Updated: Mar 21
(image to be updated)
Where the plot around Tara thickens, Hans makes his entry and a handsome man gets a present....
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Episode 233. About 10 months (110)
The number of guests gradually decreased, so the area in my vicinity was quite empty.
When I laughed, Toby smiled and handed me a small paper bag the size of his palm.
His actions said that he knew I was aware of his identity. He probably heard it from Victor. And was the first person who told me that the Countess had gone to Donnie’s Gambling House.
"I didn't expect this. Thanks. I'll try to grow it well. I also heard from Victor. Thank you."
Toby immediately understood that I was referring to the information he found about the Countess.
"I did it because I liked it, Miss. Then, I shall take my leave."
He liked it? What? Spying?
I wanted to ask more details, but Toby had already left with the flowerpot.
I'd have to ask him later.
I waited until the crowd had dispersed and opened the envelope in a secluded place. There were really small seeds inside and, in between, I saw a twice rolled and folded note. I took it out and opened it. There was a message written in tiny words on it.*
I wished I hadn't.... Did she really go this far?
Facing the evidence in front of me, I felt my blood run cold.
But… It’s the same as the previous one? Undecided method?
The client is Johanna? I guess she didn't use her real name.
I furrowed my brow as I walked towards the mansion, ordering Beth. This was the point when Andrei's information was desperately needed.
"Beth, do you see my Master over there?"
"Yes. He looks so good."
Andrei was in front of the fountain, surrounded by several ladies, smiling widely.
"It's strange that I can't see that. Go tell Master and Bernard that I wish to see them in my room. I'll leave the emergency door to my terrace open, so tell them to come through there."
"Eh? It's crowded and on the third floor. Miss?"
The question was about how he would get up to the terrace on the third floor while avoiding prying eyes.
"He's an athlete who can move soundlessly. It will be a piece of cake. There is a steel emergency exit on the terrace in case of a fire. No one can come in unless the door is open.”
"Oh... yes, Miss."
"Ah. Beth. Wait."
I grabbed Beth again when she was about to leave as an idea struck me.
"If Master is reluctant, tell him I'll answer the question he is most curious about right now. He’ll come to my room then."
As I made up my mind, Beth turned around with a determined look on her face.
If Johanna and the Countess were one and the same...
I would not let Victoria get away with it anymore!
Around the time the fireworks began, a person appeared at the mansion's entrance.
"Ho-ho. Even fireworks to celebrate the young lady's birthday...? It's a bit excessive, isn't it? Even for something that is deliberately grandiose...."
Boom! Boom! The fireworks tails lit up the night sky and reflected on the Elias mansion.
Hans stopped and looked up at the noisy sky for a moment.
"If you become the closest assistant of an Imperial Family Member first, you will become the next head of the Family? Now that she's a Second Aide, Fatso is the most likely candidate at the moment... Is that why they're spending all this money? The Lord is crazy.... kekekeke. Isn't that right, Harold?" Hans asked Harold, who was following him discreetly.
"Yes, my Lord. It's crazy."
Hans wandered off again and entered the mansion's driveway.
"Yes. Has everything been taken care of?"
"Yes, my Lord. I did it as soon as you ordered it."
Unbeknownst to Hans, Harold swallowed. It was lucky he was behind him.
"Hmmm.... Oh. Yes. It looked like it was going to work but ended up being useless. Had he been brought to the Capital as a witness, the Empress would have been lost.... And as a witness brought in by the Second Prince... it would have complicated things.”
".... Rumors are spreading beyond the Central Region to the Capitals' vicinity. The mastermind is spending more money than he thinks."
"Hehehe. It's funny because of the First Prince's stupidity. He walked into the trap faster than expected.... Ah! Did Donnie choose?"
The ownership of [Donnie's Gambling House] had been transferred to the second Black Crown village.
Harold only knew about the third Black Crown village. He didn't know the whereabouts of the other two. He knew that the fourth Black Crown village would soon be completed but didn't know its location either.
"Yes. He swore to follow Master for the rest of his life."
"Hehe. Good. Then why don't I go eat dessert while watching these clowns? Hmmm. It would be more dramatic, or rather, more entertaining during these boring times. Hehehe."
Hans waved his hand to Harold in dismissal and entered the mansion. Seeing the golden invitation, the Elias family guards opened the iron door and Hans slowly walked in with his hands behind his back.
The fireworks from the Elias mansion could be seen even from a plaza situated in the middle of the Capital.
The shops on Beauty Street at the back of the square started to close at 9 o'clock, so by 10, only a few shops remained open.
Therefore, there was little traffic in the street.
The staccato of galloping warhorses resonated down the street illuminated by the light emanating from the shops lined on both sides.
The store owners who were closing up stared at the unusual sight but soon realized that the horses belonged to the Ministry of Security, so they went back to their business thinking, 'Hmmm... I guess it's a matter of public security.'
The same was true for the branch manager of the Elias Family jewelry shop, [Tiffany]. **
"Today wasn't good. The clearance inventory is getting longer! There are no customers so stock is piling up. Probably because it's Sunday night. If everything always went well, I'd be rich already."
As he grew older, the branch manager liked to hum melodies alongside his words. He smiled while shutting the door and closing his coat.
"God, it's cold! I'll go warm up with my wife!"
"I'm here to pick something up." Said a low, deep voice.
When he turned around, there was one warhorse standing in front of the shop while others were stationed far away behind.
The security guard jumped off his horse and, in a couple of strides, slid through the half-closed bay door.
It seemed so natural that the branch manager blankly followed the police officer and entered behind him.
The smell of cold and wind permeated the man’s cloak, as if he had rushed from some faraway place.
He went to the display case ahead of the branch manager and looked back, waiting for him to follow.
Even though the shop was dimly lit with only two lights on, the branch manager was surprised at how statuesque and handsome the man was.
It was the first time he'd ever seen him. He was certain he would have never forgotten such a face. The branch manager asked cautiously.
"Maybe you came to the wrong place? I don't remember receiving a request from you."
The man silently took out an order confirmation from his pocket and showed it to him. The document held in his long and elegant fingers was meticulously recorded, including the branch managers' signature, details of the order and the payment done in full.
"This was ordered by Baron Kezak himself...?"
"I asked as a favour. I didn’t have the time."
Under the commanding tone and unusual atmosphere emanating from the man, the branch manager found himself heading for the display case before he even realized it.
"Oh. Yes, yes. I've been waiting for you."
After all, if there was an order confirmation, he was supposed to hand it over, no matter who ordered it.
He unlocked the drawer deep inside the shelf and took out a black velvet case. The branch manager hurriedly lit up two lamps on the display and slowly opened the box.
The gently removed translucent protection revealed a heavy and dazzling necklace.
"Tiffany's skilled craftsman, who is recognized as a first-class Imperial artisan, created it with the utmost care. Sir, look at this brilliance. Diamonds tightly wrapped around each garnet. In particular, the workmanship required to wrap this garnet...!"
The customer raised his hand to stop the branch manager's words.
The exclamation that came next was not what the branch manager expected.
"No. What's wrong? Do you not like it?"
"It's too flashy."
"The Baron told me to make it as fancy as possible to go with the money offered. "
It was Baron Kezak, who had held out 200 gold pieces and told him to make it as flashy and conspicuous as possible.
"It can't be helped. I see. Of course."
"Oh! Sir, there is some money left over from the request!"
The customer, who had already gone to the door, answered without looking back.
"I'll order more later, so keep it."
The branch manager followed him to the door, loudly bid him farewell, and congratulated himself inwardly on the big sale.
"Haha. Yes, feel free to drop by anytime. Tell us which design you want, and we will make it for you. We will be waiting for you, Sir!"
The handsome security guard jumped on his horse with practiced and elegant ease, turned the reins right away and ran ahead.
The other members waiting outside followed him at a distance.
"Hmmm...He must be a high-ranking gentleman in the Security Department. By the way, I don't think the security forces have that high a salary so he must come from a rich family to afford 200 gold. Sheesh, I envy him! He is young, rich, handsome and has a high position, he must be enjoying life to the fullest! I wonder who will be the recipient of this gift? I guess that person was born in January!"
The manager hummed again and happily closed Tiffany's door.
Some time after I came back to my room and opened the terrace door, Andrei came inside in a fuss.
"Tell me what I want to hear, tell me the truth," he said.
Andrei read the letter sent by the Second Prince, then said seriously, "Johanna is Victoria Elias's childhood name."
"As expected... She really concocted a crime like this.... Haaaaa...."
"You look like you wish she hadn’t."
"...Because she's Chloe's mother."
"Disciple. It can't be a happy ending for everyone. If you want that, you'd have to sacrifice yourself. Would you?"
"No. For both my sake and my family's, I must dig out the rotten roots. But there really isn't anything that you don't know. How did you get your hand on her past nickname?"
"After receiving a report from Donnie's gambling house, I did some research on Countess Victoria. I did a good job of it."
"Yes, that's the Master I chose!"
I smiled and gave him a double thumbs up, and Andrei nodded in agreement.
"But why did you put this tray of cold food right here?"
I immediately explained in detail what might have been done to the food in front of me. Then Andrei tasted a little of each dish on the tray before I could stop him.
"What if it's poisoned?"
"Sometimes my Disciple sees me as too weak. I didn't come here for nothing.... My, my, my...!"
Before the ban on using toxic substances amongst information organizations, Andrei had trained himself to become resistant to them. So, he knew more about the poisons used in the Empire than anyone else.
Perhaps that was why Andrei immediately detected what medicine had been used in the food by the mere taste of it.
"This.... is a powerful sleeping pill. Based on the concentration, you'd probably sleep for 2 days straight."
When I tilted my head, Andrei asked why.
"It's not what I expected."
* The crossed off part was like that in the original MTL. This was deliberately done by Munirang, the author, for plot purposes. Edit: Later replaced with an image because strikethrough formatting is not being properly displayed in our blogposts.
** This is another time where Munirang used our world brand names. She used "Givenchy"for the dress maker and now she uses "Tiffany's" for the jeweller. In the original version she wrote it as "Tepani".
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