You must be very shy (2)
* * *
‘What game are they playing now.’
Aristine quietly stared at the simple tea-table laid out before her. She already knew something was up when they set out with an old-fashioned carriage instead of using a portal.
Sure enough, she was right because she was unable to get out of the carriage for almost 10 days.
‘I can’t even feel my legs now.’
Because of that, she couldn’t even wash up or change her clothes. She tried to at least take off her uncomfortable dress but the knights kept knocking on her window so she couldn’t even do that.
But then, they suddenly told her she could come out and when she did, they claimed to have prepared a few refreshments for her…
‘It would be weirder if I wasn’t suspicious.’
“Have a seat.”
The maid’s words were polite but with her tone and attitude, it was practically an order. However, Aristine sat down without saying anything.
She was still acting as docile as she usually was in the palace.
‘It is not time yet.’
Aristine’s eyes swept over the armed escorts. Who knew whether they were guards, surveillance, or…
Regardless of who they were, the Empire had only just begun reorganizing so it needed time. Which meant it was not yet time for Aristine to die. But in a way, that also meant they could do anything to her, apart from killing her.
Ironically, Aristine, a princess of Silvanus, could only be protected when she arrived in Irugo, an enemy nation.
‘Although, time will only tell if I will truly be protected.’
Aristine stared into the teacup which was filled with black tea. Its shaky surface reflected Aristine’s composed face. She was yet to even touch the teacup, but the surface of the liquid kept wobbling, and soon, Aristine’s reflected face disappeared completely from its surface.
And in its place…
Was a different sight.
* * *
The sight reflected on the surface was that of the handmaid who had just ordered Aristine to sit down. Her attire was exactly the same as it was now.
Unlike Aristine, the maid was able to wash up and change clothes every day, so she was far more cleaned and groomed.
The maid was moving a pot of boiling water. Her destination was the tea table.
Or Aristine, to be more precise.
Inside the surface, the handmaid poured the boiling water on Aristine. Aristine’s burned face swelled up with redness.
[Oh no! I’m sorry, Princess.]
Despite what she said, the maid’s face was full of obvious ridicule. Her hands were rough and harsh as she wiped Aristine’s face with a cold towel. Her actions seemed to make the injures worse instead.
[Wow, she looks like a drenched rat.]
[It’s the perfect look for a barbarian’s bride.]
The other maids a little further away giggled and whispered among themselves as if they wanted Aristine to hear it.
The surface shook and it soon fell silent.
The scene from just now vanished into thin air and Aristine’s calm face was the only thing reflected back.
Just like it had been in the beginning.
This was Aristine’s ability.
The ability her father, the Emperor, desired so much.
But it was the ability he thought Aristine failed to obtain.
The reason why she couldn’t be considered a ‘success’ and ended up as a ‘failure’.
The Monarch’s Sight which manifested through a mirroring surface. It wasn’t just an ability to see into the future.
Aristine could see the future, past, and present through a surface. However, Aristine wasn’t able to see things just because she wanted to, and just because she didn’t want to see something didn’t mean it wouldn’t be shown to her.
In other words, she could not control it.
‘What shall I do.’
Tap, Tap, Tap.
Aristine’s index finger slowly tapped on the table. She could see the handmaid approaching out of the corner of her eye.
Carrying the boiling water.
For a brief moment, Aristine’s eyes went on alert. As soon as the maid got right next to her, Aristine sprang to her feet.
The maid screamed as she was doused in boiling water. When she saw the figure in front of her suddenly rise up, she reflexively stepped back but because her center of gravity shifted, the water she was carrying ended up pouring on herself.
The maid’s face swelled and reddened in the blink of an eye.
Aristine lamented, covering her mouth with her hand.
“My, my face, my face…!”
The other maids were shocked and hurriedly went to bring cold water. It was quite different from the scene she saw with the Monarch’s Sight.
After fussing over her for a while, one of the maids stood up and stomped over to Aristine.
“What are you going to do about this!”
“Why are you asking me?”
When Aristine threw back a question in response, the maid, Rosalyn, gaped in surprise. This scorned princess had the nerve to talk back to her now?
“All I did was stand up.” (Aristine)
“She poured the water on herself, you can’t blame me for it. Am I supposed to act as a babysitter for you guys?”
Aristine tilted her head.
“Well, it does look like you guys need a babysitter.”
This much was perfect.
She omitted the snide remarks she wanted to make, but the very slight lift at the corner of her mouth said a lot more than a hundred words could.
“Wha, What did you just…!”
“If you do not need a babysitter, you should have been careful.”
Aristine’s tone was as if she was just informing her of the truth.
Rosalyn couldn’t say anything in response. She was so startled and taken aback. However, the thing that annoyed her the most right now was the fact that she couldn’t think of any rebuttal.
‘To this dumb bitch of all people…!’
Her face heated up with humiliation.
While Rosalyn quieted down, Aristine sat down and sipped the black tea. Her back was straight as a line, and the movement of her wrist was as elegant as a swan.
Even though she hadn’t been able to wash up or change her clothes for almost 10 days, she looked as if she couldn’t be more relaxed.
The maids watching her huffed in disbelief. They wondered if the person they were seeing right now was really the princess they knew.
It wouldn’t be accurate to say they knew the princess well. But she was ‘that princess’, you know. The nuisance who was shoved out of the emperor’s sight and treated worse than strangers in the Imperial family.
The idiot who never got the chance to learn or be taught anything. A mentally unsound lunatic who had lived alone for most of her life.
‘Is this really that crazy princess?!’
That didn’t make any sense.
This wasn’t just different, it was different by a long shot.
Right, she probably just guessed right this time.
However, this was only just the beginning.