TL : Nestaelle
‘Was it because I got too comfortable with Aymon? Otherwise, why would his expression bother me so much?’
The man in front of her was undoubtedly a noble who had come for leisure, but he did not appear to be a high-ranking noble, as he appeared unfamiliar to her. Wouldn’t she recognize every noble who came to the palace? The same can be said for the nobles who supposedly recognize her.
Except for the nobles who visited the palace, few people recognized Belinda’s face because she rarely interacted with people outside the palace. She was a private and reclusive individual, so to speak.
With a polite tone, the man began to introduce himself.
“Please excuse my delayed introduction. I’m Ronan Kingsford. I’m not a dangerous person, so please don’t be wary of me.”
“If it’s Kingsford, then…”
“Yes. Count Kingsford, my father, is the lord of this land.” He squared his shoulders with a face brimming with confidence.
No surprise there. Belinda knew about Count Kingsford because Kingsford County was quite a powerful territory. Didn’t she just meet the Count at the royal banquet a month ago?
Belinda took a closer look at the man with fascination. He was unfamiliar, no matter how much she looked. She heard that the count’s youngest son went to study abroad, but has he come back already?
‘Come to think of it, I’ve met the Count’s child once.’
A lovely boy with dark brown hair appeared out of nowhere in her mind.
‘Oh! That’s right!’
In hindsight, she noticed a resemblance between that child and the man in front of her.
She was certain now. She initially thought it was their first meeting, but she had actually met him before.
Was it seven years ago?
Count Kingsford brought his third son to the Imperial Palace. The child was about to leave for another country.
I can’t believe that child is all grown up and even flirted with me. How fast time flies.
Belinda looked at him amicably. The man smiled from ear to ear, as if he mistook Belinda’s gaze for a sign of attraction.
‘Don’t you recognize me?’
Of course, he’d have trouble recognizing her. He hadn’t seen her for a long time. Not to mention that her divine power enabled her to remain youthful even after giving birth, and she appeared to be somewhere between a girl and an adult woman.
He wouldn’t expect that the Princess she met a few years ago looked this young.
“But where is your escort?” Ronan asked, looking around.
“I don’t bring an escort with me.”
Because I’m stronger than all of you. Aymon is strong, too.
Ronan took another look at Belinda’s clothes after hearing her concise answer. It was not shabby, but it wasn’t an attire fit for a noble.
He was convinced that Belinda was a noble based on her fair skin and eloquence. He assumed she dressed modestly to conceal her identity, but was he mistaken? She was completely alone, with no servant or escort.
But he remained as courteous as before.
“It’s dangerous for a beautiful lady such as yourself to be alone in this place. The sun will set soon. Would you mind if I take you to your accommodation? Oh, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not helping you with any ulterior motives.”
Belinda chuckled at his fastidiousness. His words were in no way deceitful. She could get a glimpse of the atmosphere in Kingsford Country by seeing how polite he was even though he was speaking with a commoner.
‘I have to get Lart closer to Count Kingsford and his sons.’
Belinda was overjoyed over finding a good person who could be of help for Lart. She smiled and decided to be honest about coming here with her husband rather than alone. From behind, a large shadow engulfed the two, and Ronan’s body was soon floating in the air.
There was no time for Belinda to warn them not to be surprised, and the guard behind them had no way of intervening. Aymon flung the heavy man back and sat next to Belinda as if nothing had happened. He then held out the red flower in his hand.
“Here. Take it.”
His eyes glistened, as if he wanted to be praised. Belinda took the flower mindlessly.
Did Aymon go out of his way to get this? All because I said it was pretty?
She likely guessed right based on a petal stuck in his hair. Which made her wonder how hard he had to struggle in that dangerous cliff just to pick this out.
The sunset light melted in his gaze. How could someone who looked this graceful be this violent? It is simply hard to believe that he just tossed the count’s son away effortlessly.
The lovers’ flower-giving ceremony was quickly shattered by a loud roar.
Kingsford family’s guard charged from behind and strongly pressed Aymon’s shoulder.
Ronan, who had been sent rolling on the grass, staggered over to his guard with a puzzled expression. Aymon grabbed the hand on his shoulder and whipped him off. He went on to smile beautifully toward Belinda without caring whether the guard stumbled or fell.
“I picked this because you said it was pretty, but you are prettier in my eyes.”
The guard, who got up right away, shouted with his face flushed red.
“You punk! Do you know who my lord is?!”
Only then did Aymon spare him a glance.
“Do you know who I am?”
“Wh, what did you say?”
The guard was taken aback by Aymon’s boldness.
‘Is he just a snobbish peasant, or is he a real big shot?’
But Aymon and Belinda’s clothes were not that luxurious, so he straightened his shoulders again.
Don’t be scared. I’m a Knight of Great Kingsford County.
“My lord is Ronan Kingsford, son of Count Kingsford, who ruled over the Kingsford land!” The guard roared proudly.
Kingsford was a county, but its influence was comparable to that of a marquisate or duchy. All that left was for that burly, black-haired man to lie flat and tremble.
Aymon crossed his arms with his head tilted.
“Are you saying that Count Kingsford’s son is free to make a move on a married woman? How can a distinguished noble do something so deplorable?”
The knight took a step back as he was overcome by confusion. Ronan, who was standing next to him, stepped forward.
A married woman, you say?
Making a move on a married woman, you say?
If his father, the count, learned about this he’d surely be appalled and scold him harshly. But there was something unfair about this. The young-looking woman didn’t even have a wedding ring on her finger.
“If I had known you were married, I would never have approached you.”
He couldn’t ask for pardon with his head down to save his noble dignity. It was straight out taboo. Ronan, who was making an excuse instead of apologising, heaved a deep sigh.
And that’s when Belinda’s eyes were sparkling.
As expected, her eyes weren’t deceiving her. He was a man of great character. These days, Lart had vented out his trouble finding a faithful and honest person, so it’d be the best move to introduce Ronan.
A young talent aiding a young emperor. Wouldn’t they match perfectly?
After introducing himself, Ronan cast a stern gaze toward Aymon.
“I’ve revealed my name, now tell me who you are.”
That man arrived without saying anything and just threw a noble away. If he was a commoner, Ronan has the right to cut off his wrist; if he was a noble, Ronan must file a formal complaint to his family.
Let’s say he was a high-ranking noble, were there any occasions when someone acted this impertinently? Even His Majesty the Emperor wouldn’t do this either.
When Ronan asked his identity, Aymon’s gaze turned even more crooked. He replied in an exceptionally confident voice.
“I am the husband of a royal family member.”
Ronan finally got the answer he demanded so badly, yet he really doubted his ears upon hearing it.
“…What did you say?” Ronan asked back, raising his eyebrows in bewilderment.
Belinda rubbed her temple.
Hey, Aymon. Wouldn’t it be more sensible to tell him that you are a Shinsu rather than bragging about your royal wife?
Sometimes, she didn’t know how to react whenever Aymon acted like a dunce.
‘He’s adorable nevertheless.’
Belinda took a deep breath and rose from her seat. She had to step up and end this awkward situation properly.
Belinda cleared her throat to get Ronan’s attention because he was still staring at Aymon as if he was looking at a madman. She smiled gracefully when his shaking pupils finally met hers.
“Didn’t we meet once at the Imperial Palace, Ronan Kingsford?”
“Ah…pardon? Did we….?”
Ronan unintentionally used honorifics with Belinda because of her laid-back tone. Belinda rubbed her palms together to brush off dust and extended her hand toward him.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Belinda Lou Ateez. The Royal Princess and that big Shinsu’s wife.”
“What did you say?!”
Ronan’s guard screamed in surprise as soon she ended her introduction.
“He just talked to me because I looked bored. We simply socialise.” Belinda said as she turned around the corner.
“But his gaze said otherwise. It’s filled with ill-intention.”
Pulling Belinda by the waist, Aymon replied discontentedly. The two had been bickering in front of the lake. Obviously, only Aymon was complaining without an end. Belinda was only smiling softly and taking his rambling with a grain of salt.
“My face didn’t even look like I’m married, though.”
“Why did you take off your wedding ring?”
“It broke after Anish bit it. Don’t you remember leaving it to a craftsman?”
“What takes him this long to fix it? I’m gonna find that craftsman and hang him upside down. That’s what happens when you don’t do your job and are lazy.”
Aymon was dead serious as he grumbled and grit his teeth.There was no such thing as composure for him.