Episode 3: A fiancée with a business addiction; will this marriage be okay? (3)
‘I didn’t know this would happen.’
Aristine was the main descendant of the Silvanus imperial family which had been around for almost a thousand years and she was born with the noblest and most precious bloodline.
Naturally, Tarkan expected her to despise him for being born from a low-born mother. Even his half-brothers and half-sisters despised him. For Aristine, it could only be more contempt, he didn’t expect it to be any less.
Of course, when he actually met her, he figured that might not be the case.
Tarkan has many people under his command, but he was used to solving everything himself. He thought that no matter what Aristine did, there was no way it would benefit him. However, if she kept showing him such interesting scenes, he might just change his mind.
“Hah! Even your excuses are ridiculous. Who talks to theirself like that? Instead of admitting your faults, you’re just making excuses; it makes me doubt if you’re really from a royal family.”
The 4th princess, Starlina, snorted and glared at Aristine.
“Oh, right. Didn’t you say she was a dumb buffoon who wasn’t even treated like a princess?”
Starlina giggled and her lips curled even more when she saw Aristine looking straight at her.
“What? I was talking to myself too.”
Once she heard her younger sister’s words, Paellamien wanted to cover up her head. This stupid and tactless younger sister of hers had caused trouble again.
‘It’s okay. If the princess really doesn’t remember then it’s not actually any trouble.’
With that thought in mind, Paellamien tried to maintain her composure.
‘Actually, since it was Her Majesty the Queen who sent us to bother the princess…’
It might turn out fine instead.
Unless Aristine remembered seeing her and Maarten before, that is.
‘There were so many people there and the servants were there too, how can she possibly remember. Besides, we didn’t even make eye contact in that mess.’
Despite thinking that, Paellamien secretly glanced at Aristine to study her. She couldn’t read anything from that expressionless face, let alone anger, so she couldn’t tell what the princess was thinking at all.
“Your Highness Maarten.”
Aristine called the 3rd prince Maarten, not bothering to deal with Starlina.
Having been disregarded, Starlina’s face burned red. In contrast, Maarten looked at Aristine with a dreamily dazed look on his face.
“Haven’t we met before?”
Her violet eyes with a profound mixture of blue and red hue looked like they contained the universe. Even the elegant eyes that held those irises curved slightly to smile at him.
Maarten began nodding unconsciously.
“Yes…I think we have. No, we definitely must have met. I’ve been to Silvanus before so…”
Maarten grew smiley in the blink of an eye and began to babble about what he wasn’t even asked.
“I’m honored you still remember me, Princess. Then again, I have a face you won’t forget once you see it. Haha!”
Of course, Maarten had never seen Aristine in Silvanus.
But when such a beautiful woman asked if they had ever met, what man could say no?
‘Indeed, I’m better than Tarkan, that bastard!’
Maarten was elated by his sole delusion.
“I doubt it. I don’t think I met you in Silvanus but somewhere else.”
Aristine gave a sweet smile and looked straight at Maarten.
“Haha, somewhere else? A dream? Did you see me in your dream? I feel like I had the same dream too, ahahaha!”
Paellamien wanted to muzzle Maarten’s mouth.
‘She remembers seeing me and Maarten in Tarkan’s palace!’
Paellamien was sure of it now. The princess knew and that’s why she was acting this way.
‘…I heard she was stupid because she wasn’t taught anything and went crazy because she was confined.’
But in reality, the princess was nothing like that. Rather, she was smart to a scary extent.
‘She’s only telling me she has a card but she’s not actually using it.’
Rather than expending the card in your hand, it was better to use it to deal with your opponent. In this situation, she had no choice but to continue being careful with Aristine as long as Aristine had that hand.
Paellamien glanced at her father to see what he was thinking. He looked like he had no intention to intervene.
‘He’s looking at the princess.’
Not only that, his gaze had quite some interest.
Paellamien pursed her lips tightly.
‘Even if Father knows but is acting like he doesn’t know about what happened in Tarkan’s palace, the story changes once the princess mentions it.’
The king would no longer be able to act like he knew nothing about the event. Although, he could side with his daughter and let it go with a small punishment.
‘Right now, royal father is obviously curious about how the princess will act.’
If Aristine gave a satisfying result, he would definitely take her side.
‘Let’s play it safe.’
The best option here was to make sure Aristine didn’t have to use the card in her hand. As soon as that thought crossed her mind, Starline opened her mouth.
“What is this? Are you flirting with another man in front of the person you are to marry? No matter how many times I point it out, you are still so vulgar.”
Paellamien raised her voice, cutting off Starlina’s words. Startled, Starline almost jumped in surprise and turned to look at Paellamien. Her 1st sister, who was always gentle to all their siblings except Tarkan, actually yelled at her.
“The princess is only asking a question. How can you call that flirting with another man? What exactly are you seeing with your eyes?”
“But, But elder sister, she’s the one who’s wagging her tail…”
“You’re still going about that?! Reality will not bend to fit what you think.”
“What? Elder sister, that’s too much.”
“What is too much? Tell me, go on.”
The threatening retort made Starlina flinch and she shut her mouth.
“I’m pointing out your mistake but instead of admitting it, you’re talking back to me?”
Starlina lowered her head, not replying.
Seeing that, Paellamien clicked her tongue under her breath.
‘She shouldn’t cause any more trouble in here after that.’
She had been somewhat harsh but as long as she could block Starlina’s mouth, she had succeeded.
“Use this opportunity to look back and reflect on your usual behavior.”
Starlina pursed her lips stubbornly. She felt bitter, hurt, and angry. She couldn’t believe Paellamien was getting mad at her in this situation.
Wasn’t her elder sister the type who was kind enough to let it go even if she crossed the line a little?
Paellamien urged her to reply.
Starlina clenched her fist tightly. She was so angry right now, but she couldn’t act stubborn anymore.
“…I understand. I will reflect on it, Your Highness, 1st princess.”
Although her heart was full of resentment, Starlina bowed her head towards Paellamien.
* * *
‘That was a clean shot.’
Tarkan felt like applauding.
Aristine hunted her enemies so spectacularly that calling it ‘great’ wasn’t enough. And she didn’t even have to raise a hand.
Even for Tarkan who was only interested in hunting demonic beasts and had no interest in this kind of ‘human hunting’, he felt it was a nice enough hunt to raise his admiration.
In the eyes of Tarkan, the warrior among warriors, Aristine was really a great hunter.
If this place was the plain of demonic beasts, and Aristine’s catch was a demonic beast, he would definitely want to take her under his command right away.
Tarkan’s golden eyes swept over Aristine’s side profile. He wondered where she hid such aggression in this delicate and fragile face of hers.
The more he saw of her, the more he couldn’t figure out about her.