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Aris lifted her chin and strained to see the top of the column. Given its height, she had to take a few steps back to see all the way to the top. After spending some time looking at the column, she turned her attention to the statue beside it. It looked to be the bust of a man.
“After building the column, the emperor made a bust of himself to celebrate,” Hansen added.
“I see, so that’s the last emperor’s face,” Aris said. He seemed to have been a good-looking man. Turning to look back at Roy, she continued, “Roy, you’re far more handsome.”
“Am I?” Roy said.
“Yes,” Aris said firmly, as if there was no comparison.
Hansen let out a chuckle at Aris’s proud attitude.
Roy closed the distance between them and held her tightly in his arms. “Please don’t make such comments,” he muttered in a pained voice. He was dying because he felt his urges stimulated each time she made such gestures.
“Oh, Roy. Patience.” Aris patted his arm, knowing that he was aroused.
“Excellent,” she complimented. Kissing him on the cheek, she hoped he would be able to restrain himself with this much for now.
Watching the lovebirds before him, Hansen smiled to himself. He could clearly see they were deeply in love with each other.
* * *
As the castle was a historical site, only part of the grounds was open for view to the public. Other sections of the site were reserved for archeological study and prohibited for preservation of the ruins.
When the tour concluded, Aris looked around the castle and soothed her wistful heart. Both Aris and Roy gave hearty applause after Hansen finished his explanation.
“Thank you,” Aris gushed.
“Next, I shall guide you to the fortune teller,” Hansen added. “Though, I must warn you that it is a little bit of a walk.”
“Oh my! That’s fine.” Aris never had a chance to get her fortune read since coming to this world. Fortune telling was considered an ancient custom, and few sought to have their fortune divined.
She had heard that there was a famous fortune teller near the historic site. Even those without much interest in fortune telling would stop by when visiting the ruins. She couldn’t help but feel excited to have her fortune read after so long. Would the fortune teller notice that she had come from a different world? She felt conflicted about whether she hoped the fortune teller would or wouldn’t recognize this truth.
When they reached a small house on the outskirts of the castle, Hansen announced, “This is the place.” There was only one fortune teller’s shop, so there was no confusion as to which one to choose from. “This family has been running the fortune-telling shop for generations. Their history is exceptional, and their accuracy rate is very high,” he added.
“Have you had your fortune read, Hansen?” Aris asked.
“Yes, I do it occasionally. The locals often get their fortune read.”
Excited about the stellar recommendation, Aris opened the door with anticipation. The interior was lit by a mysterious lamp, giving the shop a dim atmosphere.
“Welcome.” There was a woman dressed in a robe and wearing bracelets engraved with various patterns on her arm.
“Hello,” Aris and Roy greeted. With curiosity burning in her eyes, Aris added, “We came to have our fortune read.”
Gesturing for them to take a seat, she said, “You must be a newly-wedded couple. Which fortune would you like to hear today?”
“I’d like to know when we’ll have a baby!” Aris replied without hesitation.
“Very well, children it is.” The fortuneteller splayed out cards and ordered, “Pick three cards from here.”
“Alright,” Aris nodded. Turning to Roy, she asked, “Should I pick that one?”
“Then, I’ll pick this one.”
After discussing their cards, they handed over the three they picked to the fortuneteller. Looking at the cards, the fortuneteller hummed and raised one of the cards. “You will welcome a baby next spring.”
“Is that true?” Aris asked.
“Yes, it will be a smart child,” the fortuneteller replied.
“I think he’ll look like Roy!”
“I think she’ll look like Aris.”
The two spoke at the same time, before turning to smile at each other.
“I’d like a son who looks like you, Roy.”
“I want a girl that looks like you, Aris.”
The fortuneteller grinned at the couple who wished for different things. “In fact, two children will be born. You’ll have a son and a daughter.”
“That’s wonderful news,” Aris said. Roy wished for a girl, while she wished for a boy. It felt strange that both of their wishes would be granted.
“But it’s very interesting…” the fortuneteller trailed off, looking at the cards. Turning to look back at the couple, the fortuneteller continued, “The cards show that the two of you were not originally destined to be together.”
“Pardon?” Aris stammered in surprise.