Under the Oak Tree - Chapter 124
Chapter 124 – Rare Praises (1)
Max woke up to the cries of a cat. She reluctantly opened her heavy lids and flinched at the bright light coming through the window causing her a splitting headache. She groaned painfully as she sat down, holding her throbbing head between her hands.
Her stomach felt heavy as it was full of sand, and her head had ached as if someone had been nailing her skull all night long. She frowned at the unusual discomfort and suddenly saw a cup full of water appear in front of her eyes.
Max slowly lifted her head up.
With a gloomy face, Riftan looked down at her, and she realized for the first time that there were three kittens perched on her legs that seemed to have fully regained their powers.
“Wake up, drunk lady” Riftan told her.
Max stiffened as memories of last night flooded her thoughts. Riftan handed her the glass of water which she received in shame.
“Yesterday was very worth seeing. I didn’t know my wife was such a drinker.” Riftan spoke to her in a low voice.
“Oh,no! Y-yesterday was my first time dr-drinking like that.” Max replied in a faint voice.
Riftan gave Max a doubtful look before sitting down on the bed beside her. She felt him breathing deeply, as if to calm his anger.
Max felt even more anxious by his actions. She buried her swollen face into the sheets, but somehow Riftan’s soft voice went straight into her ears, more clearly than his shouts.
“I’ll tell you something, Maxi, if I see you drunk among the big boys one more time, I’ll make you unable to walk for a while”
Max looked up at him in astonishment.
She realized that she was more surprised by the fact that his words didn’t seem to frighten her at all than from the threat itself. She believes he can’t do anything to her and wasn’t going to harm her.
“Do you understand what I’m trying to tell you?”
He asked her, but he grumbled softly as soon as he saw that she did not show fear. He just seemed upset that she didn’t take his words seriously.
“I w-wont do that a-again” Max promised.
“Seems like you are just saying that.”
With dissatisfied eyes, he looked down at her miserable body, and soon gave a deep sigh of exhaustion.
“I’m going to ask the maid to bring you some herbal tea that’s good for relieving hangovers, so take a rest. Let’s finish talking in the evening.”
“Rif-Riftan…” Max weakly called to him.
“Right now, I have some priority work to take care of,” Riftan answered, slowly getting up from his seat.
He shakes the cat off his boots, puts it on the bed next to Max, and leaves the room. Max hurriedly held the cats who were bursting into tears with discontent in her arms. The high-pitched shout cry felt like a needle piercing to her brain.
While she was calming the sick cats in her arms, Rudis entered the room with a teapot tray.
“How do you feel, madam?” Rudis greeted her.
“I am o-okay. it’s nothing.” Max answered.
In fact, she felt terrible, but yesterday’s scene felt far worse than the pathetic hangover she had. Max calmed her aching stomach by sipping hot tea while trying to maintain her dignity in front of Rudis.
“I’ll have some bath water for you. You’ll feel better if you wash yourself with hot water and soothe your stomach with the chef’s special egg porridge.” Rudis told her with a smile.
Max nodded at her consideration with appreciation, relieved by the thoughtful words of the maid.
Rudis called Max after a while, and she was greeted by a bathtub full of hot water. Max pulled her clothes off and went to the bathtub. In the warmth of the steaming hot water, she soaked herself and washed her hair with a mixture made of herbs.
She enjoyed the hot bath until she felt the water turn lukewarm. Max later changed into a new, fluffy dress.
Rudis brought Max a thick boiled porridge with barley, potatoes, onions and eggs for the latter to enjoy while grooming.
After Max’s breakfast of that savory porridge, she sat in front of the fire and opened a book to read. Herbal tea was effective at driving her hangover away, and her headache disappeared, so she was able to look at her bookshelf and chose a book to read.
“Should I take the cats out?” Rudis asked Max.
The maid must have seen her turn the pages with concentration, and was concerned about her being interrupted by the cats.
Max shook her head, and she didn’t want to kick the little animals out of the room.
“Oh, no. They-they don’t bother me. It doesn’t re-really m-matter to me if they stay.” Max responded.
Then, Rudis smiled as one of the cats purred and rubbed against her. She bent down to rub the cat’s ear.
“The black cat is very calm. The white cat and the striped one, on the other hand, appear to be very playful. He will start moving around as soon as he finds his courage. I’m sure that as you get bigger, you’ll be a great mouse hunter.”
Rudis said to the cat, Max secretly breathed a sigh of relief at her soft expression. She was worried that Rudis’s work may have increased. Rudis, however, already seemed to be obsessed with little cats as well.
“Oh, I named them yes-yesterday. The b-black one is Roy… the white is La-Laura, and the gray-striped cat is R-Ron.”
She realized as Max spoke that Rudis closed her eyes as if to memorize them, and whispered the names of the cats with a happy look on her face.