* * *
Aristine asked, and Rosalyn nodded.
“Yes, it’s General Mukali.” (Rosalyn)
It was Aristine’s first time hearing that name.
“Who is that?” (Aristine)
“You don’t even know General Mukali?” (?)
“How can you not know how much that vicious monster tormented our Silvanus people?!” (?)
“Hah, I’m speechless; are you not even interested in your own country? You want to bury your bones in Irugo now?” (?)
Seeing the maids take this chance to speak one after the other, she couldn’t help but think they were quite healthy and energetic.
Before Aristine could react, Rosalyn began to scold the maids.
While the hunting dog and wild dogs barked in the background, Aristine fell into thought.
‘That means he must be an excellent warrior. Hmm, he’s most likely Tarkan’s subordinate, right?’
She didn’t know why he wanted to see her, but it was good.
She was looking forward to today’s refreshments.
“Bring the General in.” (Aristine)
“Bri—you want to bring him in?”
“Don’t do that, just send him back.”
“I agree, you have to slam the door in front of that kind of monster!”
The maids said, startled. Their faces looked a little frightened.
“Are you really going to meet him?”
Rosalyn hesitated as well and asked quietly.
“Mhm. He came to see me, didn’t he?”
“General Mukali is more of a barbarian than any other.”
At those words, Aristine chuckled.
“Then I’m looking forward to it.”
I think I get along really well with barbarians, you see.
While inwardly muttering to herself, Aristine got up from the sofa and walked over to the tea-table.
The maids who were watching her began poking each other in the sides. No one wanted to go so eventually, Rosalyn went to bring Mukali.
And soon, a huge man walked in the room, his frame filling up space in the door. Irugoians were usually quite big, but Mukali seemed considerably more so.
He glanced at the maids, whose expressions were a mixture of fear and scorn then he took huge strides towards Aristine.
‘She’s definitely small.’
He could tell she was small even from a distance, but she looked even smaller up-close. Even after his shadow covered Aristine, there was still a lot of space left.
‘What Princess. She’s exactly like that thumb-sized princess that was born recently.’
Heh, he snorted inside.
The princess probably felt intimidated when he looked down at her like this. Despite knowing that, he didn’t move.
He could clearly remember the day the thumb princess saw him, turned blue, and screamed.
Sure enough, the princess’s forehead was scrunched up as she looked up at him.
‘I guess she’ll scream soon.’
The moment he thought that, the princess’ mouth opened.
However, she said something completely different from what he expected.
“It gives me a headache to look up at you when you’re standing like that so please have a sit.”
Seeing Aristine leisurely suggest that he sit down, Mukali subconsciously sat down where she gestured to.
It wasn’t until his butt touched the fluffy seat that Mukali realized he was sitting opposite Aristine.
He wanted to say ‘huh? This isn’t it’ but it was already too late.
‘What the? She was just frowning because her neck hurt?’
Before his doubts could disappear, Aristine ordered the maids.
“Now then, get some tea for Sir. Mukali.”
‘She’s serving me refreshments?’
Mukali flinched at the completely unexpected situation.
Serving someone refreshments was a sign of hospitality. It also meant the guest could stay as long as they wanted. He didn’t expect her to treat a sudden, uninvited guest like this.
Even more so since that guest was Mukali himself—.
Mukali looked at the maids.
They were practically fleeing the room as if they were waiting for those words.
Even as they left, they glanced at Mukali with faces full of ill-intended curiosity and repulsion. Or more precisely, the left side of his face.
Every time he received gazes like that, his eye wound that no longer hurt tingled.
Mukali looked back at the princess with his lips pressed in a hard line.
That was the normal reaction.
The princess was also a Silvanian, so she was likely no different.
He didn’t know what she was scheming but she would soon reveal her true colors. After all, the longer she looked at his face, the harder it would be to hide her emotions.
“You came at a good time.”
Aristine said to him.
There was no smile on her face, but her cheeks were a little flushed and her eyes were shining with anticipation.
He simply couldn’t see this as a faked expression.
The princess seemed to sincerely welcome his presence.
And he wasn’t completely wrong to think that.
Because just when Aristine’s mouth was starting to feel bored, he made a timely visit, and she was sincerely welcoming the tea-time that was bound to follow.
“I heard you are investigating some man.”
“Mn, that’s right.”
There was no hesitation at all on her face as she acknowledged that.
If this was a situation where she was chasing after another man, shouldn’t she be flustered? Especially if the person asking is a subordinate of her husband-to-be.
Mukali thought Aristine might no know so he explained.
“I am Mukali, a general under the command of His Highness, Tarkan.”
Mukali had been deliberately using semi-casual speech for a while now.  It wasn’t that big of a deal under Irugo etiquette but a Silvanian would consider it an insult.
“Ah, I knew it; you’re Tarkan’s person.”
Aristine nodded her head.
Her reaction was simply that of someone who heard another introduce themselves.
“But why do you ask about my investigation?”
Naturally, he brought it up to criticize her for stalking another man. To reveal exactly what kind of person she was and what she was doing to stop this marriage.
He came to interrogate her about how she could do such a thing, but the words did not leave his mouth.
Things were going very differently from what he expected.
“Oh, do you want to help me perhaps?”
The corner of Aristine’s lips rose faintly.
The movement was so small that he could barely even call it a smile. But for some reason, Mukali couldn’t look away from that tiny, subtle change that seemed insignificant.
He could just feel it.
That Aristine was truly happy.
This thumb-sized princess was not afraid at all of the palm-sized subject, that was himself.
Even Dionna had stiffened when she saw him for the first time.
He wanted to yell and ask why he should help her stalk another man.
Mukali unconsciously began to nod then he came to his senses and shook his head.
Aristine tilted her head.
And Mukali’s tough-looking face flushed red.
 Semi-casual speech: This is called ‘Haoche’. Nobody really uses this type of speech in the 21st century, it is from back in the day. ‘Haoche’ is used when casual speech sounds too rude but you don’t want to sound too respectful. It was sometimes used between people of the same rank when they didn’t want to speak respectfully.