The End of Your Arrogance - Chapter 25.1
The sun was setting as Ilya stared numbly at the horizon, feeling a sense of helplessness wash over him, just as it had at the Gorge of Tatar. Suddenly, he heard a barely distinguishable sound, so small that it could only be caught by someone with finely tuned senses like his own.
Closing his eyes, Ilya listened carefully until all the noise around him faded away. Instinctively, he turned and walked thirty steps forward before taking ten steps to the right. Stopping there, he pounded the ground with the sheath of his sword.
“Your Highness, what’s the matter?” Nazz asked, standing next to Ilya.
“There’s something buried here. Maybe a wild beast washed away by the rain,” Ilya replied.
“We’ll dig it out and see,” Nazz said.
Together, the two of them began clearing away the piles of dirt and tree debris that had amassed like mountains. After a few minutes of digging, a triangular structure loomed before them.
“Did you hear that?” Nazz asked, pricking up his ears and trembling.
“There’s something inside!” Ilya replied.
The two of them began moving the piles of stones aside, and the faint sound grew louder. The knights and villagers who were resting nearby approached, murmuring amongst themselves.
“Good lord!” one of them exclaimed as they laboriously threw open a door. People burst out yelling as they saw a woman crouched in what appeared to be a closet, holding something small tightly in her arms.
“Don’t just stand there!” someone shouted.
As the knights rushed forward to aid her, a baby’s cry echoed through the air. “They’re both alive!” one of them exclaimed, prompting cheers and cries of thanks from the crowd.
“They’re both alive!”
“Thank you, Your Highness!”
“Thank you, Goddess of the Black Forest!”
But Ilya remained frozen, transported back to the day he returned from the war. He could hear the people chanting his name, calling him a hero and the Duke of Ajauntice. His gaze fell upon a woman standing alone amidst the celebration, her pale green eyes fixed upon him as she clutched her child tightly. Her gaze had turned from faint anticipation to fear, and eventually to resignation.
“Get the medic!” Nazz’s voice jolted Ilya out of his memories. He watched with a sense of unease as the woman was carried away on a stretcher, her hands raw and scratched.
They reminded him of another pair of hands, always covered in gloves. The memory left him feeling suffocated and he struggled to catch his breath.
“Good. It’s not raining today,” Evelyn remarked as she stood by the window, staring into the distance. Checking the weather was a daily ritual for her.
Ilya could not even sleep soundly in his own bed…
Her heart ached as she thought of Ilya, unable to sleep peacefully in his own bed. She wanted to help him in any way she could and decided to visit the Magic Tower to assist in the search for missing people. As she prepared to leave, she was unexpectedly greeted by a visitor.
“You look surprised,” Selice commented as she approached Evelyn. Evelyn tried to appear calm, but inwardly she cursed herself for not leaving earlier.
“Aunt Selice. I’m glad you were able to find time in your busy schedule to see me,” she replied politely.
“I’m here to keep my promise,” Selice said, causing Evelyn to raise her eyebrows in confusion. “What promise?”
“I told you I’d send someone to the annex,” Selice reminded her. She gestured to a middle-aged man standing behind her, who stepped forward and bowed respectfully to Evelyn. Evelyn thought she recognized him, but couldn’t quite place his name. She merely gave him a tight-lipped smile in response.
“My lady, do you remember me? I served you when you first arrived at the castle. I’m Hans,” the man said, and Evelyn’s face lit up with recognition.
“Of course I do! It’s all thanks to you that I was able to adjust here,” she replied warmly.
Belina and Arthas looked puzzled as they watched Evelyn talking to the stranger.
“I am here as your gardener,” Hans explained.
“Not a knight?” Evelyn asked, surprised.
“I’m nowhere near as skilled as the finest knights serving you, my lady. I’m better off as your gardener,” Hans replied humbly.
“Excuse us,” Selice interjected, her cold voice causing Hans to bow and quickly retreat from the room.
“Thank you,” Evelyn said, turning to Selice.
“It’s nothing. The Duke frequently visits here, so I thought it my duty to provide you with some help,” Selice replied, her eyes narrowed as she scanned Evelyn from head to toe.
“Did you hear about the present I sent to the Duke’s room?” Selice asked, seeing the confused look on Evelyn’s face.
“I sent him a rug from the East. Although the real gift wasn’t the rug, but what was inside it,” she continued.
Evelyn tilted her head, trying to understand what Selice was implying.
“I sent the Duke a beautiful woman to ease him at night,” Selice explained, causing Evelyn’s heart to sink. She remembered seeing vassals pushing their daughters towards her husband on the day of Nasir’s funeral, all lively and bright women deemed suitable for the hero, not the daughter of a traitor.
Evelyn struggled to suppress her emotions and forced a smile. “It’s a relief to hear that His Highness was satisfied… with your gift,” she said, her voice barely shaking. She raised her teacup to her lips, trying to hide the turmoil on her face.
“Yes, don’t you agree? It’s about time he had an heir,” Selice added,
The word echoed in Evelyn’s mind as she thought of her son, treated as if he didn’t exist despite being the eldest legitimate son of the Ajauntice family.
“Good of you to finally know your place and not get jealous. It’s not as if we could lock you up in a closet again now that the Duke is back,” Selice remarked, causing Evelyn to turn pale and Belice and Arthas to look furious.
“The disciplinary methods in the Maduse family need a revisement,” Selice added, her words causing Evelyn’s heart to start pounding. It beat violently as her blood began to boil.
“Let’s do this again sometime. The only women here in the castle are us,” Selice said, looking pleased with herself. Evelyn’s stomach twisted at the sight of Selice’s smug expression, and she had to grit her teeth to reply.
“Of course, Aunt Selice.”
A whirlwind lurched her heart upside down. Evelyn pressed her hand to her chest and whispered to herself, “Not yet. It’s not time yet…”
Comments for chapter "Chapter 25.1"
Support the team!
If you delight in our translations, support us through Ko-fi :)