Chapter 81.1

Ultimately, Rezette presented a justification. “There was no alternative.”

“Attacking someone while they’re asleep?” Elise scoffed.

“I thought you were awake,” Rezette reasoned. “You kept tossing and turning.”

“And now you consider that an excuse? Being well aware that you should choose your words carefully…!”

“Elise, look ahead.” The black stag paced back and forth. After a light kick from Rezette’s foot, it proceeded straight ahead.

Unjustly accusing, Elise asserted, “You’re a bad person.”

“I was never a good person to begin with,” Rezette retorted. A warm and gentle touch enveloped Elise’s hand as his large hand wrapped around hers, holding the reins. Simultaneously, something warm and soft grazed her neck. The sound of his lips startled Elise.

“So, stop doing this.” Rezette smoothly took the reins away. Elise’s face, still susceptible to such light and ordinary contact, turned red.

If you’re not a good person, then don’t do things like this.

Elise redirected her gaze toward the river, allowing the cool waters to soothe her flushed neck. The Van Yela, adorned with milk-like streaks, shimmered on the surface like scattered jewels.

Tene River. It was the very river Andrei had spoken of in her dream. Elise’s meticulous plan to survey the land connecting to the opposite bank crumbled as Rezette, against her intentions, turned the horse’s head towards the river.

It seems he’s determined not to let me venture alone.

From the vaguely dawn to the early morning, it became apparent that he deliberately elicited her cries and cradled her in silence. Rezette refused to leave Elise to her own devices. While this tendency existed before, after midnight, it assumed a more pronounced form. What was once a simple concern now held a different weight.

Just this morning… I believed I could grasp more of the conversation.

Once again, she found herself fixated on her brother’s back in her dreams, Andrei in agony with his face buried in the sofa.

“Has the letter from Barnon arrived yet?”

In the next moment, Elise awoke to an intrusive touch beneath her clothes.

Having to navigate the blurred line between dream and reality, Elise grappled with the overwhelming sensations that surged through her, the man’s indistinct moan piercing the disorientation. Whether he intuited something amiss or deliberately disrupted her, he possessed a keen awareness of when Elise’s thoughts were scattered to an astonishing degree.

Was he intentionally meddling upon sensing a disturbance? If so, mere resistance to his playful advances seemed inadequate. Unconsciously, Elise shook her head, evading his lips that had ventured to her ear.


“Don’t what?”

“This kind of….”

As always, her protests were effortlessly disregarded. The unfamiliar warmth of teasing sounds played delicately on her auditory nerves. Elise, particularly attuned to sounds, found herself highly sensitive, especially with her delicate ears.


Stimulated by the caress of her ears, involuntary moans escaped her, and the mere touch of him felt like a tight constriction in her stomach. Even as Elise tilted her head in an attempt to escape, Rezette persistently followed, sealing his lips against her ear.

Had there been no one trailing behind them, Elise could almost bet that he would have ventured further, touching her body without a hint of hesitation.

“Are you out of your mind?”


“Well, what…?”

As if aware of his own excesses, Rezette paused, seemingly attempting to rein in his impulses. Holding her in front of him appeared to be a torment beyond compare for him, even if it meant subjecting them both to an unnecessary ordeal.

Feeling the uncomfortable pressure on her buttocks, Elise found herself caught between laughter and tears. Her body contracted sharply, trembling with precarious tension.

I don’t know if it’s good or bad….

One thing was certain: tonight would not be an easy one to slip into peaceful slumber.


The Tene River stretched its course all the way to the eastern Karis coast downstream. Under the day’s clear sky, they traversed the terrain on horseback. As the sun descended or fatigue took its toll on Elise, each day unfolded along the riverbanks, punctuated by rests in what they casually referred to as makeshift tents.

Although termed “makeshift” for convenience, these structures were, in reality, sturdy abodes that offered a degree of comfort. While Elise sought respite, Rezette and the knights undertook surveys of the surrounding farms before returning.

The journey proceeded at a leisurely pace, marked by tranquility. Elise, like a languid fowl, often dozed off during the day in solitude.

“You should ensure you get enough rest to maintain your immunity. Excessive exertion can lead to fatigue, as I’ve mentioned before, Your Highness. Tenderly, affectionately…”

“I am mindful of that.”

“Above all, in moderation…”

Freya’s entreaty to Rezette bore an earnestness that spoke volumes. Even if there were herbs known for their contraceptive properties, she couldn’t broach the topic to Elise when she spent every waking moment with him, even beyond the confines of their shared bed.

Elise harbored a growing concern that he might devour her like a ravenous predator, a fear that loomed large in the present moment. Rezette’s impatience manifested in the swift removal of her cloak, laying bare her collarbone and shoulder blades. His gaze, charged with unmistakable desire, sent shivers cascading from her belly to her toes.

Had she truly relinquished control to this man’s unrestrained whims?



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