Under the Oak Tree - Chapter 149
Translator – LN
Proofreader – Nymeria
Riftan looked down at Max’s face.
“I don’t think you want to sleep with him”, he said sharply, as if checking her response.
“N-no! Of course not!” Max said.
She was stung by his words, as if he had insulted her. She spoke up heatedly, in case Riftan was still concerned about Ruth.
“W-well, I p-promise. Even t-thinking that, I never considered! R-Ruth too. He a-and I would n-never betray R-Riftan.”
“I know” he whispered, subdued. He gently sucked on Max’s lips. “That was just an example. I don’t hate the princess. She’s a reliable companion, but I’ve never thought of kissing her like this.”
Max enjoyed Riftan’s chin rubbing against her, which had a slightly scratchy texture.
“What I feel for Agnes is different to how I feel for you.”
“W-What do y-you mean exactly?”
She gazed at Riftan’s manly face with shaky eyes. They only shared a bed together, she was only a small part of his life. He saw her expression and pressed her face against his chest.
“You are my only family” he sighed over the top of her head.
Max’s heart began to beat quickly at his declaration. She stopped breathing for a moment and contemplated his words. Family. She had never considered the concept before. Yes, they were family indeed, he was her husband, and she was his wife. Suddenly, she felt a lump in her throat.
Riftan moved his hand and began rubbing her stomach to lighten the mood.
“And if we have a child someday, our family will consist of three.”
“Oh, a-a child. W-would you like one?”
“A birth would be good. It would be agreeable if we could see the child crawling on the floor while having red hair and grey eyes.”
“I-I think b-black hair for the b-baby would be n-nice.” Max murmured, choking up. She felt happy just imagining a beautiful child who resembled her husband.
To be with Riftan and have his child… Since arriving to Anatol, Max had been wrapped around several adventures and tasks, so she hadn’t even considered becoming pregnant, but thinking about it now, it wouldn’t be strange to finally have a child. Her eyes became unfocused as she started daydreaming. What would it feel like to hold a soft, milk-white baby against her chest and brush the baby’s heavy, black hair? Watching the child’s rosy lips pucker? Could she even begin to imagine the joy she would feel when the child would call her ‘mother?’ Max’s heartrate increased as she thought happily about the future.
However, a sour thought came to her mind. It had been almost half a year since she came to Anatol, was it normal that she had no child yet? According to the nanny who raised her, menstruation stopped when women became pregnant. If so, she should expect to not have her period again since last month, right? Although Riftan had left the castle several times, they went to bed together so frequently…
Max became anxious as she recalled her mother, who had suffered from not being able to bear any sons.
“Sleep now.” Riftan told her. He reached out to turn off the lamp and pulled the blanket up to Max’s chin. She fell into his warm arms and tried to forget about her dark predictions.
The time just hasn’t come yet, she thought.
Some couples had children only after three or four years since their marriage. Obviously, in due time, good news would arrive for them too.
The next day, Max woke up alone when the sun was already up. She checked the empty space on the bed where Riftan had laid. With disappointed eyes, she sat up and sighed. He was an amazingly diligent man.
She got out of bed and began her toilette. That day, she was going to start doing the duties she had neglected while showing Agnes around Anatol. The gardens had to be inspected and she had to ensure that the guests were being properly accommodated.
Although the busy day had just begun, Max felt lighter and more at ease than the day before. She smiled as she remembered Riftan’s wide arms, who held her warmly throughout the night, feeling more relaxed after confirming that his feelings for her had not cooled down.
“Greetings, my Lady,” the maids bowed with cheerful smiles, as they opened the door and met Max. “Did you sleep well last night?”
“I s-slept well. Thank y-you. D-Did the g-guests have any i-issues?”
“Everyone slept comfortably, my Lady. Besides the princess, everyone is still resting in their rooms”, said Rudis.
“H-how is the p-princess?”
“She’s been outside on the grounds with Lord Calypse since early morning”.
“T-together with t-the Lord?”
Rudis noticed Max’s worried expression and added quickly.
“The knights are also with them. One of the other servants mentioned that they were all planning to go over the guard’s training.”
She was embarrassed that Rudis had realized her dark mood and quickly turned her face away. Even though last night Riftan had said with his own mouth that he had no feelings for the princess, Max got immediately nervous hearing that the two of them were together. Had she always been such a jealous woman?
She rushed down the stairs, rubbing her hot face. Her nervous feeling did not go away, even while she searched the garden for Rodrigo, the head butler. Riftan wasn’t having a secret meeting with another woman, so why was she so anxious? Max wandered restlessly through the garden for a long time, before giving in and heading to the training grounds. Even if she would feel awkward and uncomfortable with all of them together, it would make her feel more at ease than she was now.
With deep thoughts, Max hurriedly went through the training ground gates when a loud shout erupted. She stood at the entrance and looked down.
Similar to when there were special trainings, there were more knights and trainees than usual, all cluttered together around the stands. On one side was Agnes and her entourage, on the other side were the apprentice knights.
With all eyes on them, two knights walked into the field. Max’s eyes widened. Both knights were wearing helmets, but it was easy to recognize by his confident stride that one of the knights was Riftan. Was he going to duel with one of Agnes’ men? Why?
She watched them, confused, as the knights pulled out their swords. The armor proved that the challenger was a formal knight, not an apprentice. Had an argument occurred with the guests?
While Max blinked, Riftan rushed at his opponent, like a shotput flying across the sky, with such a shocking speed that it was hard to believe that he was in full armor. Max screamed and stepped back as the opponents collided, the sound of metallic banging was reminiscent of a thunderbolt.
Riftan easily defended himself and threw off his opponent’s sword, who immediately took another position to attack. Their swords collided violently at a speed like that of the beating wings of a hummingbird, the tearing sound of metal reverberating in the air.
She could not move. She stood there and watched, shocked by the violence of the act. The fighters’ feet dug into the ground and scattered dust around them, creating a layer of mist made of dirt. The fight was so intense that Max could no longer watch without feeling dizzy, so she turned away.
Sir Karon, who was standing nearby, approached her.
“My lady, are you okay?”
“S-Sir Karon.” Max instinctively grabbed the edge of his cloak. “W-what are t-they doing? W-why is Riftan f-fighting?”
“Stay calm, my Lady. It’s not a duel, just a light match”.
“L-light?” Max stared at him in disbelief. The sound of thunderbolts still resonated behind her back. “H-how can t-that be light? W-what if someone gets i-injured?”
“I don’t know the challenger, but the Lord is going easy on him. This level of training is common among us knights. Please don’t worry”.
Karon tried to reassure her, yet every time someone moaned her heart started beating more strongly. The knights around her were standing with their arms folded and watching the fight in a relaxed pose.
“If you’re not feeling well, I can escort you back” he said, looking at her pale, nervous face.
Max automatically pressed her hand against Karon’s arm to support herself. At that moment, a sharp CLANG erupted, and the surroundings grew quiet. She looked back, wondering if her husband got injured.
Riftan was standing still like a stone statue, he had pushed his sword against the challenger’s neck with a firm grip. The challenger, who had not moved, eventually raised his hand to admit defeat.
Max exhaled in relief and felt the tension ease within her body, neither of the fighters seemed to be injured. Her shoulders drooped as she relaxed, when she suddenly felt a sharp gaze upon her.
Max saw Riftan, who had thrown off his helmet, staring at her fiercely. He strode over while sheathing his sword around his waist and swiftly pulled her away from Karon.
“What are you doing?” he asked Karon.
“My lady seemed to be in shock from the training fight” he said, embarrassed, and took a step back. “I was only supporting her.”
Riftan glared at him with vicious eyes before turning to Max.
“Don’t come here, this place doesn’t suit you.”
He grabbed her arm and moved her body towards the entrance. Max gasped in discomfort as Riftan’s metal gauntlet tightened against her arm. As if she were burning, Riftan instantly released her. She rubbed her forearm where he had grabbed her tightly and looked at him, confused. Why was he so upset?
“I-I’m fine. It w-was my first time s-seeing a fight. I was just s-surprised.”
“Have you never seen a joust or sword competition?” Agnes suddenly intervened.
Note – Nymeria: Riftan at the start of the chapter = chef kiss. Riftan at the end of the chapter = CHILL DUDE! Idk, I understand he’s jealous and very protective of her, but I’d like for him to realize she’s a grown woman with, finally, her own freedom >:c