Where Tara asks for some Hot Black Hebron at a mysterious tavern...
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Episode 8. 90kg (6)
"Ha... Forget it. I guess I avoided him because it was a nuisance."
It was useless explaining things any further.
In Bernard's eyes, I'd just be perceived as a geeky, or rather, weird 18-year-old aristocratic girl.
However, this 18-year-old had lived fiercely for 33 years until she'd died screaming on the streets of Seoul.
Also, how long had I managed to survive as a main screenwriter in the hell that was modern Korea?*
In the past, when I was in charge of a liberal arts program called [Inviting a Celebrity for a Chat], I had to visit Korean Scholars every 2 weeks or so and beg them to appear on the show.
During that period, I met all kinds of people. Most of them were authorities in their respective fields, but some were outright scammers. Funny enough, the frauds were oftentimes more authoritative sounding.
But there was one big difference between the real authorities and the fakes: the charisma they exuded.
That kind of magnetism wasn't easily obtained.
That gravitas came from the accumulation of their actions and words over time, and no criminal could duplicate it.
That man's eyes and voice gave off a similar vibe.
No, perhaps his charisma was even stronger than theirs, seeing how overwhelmed I’d felt back there.
Who was he...? Did the book mention him?
I couldn't remember. Well, it did take me quite a while to remember 'Tara', who appeared in just a few lines at the beginning of the novel.
Let's avoid extra variables. Let's not get involved.
The [Drunken Dragon] tavern, which still operated despite prohibition, was of course, empty.
Inside, there was only a man cleaning and a woman wiping glasses at the bar.
As I approached the long counter bathed in dazzling red lights, the bartender neared me with a mysterious smile.
"Oh my, big sister, you're so chubby and cute"**
Her words were aimed at me, but her gaze rested on Bernard.
Of course, her more than half exposed bosom was also directed towards Bernard, who looked seemingly indifferent but sported reddened ears.
That's cute. Bernard.
"... What an interesting combination. What do you want, Sir Knight?"
"A beer, please."
Even if we were under prohibition, the state hadn't cracked down on beer.
It was staple for the common people, and because it was cheaper than wine or whiskey, the Empire implicitly turned a blind eye.
Bernard's hard and muttered speech trembled at the end.
"What about you, big sister?"
I named the drink I had memorized beforehand. This was also a plot detail I had helped Author Kim with.
“H–H... Hot Black Hebron, your biggest glass.”
My voice cracked under the stress.
The bartender's eyes widened for a moment and then contracted, and she concentrated on trying to discern my face inside the cloak while she poured the beer.
"The biggest glass is quite hot. Are you sure that's really what you want to drink?"
"Yes. How long do I have to wait?"
"Hmmm... Interesting. Wait 30 minutes. It might not be in stock, big sis."
This sensual bartender, who looked to be about 10 years older than me, added "big sister" to every sentence.
She put the beer down in front of Bernard, winked at him and secretly whispered something to him.
"Wait a minute, Sir Knight. I'll be back as soon as I finish preparing big sister’s liquor."
"Ah... Yes, yes."
"... What...? Why?"
After the barmaid disappeared through the bar's back door, I wondered if Bernard, who was sipping his beer, had noticed my gaze.
"So, that's your type, Bernard."
"Why are you stuttering? One of us stuttering is enough already. So, you like the voluptuous type?"
"What do you mean... Voluptuous?
"Oh...! You know, the sensual hourglass shape. Isn't that so?"
"This is definitely not something a noble maiden would say."
"You already know that I'm not an ordinary noble girl."
Bernard sneered unintentionally, cleared his throat, and turned away.
"Except for beer, it should be forbidden... As expected, Lackton Alley is different..."
"You’re so young, since when have you been drinking liquor? And a large Hot Black Hebron? Do you really like drinking that much?"
"I've never tried it, since there is no such thing as a Hot Black Hebron."
Between the fence and port entrance, two cloaked figures moved quickly from blind spot to blind spot, to avoid being noticed by anyone, as they followed him.
Aware of the shadowy figures clinging to him, the man in the cloak kept walking.
"Your Highness, leave it to us, You don't need to do something like this..."
"Yes, my Lord!"
Upon hearing his masters' voice from within the dark cloak calling his name, Nick and Walter became very nervous.
"I don’t need to do something like this...?"
Nick immediately fell to his knee and bowed his head at the sound of the sharp voice.
"My tongue slipped, Your Highness!"
"Every time I decide to go out, there is a reason... 500 laps around the training grounds."
"Yes! Your Highness!"
With those words, Nick hopped over the fence and disappeared in an instant.
Nick of all people, knew to be prompt whenever his Lord ordered a punishment.
"Yes, my Lord!"
"Tonight, among the many trade ships coming into the harbor we'll be on the same boat those lowlifes were on earlier. We'll probably be doing the unloading."
"Yes, Your Highness, I'll be ready."
"After tonight, the Lackton gang will go dormant for a while, so we'll only learn where the wine is shipped. If it hadn’t been for 1 Gold, we could have known more. That's too bad.... What about the pub?"
"It is just as you said. It seems that he created the rumors to convince them that they had the backbone to deal with high-ranking officials. There is no connection with the Lackton Gang. It's just that the Lacktons frequent the tavern and they don't touch the people who implicitly work for him."
"Ha, the sly snake. It's such a waste, even though he knows who I am."
"What should I do?"
"Well... just keep an eye on it. I think we might need it from time to time."
He wasn't biased in any way. Whether against the imperials, the nobility or even commoners. All were potential business partners who operated under the same terms and conditions in the end.
"Do you want us to find out who interrupted you earlier?"
[Well, I suppose so. But I'm only willing to pay you guys this much for the interruption. So, taking this money in exchange for the stolen time seems like the better option of the two.]
"... But I'm only willing to pay you guys this much for the interruption..."
"What would you have done in that situation?"
"You should fight, right? They are too cowardly to fight one on one. So, we'd finish them off by killing half of them."
"What if you hadn't learned any martial arts? What if it had been a losing battle from the start?"
"Hmmm, You'd run away without intervening, right?"
"Even if there was assistance coming for you?"
"How long can you wait for a helper when you have no idea when he's going to arrive?"
"That's right. But 1 Gold said she had calculated it."
"What do you mean...?"
After seeing Walter's blank expression, Kyle realized it was pointless.
Was it because it had been so long since he'd found a situation interesting?
"All right. Let's focus on tonight."
"Yes, my Lord!"
Walter, like Nick, climbed the wall and disappeared.
Now alone, the Second Prince, Kyle Amure, walked out of hiding with his back bent and his feet dragging.
Triumphant smiles appeared on the gang members faces as they recognised him from afar and shouted after him.
Falling prey to one’s anger made any sliver of vigilance disappear in an instant.
Kyle had spent a long fortnight gathering information regarding the Lackton gang.
And the underground organization that distributed wine despite the prohibition. His goal was to get his hands on the list of investors who financed the operation.
Kyle pulled his hood up and walked slowly, hunched. His posture provoking their wrath.
"I'm told that drinking the wrong alcohol can cause sudden death."
The barmaid was smiling while talking about death.
Bernard seemed surprised at the comment. I ignored his reaction and tried to answer calmly, but I stuttered under the stress.
"Ah... Pl–please tell him it's not just anyone."
"Everybody claims to be somebody."
"A large glass of Hot Black Hebron. I'm asking why my order was turned down."
"Here's his answer. How do you know the name of a hard drink that is even unknown to the Emperor?"
I had no choice but to tell the truth.
"Because the Creator gave me a hint. Please tell him. The circumstances don't matter. What is important is that I found the drink. It also perfectly fits his purpose."
As the barmaid disappeared again from her seat, Bernard, who had been curious the whole time, asked.
"Is that drink really that great? And what in hell is this about the Emperor and the Creator...?"
"Is that a drink...?"
Before I could answer Bernard's question, the barmaid came back with a smile on her face.
"See the storage room over there? Go over there and get your drink yourself, sweet talker."
Her smile stayed on me for a while, then turned towards Bernard.
Really? Would it hurt her to look at me when talking to me?
Bernard, his ears reddening again, grabbed his axe next to the chair.
"Oh no! Sir Knight will stay and play with me. Big sis goes in alone."
Bernard's expression hardened and he crossed his arms. He shook his head. Although he was still blushing, his voice was firm and determined.
"Oh! I didn't know that Bernard thought of me like this. Why? Are you worried because I'm young? Are you anxious? Or is it because the big knight must protect the fragile young Lady?"
That was a bit much....
Strangely, Bernard was so much fun to tease that, sometimes, I spat out words without even thinking… like I was doing now.
Sure enough, Bernard's face crumpled as he took a step back, his hand tightening on the axe's hilt, as if ready to swing it.
"I should be following you. You should have told me about this kind of secret beforehand!"
"You’re serious about this I see. It was because I wasn't certain. And it's fine, really. I’ve looked into this."
"Hmmm... Bernard. I know you're trying to stay true to your mission. But can you please acknowledge my orders? Even if this is a temporary assignment, shouldn't you listen to me? If I were a nobleman with a title, would you refute my orders?"
"The Miss isn't a young aristocratic man with a title."
I was talking to an inflexible wall.
Taking a deep breath, I explained again.
"Okay. No, no, no. Ha... What should I swear upon? Oh! I swear on my beloved cookies. Do you know how important my one cookie a day is to me? If it's dangerous, I'll shout immediately. Then you can barge in. This is very important to me. I can't leave now. My future is at stake!"
"... Very well. Instead..."
After hesitating for a while, Bernard whispered in my ear so only I could hear him.
He probably thought that if the barmaid turned out to be an enemy, she shouldn't hear what he had to say.
I forced myself to hold back my laughter.
If I laughed, the colour of my face, which had turned beet red, would spread to my entire body and I didn't know if he would really use his axe if I did.
Wasn't it against the rules to have such a cute, rugged knight?
I was finally able to enter the storage room after accepting his whispered words.
* Here Tara is refering to "Hell-Joseon" an expression used to qualify the social inequalities in South Korea. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell_Joseon
** Cezanne, the barmaid is using the word "Unnie" which you find very often in manwha. It means "big sister" and is a term of respect to older females from younger ones. What is fun here is that Tara is younger than her. Find more about "unnie" here:
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