Episode 17: To someone else’s wife (2)
Aristine’s lips curled when she saw her employee going straight to the topic of work on their first day.
“I’ve been thinking about it. Since the princess consort’s physique is very different from Irugo people, I need to make new accessories just for you…”
Ritlen began explaining earnestly.
The image he had in his head of Aristine draped in ornaments was vividly drawn. It was very beautiful. No, calling it beautiful wasn’t enough.
It would be quite the complex process, but Ritlen was confident that he could pull it off.
‘…What I want to make is…’
Something unknown was stirring and blossoming in his chest.
He didn’t know why he kept thinking of a sword when he saw Aristine. All Irugoian blacksmiths dream and long for swords, but Ritlen was different.
He wasn’t exactly obsessed with swords, rather he created what was in his mind, little by little. But for once, he was inspired by something outside, Aristine, instead of something inward.
When he looked at Aristine, his talented blacksmithing spirit kept stirring.
He wanted to make a sword.
Was it because he felt her silver hair was the same shade as a sword? But that sharpness didn’t suit her.
A symbol of peace, a guardian angel who brought an end to a long war, an angel of hope. Those were all the titles given to her.
And Ritlen deeply agreed with those.
It wasn’t because of Tarkan and Aristine’s political marriage.
The moment Aristine saved him. The moment she pulled him out when he was about to fall into despair, Ritlen realized.
With this person, this person who saved him, he couldn’t help but think of a sharpness that hurt.
It didn’t make sense.
Of course, in Irugo which was a country of warriors, a sword was sacred. But in the end, a sword’s essence was to reap lives.
“…so, I was thinking of doing it this way.”
Unlike his complex thoughts, Ritlen calmly talked about the accessories for Aristine. But even now, when he looked into Aristine’s eyes, he still thought of a sword.
A sword that was sharper than any other sword.
Like that dagger that Aristine praised.
“Wow, you’ve really thought about this. It’s beautiful and looks comfortable. Aa amazing as I thought.”
Aristine looked at the drawings with admiration.
Ritlen rubbed his neck bashfully. A faint smile appeared on his face.
Aristine said firmly.
Ritlen instantly wilted. Did he perhaps push too hard and not match Aristine’s preferences? He felt sorry for his long explanation.
“I didn’t scout you to make things for me to wear. If it was for that, I wouldn’t have taken you from Catallaman.”
She would have just put in a request then.
“Swords are called a lot of things. An object used to protect people, or a vicious device for killing people.”
Ritlen nodded his head.
Irugo mostly focused on the latter.
“But even with a sword used for protection, you cannot deny that it was made for killing and injuring in the end.”
That was why Irugoians bore the stigma of being savages. When people thought of Irugo, what came to mind were swords and the warriors wielding them in battle.
Ritlen lowered his head.
He knew that, which is why he felt guilty for daring to think of a sword when he saw Aristine.
A calm voice called his name.
Ritlen looked up at Aristine.
“Would you like to make a sword that saves lives with me?”
And rake in a ton of money.
Aristine smiled brightly.
* * *
Tarkan walked down the hallway with dissatisfaction on his face.
《 Alright, we need to talk business,》Aristine said while waving her hand.
Tarkan wanted to stay longer but he had no excuse to. He had no choice but to leave the palace forge.
‘Ritlen…that’s definitely the same guy from the welcome banquet.’
《 Hey, Tarkan. Who is that man?》
He remembered Aristine staring at one man with sparkling eyes then asking him that question.
He had already gotten a separate report about Ritlen but there was nothing particularly special about the man. Actually, the man was so incompetent that Tarkan didn’t understand why he caught Aristine’s eye.
He was recognized for his talent from a young age and caught the eye of Volatun, the head of the Catallaman forge, but that was it. As time passed, he lost his talent and was now called the shame of Catallaman.
Tarkan was a warrior, so he had seen a lot of talented children grow up and also seen how easily they could fall apart. Either their talent fades away fruitlessly, they reach their limit quickly, or they find it difficult to blossom.
Ritlen probably belonged to one of those categories.
‘He doesn’t seem that eye-catching.’
Now that he thought about it, Aristine’s interest in Ritlen didn’t start at the smithy but at the welcome banquet. And obviously, Ritlen wasn’t doing blacksmithing work then.
‘…She can’t possibly like his appearance and not his skill.’
Despite thinking that wasn’t the case, Tarkan’s eyes turned sharp.
Curly, golden-brown hair and slightly droopy eyes with olive-green pupils. A good physique befitting of his profession as a blacksmith, paired with an innocent face. Along with developed muscles and taut veins.
‘Is that the type she likes?’
As the thought arose in his mind, Tarkan snorted.
That was nonsense.
Aristine was a smart woman. Her mind was chock full of business so there was no way she would choose someone just because of that. Actually, no matter what Aristine’s type was, it was none of his business.
Tarkan’s footsteps came to a stop.
The sword dinged softly as it was drawn halfway from the sheath. Tarkan looked at the blade which reflected back his face as clear as a mirror.
He had never really paid attention to his appearance. Even when he looked in the mirror, he didn’t really pay attention to what he looked like.
But now, he was doing something he had never done in his life.
‘…We are nothing alike.’
Ritlen and Tarkan were complete opposites, appearance-wise.
Tarkan gave off a sharp impression, like a sharpened sword.
On the other hand, Ritlen looked soft and amiable, giving off a good impression. And he had a thick chest that seemed ready to almost burst through the fabric.
The sword was sheathed again.
Tarkan started walking again, like nothing happened. But his steps were much rougher than before.
His hand was stealthily placed on his chest. It felt hot, firm, and flexible to the touch. Pectoral muscles this developed were rare.**
But Ritlen was no easy opponent.
He had to go check on(scold) the warriors and make sure they were training well. As he made his way to the training hall, he heard a coquettish voice.
“Your Highness Tarkan.”
As the voice fell, the sound of a voluminous dress moving could be heard — a rare sight in Irugo.
Tarkan’s forehead furrowed.
It was Aristine’s handmaids.
“Where are you going in such a hurry, Your Highness?”
“The weather is so nice today, how about a cup of tea?”
“Let us wait on you and serve tea.”
The maids spoke in high-pitched voices, trying to turn on their charm.
Tarkan stared at them without saying a word.
Feeling his gaze in her direction, Brodie wore a flirtatious smile and drew closer to him. It was a little scary, but it made him even more attractive. Tarkan’s gaze alone made her want to heave heavily.
Brodie placed her hand on Tarkan’s arm.
At the firm and hot sensation, she unconsciously moved her fingers, stroking his muscles.
“Hah, my lord. Come this way. I, Brodie, want to serve you tea.”
Tarkan’s golden eyes cut through Brodie’s face.
**Is this the battle of the chests????