A Trap (8)
As if giving a forewarning, his breath fell on Aristine’s lips.
And the next moment, his lips and Aristine’s lips—.
“You cannot do this! How dare you!”
“The Princess Consort is resting right now!”
“Quiet! We are only here to arrest the criminal!”
Aristine’s eyes widened at the commotion coming from outside.
She quickly pushed Tarkan away and sprang to her feet.
‘No, no, no, no!’
What was she about to do just now?
After seeing that future where she was cuddled up with Tarkan, she was staying vigilant to prevent it from repeating itself so what…!
‘What a dangerous chest!’
Her memory was hazy from the moment her face touched Tarkan’s chest. A chest so terrifying that it paralyzed thought and hypnotized you.
Aristine glared at Tarkan’s chest.
‘I need to stay focused.’
This wasn’t the time to be possessed by two chunky pieces of bread.
Aristine forced herself to look away and glared at the door.
At the same time, the door was flung open with a loud noise.
Just as she saw in the Monarch’s Sight, dozens of soldiers immediately rushed into the room.
“What is the matter?”
Tarkan’s voice was low, like it was scratching against the floor.
The soldiers flinched. They couldn’t help but shrink back when faced with Tarkan’s anger upfront.
Of course, he deserved to be angry since they dared to barge into a prince’s palace in such manner, but they didn’t expect him to be so angry.
Who knew why but Tarkan looked like he wanted to rip apart every single person who entered the room.
The confidence that the soldiers had when they entered, simply evaporated. Their shoulders flattened and they nervously averted their eyes.
A man who seemed to be the captain, hesitated before stepping forward.
He spoke to Aristine, trying not to look at Tarkan.
“Princess Consort Aristine, you shall be apprehend for your crime of attempting to poison the King.”
That announcement made the hearts of all who heard it sink.
The court ladies covered their mouths in shock and even Tarkan could not hide his turmoil.
Aristine, too, put her hand on his chest and let out a trembling breath. However, the reason for her agitation was quite different from everyone else.
‘He didn’t say assassination. He said poisoning attempt!’
That meant Nephther wasn’t dead yet.
The future had changed.
Aristine clenched her fists.
‘Royal father is alive.’
Aristine trembled with her relief and joy.
Her efforts prevented a tragedy.
Strength drained from her entire body, like she was going to collapse.
‘It’s too early to be relieved.’
This situation was far from over. Furthermore, Nephther’s recovery hadn’t even been confirmed.
Right now, he might even be at the boundary between life and death.
But still, since he hadn’t passed away, it meant that the royal doctor that she recruited through Umiru was doing his job.
‘I trust that his treatment will be handled so I have to do my part too.’
Only then could this situation be truly resolved.
‘If I am accused as a poisonous criminal, it will tarnish Tarkan’s reputation.’
Even if her innocence was revealed, it would leave a tiny stain, becoming a political weakness that bound Tarkan.
“How dare you utter such slander?”
Tarkan stood in front of Aristine as if protecting her.
Aristine looked up at his broad, sturdy back.
The feeling in reality was completely different from viewing it through a screen with the Monarch’s Sight. Seeing him standing strong like an unshakeable wall gave her an indescribable sense of relief.
At the same time, courage and strength welled up within her.
Having someone who believes in you, supports you and wants to protect you.
Who knew it was such an empowering thing.
Aristine stared at Tarkan’s back silently for a while.
“Your Highness Tarkan, please stand aside. We have already been found evidence.”
“Hah, how great must this evidence be for you to behave so insolent? To my wife, of all people.”
“…We found poison among the Princess Consort’s belongings.”
“And does it really belong to my wife? To want to apprehend her without any verification—.”
Aristine could tell what kind of expression Tarkan was making now. Even if she didn’t see it in the Monarch’s Sight, she would have known.
To some, that expression would cause them enough fear to tremble but not Aristine.
Tarkan’s expression was because of his trust in Aristine.
“I-If you keep interfering, we have no choice, but you consider you an accomplice!”
“Consider me then.”
Tarkan carelessly spread out his arms.
“What are you doing? Go on and arrest me.”
She once asked him how he could trust her when there was solid evidence, and the answer he gave rang in her ears.
Aristine leaned her head against Tarkan’s back. She could feel him flinch, and his body tense through their contact.
Tarkan turned to Aristine and cupped her cheek gently. He looked into her eyes and studied her face, “Are you okay?”
“Mn, I’m fine. You trust me, so I’m fine.”
Tarkan stared at Aristine’s face as she smiled as bright as the sun. And soon, his face distorted.
Tarkan grabbed her slender shoulders which felt like they would break with too much strength.
What should he do with this woman who said everything was fine just because of his trust? How could she say such a thing? How could she think that and truly be okay?
He hugged Aristine tightly.
Even though Aristine was confused, she still let herself be held.
She looked around the room to figure out what was going on but only found the court ladies looking at her with tears in their eyes.
When their eyes met, a court lady with her hands clasped to her chest couldn’t hold back any longer and shouted loudly.
“Princess Consort, we believe in you too!”
“We know best that Your Highness wouldn’t do such a thing!”
“We will investigate everyone in the palace to find out who is slandering Your Highness!”
The court ladies were all crying one after the other that their Princess Consort was innocent.
The soldiers watched all this with a little apprehension.
‘Wait, I thought the right to investigate was with us…?’
The scene of them trusting each other was touching but the court ladies had no authority to investigate. But the mood was too weird to point that out.
“Everyone…” Aristine looked at her court ladies with emotion in her eyes and exclaimed, “I’ll buy you steak!” 
“Yes!” the court ladies fervently replied.
The soldiers were even more confused.
‘Why are we suddenly talking about steak?’
But the court ladies were already used to Aristine and understood how she was feeling.
‘She says she’ll buy us steak…!’
‘Princess Consort understands our loyalty!’
‘I’ve envied Ritlen so much for all the steak that Her Highness treats him to.’
‘Finally, we can eat Princess Consort’s heartfelt steak too…!’
Honestly, they were fine with anything, even if it wasn’t steak.
The soldiers looked around the room with slight bewilderment in their eyes.
They were special soldiers and the people that they usually arrested were felons. Naturally, they had never experienced this kind of atmosphere before.
A room where everyone was crying and screaming together. The warmth was hard to describe.
The captain of the soldiers cleared his throat and drew focus to himself.
“To repeat myself, the Princess Consort shall be apprehended as a crimin—.”
“I doubt my criminality has been confirmed.”
Aristine interrupted the captain.
It was as if her emotion with the court ladies seconds ago was a mere mirage. Her gaze on the soldiers was emotionless and dry.
 There’s this saying in S.Korea. [I’ll buy you meat].
It usually means ‘I’ll treat you to good food’ and good food always involves lots of meat so it has become synonymous.
While English doesn’t have this saying, steak is usually considered good food, so I think it’s a good equivalent.