Updated: Dec 26, 2022
(Image to be updated)
Kyle and Walter proceed with the inspection, Beth carries out a secret mission and Tara comes to a realization.
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Episode 190. About 10 months (67)
Walter had just met with Baron Charles Berg.
"He asked for more time to think. And he asked for a stand-alone meeting."
"Cautious… I see. I'll see him tomorrow evening."
"Yes. Your Hi.... I mean, Sir. Then, immediately after checking the condition of the well, I will send a message to the Baron’s mansion.”
Nodding his head, Kyle began leading his horse slowly along the wall.
Walter was behind him, while Mark, Edman, and the inspectors followed at a moderate distance so as not to interfere with their conversation.
"What about the 2nd Administrator?"
"Not long ago, she met with the architect and the staff manager, asked some questions, and then left for the Baron's mansion."
"Do you think the 2nd Administrator will find out, Sir?"
“Do you think she will find out?”
Kyle asked in return.
“She may find discrepancies by looking at the documents, but I think it may be difficult for her to figure out what you are thinking. Even if she does eventually find out, it will take quite some time.”
The corners of Kyle's mouth pulled up.
“Do you think she will find out… Sir?" Walter asked, tilting his head.
The more casual form of address was so foreign to him that his inflection sounded odd.
"Yes, I think so. Perhaps, if she finds something unusual about the documents and meets with him she will figure out more than half of it, if not all of it. Maybe she'll come visit me this evening. It could be even faster."
Walter was genuinely surprised by his answer.
“That quickly? I never imagined…"
“At the Winter Forest Hunting Contest, on the day of the first banquet, the 2nd Administrator fell asleep while waiting in my temporary quarters. Do you remember?”
“Yes, Your Highness. The banquet that day lasted longer than expected, so I understand that the Second Administrator waited a long time.”
"Yes, she came to me earlier than I expected. So maybe it will be faster today. In addition, when the Baron meets with the Second Administrator, it will help him make his own decision."
His Master smiled as if he was in a good mood. He seemed to truly believe in the skills of the Second Aide, and spoke about it with natural certainty.
Walter mentally raised his initial assessment of the Second Aide.
“The Baron's decision? How could the Second Aide have any influence…?” Walter asked.
However, his Master mounted his horse and focused on the inspection again without further comment.
Walter's curiosity peaked.
‘No, how could the Second Aide possibly find out so quickly? Why would the Second Aide visiting help the Baron make his decision?’
There were so many things he still wanted to ask, but his Master pointedly pulled on his horse’s reins as if to indicate he would not tolerate further questions.
Kyle summoned one of the inspection attendees and began to ask questions about the construction status of the fortress walls.
It was a firm and implicit order to return to work.
‘He's actually already answered my questions many times…’
Walter forced himself to choke down the questions that he still itched to ask. He wanted to know, at least, how she had managed to get to His Highness sooner than expected on that first evening of the Hunting Contest.
‘Yes. I'll have to ask this question later, especially since the Second Aide is the one who can give me the best answer.'
After determining his course of action, Walter turned his horse towards the next inspection destination. It was a newly constructed well in the town of Preston, which was located in the middle of the Central Castle's complex. It was one of the places the Prince was scheduled to inspect later today.
At the same time, Elias Mansion, Hallway.
"Mistress Isabelle! Mistress Isabelle!"
She looked back towards the urgent voice. It appeared to be Tara's maid, Beth, who jumped down the stairs in a hurry.
"Oh my! Be careful!"
Isabelle turned her body completely towards Beth and waited for her to arrive in front of her.
She smiled at the thought that she was the Master in this situation and not the maid.
"Hah… Hah… Excuse me, Mistress Isabelle. May I come with you?"
“Do you know where I am going?”
"Aren't you going to the Elias owned jeweller, [Tiffany’s, The Imperial Palace's Favourite Jeweller]?"*
"Oh my! Only the Count knew I was going there! Did you ask the Count?”
Isabelle asked, her eyes slightly widening.
Beth shook her hands wildly and laughed.
“Oh. no. That's not it. I would never dare take up the Count's time like that. Of course, we play cards from time to time, however, we are all busy, and haven't seen each other these days."
Beth had built a covert reputation as a gambler within the Elias household. She was sometimes called,"The Wandering Eyed Maid of House Elias," because whenever she got her hand, she would close one eye tightly and slowly peek at the cards.
As if proud of her dubious moniker, she puffed out her chest proudly.
"Haha, I heard you were robbing the Count's pocketbook! The Count grumbles about you and Bernard every time he hits the cards. Hahaha."
"Oh, do you want me to let him win?"
At Beth's question, Isabelle stretched out her index finger and waved it in front of her.
"Well, that's why he likes it. The other vassals always lose to him on purpose, and he claims that isn't any fun. He says playing with you and Bernard is more exciting."
"Me too. I enjoy it too, Mistress Isabelle!"
Being favoured enough to play cards with the Earl, the Head of the Elias family, was a point of significant pride for Beth.**
“So, don’t be too discouraged. Haha. By the way, how on earth do you know I'm going to Tiffany's?"
"Oh, I was on my way to check on Tara's new horse, 'Cheese,' and I overheard the coachman talking to his co-worker as they were preparing the carriage."
"Yes. I wanted to go to town. Then I learned the dam burst and the bridge on the way there had collapsed."
"Ah, yes… It must have overflowed due to the rain a few days ago. That's how you knew. Why do you wish to go anyway?"
At first, she was just going to hire a carriage. The Miss even gave her extra money for it. However, the hired carriages did not usually come close enough to the Elias mansion.
In the end, instead of waiting for the hired carriage, she decided to ask to ride with Mistress Isabelle.
Of course, she was a little worried about accompanying the Mistress, however, she was Miss Tara's dedicated maid and that provided the necessary motivation.
It was obvious Miss Tara believed that Beth was more than capable of handling this on her own.
Beth paused a little, but soon smiled brightly.
“The other day, Miss Tara told me about the earrings Mistress Isabelle gifted to her, and spoke of how pretty they were."
"Oh, I see."
"Yes. However, I was wondering if I could find a brooch that would go well with the clothes that the designer Givenchy is providing for Miss Tara's birthday. It would ease the Miss's worries. I can't give Miss Tara a present myself, but I was wondering if I could help you choose one that suits her. That way I may also assist the busy Mistress Isabelle. Hehe."***
Isabelle clasped her hands to her chest as she listened to Beth's explanation. Her eyes sparkled and she grabbed Beth's hands once she had finished speaking.
"Oh, my! It warms my heart to see such a responsible maid who cares so much for her Master! Tara is very lucky. Alright! Let's go together and pick one out! I was still deciding what to buy for her, but perhaps I should go buy some brooches as well!”
"Oh, well, the brooch for the Miss…"
"No, no, no. I know all that, but how can a mother be expected to stay still? Come on, let's go!"
Following Isabelle, who was leading the way, Beth bit her lip slightly.
'If she knew I made up the brooch as an excuse… She would be upset…'
Nevertheless, Beth reasoned that it couldn't be helped. This was the only way she could fulfill the request the Miss made before leaving on the business trip.
[Beth, I haven't seen one of the earrings my mother gave me since the Hunting Contest. It's the first gift my mother has given me and was specially made with my birthstone, so she'll be very upset if she finds out that I lost it.]
[Huh? How? You always wear them because they were a present. Come to think of it, I haven't seen you wear them since the middle of the Hunting Contest. What should we do, Miss?]
[I managed to locate the jeweller who made them.]
Beth clapped her hands together.
[Ah! Will you try to buy a replacement?]
[Yes. I found out they were made by Tiffany's, one of our jewellery store lines. It took me a while to find it because there were a lot of jewellery stores, and my mom didn't write her name on the production request, so it took a long time to identify the designer. I finally found out today.]
[What can I do?]
[Oh. As expected, Beth! I knew you would help out!]
[As your dedicated maid, I must do at least this much. What… What was it? What the Miss told me last time? In another country there were schools called, 'Seodam'? 'Seodan'?]
[Yes. That's it! You said that after attending a 'Seodang' once a month for 3 years, anyone can learn about fashion. What sort of country uses that kind of proverb? Anyway, it's already been 10 months since I've been with the Miss, so of course I can do something like this. Now, what must I do?]*****
[Ah, that is reassuring. Alright. I will leave the earrings to you. I'll give you this remaining one, so go and request they make an identical one. I sent a message to the jeweller about it in advance. Can you do it without my mother finding out? If I wasn't going on a business trip tomorrow I would go myself…]
[Miss, please leave it to me!]
When Beth turned around, excited to execute her special mission, her Master called her name once more. And casually threw out some unexpected words.
[Oh. By the way, next to Tiffany's, there's a boutique shop, Givenchy. The 3rd floor is the designer's studio, go there and visit them.]
[What? Why do you want me to visit there, Miss?]
[Remember how I encouraged you to practice dressmaking? I spoke to the designer. He told me you should bring the dress you designed with you. He will take a look at it. He told me you could choose whatever fabric you are most confident using since it doesn't matter. What do you think? Do you want to try?]
Beth stood there blankly and stuttered. Then she belatedly came to her senses and asked.
[He's going to look at my work? The dress I made?]
[Yes, this is part of a mentoring system. I think it's a great opportunity for you. I hope you don't miss out on it.]
Beth was silent, in such a daze she was unable to speak. Then she nodded so enthusiastically that her head threatened to fall off.
Her face grew hot, and her eyes filled with tears. Tara hugged her gently and whispered.
[There is no reason to give up on your dreams just because of your circumstances. Sometimes, nothing is stronger than the human spirit. Ah, that sounds kind of cool! Hehe!]
[Uwaaa… Yes, Miss. You are so cool!]
Beth gave two thumbs up and wept.
Preston, a small town in the Central Castle's complex.
With Paul accompanying me, I entered Preston, the small town adjacent to Central Castle.
Baron Charles Berg was the Lord of Preston, since the town belonged to the Berg family estate, and also the general manager of the Central Axis construction project.
I was on my way to meet with him now.
Even though it was only 3 p.m., the streets were shadowed by dark clouds.
As soon as I had woken up this morning, I started looking through the documents again. After about two hours of searching, it finally dawned on me.
"You manipulated them!"
* I am convinced Munirang is referencing the famous Tiffany's jewellers with this name 테파니 ‘Tepani’.
** For those confused about Lloyd’s title switching between Earl and Count, they are analogous noble titles. ‘Earl’ is the English title, while Count or Comte is the equivalent noble title elsewhere in Europe. The author uses both interchangeably. The wife of an Earl is always called a Countess.
*** Munirang is dropping modern fashion references everywhere! The designer's name '지방시' 'Jabangsi' is the Korean way of spelling 'Givenchy', as in the French designer!
**** 'Seodang' 서다앙 were rural private schools established in Korea during the Goryeo (10th-14th c.) and Joseon (14th-20th c.) dynasties in Korea and eventually evolved into modern private schools - Now Seodang is a culturally specific term for 'private school' and is still used in some sayings and idioms - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seodang.
***** I believe this is a variation on the Korean proverb, “After three years at a Seodang, even a dog can recite a poem”, which basically means that anyone can learn if taught properly. Similar to the English saying ‘Practice makes perfect’.