"Sweetie are you okay?" came a concerned voice from behind the bedroom door as the loud knocking failed to get a response from the girl inside the room.
The duke was pacing around the hall anxiously with a worried expression on his face. Sophie had not left her room for at least four days now and he was afraid that something had gone wrong during her cultivation.
What could he do if she fell into qi deviation??
Most people took only one night to break through all seven acupuncture openings and even in rare cases it usually only lasted for the maximum duration of three days. The head butler glanced at his nervous lord and tried to reassure him,
"My liege, the young miss has enough food and qi replenishing pills to last for a month. Her wristband has not sent out any distress signals so her health should be perfectly fine."
"You also have the envoy from the Royal Palace currently waiting in the main hall for the yearly inspection of good and properties. I even heard rumors that one of the minor princesses is mixed in the procession this time."
Every noble was required to pay a certain amount of taxes which corresponded with the rank and wealth of the house in question.
There was no doubt that many of the properties and weapons possessed by some households were not listed on the official disclosure form, but it was nothing a well-placed bribe could not solve.
Duke Peterlor had steadily built up a reputation as an honest man so he made sure not to have any problems with the taxes collected from his territories.
This was not due to a love for the monarchy, but rather he did not want a hidden tool for his enemies to bring up against him in court. It could prove to be a troublesome matter to defend against.
This annual envoy was just a mere formality to remind the upper rank nobles of their duty towards the empire. It would in theory promote patriotism in the subjects of the Federation, but most nobles just sent their sons and daughters to listen to the propaganda.
The duke paid the matter no extra thought and was prepared to have them wait in the main hall of the mansion.
He was even less concerned about the minor princess who snuck in among the envoy. Now if it were a prince then the poor boy would not have even stepped one foot near his precious daughter.
The unfortunate duke came to realise several years later that he had allowed a wolf into his home.
Rokan frowned at his servant but remained silent and just patiently waited. Truthfully, his daughter's situation with cultivation had caused him to secretly collect multiple qi gathering methods which were not limited to the ones practised only by the human race.
But his daughter seemed to be content with the method she was currently training with despite the side effects. The duke was unsure if the reason was because of the suitability of the method in question or the fact that it was given as a gift from her mother.
That point alone just brought ripples of confusion in the duke's heart. He could not understand the logic of Thai'lle who wanted to harm him and her child, but she gave up such a precious amulet with a hidden space.
"Dad?" came a call from inside the room.
The duke shook those stray thoughts away and hurriedly unlocked the door with his fingerprint and entered inside but the sight before his eyes made his blood run cold in horror.
"Sophiewhat happened here? Butler call a doctor immediately!" Rokan roared in shock as he saw his daughter laying down on the floor was a weak expression.
She was covered in blood and the red liquid continued to ooze out of her mouth and nostrils at an alarming rate.
There was a terrible stench in the room as black impurities and grime were expelled out of her body during the breakthrough process. Sophie no longer had the energy to move her body and could only close her eyes when seeing the frantic face of her father.
Warm hands wrapped around her and the duke ignored the horrible smell while picking up his daughter and carefully bringing her to the mansion's infirmary. Sophie just felt warm and comfortable which lulled her gently to sleep.
(Several hours later in the infirmary)
Sophie yawned and blearily opened her eyes to find that she had been taken to a clean white bed in the infirmary. She looked down to discover that her clothes had been changed and all the blood and filth had been cleaned as well.
"The beautiful lady is finally awake! I will need to inform the duke immediately," a startled voice came from the figure standing on the side of the bed.
Sophie turned slowly to see the familiar smile of Princess Cleo staring back at her with what seemed to be traces of concern in her eyes.
"How long was I out?" Sophie spoke hoarsely.
"It must have been at least five years since the night you fell unconscious," Cleo spoke as her smile slowly faded into contemplative frown.
How could this be? Had she missed the university entrance exam??
More importantly. would she fall into a coma every time she broke into another realm using this method?
Sophie felt the world collapsing all around her as various thoughts ran across her mind. She did not realise that her myriad of interesting expressions was seen in the eyes of the no-good princess.
She even forgot to ask why the girl she met in the banquet was suddenly at her side in the Peterlor Estate. Logically speaking there was no reason for a minor princess to appear in the territory of an upper noble without an ulterior motive.
Cleo figured that her teasing had gone a bit too far, so she popped her head back into the room before leaving to give a teasing grin and muttering,
"Just kidding milady."
The princess walked out into the corridor and took a couple of deep breaths before her figure blurred and then vanished.