Updated: Feb 3
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Where two giants collide, Andrei has a sudden insight and Kyle starts his new strategy. Will it work on Tara?
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Episode 173. About 10 months (50)
'He’s pretty good at controlling the atmosphere... Well, I guess I should sit down now.'
Andrei began to repeat what Tara had told him to a week ago.
There was nothing else he could say. Because Tara's speculations were the most credible.
“There have been many unusual incidents occurring, and no one had been caught, so I was worried that my disciple could get hurt. As you know, the Elias family has had a history of being dragged into a big events such as the Dragon Fruit..… ”
That’s how the story began. For a long time, only Andrei's voice echoed in the warehouse, and Kyle never interrupted him.
When the story was over, Kyle, who had been silent the whole time, finally asked a question.
“What do you think about my Aide coincidentally being often involved in so many big events?”
“Haha. I don’t know, Your Highness. The undetermined succession of the Imperial Palace puts many talented people in the Empire at risk. Only… I think she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Of course, my disciple is clever enough to untangle such big incidents. She takes after her teacher. Hahaha.”
“… You are free to think so."
Andre felt an urge to snort. As he was about to open his mouth to ask a question, the Prince stood up.
Andre looked at the Second Prince with wide eyes.
“Why do you look like that?”
“I thought you would ask more questions.”
“That was enough. It's not a flawless explanation, but it's also persuasive, so no more questions are needed."
“What flaws are you referring to?”
"The warning you gave her was very general. However, Tara Elias moved quite specifically, as if she knew the place where the incident would happen in advance. There's no way even you would have been able to inform her of that beforehand. Even given the present explanation, your warning only provided information on a potential motive for a crime to occur and advised her to be careful. That was all.”
“Then why are you not asking more questions…?”
“Tara. It’s one of my Aide’s tendencies.”
“Which of my disciple’s tendencies are you referring to?
“She is someone who thinks outside the box. She is the type of person who thinks and acts quite specifically. Although it is still a bit clumsy, she is also someone who calculates and considers various possibilities to achieve her desired results. So, on the warning of her master, it is very likely that my Aide thought through possibilities and planned multiple scenarios. Therefore, something like that must have happened.”
“… You have very high regard for my disciple, Your Highness.”
“You don’t think that’s the case, Sir?
“I also think that my disciple has those levels of quality. I pride myself for my famous pickiness when it comes to people. As expected, I have a student who works hard."
He couldn't believe that His Highness the Second Prince saw it that way as well. His disciple was being recognized.
"Is that so? But she chose me."
“What? What do you mean, Your Highness?”
Andrei stood up without realizing it.
"If you don't know, never mind. It's better to hear it in person."
Andrei was engulfed by a strong emotion, but as the professional he was, he did not express it. He tried not to. He curved his mouth into a smile again.
"Yes. I will ask her directly what this is about. Hahaha."
The euphoria of Second Prince Kyle's visit did not last for even half an hour.
And the emotion that took its place was an intense wave of hatred.
Each time they exchanged words, he felt uncomfortable, resentful, and angry, but it was hard to refute anything he said.
Not a single thing he said was wrong.
What was even more irritating and unpleasant was that it was only Andrei who kept faltering in the conversation. Prince Kyle remained composed and unperturbed, while proceeding steadily at his own pace. Andrei’s attempts at self-defense were weak against the Prince’s warrior-like presence. Even though they were not actually engaged in combat, why did he feel like he was losing?
The Second Prince was walking back towards the warehouse door, when he suddenly turned and looked back as if he had something left to say.
“Do you think my assistant has a chance of winning the competition for the family headship?”
“I’m involved, so of course she will.”
He didn't want to answer the question, but strangely, the answer came automatically.
'My disciple. This is crazy.'
"What do you think about the Stuart affair?"
“This is because more and more people are recognizing the value of my disciple. The Stuart’s second son is not worthy of my disciple. I don't like him just because he acts kind and has a pretty smile!"
For the very first time since he had come here, the Second Prince’s mouth raised in a slight smile.
“As expected of the head of an intelligence network, you have a good eye.”
"Hahaha. When you live in this world, you have to develop a keen eye for people. Well, of course, he is a coveted bachelor who rises to the top of the eligibility rankings every year. That is enough for the family, and if my disciple wants it…”
However, his expression turned cold again, as if it had always been so.
“You must know that not everything published in the newspaper is true… Let’s just stop here. Of course.”
“Ahahahaha. That's right. There are cases of deliberate false reporting.”
Andrei smiled awkwardly and thought that the Second Prince was fickler than he had expected.
Just as he was opening the door to see the Prince off, a strange thought flashed through his mind.
'It's probably too far-fetched.'
And at the same time, a hunch was triggered.
The Second Prince turned around and slowly looked back at Andre.
“I had a strange thought for a moment.”
Andre chuckled. Then, for the first time since this meeting started, a sense of peace came over him.
“Aren’t you curious?”
Andrei forcibly suppressed the litany of curses that threatened to escape his throat. Being an intelligent man, never lost his reason.
"If you don’t mind, I would like to ask you a question, Your Highness."
“… Let’s hear it.”
“Do you have any special feelings for my disciple?”
He thought that the Second Prince would be a better fit for Tara than Theodore Stuart.
However, he never thought that the Second Prince would have feelings for Tara. At least, until a moment ago.
Andrei gulped and waited for his answer.
The Second Prince's eyebrows crept up. And the way he gazed silently at him.
"Haha. Did I ask a rude question, Your Highness? If you want to, you don't have to answer Hahaha. It's just a gut feeling, hahahahahaha."
“… Like teacher, like student.”
Due to Andre's inane laughter, he couldn't hear the words of the Second Prince well.
“Those who enter my Palace become mine. By the way, Orlando, the Scorpion's leader, has been reported missing from his exile, I hope you will rectify this, Sir. Goodbye..."
Watching the back of the Second Prince as he walked away, Andrei grinned.
“Of course, he couldn’t just give Orlando to me so easily. By the way, what was that reaction? He didn’t deny it!”
Andrei stood there for a moment with his mouth open like a fool, then muttered to himself.
“My disciple, since when did you have such a talent? As expected, I was born with an eye for people. Oh, this… This is going to be a lot of fun, isn’t it? What shall I do?"
A strange energy flooded his body. Immediately, a laugh burst out from deep in his chest.
“Ahaha! My disciple is truly a diamond in the rough! Ahahahahahahahahaha!”
At Andrei's outburst, multiple Black Society disciples, including Cezanne, rushed into the warehouse. When they saw Andre smiling crazily to himself, they said, ‘Here we go again…' and left.
The same day. In the morning.
The basic task at hand was to deliver the supervisor's schedule by the appointed time and to compile the appropriate documents.
The Second Prince’s office was constantly busy.
I sat at the head of the desk noting the purpose of their visits and recording their meetings.
As the Ministry of Security team leader's meeting was ending, I was quickly writing down everything I hadn’t yet been able to include.
“… This is what the second team leader reported. This one and the bottom one should be changed.”
Surprised by the sound of a low voice beside me, I looked up and found Prince Kyle's face right next to mine.
His right hand was on the edge of the desk and his left hand was on the back of my chair, with his upper body bent towards me.
“An error in the report could cause confusion for the case assignment team. So, we want to avoid mistakes as much as possible.”
His gaze was still fixed on the meeting minutes, examining it for further errors.
I breathed quietly, gazing at his profile, mere inches away.
His hair falling slightly over his forehead. His elegant straight nose, lowered eyes, and sharp jawline.
"Aren't you going to fix it?"
I glanced away quickly and turned my gaze back towards the meeting minutes.
"This… Ah, yes."
A faint refreshing scent tickled my nose.
What kind of fragrance was this?
Ugh. I was going crazy. At a time like this!
I shrunk down as much as possible and quickly scanned the document for any other mistakes.
Even if it was unintentional, his presence reminded me of what happened the day he confessed to me.
Moreover, the man before me today was very different from the man who had acted cold for several days. No. It would be more appropriate to say that he just seemed a little more relaxed.
It seemed everything had been neatly resolved.
“Erase this. You don’t need to record it. In the future, record only the time, place, and name of past incidents.”
He said, using his finger to mark the points requiring correction.
A very businesslike voice. He appeared unaffected, but now I was constantly conscious of him and that was going to become a problem.
It would be fine. It was actually a relief. It kept bothering me… And now it won’t be an issue. Now we could just work together.
"Yes. Your Highness."
As I was about to leave after finishing the meeting, Kyle opened the side-drawer of his desk and handed over a stack of documentation from the end of the month.
"Refer to this and write a report for the end of the month with Walter. He will assist you this time, but you will have to do it alone starting next month, so learn it well."
“Yes, Your Highness.”
The thought, 'Are you taking revenge for my rejection by giving me excessive work?' suddenly crossed my mind, but then I shook my head and erased the thought.
He was just a really, really, busy boss.
That afternoon, a discussion was held for ‘the formation of a consultative body to discuss the proposed Talent Training System', which had been delayed due to last week’s business trip.
I attended to record the meeting minutes.
It began with a rather stiff atmosphere, as it involved members of the Royalist lawmaker faction, most of whom were elder noblemen.
The conference room contained a total of 8 people, including the Second Prince, Kyle. The Prince briefly explained the meaning, purpose, and achievements of the system.