Chapter 60.1

“Looks like you two are quite close. Are you a couple?” Genovia inquired.

“Yes, that’s correct,” Rezette retorted crisply. His adeptness at curtailing the conversation was remarkable. Elise, taken aback, raised her gaze to him, surprised by his sensitivity to Genovia’s presence. It appeared there was more to their relationship than she had thought.

Elise’s thoughts took an unexpected turn. Perhaps they weren’t entirely distant from each other after all. Meanwhile, Rezette announced her departure without any hint of lingering sentiment.

“Am I really being shown the door at this late hour? The envoy bearing the imperial decree?” Genovia protested.

“Her Ladyship will return to Opel tomorrow, and there are no plans for a separate farewell. I hope her journey home will be peaceful. Goodbye,” Rezette replied with a tone noticeably colder than in previous years. Was it indifference, or perhaps resentment? This too needed to be managed. Genovia suppressed the urge to smirk.

“Alright then, Elise,” Genovia said as they walked past her. She waved at Elise, who was peering in their direction from behind Rezette’s shoulder.

“We’ll catch up tomorrow, alright?” Genovia tried to add more, but her words were drowned out by Rezette’s icy voice.

“Don’t listen to her.”

Despite the duke’s reaction, the woman remained seemingly oblivious, even giving Elise a sly wink, as if to say, “Remember what I said.”

Rezette asked, “Have you spent much time with Lady Irrien? You must be exhausted.”

“Why are you late?” Elise muttered in response.

Rezette apologized, “I’m sorry. It took a bit longer this time. The duration tends to vary.”

Elise remained silent.

“I should have been more stringent about outsiders entering. It’s my mistake. Lady Irrien will be returning tomorrow, so please don’t worry,” Rezette reassured her.

Instead of responding, Elise blinked in a daze. Sleep, which had eluded her the previous night, was now washing over her. The familiar, comforting scent that had been absent for ten days helped calm the turmoil in her heart. Unexpectedly, words she had been mulling over spilled out.

“I heard that Lady Irrien… once proposed to you,” she muttered.

“That was a long time ago,” Rezette replied, his tone void of emotion.

“It was only three years ago… not that long.”

“I don’t recall it clearly.”

It appeared Rezette had no intention of divulging his relationship with Genovia Irrien to Elise. With a slight hesitation, Elise mumbled, “She seemed quite persistent. I wonder if I might share some similarities with Lady Irrien…”

Rezette responded, “Of course, you were not as extreme as her.”

Elise couldn’t help but let out a small laugh amid her confusion. Was he reassuring her, or was there more to the story?

Their return to the bedroom was swift. To Elise, the staircase that had once felt as daunting as Grenthern Mountains now seemed like just a few steps. As they entered the familiar living room, the tension that had gripped her body dissipated completely. Elise mustered her strength and gently pushed him away.

“Now, you can put me down, Duke. Rezette, over there…”

Once again, Rezette casually ignored Elise’s request. He gently lowered her onto the sofa and then knelt down in front of her, placing one knee before her.

Elise was bewildered as he untied and removed her tightly laced shoe. Handling shoes and feet was something a Duke, especially in Argan, should never do. It was almost a symbol of submission. Why would he…

“I… I’ll call for Evetsa,” she hastily offered.

“I can handle it,” Rezette replied.

“No! Please, go see him right away now that I’m here. Sobeul is waiting…”


Finally, Rezette turned to look at her. Elise couldn’t immediately decipher the meaning behind his scrutinizing gaze. In the end, Rezette let out a soft sigh and said, “You mentioned you wanted me to return quickly.”

Elise hesitated for a moment before responding, “Well, you see…”

“Is knowing I’m back sufficient?” Astonishingly, his tone carried a hint of disappointment, tinged with a faint trace of irritation. “I didn’t rush here expecting this kind of reaction,” he added.

Elise, who had initially been content with merely confirming Rezette’s safe return, found herself at a loss for words. She gazed at him in silence, realizing something suddenly.

Ah, as I suspected…

Regardless of how he saw her or what he thought…



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