Customer, I mean, Husband-nim (2)
Tarkan’s eyes were sharp.
“You don’t know?”
Aristine asked, half in disbelief.
‘How can he not know I was confined?’
Apparently, Irugo’s intelligence network was not as good as she thought.
‘No, they certainly know in Irugo. I should see this as Tarkan not knowing, not Irugo.’
And it was obvious why he didn’t know.
‘Because he’s not interested in me…in the person who will become his bride.’
It was an extreme lack of interest at that.
As her thoughts went in that direction, she was reminded of what she saw on the water surface earlier.
[Do you like the princess, perhaps?]
[That is impossible.]
‘I wonder what it is. The reason he doesn’t like me.’
[You should know as well.]
The nuance behind his statement wasn’t something as simple as ‘you should know how dirty the princess is too’.
[My heart will never change.]
Here, was a woman who asked him if he liked his bride on the day his bride via political marriage arrives. And a man who tells that woman that she should know and that his heart will never change.
‘It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?’
Although she had been locked up and didn’t have much social interaction, she had seen situations like this several times in the Monarch’s Sight.
Aristine tapped her finger on the desk.
After arranging her thoughts, she spoke to Tarkan.
“First of all, we need to organize the story between us to some extent. This might be a political marriage, but we are going to be a couple regardless.”
After saying so, Aristine tilted her head.
“Actually, since it is a political marriage, perhaps we should be even more organized?”
Tarkan raised a brow at Aristine’s forthright and solitary attitude.
He wasn’t very interested in this marriage, but it seems this woman was even worse.
“I will be straightforward with you.”
Aristine looked into Tarkan’s eyes.
The air warmed by the afternoon sun slowly blended in with her gaze.
She purposefully flashed a smile.
“Your Highness Tarkan, do you want war?”
* * *
Tarkan was dumbfounded and stared at Aristine.
He just met this woman today, but she had managed to make him dumbfounded several times. If he added up the number of times he was made speechless last year, it would probably be less than today.
Aristine stared at him without a flicker in her eyes.
A calm gaze that was neither light nor heavy.
Tarkan had no choice but to realize that his wife was not a flower raised in a greenhouse.
She was not saying such absurd words without thinking.
Tarkan’s face grew serious.
“There may be some who want war.”
He said in a low voice.
His golden eyes were piercing like that of a beast shining in the dark.
“But I am not one of them.”
Aristine was silent. At some point, the smile on her face had disappeared.
Her smile was beautiful, but it also felt artificial in comparison.
Why did he feel like her expressionless face was actually more natural?
Tarkan subconsciously thought that while staring at Aristine’s beautiful face which looked like it had been carefully sculpted by God.
He himself didn’t even realize that this was the first time he had such doubts about someone’s expression.
In a time that felt both long and short, the two of them stared at each other without saying anything.
Although they didn’t speak, there was certainly a kind of exchange between the two.
Then Aristine spoke first, breaking that strange confrontation.
It was a very dull conclusion.
“Why did you ask that question?”
“Because the easiest way to start a war is by killing me.”
Tarkan paused when he was hit with those sharp words.
But Aristine looked like nothing happened.
“Of course, I do not want to die.”
She said while applying blueberry compote and clotted cream to her scones.
Maybe it was just his imagination but Tarkan felt like Aristine was studying him before applying the cream.
“And if you do not want a war either then I have to live. What do you think, don’t our interests align?”
Her attitude was so lighthearted that it was hard to believe she was talking about her own life.
At least in Tarkan’s eyes, Aristine didn’t seem to regard her life very seriously. She said she wanted to live but she was treating her life like a piece of copper.
‘Just what is it with this woman…’
“Am I wrong?”
Aristine pressed Tarkan when he didn’t reply.
Tarkan pushed down his thoughts about her that were wandering. Right now, she was telling him something important. And since that was the case, he had to consider it seriously as well.
“How do I trust you? It is very common to say such things to reassure people while cooking up something else behind the scenes.”
Tarkan looked straight at Aristine and continued.
“A war can be triggered in more ways than one.”
Despite his rebuttal, a faint sense of satisfaction arose in Aristine’s eyes. She was happy that her prospective husband was not an idiot who only looked good on the outside.
“You are right. I can steal secrets here and send them to Silvanus or I can secretly meet with the Irugoians who want war. Or—.”
Aristine picked up the butter-knife and pointed at the Tarkan.
“I can kill you.”
Then she brought it to her neck and made a slicing motion.
Tarkan raised a brow but didn’t respond.
Somehow, the image of her looking straight at him with provocation wasn’t too bad.
“As I said before, I do not want to die. If I kill someone here, I will end up dying too so why would I do that?”
Aristine said while putting down the butter-knife.
“Besides, I do not like Silvanus enough to go through the trouble of being a spy.”
Aristine mulled over the information she could ‘talk about’ for a moment then she opened her mouth.
This was something Tarkan would learn about anyway.
‘Since that’s the case, it will be better for me to say it myself.’
“I have been locked up since I was a child.”
Aristine spoke so casually that Tarkan couldn’t immediately understand what she said.
“The great Emperor of Silvanus despises me. Now, as to what kind of treatment was given to a child who was confined after losing favor with the Emperor…”
Aristine didn’t add anything more and smiled brightly. It was a beautiful smile that made even her eyes curve.
Tarkan looked at Aristine like he was seeing something incomprehensible.
He couldn’t understand how Aristine could show her weakness like it was nothing.
Such a thing was unthinkable for him.