Under the Oak Tree - Chapter 170
Translator – LF
Proofreader – Nymeria
“I… I see…”
Max didn’t realize the relief obviously displayed on her face. Riftan, gazed down at her figure and cupped her cheek with one hand.
“Do you hate it when I leave?”
Max looked up at him with tense eyes. She wanted to tell him the whole truth, but she was afraid that he would be upset by her attachment, so she chose her words carefully.
“If Riftan… stays, everyone will feel safe. The ci-citizens will also feel at ease…”
A flash of disappointment passed over his onyx eyes, but before Max could address it, the subtle expression disappeared behind his usual impassiveness. Riftan tossed the towel hanging around his neck into the sink and said in a slightly sulky tone.
“I also have no intentions of leaving Anatol empty either. I have been gone for a long time, I don’t plan on neglecting my duties as a Lord of this land again, I am going to fulfill my responsibilities.”
“Even… even if King Ruben orders you to go?”
“If that man barks and scolds me, it will only be nothing but a little annoying.” He frowned, but soon shrugged lightly. “I have lots of excuses I can make to get out of it. Unless King Ruben is a fool, he knows well of the consequences he will face shall he force me to show my loyalty more than necessary. “
Max felt a cold sweat break out at Riftan’s disrespect for the monarch, but honestly, she was more relieved than anything. His determination to remain in Anatol was more solid than she had expected, and her shoulders visibly relaxed.
“That’s a r-relief.”
“Do you feel safe when I’m by your side?”
Max nodded slowly. Looking at her with a thoughtful gaze, Riftan leaned down and gently pressed his lips against hers and her eyelids fluttered. His soft lips lingered and swept her lips sweetly as his rough fingers gently caressed her earlobes
“…Good, you should not worry about anything. I will protect you, no matter what happens.”
At those spoken words, Max felt her heart beating wildly against her chest. Max looked up at him, searching his eyes for confirmation.
“Always”. He held her face and repeated his vow. “I won’t let any danger come near you.”
She leaned into his chest and rubbed her cheek against his palm, hiding the moisture that brimmed up her eyes. As a child, she had dreamed of a knight who would one day save and protect her. However, as she grew up, she realized how useless and unattractive she was to others and didn’t hope for long. Yet here she was now with Riftan, her fantasies awakening, just like how she always dreamed it would be. In her fantasies, she was a noble lady whom knights longed to protect, to the extent of sacrificing their lives as they worshipped her blindly.
Max wrapped her arms around Riftan’s neck as she felt a lump heating up her throat. His breathing hitched, and he suddenly grabbed her, showering her with passionate kisses. His damp tongue gently sucked on her lips and his calloused palms slowly slid down her spine, tracing it. She ran her fingers through his jet-black hair, which was smooth and soft like the feathers of a raven, then her hands traveled down to his forearm and his slightly stubbled chin. Riftan’s face visibly tensed at the contact and his dark eyes grew darker with sexual desires.
“I should be used to this by now…” He frowned, muttering in a muffled voice. Max lifted her eyes, confused as she tried to understand what he meant, but Riftan just sighed over her lips. “Every time I touch you, my whole body feels like it’s on fire. And the feeling just gets more intense every time…”
With a shaky smile, Max buried her face against his neck, wiping away the remaining drops of her tears, and gently nipping his skin. Riftan stiffened and nearly crushed her as he embraced her with his rock-hard body. She felt a pleasurable tremor run through her whole body. His warmth, stark, and strength evoked a burning arousal that melted the bones within her, and she had no means of controlling her innate reaction to his touch. She wrapped her limbs around him pulling him close and allowing the heat of their bodies to join
Riftan ran his fingers over the smooth skin of her thighs and calves as he walked to the bed. With Max’s breasts crushed against his, he could feel her heart pounding.
“Sometimes I want you so much that it’s excruciatingly painful.” He murmured in a strained voice as he gently laid her on the bed.
Max reached out and ran her fingers over his face, clouded by the shadows. Grabbing her outstretched wrist, he planted butterfly kisses along the palm of her hand.
“Riftan…”, she moaned and closed her eyes as she felt his hands slip into her clothes and dig into her.
The guests were forced to leave Calypse Castle after receiving nothing but a disappointing response regarding their proposal for alliance. The knights who had to cross the rugged mountain paths and survive the forests infested with monsters appeared beyond dismayed, but Riftan didn’t even bat an eyelid in their direction. He was determined to have the upper hand in the terms, shall he form an alliance with Count Robern. According to Ruth, no one had ripped off Riftan before. He always came out with a deal that was in his favor.
Max learned that despite her husband’s cold and blunt demeanor, he was a brilliant negotiator. He could be a man of few words, but he was good at negotiating, and he knew how to use people to his advantage.
In addition to this, Max also began to learn other fascinating aspects about her husband. First, he was an excellent architectural supervisor, which was evident in the road construction. He was a composed and impartial judge and very adept in building tools with his hands. Riftan didn’t only train knights and supervise the road construction, he was also involved in the creation of new weapons with the blacksmiths, and he dealt with all the issues that came up in the premise. She was amazed at how one person could oversee everything.
But thanks to that, I can continue learning magic…
Max sighed as she looked down at the defensive magic formula she drew on the ground. Her husband had hectic days from dawn until late at night, thus she was able to focus and practice her magic lessons without worrying about being caught.
Is it really okay for me to do this…?
With another deep, wistful sigh, Ruth frowned as he examined the formula she drew.
“You’re staring at it too much, it’s not like it will fix itself. Stop wasting other people’s time, if you’re done, let’s go ahead and just try it.”
At Ruth’s incessant persistence, Max shook herself out of her thoughts. This was her first practical application of defensive magic; she couldn’t afford to be distracted.
“Then… I’ll begin…”
After checking again that she drew the formula correctly, she carefully took her mana out and amplified it as she allowed the formula to transform. The air around her stirred and a blue, transparent barrier formed around her.
Ruth’s eyes focused at her barrier with a searching gaze, then gestured for Yulysion , who was standing idly, to take a step forward.
“Alright, now attack the barrier.”
The boy flinched as if he had just been hit with a whip.
“D-do I really have to do it?”
“Of course. How else are we going to test the shield’s strength?”
Yulysion scratched the back of his head, hesitant on participating in that training session.
“Can’t it be someone else instead…?”
“We cannot ask any of the official knights to practice with us. Besides, my attacks won’t be useful.” Ruth rolled up the sleeves of his robe to reveal his slim forearms as if to prove his point.
Yulysion simply rolled his eyes at his attitude, thinking how the wizard had no masculine pride at all. Although it was true, Ruth was physically weak compared to him and he couldn’t care less.
“Hey, stop cowering like that and attack.”
“But… how can I raise my sword against the lady? Especially with my strength, equivalent to that of a knight…?”
“That’s not even a real sword, it’s wooden. It’s absolutely safe for the lady. If she was ever in a dangerous situation, this training may save her life.”
Yulysion couldn’t argue with Ruth’s firm point, so he gulped and stood in front of Max.
“Alright. Then, milady… please forgive me for this.”
Max nodded nervously, amplifying her mana to fortify the shield. The young apprentice raised his wooden sword above his head and swung it down slightly. Max’s eyes widened as she heard a whistling sound from the barrier followed by a loud clattering noise.
Her shield shattered in vain like thin ice. Yulysion didn’t have the time to pull the sword back and the wooden sword relentlessly landed on Max’s forehead. Her eyes flashed white with pain, she grabbed her head and fell backwards, crumpling on the ground.
“M-milady…!!!” Yulysion screamed shrilly.
The pain was splitting. Max groaned with excruciating pain and kicked her legs as tears streamed down her face in an instant.
“W-wizard! Please do something! Quickly! The Lady…! The Lady is hurt!”
Yulysion, who was in shock from hitting the Lord’s wife, held Ruth’s shoulders and shook him from side to side violently.The wizard only looked blankly at the absurdity and sighed, squatting next to Max’s huddled body.
“Just a second, move your hands so I can heal you. I will cast recovery magic.”
Max exerted great effort to barely manage prying her hands away, revealing her tear-stained face. Ruth cast her a pathetic look, not bothering to hide his feelings and clicked his tongue before casting the healing magic on her head.
Max felt her face redden with embarrassment as she got up from the ground. She wanted to dig a hole and hide in it.
“Are you a-alright? Does it still hurt…?” Yulysion wandered around her uneasily, examining her.
“I’m… I’m fine.” Max replied, pretending it was no big deal and brushed the dirt off her skirt.
“I am so, very, sincerely, truly, sorry for hurting you, milady…”
“N-no, it’s because my magic… was very weak…”
Ruth muttered something under his breath and shook his head disapprovingly.
“You’re right. I had never seen such a weak shield in my entire life. I’d rather make a barrier out of parchment than your shield.”
“It-It’s because this is my first time! Next… next time it will be better.”
She defended herself, but Yulysion simply turned blue at her statement.
“Is… the Lady thinking of trying again?”
“Y-Yes. I’ll practice… until I can do it properly.”
Max answered firmly, nodding determinedly and examined again the formula she drew. She racked her brain trying to figure out where she went wrong. She was able to apply it very well, but why did it break so pathetically?
“The Lady’s shield is ridiculously weak because the mana flow is too slow. She needs to increase the flow three times her current speed to achieve the strength of an average shield.”
“T-three times ?!”
“Either that or double the mana you’re using.”
Max felt like crying. “Both… Both suggestions are difficult…”
“Give it a try. The shield should, at the very least, be as durable as a glass window to even be called a shield. Yours couldn’t even block a Dragonfly’s wings.” Ruth criticized her harshly and waved a hand at Yulysion, who was still blue.
“I don’t think we’ll need Mr. Lovar’s help anymore. You can go now. This should be more than enough.”
Ruth bent down, picked up a thin branch from the ground, and swung it in the air like he was swatting a fly.
“We can consider today’s training a success if you can block this.”
Max nodded, feeling disheartened as she stared at the small branch of the width of a pinkie finger.