Episode 24: Just because you’re cute (6)
After studying Aristine for a while, Zodiac carefully opened his mouth:
“Actually, there is something I wanted to ask about when I met you, Princess Consort.”
“What is it? If it’s how to make rust-resistant iron, I can’t tell you.”
Aristine grinned jokingly and Zodiac smiled.
“I guess a lot of people have been asking Your Highness for that.”
“Oh, a whole lot.”
“It is just that incredible and amazing, after all. I am curious too but that is not what I want to ask.”
“I’m a merchant who sells products, so I’m more interested in ‘the act of selling’ than the product itself.”
Zodiac pushed up his silver-rimmed glasses.
“The results of the scalpel stability test surprised me. How did you come up with such an idea…”
“Well, scalpels have always been subject to medical lawsuits, correct? I needed to prevent that in advance.”
After all, drugs are tested when they are being made.
Aristine explained that her process was to avoid trouble in her money stream but to the person listening to her, it sounded different.
The cause of a medical/malpractice lawsuit was a medical accident.
In other words, Aristine performed tests to prevent medical accidents and save people from dying to faulty operations. Which cost additional time and money.
That was how Zodiac understood it.
‘She really cares for the people like the rumors say.’
He looked at Aristine in admiration. He was a little ashamed of himself for only thinking about selling more scalpels.
“I see. I was shocked to see reports predicting how the mortality rate from surgery infections would decrease with the new scalpel.”
Zodiac’s voice was slightly subdued.
When he saw it, the only thought on his mind was ‘this will sell very well’.
‘But it must have been different for Her Highness.’
“Ah, that was the key point. Sure enough, you understand,” Aristine smiled brightly.
‘After seeing that, doctors will be forced to act! Patients will want the new scalpel too.’
That was truly the core of the marketing strategy.
While Aristine nodded proudly, Zodiac looked at her, feeling touched.
‘So the mortality rate reduction report was the key point. That means Her Highness’ goal was to reduce the mortality rate, not to sell many scalpels.’
It was a complete misunderstanding.
“I can’t imagine how you can think like that…”
Zodiac was moved by Aristine’s consideration for the people.
Aristine, who had no idea what he was thinking, thought Zodiac was moved by the report itself.
To be fair, he did marvel at Aristine’s report.
‘I didn’t think he would be so impressed.’
Actually, there was a different reason why Aristine prepared this sort of report.
‘Thank you, Nightingale.’
In her previous life which she saw through her Monarch’s Sight, there was a great woman known as Nightingale.
A healing angel, the lady with the lamp.
Although she was often referred to by such zealous nicknames, Nightingale was in fact, a stubborn statistician. She graphed the cause of death of the British soldiers and pointed out the sanitary conditions of the military hospital. She used statistics to persuade people that sanitation would reduce the mortality rate significantly.
It was all thanks to Nightingale’s statistics that the concept of hygiene was turned into reality.
‘So I decided to imitate it.’
Because Nightingale used it to persuade people, change the medical world, and change the world.
(Zodiac)“To think you show compassion regardless of nationality…”
Aristine raised her head at Zodiac’s sudden utterance.
(Zodiac)“Irugo and Silvanus were enemies not long ago, in fact.”
(Aristine)“We were even at war.”
(Zodiac)“Yes, it might feel odd to hear this but…Silvanus was defeated.”
Zodiac glanced at Tarkan.
Tarkan was the biggest reason for Silvanus’ defeat. When you think about that, it was a wonder how Aristine and Tarkan were a good couple.
Aristine felt like she knew what Zodiac was thinking and opened her mouth.
“The ambition of a greedy leader plunged our people into chaos. That war did not benefit the people of Silvanus.”
Aristine’s gaze turned to Tarkan.
Their eyes instantly met, like Tarkan had been looking at her all this time.
The corner of Aristine’s lips rose softly.
“Rather, I think it is fortunate that thanks to Tarkan, the war ended quickly.”
Tarkan stared at her, not showing any reaction. His gaze was quiet and still.
“I am glad you think that way, Princess Consort. You are a very thoughtful person indeed.”
While saying that, Zodiac thought, ‘I think I can see why His Highness Tarkan opened his heart to Aristine.’
“It hasn’t been long since you came to Irugo, which used to be an enemy state to you, but you’ve made a scalpel like this for the Irugoian people…”
“The people of Irugo have welcomed me very warmly.”
The Queen and the other royals were a different story but the common people welcomed Aristine to a surprising extent.
Aristine didn’t think she could ever forget the moment she got married with the blessings of so many people. Although this was a political marriage that would soon be broken, the heart of the people was still sincere.
Zodiac gave a smile.
The reason the Irugoian people were able to welcome the princess so happily was because Irugo had won the war. The position of winner and loser were very different.
“I can see why the people call you the goddess of peace.”
“Wait, I don’t know what it is, but I think you are having a huge misunderstanding right now…”
Aristine’s mumbling didn’t reach him.
‘I just wanted to make money; I say this every time.’
She tried to clear up the misunderstanding, but Zodiac just smiled politely and went ‘yes, yes’ in agreement.
He wasn’t understanding at all.
The eyes behind his glasses were looking at her like she was a humble person embarrassed of praise.
“No, I’m saying you’re mistaken, okay?”
“Yes, I see. Would you like to touch a cat’s pink paw?”
When Zodiac smiled and responded like that, Aristine went “Ha…” and hung her head.
‘Everything I said must have flown out the ear.’
What a pain.
Aristine fumed and opened her mouth, “Mn, I want to!”
Honestly, she’d been wanting to touch one ever since she heard the name of the merchant group. She figured it would be really cute too.
* * *
“What a cute cat.”
Aristine mumbled with satisfaction as she walked out of the Pink-pink Nyang-jelly merchant group.
“They were so warm and soft. I didn’t think their tongue would be so rough…fascinating.”
Aristine thought back to the thirteen cats that Zodiac was raising.
One cat was lying on its back, one was pushing her thigh, another was licking her hand, another kept running away.
“I can see why it’s called Pink-pink Nyang-jelly…”
Seeing her mumbling like she was enthralled, Tarkan asked, “Do you want to raise one?”
Aristine’s head sprang up and she stared at Tarkan. She looked like she was about to nod at any moment.
But then she blinked a few times, smiled, and shook her head, “No.”
It was a very crisp answer.
“I don’t think I should decide so easily if I’m taking in a living creature.”
Of course, if it became the Princess Consort’s cat, it would live a life of comfort even if Aristine didn’t supervise and take care of it.
‘I don’t think I can take the cat with me or leave it here when we get divorced later.’