“Wow, it’s so clean!”
Aristine approached with admiration, staring at the sword that was just as tall as her.
“It’s like a mirror. The wavy patterns are so clear too.”
Rather than backing away in fright, she looked like she was about to thrust her nose into the sword.
As Aristine carefully examined the blade, she even reached out her hand towards the sword.
But before her hand reached it, she paused and glanced up at Mukali.
“May I touch it?”
Mukali didn’t like other people touching his sword. Any warrior would agree with him. However, he nodded his head.
‘I have no other choice if I want to win the Princess’ favor.’
He really, truly, completely had no other choice.
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Aristine smiled sweetly and touched the sword gently.
The feeling of cold iron.
It felt strange to the touch, giving her a little chill.
“Amazing. I’m just touching it, but it feels like it’s going to cut me.”
“It does cut the skin, even if you don’t apply any force.”
Mukali said boastfully.
“Mn, the polishing technique on this is outstanding. Demonic beasts have such hard shells. So it needs this much sharpness…”
Aristine tilted her head and mumbled.
Then she lifted her hand from the sword and looked straight at Mukali.
Because she was looking at his sword, Aristine was right in front of him. He suddenly wanted to cover the left side of his face. He didn’t want Aristine to see his disgusting scar in full detail and back away.
However, Aristine did not back away nor avert her gaze.
She just looked at him like she usually did while dealing with people as if it were nothing. He couldn’t see any repulsion on fear on that small face.
“How do you manage the rust?”
And she simply asked a question, just like that. It was a serious and prudent question.
She didn’t care about his terrifying and abhorrent scar; what she cared about was the sword.
The sword Mukali was proud of.
“You mean how I protect it from rusting?”
Mukali felt his throat clogging up.
Management of rust, huh. He never thought he would be asked this kind of question by someone that was not even a warrior.
‘She seems very interested in swords.’
She didn’t sound like she was asking such questions just to be in his good graces.
“Well, I have to clean it, so it doesn’t rust. I do that every morning and evening.”
“As expected, it requires a lot of work.”
“This guy is precious, so I have to treat him as much.” (T/N: He’s referring to the sword)
Mukali said as he flicked a finger against the sword.
“I take care of this guy carefully every day, and it responds amazingly in return. Although it’s huge, it has quite the elasticity. That’s because the master who made this sword treated different parts with different heat. When you do that, the hardness will be different for each part. For this, the hardness is related to the carbon and…”
The scientific side was something Aristine had no knowledge about.
Aristine listened to him talk while taking a guess.
It was fascinating that Mukali, who was a consumer and not a manufacturer, was talking about such difficult principles. Even in Silvanus where studies were developed, the scientific field was treated as a high-level area of study.
‘He must really like swords.’
Mukali, who was bragging about his beloved sword, belatedly came to his senses as if a dam had burst. Even his fellow warriors hated his kind of talk.
The people who liked to dig into such detailed principles were not warriors, but weak-kneed naïve academics sitting behind a desk.
‘That’s why I usually don’t talk to people about this…’
Plus acting like this didn’t suit his huge frame.
While feeling awkward inside, he tried to study Aristine’s complexion but she nodded seriously.
“Thanks for telling me. I’ve learned a lot.”
“…Then I’m glad.”
Mukali secretly looked away.
When the conversation came to a brief pause, Mukali felt a little awkward for some reason. He was curious about what the Princess was doing, but somehow, he found it hard to look back at her.
Inwardly, he began to recite the steps of sharpening a sword. If she didn’t say anything by the third step, he figured he would say something.
Not that he really wanted to continue his conversation with the princess. This was only just a strategy to get information.
As Mukali went over the first step in his head, he couldn’t bear it and thought to himself.
‘…Should I just say something at the second step?’
The moment he decided that and turned to look at Aristine…
Aristine suddenly cried out.
Mukali was startled and his eyes went wide. He unconsciously strengthened his grip on his sword.
Mukali’s huge frame blocked Aristine like a solid wall. His sharp eyes alertly scanned the room, back and forth. However, he didn’t see anything that looked dangerous.
‘What is it?’
Mukali raised a brow in doubt and just then…
“The tea has gotten cold…”
He heard a small voice mumble below his chest.
He looked down and saw the Princess with despair written all over her face like the world had been destroyed. With a teacup tightly clenched in her hand.
“Strawberry cream tea…I really wanted to taste it…”
She couldn’t have looked more depressed.
Mukali’s mouth opened a few times before shutting close. He felt absurd, speechless, and somehow a little angry, but he also felt like laughing because she looked so dejected.
“Haa, I guess I was too focused on listening. And forgot this important thing.”
Aristine placed the teacup back on the table. But her gaze still lingered on the rose-colored tea. Let alone forget about it, her eyes were practically dripping with regret.
Aristine smacked her lips lamentfully then she looked up at Mukali and shrugged.
“But that’s because the conversation with Sir. Mukali was very interesting.”
And that’s good enough, she added with a bright smile.
Mukali momentarily stared into her eyes.
‘It’s just tea; can’t she ask them to serve it again?’
Such a thought flashed through his mind.
Aristine had more than enough right to do so. But the fact that she didn’t consider calling back the maids despite that—.
‘Is it because of me?’
He remembered how the maids looked at him like he was a bug with 20 legs. Naturally, Mukali didn’t want to see them a second time.
Mukali put his sword into its sheath.
After he left, Aristine would probably call her maids and ask them to bring the tea that she wanted so badly. No, she definitely would.
“How about you visit our house sometime?” (Mukali)
“We have that kind of tea in my house too.”
Ehem, Mukali faked a cough for no particular reason. This was also to keep a close eye on the Princess.
Aristine was delighted.
Being invited to someone’s house.
That was something she could never even imagine as someone who had lived locked up and alone.
“Then I’ll bring you some scones.”
After speaking, Aristine frowned.
‘I can take them, right? I heard it’s not polite to go empty-handed when someone invites you, so I should be able to ask for that much…’
Even if she had formed an alliance with Tarkan, it wasn’t good to spend too much of his assets. Which is why she only ate the food and refreshments that were given to her.
‘Although the quantity has increased lately, so I’m happy.’
Especially since she always had tea-time when Tarkan came, and she liked the fact that he never touched his dessert.
“Mn, the scones here are really good. It’s delicious even when it’s cold. Try it.”
Mukali looked at the scones on the table with skepticism in his eyes.
‘I’m sure Milord…’
There was a meeting he didn’t attend due to outside affairs, and he heard that at that meeting, Tarkan ordered them to find a pâtissier. More precisely, a pâtissier good at baking scones.
Everyone said he might be trying to develop new battle rations or something. But…
‘Don’t tell me…’
The thought suddenly entered his mind, but Mukali quickly shook his head.
‘No way. It can’t be, definitely not.’
After all, he had been serving beside his lord for so many years. That was definitely not it.
‘He’ll bring the scones soon as our new battle rations! They must be using the Princess as a test subject! Of course!’
Mukali thought to himself in that manner and took the scone Aristine offered him.
It was delicious.