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This is not enough. Ian’s eyes were still as cold as winter frost. I whispered to him afterwards.
“And think of me as, um… cakes, macarons, or something.”
“…What are you talking about?”
Haa. I blinked my eyes in frustration. When Rashid came, he naturally acted with a desire to monopolize me. I didn’t know why he suddenly became stiff like this. Now I can see that Ian is a type of person who has a lot of ups and downs.
“Ha, really. I want you to look at me as if you were looking at a delicate rose!”
Ian looked at me as if I was being absurd.
Yeesh, that was a dirty look. I quickly decided to give up on the idea, as it didn’t match with how Ian is being. I had no choice but to make sure Ian’s expression was not visible to the ladies.
Therefore, I slightly pulled Ian’s arms and tried to turn towards another angle.
My body, which had been creaking all day after a vigorous workout, became stiff all of a sudden. I got a cramp.
My body leaned forward as I said ‘Oh my’ at the same time.
My body was falling down! I reached out my arms instinctively. My forehead smashed into the dirt floor the next moment…
No, it’s not the dirt floor, but I bumped into something firm.
“……What are you doing?” His dreadful voice was heard above my head.
It smelled good. As I came to my senses, I realized I was burying my nose in Ian’s chest.
“Ugh. I-I’m sorry.”
I hurriedly attempted to stand up, but my body had already lost its balance and slipped. No, I almost slipped.
His firm arms embraced me tightly as though they were holding me in place. I became stiff as my whole body almost hung on Ian.
“Did you drink?”
My cheeks heated up when I heard the sound of laughter.
“I, because. My leg hurts… I’m getting cramps… Wait a minute. Ouch.”
Perhaps it was because of embarrassment. The more I tried to balance, the more my body twisted. To make matters worse, my calf was sore, as the cramps refused to go away.
Please listen to me, you fat body!
“Oh my God.”
“That’s hot. That’s hot!”
I heard someone whisper excitedly behind me. My face became redder. The ladies were watching this spectacle.
“Oh my, her waist is encircled by his arm.”
“Haa, it is like a painting.”
“That is such a hot hug… Oh my gosh. It’s hot, it’s hot.”
If I leave it alone, it would be like eggs baked on Elvan stone.
[TL/N: Haha I didn’t know why the author used this. But Eggs baked on Elvan stone are Korean hard-boiled eggs that usually Koreans eat when they are at a Sauna and they eat it when it is still very hot. So it means if Irene leaves it alone it will be hotter like Eggs baked on Elvan stone or uncontrollable for her.]
I was embarrassed as I heard the ladies chattering enthusiastically, but the goal was achieved. The purpose was to show that Ian and I are intimate lovers.
“Did you twist your feet?”
I looked up at the person questioning out of the blue. Ian’s face looked up from the front as I turned my head. The cold blue eyes were as clear as a frozen lake in the winter. As if my appearance would be reflected in the same way. I had a momentary loss of words at that unrealistic sight.
Ian gently narrowed his brow.
“Did you get hurt? How did you fall and get hurt on your own?”
Ian looked at me as if he were looking at someone precious to him. He sighed softly as though he couldn’t help it. The next moment, my body flashed.
“Oh my God, my God. He lifted her lightly like a feather.”
The cheers of the ladies filled the garden. Ian was holding me with both hands. I mean, I’m talking about being carried like a princess.
“Pl-please put me down.”
When I grasped the situation later on, I struggled.
“I can walk by myself!”
“It’s fine, I’ll go and get it treated. I wonder if there are still healing priests left in the church.”
“I didn’t get hurt!”
Ian began to walk without even responding to me, as if he was bothered. I could hear the ladies moving away from us, but I could still feel their hot gaze on us in the dim light.
Inevitably, I tried to relax my body and held myself in Ian’s arms.
“That’s why I didn’t even ask questions.”
I could hear Ian muttering to himself.
‘…Are you going easy on me because I’m a patient?’
If I did not fall, he might have questioned me on why I was staring at the baby angel’s feet. I quickly reversed my decision and slumped down in Ian’s arms like a patient with a severe ankle injury.
The healing priest who examined me at the healing center had a puzzled expression on his face when he arrived, but without saying anything, he healed me of muscle pain. While the healing priest’s divine power is healing my body, I simply feel at ease.
* * *
A few days after that.
I was astonished when I saw the clothes lined up on one wall of the dressing room.
“This is the traditional attire of Eluneism, Lady Irene.”
Lucian kindly explained to me. I was surprised once again. Do I have to wear all of this?
Why are there so many strings and so many things to wrap around?
The combination of pure white and gold colors in the attire created a beautiful harmony. But this is too much to wear!
I wouldn’t be able to walk if I wore all of these layers because it would be too heavy.
“You don’t always have to dress like this all the time. Today is a special day.”
Ian spoke gently while he was leaning against the wall and watching the situation. Even though it was early in the morning, his face was perfect today: neat and well-groomed, with no swelling.
I secretly admired Ian’s tight formal attire. He was dressed in a pure white robe and he boasted his unrealistic beauty today.
‘Your look is so sacred…’
Although his expression was languid and weary like a Hanryang. Ian shrugged.
[TN/L: Hanryang is actually one of the ranks of the Joseon Dynasty. Hanyrang describes wealthy young nobles who have no particular profession and spend their lives drinking and having fun. ‘Like Hyangrang’ uses the same expression as a leisurely and relaxed expression.]
“Would it be better to make a first impression of being as virtuous and graceful as a Saintess? Well. In terms of virginity, neither you nor I can rightfully say anything.”
I wondered why he had been following Lucian since morning, I guess he was trying to drive me up the wall.
I clenched my fist tightly and returned my attention to the clothes.
“Don’t worry too much, Lady Irene. I’ll help you with your clothes.” Dame Joan said.
I looked back at her as if I had met a savior.
“Really?! Do you know how to wear these?”
“Yes. When joining the Holy Knights, one of the most important virtues to learn is how to dress in traditional attire.”
“I see! Then, yes please!”
Dame Joan gave a soft nod and turned to look at the men. Lucian and Ian left the dressing room without saying a word. I fell in love with Dame Joan’s power.
I took off my nightdress with the assistance of Dame Joan and Annette, and began putting the clothes layers on one by one. It took a lot of time. More than I thought.
When I looked at the clock, about 40 minutes had already passed.
I saw Dame Joan was struggling to put the string near my waist.
‘Somehow… I think you’re having a hard time.’
Even though she had learned how to wear this, Dame Joan was a Holy Knight who would rarely wear such loose-fitting attire. Annette also joined in to help, but the situation did not improve significantly.
“I’m sorry Lady Irene. I don’t have the finesse…” Annette apologized as she cried.
I shook my head. Even after looking through the instructions for the clothes that Lucian left behind, I still could not understand.
Especially the knots! This was the first time in my life that knots were so complicated that I felt uneducated. Nevertheless, we finally finished with dressing-up.
I exclaimed, looking at the mirror. The pure white attire had a subtle golden color flowing through it.
The lean and beautiful dress was wrapped by several layers of thin fabric, like the flamboyant wing of a butterfly.
My head had only a few strings of jewelry on it, in contrast to the luxurious fabric I wore on my body. Depending on the direction of the light, the sparkling jewelry string is as beautiful as it is captivating.
“Wow, it’s pretty……”
“It looks good on you.”
“You’re so beautiful, Lady Irene!”
I admired myself in the mirror as I turned around. I cursed the fact that there were so many layers, but it was worth it once I had worn them all.
‘I look like a real Saintess.’
Right now, I was flowing with grace like Ian.
As expected, fine feathers make fine birds.
[TL/N: Fine feathers make fine birds means a person may be more impressive if he wears fine clothes. It is always prudent to dress ourselves smartly on important occasions. Smart appearance always makes the best impression – and it will also make a lasting impression. But clothes can deceive people.]
I smiled contentedly, having gained a lot of confidence. Ian, who had been waiting, widened his eyes slightly as soon as I opened the dressing room door.
I huffed out my chest proudly. When I saw Ian’s reaction, it seemed that I looked splendid in my current attire.
[TL/N: I huffed my chest proudly. It means that no matter what situation you are in, you want to look confident to someone, and your attitude makes you look confident.]
Ian slowly approached me. He came close to my nose and looked at me for a moment without saying a word.
…A little, no. I felt quite embarrassed.
What. What’s wrong?
Are you suddenly becoming pious after seeing my Saintess-like appearance? Do you regret the past when you threatened me?
I think that you should treat me reverently from now on…
Ian reached out to me. The sudden movement made me swallow my breath and I gulped down.
“You didn’t tie the shoulder straps properly.”
I bowed my head down to look at the shoulder straps, and my body suddenly stiffened. Ian grabbed my shoulder strap gently.
“The knot is a mess.” A low muffled voice tickled my ears.
As Ian got closer, I smelled a strange scent. It smelled like herbs, but also smelled like the wind. I blinked for no apparent reason as I got a whiff of his scent.
‘Come to think of it, I thought the rose garden also smelled good.’
I felt subtly nuanced when I recalled what happened then. I couldn’t overcome my embarrassment and my mouth opened on its own.
“Do you use perfume?”