• Sam

Chapter 176

Updated: May 16


Tara asks Kyle to go on the business trip with him.


This chapter is dedicated to the two Ko-fi supporters who donated on the 9th and 22nd of April. Thank you for your support!


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Episode 176. About 10 months (53)


“Hey, hey. Please try it. In principle, as an aide, you should accompany him on business trips. To be honest, a business trip to the Central Province is much easier than visiting the outskirts, so it won’t take much effort. This would be a great opportunity for you, as you’re new to your job as His Highness’ aide.”


“Can you take me?”


“Well, since you’re so meticulous in your work, if you think you’re necessary for the business trip, His Highness might take you.”


I don't know if it was because of the meeting with Hans Button, but I was impatient for some reason.


While time passed, that day was getting closer and closer.


“Thank you, sir.”


Was it the time to think about his confession in this situation?


After saying goodbye to Walter, I quickly cleared my desk.


I stood in front of the Second Prince’s office door with my coat on, so I could leave work right away.


Yes, I've been so lazy these days. I can't just make a schedule every day. It’s work! To get a high score, you have to go, because beggars can’t be choosers.


***


I knocked on the office door and said, “Your Highness, this is the 2nd Aide, Tara,” but there was no answer for a long time.


‘Did he leave?’


It wasn't until I raised my hand to knock on the door again that I heard a voice from inside.


“Come in.”


He was sitting at his desk, with two buttons on his shirt and wrists undone. As usual, he had papers in his hands. A workaholic, as expected. He glanced at me the moment I entered, and then fixed his gaze on the paperwork again.


“Isn’t it time to go home?” He asked.


"Yes, that’s right. I have something to ask you. Are you busy?”


"It's fine. What do you want to ask?” His tone was rather curt.


“I heard that an aide is supposed to accompany you on a business trip, but I

was told that didn’t want to take me because of your personal schedule.”


"I did. Why?”


His eyes were unchanged.


“I want to accompany you on this business trip, Your Highness."


“…”


He slowly put down the papers and looked at me. And he just stared without answering.


"Your Highness?"


"Why?"


"What?"


“Why do you want to go with me?”


“Because I’m your Aide.”


"Isn't it because you want a promotion?"


Ugh. That's correct.


“… Technically, that’s the biggest reason,” I calmly admitted.


“I have no intention of moving by carriage.”


Could I go without a carriage? It was so rare for an aristocrat to ride a horse without a carriage over a long distance that it would even be published in the Imperial newspaper.


“As long as I don’t sprint, I can learn to ride.”


“Have you ever traveled by horse?”


"This would be the first time."


He furrowed his eyebrows slightly.


"I can do it."


“As you know, if you take on a task, you have to finish that task. I despise those who don’t keep their word."


I don't have any experience, but I’m sure I sound full of confidence.


"I know."


“…”


He placed the papers all over his desk, as if he was in deep thought.


Then he crossed his arms and stared at me. The way he looked was the same whether I sat or stood.


“Tara Elias.”


"Yes."


“Since it’s a trip with only horses, we shouldn’t be interrupted. Are you sure?”


“I’ve been practicing two hours a day for fifteen days now. I can do it.”


"Well… Practice is different. If you can't keep up, you'll be left behind."


"Yes!"


I swallowed.


“We’re moving through the Berquinn Trail. It can be dangerous."


“That’s alright.”


"Why?"


“Because Your Highness is with us.”


“… Are you trying to flatter me?”


“It’s true.”


“I don’t give points for that. Your aspiration for a promotion is great if you’re willing to accompany me despite the risks.”


“I can protect myself.”


“Naturally. I had no intention of hiring an Aide who can’t even defend themself.”


It was clearly a rebuke, but at the same time, it was an acknowledgement, so my lips twitched.


He had a strange talent for complimenting people.


“May I accompany you, Your Highness?”


“…”


There was no answer and I just stared at him, which was weirdly awkward.


“…… Isn't it burdensome to travel together?" He asked.


I rolled my eyes. The back of my neck was burning.


Why are you asking? Wasn't it all sorted out?


“Hmm. What would be the problem? Now that you’ve cleared it up, hmm. I don’t think it’ll be a burden at all if you forget it ever happened…”


"Really? I’m glad it’s not a burden anymore.”


"Hmm. Yes. That's right. Haha…! Wait, why are you coming?"


He suddenly stood up and strode towards me. I backed away at the same time, but he quickly caught up to me and before I knew it, he was just a step away.


And he reached out to my face.


I pulled my face away in surprise. A familiar situation.


“…?”


He looked surprised, and the words that came out of his mouth were cold as he frowned.


“The jacket.”


“Ah… Haha.”


The burning sensation on the back of my neck spread to my face. I quickly stepped aside and smiled.


Ah. This again…


Bad enough behavior.


“I thought you said it wasn’t too much… but you looked like a bug.”


“Oh my! What do you mean a bug? Haha. You moved so suddenly. I got surprised without realizing it…”

(Apparently ‘bug’ is Korean slang for someone who can be overzealous about something, and I think Tara is being quite overzealous about avoiding Kyle here)


It was a very unpleasant situation, but it wasn’t strange in the context of the conversation, so I laughed good-naturedly.


With a stiff face, he affirmed.


"I see."


"Yes. That… So, can I come with you, Your Highness?"


Putting on his jacket, he strode past me towards the office door.


He opened the office door and turned to me.


“Whatever it is, you fulfill your duties…”


Unlike his smile, his eyes were infinitely cold.


Damn it, I had to take it.


For a moment, the thought of leaving the office without going on the business trip flashed through my mind, but at the same time, Hans’s face popped into my head, and I answered very bravely.


“Yes, I will.”


“Then you’ll accompany me. After the business trip to the Central Province, I will return immediately.”


"Yes!"


Whoa. I did it!


I clenched my fists behind my back again.


“We leave on Monday morning. See you then.”


"Yes, Your Highness."


When he pointed towards the open door, she bowed slightly and slipped through it.


Her footsteps across the hall were light, and the grin on her face and her bow seemed relaxed.


Looking at Tara’s back, Kyle’s smile slowly slipped off his face.


“You’re mistaken. I don't remember saying I cleared it up…”


***


The next day. Saturday.


The Drunken Dragon.


At first, I thought it would be very troublesome. However, all the information from the provinces was more than enough to satisfy my curiosity.


The pure pleasure of knowledge.


Andrei's aide, Curtison, stood by and gave an explanation.


“Today is the first day, so we’ll just sort out the facts and exclude the rumors and reports that lack evidence.”


“That means we’ll have a lot of work starting next week.”


"Yes. The purpose of the class is to learn how to identify the authenticity of information and how to use it.”


“I must have committed a great sin in my previous life, seeing as the work keeps coming.”


"Ah... You must be tired because you have to go to the Palace.”


Curtison looked at me pityingly, and I waved my hands and smiled broadly.


“Oh, no. It’s not like that at all. The work here is fun. I really like seeing information like this. Particularly, that I’m the first to see things others don’t. Hehe, I love that thrill a lot.”


"Oh, I see! As expected, you’re different.”


"Hehe. It’s kind of weird, right? Oh! This is what came up today. Look, Assistant Curtison. I think it’s going to be worth a lot of money."


“Why are you so sure it’ll be worth money?”


“They blocked the waterway. It’s also the only passage that can be taken when going to the Capital from the South. Wouldn't the families that own cargo ships naturally make money then? Well, the family that owns this cargo ship... Oh man, it's the Toulouse family."


“Does it matter that it’s a Toulouse cargo ship, disciple?”


"I don’t know. I'll have to look into it a bit more... Which family owns the most trade cargo ships by any chance?”


I put down the papers I was looking at and asked Curtison.


“The Toulouse family owns about 40 percent of cargo ships, the Philippe family owns about 30 percent, and 10 families own the other 30 percent.”


I gently stroked my chin.


“Has there ever been a case of such a traffic jam in the past?”


“Yes. The waterway was blocked last year and the year before at this time. When winter ends, the cargo ships that were stuck can easily move again. It decreases from that point.”


“You mean the volume of the cargo increases at once from the end of January to the beginning of February, right?”


“Yes, one time it was Toulouse, and another time it was the Philippe’s ship that blocked the way. Now it’s Toulouse’s ship again. It’s not unusual for accidents to happen because there’s only one boat passing by.”


“It’s almost a monopoly. There’s a high possibility they’ve colluded, taking turns blocking the route so the fare will rise. The shippers will have to cry and pay the price… What do you think?”


“…”


When I looked at him with curious eyes, he was staring at me with wide eyes.


“Why are you looking at me that way?”


“How did you know? Did you know that Chief Andrei ordered something after he received this report?"


“I think I would too. I think I would warn the trading family who requested this information in advance of this happening again. I’d recommend they turn to land transport. That way, they can minimize the damage. And use the information on time.”


“… Yes, he did. We told the family doing business with the Black Society in advance and ordered them to prepare this time, and the trading family has switched to land transportation in the middle of last month.”


"Hmm. As expected. It’s like the teacher I chose.”


With a grin, I come back with various pieces of information


Grinning, I got busy reading various information. Only when I raised my head after a while, I realized that Curtison had been staring at me with a strange expression for a long time.


"Why are you looking at me like that?"


“You are very similar to the Master, disciple..."


“Ugh. I'll pretend I didn't hear that."


I turned my head and fell back into processing all kinds of data again.


I was so focused, enjoying the feeling of becoming Prometheus.

(Prometheus is a Greek god associated with knowledge)


It was definitely information that was yet to be published in the newspapers, so it was enjoyable to read. The intel was detailed, and the source was clear.


A while after Tara left, Curtison told Andrei about the conversation he had with Tara about the cargo ship and handed over the rumors and lacking information he had heard today.


“That’s right. My eyes aren’t wrong!”


As expected, the two were alike. Both had a knack for crediting themselves.


“I’ll go the castle and see. By the way, does my disciple have any special plans?”


“Oh, next week, so, tomorrow, she’ll go on a business trip with the Second Prince for four days.”


“What? Did she say that?”

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