Jed’s Point of View
I picked Elle up and went back to my room to lay her on the bed. I went to prepare a wet towel to place on her forehead, and when I returned, her mouth made a small movement.
Are you awake?
I called out to her, but there was no response from her. As I approached and looked at her, Elle’s neat face twisted into a pained expression. She clutched the quilt and shook her head.
“I… did…… nothing wro…”
Elle was having a nightmare and sleep-talking.
She was saying that she did nothing wrong. Just what kind of nightmare is she suffering from?
“Stop, please… father…”
She was dreaming of the Duke.
The way she was during the day, and even now. Elle was being tormented by her father. She’s clearly terrified of him.
Why? What did he do to her?
Elle looked sad and painful as she wept quietly. I’m so angry at myself for not being able to do anything but watch her break down. I extended the back of my hand to touch her forehead and then put the wet towel on it.
“Elle, is there anything I can do for you?”
Just as I muttered, I heard a loud slamming sound from the next room. I heard the door open loudly and a voice shouting, “Elle!” It was probably the Duke.
I guess he knows the location of the room where Elle was staying thanks to the report of the search party. Even so, what was he thinking, entering the room without permission just because he was dealing with his daughter?
(Who are you? Where is Elle?)
The Duke’s voice could be heard from next door. It was Giselle who answered him.
(I’m just a traveler. Who is this Elle you are talking about?)
(She’s my daughter. Where are you hiding her?)
(I don’t know your daughter. And how rude are you to barge into someone’s room without permission?)
Giselle’s low voice rang out. The Duke choked up and looked confused. “I told you that child Elle left before dusk,” someone said to him.
“That voice, is that Ewe…?”
It was the innkeeper, Ewe, who approached the Duke.
I heard her voice every day for two weeks since we arrived in Arburn. There was no way I could have mistaken her for someone else.
(Ho, however… Elle was here, my daughter…)
(I don’t know who gave you this information, but I know it’s not your daughter who is staying here now. You’re interfering with my business! You need to leave!)
Ewe shouted at the disturbed Duke. She probably doesn’t know that she’s dealing with the Duke of Ansanse. If she had, she wouldn’t have lied about it.
With another slamming sound, the Duke’s and Ewe’s voices became distant.