Episode 30: A Man’s Jealousy(5)
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In the mirrored surface, all the royals, including Aristine, were gathered together for a meal.
Judging by the size of the visible table, it seemed that all the immediate members of the royal family were gathered there.
Aristine’s eyes shook as she studied the scene.
‘I am wearing the same clothes I had on when I was accused of poisoning!’
This meant that this was the same day.
And judging by the fact that she was leisurely eating, this must have happened before she was accused.
Aristine hurriedly checked Nephther’s countenance.
With the limited angle available, she couldn’t see the faces of all the participants, but she could see Nephther.
Nephther’s expression didn’t look good, oddly enough, but it wasn’t noticeable without close observation.
However, he certainly didn’t look like he was going to die within a matter of hours.
‘Since his condition deteriorated so rapidly, is it really poison?’
Aristine studied every corner of the room as closely as possible.
The table was decorated with a vase of yellow chrysanthemums replaced at regular intervals, while an Irugoian-styled dinner was served.
People’s faces didn’t look that different from how they looked today. After checking the lengths of the princesses’ hair, Aristine narrowed her eyes.
‘I knew it; it’s this year.’
It was very unlikely that all the princesses, herself included, would grow their hair in the exact same way till the fall of next year or afterwards.
Right then, the Queen opened her mouth.
[It is undeniably wonderful to have the family all together. This is the first time since a new member arrived, isn’t it?]
Nephther slowly nodded.
Only then did Aristine realize that there was something strange about her future self’s expression in the mirrored surface.
She only noticed now because she was studying other people and observing the surroundings.
‘Why is my expression like that? Did I notice something about the poisoning?’
But it didn’t seem like that was the case.
Her expression looked shocked.
Her face didn’t show much emotions, but Aristine knew because it was herself. She knew that her future self was incredibly shocked.
Aristine’s gaze in the mirrored surface kept straying to one corner unconsciously.
‘What in the world is over there?’
Aristine couldn’t see it from her current viewing angle.
[That reminds me, I heard Hamill returned after wrapping up with the manastone mine?]
When the Queen said that, Nephther’s gaze turned to one side. It was the same corner that Aristine in the mirrored surface had been focused on.
‘So Hamill is back.’
It seems Hamill was sitting on the side that she couldn’t see.
‘I look that shocked because Hamill is back?’
That didn’t seem right.
A faint smile appeared on Nephther’s face, and he began to speak:
[Yes, Hamill has worked hard. You did well.]
[I only did my best to live up to Royal father’s expectations.]
‘Huh?’ Aristine tilted her head, ‘I’ve heard that voice somewhere before.’
The tone and manner of speaking was unfamiliar but the voice itself was familiar.
Before she could deliberate over her memories, the Queen began to speak.
Aristine decided to focus on the situation in the Monarch’s Sight for now.
[I was thinking it’s about time for Hamill to get married too.]
[Quibbling about marriage sequence is a matter of the past, but even Tarkan, who is younger than Hamill, is married.]
[I agree. It’s time for Brother Hamill to start a family together with a clever and beautiful young lady. Yenika can’t wait to see my sister-in-law.]
It was surprising to hear that from Yenikarina who didn’t seem like she would be happy to welcome a new sister-in-law.
Nephther went “Hmm” and fell into deep thought. He didn’t look that eager about the idea.
On the contrary, he looked like he was wondering what the queen’s intentions were.
He had enough reason to be suspicious.
There was a reason that Hamill’s marriage had been put off till now. The queen’s faction had been using the Princess Consort position as a bait to attract noble families.
The queen gave the daughters of prominent families hope that she would take them as her daughter-in-law.
Even though the nobles knew that the Queen acted the same way to other families, they couldn’t abandon their expectations.
On the contrary, there were some who even tried to show more loyalty to prove that the daughter of their family was better than other daughters.
Nephther thought that the queen would continue to use it politically but now she mentions marriage?
The Queen smiled at Nephther’s gaze which seemed to be asking what she was scheming.
[Even since our daughter-in-law came, the palace has been filled with bustle and liveliness, and it makes me look forward to having another new addition. So many joyous moments have happened in the royal family since Aristine arrived. She has also been a great influence on Irugo’s development.]
It was a little scary to hear such words from the Queen of all people.
[Moreover, I must be getting old because I’m starting to want to see my grandchildren.]
Nephther stared at the Queen.
A benevolent smile was still plastered on her face.
Eventually, Nephther nodded.
[Alright. I’ll give it a thought.]
After nodding, he wiped his mouth with a napkin.
Seeing that, Aristine in the mirrored surface opened her mouth worriedly.
[Royal father, is the food not to your liking?]
[You don’t seem to have eaten much.]
[I know you like this, Royal father. Should Yenika give you?]
Paellamien and Yenikarina also spoke, immediately after her.
Nephther shook his head.
[My stomach is a little upset, that’s all.]
[You don’t feel well? Let’s summon a royal doctor right now and…]
[No need for such a fuss,] Nephther said, cutting her off, [It’s just indigestion.]
With those words, Nephther stood up to leave as if to say that any further commotion was unnecessary.
It was at that moment—.
Nephther’s body collapsed powerlessly to the floor.