“Hahaha. Indeed, Princess Consort. Why does that matter?”
Umiru laughed and took Aristine’s hand with one hand, while wrapping her other hand around Aristine’s shoulders to escort her intimately.
“May I escort you like this since we’re both girls? Normally, a husband would do this but unfortunately, yours is too busy glaring right at me.”
Umiru looked at Tarkan with a smile.
“You smell really nice, Princess Consort. Very different from those sweaty warrior bast…I mean, those warriors.”
“Isn’t that expected? There’s outside training while I’m inside. Of course, I won’t sweat.”
Seeing Aristine retorting like it was not a big deal, Umiru chuckled like there was something funny about this.
“Oh dear, our Highness Tarkan must be quite frustrated.”
Tarkan furrowed his brows when Umiru’s gaze turned to him.
He spat out and turned his head.
“Oh, is that so?”
Umiru walked pleased as she led Aristine to the medical supplies storage.
“Alright, these are the regular scalpels.”
There were scalpels shaped like daggers stacked like a pile of gifts in the place Umiru showed Aristine.
“I really like the scalpel you made, Princess Consort. I think I’m going to throw away all these ones that I bought in advance…”
Throwing away all of them seemed like a lot.
“You stockpile a lot of scalpels?”
“Yes, it’s hard to maintain because I have to use it multiple times.”
“Ah, because of the blade?”
She’d heard that the blade of a medical scalpel was so thin that it broke easily.
‘Even in my previous life, there was a story in the news about how a scalpel unknowingly broke inside a patient’s body and was sutured inside.’
There was an x-ray picture attached to that story and she remembered how terrifying it was to the white object shining clearly in that black picture.
‘But the medical scalpels here should be thicker than the ones on Earth, no? The blade shouldn’t be breaking after one or two uses…’
“Rather than the blade being the problem, it’s more like it’s hard to use while trying to take care of it.”
Umiru shook her head back and forth.
“And that is why, I would appreciate if you could prepare some more prototypes, Princess Consort.”
“Ah, I will let Ritlen know.”
It shouldn’t take particularly long since they were making the prototypes using the smithing equipment at Tarkan’s palace.
‘But even if the blade isn’t the problem, is it that hard to use for long? Enough to stock up on such a large amount in advance?’
Of course, it was best not to use a scalpel for too long.
However, with this much, you could practically assume it was used once and thrown away. The moment Aristine was about to ask a question about that…
“Umiru! There’s an urgent patient!”
A doctor slammed open the door of the storage and came in yelling.
Hearing that, Umiru clicked her tongue and began to run. The situation turned tense in the blink of an eye.
‘Oh, so this is a doctor.’
Aristine felt admiration.
“Alright, Princess Consort! See you later! I will report about the analysis, personally!”
Umiru looked back at Aristine and gave her a wink just before leaving the warehouse.
The admiration that Aristine was feeling instantly flew away.
“Umiru! It’s really urgent!”
The doctor grew anxious and grabbed Umiru. Even as Umiru was being dragged away, she blew hand kisses at Aristine.
‘I wonder if things are really okay here.’
Aristine couldn’t help but reconsider her thoughts in the operating room.
* * *
“Your Majesty the King.”
Aristine greeted and the King of Irugo nodded in response.
Today, Nephther invited Tarkan and Aristine to have some tea together.
The King’s courtyard was adorned with black agate, making it look solemn and majestic. The soft sound of flowing water added to the solitary atmosphere.
Nephther waited till Tarkan and Aristine were seated side by side before opening his mouth.
“How are you feeling?”
This question was in regard to the carriage incident at the wedding parade.
Aristine smiled, “I wasn’t hurt at all thanks to Tarkan. I’m sorry to have worried you.”
“Furthermore, the carriage that Your Majesty gave to me is incredibly comfortable and cozy. Thank you.”
Nephther merely hummed in response and stroked his chin.
However, Tarkan could tell his royal father was quite satisfied.
‘I thought this last time too, but he seems to like Aristine quite…no, very much.’
It was surprising.
Nephther was a very suspicious person who didn’t grow fond of people that easily.
Soon enough, the court ladies served refreshments.
Since they were outdoors, they were served iced tea with a lot of ice to match to gradually warming weather. And Jiggle-Jelly was served to accompany the tea.
‘Again? I heard they eat it often at Irugo, but it’s really served a lot.’
She didn’t know because they always served different desserts each time at Tarkan’s palace, but whenever she met with the King, it was always Jiggle-Jelly.
‘Well, it is delicious.’
While she was tilting her head in thought, Tarkan was staring at Nephther with a very odd look in his eyes.
Wondering if something was wrong, Aristine studied the King, but the King’s face was as rigid as always.
“I see it’s Jiggle jelly.”
Nephther said and Aristine nodded.
“Indeed, it is.”
She acknowledged it but the conversation did not continue.
There was a brief moment of silence. The only sound in the courtyard was that of running water.
Meanwhile, Nephther’s eyes were fixed on Aristine without a single flicker.
‘Ah, maybe he wants to eat?’
Aristine realized and quickly picked up some jelly.
“Have some, Your Majesty.”
Seeing that rigid face accept at those words, Aristine felt somewhat pleased.
In this moment, she felt like her younger sister who was smilingly bragging about learning dining etiquette from their father, not knowing anything.
It wasn’t a waste to practice picking up molded earth with a fork. Now there was someone she could show it to.
This time, Aristine was able to eat some jiggle jelly too.
‘I knew it; delicious!’
A combination of intense sourness and sweetness!
And a sip of the cold iced tea that refreshed her palate in an instant.
Nephther gazed at Aristine’s expression of happiness. A smile he didn’t even realize appeared on his lips.
From the queen to his concubines, sons and daughters, everyone found him difficult.
Yenikarina was affectionate and acted cute in front of him but he knew that in reality, she was more conscious of his mood than anyone else.
Nephther was the ruler of this rough plain.
Even if they were family, it was natural for them to have a hard time with his authority.
However, Aristine was different.
‘But she isn’t so naïve that she can’t distinguish between status.’
As he was watching his daughter-in-law with satisfaction, he felt a stinging gaze.
Nephther turned his head only to find his son looking at him with dissatisfaction.
Nephther was somewhat surprised.
‘This punk can look like this?’
Interest arose in his turquoise eyes.
“If you’re that jealous, ask your wife for a bite too.”
At Nephther’s words, Aristine went ‘huh?’ and turned to Tarkan.
Tarkan unconsciously met her gaze.
Aristine tilted her head upon getting that gaze.
‘He wants me to feed him too? What’s wrong with his hands? Why should I?’
Doubts filled her mind then it suddenly reached one conclusion.
‘Oh, is he thinking about conceding his food to me like last time?’
Like he did at the welcome banquet.
Maybe he really wanted to eat it back then too and that thought made Aristine feel sorry.
“You can eat if you want.”
When she said that, Tarkan frowned and turned away.
“I’m fine…since Royal Father likes it so much, give him lots if you want.”
Immediately after speaking, Tarkan regretted it.
He shouldn’t have said the last sentence. But it was already too late.
The back of Tarkan’s ears burned red.