A very shy pervert (6)
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The delegation greeted the King and offered him their presents—they were said to be gifts but were actually war reparations.
The items presented were extremely rare and luxurious items that Aristine had never seen before, but her gaze was fixed on one man.
In the meantime, the offering session came to an end.
“I can see the goodwill from Silvanus. This King welcomes Princess Aristine and of course, the delegation. It is a cause for celebration to see this long war coming to an end with the joyful union between our two countries.”
The king raised his wine glass.
“To the peace of Irugo and Silvanus.”
Everyone raised their glasses in agreement before downing its contents. And that signaled the official beginning of the welcome banquet.
Dancers performed on stage and delicious food was served but Aristine’s mind was constantly elsewhere.
Tarkan furrowed his brows.
He followed Aristine’s gaze and found a man in her line of sight.
The place he was sitting in was close to the lowest ranking area where the Queen had asked Aristine to sit earlier.
‘Did her eyes twinkle just now because she saw that man?’
Tarkan’s brow rose sharply.
He didn’t like that.
His golden eyes turned to Aristine, and a piercing gaze fell on her cheek. However, Aristine didn’t even notice that her husband-to-be was staring sharply at her.
Because all her attention was focused on that man.
The man was eating his steak with gusto, not knowing that Aristine was watching him fervently.
‘Oh, that steak looks delicious. Maybe I should have some too before it gets cold.’
Aristine, whose appetite was stimulated after watching the man eat, quickly gobbled a piece of steak.
‘It tastes so good…’
So this is what they meant when they say it melts in your mouth.
There were quite a few sauces around and it was even tastier after dipping it in them.
As she was eating the steak alone, she caught sight of the baked vegetables that were served as garnish. To test it out, she ate the familiar potato first 
Her eyes widened.
‘I didn’t know adding butter to potatoes made it taste like this!’
She had eaten a lot of potatoes in her life, but she didn’t know they could be this delicious. Maybe they were of a different variety, or different quality but the potatoes by themselves had a subtle sweetness.
And with the moderate addition of some melted and salty butter…
Aristine stuffed herself like crazy then came to her senses. Her gaze turned back to the man.
Her purple eyes scanned the man sharply from head to toe.
‘I’m sure of it, this is the guy.’
Aristine recalled the scene she had seen in her Monarch’s Sight. It was a scene she saw during the travel from Silvanus to Irugo.
[Please accept me, Your Highness] 
The man asked Aristine inside the reflective surface. At those words, the Aristine inside—
[Alright, then you are mine now.]
—nodded and said with a bright smile.
‘I was really surprised when I first saw it.’
To think that on her way to get married, she would see her future self acting like this with another man. Even if it was an arranged marriage, she didn’t think that was right.
She wondered what in the world might have happened to lead to an immoral romance. Aristine couldn’t understand even more because she wasn’t interested in love.
But the following words from herself was—
[You will become the best blacksmith in this country, no, on this continent.]
‘A completely different situation, apparently.’
Frankly, Aristine was relieved.
However, the man in the reflective surface grew excited as if he had gotten a confession of love.
His eyes widened and his gaze trembled. His face was filled with joy, anticipation, and excitement. But soon enough, he shook his head in disappointment.
[Is that really possible? As you already know, I…my hands are like this.]
The man did not have a right thumb. With his hand in such shape, he wouldn’t even be able to hold a hammer. The sight of the huge man looking deflated was almost like that of a large dog drooping with its tail on the ground.
In the reflective surface, Aristine stood on her tiptoe and grabbed the man’s shoulders.
[It is possible.]
The man lifted his head and peered at Aristine.
[Because I am going to make that possible. With you.]
With that, the reflection came to an end.
Unfortunately, Aristine had no way of knowing all the details. She didn’t know how she and the man met or what kind of relationship they had. Or what kind of special ability a man who had only been criticized might have.
Moreover, she didn’t know why herself was so convinced the man would become the best blacksmith on the continent when he couldn’t even hold a hammer.
What gave herself the reason to think she could make that possible?
Although she didn’t know a single thing…
‘I know that the scalpel business I want to develop requires a skilled blacksmith at the helm.’
Hence, she was always on the alert for when they would meet.
‘Because the sooner I can find key personnel for my business, the better!’
But who would have thought she would meet him at the welcome banquet?
‘My money…I mean, employee!’
Aristine’s gaze on the man was akin to someone who found gold while digging through an abandoned land.
Tarkan looked distastefully at Aristine who was staring at the man with sparkling eyes and had practically forgotten to eat her delicious food.
But the next moment, she turned to him and asked a question.
“Hey, Tarkan. Who is that man?”
The edge in his voice was a bit too sharp to call that a simple retort.
“Why are you so tilted? I was just asking.” 
“Why are you curious about him?”
“That is a business secret.”
It was a business item that would let her hit the jackpot so she couldn’t go around telling people carelessly. When she said she wanted to start her own business, Tarkan’s reaction was not very good.
So, she felt it would be better to tell him about it after everything was ready. On the other hand, she didn’t want her idea to be stolen either, so she planned to keep her mouth sealed.
Sensing that she was never going to tell him about it, Tarkan felt uncomfortable and annoyed.
Before he could think about why he felt that way, Aristine turned away.
‘It doesn’t look like he’s going to tell me so I guess I’ll have to look into it later.’
His sitting location, his face, and attire were all inputted into her mind. It shouldn’t be hard to track him down.
‘If I could, I’d love to talk to him now.’
After the meal was over, the dancers would enter as well so she would be able to move freely in the hall. She could use that chance to talk to him but today’s banquet was supposed to be a welcoming event for Aristine so most of the attention was focused on her.
‘I’m sure they are people who will analyze who I talked to and how long I spent talking to them.’
In other words, talking to him was an absolute no-go.
She had to hide her business idea perfectly.
In addition, there was already a lot of noise about her today, so it was better to allow the remaining time to stay quiet. It wouldn’t be beneficial if her first image was too tumultuous.
‘Let’s just eat!’
Frankly, just putting it in her mouth made it hard to focus on anything but the food.
Aristine had a delightful dinner.
And the item brought out for dessert was none other than—.
Aristine’s eyes lit up.
Finally, she was going to eat this.
With a throbbing heart, she picked up the bouncy, yellow-tinged jelly and put it in her mouth.
It was like fireworks were exploding in her mouth.
The combination of intense sourness and sweetness made saliva build under her tongue. The taste was so strong that people normally stopped after eating one, but she felt that was a bit of a shame.
She was just staring at the empty plate then—.
Aristine’s eyes widened when she saw the small dessert plate placed in front of her. On the plate was a dainty and soft-looking Jiggle jelly.
Aristine raised her head and stared at Tarkan.
Before she could even open her mouth, Tarkan spoke first. Almost like he was making excuses.
“I don’t like this.”
For some reason, Tarkan didn’t look at Aristine.
Aristine took the silence as agreement and asked again.
“Then, can I eat it?”
She was already having to swallow her saliva.
“If you want.”
He spoke indifferently without even making eye contact, but Aristine’s eyes lit up with joy.
“You know, Tarkan.”
“You might be a very shy pervert, but I think you’re still a pretty good partner.”
Tarkan turned to look at Aristine, speechless.
Seeing the lines on his forehead, Aristine was puzzled and repeated what she said.
“I said you seem like a pretty good partner.”
“Before that…no, forget it.”
Tarkan just shook his head in resignation.
When he saw her expression that said, ‘I’m complimenting you, why are you reacting like that?’, he felt nothing would come out of asking more questions.
‘She is definitely strange.’
Tarkan chuckled unbeknownst to himself.
 I did NOT know potatoes were vegetables. I feel so dumb right now.
 Your Highness: Ok, so the title used for Aristine in this line is a little different from usual. This is her title after marriage.
 Interestingly enough, the literal translation of the word is ‘tilted’ and it means being a little annoyed or acting a little off. And in English to be ‘tilted’ is to be getting ‘a little ticked off’ so it fits perfectly!
**I felt like I was suddenly in Shokugeki no Soma so I took a food break.