“Is that a yes, or no?”
He was hoping she would just gloss over it, but the princess continued to question him with a serious look on her face.
“Hm? Which is it?”
Mukali’s face only got redder and redder.
Just when Mukali was faking one cough after the other because he couldn’t stand the embarrassment, the door thankfully opened, and the maids entered the room.
They only went to bring refreshments, but they took quite some time, making you wonder if they had been growing the tea leaves or something.
Mukali was well aware of why they took so long.
Because the maids were scowling as they looked at him while their faces looked like they were about to vomit.
And the moment any one of them met his eyes, they quickly looked away.
When one of the maids was placing the tea in front of him, their hand trembled so much that the teacup rattled, and some tea spilled out.
They put the cup down so fast like they were throwing it, then they dashed away like they had been standing next to some kind of monster.
Frankly, the teacup was placed so far away from Mukali that anyone would be hard-pressed to say it was in front of him.
His lost left eye tingled.
Mukali pushed down to urge to press his hand over his left eye. He didn’t want to let them know that it got to him.
《Uck! Look at that face!》
《As expected of a barbarian to have the face of a monster.》
《Can you even tell if they’re a human or a beast?! How disgusting.》
During the war with Silvanus, he always heard such mockery.
The Silvanus Knights with shiny faces would act like they were throwing up in front of him.
‘This scar is proof of my ability as a warrior.’
He was neither embarrassed nor ashamed of it.
It showed that he had fought fiercely and emerged the winner.
However, small and cute…no, all tiny things were scared of him.
‘I thought this small and tiny thumb princess would naturally be the same.’
But Aristine was currently telling her maids to withdraw.
‘…Does this mean she’s okay with just the two of us here?’
Mukali looked at Aristine like he was watching something strange.
‘Let’s not let down our guard.’
He inwardly mumbled as if making a resolve.
‘This is the crafty Princess of Silvanus, who knows what she might be planning inside.’
This was all for his master’s sake.
Mukali exhaled through his nose and strengthened his resolve.
* * *
Aristine, who was once again left alone with Mukali, looked at him seriously.
She was glad the maids quickly disappeared after she told them to leave as though they were waiting for those words.
Normally, they would have argued back saying things like ‘what are you planning to scheme with this Irugoian after sending us out’ or something of the sort.
‘I can’t let his opportunity pass.’
Aristine was currently in need of outside help.
Honestly, she didn’t want to share anything concerning the scalpel business with anyone yet. This is why she didn’t explain anything about the blacksmith to Tarkan; she wanted to reveal it after they had made some progress.
However, she had hit a wall now, so this was inevitable.
Her handmaids were only able to keep an eye out inside the palace so there was no way forward. She needed someone’s help.
Aristine looked at Mukali, even forgetting to eat her scones and tea.
“So back to what I was talking about earlier. Are you really here to help me?”
“Hah, you’re still talking about that?”
Was she really asking because she didn’t know?
There was nothing in the past, present or future that would make him help a Princess of Silvanus.
‘She must think all Irugoians will move as she wishes because all the court ladies and warriors greet her happily.’
He had to give this thumb princess a clear reminder of reality.
“Put this firmly in that tiny head. The reason I came here to see the Princess today is…”
Mukali paused in the middle of his sentence.
Something was stopping him.
Although he didn’t know what that thing was.
Somehow, it didn’t feel wise to get angry at Aristine here. This was a very rare feeling for someone with a fiery personality like him.
“You came here to see me because?”
When Aristine pressed on, he opened his mouth again.
This time as well, he was ready to confidently wake her to reality but the feeling he had earlier became stronger.
For someone like him who relied on his senses to preserve his life in battle, it was hard to ignore such a feeling.
Mukali frowned, frustrated because he didn’t know why he was feeling like this.
Just as he was agonizing about it, a thought suddenly came to his mind, ‘ah!’ and his face brightened.
‘Yes, it’s better to act like I want to help instead of getting angry, then I can catch her red-handed!’
That was a perfect idea.
He must have been getting that feeling because of this. Sure enough, his intuition was always reliable.
“As you said, Princess, I came here to help you investigate that man.”
I knew it, Aristine nodded her head.
The fact that she was investigating someone was no secret in itself. Even if she wanted to keep it a secret, she couldn’t.
For some reason, Tarkan did not want to cooperate, so she had to use the court ladies in the palace to search. It was common for one’s master or mistress to ask about people they had seen in a banquet, so the court ladies didn’t really care.
Most of all, because Aristine had asked in front of Tarkan, it was no different from Tarkan turning a blind eye. No one was able to do anything without Tarkan’s permission.
Since that was the situation, she didn’t care that Mukali knew about her investigation.
‘But no one knows why I’m paying attention to this or why I’m investigating!’
And she wanted to keep it that way, if possible.
Frankly, it was obvious why Mukali, a subordinate of Tarkan, suddenly came to find her and offer his help.
‘Seriously, Tarkan…after acting all stubborn and uninterested, he must be feeling sorry now.’
Tarkan must have ordered it, what other reason could there be?
‘Gosh, he’s just so shy.’
Of course, since she was getting help, she might need to give Mukali some information. And since Tarkan sent him, the information would also enter Tarkan’s ears.
‘I can put up with that much. Besides, Tarkan and I are partners and I’m glad I can get some help anyway.’
With that thought in mind, Aristine turned to thank Mukali. Even though he came here because he was ordered to, he was still lending a helping hand just when she needed it, so she was grateful.
“Thank you. I was already wondering what to do because my range of movement is still somewhat limited.”
“Is that so.”
“After all, I can’t leave the maids and go out of the palace alone to meet him. Your help is much appreciated.”
At those words, Mukali’s expression hardened.
‘Is she really going to ask me to help her meet that man secretly?’
Certainly, he said he was going to help so that he could catch her red-handed but for some reason, Mukali was very shocked.
Or maybe instead of shock, he should call it delight that he was going to bust a secret meeting soon.
Mukali lowered his head.
‘As expected, Dionna was right.’
For some reason, his mood sank a little.