Episode 34: Heavy Shower (1)
* * *
“How was it?”
“Everyone seemed very interested in us.”
Aristine replied, casually leaning on Tarkan, who was sitting next to her in the carriage.
Tarkan wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer to him.
In that position, Aristine’s eyes shifted to the side, and she was met with a set of well-developed pectoralis muscles.
Aristine’s gaze locked onto those protruding muscles. She didn’t mean to, but her eyes moved automatically.
The phrase she heard today kept ringing in her mind.
Was she really body-obsessed?
Is that why she was so shaken up when she heard that Tarkan had a first love?
In the moment, she couldn’t hold back the feeling and now, she was surprised by herself.
Normally, she wouldn’t have cared whether Tarkan had a first love or not, or whether he was in love with someone else.
‘Remembering it again spoils my mood.’
This was definitely strange.
Aristine suddenly opened her mouth. “I guess I’m obsessed with your body.”
Although Tarkan wasn’t eating anything, he sounded like he just choked.
Aristine sat up in surprise.
“Are you okay?”
“What, what now?!”
Tarkan’s face was red as he turned to Aristine.
He wondered what exactly she talked about with those old ladies to be saying something like this.
“I mean, everyone said that body-obsession is more important after marriage than first impressions…”
Tarkan was stunned speechless.
‘Say that after you do something that’s actually body obsessed.’
It was unfair to say that without even doing a single thing reminiscent(?) of body obsession.
Then, Tarkan suddenly realized something and paused.
She said she was body-obsessed. In other words…
‘Doesn’t this mean that Aristine’s feelings for me have grown a little…’
His pectoral muscles proudly twitched as if it was telling him that he was right. In any case, it was very encouraging considering that she had only seen Tarkan as a business partner, rather than a romantic interest.
‘I guess pushing my chest forward every night worked.’
Tarkan recalled Aristine’s gaze, which had been scanning his chest earlier.
Tarkan decided to keep his chest exposed even in the deep winter.
Ehem, after clearing his throat, Tarkan gently wrapped his arms around Aristine’s waist, allowing her to rest her head on her chest.
“Then we have a huge deal on her hands.”
“A huge deal?” Aristine reflexively replied, enjoying the warm and flexible sensation.
“I heard body-obsession is very addictive. What do I do if you’re lonely while I’m gone on an expedition?”
At those words, Aristine’s eyes went round, “…”
She didn’t consider it before but if Tarkan, who had dinner with her every day, disappeared—.
‘I think I’ll be pretty lonely.’
Aristine was taken aback by that thought.
She always thought about a life after divorce, but now, she couldn’t believe she would be lonely if Tarkan wasn’t by her side. She hadn’t vividly thought about what her days would be like after a divorce.
“I guess body-obsession really is addictive. Imagining it already makes me feel empty. What do I do?”
Tarkan looked at Aristine, who was speaking with utter seriousness, and ground his molars. He had to clench his teeth so hard that the veins in his neck popped, otherwise, he might just kiss her right now.
He couldn’t believe he had to hold himself back when his wife just told him that she felt empty when she imagined him away from her side.
It was severe torture.
‘But if I move too suddenly, she might run away.’
Tarkan took a deep breath. “What else can you do? You have to do all the seeing and touching that you won’t be able to do, in advance.”
“Is that so?”
“That’s why you have to stick right next to me.”
“Mn.” Aristine nodded her head.
Somehow, she didn’t hate being told that she had to stick around.
A small smile crept onto her face.
* * *
The demonic beast barrier project was going smoothly.
Of course, something might seem perfect in theory at times, but errors would arise in the process of actually making it.
However, the errors were within the expected range, and the magicians and blacksmiths worked together to fix it. But as they went through trial and error, naturally, they were forced to use a lot of mana stones but…
“Were manastones this easy to get?” Asena mumbled dejectedly and Aristine smiled when she heard that.
However, the expression under her smile was complicated.
Even though a manastone mine had been discovered in Irugo and domestic distribution was smoother, it shouldn’t be to this point.
‘And it’s not because this is a national project either.’
If other administrative departments were accommodating to all national projects, budget battles wouldn’t be a thing. You could imagine how many administrative departments were at odds with each other.
This was certainly preferential treatment.
‘Did Prince Hamill…?’
As Hamill was the overseer of the manastone mine, Aristine was bound to feel complicated.
They no longer cared about each other, and they were walking different paths. But why was he help her so much and making her feel bothered?
If Aristine’s demonic beast barrier project was a success, then Tarkan’s position would rise to an incomparable height.
Even though it was disadvantageous to Hamill, he was helping her so that it was easier.
‘Come to think of it, this happened before when I couldn’t find pig-iron, so I made a mana furnace instead.’
It was a trap set by Hamill’s faction, but Hamill was also the one who helped her get out of it.
Aristine rubbed her forehead.
It would have been better if he came to her and boasted about helping with the manastone distribution. However, Hamill never came to see Aristine.
He’s just helping in the shadows without saying a word.
“Princess Consort, the efficiency goes up even more when you craft the magic circle into the alloy!” Ritlen’s eyes were sparkling as he spoke.
His invisible tail was wagging as if he was asking for praise.
‘Huu, let’s not think about it.’
Aristine shook his head, pushed those thoughts aside, and smiled.
Everyone else was focusing on this, so it wasn’t right for her, the overseer, to be distracted by something else.
“Good. So that means it’s more efficient than we predicted?”
“Yes, but we’ll have to make a prototype and test it out first.”
“It’s time to start thinking about where we’re going to install the barrier for a trial.”
The test area was important.
Because they had to prove that it could protect and defend Irugo in order to continue this project.
If the test fails, or the results are not as good as expected, it would be labeled as a waste of budget.
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