I know you’re a pervert(7)
As a matter of course, Tarkan wasn’t that idle of a person. He certainly didn’t enjoy watching people sleep. He visited Aristine’s room because he had a very distinct purpose.
“I assumed it was a good idea for you to have prior knowledge of the discussion before your delegation is granted an audience with the King.”
“Oh my, how kind of you. I can’t believe you came to tell me that yourself. I guess you were quite impressed with the ability I showed you yesterday?”
“…Looks like I shouldn’t have come. I’ll take my leave.”
When she saw Tarkan’s move like he was about to leave immediately, Aristine narrowed her eyes.
“To think you’re leaving so easily. I knew it, having a purpose was an excuse, it must have been my angelic sleep…”
Once he heard her muttering, Tarkan gulped down the entire tea in his cup.
His insides were burning so much that the hot tea felt like cold water.
Seeing him like that, Aristine grinned, got down from the bed, and stood in front of Tarkan.
“So which is it? Were you impressed by my ability or is it the angelic way─”
“I was impressed by your ability.”
Tarkan spat out begrudgingly.
Aristine’s eyes curled softly.
“Right, of course. I think I’m pretty great too.”
Aristine’s impassive face looked absolutely serious without any playfulness.
Seriously, he had never seen such a woman, no, such a person before.
Tarkan swallowed the sigh that was about to leave his mouth and nodded lightly.
“For now, let’s get out of this blasted room that supposedly has a sleeping angel. We have to eat after all.”
At those words, Aristine’s eyes lit up.
Yesterday’s dinner was very delicious too, so she was really looking forward to it. Her face revealed the truest emotions she had since she woke up today.
Tarkan turned away when he saw her purple eyes sparkling like stars.
‘What a strange woman.’
When she looked like this, he found it hard to believe she was the same person who dealt with the other royals before the king. Somehow, he felt she would show that kind of appearance at the welcome party for the delegations tonight.
‘…I feel like that?’
Tarkan was a little surprised by his thoughts. Then he mumbled to himself.
‘It’s just a thought.’
Not an expectation. There was no way he was expecting that.
“We should arrive right on time for the audience later. Not beforehand.”
Aristine babbled on as they walked towards the dining hall.
“Right, that would be best. If we go early, we’ll only encounter bumps in the road.”
“Mn, that’s true but I have another reason.”
At that, Tarkan looked at Aristine and Aristine grinned.
“We said we’ll try our best, right? Partner.”
Her twinkling purple eyes shone mischievously.
“Let’s go over the details while we eat. Oh, before that, there’s a little something I want you to prepare…”
* * *
“My goodness, Lady Rosalyn.”
“After all that, she wants to stick to the princess now…”
“It’s ridiculous how she’s acting like that when she’s the one who harassed the princess the most.”
The maids pursed their lips as they watched Rosalyn help Aristine get dressed up. When they saw her act like the princess’ dog, wagging her tail everywhere, their annoyance soared.
It was a sense of crisis they were feeling deep down but they refused to admit it.
They approached Aristine with coy expressions on their face.
“Princess, isn’t this a little too much?”
A maid began arrogantly but Aristine didn’t react whatsoever. When she didn’t even glance at them, the maids huffed in disbelief.
Rosalyn stepped forward.
“How dare you behave this way to Her Highness!”
“I should be asking you that; what do you think you’re doing right now, Lady Rosalyn?!”
“It’s already bad enough that a handmaid is helping Her Highness prepare for an audience with the Irugo’s King, how can you even hold your head up!”
Rosalyn’s dark green eyes sharpened, and she glared at maids.
At her momentum, the other maids faltered.
Just as Rosalyn led the harassment of Aristine so far, she was also the one with the strongest personality out of all the maids. But there were some who weren’t intimidated at all.
“You know it’s ridiculous to hear that from you of all people, Lady Rosalyn.”
Brodie thought it was even more ridiculous to fear someone like Rosalyn who knelt and barked in front of that stupid princess.
Brodie’s own face got burned because of the princess!
She was getting treated for it but it was recovering slowly because she hadn’t been able to show it to any priest or magician. Whenever she looked in the mirror, she ground her teeth at the hideously swollen blister.
In fact, she was burned because she tried to pour hot water on Aristine in the first place, but that fact had long disappeared from her mind.
“Don’t misunderstand, we’re not going against the princess. The role of a handmaid is to advise as well, is it not?”
As Brodie said that, she grabbed Aristine’s shoulder and roughly turned her around.
“This is an occasion where you will meet with the King of Irugo as a representative of the great Silvanus Empire. So how can you wear Irugo clothing?”
Like she said, Aristine was wearing an Irugo-styled dress. Since they didn’t bring any proper clothing from the Empire, Aristine had no choice but the wear the clothes prepared by the Irugo people.
“Naturally, you should wear Silvanus clothes when you represent Silvanus!”
Brodie gave the other maids a look and they brought Aristine’s clothing.
It was the formal dress that had gotten frazzled and shabby because she wore it for most of the journey to Irugo.
“Now, this is the dress that His Majesty the Emperor personally presented to you, Princess, to congratulate you on your marriage. As a daughter and servant of the Emperor, you must wear this dress!”
Aristine didn’t respond to anything she said. She simply gave Rosalyn a glance as calm as flowing water.
Upon receiving that gaze, Rosalyn flinched.
She realized this couldn’t continue.
A sharp noise burst through the room.
Brodie blinked, finding it hard to believe what just happened. Her left cheek burned, and it felt like it was swelling up. She lifted her trembling hand and touched her cheek.
‘D-Did she just slap me…?’
She couldn’t believe it.
“Bringing such filthy clothes before her presence is practically an insult to Her Highness! Reflect on yourself!”
“Ha! Have you lost your fucking mind? You of all people are telling me off? The reason this dress is even like this is because of you!”
Brodie pointed at Rosalyn and screamed with rage.
Aristine thought to herself as she watched the maids, feeling like a spectator on the other side of the river.
Through this incident, it seemed the arrows of the maids were now pointed at each other instead of Aristine.
‘It should get less annoying.’
Aristine checked her watch and rose from her seat.