You, be my colleague (2)
That one word popped into Ritlen’s mind.
The light cast against Aristine’s back drew a faint outline of her body. The spring sun sprang from her back like a pair of wings.
The only existence who could pull him up from the edge of a cliff he was hanging on to.
Ritlen stretched his hand out to her without realizing it.
He was startled by the soft and warm sensation that touched the palm of his hand. He couldn’t help but wonder if it was okay for him to dare touch her with his own hands which were rock-hard and even coated with molten iron.
But before Ritlen could even pull back his hand, Aristine grabbed his. As if saying she wasn’t going to let go.
Aristine’s hand pulled him to his feet.
There was no way those feeble arms could pull him up, but before he knew it, he shifted his weight to his knees and stood up.
“Here, this is yours, right?”
Aristine held the withdrawn dagger out to Ritlen.
Ritlen unconsciously received the dagger. The dagger he made, that almost cut off his finger.
“It’s a good dagger.”
Aristine said with a smile. Her smile was dazzling and blended well with the golden spring sun.
Although it was a very simple dagger, it was unique because it fit well in Aristine’s hand which was much smaller than the typical Irugoian. Furthermore, there was its cutting power which she had seen through her Monarch’s Sight.
Aristine’s eyes twinkled.
‘I want him to work for me already.’
Mukali walked up to her and held out his hand. He meant to escort her.
Mukali’s expression was quite hardened and Aristine put her hand on his arm with a puzzled look on her face.
Mukali’s one-eye took on a glint and he looked over the crowd.
The men who had just been watching because they were surprised by the sudden appearance of the Princess Consort instantly came to their senses and got on their knees.
“Greetings to the Princess Consort.”
Aristine looked down at them and quietly opened her mouth.
“I would like you to look back at yourself to see who is really behind the reputation of Catallaman forge.”
After leaving behind those words, she turned around and left without any hesitation.
The men flushed in shame. To think their dirty and cowardly act would be discovered by the noblest personage.
‘Because of that bastard, the Princess Consort…!’
—Is what they thought but they weren’t stupid enough to cause another incident right after Aristine warned them.
They furiously glared at Ritlen, but Ritlen didn’t care about their looks at all.
His olive-green eyes only chased after Aristine’s back which was getting further and further away.
* * *
Turbulent energy swirled around Mukali as he escorted Aristine away.
Aristine spoke up as she noticed it, but she did not get a response.
Instead, he just kept walking.
Aristine quietly followed his lead then she stopped walking and forced her legs in place. However, she was extremely light for Mukali, so she was pulled a few steps forward and staggered on her feet.
Even so, because of it, Mukali stopped walking.
She thought he was now willing to talk but he stubbornly refused to look at her.
It was only when she called him again that Mukali turned to look at Aristine. His action was so rough that she almost expected a ‘swish’ sound.
“With how small you are, you…!”
Mukali burst out.
Everyone in Irugo was a head taller than Aristine. The women were at least that much, and the men were even bigger.
Among men, blacksmiths had the largest physiques and solidified bodies. It was inevitable since they had to smelt, hammer, and temper every day in front of a fire, hot enough to melt iron.
But to think she would dare to run into the midst of such rugged men! And the other party was holding a knife!
In the midst of them, Aristine looked like a reed swaying with the wind.
Mukali trembled, unable to contain his anger. He had tried his best to hold back what he’d been wanting to say. If he spoke carelessly to Aristine in front of others, it would hurt her prestige.
But now that there was no one around, he didn’t need to hold back.
“What were you going to do if you got hurt?!”
Mukali said as he grabbed Aristine’s shoulders. Her shoulders felt as thin as a piece of paper under his thick hands and that made him even more angry and annoyed.
Even as he clenched his teeth, Mukali tried to use the least force possible in his hand.
However, this irresponsible Princess only shrugged her shoulders with a nonchalant look on her face.
“One look at me and they’ll immediately know who I am, so I didn’t see myself getting hurt.”
As she said, her race alone was different so they couldn’t help but recognize Aristine. Even more so since Aristine’s face was still in the newspaper.
“When people’s eyes turn red, they don’t see anything else! Did those men look in their right mind?”
“Well, that’s true.”
When Aristine nodded her head and easily agreed, Mukali felt like he was going to lose it.
“But still,” Aristine spat out, “Sir. Mukali is by my side, so I thought it was fine.”
Her expression was casual as if she was just speaking a natural truth.
“Isn’t that right?”
Her purple eyes reminiscent of a dawning sky stared at him without any doubt.
Nothing was done but Mukali felt strength rushing out of his hand.
“That…that is right.”
Aristine smiled with an expression that said, ‘then that’s settled.’
Mukali looked at her with confusion in his eyes.
Something wasn’t right.
But something about it made him feel good.
While Mukali was tilting his head to ponder, Aristine took a step forward.
“Let’s hurry up and get inside. I came here without notice, so I ought to be polite.”
They had been about to enter the building when they heard some loud noise and hurriedly changed direction. When Aristine saw the magnolia tree, she thought ‘no way’ before running and her prediction came true.
Just as she saw in the Monarch’s sight, Ritlen was being subdued by the men. And the silver blade of the dagger shone coldly.
‘I didn’t think it was today.’
It was amazing timing.
The question of whether she should intervene and change the future disappeared the moment she saw Ritlen.
His face was overwhelmed with despair.
Hope appeared like dawn on his face when his finger was saved without any injury.
Even if this incident became the trigger for a bad future, Aristine would not regret saving Ritlen.
As she was thinking about that, she arrived in front of the building that served as the blacksmith forge reception.