Chapter 58.2

“Yes, that’s all it is now, isn’t it…” Genovia drew in a deep breath. “It’s infuriating how he treats me as casually as a stone rolling in the street, but I’m genuinely fond of the titles that adorn his name. The master of Rotiara. If I can’t have the man, I’ll at least claim that title. What else can I do?”

“But you, Elise…” Genovia leaned closer, her fingertips gently lifting Elise’s chin. “Will Rotiara leave a lasting impression on the Argan Princess, having spent her entire life in those lush lands? No, her sole concern is her own survival. It hardly matters who comes to her rescue, does it?”

Silence enveloped them.

“So, do me a favor, and bear a child for me. Two would be wonderful, and three even better. Yet, gazing upon your fragile frame, one may suffice.”

Another pause.

“Give birth and entrust the child to me. I’ll ensure your return to Argan.”

“Are you truly expecting me to believe that?” Elise batted away Genovia’s hand. Genovia arched an eyebrow, displaying no hint of embarrassment.

“Don’t worry. I’ll care for the child.”

“That’s not what I…” Elise tried to speak, but Genovia left no room for her words.

“In any case, His Majesty likely shares the same sentiment. Minus the fact that your womb is currently empty, everything I’ve said echoes the emperor’s thoughts,” she said.

“Do not act foolish, Elizabeth. Come autumn, it won’t be me but His Majesty’s guards who shall arrive in Rotiara to inspect you. Should you remain as delicate as you are now, they will not hesitate to cut into your belly.”

Genovia ruthlessly exploited Elise’s vulnerability once more. Elise’s complexion drained of color in an instant.

“And even if you survive that peril, come winter, you’ll be sent to Ugel. Or perhaps meet your demise as punishment for affronting His Majesty. Then it won’t be a disciplinary measure but a death sentence.”

Genovia’s icy fingertips traced Elise’s throat, sending a shiver down her spine as though her throat had been slit.

Once again, as she had that fateful day when the woman casually grazed her belly, Elise found herself gasping for breath. Genovia’s unrelenting taunts tapped into a primal, deep-seated fear that lurked within Elise’s psyche.

When Elise instinctively swatted away Genovia’s hand, as though warding off an intrusion from her chest to her abdomen, Genovia erupted in laughter.

“Do you truly believe Rezette Kyrstan will come to your rescue? When the time comes, unless it’s for treason, there will be no way he can save you, no matter what. Do you think he’d forsake his master to save you? Oh, Elise, Elise, that’s a profound misunderstanding.”

Elise gritted her teeth as Genovia continued tormenting her.

“Are you attempting to escape on your own without his aid? What if you’re apprehended? You’ll truly meet your end then, won’t you?”

“So, you want to use me for that?”

“I’d be more effective than him. Elise, don’t you wish to go home?”


Elise’s eyes brimmed with tears. The ivory-hued palace, bearing the elegant imprints of time, and the starlit chamber, perpetually adorned with blossoms, vividly flashed in her mind’s eye.

But when she left, that place had been reduced to a grim tableau of blood and lifeless bodies. There was no haven to which she could return. Elise was now bereft of a home.

With a voice quivering, she declared, “I can’t trust you.”

“Is that so?” Genovia gently caressed Elise’s cheek, causing her body to tremble like a reed in the wind. The stark contrast between her frigid demeanor, distant gaze, and cheerful tone was chilling. Elise was now genuinely terrified of her.

“You truly don’t believe me? I’ve been treating you so well.”

“What do you mean by ‘treating’? Just let me go!”

“But you want the child, don’t you? Even if you give birth, you won’t run away with it, will you?”

“Why do you even care…”

“So, if you hand it over to me, what’s the problem? It aligns perfectly with your original plan, doesn’t it?”

“You expect me to believe you after treating me like this…”

“Oh dear,” Genovia sadly raised her eyebrows and whispered gently, as if consoling a weeping child, “Did I make a poor first impression? I apologize. However one looks at it, it hurt when he married a woman prettier than me, so I may have acted out of frustration. How about we reconcile with a hug?”

“No, I don’t want that! Don’t touch me!”

“Why are you crying? Don’t cry. You might faint again.”

This woman was undoubtedly insane. One day, she’d threaten; the next, she’d cling to Elise’s side, draining her emotionally; and then, she’d put on a disgustingly friendly act.

For the first time, Elise realized that this woman, openly displaying madness, was more terrifying than the Van Yela knights who insulted her or the Ugel savages who threatened her. Genovia, the one who eroded her sanity, was truly the most frightening of them all.



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