Chapter 67.2

Elise could only make her way down after the lunch hour had passed. It had been nearly a week since her last encounter with Genovia since Rezette’s return, and today, their meeting would likely be the final one.

A vision of loveliness adorned in a lavender gown adorned with ribbons and floral ornaments on her hat sat by the window. Her relaxed posture conveyed the air of a true castle owner.

Upon entering the drawing room, Genovia greeted Elise with a wave. “Hello, Elise. It’s been a while.”

Elise seated herself on the sofa without responding. Genovia, who had appraised her from head to toe, asked casually, as if it were a routine morning exchange, “Did you sleep well?”

It wasn’t a typical inquiry; she didn’t mean it literally. Genovia, who had openly assessed Elise, let out a disappointed sigh. “You look perfectly fine, able to walk, and not confined to your bedroom for the day, unlike some others.”

Elise simply let Genovia’s words wash over her. Perhaps because of Rezette’s presence in the castle, or maybe Genovia’s every word no longer struck fear into her heart as it had a few days ago.

“Let’s dispense with nonsense. The reason I requested to see Lady Genovia again is that I have something to say before her departure today,” Elise said with determination.

“I see.”

“I’ve heard Lady Genovia intends to leave tonight.”

Rezette had secretly intercepted the steward in charge of gift deliveries and informed her that he would be escorting the lady out tonight. When the sun set, Genovia’s carriage would leave the castle as if driven away.

“Meeting me before my departure, it seems my proposal struck a chord. You wouldn’t want to pass up the chance with Irrien, would you?”

Elise nodded slowly. Genovia’s eyes glittered with satisfaction.

“You’ve thought it through. So, I’ll ask. Are you going to do it?” Genovia grinned.

Is that the only thing on this woman’s mind? Elise wondered.

“I’ll handle it on my own,” Elise finally said.

Genovia scoffed. “What do you mean by ‘handle it’? Try to seduce him a little, Elise. Who knows, it might make a difference. I’d love to see that stern man annoyed.”

“Why are you even interested in that?”

“I enjoy imagining his reactions when he’s with you. I’d like to hide in your bedroom closet tonight.”

“You’re insane.”

“Perhaps a bit,” Genovia admitted. “Can I offer you some advice that might be helpful? You do need to understand how things work, right? Firstly, no man likes a partner who lies there like a stone. Even if he’s eager, that enthusiasm will eventually wane.”

Elise clenched her teeth. “I don’t need your advice.”

“Very well, you don’t. Have you ever kissed a man? Don’t bother trying to impress me with tales of your experience.” Genovia stifled her laughter and held Elise’s arm tightly, making it impossible for Elise to break free.

“I hope you drive him wild, Elise,” she whispered maniacally. “I hope you give birth to a child and then die.”

Genovia still exuded neither camaraderie nor ill-will. She chuckled, discussing how women spared by the dragon seldom survived.

“If you manage to stay alive, you’re free to leave forever. So, as we agreed, I’ll arrange for your journey from Rotiara to Argan. It’s essential to commence your efforts now. Assuming there are no issues with the dragon’s breeding capabilities, and your health is sound, conceiving won’t be too challenging!”

Elise felt a wave of nausea wash over her. She had sensed it on occasion, but Genovia Irrien didn’t regard Elise as a fellow human or woman. It was why she so casually tossed out these degrading words.

Elise ceased her attempts to distance herself and instead fixed Genovia with a resolute gaze.

“To conclude this discussion swiftly, let’s be candid. I don’t trust you. I have no faith in your promise to send me to Argan once I bear a child. The risk doesn’t seem worthwhile.”

Genovia’s brow furrowed. “What did you just say?”

“More importantly, I don’t believe you would care for the child properly. That’s the most ludicrous aspect of it all.”

At Genovia’s silence, Elise continued unwaveringly. 

“You hold a grudge against the Grand Duke, you hold a particular disdain for me, Rotiara is merely a coveted domain for you, and Rezette’s heir is merely a means to evade the Emperor’s pressure. You’re well aware of this. So, why would I entrust a child to you?”

Genovia chuckled in disbelief. “What a foolish thing to say. You, of all people, should understand that the child is merely a means to save your life. If you employ it efficiently, that’s all that matters. Who cares about how it’s raised?”

“It matters,” Elise responded softly. Despite Genovia Irrien’s harsh and unfiltered words, most of what she said held some truth.

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

Genovia saw right through Elise. This was a thought that had crossed Elise’s mind during her negotiations with Rezette. If his lineage safely took root within her womb, and she delivered without any complications, after several months or perhaps a few years of respite…

What would become of her then?



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