Tara learns something about Reese Castle, while Nick has to deal with a few issues concerning a certain mercenary captain.
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Episode 207. About 10 months (84)
Count Philip Reese alternated questioning looks between Kyle and I.
I shrugged at the Count's expression and answered Kyle.
The Count's eyes widened a little. His doubtful gaze was wordlessly asking questions.
‘What? Is this your first time together like this? Who are you?’
I had no choice but to shrug once more.
"Let's go. We have something the Countess will love, Count."
At Kyle's words, whose voice was somewhat louder than before, the Count suddenly came to his senses.
"Yes, that's right."
Following him, we ascended the stairs side by side.
While we climbed the stairs, I frowned and stared at Kyle's side profile.
Feeling my gaze, Kyle looked down at me and spoke softly.
"You look like you're going to die out of curiousity, Tara."
I leaned close to him and murmured, "I wish you told me in advance, Kyle."
"Hmm." He smiled a little strangely and whispered quieter than before.
"Remember from now on, this is where my cousin lives, Countess Reese."
I already knew that he had a cousin. However, her official documents were removed from the Palace.
There was no record of her personal information anymore.
His cousin's identity was likely only known by his closest aides.
At my surprised and tense reaction, Kyle smirked and walked ahead.
I wasn’t mistaken that his expression looked gentle in the hall.
His only blood relative.
I was getting confused again.
At the same time, a knot formed in my stomach.
Countess Diane Reese. I never thought I'd meet Kyle's family like this.
Wait, it wasn’t an introduction to the family already, was it?
[Chase castle's favourite pub - Alcohol Hell] Inside.
It had been two weeks since Cox, who claimed to be a mercenary captain, stopped visiting his usual pub and was imprisoned in his own quarters.
A reply to their letter, which had been sent to the Capital five days prior, had yet to come.
"Well, Captain. How long do I have to stay here?"
Knight Adam, from the reconnaissance team, who remained with Nick, worried everyday that his new lover in the Capital would change her mind.
"It's already been almost a month, but we don't have anything. Though I suppose it won't take as long as the last time we went undercover on the Veroto coast?"
"Eh? Veroto? That was a four month undercover mission, right? So you're saying we're going to have to stay here almost as long as in Veroto?"
Nick shrugged after taking a gulp of his drink.
"Well, I don't know, but he's an important person, so unless the mastermind moves, we won't be ordered to withdraw."
"So, just relax and hide! Aren't there many women around? If she's the kind of woman who changes her mind because the man she loves has gone undercover, there's nothing more to see! Why, isn't there such a saying? 'Everything is forgiven in the face of love.' Ooh, hehehe. I should've become a scholar rather than a knight. Sometimes my brains go to waste."
Nick, speaking cheerfully, liked his own advice so much he laughed to himself and patted Adam on the shoulder while he was bragging.
However, Adam's words stopped him.
"Yeah... You say that because you've never been with a woman before."
"Oh, no, no, whoever said that, uh, I've never been with a woman?" Nick stammered with round eyes and a devastated expression.
"It's not just me, it's a fact everyone in the Order of the Phoenix knows."
Dumbfounded, Nick slammed both his hands on the table.
"Uh-huh! That kind of guy! That's what I am, huh? It’s because I’m not a person who recklessly talks about myself! Ha! That's why everyone is saying that, because they don't know me that well!"
Nick, dissatisfied with Adam's lukewarm response, closed in on him and protested.
"I, too, have been with many women! Yeah! Naturally, there were lots of women who liked me. Unsurprisingly, they were so shy they couldn't express themselves!"
"Oh, haha, I see. Women are so... They just didn’t tell you. Oh, I need to go to the bathroom."
Adam nodded and headed straight for the bathroom.
Before he left, a sardonic expression briefly appeared on Adam's face.
‘How dare you laugh at me...!’
Nick shook his head straight away however. Adam, who respected him the most out of the three commanders, couldn't have made such a disrespectful face.
Thus, Nick hastily decided he had misread his expression.
‘Yes, my eyesight must be a bit blurry these days.’
"Oh, my God. Are women blind? There's no other man like me, vigorous, good-natured, serious, hard-working, healthy, competent, handsome, humorous..."
Nick's weak voice grew smaller and smaller, and at the end it was but a whisper.
At that moment, he heard a rattling noise and people flocked into the pub.
With a quick glance Nick determined they were the workers he often saw.
Depressed by his conversation with Adam, he swallowed the rest of his beer down in one go and ordered two more.
Adam, after he came back from the bathroom, and Nick clinked their glasses and drank all at once.
And that was where his memory ended.
How long had it been?
"Wake up! Captain Nick!"
Nick frowned at the tinnitus in his ears and slowly raised his upper body.
It felt like his head was going to split in two.
When he touched his head and lifted his heavy eyelids, he was still in the noisy pub, 'Alcohol Hell'.
There were quite a few people.
"What... is going on...?"
He didn't remember falling asleep. Next to him, Adam was also asleep.
It was hard to believe that they'd both been so drunk to the point of sleeping with their heads on the table.
He only had four beers.
It made no sense that Nick Bright, who outdrank even drunkards, was knocked out because of four glasses.
"... I'm not drunk," he whispered quietly.
"I've also been ambushed during many undercover missions."
Nick turned his head to the source of the voice.
It was Damon Harriet, a member of one of the three undercover groups who should be resting in their dorm.
The hair on the back of his neck stood up.
Nick jumped to his feet. For a moment, in his head... Everything was louder than before, and at the same time, he was dizzy and felt vomit rise.
He squeezed his eyes shut, opened them and took a deep breath.
Meanwhile, Adam fell to the floor after hitting his head on the table.
The top of his head was wet with the beer that had spilled from the glasses. The same had happened to the side of Nick's hair.
"Adam!" Nick shouted, but Adam didn't budge.
"It's alright. It looks like sleeping powder. His pulse is stable and he doesn't have a fever. The owner also had so many customers he didn't notice anything unusual. He thought you were drunk," Damon explained and supported Nick on his feet.
Damon wouldn't have found and helped undercover group 2 if he hadn't made a late-night snack trip.
"Damn, that was a poor quality sleeping powder."
"How long has it been?"
"About 20 minutes."
"I'm glad to hear that."
"Group 2 hasn't been completely discovered. I'll investigate here and catch up. Go ahead, sir. A doctor is with him, but Cox's life is on the line."
"Yes, got it.."
Since becoming Prince Kyle's knight, he'd been following his master's example and developed a resistance to poisons.
Included amongst them were other harmful substances such as sleeping powder and hypnosis powder.
Therefore, all three of Kyle's Phoenix Knights' commanders weren't easily harmed by such poisons or substances.
Even if they were, they recovered and resumed their normal physical activities quickly.
As soon as he left the bar, he ran to the temporary lodgings for the labourers in charge of repairing the walls of Chase Castle.
A total of six people, including Nick, remained in Chase to monitor Cox, and went undercover in pairs.
However, today, group 2, who had to survey the accommodations after taking over from group 1 who worked during the day, fell victim to sleep powder.
As soon as he entered Cox's dorm, he smelled the fishy scent of mold and blood.
"Ugh... Uh... Ugh..."
Someone in bed was constantly groaning.
White bandages were wrapped around Cox's thighs, stomach and neck. No, they weren't white, but blood-soaked.
Richard, a member of group 3 whose turn it actually was to rest, put pressure on Cox's neck wound and explained it to Nick.
"From the start, he's been repeating that we need to bring in the person with the highest rank."
Nick went straight to Cox's side and sat down. His eyes were puffy and his breathing was irregular and shallow. His whole body was spasming. It seemed like he was on the verge of death.
Nick lowered his body and whispered in Cox's ear.
"Hey, I have the highest position here. Nick Bright, first Captain of the Order of the Phoenix. If you tell me, I can immediately report to His Highness and launch an investigation. Now. Tell me. Who did this?"
Cox's eyelids, which had been twitching at Nick's words, opened with difficulty and he looked at him.
"Ugh... Uh... An eyepatch..."
Everyone in the room held their breath at Cox's words.
"No? What's wrong?"
Cox trembled and clenched his teeth.
"Man… K…ill ... Uh... An eye... patch."
"You can't see?"
Bewildered, Nick lifted his eyebrows and glanced at Richard and the doctor next to him, and Richard shook his head.
"That's not it. I think he's referring to the eyepatch."
"Ah. The eyepatch! Okay. Yes, what's with the eyepatch?"
Cox opened his eyes, gathering his last strength to answer Nick's question. He looked directly at him and threw his final words out.
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