Rezette paused to think for a moment. His cold, logical mind analyzed the reason for this sudden surge of emotion. There was always a reason why emotions fluctuated.
He had first seen this woman three years ago, and even now, after all this time, she remained etched in his memory like a fragment. Why?
As he thought about it, Rezette realized the reason. He had seen this woman during the most hellish days of his life, and so this emotion was probably a leftover feeling from those days that had resurfaced unexpectedly.
It would be a lie to say that he had never coveted a jewel-like woman he knew he could never possess. Back then, he had been a little more humble than he was now, and in turn, he had worshiped those who shone as brightly as the sun. Like a crow that gathers any shiny object it comes across.
Let’s see if that habit still exists, Rezette thought to himself.
He wrapped one arm around the woman’s slender waist and carefully lifted her injured shoulder, holding her in his arms. He climbed into the bed with her, still holding her.
Her body, slick with sweat, pressed gently against him through the thin fabric of her dress. Rezette slowly ran his index finger and thumb through Elise’s disheveled silver hair. It was an addictive feeling.
Even though he was daring enough to climb into bed with Argan’s princess and do something worthy of punishment, his guilt was light, perhaps because he had found a reasonable excuse for his actions.
The woman moaned and clung to him, seeking his warmth. His body temperature was hotter than hers, and her legs tangled with his as her body pressed tightly against him from her chest to her lower body.
Rezette’s brow narrowed slightly. She was so fragile that she seemed like she would break if she were hit. The curves of her body that came into contact with his were more revealing than necessary, the touch of her soft skin wrapped in a thin layer of fabric.
Even though she was sweating profusely, the princess smelled of grass flowers. Even he, who was embracing her, seemed to be buried in a flower in full bloom.
Rezette held a strand of hair, shining bright even in the darkness, as he stopped moving at the sound of the faint whisper.
“Do you really not know who I am?” Elise asked.
“Did you wake up because of me?” Rezette replied, a hint of surprise in his eyes.
Surely she had been sleeping, right? The woman in his arms lowered her head, and before Rezette could pull away, she grabbed onto him tightly. Unable to open her eyes, the princess struggled to catch her breath.
“We’re almost at the capital, sir,” the woman whispered.
“Yes,” Rezette replied.
“I feel… so bad…” She mumbled, her words barely audible. Gently shaking her, Rezette leaned his ear closer to her lips.
A faint breath, tinged with a myriad of emotions, tickled his ear.
“Consider it a final struggle,” the princess said.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Rezette replied.
“You can even think of me as a crazy woman…” The princess’s voice was barely above a whisper. “Please, just once, think of my worth.”
These were her final words.
Time passed quickly. It wasn’t until Elise’s cold had lasted for a month that it finally subsided.
“We can’t afford to wait any longer,” the duke said matter-of-factly. As soon as she seemed to have recovered, he calmly said that he would advance the date of her execution. What could Elise say in response? All she could do was nod her head.
“It looks like we’ll have to ride horses from now on. Will that be alright?”
Until now, they had traveled in a cart meant for transporting criminals. However, as time grew short, the mode of transportation switched from a cart to horses. Should I insist on continuing to travel by cart? Elise thought. But the man who had guarded her side until now must have noticed that her condition had improved enough for her to ride a horse. He must have recommended it with that in mind.
Helplessly, Elise agreed.
“Which horse should I ride?” she inquired.
“Which horse would you like to ride?” the duke asked, turning to Elise as he finished saddling his own horse. There was a rare hint of doubt in his blue eyes.
“Excuse me,” Rezette rushed over to Elise. His sturdy frame easily overpowered her, causing Elise to involuntarily shrink back.
This gesture, which had become familiar in the past month, was repeated as he firmly grasped her waist. It was strange how comfortable she had become with him in just a month. At first, she had to grant permission for him to even touch a finger to her body, but now it had come to this. It wasn’t a bad change. He still withdrew after the necessary amount of contact, but to this extent…