Chapter 82.2

Despite Elise’s internal concerns, everything proceeded smoothly. A week after leaving Rotiara, the investigation team reached the borders of the territory. Rezette’s initial plan was to focus on surveying within and around Rotiara, and the location they had reached marked the furthest point Elise could reach during this inspection.

“Then, is the farm across the river not part of Rotiara?”

“From there onward, it belongs to Count Septimon. It’s almost adjacent to the central wilderness and is mostly left abandoned. It’s an area that requires careful investigation. …Would you like to go there as well?” Rezette inquired.

“Yes,” Elise nodded. “I want to cross the river. I’ve never been on a boat before.”

In truth, it was a bit intimidating. The river’s current, observed up close, proved quite formidable. Memories of the carriage and herself plunging down below the cliffs resurfaced, sending a shiver down her spine.

Nevertheless, given Elise’s ultimate destination in the southern part, she would inevitably need to traverse this river. Not only was it beyond Rotiara’s territory, but it also lay in an abandoned area, distinctly separate from affiliated territories. Wasn’t this an ideal setting for concealing oneself? Such places were perfect for individuals with many secrets, much like Elise herself.

Fearing seemed like a luxury at this point. Elise took Rezette’s hand and confidently stepped onto the gangway.

“While we’re at it, it would be beneficial to engage with the boatman or the fishermen.”

The river breeze conveniently tousled the edges of her cloak. Elise, pretending to adjust her hair, slightly dampened the hood. She cast a glance at the boatman, quietly waiting with paddle in hand.

Then, she froze.


Rezette, already on the boat, turned to look at her. Elise had turned her head halfway toward the boatman. In a moment when the golden sunset resembled crashing waves, Elise casually shifted her gaze.

Reaching for Rezette’s extended hand, she expressed her gratitude as she approached.

“Thank you.”

The moment Rezette’s small, white hand connected with hers, he pulled her firmly. The hem of Elise’s dress lifted as she staggered, drawn into his embrace and onto the boat. Confusion painted her expression as she was about to frown.

“What’s the matter?” Rezette asked.

“It’s nothing,” replied Elise.

Was that golden wave just now an illusion?


In less than an hour, they arrived on the other side of the river. During the river crossing, Elise sat like a figure in a painting, her gaze fixed solely on the transparent currents. Rezette’s half-removed hood was conveniently put back on, providing an effective shield for her eyes, which betrayed a subtle tremor.

On the opposite side of the Tene River, small farms unfolded. Whether news of the investigation team’s dispatch had been conveyed in advance or not, people who appeared to be the owners of the farms had gathered on the opposite riverbank.

Upon disembarking from the boat, Elise promptly spoke up, “Rezette, I don’t feel well.”

“Feel well?”

“Yes, I think I have motion sickness.” Her lack of familiarity with riding made such declarations highly convincing, sparing her the need to feign discomfort. Rezette’s expression immediately stiffened.

“Should we go back?”

“No. I’ll be fine if I rest for a moment. Maybe I just need some fresh air.”

Rezette fell silent momentarily. After Elise reassured him that she didn’t want to impede his work, had no intention of venturing far, and merely sought to sit nearby and enjoy the scenery, he slowly gave his permission.

“Wait for a moment.”

After gesturing to Ivetsa, Rezette turned away. It appeared that he didn’t harbor much suspicion, as even a slight turn of the head would render someone visible. The wait would be no more than an hour or so. Elise settled herself on a rock near the riverbank.

A short distance away, the boatman was in the process of lowering the anchor. It was neither too far nor too close, his faint voice barely reaching and riding the wind back and forth.

Elise’s heart skipped a beat, and a clear light flickered in her golden eyes hidden beneath the hood.

“That dream was real,” Elise muttered inaudibly, prompting Ivetsa to instinctively cover her with her body. The boatman, mid-action in pulling the rope on this side, halted. Neither Elise nor the boatman exchanged glances.

Struggling to speak, Elise recalled the face she had glimpsed on the gangway.

“I didn’t know if you were alive. I didn’t even know you were… this close.”

The man, frozen like a statue for a moment, finally breathed as if releasing a sigh deep from his throat.


Blue veins bulged on the back of his clenched hand. Barnon Conrad, the leader of the Conrad Duchy and Elise’s long-time friend and mentor, sighed as if lamenting.

“The Lord has not abandoned us.” Elise remained silent, stunned. “Forgive us for not recognizing, Elizabeth…”



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