Chapter 162 Meeting
The deep hallways felt even longer than usual.
I didn't want to go…but I also had to.
My sense of responsibility compelled me to take heavy steps forward, one after the other.
"Sorry to make you wait."
Then we started our talks.
The man in the waiting room was around my age.
His hair was wrapped up in a turban and he wore the loose clothing of the Acacia kingdom. When he saw me, he smiled a gentle smile.
"No, I am sorry for the sudden visit. My name is Hafis Bante Marsed. "
…When diplomats from Acacia came to visit, the palace always welcomed them with a banquet.
Before being expelled from the academy, I had also attended the banquet as a duke's daughter…but I had never met his man before. Of course, I had only really met the main diplomat, so I couldn't make any judgements about that.
"Knowing your name is an honor. My name is Iris, Iris Lana Armenia. Nice to meet you."
"No, no, I was really quite surprised by all this. To think that the person in charge of supervising this territory was a woman like yourself…from the rumors I've heard, it seems like you've curated this land to quite a prosperous state. Your father who chose to hand this land to you was quite wise."
"Ah, not at all…you speak too highly of me."
"You are too modest. When you took over this territory, trade with my country increased. Even our country's nobility has great respect for your skill. That's exactly why our first prince, Prince Majid, wants to visit this land."
I covered my mouth with a fan and began to giggle.
So what was the truth behind that…thinking that, I studied the man before me in a way that was distant enough to be polite.
The man before me had a rugged face with defined features.
Although he had a gentle smile on his face, deep within his eyes there was a look of judgement.
"I am honored, of course…but I still must report this to my father before proceeding."
"Is that so?…I heard that you have just as much power as any other territory ruler…"
…They really did their homework on researching a foreign nation's territory…That's what I exclaimed to myself as I maintained a smile.
"Well, that's fine too. If you are going to report to your father, there is something else I wanted to ask you to tell him as well."
"…What is it?"
"To be frank…visitation is only an excuse. Prince Majid came to this land to ask for your hand in marriage."
My heart almost stopped in shock.
I understood the word "marriage". But what he said somehow didn't seem to make sense.
"Prince Majid seemed to have fallen for you at first sight, lost his heart to you…if this could create a bridge between two nations, that would be a good connection."
I don't remember meeting the first prince in the visitors beforehand.
…So what he called love at first sight, was it a lie? Or perhaps the prince was mixed in with the diplomats…?
"This is the official paperwork."
Hafis's hand emerged with a file.
In that moment, the golden ring on his hand drew my eye. The flattened middle part had an engraving of a hawk.
The file was handed off to Sebastian, who stood on the side, and passed to my hands.
"Yes…Sir Hafis, your ring looks rather expensive."
"Oh…this? Our nation's access to gold is unprecedented. That's why…"
"I see. The design is quite outstanding, I couldn't help but admire it."
Sir Hafis's smile became even more splendid after hearing my words.
For quite a while, we just gazed at each other.
We looked at each other, trying to gather as much information as possible, while also waiting for the other person to make a move.
Because of the silent defense stance, the atmosphere seemed heavy.
"…Please excuse me."
In the middle of the meeting, Tanya walked into the room.
"What is it?"
She didn't respond immediately, instead moving close to me and pressing her lips to my ear.
"Master has been attacked by someone."
What did you say…? Even though I wanted to shout, the man before me was enough to suppress that urge.
"I'm very sorry, Sir Hafis. There seems to be some urgent news. Could you allow me to leave for the moment?"
"Oh, of course."
I stood up and left the room, maintaining a polite front.
Me and Tanya went to a room that was two rooms away from the reception room.
"Attacked? Is Father still well?"
"Yes. He seems to have suffered heavy injuries, but his life is not in danger."
I sighed in relief. My whole body felt limp.
I was almost going to keel over on the spot. Thankfully, Tanya grabbed me before I could fall over.
"Are you okay?"
I kept inhaling, trying to adjust my breathing. Although my vision seemed almost dark, I gradually returned to normal.
"It's all right…let's go back."
"We can't keep him waiting."
I wobbled at first, but eventually managed to stand up and step forward.
"Sorry for the wait."
"Don't worry about it. Your complexion looks rather unwell. Are you all right?"
"Yes. Just now I learned that my father has fallen ill."
"Thankfully it's nothing too serious…but as a daughter, I'm very worried for him, and want to return to his side in the capital. I must apologize to your, Sir Hafis…"
"No, your father has encountered such misfortune, so none of that can be helped. Plus, you are so far from your father. That only makes it more difficult on you."
"Thank you so much for understanding my situation. Next time I'll welcome you with much more fanfare."
Just like that, we concluded our discussions.