Kyle and Tara continue their conversation, and Tara has some thinking to do.
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Episode 188. About 10 months (65)
“Don’t tell me you’re interested in me…!”
Surprised, he laughed.
"You're being too blunt now. Or do you enjoy the fact that my heart is yours?"
"No, not so much… I just said what I thought."
“I haven’t even given you so much attention that I can’t tell the difference between public and private.”
Again, it was getting hot!
If there was a competition for talking out of the blue in a really normal situation, this guy would be the winner.
I looked down, playing with my slippers for no reason.
“I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t picked you in the first place. Since I’ve decided to keep you next to me as a subordinate, it’s my role to develop your skills so you can grow. That way, you can help me with my work more efficiently.”
Is it because he’s my boss?
"Then, do your best.”
I bowed deeply.
“Yes, I’ll try to be a great aide who can gain a lot of enlightenment through your teachings.”
"Yes, of course."
Instead of turning around to leave, he looked at me again as if he wanted to continue talking.
“So, ah… that’s why being the Second Prince’s Aide is different. It will allow me to be quickly promoted to 1st Aide…!”
He raised his hand while frowning as I was talking.
"You flatter me every now and then. Are you doing this on purpose?"
“It's not flattery. It's my sincerity and my promise!”
“Well, it sounds like a request from an aide to me.”
"Hahaha. No way. It's just my loyalty to Your Highness…!”
My words were cut off as he turned around.
"Ah. Yes, good night, Your Highness."
He used to look at me with such dark eyes. Yes! More than I thought would be the case… Now he’s too businesslike, so I don’t know how to find the right rhythm.
I quietly closed the door and turned on the light. In the mirror, my face was red.
I wouldn’t be blushing if I moved on quickly.
"Oh, come on!"
I patted my cheeks and sat on the bed.
Meanwhile, as Tara's door clicked shut, Kyle stopped on the spot.
Then he opened his clenched fist and looked down at his red palm.
"… Are you sure you haven’t changed your mind yet?”
He asked himself the question, but he already knew the answer.
[“So, ah… that’s why being the Second Prince’s Aide is different. It will allow me to be quickly promoted to 1st Aide…!”
"Even though the intentions are obvious...”
Leaving the sentence unfinished, he smiled and opened the door to his room.
I was completely awake and going through my thoughts slowly.
“It’s not like you’re flirting and dating right now. What if things change… Stop! First of all, you just need to get promoted and stop the assassination of the 2nd Prince that our family will be involved in 9 months’ time! After that, I’ll think about whether we should flirt with each other…”
When I spoke these thoughts out loud, I felt their significance even more.
"Yeah, in the midst of extinction…”
I tried to deny it, but I still felt that my feelings for him had changed plenty in comparison to a few days ago.
"Oh, I don't know. One by one… Let's do it one by one."
Before examining the documents, I took out the notepad I had put in my luggage.
[2. Chapters after the Hunting Contest.
<The Ocerian Chronicles> Chapter 4, part 2 [Scandal that swept the social world] ☆☆☆ Date unknown.
<The Ocerian Chronicles> Chapter 4, part 3 [Black Map in the Imperial Palace Warehouse] ☆☆ - I can’t remember.
<The Ocerian Chronicles> Chapter 4, part 4 [Conspiracy to usurp the throne] ☆☆☆☆☆ Approximately nine months left. (Or maybe even faster.)]
"The Central Axis project can’t be linked to the scandal that swept the social world… This business trip to the Central Province isn’t described in The Ocerian Chronicles. This is simply related to the 2nd Prince’s work…”
I closed the notepad again and stuck it deep in my luggage. Then, with narrowed eyes, I started looking at the documents spread out on the bed.
"Hmm… I've already seen all of this.”
Before leaving for the Central Province, I had carefully examined the documents related to the Central Axis project. However, I was puzzled because the documents I was looking at had no new information.
"Did I miss something?"
Let’s take a closer look at each page.
I started. How long has it been? The documents were clean, and the only thing that stood out was the Central Axis project’s speed.
“If you asked me to look at the documents and find something strange… Obviously there’s something wrong with the documents… Is there any corruption? Is this not for inspection purposes, but to catch corruption?”
I looked at the documents more carefully, but they were no different from before.
“Ha… Tomorrow morning, I’ll first check that the construction progress is consistent with the paperwork, and then I’ll have to meet Baron Charles, who’s in charge of the project. Yes. There’s no way I’d figure it out on the first try… Gee.”
It was only after I had made up my mind that I was finally able to fall asleep.
The next day in the capital city.
Victor, a member of the Black Society's High-Risk Information Gathering Syndicate, who worked as a servant in the main facility management department, had been monitoring the entrance of a building for a long time.
"I got in an hour ago, so…”
People exited the building as if they had heard Victor. Among them was Aria Elias.
There were about 10 aristocrats exiting in a friendly atmosphere. While counting the number of people one by one, a peculiar thing occurred, and Victor recorded it in his notebook.
"Hmm… There are two more first-timers. Come to think of it, the number of members is increasing every week. Which carriage did you take…?”
Whispering to himself, Victor wrote down the names of those who attended the meeting with Aria Elias.
“The number of ‘The Spiritual Awakening Club’ that Logan Elias attends is increasing, and the ‘Meeting of Nobles Recording History’ that Aria Elias attends is also increasing in number?”
Surprised by the voice he heard coming from right next to him, Victor leaned back and turned around.
"Come on. What’s the surprise between us?”
It was Toby that tapped Victor’s shoulder and smiled, a member of the 2nd Imperial Palace Undercover Squad, who was hiding in the Elias family as a gardener.
“You're the only one in charge of Lady Tara, aren't you? So why are you doing this here when you’re off-duty?”
Toby shrugged at Victor’s annoyed words.
“How should I go about this? And I didn’t intend on doing this today. But I saw something very fun.”
Victor asked with wide eyes, and Toby spread his palm out and extended his hand.
"It’s not for free?"
"Well, between us, it's all mutual aid. Don't you think so?"
Clasping Toby's palm, Victor smiled with difficulty, as if he was annoyed. Looking at Victor, Toby spoke with a pout.
"You owe me. Next time I need you, you know?"
"Of course, of course! In this industry, all of us help each other out knowingly. Now, what the hell is that fun thing?"
Toby, whose eyes changed instantly at Victor’s question, whispered in a very low voice.
"Victoria Elias just came out of [Donnie's Gambling House] a little while ago.”
"Where is it?"
Toby, closing Victor’s dropped jaw with both hands, continued.
“It's a place that's notorious for being dirty even in Rekton Street. So, find out more and let me know what's going on.”
"If it's information I can hand over, I will."
“Huh? I gave you the sauce...”
However, before Toby's words were finished, Victor rushed to the back of the building. Looking at Victor’s back, Toby thought for a moment.
“Hmm… They told me to report only about the young Tara Elias, so I don’t have to report this… Hmm. What should I do?”
Toby pondered for a while and remembered the 5th rule of infiltration.
[Section 5 of the infiltration rules. It’s up to the decision maker to judge whether information is necessary or not. Infiltrators only need to comprehensively judge the relevance and importance of the information and report it.]
"I don't know if it's relevant, but it's a serious matter for a lady to be going in and out of such a place. Then I have to report it."
Toby made up his mind and immediately left the place.
The same day at noon.
In the Elias mansion’s conference room, the vassals, as well as Logan, Chloe, Aria, Dylan, and Lloyd sat down at their desks
“Rumors about the Second Prince are spreading in small towns along the southern coast. Currently, there’s no particular movement on the 2nd Prince’s side. Therefore, it seems that they’ve not yet grasped these rumors.”
"What kind of rumors made you gather us so quickly?"
Logan, who hadn’t been able to change his work clothes from the Ministry of Security, asked with a quizzical look.
Lloyd nodded to Dylan, who handed out papers with the rumors written on them.
The eyes of the people who read it grew in amazement and surprise, and soon, they frowned.
"The surviving illegitimate child eventually becomes a tyrant and takes away the peace of the empire. Why are all these rumors... What should I do with this? Your Excellency?" One of the vassals asked in surprise.
"That's why I asked you to come here in such a hurry."
“Do we not have to listen to Tara's opinion?”
For Chloe, it was unclear exactly how this meeting would affect the race for the headship, but she thought competition should always be fair so, she spoke up about Tara’s absence.
"I was going to wait until yesterday, but then decided it was too urgent to keep this information until she came back from her business trip."
"Hmm, I definitely think it’s an urgent situation. By the way, is the source of the information reliable?" Chloe asked, as expected.
“It's from the Black Society.”
In response to Lloyd's answer, people in the conference room nodded without question. The intelligence organization with the highest accuracy in the Empire was the Black Society.
Nevertheless, the content of the rumor was so shocking that the truth of the information was questioned. If this rumor spread throughout the Empire, the impact would be terrifying.