Episode 29: Poisoned Rat(1)
* * *
At the same time, Tarkan was sitting in his office with a serious look on his face.
The warrior remained silent, carefully studying his mood.
‘He must feel complicated after Dionna did such a thing…’
‘Who knew Chantra’s sister would act like this.’
After a deep silence, Tarkan finally opened his mouth.
“I think I love Aristine.”
‘What in the…’
‘Isn’t that obvious…?’
They were wondering why he was so serious but to think he was thinking about that.
“What is with all your reactions?”
“I mean…it’s not like that’s a new thing…”
“Anyone can see you two are all lovey dovey.”
He was the incarnation of jealousy itself. And scarily so.
Tarkan’s lips twitched, “Say that again.”
“What? I, I didn’t finish my sentence.”
“No, before that.”
“That anyone can see that you two are lovey dovey?”
This time, Tarkan’s cheeks twitched.
The eyes of the warriors dimmed as they looked at the hero of this country. They couldn’t help but wonder if this was the same man who usually cut down anyone trying to butter him up.
But since he liked it so much, they unenthusiastically opened their mouths.
“Your Highnesses are truly a match made in heaven.”
“Anyone can see you two make a perfect couple.”
“You two look amazing together. It is magnificent. A gift from God.”
And every time they sang praises, Tarkan’s shoulders shook.
He mumbled, stroking his chin with a wrinkled brow.
“But Aristine doesn’t seem to think much of it.”
“The Princess Consort is a little slow in that regards. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say she’s not conscious of it.”
“Then why not make her conscious of it?”
When Jacquelin said that, Tarkan’s eyes widened.
“Make her conscious?”
“Yes, create a romantic atmosphere or…keep appealing to aspects that the Princess Consort really likes. She can’t help being drawn to you if you keep showing her sides of you that she likes.”
“That sounds good.”
Tarkan nodded. Sure enough, as a strategist, Jacquelin’s mind worked quickly.
‘An aspect that Aristine likes.’
Tarkan thought to himself, recalling his time with Aristine.
Times when Aristine’s eyes were especially bright. If you exclude eating or talking business…
Tarkan unconsciously touched his exposed chest.
《The bread was really warm and puffy. It felt amazing. 》
He remembered how Aristine looked, speaking dreamily after she touched his chest to her heart’s content.
‘The same thing happened when she was sick and unconscious…’
She groped his chest with such intensity and energy.
He cleared his throat for no reason and put his hand down quietly.
The warriors looked at their master’s face and tilted their heads.
They wondered if he was sick because his ears were so red.
* * *
The Queen’s faction’s scheme to monopolize pig-iron ended in losses and no gains whatsoever.
Thanks to the hard work of the blacksmiths, there was no problem stocking up on scalpels. Their re-use of scrap metals even made it into an article, drawing publicity.
The Queen’s faction tried to draw attention to the sanitation of recycled scrap metal, but it was immediately refuted and instead allowed the public to know that the process had no issue.
Moreover, Duke Skiela, who monopolized the key materials, was warned by the king.
As the rate of surgical infections decreased nationwide due to the increased usage of the new scalpel, interest began to grow internationally.
Aristine and Tarkan’s marriage drew attention throughout the continent so other countries already knew about Aristine making scalpels. However, they only thought of it as a show of philanthropy of some sort.
But when the numbers began to show clear results, numerous countries began to make contact.
They were skeptical because Irugo, which was known as the land of barbarians, was said to have made an amazing medical scalpel but once they saw the real thing, they were in awe.
〈I thought Irugoians only knew swords but this scalpel…!〉
〈It really doesn’t rust.〉
〈Then again, Irugo has always been good at metallurgy. The introduction of the Princess Consort produced a good synergy. 〉
Before, these countries disparaged Irugo to curry favor with the Silvanus Empire. But now that Silvanus and Irugo had reconciled, and they wanted to import medical scalpels as valuable as human life, their attitude change.
This was what King Irugo wanted.
Furthermore, the stainless steel received more explosive attention than the scalpels.
Deciding on a name for the stainless steel became a national issue.
The problem arose after seeing the names Ritlen chose.
[The Goddess’s Blessing]
[The Pure Iron of a Pure Angel]
[Goddess of Steel]
Aristine almost crumpled the paper on the spot.
While questioning his aesthetics, she asked him to bring her the list of all the names that were submitted.
And the names on that list…
[Long Live the Princess Consort]
[Please marry me]
[What are you plans for a new addition to the family?]
With all the things written, it was hard to tell whether this was supposed to be a naming content for steel or an avenue for writing letters.
Aristine couldn’t bring herself to read past the first page and put it down.
Her head hurt and she didn’t even know what to say.
She remembered Tarkan looking amused when he said, “You’re going to have a vote among the candidates that Ritlen chose?”.
He must have expected this to happen.
Her husband was intolerable, but either way, this was already something that she promised the people.
But none of these names were usable so Aristine was forced to come to a decision.
‘I have to use a trick.’
It felt like cheating, but she could not have it being called goddess-something or angel-whatever. If she chose such a name, she would be so embarrassed, and it would cause setbacks in her business.
Thankfully, she never announced that the voting process.
Originally, she was going to hold a vote among her amazing employees, but she decided to vote by herself.
After deciding that, she half-threatened Ritlen to put a name she decided as a nominee and had a one-man vote.
The result was a unanimous(not really) vote for stainless steel.
It was an unimaginative name, but it was good.
Sure enough, the best things were the ones you were familiar with.
Anyways, she brought over a few things from earth so she figured it would be good to at least leave a trace of it.
Even the mana-powered furnace that recycled scrap metal was drawing interest at the industrial level.
This was why she purposefully asked Asena not to install the mana-powered furnace anywhere else.
Aristine gladly received their messages.
And while she was busy working, Dionna was banned from entering Tarkan’s palace.
Frankly, her punishment was going to be more severe, but Aristine blocked it. Because she found out about Dionna’s elder brother, Chantra.
The warriors couldn’t help but feel shaken when they heard that Dionna would be severely punished.
They all held affection towards their late comrade and a sense of debt.
Aristine didn’t hold much of a grudge against Dionna, so she told Tarkan that putting Dionna in probation was enough. Because she felt that was a more rational decision to rally the warriors.
But contrary to Aristine’s intentions, the warriors looked at Aristine, feeling emotional.
《To someone so benevolent…》
《Is this the generosity of the goddess of peace…》
《But to think His Highness Tarkan overturned his decision. Sure enough, the Princess Consort…》
Aristine casually ignored what they were saying. She had slowly gotten used the warrior’s exaggerations.
All in all, her days had been pretty good.
There was just one little issue—.
It was when night came.
Tarkan whispered in Aristine’s ear in a husky voice every night.
And every time, Aristine felt strange tingles in her back and shoulder and wanted to shrink away.
Before, they slept side by side on their backs but lately for some reason, Tarkan had been saying the bed was too narrow and slept on his side.
Because of his position, his firm, soft, and warm chest kept touching Aristine’s arm. When Tarkan moved from time to time, she could feel the clear curve of his chest.
The problem was that, the sensation felt so nice that if she lost focus for a second, her hands would move before she even realized it.
There had been more than a few times when she woke up and found her hand resting on Tarkan’s chest.
And the frequency of her dreams about warm, puffy bread had increased.
‘Bad hand! You bad bad hand!’
Right when Aristine was looking down at her hand and scolding it…
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