"What took you so long, Dmitri?" Nicholas asks suspiciously.
Dmitri sighed and ventured further inside the room til there was room for him to explain, "I got a little side-tracked, father. Pardon."
"'Side-tracked'?" The czar repeated. Just then, Dmitri gestured for Sophie to come in. She coughed shyly, something Jaspert wouldn't usually see his sister do, prompting the Austrian prince to grin with thoughts spinning.
"Da, side-tracked." Dmitri added as she entered, "She was snooping around at the garden."
Nicholas failed to say much else after hearing the prince's excuse and instead pardoned him, looking back to Alek who looked to be sharing the same thought as the czar,
"Shall we continue then?" Said the czar. Alek nodded to him. "Ja, let's."
later that day
"So, sis. How was your night at the palace?" Jaspert asked, biting down on the apple, emitting a loud crunching sound that prompted the nearby stallions to whine. As Sophie recalled a long conversation with the Russian prince last night, she wanted to comment on Dmitri's way of speaking. Almost as skilled in charisma as her brother, she thought.
Finally, just as she threw an apple towards the stallions, she answers. "He has a skilled tongue." Only to realize the double-meaning of what she had said moments later. Jaspert choked, so did the aging Count who listened nearby. "W-wait-"
Jaspert swallowed hard, snickering lightly and pounding his chest with a clenched fist gently as he did. "Well, can I assume you two had fun last night then?"
"That's not what I meant!" Sophie argued fiercely.
"A glass of vodka or whiskey, here and there, aye?" He adds, feeling smug. "Perhaps a cherry in there too."
Sophie threw another apple to the stallions. "You should know, bumrag!" She retorts alongside the throw. Nearby, Ernst was struggling to regain his composure, waiting to lecture the two as soon as he can.
"I was referring to cherry stems, Sophie." Jaspert added in response to her fierce reaction. Out-witted, Sophie groan in defeat and walks to a fair distance from him, muttering her disbelief under her breath. Jaspert began to snicker louder. It was then that that a familiar sight came riding towards them on of the armored bears.