Under the Oak Tree - Chapter 157
Translator – LF
Proofreader – Nymeria
Note – Nymeria: Since some of you struggle with names, a quick reminder! In this chapter you’ll see Sir Gabel, Sir Hebaron Nirta and Sir Elliot Caron 🙂
Max stood up properly and fixed her posture. As the princess said, her health was completely restored and was in perfect health. She had a good complexion, a reddish tint on her cheeks, and her face had gotten plumper. However, anxiety was still written all over Riftan’s eyes when he looked at her.
“I’m sorry to say that she still needs to rest. Moreover, there are a lot of visitors right now in Anatol which makes the security unstable. Sending my wife, who hasn’t fully recovered her health, to a dangerous place…”
“Dear Sir Calypse. I’m not saying that we are going to a battlefield. What I’m saying is that we are only going to a fun spring festival with innocent country girls. Do you know that worrying too much can make you sick?”
The princess interrupted his words and retaliated bitterly, glaring at him with fierce blue eyes. Riftan darkly glared back at her, unfazed. Even the knights shed a cold sweat witnessing such authoritarian gazes, but the princess didn’t blink an eye and even snorted at his words.
“You can’t intimidate me. If you’re really worried, then go to the festival with us.”
“Spending so much time on such useless events…!” Riftan, who started shouting, immediately bit his mouth when he saw Max’s defeated face. She quickly rearranged her expression.
“I d-don’t mean to be a bother to you, Riftan… I’m oka-”
She habitually tried to say that she was fine, but suddenly remembered that he hated it when she said that and bit her tongue. When the awkward silence subsided, the princess, imposing high pressure, folded her arms in front of her chest and glared at Riftan; even the knights who were silently sitting glared at him.
“Can you not be like that and give us permission? There’s nothing wrong with going to the village spring festival.”
“That’s right. Your wife has every right to enjoy Anatol’s festivals to her heart’s content. If you try to tie her up too much, she’ll hate you, Captain.”
As Hebaron and Gabel tried to convince him, Riftan scowled at them. The knights shrugged heavily and shut their mouth. Riftan, who was silent for a long time with a disgruntled expression, finally got up from his seat with a sigh.
“Fine. Prepare the carriage. I will go with you.” He said reluctantly, then he squinted his eyes at Max and clicked his tongue. “However, if you show any sign of exhaustion, I’m taking you back to the castle right away.”
Max nodded, her face lighting up with joy. She was guilty of taking his time while he was busy, but she couldn’t hide the fact that she was happy he was about to go out with her. When Riftan started picking up his things, Hebaron cleared his throat and approached him.
“I will come with you. The more escorts, the better.”
“Sir Nirta is only interested in seeing the village girls.” Out of nowhere, Gabel stepped in front of him.
“Please bring me with you this time. I’ll be chivalrous and keep the spirits of the innocent virgins high at the Spring Festival.”
“Man, this jerk is no better than me…”
“Elliot, come with me.” Riftan cut off their bickering at once. “Don’t even let those two guys near the village. I don’t want to see Anatol’s women holding illegitimate children knocking on the gates.”
He ignored the complains and walked out of the conference room, his arm around Max’s shoulders. The princess merely shrugged her shoulders and followed them.
They headed for the village riding a modest carriage in an effort to avoid unnecessary attention from the people. Riftan and Sir Caron wore hooded robes with minimal ornament and dressed as casual as possible, while Max and Agnes wore dark colored cloaks over their white dresses.
However, when they reached the town square, upon noticing that there were more village women than they had expected, the princess thew off her cloak right away.
“Even without the cloak, it doesn’t seem like we’ll stand out.”
“It’s better to disguise ourselves for safety.”
“Wearing this robe will only make us look more suspicious.” As she spoke bluntly, she let loose her shimmering blonde hair. “Everyone’s dressed for the occasion, we can’t be the only ones dressed like this, right? Isn’t it?”
“Uhm… that… I’m…”
“Don’t be like that, take yours off too, Maximilian. Don’t miss the opportunity to flaunt yourself.”
As she pulled on the hem, Max took off her stuffy cloak, pretending to be defeated. Riftan, who had been sitting stiffly with a disgruntled face throughout the entire journey, started to open his lips, and then dropped the tense on his shoulder, as if he had lost energy.
“… Do whatever you want.”
“Are you going to do whatever you want?” The princess replied sarcastically, while removing the cape from Max, who was trying to put it back on.
Riftan frowned, but the princess wore an innocent expression and ignored his glare. Sir Caron, on the other hand, looked out at a distance to the window, not wanting to intervene in their flag fight.
Max who was stuck between them, pretended to stretch out the pleats of her skirt. After a long time, the carriage halted, and Max released a sigh of relief. The air felt tight and cramped in the carriage.
“This spot is quite far from the square where the center of the festival is.”
The princess mumbled as she was escorted by Sir Caron, whilst descending from the carriage. Elliot replied with a gentle smile.
“The square is a little cramped because there are a lot of festival booths installed. Besides, isn’t spring best enjoyed on fields where there’s grass?”
Max followed the princess and got off the carriage, scanning the area with a curious gaze. Tents of various colors were erected at regular intervals in a wide field that shimmered in blue. People were doing business with their seats spread out, sitting around tables playing card games, enjoying alcohol, and eating food in street restaurants.
“Go and have a drink or something.”
Riftan tossed a coin at the coachman. Max, whose head was busy turning side to side scanning the area with curiosity, was pulled by Riftan possessively to his side. The elderly coachman took off his hat, bowed gratefully, and drove the carriage to shelter. It seemed that there were a lot of visitors who brought carriages, and there were several wagons packed at the back of the tent.
“It seems that there are more tourists this year.”
“Isn’t it because of the reputation of the Remdragon Knights? Obviously, more and more travelers are growing curious about the land protected by the world’s mightiest knights.” The princess wore a proud expression.
Max listened to their conversation and watched the lively festival scene. It seemed that more people were gathered than the time she had visited the market with the princess. There were shabby-dressed men who appeared to be tourists, bards performing with their hats off, young ladies who were there to join the festival, various alcohol and food for sale, and some guards who patrolled for safety.
“Maximillian, there it is!” The princess suddenly pulled Max who was overwhelmed by the festival. Max followed as they ran towards a tent. Young girls were selling garlands beside a stage decorated with colored flags. “Everyone is wearing a flower crown, so I thought they had to be selling them somewhere.”
The princess bought two and put one for herself and placed one on Max’s head. Max touched it with a quaint expression. The prickly stalks, tangled with her wavy hair, felt ominous, but she couldn’t refuse the favor. She smiled awkwardly with gratitude and the princess turned away with satisfaction.
“Doesn’t this just make us feel like dryads? Right?”
“It…r-really looks good on you.”
“You, Maximillian, looks really lovely too.” She complimented with joy and pulled Max’s hand back. “Now, let’s got to the tent over there and play a card game.”
“Stop wandering around.”
Riftan who had been tailing them closely, blocked the path in front of the princess. As he pulled Max back into his arms, he gritted his teeth threateningly.
“My wife isn’t your maid that you can just drag anywhere you want. If you need something to drag around with you, then bring a fucking dog!”
“Oh my, my, my. You’re really rude with your words, aren’t you?”
Princess Agnes pouted and Max’s face turned blue. The princess didn’t exactly say that she doubted Riftan’s loyalty, but she was still part of the royal family. If the princess got offended and told King Ruben anything negative about him, that might the spark for a disaster.
“Ri-Riftan…! What a disrespectful way to talk to her highness!”
“Yes, right! He’s rude!”
Max grew paler in front of the princess. “You can’t speak that way…t-to a lady. You’re a knight. You have to be polite.”
“That’s right! That’s right!”
Riftan looked down at Max with a confused face and sent death glares to the princess. Agnes grabbed Max’s hand without batting a single eye, but with a sullen smile.
“We came out to play so let’s leave the colic, unscrupulous man and enjoy the festival to our heart’s content. They should quietly stand back and watch us relax and enjoy.”
Max glanced back at Riftan with anxious glances and followed the princess, pretending to be defeated. Honestly, she also wanted to freely enjoy the festival and the princess’ stubborn attitude didn’t bother her either.
Unlike her who always lingered and hesitated, the princess seemed to be someone that had to run and satisfy her curiosity. When she wanted to see something that looked new or strange, the princess grabbed her hand and ran without hesitation, and Max actively participated in all kinds of games. Getting caught in the passionate momentum, she also began to enjoy the festival to her heart’s content. Even her anxious thoughts seemed to have been blown away amongst the noisy, festive, atmosphere.