Episode 23: I just Wanted to Make Money (1)
* * *
Aristine held out a clear glass cup. Inside the water-filled glass, was a submerged scalpel.
On the day the maids hid in their bedroom, Aristine completed her work on the scalpel. Even though the last few days had been hectic due to that, she still carried out the final inspection.
And this was the result.
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Tarkan looked at Aristine who was beaming with smiles, then his gaze turned to the glass.
The scalpel submerged in water didn’t look much different from the one he saw before. Compared to how busy she had been, the results felt a little flat.
‘But now she’ll come back early.’
That alone was very satisfying.
“If you leave it like that, won’t it rust pretty fast?”
“Huhuhu!” Aristine smiled mischievously, like a conniving cat.
Tarkan raised a brow.
(Aristine)“I left this in water for ten days.”
Tarkan, who had been carefreely leaning against the bed, swiftly sat up.
The bed shook and Aristine almost spilled the water. She hurriedly grabbed the cup with both hands and managed to regain balance. She heaved a sigh of relief and shot Tarkan a glare.
However, Tarkan was too busy staring at the scalpel to even notice.
Seeing this, Aristine felt proud once again and laughed.
She could feel Tarkan’s shock from that short question.
‘I don’t know either!’
Although Aristine had no clue, she proudly puffed out her chest and smiled.
It was probably some chemical reaction!
The important stuff aside, this meant there would be no issue in its use.
Tarkan studied the scalpel carefully while Aristine spun the glass around to show every detail.
“It’s not that it doesn’t rust at all.”
“This is more than enough.”
Tarkan assured her.
Aristine nodded her head. She thought it was more than enough too.
‘Ritlen did a good job.’
“I can’t believe you made something like this.”
Tarkan took his eyes off the scalpel and looked at Aristine.
“Heh, your wife is that kind of woman.”
Aristine playfully folded her arms and poked her nose in the air.
Tarkan chuckled once he saw that.
There were candles flickering around them and lace curtains fluttering in the air. Furthermore, the bed was full of rose petals. The background didn’t quite fit but for some reason, it seemed pretty good.
Suddenly, it occurred to Tarkan that the woman who couldn’t express herself well had changed.
When they first met, he thought that her expressionless face seemed more natural than her smiling face.
But the Aristine that was looking at him right now with a smile as her eyes twinkled—.
A faint smile appeared on Tarkan’s face.
It was such a warm and gentle smile and even he himself didn’t know he could make that face.
“Yes, you’re amazing.”
Aristine’s eyes widened when Tarkan obediently praised her.
The fact that she made such an incredible thing was part of it but.
My wife, who learned how to smile properly after twenty years.
I wish I was the one to make you smile so happily.
The flow of those emotions was so gradual that Tarkan wasn’t even aware of it. So, he didn’t know that one day, he would be hit by a wave that threatened to overwhelm him.
Tarkan ran his fingers through Aristine’s hair.
He tidied up her silver hair, which was glistening faintly under the candlelight, then his hand slid down to the back of her immaculate white neck.
And as he was raising his head, he flinched.
His eyes met with Aristine’s, just a hair’s breadth away from each other.
* * *
Every time Tarkan’s fingers ran through her hair and brushed against her exposed neck, Aristine almost flinched as her body tensed.
‘What is this?’
The sensation gave her slight goosebumps but also made her feel ticklish and tense.
‘Am I getting cold?’
Maybe her clothes were too thin for the early summer. After all, the temperature tended to drop at night.
And her body temperature did seem a little higher.
‘It might be because my body temperature is rising and the air feels cold.’
Aristine glanced at Tarkan.
He was gently tucking her hair behind her ear.
His lowered lashes looked long. And the shadow added deep lines to his face. With every flicker of the candle, his complexion changed.
A strong, masculine face.
This kind of face was rare in Silvanus.
With broad shoulders and a neck as elegant as a beast, strong pectoral muscles than ran directly from the collarbone, and vivid abdominal muscles below the chest, peeking through the wide-open collar of his night dress.
‘I think I’m starting to see why the maids tried so hard to seduce Tarkan, ehem.’
Somehow, the air felt chillier.
Aristine glanced at Tarkan again, while thinking that she should be careful not to catch a summer cold.
It wasn’t done intentionally.
While she wasn’t even aware of it, her purple eyes were filled with Tarkan.
Their eyes met.
It felt like her body was caught in his golden eyes.
The flickering candles, the smell of roses, the warmth, breath and the presence of each other that they could feel even though they weren’t touching.
The bed tilted silently.
Their bodies drew far closer than before.
And at that moment.
Water spilled from the glass in Aristine’s hand.
Aristine quickly lifted the glass cup in surprise. Thankfully, her hands were the only thing that got wet; the blanket was fine.
Aristine sighed in relief.
After safely putting the glass down on the side table, Aristine took out the scalpel, feeling urged for some reason.
(Aristine)“And I made the blade replaceable. One-time use.”
When she removed the blade, Tarkan nodded his head.
(Tarkan)“For sanitary purposes, I assume.”
(Aristine)“Yes, there are quite a few places that don’t manage their scalpels very well. Furthermore, if the blade of the scalpel is damaged, the surface will get worn out even if it can’t be seen with the naked eye.”
You might not be able to see it with your eyes, but the difference would show. Especially because the scalpel blade was thin so there was a limit to its toughness.
After replying, Aristine wet her slightly dry lips.
‘What was that just now?’ She titled her head in wonder but couldn’t figure it out.
(Tarkan)“The overall treatment rate will certainly ride. This will save the lives of thousands.”
When Tarkan said that, Aristine’s mind flew back to the scalpel.
(Aristine)“Mn, and I’m sure this steel could be used for other things than the scalpel.”
(Tarkan)“What is the name of the alloy?”
Aristine’s eyes widened at that unexpected question.
A name? She never thought of one.
To Aristine, this steel had always been stainless steel.
‘If you think about it precisely, it is basically iron that doesn’t rust.’
It was intuitive but it didn’t feel right; probably because she was used to the other one.
“Think about it carefully. This is your business, isn’t it?”
“Ah, you’re right.”
At Tarkan’s words, Aristine realized.
‘Branding is important.’
This was a fact that Aristine, who had little experience with the outside world, grasped after looking through her previous life with the Monarch’s Sight.
The original color of amethyst was darker, and the more violet-red it was, the more expensive and high-valued it became. Naturally, the pink amethyst variant was classified as having a declining value.
But when pink amethysts were given the name ‘Rose de France’, the gem instantly exploded in popularity. This showed that the name and the image given to an item was very important.
“Hmm…what do I call it?”
Special steel that will not rust.
‘I want to emphasize its specialty. Especially since Irugo steel still has the image of slaughter attached to it and if I want to offset that…’
The steel-making techniques and metallurgy of Irugo were second to none.
Just like mana and aura, the blacksmith’s soul actually existed in Irugo.
The blacksmiths of Irugo melted minerals with fire, hammered them, and created new alloys according to the song of the iron and the response of the soul.
‘Just like a dwarf.’
Although she didn’t know what a real dwarf was like.
Because they had developed that way, they rejected Ritlen, who only sat at a desk, for not reaching their standards. In any case, despite the excellent skills of the Irugo craftsmen, Irugo steel had a bad image because everything was focused on sword making.
The long hostile relationship with the Silvanus Empire—the loser of the continent—and the fact that Irugoians was considered barbarians and rejected must have played a part.
Aristine thought it was ridiculous but either way, this was a business that dealt with ordinary people.
‘It wouldn’t matter if I only wanted sell this in Irugo, but I want to sell it all over the continent.’
Why would she sell such a good product in just one limited market?
‘If I want to rake in money, the bigger the market, the better.’
Since the goal was international trade and stainless steel was something widely used in everyday life, she wanted the avoid depictions that were scary and barbaric.
‘Although, Irugo’s image will change through this scalpel anyway. Hmm…’
Aristine thought long and hard.
‘I can’t think of anything!’
Maybe the idea of stainless steel was so strongly embedded in her mind that she couldn’t think of anything else.
‘At times like this—!’
Aristine’s purple eyes twinkled like jewels in the darkness.