Episode 15: Hng (3)
The sound of the second hand moving in the clock echoed through the quiet bedroom.
Tarkan stared at the ceiling. And he just kept staring.
At some point, light cut through the thick blackout curtains. He had stayed up all night with his eyes open.
Tarkan quietly, but quickly, sat up.
Aristine was still fast asleep.
Tarkan stared at her face for a moment then he left the room.
He unwaveringly headed to his destination, which was his personal training hall.
He felt like he had to move his body.
The rising sun hit his silver blade causing its rays to shatter invisibly. His sword cut through the air and struck the ground.
The items in the training hall fell and broke as the ground shook slightly.
While the dust rose like a cloud, the silver sword flashed again. The cloud of dust swirled with the fierce black wind.
It was too intense of an exercise for something meant to be a morning warmup.
Tarkan stood in the midst of it all, and raised a brow, looking dissatisfied.
What did she mean by work harder? 
* * *
“Young master? What is that?”
The maids serving tea next to Mukali asked, after taking a peek.
There were small rabbits, squirrels, foxes, and other forest friends gathered together in Mukali’s large hands.
‘What’s going on?’
Everyone in the mansion knew that Mukali had a weakness for such cute and dainty little things. But because Mukali was trying so hard to act like he didn’t like then, they all inwardly smiled but covered their eyes and acted like they didn’t see anything.
‘So how come the young master is holding such a cute craft?’
Not only that, he was fiddling around with the forest friends, not even drinking his tea, as if he wanted to maids to notice it already.
When the maids showed interest like he wanted, Mukali couldn’t hide his elation and began to speak.
“Well, I’m not interested in this kind of thing at all, nor do I even like it…”
The maids answered in a familiar manner with glazed eyes as if they were used to this.
Mukali didn’t notice at all and smiled widely.
《Sir Mukali, thank you for granting my request. 》
When Mukali took Aristine to the palace yesterday, she gestured to him as he was about to leave.
Doing as she asked, Mukali held out a hand and something fell into his hand.
It was small ornaments in the form of a rabbit, squirrel, fox, and a long-tailed bushtit.
Mukali’s face wrinkled.
《 I am not interested in receiving things like this!》
He should have know the Thumb princess would like things that were just like herself.
《 Hm? Don’t you like this stuff?》
Aristine asked with puzzlement and Mukali jumped.
《 How can I like it! What do you mean? I don’t like such things at all!》
Despite saying that, he kept glancing at the items.
A rabbit with alert ears and a squirrel with puffy cheeks, clutching an acorn. A fox sleeping with its nose buried in its bushy tail, and a bushtit that was like a snowflake.
Mukali couldn’t close his fist or fully straighten them, so his fingers were just twitching.
《You kept looking at them earlier when we were with Ritlen. You like cute things, but it seems you’re not very honest.》
《 I said I don’t like it, why do you keep saying that!》
《 But there were a lot of similar things in the drawing room of your mansion.》
The drawing room where Mukali received Aristine was full of cute and lovely dolls.
《 T,That…! 》
Mukali was taken aback, and his eyes shook like there was an earthquake.
《 M-My younger cousin likes those! That’s why.》
《 Do you live with your cousin?》
《 I…well, no.》
Mukali’s voice grew small.
《 Then, is there only one drawing room in your mansion? Or perhaps there’s one catered to the Countess’ preferences.》
《 That…is a no too.》
Aristine snorted oddly and stared at Mukali.
Mukali shook his head fervently, unable to withstand her faze.
《 A-Anyway, I definitely don’t! This is not the type of thing I like.》
《 Sure, sure.》
Aristine gave a knowing smile and nodded her head. Her purple eyes were warm.
《 But even if you don’t like it, please accept it.》
Mukali looked proud of himself as he remembered what happened.
“It is a present from the Princess Consort, so it can’t be helped! I have no choice but to leave it in my room, really.”
At those words, the eyes of the court ladies who were listening unenthusiastically, changed.
“The Princess Consort?”
“Did Her Highness really give you that?”
The ladies who were standing by the table, gathered closer to Mukali.
The sight of the forest friends lying adorably in Mukali’s large hands was extremely lovely.
‘The Thumb Princess’ friends!’
A bright light flashed through the eyes of the maids.
“Shall we order a glass box or something?”
“It has to be preserved well.”
“What if you get little trees and flowers and put them in there?”
“Oh my, that’s a good idea.”
“Leave the arrangement to me.”
The maids chattered excitedly then they suddenly turned their heads to Mukali.
“This won’t do. Young master, you should go to training. We’ll have to turn your room upside down and tidy it up.”
These forest friends were his. Only he could do whatever he wanted with them.
“You’re bothering me. Get out.”
“Don’t ‘hng’ me. It won’t work. Go away.”
“Heng won’t work either. Out.”
Mukali generously waved the maids away with his free left hand. The forest friends were still preciously hugged with his right hand.
The maids left the room, pouting.
 The phrase used here can also be translated to ‘do better’ but I thought ‘work harder’ was a better fit for the context.
 ‘Hng’ is a sound used to try and act sad if that makes sense. ‘Heng’ is the ‘cuter’ version of that sound.