Updated: Mar 17
Tara and Kyle have a discussion about the Hunting Contest and Kyle makes Tara an offer...
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130 episodes. about 10 months (7)
The sudden change in atmosphere instantly calmed my excitement. No matter how angry he was, even if he treated me comfortably, he was still a Prince.
The thought that my attitude and what I had said earlier, had crossed the line, came rushing in.
I took a deep breath and bowed my head politely.
"I was a little worked up, Your Highness."
Kyle stayed silent and nodded briefly.
Slowly the tension rose, and I shook my head lightly and swallowed. The weight of the conversation that was about to happen wasn’t small.
"What do you want our family to do at the second banquet?"
Kyle looked at Tara quietly.
[Set an example at the second banquet.]
He had deliberately sent Viscount Allen, who was the Emperor's closest confidant. Nevertheless, Tara knew who sent him and came to find him precisely.
'I thought she would figure it out well enough, but I thought it would take some time, given the little information provided. However, just an hour after I threw the problem at her, a guard came to see me saying she was asking to meet.'
Kyle's eyebrows twitched slightly.
"I felt it from the moment you dedicated the patent rights to the Emperor’s personal funds..."
"You've grown quite a bit."
"Ah. Why such a sudden compliment?"
"Did this sound like a compliment? I'm just stating the facts."
"Ah. Actually... Haha. Still, I'm happy to hear that Your Highness thinks I’ve grown."
"... Do these words make you happy?"
"Yes. Praise makes even whales dance."*
"Whales? Sometimes you use very strange analogies. Now. You came here to find hidden intentions, why don't you guess a few more?"
His pleasant smile disappeared, and he looked at Tara with his usual aloof but polite expression.
Tara’s eyes flared up instantly, burning brightly with anticipation.
'Ha. This attitude makes me want to keep testing her...'
Kyle struggled to hide his laughter that was about to burst out and waited for Tara's question.
"Is it related to my family taking the initiative?"
When he nodded in affirmation, she pondered with a sigh and cleverly added a premise.
"Then, please show me everything without withholding anything in this case. I will do my outmost to guess everything that you want to do and see accomplished.”
Kyle's eyes sharpened.
"Aren't you afraid? Before leaving for Durban, you didn't ask me about my 'true intentions' at the tea house, even though you had the opportunity. But now you're telling me to fully express them. You were afraid then, and now you’re fine? Why? Why the difference in attitude?"
I was still afraid. But I didn't have time to be. It would be much easier to plan for the future and going ahead knowing that I am under His Highness, rather than proceeding in the dark. I just needed to know.
"You’re afraid, but you need to know. It sounds like you’re scared to me, but now there's no way to back down. Is that right?"
"Yes. The Elias family unintentionally filled the Emperor's personal coffers, and my brothers and sisters still work in the Imperial Palace. And, as you know, the next battle for the throne has now begun in earnest."
Kyle looked at Tara silently for a moment. Feeling uneasy and anxious.
‘This atmosphere I feel every time I see her. That she worries more than the situation warrants for. That there is something more... However, if she is entangled in the battle for the throne and assumes that her family could be ruined, it is quite reasonable to have such emotions.’
Kyle shut the door on the question that came to his mind and called Tara out.
"Third Assistant Tara Elias. All right. I will reveal my true intentions without hiding anything. Also…”
"Depending on how you answer my questions today, you can become Second Assistant and work together in my office."
"So, answer carefully."
My eyes widened and I swallowed hard, making a strangled noise.
"It so sudden."
"Why? You don’t like it?"
I immediately stretched my arms in front of me and waved my hands.
"No way! All right, Your Highness. God as my witness; I will do my best to answer you."
"Everyone does their best, so get to the point and give a helpful answer."
Tara slightly pouts her lips, but soon smiles bashfully and answers bravely.
"Yes, Your Highness. Please ask me a question."
"What is the purpose of this hunting competition?"
"Is this your first question?"
“Why? Are you embarrassed because it’s so easy?”
"Hahaha. No way. There are no easy questions for me. I think there is only one intention. The Emperor is trying to appease the nobles who have become anxious through this hunting competition. Since the head of the aristocratic faction has been put in check, they are afraid that they will suffer the same.”
"In line with this, the Toulouse family dedicated this Tandra mansion and its forest to the Emperor."
"Yes, I know. I don't know who thought of this, but it’s good income.”
"It's from Viscount Allen Secretary’s Office."
"Then why did Allen pressure the Duke of Toulouse to dedicate this forest and mansion?"
"It's an opportunity to replenish the finances of the Imperial Palace. On the other hand, it clearly shows the nobles that the Imperial Palace’s power is growing."
"... Do you think they have clearly shown the nobles?"
“Yes. It’s a good choice. From the outside, the Tandra mansion and forest were clearly attributed to the Imperial Palace, creating a simple shift in power.”
Kyle tilted his head and stares at my face.
"Why are you looking at me that way?"
"How do I look?"
"You're looking at me like you dislike something."
"Is that so?"
"Then you're right."
I drank some water, wiped my mouth, and looked at him with determined eyes.
"Your Highness. Can't you just tell me? What do you dislike?"
"Ho. Aren't you in a hurry to become an Aide? Besides, the job of an Aide is to think ahead of your superior's intentions and solve questions. Are you lacking knowledge?"
As I seemed to have thought of something, I smiles at him. Kyle also raised the corners of his lips in a colluding smile.
I instantly felt better. He was already treating me as a close Aide.
Because of how long it took in Durben, I thought I had to bid my time in the regular aide's office and prove myself again before I could be reassigned to a new post or, even better, to the Prince in front of me.
However, after today, although there was the premise that I must answer well, I would able to get the position I wanted from the moment I swore to save my family.
From now on, whatever this harsh and cold Prince said to me, would be tolerated and even appreciated.
"Sir, please give me time to think."
The Prince nodded, took a sip of the remaining wine, and picked up papers from the table.
As time ticked on, I reflected on my previous answer.
[... Yes. It’s a good choice. From the outside, the Tandra mansion and forest were clearly attributed to the Imperial Palace, creating a simple shift in power.]
Wasn't it a good choice? Hmm. There was definitely a shift in power, and it provided an opportunity to bring the first prince to the hunting competition. You never knew when an opportunity like this would come again where you have the upper hand. So, it was a good choice, but it wasn't a loss enough not to fully use this opportunity.
“If it were me...”
"If it were you?"
“We need to tear them apart more. We need to do more than receive material gains from the Toulouse Family. We must do something that can strengthen the Imperial power while the impaired Toulouse Family cannot use his. We will use this opportunity to find a way to continuously empower the Imperial Palace, not simply a one off with some land or a mansion.”
Kyle finally grinned widely.
"Okay. It took a little longer than I thought, but it's not bad. Then, last question. How can I use this opportunity to continuously increase the power of the Imperial Palace?"
A faint laugh escaped my lips. I didn't know why, but this was fun.
If I were to explain my current state in a pinch, what would it be? Yes. An adrenaline rush.
"... Your Highness has already come up with a method, but you have no intention of telling me."
"Why are you laughing?"
"I don't know, but it's fun. It seems like something is just twitching and tickling my brain. So, that's why you want my family to take the initiative following the way Your Highness came up with. Have I guessed right?"
It was weird. When I first met Prince Kyle, I was unaware and trembling in fear when I went to see him.
Neither the second nor the third meeting were very pleasant. However, from some point, fear disappeared, and curiosity took its place.
In addition, I was not afraid at all and actually enjoyed talking with him now.
I tilted my head.
Was it okay to be so happy at this point in time when the family crisis is fast approaching?
What to do despite this very contradictory and ironic situation. I liked it now.
How can one live every situation, every moment, only seriously? Should I condemn myself to spend my whole life in this 'all or nothing' frame of mind?**
Rather, I was glad that I was able to enjoy this moment.
It was past midnight, and Beth was waiting at the door.
"Shall we take a break?"
Even though it was past midnight, the Second Prince had no intention of sending me away.
It was a good thing for me as I also didn't want to leave with an unresolved issue.
"Oh... Well. Then let me call my maid for a moment."
He asked the attendant outside the door to bring a light meal, and I called Beth to tell my Father that the results were going to be delayed.
"And don't wait outside the door like that. Go to your dorm. All I have to do is go up one more floor anyway."
The Second Prince’s temporary office was on the second floor. Next to it was probably his bedroom.
It seemed that he was given the best room in the Tandra mansion because he was a member of the Imperial Family.
“How can a personal maid go to sleep alone without her master? And just a man and a woman… I’m going to get into trouble with the Count.”
"Huh. Man and woman! Now, did you separate the Second Prince and I into male and female? Ha. No. Beth, don't you remember me being alone with His Highness before? Even if we’re together all night long, nothing would happen. But you have a point. I don't know where or how gossip will come out, so I'll make sure to hide and be discreet when I go back to my room. If you stay the door, it's like advertising that I'm here. Go quickly. Go and tell Father this. All right?"
* I found out that this is the title of a very famous book in Korea. The original work is by Ken Blanchard and the title is: “Whale done”. Of course, the subject is about the importance of compliments and praises.
** There was a Korean idiom referring to living 10 000 years one way then the next 10 000 years in the opposite way. This is what I came up with to try to convey her feelings about her situation.