Episode 86

The Princesses’ Visit (5)
3 weeks ago
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“Sigh…”

Rea deeply inhaled the scent of Vail’s sweat-soaked shirt.

Soon, her own scent mingled, weakening the aroma, and she came to her senses.

Then, she looked down at her own state.

“To think I was in front of a man in such a state….”

Her shirt, soaked in both Vail’s and her sweat, made her bra clearly visible.

The Princess cautiously pulled the blanket to cover her chest.

Then she looked around for clothes to properly cover herself.

“Vail, do you have any clothes I could change into?”

When she asked, Vail’s voice came from afar.

“Why don’t you check the wardrobe?”

Rea gently opened the wardrobe near the bed.

Then, her blue eyes sparkled at the strong masculine scent wafting out.

“……”

She swallowed deeply.

While rifling through the hangers, she spotted a familiar uniform shirt.

The same model as the one she wore.

Drawn to its familiarity, the Princess took it out and held it against herself.

“It’s incredibly big…”

The Princess felt the difference in their sizes.

She cautiously slipped her arm into the sleeve.

The fabric was so large that it covered her hand.

It came down to her thighs, almost like a dress.

The Princess pressed the fluttering sleeve to her lips.

Then, she closed her eyes and savored the scent.

The man’s scent enveloped her whole body.

Could this be the strange feeling described in novels?

Rea opened her eyes slowly, seemingly content with her newfound knowledge.

At that moment…

“What are you… doing?”

While lost in strange emotions, wearing the shirt, I approached the door.

“You should have checked who tailored the clothes before wearing them.”

Rea quickly put on a regal expression.

“Ah… yes, is the size alright? It looks quite large.”

“It’s fine. It’s comfortable, like pajamas.”

The Princess rolled up the billowing sleeves.

Then, as if nothing had happened, she confidently walked into the kitchen.

“Is the tea ready?”

“Yes, it’s on the table.”

Vail watched Rea as she approached the table while wearing his shirt.

However, it looked quite large on her feminine figure.

It made her appear as if she were wearing nothing under the shirt.

Only her wet stockings and thighs were visible.

“It’s mint tea.”

Unaware of his gaze, the Princess sat at the table.

She looked at Vail, who brewed her favorite tea, with admiration.

“Looking at your wardrobe, it really seems like you live alone. It’s empty.”

“I don’t particularly like decorating. I live alone.”

I returned to the kitchen expressionlessly.

Then, I noticed that only a single cup of tea was placed on the table.

‘It seems a bit empty.’

I thought it was a bit rude to offer only a cheap cup of tea to the Princess of the empire.

So, I tied on an apron and fetched some eggs and green onions from the balcony.

It was just about time for dinner.

I lit the stove with mana.

Then, I lightly oiled the pan and started frying the eggs.

Sizzle.

The delicious aroma made the Princess lift her head.

She watched me cook the eggs with interest.

“You know how to cook?”

“Yes, I manage since I live alone.”

Rea pulled up the shirt that was slipping from her shoulder.

And she closely observed what I was making.

“…!”

I crushed the carefully fried eggs.

The Princess’s eyes sparkled at the sight.

“Why are you crushing the well-fried eggs?”

She was shocked by the cultural difference.

She was quite surprised, as she had only eaten eggs with the yolk intact in a beautiful form before.

“It seems you’ve never seen scrambled eggs before.”

But I didn’t mind.

I added chopped green onions to the crushed eggs, along with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Then, I skillfully stirred them in the wok.

After the eggs were cooked, I plated them and added some boiled tomato soup on the side.

Finally, the scrambled egg dish was placed in front of the Princess.

“Here, please try it. It’s better than you might think.”

I sat opposite Rea.

Then, the Princess lifted her head and looked at me intently.

“If it doesn’t suit your taste, there’s nothing I can do. We don’t have fancy vegetables or meat here.”

“No, it’s just… I’m surprised to see you wearing an apron.”

In the morning, battling with the captain of the knights.

And in the afternoon, cooking delicious eggs while wearing an apron.

At this, Rea chuckled.

Then, she picked up a fork.

“……”

She brushed her disheveled hair to the side.

Then, with mature eyes, she took a bite of the egg.

I watched her and pondered for a moment.

Why didn’t the Conqueror King visit often, despite having such a beautiful daughter?

At first, the Princess cautiously took only a small bite of the egg.

Maybe it suited her taste.

Soon, she began to enjoy it, dipping it into the tomato soup.

The plate was almost empty now.

Rea looked up at me and said,

“You’re better at this than I thought.”

“That’s an overstatement.”

I bowed my head in respect.

And when I raised my face again, I noticed a slight tomato stain on the Princess’s lips.

“Your Highness?”

“What is it?”

Hearing my words, Rea put on her regal, charismatic expression again.

Still with soup on her lips…

“There’s some soup on your lips.”

The Princess, hearing this, touched the opposite side of her lips.

“No, not that side, this one.”

I reached out my hand.

And then…

I wiped the soup from the lips of the empire’s First Princess.

“…!”

The Princess’s face stiffened at the contact.

She stared blankly at me, unfazed by my hand on her face.

“Why didn’t you ask first?”

Back when I was young.

Eating with Mago at the orphanage, we often wiped food off each other’s faces.

So, I was indifferent to it.

The Princess hesitated, facing a situation she had never experienced before.

“You act so shamelessly in such an embarrassing situation.”

The Princess composed herself, maintaining her dignity.

But her fingers trembled slightly, perhaps from the shock.

“Ah, I’m sorry. It’s a habit from the orphanage….”

Orphanage.

Hearing that, Rea was at a loss for words.

While she understood the behavior somewhat…

It felt as if I was cunningly using my lowly origins to my advantage.

“Enough. It’s common for people to be ashamed of their origins, but you’re quite bold.”

“Regardless of the origin, it’s only the abilities that matter.”

I shrugged my shoulders.

And while clearing the Princess’s empty plate, I said,

“Moreover, shouldn’t someone who has grown so much from humble beginnings be praised?”

Rea was astounded by my brazen attitude.

However, everything I said was true.

I was from an orphanage.

I didn’t attend a famous academy, nor did I have any notable sponsors.

And yet, I handled the Grand Master’s white mana.

Feeling something was off, the Princess furrowed her delicate brows.

Then, like a lion, she opened her golden eyelids wide and asked me,

“Fine, I’ll praise you. But you must also reveal the secret behind being so close to reaching the Grand Master’s level.”

Did she see the white mana that inhabited my body when I was asleep?

But that power must have been very faint…

“Don’t beat around the bush. I can almost hear the gears turning in your head.”

Hiding power from a mage was not an easy task.

“White mana is a power only the Conqueror King, like my father, can use.”

Rea seemed curious if I was a hidden child of her father.

Firmly, I shook my head.

“The realm of a Grand Master is not inherited through bloodlines.”

And I advised her, as a tactician, to broaden her thinking.

“Anyone can become a Sword Master through effort, and the same goes for a Grand Master.”

I pointed alternately at the mana between the Princess and myself.

Momentarily startled by the glimpse of her underwear due to my baggy shirt…

Ahem… Anyway, the Conqueror King surpassed the Sword Master level by fighting in more wars and against stronger opponents than others.”

Rea tilted her head, listening to my words.

Then she asked me with a cool, intellectual gaze,

“So you mean to say that you’ve fought to the death with opponents as strong as my father?”

Unable to disclose my regression, I avoided her gaze.

And I went to the kitchen to do the dishes.

“As far as I know, there are only records of your activities on the Northern Front during your apprenticeship.”

“Have you been investigating me all this time?”

I asked, glancing back at Rea.

She smiled a mature, knowing smile, as if it were obvious.

“There’s no information in the empire that I’m unaware of.”

I put down the washed plate.

Then, I turned back to the Princess with a relaxed smile.

“While not as much as His Majesty the Emperor, I have fought life and death battles with swordsmen on par with him.”

Rea looked at my forearm, visible under my short-sleeve shirt.

Numerous scars and healed wounds.

“I’ve become strong like that too.”

Usually, these scars were enough for an answer.

But the astute Princess chuckled, pretending to be oblivious for the moment.

“Fine, I’ll believe you for now.”

After all, she had long since assessed the strength of the enemies on the Northern Front.

She knew there were no enemies strong enough to elevate me to the level of the Conqueror King.

‘I feel like I’m being forcibly unraveled.’

I sat back down at the table.

Then, I decided to change the subject.

“But is it alright for Your Highness to wander around alone like this?”

At my question, the Princess chuckled.

And, while finishing her after-dinner tea, she said,

“One must find their own place as a ruler. This is a chance to test the abilities of my subordinates.”

The confident demeanor of the Princess naturally brought a smile to my lips.

“Just as daring as His Majesty the Emperor.”

“Do you think you’re the only one?”

The Princess looked at me with a snicker.

Then we both laughed together.

“……”

But perhaps because of that moment of laughter, the silence that followed created an awkward atmosphere.

“So, what brought you to my house?”

“Ah…”

When we got to the main point, the Princess pondered for a moment.

Then, covering her lips with her fist, she cleared her voice.

“I… came to get a book.”

A book?

Oh, that.

“The uncut version?”

I asked with a smirk.

Then the Princess suddenly hit the table and pointed at me.

“You don’t need to say it out loud!”

“Understood.”

The Princess looked annoyed, as if she felt she had lost control of the situation again.

However, her lips slightly lifted when she saw the novel I brought.

“Still, it’s amusing how Your Highness gets more emotional whenever this novel is mentioned.”

“What? Amusing? You dare to find amusement through me?”

The Princess looked at me as if I were absurd.

“This is better than the awkwardness we had a moment ago.”

I handed the book to her.

Then, she turned around swiftly, holding the book carefully with both hands.

“You didn’t read it, did you?”

At this moment, she seemed like a girl immersed in literature.

“A little?”

My honest reply made Rea bristle.

“Ha, what a sly fox! Boldly reading someone else’s book!”

Rea looked at me as if I were a fox devouring books.

She hastily started to check how far I had read.

“Isn’t it okay to read?”

I tiptoed to peek at her book.

However, the Princess paid no heed to my gaze.

She skillfully flipped the pages, looking for where I had read until…

She stopped abruptly at a scene marked by my reading.

And that scene was…

A risqué scene of a slave knight and an archduchess entangled in bed.

As if it mirrored the situation she had just experienced.

“You… you…”

Rea’s eyes fluttered.

She looked at me, starting to make all sorts of assumptions.

“Don’t tell me, while pretending to be unconscious, you did something like…!”

“What?”

I furrowed my brow.

Then, realizing her meaning, I feigned ignorance and tilted my head.

“What happened while I was unconscious?”

Rea slammed the book shut.

Her lips twitched as if she were about to demand an explanation for what had happened between us.

But…

“No, never mind. Forget it!”

Perhaps embarrassed to articulate the scene herself, she pressed her lips shut.

Then, she stood up from the table and asked,

“Are you leaving?”

I looked up at the Princess, who was wearing nothing but a baggy shirt over her slender frame.

Rea glanced down at me and said,

“No, not yet… I have to wait until my clothes dry.”

She turned her head quickly, as if wanting to hide her flushed face.

Then she looked around, wondering what to do while waiting for her clothes to dry.

“Shall I offer some dessert while we wait?”

“Dessert…?”

“Yes, there should be ice cream outside.”

The Princess gave me a puzzled look, surprised to hear that there was ice cream in this humble house.

“Just a moment, please.”

I went to the balcony and brought back a wooden box.

Then, the moment I looked inside…

“Ah…”

I was greeted by ice cream that had melted due to the humid weather.

The Princess moved closer to me.

She chuckled, hands behind her back, as if she knew this would happen.

“I was surprised to hear there was ice cream in this weather.”

“I’m sorry. If it’s okay with you, I’ll go out and buy some more.”

Rea shook her head, indicating it was okay.

“No, where would you go in this weather?”

The Princess rolled up the sleeves of her loose shirt.

Then, she picked up the box of melted ice cream with both hands.

“I’ll try cooking this time.”

“Your Highness, you will cook personally?”

I thought the First Princess would be more accustomed to uniforms than aprons.

I looked at her in surprise when she said she would cook something herself.

Then, Rea smiled wryly with a mature look in her eyes and said,

“I know how to make dessert, at least.”

I was promptly seated at the table.

And I found myself in the incredible situation of royalty cooking for me.

In the kitchen, I intently watched Rea, who was wearing my baggy shirt, as she tied up her hair.

As she raised her hands, the inside of the shirt slightly revealed itself.

This offered a glimpse of her sensuous, hourglass figure.

I had thought she was only a cold strategist adept at court intrigue.

But I blinked in surprise at her subtly feminine side.

‘Coming back to the past, I’m seeing all sorts of things.’

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