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Where Tara starts working as a Second Aide and Kyle stumbles upon an unforseen visitor in his bedroom.
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Episode 162. About 10 months (39)
"Yes? What is that…"
“It’s too perfect. It’s as if a deity had put him here, just waiting for us to notice.”
“He knew we were coming.”
Kyle nodded slowly and climbed onto the horse in one clean motion.
"Yes. He most likely has nothing to do with what happened 12 years ago."
"Your Highness. Shall we prepare for a cross-examination with the mercenaries caught in Gallon d'Or then?"
"It's not too late to do that later. We'll escort them to the Capital anyway. Before that, Nick, you stay here. Stay and investigate the mercenary's actions before he came to the Chase Territory as soon as possible. Especially you must find out who approached the mercenary. You decide the number of people you’ll need to investigate."
Nick immediately knelt on one of his knees and bowed his head to receive the order.
“As you command, Your Highness."
Kyle took off. As he ran ahead, six knights followed, and five other knights, including Nick, remained behind to start investigating.
'You dare do your mother's bidding… Hide as much as you like. I'll find you and tear you to pieces.'
Kyle's eyes, spurred by his own words, shone sharper than ever.
Two nights later. The Imperial Palace's Aide's office.
“Ah, there is no end to this!”
An empty Aide's office with no one in it, and I was still stuck under stacks of papers.
I was very nervous when I went to work for the first time yesterday morning. Not because of my new assignment, it was only a job after all, but because I was supposed to give him…. an answer.
When I arrived at the Palace, the tension was at its peak, but as soon as I heard that he was on a business trip, the tension disappeared instantly, fizzling away, leaving a strange regret in its wake.
It was because the tension I had worked so hard to raise wasn’t worth it.
I wanted to forget it quickly and get to work… Ah…I didn't know. Still, it was rather nice that I could focus on getting my job done.
“By the way, when is he coming back?”
The butler didn't know for sure, but he thought he'd be back tomorrow morning or something.
I was a 2nd Administrative Officer in the Ocerian Empire's Military, and my position as Second Aide was to the Second Prince’s Imperial Palace.
First, I went to the regular administrative office, got my assignment, organized the documents I had overseen, and handed them over to Joseph.
[Hey, we have to say farewell as soon as we got to know each other. Besides, I'm also being promoted. You never know the future. Congratulations, Tara Elias, Third, no, Second Aide, even if you go up in the world, don't forget this place, junior.]
[It's good to be promoted, but she's the direct assistant to the Second Prince. My junior, you must suffer quite a bit. Come see me anytime if you're having difficulties.]
I regretted the short relationship with seniors Joseph and Shine while I gave my thanks. It was heartbreaking to see how much they valued our short time together.
“Is there any part of Second Assistant’s duties I must be aware of, Commander?”
Unlike Captain Nick, Knight Commander Walter was neat, with no frills.
"Well, since there has never been an Aide in the Second Prince’s Imperial Palace until now…”
“I know that the Secretarial Division and the Imperial Palace duties are a little different.”
I raised my hands and used my fingers to list them one by one.
“The duties of a Third Aide assigned to the Secretarial Division are accounting for the operating expenses of the Aide’s office, receiving various allowances assigned to superiors, and managing the schedule. It also is proactive management of visitor records and letters sent to superiors. The duties of a Second Aide belonging to the palace, which are not affiliated with administrative agencies, are to manage the performance and schedule of superiors, that is, the Second Prince, management of events within the palace, and official and informal meetings and interviews. In addition, once you move up to the level of First Aide, you will manage first-level security documents and meeting records. We will plan the accompaniment of the first-class case and the schedule of the Second Prince.”
Basically, the executive secretary of a large corporation.
Even though I was prepared in advance because I was familiar with the contents, I already felt suffocated just reciting the contents of my workload.
When I thought that the knight commanders did so many things without the help of an Aide until now, it felt like Prince Kyle was a tyrannical boss.
“Oh my God, His Highness has done all the work so far.”
“Really? I heard that the Knights’ commanders took turns taking care of it…”
“His Highness does most of the work alone. I was only helping with the schedule, the mail and other duties as a Phoenix Knights commander.”
OMG. I knew he was smart and capable, but this was impressive.
I thought it would be like that to some extent, but from simply guessing and hearing it directly was different. Once again, I had to admire the Second Prince’s abilities.
Had he been born in Korea, he would have at least become CEO of a large conglomerate.
“Then, what are my duties?”
“It seems like only the top-secret files are left out. Namely, matters of Imperial security related to the overthrowing of the state. Judging by the fact that His Highness has chosen you as a Second Assistant, I can count that, soon, you will also be assisting on first-class matters. I can't say exactly when though.”
And that was why I had fought my way here. To access those top-secret files.
“I told you to use my prior work as reference, so you need to think about the schedule, the mail, and meeting time. But first, we should do the take-over together, Second Aide.”
"Yes, as you wish, Commander."
Throughout the morning, I spent my time memorizing the tasks I was to inherit from Knight Commander Walter.
In the afternoon, I cleaned up the Aide's office assigned to me.
I knew Second Prince Kyle had a lot of work, but I never imagined there was so much of it.
"No. How did you manage so many tasks by yourself? Has the Second Prince transmigrated from Korea?”
I groaned and gasped.
In addition to the data handed over by the Knights Commander Walter, I had to organize the already existing data. It didn't bother me, because it was something I enjoyed doing, but I had to delay the task of organizing the Aide’s office that had been used as a storage.
On the second day, the Aide's Office was almost completely cleaned up.
“… This is for the Military. These are regular audit papers assigned to the military, and records of incidents from the Ministry of Security. Ha! … Incidents should also be classified by type, according to chronological order and event type… Hmm. This is the annual training plan for the Order of the Phoenix, this is the monthly budget execution of the Military and security departments…”
It was much easier for me to concentrate if I said things out loud.
“Huh! But why are last month and this month missing?”
With a creaking sound, the door opened, and Commander Walter entered.
“Starting tomorrow, we’ll have a lot of work at night, so we should stop here for today. It’s already late anyway and we’re both tired. Also, your family will be worried.”
"Yes. I'm just going to clean up this box here. It's okay if you leave now, I have my carriage waiting anyway."
"Hmm. But it's late... Then I'll help you. Two is better than one."
Walter strode over, picked up the box and started organizing things my way. I should have declined his help, but honestly, it was quite late, so I quickly accepted the favour.
"Yes. Thank you. Next time, I'll serve you some delicious tea."
“I like tea, but we will have an official welcome party later… Ah! Would you like to have a drink?"
No matter that I was an administrator working under them, he seemed to be contemplating whether I could go party with them because I was a young girl from a noble family.
"I think it'll be fine if I get permission from my father in advance. Although I am a noble young lady, I’m also an Aide, and I can't miss the welcome party, which is an extension of my work."
An extension of my work… Good thinking, Tara Elias.
Walter looked at me in surprise and grinned.
He had such a good expression when smiling. Much more human. Really, there were too many handsome men in the Empire.
"Oh. That's a good attitude."
Walter, who was cleaning up, tilted his head and asked, “Are December and January missing from the monthly budget execution of the military and security departments?”
"Ah… I brought all the documents from the drawing room on the third floor earlier today, but they weren't there."
The drawing room on the 3rd floor was a private space across from Second Prince Kyle's bedroom. I often saw documents piled up there, many that were important.
"His Highness reads reports even before going to bed. They’re probably in the bedroom. Tomorrow is the day the budget ends, so I'll get them now…"
I didn't want to cause any more trouble, as I had argued to stay late to finish up.
"Oh no. I'll go and get them quickly. It's my job now."
"Oh. Nice attitude, rookie. I can see why Nick praised you so much. Go on!"
I looked at the clock and it was 10:30pm.
I opened the door, full of spirit, and ran up to the third floor.
Kyle went straight to his bedroom, sharply sending away the butler and his servant who followed him.
He had barely slept and had ridden his horse for two days, so he just wanted to lie down. That way, tomorrow, he’d find those who tried to test him in the right frame of mind.
He still had to untie more than ten armour clasps one by one as he climbed the stairs to the third floor.
He had been holding the reins for a long time, and his stiff hands had failed him several times as he was only able to loosen three clasps.
He was fine until he climbed the stairs, but as soon as he entered his private space on the third floor, fatigue hit him all at once.
Kyle paused just as he reached for the fourth clasp of his armour. he wasn't alone here. There was a slightly different airflow and a little noise.
This was a place no one was allowed to enter without his permission, except during business hours.
Often, when he was away, the Knight Commanders came in to retrieve reports placed in the parlor or bedroom, but mostly during business hours.
His muscles and body reacted instantly and instinctively.
Kyle had a history of being attacked countless times by intruders and assassins, and was wary of this situation.
Putting his hand on the handle of his sword, he muffled his footsteps, slowly approaching and opening the door.
The door opened soundlessly. Kyle stood still and looked into the bedroom.
He wondered how this had happened.
Just a few meters ahead, she was in his bedroom.