out a simple fact.

“I’m sorry, but those drawn to me aren’t limited to the Duke alone.”

As a hidden princess in the world, her value had been elevated. Information about her had spread throughout Argan and, subsequently, across the entire southern region of Grandel.

Every year, on her birthday, gifts from all corners of the continent piled up outside Elise’s starry chamber. Nobles, royals, and even higher-ranking aristocrats from foreign lands, whose faces and names Elise didn’t even recognize, continued to send their offerings. It appeared that only the highborn engaged in such practices. To the people of Argan, the twin siblings were regarded as representatives of the gods.

“He’s not strange, you know,” Elise remarked. “You once believed I held the world in my grasp.”

Genovia fell silent.

“Even if you treat me with disrespect now, you can’t disregard my status. You’ve mentioned multiple times that I’m attractive. So what sets you apart?” Elise continued.

For the first time, Genovia was momentarily at a loss for words. She was captivated by the clarity and transparency in Elise’s golden eyes.

“Are you not drawn to me?” Elise inquired.

Genovia remained silent.

“You can’t deny it. It’s not your fault. It’s simply the way I was born.”

Elise had a beauty that left anyone who beheld her in awe. Her status commanded respect, and her current circumstances naturally evoked sympathy.

Elise was born to provoke a reaction in people. As a result, she was protected and cherished, but on the flip side, she was sometimes seen as a valuable prey, like a rare bird, vulnerable to danger. The difference was that Rezette Kyrstan was in the former category, while Genovia Eiren and the savages of Ugel belonged to the latter.

“But let’s not lose sight of the issue, Elise. If it’s so obvious, why are you clinging so desperately to the Duke?” she pressed.

“Is it even a good thing that he worships you merely because you’re a princess?” Genovia continued, her tone probing. “Are you content with that? It’s likely devoid of any genuine affection.”

Now it was Elise’s turn to stay quiet, contemplating Genovia’s words.

Genovia nonchalantly shrugged. “Isn’t he often gruff and distant? Such behavior in certain situations can be baffling, don’t you think? Just because you’re a princess, he adheres to decorum.”

Elise still had no response.

“Sometimes he acts so nonchalant that it becomes irritating. He feigns indifference even when he doesn’t possess a trace of it in his heart.”

Elise wanted to offer a retort, but the right words eluded her. Genovia’s words resonated with many of the sentiments Elise had harbored toward Rezette in the past.



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