Episode 25: Are you a gold-digger? (2)
The man gave a faint smile, “You are more beautiful in person than in the pictures I’ve seen.”
“Thank you,” Aristine replied with a smile. At this point, she was used to the flattery directed to people in power.
The man stretched a hand towards Aristine, “Nothing can capture this vibrant color properly.”
He gently caught the strands of her silver hair that were fluttering brilliantly in the summer sun. Her silver hair slid through his fingertips.
“Even your eyes are different from the pictures. It is a very peculiar color. Like the morning dawn.”
“Thank you. You look good too.”
His bright-blue eyes widened, as if he didn’t expect Aristine’s compliment. And the next moment, he burst out laughing.
The golden afternoon sun lazily fell on his face, making his face look softer.
“Ah, thank you. I’m flattered that you think so, Princess Consort.”
His voice was filled with laughter.
“That’s good then. I shall take my leave. Watch out for bird poop.”
Aristine said her goodbye.
She could tell the man wanted to talk a little more. But she had to go to the smithing forge later so she wanted to relax and enjoy her alone time right now.
She only talked to the man because she couldn’t just let him get hit by bird poop.
As Aristine prepared to leave right away, a hint of interest appeared on the man’s face.
“Do you often go for a walk at this time?”
Aristine, who was about to turn around, paused at those words and looked at the man.
“Why do you ask?” she returned the question.
The man smiled softly, “I was wondering if I could see the Princess Consort when I come out.”
Aristine went, “Hm,” and tilted her head.
“Isn’t it lonely in a foreign country? I think it would be nice to make friends.”
‘I knew it.’
Aristine nodded to herself once the man said that. She was suspecting it and sure enough.
Aren’t you lonely, madam? Let’s be friends.
She had heard those words quite a bit with the Monarch’s Sight.
The man in front of her was saying something similar.
After reaching a decision, Aristine asked without skipping a beat, “You, are you a gold-digger?”
* * *
The man, Hamill, froze and his lips fell open slightly. He always had a smile on his face and acted relaxed but in this situation, he couldn’t help but lose his footing.
He muttered unconsciously.
A gold-digger; wasn’t that a playboy who deliberately approaches women to extort money?
This was the first time in his life that he had ever been treated like a gold-digger.
That was only natural.
He was the first son of the King of Irugo and also the first-in-line to the throne.
An existence closest to the position of King.
But a gold-digger?
That word had never had a connection with him all his life.
“Sorry, but I’m not interested. I’m already busy enough making money.”
The princess in front of him didn’t even know his internal battle, and spoke like this was a hassle.
Her husband was Tarkan, of all people; how can she be busy making money?
When Hamill said that, Aristine thought to herself, ‘oh no’.
‘Gold-diggers always approach people for money. I shouldn’t talk about money.’
At this rate, he would try to stick to her rather than go away.
She didn’t think a gold-digger would come sniffing like a ghost the moment that her scalpel business succeeded.
‘The world is a scary place.’
She had to be careful, or she might lose her nose.
Aristine braced herself and spoke to Hamill, “Besides, when I get home, my rabbit-like husband and foxlike court ladies are waiting for me.”
Hamill muttered without even realizing it.
Right now, she was comparing her husband–that is, Tarkan–to a rabbit.
Hamill thought back to his half-brother. That guy was more like an Irugoian than anyone else.
He felt wild, rugged and raw, with a tenacious aura whirling around him.
‘But to call him a rabbit…’
Rabbit ears sprouted on top of Tarkan’s head in Hamill’s imagination.
‘This princess…is an incredible person.’
Incredible in all sorts of ways, for sure.
“Since you call me Princess Consort, you must know too, right? I am a married woman.”
Regardless of what Hamill was imagining, Aristine was determined to ward off this gold-digger.
Anyone with a conscience wouldn’t go after a married man or woman.
‘Oh, wait. Gold-diggers only target wives, don’t they?’
She remembered too late. A gold-digger had no conscience in the first place.
“Anyway, I am not interested.”
Aristine thoroughly drew a line.
“I simply wanted to be friends. Because I am curious about you, Princess Consort.”
However, the gold-digger was persistent.
“And the more we talk, the more curious I am,” Hamill tilted his head and broadened his lips.
A few strands of his light platinum-blonde hair fell down his face alongside his movement. Regardless of gender, his face was striking enough to stun you for a second.
But it didn’t work on Aristine.
“Mhm, that’s what gold-diggers always say.”
Aristine replied with an adamant smile.
To be suddenly treated like a gold-digger and have your rebuttals ignored, it was enough to make someone angry but the interest in Hamill’s eyes only deepened.
“Oh dear, what can I say to make you believe me?”
Even though his voice was sad, Aristine shrugged insincerely.
“Let’s see, maybe if we separate now and never run into each other again?”
Hamill’s smile deepened.
‘That is impossible, regardless of what I do.’
Now that he had returned to the royal place, running into Aristine was unavoidable. Although she would face him as the 1st Prince Hamill, not as a gold-digger who was doing a poor job.
He was curious to see Aristine’s expression when that happened.
“Will you believe me if I tell you a secret about Prince Hamill?”
Aristine turned to Hamill at those unexpected words. The bothered look in her eyes instantly turned serious.
“Don’t you want to know? He is your rabbit-like husband’s political opponent, after all.”
Hamill’s exquisite and elegant eyes curved, almost enticingly.
Aristine stared at him for a moment and said flatly, “Secrets and weaknesses are two different things.”
“But a secret means there is an attempt to hide it.”
“So, I find out this secret, and then what?” Aristine chuckled, “I use it to make threats?”
Hamill smiled deeply without replying.
“Why should I do such a thing?” Aristine asked, cocking her head to one side, “I will not avoid a fight coming my way. And if there is something I want, I don’t mind fighting to get it.”
Aristine was always ready to throw down.
“However,” her purple eyes turned to Hamill again, “I do not plan on using cowardly means to attack first.”
Hearing her pure yet unwavering voice, Hamill smiled. His smile was perfectly smooth, giving it a sense of incongruity.
“To think you distinguish between cowardly and not-cowardly in a political fight.”
He swallowed those ending words and narrowed his eyes.
“I am neither naïve nor a fool,” Aristine accurately pointed out the words Hamill swallowed and continued, “I am confident enough in myself that I know I do not have to resort to such means.”
Hamill paused and gazed at Aristine.
Rather than calling a gaze, it was more like his eyes were dissecting Aristine.
His blue eyes gleamed clearly under his golden eyelashes. His gem-like turquoise eyes. They were beautiful, cold, and indifferent.
“Of course, if Prince Hamill takes a hold of my weakness and makes a cowardly move—,” Aristine raised a clenched fist, “I will show him what a real dirty play looks like.”
Her tone was quite firm.
Hamill’s smile flickered for a second, then it deepened.
I’ll show you what a real dirty play is.
There was no one else in this word who would dare to say such a thing with such confidence.
His stomach bubbled with laughter.
‘Then I’m looking forward to that.’
Hamill inwardly replied and smiled.