Is this what they call body-obsessed…? (5)
T/N: Huge thanks to Ana, Fye & Stephanie for sponsoring this chapter on Ko-Fi!
The noblewomen opened and closed their mouths repeatedly, unable to speak their thoughts aloud.
“Oh my, I see.”
“My, my, the first…”
Even though they were keeping their mouths tightly shut, their cheeks kept spreading apart, revealing their teeth.
The noblewomen quickly exchanged glances. It was a look that said, ‘I have to tell somebody this news’.
After that, the tea party went smoothly.
The two women, who tried to agitate Aristine, stayed quiet and sipped their teas, while the noblewomen discussed the latest trends in society.
Aristine’s influence couldn’t be excluded in the talk about recent art trends. This was because many of the recent works were inspired by her and Tarkan’s weddings.
Since someone who could be called the muse of art and culture attended the tea party, naturally, the discussions went on longer.
Aristine glanced at the time and rose from her seat. It was already past the time she expected to be done.
“Ah, Princess Consort, you’re leaving already?”
“Oh dear, so much time has passed already.”
“Oh no. I wanted to talk more…”
The noblewomen looked at Aristine with regret on their faces.
“I enjoyed talking too and I would love to stay longer but unfortunately, I have something after this.”
“Princess Consort is as busy as expected. I’ve heard you run several businesses.”
“Please tell us about your business next time. Actually, my nephew had surgery with the scalpel made by Your Highness. They say he’s progressing very well.”
“Why, that’s good news.” Aristine’s eyes sparkled.
‘I never knew it felt so nice to help someone.’
She started the scalpel business to make money, but when she heard such words, it warmed her heart.
“Thank you for coming despite your busy schedule, Princess Consort.”
When Marchioness Issara said that, Aristine chuckled.
“I came because I wanted to. And I am not leaving early because of work so I’m feeling a little embarrassed now. You are putting me on too high of a cloud.”
At those words, the eyes of the noblewomen.
“You’re not leaving because of work? Then…”
The answer to that question didn’t come from Aristine, but somewhere else.
“My goodness, it’s His Highness Tarkan!”
A noblewoman exclaimed and everyone turned at her words.
“Pardon? Why would His Highness Tarkan be…”
Then everyone held their breath when they saw the scene outside the window.
Tarkan was getting off the white carriage that had stopped at the main building’s entrance.
“Don’t tell me he’s here to meet Your Highness?”
Everyone’s eyes turned to Aristine again.
Aristine felt embarrassed for some reason and her cheeks grew flushed. Was it that surprising?
In the eyes of the noblewomen, she looked like a shy young woman, blushing about her sweet love with her husband.
“We just decided to have dinner together since we were going out anyway.” Aristine explained.
“Oh, that’s wonderful.”
“I never thought His Highness Tarkan would have such an affectionate side.”
“Sure enough, people change when they fall in love.”
The noblewoman giggled with delight.
“Well, surely, we cannot keep His Highness Tarkan waiting.” Marchioness Issara said, rising to her feet to see Aristine off.
After a maid came over and wrapped her shawl around her, Aristine and Marchioness Issara left the tearoom together.
As they walked together down the hallway, Marchioness Issara stole glances at Aristine.
The sight of Aristine walking straight ahead with flushed cheek reminded the Marchioness of a new bride wanting to see her husband and she couldn’t help but smile.
She thought that Aristine would surely pull her aside to talk now that they were alone. Since the queen’s faction had been actively contacting her lately, she figured Aristine had come here to check where she stood.
However, the Aristine in front of her didn’t seem to have such inclination.
She just enjoyed the tea party, and she looked like she was cleaning going home.
In the end, Marchioness Issara spoke first. “I thought Your Highness had a purpose for coming to my tea party today.”
The corner of Aristine’s lips curved slightly.
She knew that Marchioness Issara had been glancing at her since earlier, but she remained silent.
‘It’s better for her to ask first, than for me to pose the question first.’
When aiming to forge political ties, you must avoid looking desperate.
“As I said, I thought it would be nice to attend a comfortable gathering.”
“What did you think of the tea party?”
“The tea was delicious. I think it would go wonderfully with the cakes my pâtissier makes.”
At those enigmatic words, Marchioness Issara broke out in a smile, “Since Your Highness says that, I wonder how it must taste together.”
“You will know once you have them together. How it tastes.”
The eyes of the aged Marchioness Issara and Aristine met in midair.
The mansion’s door opened.
Tarkan stood there under the late afternoon sun while the garden in the background lent its vibrant scent of peak autumn.
Seeing how he waited without entering the lobby, Marchioness Issara smiled.
Because she could read that he wasn’t interested in discussing political affiliation and merely wished to pick up his wife quickly.
“Your Highness Tarkan.”
Tarkan gave the Marchioness a nod, then gently wrapped his arm around Aristine’s shoulders.
Aristine’s eyes widened. “Why is your hand so cold?”
“It’s cold?” Tarkan replied with a start and pulled back his hand from her shoulder.
Aristine grabbed that hand and blew on it with her warm breath.
Tarkan’s eyes twitched.
Marchioness Issara looked at Tarkan’s face, went ‘Oh my’, and covered her mouth.
《I am his first.》
The confident words of the Princess Consort echoed in her mind.
‘Indeed.’ She nodded inwardly.
“Of course, you’re cold when you keep exposing yourself like this in the fall.”
Aristine said, looking at Tarkan’s half-exposed chest. She didn’t just look, her eyes stayed on it for a while.
Tarkan did not miss that. He confidently puffed up his chest.
“Let’s go. You must be hungry.”
“No, I ate so much cake… Ah, Marchioness Issara, thank you for the wonderful tea party.” Only then did Aristine remember that there was someone else.
“Thank you so much as well, for coming. I hope you both have a nice date.”
At that word, a light flash through Tarkan’s golden eyes.
‘Marchioness Issara…she’s a good person.’
After she bid them farewell, the two of them climbed into the carriage.
Marchioness Issara smiled faintly as she watched the carriage pull away.
‘How unexpected. I thought they would naturally want to rope us in.’
The queen’s faction was approaching her by offering to help with her grandson’s illness and Aristine must know about that too.
However, Aristine didn’t seem eager to win her over. At the same time, Aristine gave room to the idea of them joining hands.
There must be a reason why she was so relaxed.
‘Pretty good. The young princess, I mean.’
Marchioness Issara turned back to the tearoom where the other noblewomen were waiting.
She knew they would be delighted once she told them how the Princess Consort warmed His Highness Tarkan’s cold hand and how His Highness was looking at his wife.