Chapter 70.2

Half of the continent remained filled with people dedicated to her search, a place she truly belonged and could return to. Her true home was by his side.

For a fleeting moment, she lost sight of this glaring truth. In the midst of a brief respite, she momentarily overlooked an undeniable reality she should have always held close.

Argan required her presence. Nothing could supersede that responsibility.

Excessive emotions, such as love, should not consume her. She was not the one who should come to a halt. Born in Argan, it was her destiny to return there, even if it meant sacrificing everything. When had the unwavering determination to journey back south, no matter the cost, become so obscured?

The path ahead once again became clear. Elise relied on the feeble candlelight to guide her way up the stairs.

At last, she ascended the staircase and gently pushed open the door leading to her bedroom. Ivetsa, who had been waiting anxiously within, startled as Elise entered.

“Your Highness, are you all right… My goodness, you came up here alone?”


“Why are you crying? Did that lady taunt you again?” Ivetsa asked, her brows furrowed in concern.

“Ivetsa, what I said is true,” Elise murmured weakly. Ivetsa embraced Elise urgently, as if the world itself were crumbling. With a tear-streaked face, Elise smiled. “I must heed the call, no matter when, no matter how…”

Regardless of the sacrifices it demanded.

“Argan forces are amassing at Regal. It appears you failed to inform Her Highness the Princess about that.”

Upon hearing Genovia’s words, Elise’s destination became crystal clear: Regal. A multitude of thoughts raced through her mind. How and when could she reach there? Could she leave Rotiara? What should she do about her contract with Rezette?

The situation remained far from optimistic. Irrien was aware of the Argan army’s gathering in Regal, as was Rezette Kyrstan. If they knew, it was likely that Van Yela and subsequently, the Northern Alliance, were also informed. With so many eyes closely observing, venturing to Regal alone seemed impossible.

The circumstances remained as dire as ever, but Elise no longer carried the same emptiness and helplessness within her. She firmly believed that as long as she didn’t give up, an opportunity would present itself, and she had discovered a place to return to. It provided her comfort like a soothing tidal wave.

This newfound hope had emerged after escaping the labyrinth of death, finding the signpost leading to life, and eluding the palace for nine months. Elise was only partially grounded in reality.

Ivetsa whispered quietly to her, “So, you plan to leave here…?”

“Not immediately, but eventually, for certain.” With her anxious, drifting heart finally finding an anchor, Elise murmured in a daze, “All I need to do is gather myself.”

“Your Highness…”

“It’s a personal matter, just a matter of letting go of this misguided attachment. It’s not that complicated.” After all, it was possible that Rezette didn’t share the same sentiments as her. He might have found her puzzling from the very beginning.

Even in his kindness toward her, it was clear that he wouldn’t entertain any attempts by her to reach out to the Argan people. Rezette, being a native of Van Yela, had valid reasons for maintaining this stance, without any cause for guilt or disloyalty.

“Do you think it’ll change just because Elise knows? Regardless of what you may have conveyed to her, or what she’s been told in return, it’s of no consequence. I’ve made that abundantly clear.”

Given his cold and unyielding response, it seemed futile to nurse any resentful sentiments. She knew better than to harbor illusions.

Rezette Kyrstan had never been in her corner from the outset. Among those who remained unsupportive, he was the most lenient, yet that equated to a reluctance to offer Elise any substantial aid.

Hence, he hadn’t so much as mentioned the dire situation in the southern expanse of Grandel. He had no intention of allowing her an easy passage to that place. Bitterness welled up within her as she swallowed her words. 

Elise grappled with her surging emotions, determined not to let them overpower her.

In the end, all she needed to do was uphold her end of the contract. There was no necessity to fret over or assume responsibility for anything beyond that. Acting in haste, throwing fits, or relying on him were not viable options. The most foolish of endeavors was to dream about a future here.

“Just consider it a fleeting dream,” Elise murmured sorrowfully, and Ivetsa clenched her lips, as if she wished to weep alongside her. She couldn’t muster the heart to rouse Elise to the cruel reality: that she couldn’t depart without the owner’s permission. Without the owner’s consent, she couldn’t leave this very room, let alone venture beyond the confines of Rotiara.

When the thought of the persistent duke, who had pursued her relentlessly, crossed Ivetsa’s mind, her heart skipped a beat. She attempted to console Elise.

“Your Highness, for now, please change your attire and collect yourself a little…”

Suddenly, a noise emanated from the corridor Elise had traversed, sending a shiver down her spine.

Only one individual would tread that staircase.

Elise, who had concealed her face in Ivetsa’s embrace while trying to steady her breathing, suddenly froze. The scent of blood lingered in the air, permeating from some hidden source.



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