(Image to be updated)
(Diane in the manhwa looks so different!)
Nick investigates what happened to Cox while Kyle and Tara greet Countess Diane Reese.
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Episode 208. About 10 months (85)
"B… Bl… ack… eye… pa… patch. Sa… Save… the… them… Bla… ck… Cr… Cro... own...”
"Black eyepatch. Save them, Black Crown?"
And then, Cox died.
“Why sleeping powder, and not poison?” Nick asked Richard, as they stared at the corpse in disbelief.
“That’s what I want to know.”
"Had it been poison, they could’ve easily killed us. Why bother with sleeping powder?"
Richard tilted his head as if he didn't understand Nick's question. It also seemed to make sense to the doctor standing next to them, who was still organizing his thoughts.
"Not only that, Sir. Take a look at this wound."
Richard removed all three of Cox's bandages. The doctor, quick to act, sprayed the area with water to make the wound more visible.
"His wounds are very sloppy. Why do it like this... It would take longer to kill someone this way, so why did they choose to do it? Moreover, if it was a surprise attack it would’ve been more efficient to aim for vital points to save as much time as possible. Why?"
The wounds were definitely messy. Furthermore, he had been cut several times.
"If I had to guess which wound was fatal, it would likely be the one on his stomach. However, it’s not deep enough. The other wounds on his neck and thighs are also shallow and wide. It's as if…"
“They must have intentionally tried to make him bleed to death.”
"Yes, Sir. That way he would live longer than he would if he was fatally wounded. He was likely injured but alive for about 30 more minutes prior to us finding him."
“Perhaps they wanted him to die painfully?”
At Richard's question, Nick grimaced seriously before responding.
"Well. Either they wanted him to die painfully, or they wanted someone to watch him die. It could be either of those possibilities."
The doctor, who was still there quietly assessing the situation, agreed with Nick's words.
“It seems like they wanted someone to find him and hear his last words.”
"Good god. That must be why they went through so much trouble to kill him. The murderer cared about how the victim died," Richard said, sucking in a breath.
"We aren't sure."
The doctor shrugged in response to Nick’s words. Then he settled the details of the medical expenses, packed his equipment, and left.
"A black eyepatch and a black crown. Since those were his final words they must have something to do with the murderer, right?" Richard asked.
"I suppose so. We'll have to notify His Highness immediately."
Everyone nodded at Nick's words.
“Are you sure we should report this to His Highness?”
"We should. The situation is serious, so I'll have to leave tonight. You need to collect Cox's body as soon as Adam and Undercover Group 3 wake up. Look for clues as to who dosed us with the sleeping powder. Report to the Capital as soon as you find out."
The incident was strange. It was the kind of situation he needed help figuring out.
He had to report the incident to the Lord as soon as possible.
The matter was so urgent Nick rode straight to the Capital without pause.
The stairway up through Reese Castle was quite long.
The Count, who had led us into the inner chambers, signaled to us to head in first. Kyle and I entered the third-floor chambers of the Countess.
The living room was decorated in a cute and cozy style. Before I even had a chance to look around the drawing room, my gaze was wrenched towards the sound of a high-pitched squeal.
"Oh my gosh! Kyyyyyle!"
The source of the excited shriek was a broadly smiling woman. She approached, her hands gently resting atop her belly.
Her loosely braided chestnut hair made her heart-shaped face appear all the more charming, and her diamond-studded headband accentuated her round forehead, which further enhanced her loveliness.
She squealed again, fixing her round and joyous chestnut-colored eyes on Kyle.
This was Countess Diane Reese, the Lady of Reese Castle, and Kyle's cousin, who I had only heard about in passing before.
She was clearly pregnant–oh, God. She was approaching us at a fast pace, almost running.
"Darling, be careful!"
Kyle quickly walked towards her with long strides and grabbed her by the biceps to stop her from moving any further.
At the same time, I heard Count Philip sigh in relief next to me.
I also felt a swell of relief wash over me.
Carefully, I put my hands on the doorframe in front of me and peered inside.
In the center of the drawing room, Kyle and Countess Diane stood opposite one another, and about four steps behind the Countess stood a young woman with a flushed face.
She looked to be about my age.
Who was that?
Was she overheating? Why was she so red?
Weren’t the only people allowed in this drawing room those who already knew Kyle's true identity?
Which meant she knew who Kyle was...
From what I learned coming up here, all of the servants were prohibited from entering these private quarters. So she couldn't be a maid.
No, her manner of dress and her upright posture strongly indicated she was a noblewoman.
Was she a sibling of Count Philip Reese? Did he have a younger sister?
Because Reese Castle hadn't been on the main itinerary I didn't gather information on House Reese, so I didn’t bother memorizing the family tree.
I soon got lost in reflection. I kept sneaking glances at the young woman and wondering about her identity.
"You'll hurt yourself. Don't get so close!"
Kyle's sudden firm voice swiftly pulled my attention. And I was momentarily puzzled by the unexpected situation before me.
Ah. This side of him...
Kyle, frowning heavily, was trying to halt the Countess with a soft but determined voice.
Whether Kyle wanted it or not, the Countess grinned broadly, opened her arms, and tried to nestle into his chest.
"Worrywart. It's okay! I’m as healthy as can be for a future mother. Come here, give me a hug. I missed you."
Countess Diane's smiling eyes were tearful.
"It used to just be the two of us, alone in the world..."
Countess Diane wept, unable to finish the end of her sentence.
"Don't be so dramatic."
As he said that, Kyle held his cousin very gently with a disgruntled expression on his face.
"Ugh… You're way too perceptive!"
They hugged awkwardly for a moment and then released one another.
The Countess was making fun of the 2nd Prince... This was new!
Countess Diane Reese was petite and gave off the impression of being delicate and adorable.
Her voice was high-pitched enough that some people may have found it annoying, however, her accent was soft, pleasant, and had a musical quality to it.
Count Philip's eyes were full of loving affection as he looked at her from the sidelines.
Prince Kyle, who was always indifferent to others, spoke to her in a voice filled with concern.
"Are you in pain?"
“My back is stiff and I keep wanting to go to the bathroom. And I'm not eating well. I'm having a hard time, Kyle."
Seeing him called by name with such affection. This situation was both strange and fascinating.
"Didn't you say that you were perfectly healthy earlier?"
"Oh. You exhaust me sometimes. Can't you let me get away with anything?"
She startled as the Count suddenly walked up behind her.
“You didn’t say anything about that earlier, darling. Are you really struggling that much?”
Count Philip's voice was full of concern.
"Whoa. No need, Philip. Since my beloved younger cousin is here I just wanted to complain to him for no reason for a little while."
“The doctor said that if you feel sick, you don't need to put up with it, darling. So…”
Countess Diane was only half-listening to Count Philip's concerns. She reached out to grab Kyle's hand.
"Kyle, touch here. The baby has been moving a lot recently."
"It's alright! I don't want you to get hurt."
Diane took Kyle's hand and tried to tug it to her belly, but their hands halted midair.
Likely because Kyle had suddenly put strength into his arm.
Then, in spite of Kyle's obvious reluctance, Diane added one more hand and tried to pull him closer, tugging at his wrists with both hands. But he didn't budge.
This woman was awesome.
My gaze shifted back to Kyle, I didn't want to miss a single detail of this. This was a side of him I’d never seen before.
The young woman standing behind Diane seemed to be thinking the same thing as me.
She was staring at Kyle and Diane, or more accurately, at Kyle, without ever taking her eyes off of them.
Hmm... This, this situation. Hmm, there was something a bit odd about this, wasn't there?
"Ugh... Damn. You and your stubbornness. Alright, I won't make you do it. Anyway, Kyle, aren't you curious about what we're going to name the baby?"
"Like the leopard."
"Yes... That will be a good name."
There was some strange emotional undercurrent to the way they both spoke about it.
What did that mean? Did they mean they wanted the child to grow up to be agile and brave like a leopard?
However, no one else asked about the name, as if everyone knew the meaning except me.
I'd have to ask later.
"Next time you send a letter, include more detail. It just said you'd be late, so I didn't know how late you would be or why, I was so worried! You're only going to stay for a short time. It's been almost eight months since I last saw you."
Diane had been grumbling at him with her eyes narrowed. However, at his words, worry immediately filled her gaze as if she feared the worst.
"Was it bad?"
"No. It was work related."
Only then did she sit comfortably on the sofa.
"Phew... That's a relief. I thought you would be quite late, but I'm glad you arrived before dinner. I thought it'd be better to introduce you before you meet this evening."
"What... are you talking about?”
Just from listening to Kyle's voice I knew his eyebrows must be furrowed.
“Kyle, you don’t know how much I’ve been looking forward to letting you meet face to face, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this moment. This is something I really, really, really care about and cherish… Huh?”
But Diane's words faltered halfway through.
In response to Diane's reaction, Count Philip rushed to her side and supported her arm.
"What is it, is something wrong, darling?"
"No, no. Nothing's wrong. Kyle, who is this?"
Countess Diane Reese looked at me and her eyes widened.
Then Kyle pulled out a chair from the table next to him and looked at me.
"This is my aide.”
I swore I detected a hint of laughter in his voice, but his expression was blank and cold. However, in contrast, his eyes were so full of sincerity I couldn't help but feel embarrassed.
Why was he looking at me so earnestly?
For a moment I stood there stunned by that look in his eyes, then quickly inclined my head slightly and bowed to the Countess, greeting her using my noble manners.
"Hello. I am Tara Elias, the Second Aide directly under His Highness the Second Prince.”
"Oh. Hello, I am Countess Diane Reese."
Diane immediately turned to Kyle, as if asking for an explanation. I also fixed the Second Prince with the full weight of my stare.
Come on, Kyle. One corner of his mouth rose, then he spoke with somewhat meaningful emphasis.
“She's the only aide working for my Palace. We'll be together for the foreseeable future, and will probably be seeing a lot of one another.”
Damn him. What kind of weird explanation was that?
Editor’s Notes -
No big translation notes to add. But Kyle and Diane have such genuine sibling energy here and the underlying awkwardness of this scene is palpable. I can't wait to see this part in the manhwa, LOL.
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