It’s not battle rations? (3)
T/N: Starting next week, we will go back to regular schedule. Tues/Thurs. Thank you all for your patience.
Aristine had no way of knowing what the servants and the court ladies were thinking so she simply smiled at the person approaching from the other side.
It was a happy smile.
Mukali stood in front of Aristine and vainly cleared his throat. Before he could return the greeting, Aristine energetically began to speak.
“I heard you broke the eggs of the Silvanus knights for me!”
Mukali was floored by Aristine’s open remark.
“How can you just say…!”
But when he saw the big smile on her face showing her elation, he couldn’t say anything else.
“Hm? What?” (Aristine)
Mukali took a deep breath and turned around.
Aristine and Mukali walked side by side under the dome.
The servants who were watching this scene unconsciously held their breaths then they sighed again.
‘Wow…she really talks and breathes.’
‘I wonder what she is saying to Young Master.’
‘I’m sure she gracefully conveyed her gladness, comparing the welcome to the beautiful rays of the sun.’
‘Oh, a poem from the Princess Consort…I want to hear it too.’
‘I’m sure it’ll be as bright and beautiful as the Princess Consort…’
Aristine was indeed happy to see Mukali and the talk of eggs could be taken as a metaphor, so they weren’t exactly wrong.
It wasn’t bright and beautiful though.
As Mukali guided Aristine to the tea room, he slowly opened his mouth.
“It seems there is a misunderstanding, but I am not the one who broke them.”
He wanted to make it clear that he wasn’t that ruthless and cruel. That he, Mukali, was a humane person.
However, Aristine’s face was colored with disappointment.
“I thought it was you, Sir. Mukali…”
Mukali was taken aback by this completely unexpected reaction.
“B-But I knocked out the teeth of those bastards first!”
Mukali, who was neither ruthless nor cruel but humane, exclaimed.
“Is that so?”
Aristine furrowed her brows and patted Mukali’s arm.
“To think you would do that for me. You are truly a loyal man, Sir. Mukali.”
It was only then that Mukali felt something was off.
He didn’t really do it for Aristine.
‘There’s no way I did it out of loyalty to the Princess of Silvanus, of all people!’
“Thank you.” (Aristine)
But when he saw the bright smile on Aristine’s face, the words of denial that were about to leave his mouth stopped.
‘Although it’s not true…definitely not true!’
There wasn’t exactly a reason to deny it.
‘This is part of my amazing plan since I have to get in her good graces!’
Mukali hardened his heart.
Everything was for his lord. To assess whether the new bride was having an affair or not!
In the meantime, they arrived in front of the tea room.
“Please enter, Princess Consort.”
Upon hearing Mukali’s courteous tone, Aristine looked up at him.
“What might you mean?” Mukali replied while pulling out Aristine’s chair.
Aristine got goosebumps for some reason.
“Act like usual.”
“You are our Princess Consort now.”
Mukali said as he sat down in his chair.
All this time, he purposefully did not treat Aristine with the proper respect/deference. Aristine, the party concerned, didn’t really care but…
‘It’s not that I’m being respectful because I acknowledge her as our Princess Consort. I need to get on her good side after all.’
This was the first time they had met after Aristine officially became the Princess Consort so naturally, Mukali intended to use a more respectful honorific with her.
Although the ‘majesty’ of the egg was so strong that he couldn’t help but revert to his habit when he heard it.
“It’s weird. You sound like a different person.” (Aristine)
“I am normally like this.” (Mukali)
At those words, Aristine went ‘heng’ and smiled.
“So General Mukali is normally like this. I never knew.”
Hearing that, Mukali looked at Aristine with surprise on his face. Aristine raised her chin slightly.
Eventually, Mukali gave in.
“Wow, I’ve never seen anyone unhappy with someone using formal speech.” (Mukali)
Even though he was grumbling, there was also a smile on Mukali’s face.
Soon enough, the maids served the refreshments.
‘Strawberry cream tea!’
As promised, Mukali served Aristine the strawberry cream tea.
Although he acted curtly, Mukali was a very kind person. He didn’t forget what he said in passing at that time and actually invited Aristine to his house for tea.
The butler poured tea into their teacups.
A refreshing and sweet scent spread from the steam, and ruby-tinted, sheer tea pooled in the cup.
After putting in a bunch of sugar, Aristine took a sip.
‘Oh, that is delicious.’
The scent that coursed through her nose was mesmerizing. And when it was put together with the scones Aristine brought, it was practically icing on the cake.
The pâtissier took extra care while making these particular scones so they were indescribably delicious. She really wanted to take this pâtissier with her when they divorced.
Mukali looked at Aristine’s face, which was melting with happiness, and chuckled. He felt somewhat hungry watching this and reached out for a scone.
The small scones were only a bite for Mukali.
“What do you think? It’s really tasty, isn’t it?”
Aristine asked with twinkling eyes. It was worth emphasizing how delicious it is.
Mukali’s only remaining eyes grew as big as saucers. But it was unlike a warrior to like scones so much.
“…It’s pretty good.”
Aristine smiled once she heard Mukali’s answer.
“Try it with this jam and clotted cream. Our pâtissier is very good at making jam too.”
She was right. Every sip of tea was accompanied by a piece of scone. As they ate, the pieces kept flying into his mouth endlessly.
The both of them happily enjoyed the teatime.
It was unknown how much time passed.
When Mukali saw that there was only one scone left, he suddenly came back to his senses.
‘Will this be okay as battle rations?’
It had a lot of butter and it tasted great, but the shelf life looked very short. Wasn’t the new pâtissier, who is good at making scones, hired by His Highness to develop new battle rations?
While Mukali was hesitating, Aristine was also contemplating.
There was only one piece left.
‘I want to eat it. I want to but…!’
The scones were already very delicious, but they were even more delicious today because the pâtissier seems to have ground their soul into it.
But she also wanted to concede this to Mukali.
Mukali must have come to help her under Tarkan’s orders, but she was still grateful for it.
After thinking about it for a bit, Aristine grimly turned to Mukali.
“What is it?”
Mukali was also solemn.
“You can have this one.”
Mukali, who had grown sullen along with her, leaked a dispirited smile.
‘Here I thought she was going to say something serious.’
He didn’t know why a princess, who should have grown up without lacking anything, was so emotional about one scone.
He had no intention of stealing the scone that this thumb princess treasured so much.
“I’m fine, so Your Highness, you can…”
“No. You eat it, Sir. Mukali.”
Her tone was very resolute.
Mukali turned to look at her in surprise and Aristine was looking at him sincerely.
Her purple eyes were filled with kindness and goodwill.
Mukali stayed silent for a while then he picked up the scone and ate it in one bite.
“…it’s really delicious.”
At those words, the corner of Aristine’s lips rose softly. Her eyes gently curved.
Her smile bloomed so beautifully that it would make the spring flowers cry in jealousy.
“Yeah,” Aristine briefly replied. But her expression and voice showed more.
This was the first time Aristine had ever made concessions for anyone. Because she had never anyone to concede to, nor anything to concede.
Now that she had done it for the first time, it felt really nice.
Aristine breathed in the warm air then she opened her mouth.
“Sir. Mukali. You mentioned helping me last time.”
At those words, Mukali straightened up.
“I have a favor to ask. I would like to meet him today since I happen to be out of the palace.”
Mukali’s heart was pounding. Aristine was showing her true colors. This was an opportunity to raid the scene. Sure enough, getting in her good graces was effective.
Even a cunning Silvanian was helplessly caught in his terrifying scheme.
Oddly enough, he wasn’t happy.
His wildly beating heart was more due to anxiety than anticipation and his face kept stiffening. He just didn’t want to let go of this tense feeling now that the moment was finally here.
Even when hunting demonic beasts, the calmest moment is the instant you end the life of the beast.
Mukali slowly opened his mouth.
“Of course, I will be glad to help.”
For some reason, his throat felt prickly.