Episode 24: Just because you’re cute (7)
“I can just come and see Zodiac’s cats from time to time! He did say I can see them as much as I want.”
Tarkan’s eyebrow twitched.
He didn’t like this. What if they got too close while talking about cats?
“That guy is crazy about cats and work.”
“Is that so?”
“He is definitely not normal.”
“Isn’t it a good thing to be crazy about work? I’m grateful that he put so much effort into selling my scalpels.”
He was talking about the man’s bad points but for some reason, her favor towards him only increased.
He couldn’t get annoyed at Aristine who was having so much fun by herself and humming excitedly.
“Miss Angel of Peace.”
Tarkan called out teasingly and Aristine instantly spun around to look at him.
“Don’t call me that.”
“Then, Miss Goddess of Peace?”
Seeing Aristine immediately get angry, Tarkan’s lips relaxed.
Angel of peace, goddess, saviour of the sick, and what not. Those were the ridiculous names affixed to Aristine.
The Aristine that Tarkan knew was a woman whose thoughts flew in completely unpredictable directions. She was thin and weak, yet fearlessly proactive. You might think she was quick-witted one second but the next, it was all gone. And she was so incredibly stubborn.
‘I mean, she’s just treating someone like a pervert.’
Despite grumbling inwardly, he was still smiling. Other people didn’t know this side of Aristine.
They thought of her as an infallible existence, with noble intentions.
‘But actually, she’s a bit clumsy.’
As he thought that, Tarkan’s golden eyes softened, looking as sweet as honey. To the point that people glancing at them unconsciously blushed or felt embarrassed.
“So, Miss Angel, is there anything you want to do?”
“No, Mister Pervert,” Aristine replied curtly.
“Really? You could have met the head merchant in the palace but you purposefully came outside.”
At those words, Aristine shut her mouth.
Tarkan was right.
The royal palace was expansive, with a lot of sights to see, but she had always been curious about the world outside.
“…How did you find out?”
“Who knows,” Tarkan said, stretching out his arm and Aristine placed her hand on his arm like she was giving in.
“So, what do you want to do?”
“…I want to eat that hotdog.”
A rustic breeze whirled by.
With every step that Aristine and Tarkan took, people moved aside like a splitting sea.
The merchant who was grilling skewers stared blankly at the two people standing in front of his stall. He was so flustered that he had no idea what to do.
‘S-Should I kneel down? No, they are in disguise right now, aren’t they? But anyone can see it is His Highness Tarkan and Her Highness Aristine! But still, they are in plain clothes, no?’
While the merchant was agonizing about it, Aristine was busy studying the menu and mumbled.
“…so many options.”
She saw someone eating a hotdog in her Monarch’s Sight and it looked so delicious that she wanted to try it once she got out. But she didn’t think there would be so many varieties.
‘What exactly do I eat then?’
Tarkan looked at Aristine, whose eyes were darting all over the menu, then he spoke, “One mozzarella sausage hot dog. With sugar, ketchup, and mustard, the whole thing.”
Aristine’s eyes turned at Tarkan.
“You like cheese. And sweet things too.”
“Mn. You know me well, hm?”
Cheese and sweets were among the things she ate for the first time after coming here. She never mentioned liking them but Tarkan amazingly knew.
Tarkan turned away without replying.
In the meantime, the hot dog was served and Aristine nervously received it.
She blew on the steaming hot dog and took a big bite. With a crunch, the salty, sweet, spicy, and stimulating flavors enveloped her tongue. And with the addition of the stringy cheese, she was instantly filled with happiness.
Seeing Aristine’s puffed-up cheeks, Tarkan chuckled. He didn’t even need to ask how it was.
Aristine tugged at Tarkan’s sleeves excitedly.
“Tarkan, I want to try the lemonade over there too. The blue one.”
She had tried a few drinks since she arrived at Tarkan’s palace but never a blue one.
And so, just like that, she got a lemonade along with a chicken skewer, then a chocolate banana crepe and a vanilla cone ice-cream.
Tarkan kept saying, “Eat it first then we’ll buy another,” but everything bought everything she could lay her hands on.
Eventually, Tarkan’s hands were packed with street food.
“Having big hands must be nice.”
Aristine spoke in awe as she watched Tarkan hold a lemonade cup with three fingers.
“I didn’t know my husband was so talented.”
Tarkan was speechless. It wasn’t enough to use him like a porter, now he was getting this sort of compliment.
No one else could ever say such things to him.
“Well, I’m glad you finally recognize that.”
Tarkan mumbled drily.
Aristine lowered her head and took a sip from the lemonade cup that Tarkan was holding.
“Oh, that’s refreshing.”
The refreshing taste chased away the summer heat.
“Take a sip too. Don’t you feel hot? The drink is very refreshing.”
When Aristine said that, Tarkan’s gaze fell on the lemonade. There was a straw in the middle of the cup.
Of course, it was only one straw.
“…You want me to drink this?”
“You’re not hot? It’s a little sour but it’s still tasty. And refreshing.”
Aristine didn’t seem to think anything of it.
Tarkan’s gaze turned back to the straw.
There was no sign of it but he could vividly recall Aristine’s lips constantly touching the straw.
‘No, no. It’s not.’
Why was he the one being conscious of this?
Just as Aristine was indifferent to this, he should be indifferent too.
Tarkan’s put his lips to the straw. With a gulp, the lemonade glided down his throat.
“So? Refreshing, isn’t it?”
Tarkan nodded slowly.
Refreshing or not, he had absolutely no idea. He couldn’t even taste it.
Aristine held out the chicken skewer in her hand.
“This is also delicious. A little spicy though.”
Tarkan ate that too. She said it was spicy, but he couldn’t really taste it.
“The food here is not as tasty as the ones in the palace, but it’s still pretty good, right?”
Aristine said, waving her empty skewer.
She looked back at him, as if waiting for him to confirm and Tarkan slowly nodded his head.
He patted Aristine’s head with his empty hand, “I liked it too.”
Tarkan was a very picky eater. Street food like this normally wouldn’t taste good to him but oddly enough, he enjoyed it.
Even though he could barely taste it.
“By the way, don’t do this with anyone else.”
At those words, Aristine looked up. Tarkan’s hand was still on top of her head.
“Of course not.”
Aristine replied like that was absurd.
Beneath the summer sun, her purple eyes looked lighter and clearer. Tarkan felt like something was sinking in the pit of his stomach. A thud echoed throughout his body.
Of course, she wouldn’t do this with anyone else, that—. Those words…
“This is a little undignified, you know. Today counts as a disguise anyway.”
Aristine smiled mischievously.
Although pretty much everyone recognized them, at least, they weren’t going on their knees, crying ‘Your Highness!’.
Tarkan looked down at Aristine for a while, sighed and released his hand.
He already knew she was this kind of woman.