Updated: 5 days ago
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Kyle has a meeting with his father and makes a risky decision for... reasons...
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Episode 148. About 10 months (25)
'Have I ever made such an impulsive choice since I entered the palace? No. This is by no means an impulsive decision.'
The actions and decisions he had made until now were all the product of countless planning and calculation.
'As I have done in the past, this issue of the selection laws was also judged based on experience. But ironically, no matter what experience I have, there is only one decision I can make.'
'Once I decide, I can't go back... Should I do it?'
This was the big question. And again, there was only one answer.
'It is already past the stage of tolerability,' he thought as he remembered her words.
[Ahaha... This. This is so much fun...]
He stood up with the paperwork in hand, his mouth set in a cynical smile, eyes ablaze.
“Yes. Thank you, it’s definitely fun.”
Emperor Louis was submerged in a huge wooden tub. On a cold winter night, a hot water bath was heavenly.
"Your Majesty, His Highness the Second Prince is here."
“Let him in.”
The Emperor sent out the maids who had been massaging him, and refreshed himself with a sip of cold red wine.
Kyle approached the Emperor.
“So, the arrows came out of Earl Eckwood’s and Marquis Crimson’s quarters?”
“I’m just on my way back from the interrogation.”
"Yeah. Are they the culprits?"
“It is too early to discuss the results yet.”
"Just tell me what you think. How do you view this case?"
"Are you saying you can't tell me since it's under investigation again?"
“Both Earl Eckwood and Marquis Crimson have a grudge against the First Prince and the House of Toulouse. There is motive.”
"Oh dear. Does that mean that they are doing things recklessly? So, what's your opinion?"
“They are innocent. Keeping solid evidence in an easy-to-find place without destroying it is the same as hoping to be found out. This is a trap created by the real criminals."
“He’s confident enough to set traps, isn’t he? He's pretty quick, whoever he is."
"Yes. Since the arrows were found, there is a motive. Both households need further investigation. That way, no doubts will remain. Besides, there are many eyes that have seen arrows come out of the two families’ quarters.”
"Their intention is to buy time to escape. It's a shallow method, but it's appropriate. Does anyone have any guesses as to whom the real offender is?"
“Yes, but I am not sure. It looks like it will take quite a while to research. I will report to you later when the exact matter is to be revealed.”
"Very well. By the way, why did you ask to see me again after having a private session yesterday? Is it because of the Talent Training system?"
"You came to see me twice in two days. The sun rises in the east… Of course, I only say that because it's too boring to say that it must be about to rise in the west," the Emperor joked, very satisfied with the nonsensical nature of it.
Kyle just looked at the Emperor without any reaction or emotion.
Everybody in the Empire laughed at his jokes. Even the ugly Duke of Toulouse and the Empress did, but this one never did.
“Stiff bastard. So, what is it again?”
“The Crown Princess Selection. I will accept it.”
Astonished, the emperor rose to his feet. A stream of water ran down his body and fell to the floor.
Naked, the Emperor put his hands on his waist, ignoring Kyle's frown, and burst out laughing.
The Second Prince who trembled whenever he heard the word 'marriage' accepted the decree? Not only that, but this was at the Empress's request and she would be choosing his consort.
He thought that a year would easily pass while Kyle procrastinated, but his stickler of a son had unexpectedly deviated from Louis’ expectations, in a favourable way, and accepted the Crown Princess Selection.
'Huh… I did well with this Hunting Contest.'
The Emperor, thinking that this must be another boon for the Hunting Contest, drank some wine, wiped his lips gently and laughed again.
When Kyle saw the Emperor's naked body, he only frowned, waiting for the Emperor's laughter to end.
The Emperor suddenly stopped laughing and looked at his son’s face.
'Hmm. He's not that different than usual… Why did he decide so quickly…?'
“Second Prince. Are you serious?"
“… Wasn't this what you wanted?"
“That’s true, but… It’s so quick and docile on your part that I thought… Is this some kind of smokescreen? Hahaha.”
“When you do something like this, that means there must be something huge hidden behind it. That’s how I feel."
“Seeing that there's no reply, it means I’m right?"
"I don’t know. This is your conclusion."
"You're like a squirrel."
“I will take that as a compliment.”
Looking at his son’s calm face, Louis pondered over what kind of deep waters were hidden behind his stoic façade.
However, after thinking about it, he concluded that it was impossible to figure out now and changed topic.
“As you know, all real power related to the selection of the Crown Princess is held by the Empress. Because love belongs to the Empress. Well, you will have fully realized this before agreeing to it."
"Your Majesty also knows that my quick consent is, of course, subject to conditions."
"Yes. I’m aware. So, what are they?"
Kyle slowly opened his mouth as he looked at the Emperor's attentive gaze.
“First of all, I will just make the announcement.”
"What do you mean by just an announcement."
“It is a announcement that I will accept the decree, but delay setting the date.”
"Will the Empress accept this? If you just announce it and then procrastinate and renege on it, how are you going to manage the repercussions?"
“Grant a marriage prohibition decree, and her doubts will be dispelled.”
"Ah! Correct. If you use the marriage prohibition decree, you must do it within the period issued by the ban.”
The maximum duration of a marriage prohibition decree was 6 months. This meant that the selection would have to be implemented within that time frame.
"Yes. Please do it."
The Emperor stared at his son, his hands on his bare waist.
"Do you really have the heart to do it?"
“… I have no heart.”
The Emperor burst out laughing and grabbed a towel to wrap around his waist.
“Are you saying that you are deliberately sacrificing yourself to establish your system for nurturing talents?”
“I have no intention of making any sacrifices.”
The Emperor, who was wiping himself with another towel, lifted his head at Kyle's words.
"You're saying you're not going to accept the marriage in the end, are you?"
“I’ll follow the law. I don't break my promises."
“What is your plan? You can't accept the Empress's proposal so easily...”
“It isn’t easy to get a system for nurturing talents to take root.”
The Emperor nodded and moved to the sofa.
The Emperor stared at Kyle for a long time and sighed.
He was very suspicious, but couldn’t find any other reason to object, he nodded in agreement.
“Agreement on the Talent Training system is important. It's time for you to settle down too. Is there anything else you want?"
“I want the start date to be on a date and time I agree to.”
"It's not a difficult request. I understand. Then, I should declare the Selection decree when all the nobles are gathered. How about at the banquet tomorrow?"
However, the Emperor's words were immediately rejected.
“Not yet. The declaration will be made according to procedure after returning to the Imperial Palace."
When he thought about declaring the Crown Princess Selection at the banquet, it was terrifying to contemplate, but would be interesting to witness.
The nobles spitting out his name here and there and gossiping, trying to understand his intentions behind his acceptance of the decree. The gazes that judged him and the possible candidates as merchandise.
Things that would annoy him would be everywhere.
The reason Kyle accepted this proposal was simple.
'It serves a very simple and clear purpose that will neatly shake off those who dare tread on my toes.'
Other than that, he didn't want to go through any exhausting arguments or situations.
At his stubborn refusal, the Emperor sighed again, as if blowing steam.
"Okay. Then we'll have it put in writing.”
"I'll take my leave."
Kyle, who bowed his head in a neat and polite motion and walked out of the Emperor's bedroom without any regrets.
Louis looked at the closed door with a sullen gaze. And very slowly, he rubbed his chin as he often did when he thought about something.
“There’s something… something…”
However, there was no way of knowing and only a foggy mist in his head.
Walter, who was walking along with Kyle after he left the audience with the Emperor, couldn’t contain his curiosity and carefully asked.
"Your Highness. Are you really accepting the selection?"
Kyle suddenly stopped walking.
“I don’t remember saying it out loud, did you infer it?”
"Yes. That time in the Winter Garden you spoke of the Selection. Also, the soundproofing here isn't good, and while waiting outside the door, I heard His Majesty's voice, Your Highness."
"No matter where you go, don’t be shy to listen in on your boss's conversations.”
“I will keep this in mind, Your Highness.”
Kyle, who was looking down at Walter with his head bowed deeply, tapped Walter on the shoulder and stepped forward.
Naturally, Walter followed.
"Yes, the Selection will be announced soon."
"Ah. I congratulate you, Your Highness."
"It means that you are finally welcoming the Crown Princess, how can I not congratulate you, Your Highness?"
"Well, I said that they were going to implement a Selection decree. I didn't say I was going to marry the Crown Princess. So, there is no need to celebrate.”
"Really?" Walter asked doubtfully.
Kyle stopped again.
“It means that there are times when the Selection isn’t successful.”
But Kyle didn't answer and just moved on.
As Walter was trying to figure out what he meant, Kyle slowly explained in a low voice, whether he was listening or not.