Are you a gold-digger? (5)
“The problem, is that even a short disruption in supply can be catastrophic for us.”
Each hospital already had designated dates to receive a batch of scalpels. With the current circumstances, they would never be able to make those dates.
The foundation of business was trust.
Even more so since Aristine’s business was just a start-up.
Imagine what would happen if there was a gap in sales with all her business partners, not just one?
Of course, it would become an issue.
‘And the queen’s faction will not let go of that opportunity.’
They would either claim she tried to make a quick buck, was blinded by greed so she took more orders than she could handle, or that she was torturing the people with hope.
Whatever they could think of would be added to that.
Because the situation had already happened, and they only needed to fan the flames.
The fatality rate due to infections during surgery had reduced by as much as 87 percent in hospitals using the scalpel that Aristine made. Naturally, the patients and their families had great expectations of the scalpel.
What patient would accept it if you told them that they had to use the old scalpel because the new scalpel was not ready?
‘They would feel like it was stolen from them.’
The more desperate they were, the more likely they were to find something to resent.
Once they start asking, ‘why wasn’t the scalpel ready?’, they would inevitably reach the conclusion that Aristine’s side didn’t provide a proper supply of scalpels.
“What if we accuse the Queen’s side of deliberately monopolizing iron ore…can’t we do that?”
“By the time we start looking for evidence, it would be too late.”
By then, the queen would have already stopped preoccupying the market.
Public opinion might change later on, but in the meantime?
Once public opinion began to deteriorate, there was a high chance that they would criticize things other than the scalpel. And it would be hard to reverse the deteriorated public opinion.
“Then what should we do…?”
“Trust me and give me some time to think.”
Aristine flashed the blacksmiths a smile. Amidst the despair, her smile was still as beautiful as a flower blooming in the snow.
The blacksmiths including Ritlen stared blankly at Aristine. She should be the frustrated and angry person here. Although Ritlen worked hard on it, everything was calculated and built up from the ground by Aristine.
Every idea she thought of, cultivated, and nurtured instantly collapsed in the face of power.
However, Aristine was calmly looking through each step and searching for a solution. She was not getting angry or shouting or breaking down in tears.
But they, on the other hand, were so angry when they found out what happened from the merchant group after the pig-iron that was supposed to arrive never came.
They uttered incredibly foul words that they couldn’t bear to mention in front of Aristine.
The blacksmiths in the forge looked at Aristine with awe. This small and slender woman was stronger than them.
* * *
Tarkan took off his shoulder pads and quickly walked into the room.
Aristine, who was sitting in front of the table documenting the current situation, lifted her head.
Judging by the fact that he was still wearing his protective gear, he must have come over in a hurry during training.
“Did something happen?”
Aristine quickly approached him with worry on her face and seeing that, Tarkan frowned.
She was asking him if something happened?
He should be the one asking that.
“I heard all the pig-iron in the market was occupied in advance.”
“Mhm, that is the case.”
Tarkan grabbed Aristine’s shoulders tightly.
“Then our side will follow along and stop releasing the demonic beast corpses into the market.”
His expression was heavily distorted which made Aristine smile slightly.
“Well, that would definitely make it difficult for them.”
Duke Skiela might have largest iron mine in the world, but Tarkan’s side had the largest supply of demonic beasts.
“But don’t you think they anticipated that?” Aristine shrugged, “Their strategy is to pressure me with material so of course, they must have thought about the fact that my husband could also counterattack with his own materials.”
Aristine pursed her lips and continued, “Our opponent seems pretty smart, after all.”
“Mn, they must be prepared. They can probably last half-a-month without ending their monopoly.”
That was a short timeframe depending on how you look at it.
Since iron was not a daily necessity, people’s lives wouldn’t be impacted that much.
“Half-a-month is enough time to bring me down.”
The number of scalpels available was already far less than the number of orders they had.
The ones without finalized contract could be put aside but the ones with the contract had to be dealt with.
‘If only I had seen this scene before in my Monarch’s Sight…’
“Huu, if I knew sooner, I would have made preparations beforehand.”
There was no use regretting it now.
Tarkan gazed at Aristine for a while then he spun around.
“Where are you going?”
“For a walk.”
His reply was short.
Aristine blinked a few times then she grabbed Tarkan’s arm.
“Are you going to the Queen?”
He didn’t respond but that was practically an answer.
Aristine stepped in front of him, blocking his path.
Her eyes looking up at Tarkan were clear and firm.
“This is my business, and I can handle it.”
At those words, Tarkan clenched his teeth. A groan spilled through his teeth.
“I…” am your husband,“…am your business partner.”
Tarkan spat our the words like he was biting through it.
“I know, but strictly speaking, this is a separate business from you,” Aristine smiled.
It looked like the formulated smile he saw on Aristine the first day he met her.
“Ha,” Tarkan laughed.
Those words were clearly engraved in his head.
She was right.
(Aristine)“I can handle this much by myself.”
(Tarkan)“Yes, I know you can.”
Tarkan’s voice was low, almost to a growl. He knew more than anyone else how capable Aristine was since he had watched it all by her side.
“But you can—.”
Rely on me a little more.
Tarkan shut his mouth at the vivid desire crouching in his chest.
“Tarkan,” Aristine smiled at him. This time, it was a sincere smile, “I’m always thankful to you.”
Who knew that the words ‘thank you’ could feel so much like drawing a line.
Tarkan laughed fiercely.