Chapter 222


Diane reflects on the night's events and Kyle and Tara decide to attend the festival.


This chapter is dedicated to Wimaya, thank you for your donation!


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Episode 222. About 10 months (99)


Kyle's mouth hardened as he let the maids out of the lounge and approached Diane.


Seeing his unusual expression, Diane intuitively knew that something was wrong.


[What? Did the doctor not treat you properly?]


In fact, she couldn't figure out why he had requested a doctor to come treat him in the first place.


She'd just sent him to Kyle's room after receiving his urgent request.


[No. He was helpful. We need to talk about something.]


Kyle paused, and asked about her physical condition first. Then he warned her that the story he was about to tell her was quite shocking, and that she would need to prepare herself mentally in advance.


Diane took a deep breath and nodded, and Kyle proceeded to tell the story as calmly and gently as possible.


However, despite Kyle's warning, the content was so startling that Diane had no choice but to catch her breath in surprise.


Kyle waited a moment for her to settle down.


[Whew… It's okay, Kyle. Tell me everything. As the mistress of Reese Castle, I need to know all of it.]


Kyle carefully explained all of the day's events, and then calmly confessed his feelings for the 2nd Aide.


[... Oh my god.]


She was surprised. She sensed that it hadn’t been just simple affection.


[Tara, she is the only woman that I want to be with right now. And maybe, if I achieve my goals, she'll be the one standing next to me in the future.]


Diane blinked at Kyle's words for a long while, and then finally managed to open her mouth.


[Kyle… I had no idea you already cared for someone this much. I never suspected that's what she meant to you… I–I never imagined.]


He nodded briefly.


[It hasn't been long since she accepted my feelings.]


Diane's mouth opened again, but she didn't know what to ask first. In the end, she stuttered the words out.


[You–You were the one who insisted?]


[I confessed many times, but it could be said I was soundly rejected. I'm convinced, but she's still confused. And I can't tell her yet because she's still thinking it through and wanted to keep it a secret. Of course, I didn't like the idea.]


[What?]


She had missed the last part of that statement. But he only frowned slightly and moved on to the next part.


[If this hadn't happened, I would've probably introduced her to you next year.]


[Oh my... I see. I understand, Kyle. That it was the Aide who wanted to do it this way. I was a little suspicious because of the way you looked at dinner, but I didn't expect it to be this serious. Now that I think about it, the men in the banquet hall were watching the Aide quite a bit.]


[… So my eyes didn’t deceive me.]


Kyle's voice was very low.


She decided not to ask. Instead she voiced the impression she had gotten from the Second Aide.


[The conversation we had while dressing before the banquet was very pleasant. I thought she was a very attractive young lady. I had no idea any of this was happening... I made a big mistake. I feel so bad for Angela and the Aide, what should I do?]


[Now I have to fix it.]


[I'm sorry for not telling you in advance, Kyle. Please tell her that I'm really sorry and that I would love to meet her officially when she feels comfortable.]


While Diane apologized, looking at the floor, Kyle placed his hand on top of hers. She made eye contact and Kyle shook his head.


[I'm not angry at you. I'm just mad at myself for not being able to dispose of that trash quickly enough.]


[But I'm sorry regardless. I never considered you might have a lover. I just wanted to help you.]


[Introducing the Bensons may seem like a good move at first glance, but it's a move that could come back to bite me.]


[H–How?]


Kyle explained to the embarrassed Diane in detail.


[Powerful families want a fair price for their efforts. But what will they do if they don't get what they are expecting from me?]


[Do… Do you need to look for a different solution?]


[Yes. I'll use my status to find another way. They might try to control my sphere of influence if I allowed them to lend their strength to me. Why do you think I turned down so many noble families who offered me alliances despite knowing the Aristocratic faction opposes me? It's because I want to avoid being swayed by their power.]


[Oh no... I appear to have only seen one issue and not the other. You seemed so lonely in the Palace. I just thought it would be nice if you could have a good woman and a nice family beside you...]


Kyle shook his head at that.


[Well, in the Palace, I'd rather be lonely. That’s where powerful people hide in the shadows and direct their covetous gazes. They are willing to use good people like you, cousin, as tools for evil ends. The moment the Bensons threw their power behind me, they would've reached out from all sides to take advantage.]


[I hadn't even thought about that. I am clearly blind when it comes to matters involving my own flesh and blood. I'll make sure Angela understands.]


Kyle stood up and said.


[Alright. If the Benson family wants to know the outcome of this meeting...]


‘It was in vain.' Diane took a deep breath and sighed.


[What are you going to do, Kyle?]


[I'll have to meet Count Benson in person.]


[Oh no. I made a big mistake. I'm sure you have a lot to worry about. I thought I cared about you, not just marriage for the sake of it...]


Kyle hugged Diane, who had started sniffling. And whispered very quietly.


[Don't cry. My nephew might resent me. And I know my cousin's heart. The Crown Princess Selection aside, you only need to worry when I actually get married.]


"Are you alright, Darling?"


It was Philip's voice, filled with concern, that woke Diane up from her long contemplation.


"Ah... It's alright. Philip, for the sake of Kyle's future, I'm not going behind his back again."


"Okay. But I'm not happy seeing you worrying about this either. We should both just relax and pray for his future."


“I feel so sorry for both the Aide and Angela, Philip.”


"What can we do? All we can do is punish that man and explain the truth to Angela. And your apology should be enough. Angela is well aware of your position, and she's a good-natured child, so she will understand."


"Haha. I guess I was too hasty. I'm so sorry and upset for Kyle, Angela, and the Aide."


Philip repeatedly swept Diane's back.


"Sometimes the situation just doesn't fit, Darling. So cheer up. I heard your cousin entrusted you with the arrangements for his future wedding? So what will happen to the Princess Selection?”


"I don't know. I'll have to ask him for more details tomorrow. I want it to happen soon, but everyone has their reasons. If I get ready, I can plan it slowly. Of course, after I discuss some things with the bailiff. It's been a hard day, but I'm so happy to know that Kyle has a good person in his life, Philip. I really thought no one could defeat our Kyle."


Diane, who had been gloomy just a few minutes ago, regained her smile after talking about Kyle getting married.


"Do you think Aide Elias can beat Kyle?"


“I'm not sure, but I think our Kyle has met a formidable adversary. I've never heard Kyle describe any person, let alone a woman, that way. You should have seen him. I can't believe it. Of course, I feel very, very sorry for Angela. So, I'll do my best to apologize.”


"Haha. So that's what Aide Elias is capable of. I still have a hard time believing she'll be able to defeat that cold, upright cousin of yours, Darling."


"Fufu. I don't know. We'll have to wait and see."


***


Kyle's quarters in Reese Castle.


Her lips were so soft. His heart felt close to bursting. Her hands were on his chest, his heart pounded and he felt out of breath. She pulled her lips from his, and gazed up at him with her big eyes.


"Uh... Are you going to do this all the time now?"


"You don't like it?"


"Oh... No. It's not that I don't like it. It's just, you're not going to keep doing this until we get outside, are you?”


"... I'll try not to."


But still, he held her in his arms without moving. She pushed at his chest hard with both her hands.


"Ha... Are we really not going outside? In that case I'll just go back to sleep," she said.


"Let's go. It's hard for me to stay here any longer."


It felt like he had to strain his whole body to the point where sweat dripped down his back. That was how hard it felt to let her out of his arms.


Kyle led Tara out to the square of Reese Castle.


No eyes followed them as they walked past, covered in their cloaks. The square was full of people dressed exactly like them.


“So Kyle, why a leopard?”


"A leopard?"


"Yes, your nephew's birth name."


"Ah, that. The leopard is a symbol of my maternal family."


"So, Kyle, does that mean you're a leopard, as well?"


He nodded and smiled brightly.


"It suits you well."


Pop!


Her gaze, which had stayed on him for a while, was pulled back towards the sky. The absence of that gaze disappointed him slightly.


Looking at her still, Kyle frowned seriously.


It was probably because she was wearing men's clothes, but at first glance she looked like a 15-year-old boy.


She rested her arms on the wall at the edge of the square and leaned against it while she looked up at the sky where the fireworks were exploding above. She looked younger than he had ever seen her.


It must've been because the clothes she was wearing were too big for her figure.


And suddenly he remembered how old she was.


Nineteen. He was eight years older than her. However, after his upcoming birthday, there would be a nine-year age gap.


'Damn it.'


Of course. She was still just 19. She was considered old enough to make her social debut and marry, but she hadn't even officially debuted yet.


The important thing here was that Kyle was in his late 20s, and had already experienced all kinds of hardships, but she was a young noblewoman in her late teens who had just come out of seclusion and had only recently started pursuing social activities in earnest.


He'd never consciously thought about how old she actually was. As an administrator, he never thought about her young age while they were working. But at this moment, as a woman, she seemed too young for him.


Maybe that was why a sense of guilt spread throughout his heart, as if he were a thief who, caught in an illusion, had coveted that which he shouldn't want. Kyle took a deep breath and sighed heavily.


‘It was a good thing I stopped earlier. When she turns 20...'


Bang! Bang!


Firecrackers went off as if punctuating his promise.


Unaware of his newfound determination, she was looking up at the sky and the fireworks in full bloom, smiling even brighter than the illuminated display.


The square was overflowing with people, but Tara was smiling joyfully as if she was completely oblivious to the noise and commotion around them. It was beautiful.


The sound of children singing intertwined with the upbeat music and firecrackers.


“……!”


Suddenly, Kyle grabbed Tara's shoulder tightly.


"Kyle? What is that song?"


Tara's eyes widened in surprise.


"My cousin, I can't let my cousin hear this…"


Kyle grabbed Tara's hand and ran straight towards the Castle.


Editor’s Notes -


It’s official, my heart is mush. Kyle confessing to Diane that he can’t imagine being with anyone but Tara has rendered me deceased.


On a completely different note - There is a subspecies of leopard formerly native to the Korean peninsula called the Amur Leopard (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amur_leopard). Coincidence? Who the hell knows? But it’s possible Munirang gained inspiration for Kyle’s last name from the Amur River which stretches between Russia and Northeastern China and gives multiple regions (and apparently leopard species) their names.


That or it is just inspired by the French word for love ‘Amour’. Either way it’s fun to speculate!


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