Chapter 47 – Refurbishing Castle Calypse (1)
At last, she stood on her trembling legs and wore the underskirt prepared by the servants. However, a dress to wear over those was missing. She rang the bell that always lay on her bedside. A moment later, Rudis entered the room to help her dress up.
“Would you like me to put up your hair, just like yesterday?” Rudis asked.
“J-just neatly in a braid, please.”
Rudis swiftly tied her hair into a single braid with a ribbon at the end. Wearing a simple and comfortable dress, Max sat by the fireplace and ate a bowl of warm chicken soup and a piece of cornbread. She looked out the window and watched the rain patter against her window, while she placed her hand on her pleasantly full stomach. Max resisted herself from falling asleep to the sound of the calming rhythm of nature and called Rodrigo instead to continue their tour.
Although her legs ached with every step she took and her nipples were still sore from all the rough caresses from last night, she didn’t want to lie in bed all day.
I just arrived at the castle…
Max didn’t want to give the servants the impression that their new master was an indolent woman. She walked all the way to the living room in the annex, and finally returned to her room after receiving a ledger listed with previously purchased goods. However, it was difficult to distinguish which of the listed purchases were essential or not.
To start with, Maximilian had never purchased an item before. All she knew about currency was that Soldem was gold and Liram was silver. But the ledger before her was full of currencies she had never heard. Frustrated, Max started to sweat.
Denar, Derham, Dant. She recognized they were currencies of the southern continent but did not know much of their worth. Max scanned through the ledger skimming through the few purchased items of weapons, food, clothes, oil, candles, firewood, and the like. Besides these items, the number of products purchased and the total cost was written in crisp detail.
Max recalled her little knowledge of sums and subtractions from her tutor when she was still a child to estimate the value of each currency. Unfortunately, she hadn’t used her brain for arithmetic for a long time, and thus, this oversight made her only grew more flummoxed.
Ultimately, Max closed the ledger shut and lay face down in her bed with resignation. She wondered if she had to ask for Rodrigo’s help. But she soon remembered her father’s all too knowing words—a master must show dignity to their servants at all times.
“Any servant is bound to ignore a master who is oblivious and incompetent,” her father would say.
She shuddered as she thought of the indifferent servants at castle Croix. They weren’t openly rude, but she could feel the disdain for her in their looks. She wasn’t aware when the servants of castle Calypse might change their attitudes to her. Nothing was permanent, after all.
I still have some time. Max tried to calm herself.
Riftan returned late at night with his knights, drenched in the cold rain. The servants urgently led them to the sauna room where the men warmed themselves in the hot steam in bliss and enjoyed a massive meal with alcohol. When Riftan finally came back to their bedroom, he started to polish his sword and armor.
Max watched his skillful hands running over every inch of the metal, asking why he didn’t have the servants to take care of it.
“I grew up doing this since I was fourteen, so the work is insubstantial to me. I don’t want anyone else touching this guy anyway,” he answered with a shrug of his shoulders.
He held up his sword against the light. It was rubbed and shined to the point it was icy blue, not a characteristic silver of some of the familiar swords she had seen—it was was different from the panache ones her father would carry at the girdle when he entered a banquet. There were no sophisticated patterns carved in at the handle, but the blade was wide and long with an edge as sharp as a steeple.
It looked simple, yet she thought it was more majestic than any of the swords her father owned, littered in jewels and gold.
“I-it must be a one of a kind, that sword.”
“It was a prize I won from a sword-fighting competition. It’s one the most valuable swords in all seven nations combined,” Riftan said, unable to hide the pride from seeping into his voice.
Max had never been to a sword-fighting competition. Rosetta often went as a spectator with her father to show appreciation to the knights that endearingly referred to her as their dear lady, but she would always return complaining how much the event was too uncivilized and raucous for her liking.
“D-did you win?”
“Of course,” he replied without hesitation as he put the sword back to its case. Gazing at it blankly, Max suddenly blurted without preamble.
“I-I often hear the w-winner gets a k-k-kiss from the m-most respectable l-lady…”
She slurred the end of her sentence. Max was startled at her own words and dropped her gaze immediately. What was I thinking? Sensing Riftan’s disquieting look, she blurted out an excuse.
“A l-long time a-a-ago, I read a s-story about a k-knight and p-p-princess. T-the knight won a h-horseriding c-c-competition… and t-the queen o-offered a-a kiss and I-I thought i-it was q-quite r-romantic…”
The more she spoke, the more shame grew overwhelming inside her. Instantly, as she could feel the stirrings of a past come to life, she could hear her father yell about her damned habit—never knowing when to keep her mouth shut.
“I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it wasn’t romantic at all,” Riftan replied in a level-headed voice. She was expecting his displeasure, but surprisingly, there wasn’t any.
“I didn’t want to get a kiss from a stranger.”
His words should be enough compromise, an honest recollection of a past she was no part of. Yet Max couldn’t help but find herself rousing him further, trying to get some truth from him she believed was just sweet nothings.