(Image to be updated)
Where we figure out what Kyle has been up to since he stumbled upon Tara and Theo.
DO NOT publish our edits anywhere else. Especially on social media. Otherwise we may have to stop doing this. Thank you.
Episode 146. About 10 Months (23)
About 30 minutes ago.
Sitting at a table completely hidden by vines, Kyle was slowly sipping olive leaf tea, even though he couldn’t really taste it.
He gently stroked his chin while concentrating on the conversation being held behind him.
The high treble that filled the garden made his forehead wrinkle.
The grating high-pitched laughter was quite far from the laughter he knew.
'What's so amusing?'
He soon realized
'Ah! It’s intentional...’
One corner of Kyle's lips rose slowly.
She was trying to look like a noisy airhead.
As their conversation continued, Kyle listened and often pondered.
The first time was when Theodore let Tara know that he was aware of her deception in advance.
'Tut-tut, too impatient. One’s intentions should not be revealed while mining for information..”
The second time was when Theodore asked about her sexual orientation and he heard the words 'I like men' spoken in a harsh tone.
'… Good luck.'
The third time was when Theodore stated that there was no better man in the Empire than him, Kyle, and Joseph.
'Did you really just lump Joseph and me together?’
And finally, it was when Theodore finished talking about his view on marriage that noble girls were apparently dreaming of.
‘… This guy who majored in sociology is stuck in the mold.'
Kyle, upon hearing such simple sentiments, concluded that this meeting and this man wouldn’t have any big impact in the future.
At that moment, he felt frustrated with himself for sitting behind them and eavesdropping like he did.
He tried to get up quietly, thinking he might just leave, but upon hearing the next sentence, he slowly returned to his original position. Kyle clenched his fists and focused on Theodore's words.
[I know. But aren’t three official meetings the cornerstone for an arranged marriage? A man and a woman have an official meeting in the name of their family, but who would consider it just a simple meeting?]
He agreed with this statement. Kyle knew better than anyone about arranged marriages between noble families.
While living as a Prince, he had seen countless noble families form bonds through marriage.
Among them, there had only been three aristocratic children who had refused the marriage arrangements, and their stories were still a regular topic of discussion in society to this day.
The Empire was strict about noble marriages, and members that refused their arrangement were often regarded as breaking their promise, shamed and expelled from their families.
The most famous ones were still talked about. They quickly flashed through Kyle’s mind
One of them was the break-up between the Norringtons and the Spencers three years ago.
The cause was the Norrington Family. The eldest son of the Northern Count of Norrington fell in love with a farmer’s daughter, broke his arranged marriage with the Spencer family, and eloped at night.
When he was disinherited because of that, the newspapers reported a love that transcended status and sang his praises.
However, the eldest son returned like a beggar two years after his elopement.
After that, the eldest son of the count, who lived in shame in the mansion’s annex, was no longer praised by the newspapers, but mocked.
The other case of a broken engagement was between the Marquis of Fayden and the Duke of Bullington, and the Principality of Ga'an, which took place a year and a half ago.
Marquis Fayden's youngest daughter was to be married to the Ga’an Family, but she was rejected as a prospect. She was then to be married into the Bullington Duchy instead.
Angry at this, the youngest daughter impulsively spent the night with a man who had come from Bullington Duchy to serve as her escort knight to the Dukedom for the wedding.
That had happened just a week before the ceremony.
Marquis Fayden, who found her after she stayed in the knight's quarters all night, confiscated the inheritance she was supposed to get when she came of age, had her name erased from the family tree and sent her to a convent in a neighboring country, never to return to her family.
The knight, on the other hand, was caught and disposed of the very next day.
Kyle let out a sigh, clearing the information from his mind, and focused on Theodore's words.
The more Theodore talked about marriage, the harder Kyle's jaw got.
The veins on the back of his fists were bulging. But his fists loosened a few minutes later after hearing Tara’s words.
[Huh-huh. No. No. Betting is legally binding. You can’t break it. Perhaps Lady Helen thought that if I met with the Viscount three times, I would fall in love with you. But here is the thing, from the impressions that you gave me today, I can say with certainty that the Viscount isn’t worthy of me or my family.]
He raised the corners of his lips involuntarily.
'Yes, a bet is binding...'
Kyle envisioned Tara’s straightforward gaze as she uttered those words and smiled.
Hearing the sound of her footsteps, he raised his teacup.
He tried to drink the last of the tea that had cooled down, but he stopped as he heard Theodore’s small but clear voice.
“Ahaha… This. This is so much fun…”
The big smile he could hear in that voice engraved itself in his mind.
… He had work to do.
Tandra Mansion, Tara's accommodation.
As I reached the front door while fanning my hands, I heard some chattering.
I quietly pushed through the slightly opened door and watched the 3 of them for a moment.
They didn't even notice me, their back turned towards me, heads put together, and focused on something.
I lifted my heel slightly to get a better look and saw cards in their hands.
They were having a friendly conversation or, to be precise, playing cards while having a conversation about me.
“Hahaha, he is the best groom among the noble families of the Empire! He is a talented person who catches everyone's attention.”*
“By the way, Your Excellency, Scholar Theodore was chosen as the number one man to make you feel fulfilled just from looking at him, and the man one would like to chat with all night long. Ahhh…"
She gathered her cards in both hands and tightly held them.
Young Beth's dreamy eyes were full of stars. She smiled.
Bernard frowned. "I don't know if he deserves all these praises. He didn’t seem like much from a distance.”
"Haha. With the eyes of a knight, I can see why you would say that. Even though young Theodore doesn’t look it, he used to practice sword fighting quite a bit when he was younger. Had he consistently honed his skills, he would have reached a good level by now. But he comes from a family of scholars and his dream was to study sociology.”
“I see you aren’t convinced yet. I think their meeting is going pretty well. Your Excellency. Call."
“That is uncertain. The Lady has a fairly high standards of reference, so I don’t think she’ll readily take notice of him. I am also calling.”
"Based on what? Now, let's take a look. I have an Ace and 2 Pairs! You?"
At the Count's question, Bernard shrugged his shoulders as if it was natural.
“Because she chose me. 9, 10, J, Q, K. Straight.”
I quickly blocked the laughter that was about to come out with both hands.
“What kind of standard is that?”
"That's right. She even chose me to be her maid. I'm a pretty good maid too."
"Haha. Ha, is that so? You lost?”
“5, 5, 5, 3, 3. Full house. Oh, yes! I guess I have a knack for this!"
Coins were piled up in front of Beth.
"God, I wonder how it’s going. If I had known it would be like this, I would have asked you to go eavesdrop and report to me secretly later..."
"… Oh! you're here Tara!"
My father, who made eye contact with me as he continued to stretch, abruptly got up.
Beth and Bernard both stood up and looked at me.
As I took off my cloak, Beth ran up to me and quickly caught it.
I took my time washing my hands, carefully drying each finger while sighing profusely. Then, I sat down on the couch and helped myself to a cup of tea.
Three pairs of eyes stared at me anxiously, as if they didn't want to miss a single move, or, to be exact, didn't want to miss a single word that came out of my mouth.
Father was sitting in front of me with Bernard standing next to him, and Beth was standing next to me. Neither of them blinked.
I took a sip of tea, put it down, and slowly opened my mouth.
Dad stretched his neck waiting.
“The Empire’s noble spirit.”
"I see. A typical exemplary capitalist. And?"
I couldn't figure out why the word 'exemplary' was added after the word 'typical', so I wanted to ask him, but seeing my father's anticipation suppressed my curiosity.
“We decided to meet again in the Capital.”
“Just as originally planned. That's all."
All of them made faces that were easy to read.
"Father. It's just that I lost the bet and have no choice but to carry out the penalty. So, you must not expect anything else from me.”
“No, but when people see a good thing, they want to own it. Isn’t your opponent quite a coveted prize?”
“A coveted prize?”
Hearing my father's words, Theodore's words brushed my mind.
["Each status and gender have their own responsibilities and obligations. … It can be seen as them forgetting their role and responsibilities as noblemen."]
Even thinking about it again, it felt like a lump of coal was stuck in my throat.
“Well, identity and gender…!”
I stopped talking. Theodore's thoughts must be the standard values of an Ocerian nobleman.
Therefore, my father also had those values as his base. If I complained about that here, it was obvious that I would be considered the weird one.
"Ah… No. I didn't think about it that way at all. After we meet three times, we won't see each other again."
Father seemed disappointed, but I didn't want to ease that disappointment. It would be more beneficial to my future to have him forgo this greedy notion quickly. I didn't want to have a regretful marriage.
"Didn’t you expect it?"
* They are playing poker here or some version of it and in the MTL they are making calls for the game while talking about Theo and Tara, thing is, since I’m not a poker player and the MTL was nonsensical in the terms it translated, I really was unable to edit most of them, so I just removed them. They don’t bring much more to the scene anyway.