Episode 30: A Man’s Jealousy(3)
While the strange silence hung in the air, Aristine poked her head out of Tarkan’s arms and said, “Oh, let me introduce you. This is Lu. Lu, as you already know, this is my husband.”
At that simple introduction, Tarkan’s eyes twitched.
Aristine nodded very naturally.
Tarkan’s twitching brows twitched internally this time.
‘Why is she calling him by his pet name?’
And it wasn’t even just a pet name. No one called Hamill ‘Lu’ anymore. Because Hamill did not allow it.
But why was Aristine allowed?
Despite thinking that, Tarkan couldn’t bring himself to ask. Because he was afraid, he would get answers like, ‘because we’re close’ or ‘because I like him’.
“It has been a while,” Hamill said, bowing his head slightly towards Tarkan.
Tarkan’s face distorted, “What bullshit is this?”
His tone was sharp and laced with warning.
Hamill blinked in surprise, “What? I am just offering my greeting.”
Tarkan couldn’t understand why this fox was acting like this.
But he quickly found out why. Because Aristine tugged on his collar.
“Tarkan, what’s wrong? This is my friend,” Aristine said to Tarkan.
Aristine realized the air flowing between the two was strange and the moment she thought that, she remembered what Hamill told her some time ago.
《My family forbids getting close to you, Princess Consort.》
It was his response when she asked him which family he was from.
In other words, he was a member of a family in the Queen’s faction which was hostile to Tarkan.
‘That might be true politically, but privately, he’s just my friend.’
Of course, she knew not to mix official and private matters.
‘But I don’t see any political benefit in speaking so sharply right now.’
Aristine coaxed the growling Tarkan, feeling like a beast trainer.
“Your friend?” Tarkan asked.
“Mn, my friend.”
“What kind of friend is…!” Tarkan, who had been talking harshly, suddenly shut his mouth.
He seemed to ponder over something for a moment, then he asked Aristine in a quiet voice, “What about me?”
“You’re my husband, no?” Aristine retorted, as if asking why he was asking something obvious.
“Right, I am your husband. Your one and only husband,” Tarkan grinned like a satisfied beast.
Aristine gave Tarkan a baffled look.
‘Did he eat something wrong? Why is he acting like this all of a sudden?’
However, Tarkan wasn’t looking at Aristine. He grinned at Hamill and added, “And there are many friends.”
“Yes, among them, I am a ‘dear friend’,” Hamil smiled softly. His tone seemed to focus on the word ‘dear’. 
Sparks of lightning immediately flashed between the two men.
Aristine went ‘hmm’ and thought to herself, ‘Is this what happens when you meet a political opponent?’
There was a saying in Silvanus that goes ‘the Imperial faction and Aristocrat faction are friends by day, enemies by night.’
So she didn’t expect the atmosphere here to be so sharp.
‘Then again, even the Queen’s behavior is very sharp.’
Either way, since the mood was like this, there was no need to interact with them any longer.
“It’s time for me to get back,” Aristine said and slipped out of Tarkan’s arms.
Tarkan immediately wrapped his arms around her shoulder, “Yes, let’s go back.”
As Tarkan spoke, Hamill politely took Aristine’s hand and lifted it.
“If you’re going to the smithy, let me escort you,” His elegant eyes fluttered softly.
With her shoulders held by Tarkan and her hand held by Hamill, Aristine couldn’t move.
‘Wow, what is wrong with these two?’
Since they were already fighting over political interests, it seemed they’d decided to fight over everything in front of them.
‘This is annoying.’
She didn’t care what the two of them were arguing about, but she didn’t want to be a part of it.
Using her free hand, Aristine grabbed Tarkan’s hand which was hanging over her shoulder.
Tarkan’s face brightened and Hamill’s face darkened.
In that brief moment, there was an exchange of joy and disappointment.
Aristine placed Tarkan’s hand in Hamill’s. She didn’t just put them together; she even wove their fingers together so that their fingers were interlocked.
“You two can have fun by yourselves.”
Aristine strode off into the forest alone.
The two men were left behind, holding each other’s hand tightly.
* * *
Tarkan and Hamill were so taken aback that they forgot to react. They watched Aristine vacantly until she disappeared into the forest trail, and when her figure vanished, they finally came back to their senses.
They immediately let go of each other’s hands.
Tarkan grumbled under his breath. He knew his wife was an unusual woman but he could never predict her sometimes.
Meanwhile, Hamill wiped his mouth while looking in the direction that Aristine had disappeared.
A deep smile hung over his lips.
This was the first time Hamill had ever shown so much interest in a person. Tarkan’s mood fell and he felt even more anxious.
“What game are you playing?”
At those words, Hamill’s blue eyes turned to Tarkan.
“We just met coincidentally and became friends.”
Say something that makes sense; the royal palace was so vast that a coincidental meeting was next to impossible.
Sensing Tarkan’s disbelief, Hamiil laughed.
“It will sound like you have delusional jealousy if you keep acting like that.”
“That’s nonsense,” Tarkan brushed off Hamill’s words, “What was with that weird formal speech earlier? It looks like you’re hiding your true nature and pretending to be gentle in front of Aristine but just so you know, that won’t work on her.”
Tarkan said in a warning tone.
Hamill was like a fox. Countless people have instantly given their hearts to him. Not just women but men as well. They became followers of Hamill and added to the powers supporting him.
“Tarkan,” Hamill’s eyes curved in an arc as he looked at his half-brother, “Wives don’t like delusional jealousy.”
Tarkan couldn’t help but freeze for a moment. It was almost reflexive.
Hamill looked amused when he saw that and smiled, “See you around then.”
Hamill turned around while waving back.
Tarkan frowned and glared at the platinum-blonde hair swaying softly in the wind.
* * *
The door roughly flew open.
Aristine looked up from water basin. She knew who it was the moment she heard that rough sound.
As expected, Tarkan walked in and called her.
When she responded quietly, his momentum seemed to disappear overnight, and he hesitantly drew closer.
Aristine asked, even though she could somewhat predict what Tarkan wanted.
‘He’s obviously going to ask about Lu.’
Since she was playing nice with one of Tarkan’s political opponents, he was bound to have questions.
Aristine planned on explaining everything as honestly as possible. That was a courtesy owed to her business partner.
‘Is he angry with me?’
She sneakily glanced at Tarkan but there was no sign of anger on his face. No, rather than angry, he looked anxious and nervous.
Seeing that, Aristine felt bad and decided that to listen to whatever Tarkan had to say.
Tarkan swallowed the words he wanted to say several times.
What are you doing with Hamill? Do you really like him? Why are you calling him so affectionately by his pet name?
The words he wanted to say felt like they were pouring out his heart. But right now, more than anything else—.
Aristine was puzzled by those words, but she obliged, “Tarkan?”
She called him like he asked but for some reason, Tarkan’s expression turned fiercer.
Tarkan ground his teeth.
‘Why is that fox bastard ‘Lu’ while I am just Tarkan?’
But he didn’t want to force it.
Rather than Aristine calling him with pet name because he asked her to, he wanted her to call him a pet name of her own volition.
‘And me too, I want to—.’
Tarkan looked straight at Aristine trying to calm his burning face.
And he carefully began to say Aristine’s nickname, as if he was handling glass that would break with the slightest nudge.
Aristine tilted her head when he didn’t continue speaking.
Tarkan clenched his stomach and opened his mouth courageously. A courage that had never appeared before, even in life-threatening battles.
 This is slightly lost in translation, but Hamill says, ‘Among them, I am a ‘friend she likes’. Which usually translates to ‘close friend’ or even ‘favorite friend’ but he’s using it ambiguously so I used a term which can have that connotation.
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