Chapter 88.1

“Do not seek forgiveness from Her Highness, and she remains ignorant of everything,” Barnon declared firmly. “Move Her Highness elsewhere to shield her from distressing scenes.”

Elise’s voice rose in a frenzy, commanding, “Stop! Don’t gamble your life recklessly. It’s an order. Do not suggest relocating me or utter such words!” Irrespective of the outcomes, Elise had to endure the situation from her current standpoint, with the lives of her knights hanging in the balance.

“How can I…” Elise struggled to speak, her throat feeling constricted. “How can I erase this from existence, Rezette?” 

In an attempt to seek forgiveness and explore any possible avenue, even resorting to making deals, Elise found herself met with mockery from Rezette.

“There’s no way to undo what has already transpired,” he retorted coldly, his voice even more ruthless. 

“Can’t you just close your eyes and let it go?” Elise pleaded.

“Is there a reason I should spare the Arganians, other than you? Give me a convincing reason.”

“They didn’t come to harm Van Yela. They merely checked on my safety when I ventured to the Tene River without planning to meet them. I just wanted a moment to breathe, completely unaware the Duke would be there.”

Rezette remained silent.

“You also know that some of Argan’s forces survived and escaped, right?” Elise continued. “As long as I’m alive, they’ll naturally come looking for me. It’s inevitable.”

Like a child seeking parents, a bird returning to its nest, or a salmon swimming back to its homeland, displaced people sought their guardians. Elise emphasized the innocence of those searching for someone to rely on, attempting to convince him of this truth.

“I couldn’t foresee or prevent those seeking me in advance. I lack that ability. While I understand the situation may be misconstrued as collusion with the southern allied nations, you know I don’t possess the capability for such actions.”

Rezette, however, found Elise’s words amusing, smirking dismissively. “I can’t believe those words anymore.”

Confused, Elise questioned, “What do you mean?”

“You, a person with no abilities, have you not practiced drawing dozens of magic circles?”

Speechless, Elise wondered when this man had begun observing her so closely and how he knew everything about her. “Those scribbles that don’t unleash any power.”

Rezette corrected her, “The magic engraved directly on your body by the Emperor of Argan is more than just ‘scribbles.'”

Elise explained, “He was merely concerned for me.”

“I’m not interested in the private reasons between blood relatives; I don’t need to know,” Rezette replied coldly. “What matters now is that Your Highness has been exposed hiding unknown individuals on my land. Their fate is decided; you just need to defend yourself.”

Realizing the futility of convincing Rezette with reasoning, Elise abandoned her resolve to resolve the situation through conversation. Her last weapon against him, as always, was her own life.

“The magic circle engraved behind my left ankle is the final recourse my brother left for me.”

“The last resort?”

“When the situation becomes so dire that it’s irreversible, it’s a magic that can disappear neatly and painlessly, turning me to dust.” Elise, mustering her trembling breath, whispered her words as if expelling them. 

“If I dared to attempt negotiations with the enemy on Van Yela’s land and got caught, then I should share the same fate as them, as the mistress of Argan. I will be the first to pay the price.”

Her words hung heavy, plunging the surroundings into a suffocating silence. Even the onlookers’ breaths ceased, and within that silence, Rezette spoke in a chillingly low tone.

“If you want to do it yourself, go ahead.”

“My life has been in your grasp several times already, so it’s only fitting that you take it…” Elise couldn’t finish her sentence before Rezette erupted into a hollow laugh above her head.

“Elise, the answer I want to hear is not some absurd threat like that.”

Rezette’s voice, bereft of courtesy, carried a savage manner of speech. She had heard it once before, in front of the audience hall in the Van Yela Imperial Palace. His anger seemed to have peaked due to the words she had just uttered.

Rezette decisively ordered, “Take them away. All of them.”

The knights executed their mission with precision, swiftly ushering the people of Argan, Barnon included. As the dust settled, the once-crowded courtyard now stood empty, save for Rezette and Elise.

Rezette finally turned his attention to her, and Elise recoiled from the roughness of his touch. He steadied her unsteady form and gestured towards the direction where the Argan people had been led.

“What was your relationship with him?” Rezette inquired, his gaze piercing.

“Barnon, you mean?”

“Don’t call him by his name.”



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