Ilyin felt safe with Aden, a warmth she could not explain. This was ironic considering how Aden was the quite literal personification of winter. As she let out a deep sigh—one that was quite overdue—and closed her eyes, a tear escaped her eyes and turned to ice as soon as it hit the ground. She was fine in the cold beside Aden. When she was beside him, she felt like she wouldn’t ever have to be afraid of foresights again.
Ilyin slowly let go of the fear that was gnawing at her from when she saw the Viscountess and smiled. A genuine smile.
They arrived at the Biflten mansion as the sun was beginning to rise. Four families had gathered to receive them. Everyone in the mansion was surprised to see the group walking in with the slowly rising sun. This was because it was the coldest time of the year.
The Delrose maids quickly ran to the group with blankets shouting a string of "Oh my!" and "Ma’am."
Ilyin was covered in four blankets after she climbed off the horse. Within no time, the maids had everyone covered with blankets to battle the cold. The snow had covered everything. There was still quite some residue left even though Aden had controlled the snowstorm and the temperature with his power.
Even after the long and hard journey Aden didn’t look tired at all.
The atmosphere was eerily quiet save for the various whispers that occasionally broke the silence. You could hear one person whispering, "Grandmaster of Delrose?" and others curiously voicing out, "Did the master of Delrose not come together?"
When they had started the journey, the families had seen their master and the grandmaster head out to the warm regions with the Duchess. But now they were surprised to see Aden come back alone. Those whispers made the unbearable cold worse but people of Delrose warmed the atmosphere with awe and respect in their eyes as they looked at Aden, The Duke of Winter: The Master.
Aden brushed off the specks of snow from his shoulder and torso and with his deep, clear voice he ordered, "Take madam to her room immediately."
In the presence of other families, he was Den, Grandmaster of Delrose.
Ilyin tried to shake her hands to stop them and ask them to tend to Aden’s wound but she realized that her hands were buried under the blankets. She opened her mouth to let everyone know of the wound on Aden’s arm but seeing the presence of other families turned her off to that idea.
"Grandmaster!" exclaimed every knight in the vicinity and as they bowed down to Aden. All the Delrose knights were treating him as the Delrose Grandmaster as they had been taught.
Aden was by now used to the grand gestures performed for him as the Grandmaster but today with Ilyin in front of him, his cheeks tinged pink with a hint of embarrassment. When he looked at her, he could almost hear her thinking about his wound, her eyebrows creased in worry. He gave her a small smile and put his finger to his lips. Seeing that Ilyin gave a small nod and looked away.
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Satisfied, Aden turned his eyes to the door, where he found a furious Doctor Ves charging towards him. It was only when he stopped in front of Aden that his glare was visible. The Delrose doctor Ves kept shooting daggers with his eyes, as he couldn’t call Aden His Majesty as he usually did in the presence of the other family members.
Ilyin would have been lying if she said that it was not cold. She thought she could adjust to the cold but for someone who had lived in the warm region for the past twenty years, it was something that was easier said than done.
The Delrose maids had busied themselves with making sure Ilyin stayed warm. The fact that Ilyin had come down with a mild fever had scared them and they scurried around hurriedly trying to get everything right.
In the middle of the commotion, Etra made sure everything was being done correctly. There was not a speck of fatigue in her face. The room was filled with the voices of the maids trying to get a bath ready for Ilyin.
"Is the water too hot?"
"Bring water that’s a little colder! This is too hot!"
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The maids’ plan was to slowly warm up Ilyin’s body as her body right now was a little too cold for their liking. As soon as Ilyin saw Etra the first words that spilled out were, "Etra, is Den okay?"
"He will be okay," replied Etra with a small smile.
It bugged Ilyin that Etra had answered with ‘will be okay’ instead of ‘is okay’ it was as if she was not completely certain that Aden was well. Ilyin, unsatisfied with Etra’s answer, said with a heavy sigh, "There might be poison on the arrow, so can you ask them to look carefully?"
Aden had great tolerance for poison. There was no poison that was produced in the winter region that affected Aden de Biflten. Etra didn’t bother explaining this to Ilyin. Instead, she assured Ilyin that she will deliver the message.
"You need to rest. Your fever is getting high," said Etra with her hand against Ilyin’s forehead.