Tara learns something interesting about Theodore Stuart, while Kyle ponders another scheme.
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Episode 125. About 10 months (2)
The accommodation assigned to me was the second to last room on the 4th floor of Tandra Mansion.
"Miss, you can eat lunch at the restaurant attached to the annex in half an hour. I've put all the clothes you’ll need in that closet. When you're done with work, please send for me in the Countess's quarters. I’ll come immediately. Now then, I'm off to attend to the Countess."
"Yes, thank you, Beth."
"I'll be on my way as well."
The number of servants the nobles attending the Hunting Contest could bring was limited, so Beth and Bernard couldn’t come with me directly.
Aware of this, my father had found space for Bernard and Beth by excluding the Countess's maid and one member of Logan's entourage.
After they left, I began to meticulously organize the schedule of the person I would be assisting, Nick Bright.
Originally, the main duties of a Third Aide included accounting for the operating expenses of the aide's office, receiving various allowances assigned to superiors, managing schedules, and recording visitors.
However, during the Hunting Contest, the management of my supervisor's schedule would be paramount.
However, this wasn’t easy because of Commander Nick Bright's role. He needed to stay within 10 meters of the Emperor at all times during work hours.
Therefore, it was also necessary for me to memorize the Emperor's schedule in advance, and to convey the specific details of each person who visited the Emperor.
So what I now had in my hands included the general schedule of the Hunting Contest, the list of nobles who expressed their intention to attend, and the list of nobles who had requested private audiences with the Emperor.
“This morning the Emperor didn't have anything on his schedule so it was easy. Hahhhh. From now on, I have to be alert.”
All I had to do today was introduce myself to Commander Nick Bright. And I met him this morning, before the job started.
When I introduced myself as Tara Elias, saying I would be his aide during the Hunting Contest, Commander Nick had stared at me with significant surprise.
After a few seconds, he suddenly burst out laughing.
[Wahahahahahaha! What an honour! I can't believe such a famous person will be my aide. This is really, hahaha, I'm quite embarrassed because I never even considered it. You won't have a hard time with me because I'm quick to judge a situation and I'm adaptable. Sometimes my colleagues look at me and say I'm too talkative, and that I don't think things throu–... Ah, nevermind that.]
His speech ended awkwardly. So I fell back on pleasantries.
[Nice to meet you.]
[Yes. That's right. I wish you luck during the Hunting Contest as well. Since serving the Emperor is an important duty, the schedule must be managed thoroughly. Last time, I misunderstood the time His Highness had told me to prepare for morning training...]
It was not until a long time later when he finally stopped talking.
In reality, we had only been talking for 10 minutes, and I hadn't gotten more than a few words in, yet I felt so exhausted that it felt like we had been talking for an eternity.
However, when Commander Nick started working, there wouldn't be much for me to do.
Of course, I would have to wait and see, but it was fortunate that the person I had been assigned to wasn't picky.
After mentally reviewing the afternoon schedule three more times, I took out Andrei's letter, which I had stowed in my pocket.
I skimmed through the entire letter and my brow furrowed, but I persisted and read it again because the information his gift contained was essential to me right now.
[Thanks to my student’s hard work in Durben I've left on a journey. I know you must be devastated at my absence. I originally planned on starting your apprenticeship classes, however, unfortunately I have something to finish with a former apprentice. Look forward to my return! Fufufufufu. How ironic.
But I also heard rumour there's a certain family that wanted my apprentice as a bride?
The Stuart Family, no less!
What do they see in you?
"Should I just kill him?"
This was my second time reading it, and I had hoped there was a chance I would develop a tolerance to it, however, I could still feel the veins on my forehead bulging out.
[Ahaha! Don't make that face. I can already picture it, hahaha.
I see the Philippe Family really used their brains this time.
Does this mean that my apprentice has become a nuisance to those stuck-up aristocrats?
Well, my student deserves it. Bahahahaha.
I knew my apprentice would find a way to avoid that betrothal.
Not that I'm overly concerned, but you're not the type to judge a man by his appearance, are you? So what if the second son of the Stuart family is quite handsome? A pretty face isn't everything and beauty is only skin deep after all. Yes, of course.]
“I have a lot I could say, but I won’t.”
[You simply should not do it.
I can't possibly understand the heart of a young lady, but to put it bluntly, I don’t agree with it.
Don't they say marriage and death should be postponed as much as possible?
Nevertheless, if you ever want to get married never consider a future with anyone who judges people by their appearances! Well, I'm not saying you will. I'm simply advising you based on my superior life experience.]
“He must have some sort of terrible experience. Is it possible he was rejected in the past...? There aren't many women who would like his crazy style."
[Nevertheless, if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.* Therefore your Master will grant you information unknown to the rest of the world. After all, your Master is the head of the largest intelligence organization in the Empire.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
To put it bluntly, I know something that will destroy Theodore Stuart's composure.]
There was a name written, followed by a short passage. I read it aloud.
“Elaine Bishop. The youngest daughter of Sir Bishop, a Baronet. Four years ago Elaine was found dead on the eve of her wedding...”**
Suddenly burdened by the immense weight of the words on the page, I took a deep breath and continued to read Andrei's description.
[Despite it being such a shocking incident, not a single sentence was published about it in the newspapers.
The cover-up was very swift, and all the witnesses stayed silent.
There are only a handful of people who are aware of it, and I am one of them.
I'll be back in a little over a fortnight. Please hold on, even if you miss me!
PS – It's still not clear who infiltrated the gardening department. Be careful, my disciple, as it seems our hidden enemy has not yet revealed themselves. Also, I'm hearing many things from the Palace that I don't like.
A teacher who deeply misses his beloved chubby pupil,
"Whoa. I think this would be too much of a low blow. Still, I'll hold onto it for the future."
I decided to keep Theodore's dark secret in the depths of my mind, just in case I needed to use it in the eventuality he became enamored with me and decided to cling to me.
At the same time, on the staircase of Tandra Mansion.
"What's wrong, Your Highness?"
"Why has Tara Elias, the Third Aide, come to Tandra... Did she get dispatched here?"
Returning from her morning shift, Tara and her companions had ascended the staircase on the other side and quickly disappeared. And as a result they could no longer hear their conversation.
"Ah! Yes. Nick's aide was unable to work due to family leave, so Nick requested a temporary full-time assistant, and 3rd Aide Tara Elias was assigned."
"When was that?"
"A week ago."
"Why didn't I receive the report?"
"Oh, that's... Nick and I thought it was no longer relevant to Your Highness... And that it seemed you were busy preparing for the Hunting Contest...”
"And who has the right to decide that?"
Him. It was up to Kyle to determine that after receiving the report himself. Walter immediately bowed deeply.
"Your Highness, your humble servant has made a grave mistake!"
"As soon as we return, you will run 1,000 laps of the training grounds."
"Yes, Your Highness!"
Kyle went to his accommodations. Meanwhile, Walter stayed there for a long moment, still bowing.
Kyle picked up the report that had been set aside on his desk. It was the intelligence report he had received on the Elias family a week ago.
Due to Nick and Walter's discretion, he hadn't received any further reports after that day.
[... They made a bet.
The result was a 2-1 loss to Lady Tara Elias.
As a result, the betrothal was avoided, but I heard she has agreed to meet the second son of the Stuart Family, Theodore Stuart, three times, and must spend eight hours a month with Grand Duchess Stuart.
I don't know what the bet was.]
He didn't like reading that she had lost two out of the three matches.
"Instead of the arranged marriage, they have to meet three times... And the eight hours a month. You must have liked my scribe a lot, you old fox."
Kyle was about to fold the report, but a name caught his eye and he started tapping the desk with his index finger.
Kyle knew him well.
Cultivating talented people in the Empire had always been important to him. So, of course, Kyle knew about Theodore's excellence in the field of sociology.
He had considered investing some time into Theodore and bringing him into his sphere. That idea wouldn’t change in the future.
A week ago, Nick told Kyle some unnecessary information.
[… The second son of the Stuart family was also ranked second most capable future son-in-law by the Imperial Daily. He was voted the second most popular man to spend New Year’s Eve with, and he got 2nd place amongst divorcees and in the ‘Men you’d want to go on an island cruise with the most’ ranking. He also won the ‘Men who could make you happy with just their face’ and the ‘Men you’d want to chat all night long with’ ranking.]
[Nick, do you want to die?]
[Hahaha. No way. I'm just stating facts, anyway, he's always ranked at the top alongside Your Highness. Hahaha. But Your Highness is always at the very top of the list. As expected, there is no one in the world better than His Highness. Hahahahaha.]
[Yes, Your Highness!]
He didn't know why such useless information was coming to mind. It was true that he was in a bad mood, even though in truth this had nothing to do with him.
Yet for the whole week afterwards, Kyle kept finding himself unwittingly caught up in unpleasant emotions in the middle of trying to get his work done.
And when he saw her out of the blue today, he finally realized why he was feeling the way he was.
'Someone is trying to touch my talent without my permission.'
He had definitely been the first person to discover her talent. However, a talented person was like a precious jewel, he had never considered that the same jewel he wished to cultivate and use to write his own future could be taken away, until another person appeared and tried to steal it.
He was deeply displeased with the situation.
“Huh. Not yet. After she learns more from me... Alright. After that, I'll help her find someone to marry. What the hell did they bet on anyway?"
He considered speaking to her privately before the afternoon banquet. Then, suddenly, he realized he could make Tara come to him rather than the other way around.
Kyle summoned the knight who was waiting outside the door.
"Go tell Viscount Allen Godfrey that I want to see him."
"Yes, Your Highness!"
After the knight closed the door and left, Kyle laughed out loud for the first time since he had arrived.
"I'm looking forward to it. How long will it take for her to visit me?"
Editor’s Notes -
I nearly spit out my drink at the bit where Kyle says he’ll help Tara find someone to marry…
* This is a classic Sun Tzu quote from The Art of War.
** A Baronet is a minor noble, and a hereditary title that was often bestowed upon knights. In feudal Britain recipients were not permitted the full privileges of noble peerage. A Baronet is basically one slight step in rank above a Knight and below a Baron and very low on the noble totem pole. This gives you some idea of the gulf in status between Elaine and Theodore, who’s the son of a Duke.
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