Elise’s words were rather curt. “Whether it’s the customs of the Northern tribes or the society of Van Yela… it fascinated me due to its stark contrast with the South in many aspects. Besides, it marked my initial encounter with peers my age. I wish for Lady Irrien to stay a few more days.”
Rezette chimed in, dismissing her interests, “You needn’t concern yourself with those matters; they hold no relevance to your future.”
Elise persisted, “But I’m genuinely curious…”
“If you truly are, I can enlighten you,” Rezette offered.
Elise hesitated, “I’d rather not discuss such matters with you.” She clenched her lips, defiantly raised her head, and steadfastly avoided making eye contact as Rezette probed further.
“Are you implying you prefer conversing with Lady Irrien over me?”
“I don’t wish to make comparisons…”
“Then why did you send that letter? Didn’t you say you didn’t want to be alone?”
Elise hesitated, then confessed, “Well…”
“Was that a lie?”
“No!” Elise retorted angrily, and Rezette regarded her with a cold raised eyebrow.
He pointed out, “Elise, you haven’t provided a single straightforward answer to any of my questions. If you can’t explain your desire to have Lady Irrien by your side, I’ll have to handle things my own way.”
Today, Elise found him to be an even more impenetrable barrier. Signs of weariness had at last begun to show on her face.
In reality, this was all a consequence of Rezette’s actions. He had not laid a hand on her, let alone embraced her. This was precisely why Elise couldn’t openly confront Genovia Irrien. She couldn’t bring herself to articulate how much the absence of a swelling belly tormented her, filling her with anxiety, misery, and fear. She had never contemplated what lay beyond childbirth, not even in Genovia’s words.
Elise sealed her lips and instead fixed her gaze on him intently. The man, whose countenance had been so frigid, began to crumble, and eventually, his expression peeled away like a shell, revealing the words he had kept suppressed.
Silence hung between them.
Rezette chewed on his inner lip, as if it were the only way to contain the turmoil within. Whenever he saw her image reflected in his pure golden eyes, he felt like a transgressor. As her small coral-colored lips remained sealed, his restlessness grew.
“I understand. Please, spare me that look.” Rezette fought to restrain his rising frustration. “Rest completely for at least a day, then… come see me tomorrow. I won’t send Lady Irrien away.”
“Today is fine,” Elise insisted.
However, he could no longer hold back. Rezette spoke with a sigh.
“Give me some time to ease my mind… I don’t want to keep you confined here. Even now…”
Even now, he was striving to endure. He had no desire to press someone in pain for the sake of one solitary reason.
The purpose of the numerous hidden magic circles sketched on sheets beneath the table, the evident extension of magical power on the paper, and the method behind it all remained shrouded in mystery. Even though Elise had explicitly stated that she couldn’t wield magic directly, Rezette couldn’t help but wonder if that statement was a deception. He struggled to restrain his longing for answers, even if he had to push it out of her, no matter the potential shock. Witnessing her fainting before his eyes so many times had grown wearisome; he wished not to witness it again.
“…Alright,” this time, Elise reluctantly relented, and Rezette appeared resolute not to push her any further.
Taking a small step forward, Elise peered beyond the man’s shoulder towards Genovia. With clenched fists, the woman who had been observing the scene cheerfully extended her hand, as if she had been eagerly awaiting the moment.
“See you tomorrow, the day after, and the day after that, Your Highness!”
Rezette forcefully closed the door, causing it to resound with a loud rattle. He took a step forward. Naturally, Elise took a step back. And then another. And another.
Only after Elise cautiously retreated into the bedroom did Rezette finally relax his gaze.
“Rest. Food will be brought up soon. I won’t ask any more…”
“No, it’s not that. I was just about to say I’m hungry,” Elise hastily interrupted his words but immediately regretted it as Rezette narrowed his eyes.
“Why are you saying it now?”
“What? You didn’t give me a chance to say…”
Elise’s indignant protest was met with a sigh. He swiftly ordered the head chef to be summoned, and before long, the bedroom was adorned with a lavish dinner spread that could overwhelm the dining table.
Elise managed to elude her husband’s persistent insistence only after she sampled each dish at least once.