Where Hans computes, Tara confronts and Victoria confesses....
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Episode 241. About 10 months
Hans had been on the third floor since the fake fire in the hallway had been notified.
Her voice had instantly quieted the crowded hall, as if the onlookers had been doused in cold water.
"Excuse me, may I get past?"
Hans was genuinely surprised to see the bitch walk lightly into the room she never should have entered again. She walked in as if she were attending a pleasant tea party, while her maid followed her with a tray of food.
Hans stared intently at the food on the tray. He realized then why she needed it.
‘That cheeky bitch! How did she know?'
In addition to that, astoundingly, she announced that she was the author of the note.
And that wasn't all! Helen Stuart, the old Duchess herself appeared to testify that she had been with her.
It was amazing.
Hans's mood suddenly soured.
‘I'm the one who set this chessboard, so why are the pawns moving at will?... No, I designed it, but it was Donnie's men who didn't play properly.'
Thinking that it was Donnie's minions who performed poorly made him feel a little better.
Hans stood at the back of the hallway and stared at Tara.
He kept turning over the changed situation in his mind.
The bitch's return meant that things had gone wrong and she had taken care of Donnie's men.
She must have had help, because she couldn't possibly have handled them alone.
Count Elias was completely unaware of the situation. If so, it meant that she hadn’t received his help in this matter.
Then whose help did she get? Was it her escort knight? A knight could defeat Donnie's men, but it was hard to imagine him devising a strategy to overturn the board he had created to deal with this girl. If so, was it the Second Prince?
Yes. Two days ago, the Security Department had raided Donnie's Gambling House. Obviously, the Second Prince, who that whore has been screwing since last year, had solved it. Otherwise, she wouldn't be here.' *
He thought, and shook his head excitedly.
‘There wasn't enough time for him to get here from the South. Well, the Second Prince was a Sword Master, so he could have galloped to get here, but was she really that important to him? If so, he should already be here. Or was he hiding his identity?'
Hans looked around the hallway unconsciously at the thought. There were no suspicious movements. If the Second Prince had decided to hide, he wouldn't show up here anyway.
Then a sudden thought came to mind.
‘Ah! That's it...!'
Not only had she been promoted to Second Aide, but the Second Prince, who never had an Aide by his side, had put a woman in that position.
They also went on a business trip together. Or course, she was able to join as his Aide. However, Hans knew from the documents posted to the Ministry of Finance that the Second Prince's trip included a personal schedule. It was impossible that he would bring along a newly appointed Aide for his private agenda.
‘Yes, no matter how much I think about it, she could not have dealt with this so quickly on her own. Anyway, today's plan was to see the Second Prince's reaction after her disappearance. Of course, I also wanted to break her too, but...Hmmm. I'll have to keep a closer eye on them in the future. Once I'm convinced, it won't be too late to create a new game, and that one won't go wrong!'
After organizing his thoughts, Hans's mind relaxed and he observed the situation attentively.
Andrei watched Tara appear and enter the room after being framed as a runaway. There was some commotion, but soon, the door closed.
‘Hmmm... It's a shame they closed the door. But they can't tarnish the Family name. As expected, my Disciple resembles me and didn't lose her countenance even in these circumstances. No... My Golden Egg.... Hehehehehe...' **
Andrei stood in the corner of the hallway and waited.
The butler and the servants moved in unison, guiding the guests to their rooms. A familiar looking young lord with blond hair and short stature muttered 'Ah, this is boring....' and then left.
"I've seen him before... I remember!"
A few months ago, he had come to the Drunken Dragon with a bunch of flyers and fearlessly preached for quite a while. Andrei recalled it was some kind of youth club but couldn’t remember what kind of group it was.
It had stayed in Andrei's memory because he’d thought the preacher was unusual, speaking his nonsensical prattle with great passion.
"Huh, I can't believe a guy like that would be invited here."
As Andrei quietly clicked his tongue, Victor, who had been lingering on the third floor under the pretense of putting oil in the hallway lamps, snuck up to his Master.
"I didn’t expect to see him here, Boss."
"Huh? Have you seen him before as well? The blond in front of the staircase."
"What? The man next to the staircase has a mousy hair colour."
Victor rubbed his eyes, thinking he'd seen wrong. Then Andrei asked seriously. "Who is the brunette then?"
"That is Hans Button, whom your Disciple told me to investigate, as I previously informed you."
Only then did Andrei realize who Victor was talking about and stared at the person his subordinate was pointing to. The man, who was under investigation following Tara's orders, glanced at her bedroom door, smiled, and slowly went down the stairs.
‘The subject of an investigation, here? Why?'
Andrei's brow wrinkled and he fell deep into thought until Tara called him.
The room was silent as a tomb after the words Victoria uttered.
Chloe stopped walking towards her mother and simply sat down.
Andrei and Beth both gasped in surprise and Bernard turned to look at me.
My family, who thought they couldn't be surprised any more, were stunned into silence as they were trying to process what had just come out of Victoria's mouth.
It was the same for me as well.
What had she just said? Why was Brandon's name coming out of that woman's mouth? Why did I have such a bad feeling about this?
My father and I both slowly advanced towards Victoria.
My father put an arm in front of me then stepped ahead to stand in front of Victoria. He grabbed her arm from where she was still collapsed in front of the bookshelf, and pulled her up violently.
"Now... What did you just say? Who? Brandon?"
"No, no... I didn't.... No, that wasn't.... Not to that extent! ... Yes! Those guys! They went overboard! It's all their fault!"
Despite her vague explanation, my brain immediately understood her words.
For once, I felt resentful towards this mind, for working so well.
[I will definitely get it for your birthday. So, even if you miss me, just be a little patient.]
[He entered a forbidden area. The Principality of Ga'an banned entry because there was a suspected infectious disease outbreak in the region… It was about a birthday present for the young miss… Lady Tara...]
"Why is Brandon, my eldest son's name, coming out of that filthy mouth of yours? Tell me in detail. Now!"
My father shuddered and threw Victoria away.
"Ugh! No, no. I didn't want that. It's true. I didn't. It's because they didn't do it right. I just wanted him to be a little sick for a while.... That's all...!"
I slapped Victoria’s cheek hard enough to blow her head back.
I also slapped her other cheek with all my might.
Victoria covered her cheeks, her eyes filled with terror.
My body, engulfed in rage, felt out of control.
For 7 years, 7 YEARS, I, Tara, had been blaming myself for my brother's death. When, in fact, it had been this vicious woman's fault.
All the while, she continued to live shamelessly, enjoying all the rights and freedoms of a Mistress of an aristocratic family, without any regret or remorse, and received no punishment.
And she had used the same trick again to hurt me.
Still, I had tried to stop this woman from being ostracized for Chloe's sake.
I suddenly wanted to rip my mouth off and undo my change of heart from 30 minutes ago where I admitted to leaving the note.
With a shaking body, I gripped Victoria's neck with one hand.
Bernard ran up to me and grabbed my wrist, but I didn't back down. My blurred vision made that woman's face look like a monster's.
So, this was the true face Victoria had been hiding.
"Kill......you.... I will kill you! By all means! Absolutely.... I must...."
"Kkeukk.... get away.... from me...you crazy.....b....ugh...."
As Victoria's face turned red and her veins popped, my mother approached and held me in her arms.
"Baby.... Baby.... Stop... Stop it...."
Then all my strength left me.
And I had no more recollection of that day.
Tara's voice stopped and several voices shouted out at the same time.
Kyle jumped at the cries coming from inside.
He was sitting on the balcony roof, listening in on the situation as it unfolded in the room.
He opened his hands wide then took a deep breath, clenching his fists so tightly that his nails dug in his palms again.
He tried to figure out Tara's condition with his Aurore, but his control was slipping.
He sighed and took another deep breath.
‘Calm down, Kyle. Tara is by no means a weak woman.'
Concentrating again, he caught her Aurore this time and felt her breathing regularly.
He jumped off the balcony roof and, staying in the shadows where no prying eyes could see him, looked inside.
Tara had been moved to the bed and people surrounded it. Kyle stared intently at the scene.
‘Damn it... I didn't mention the other requests on purpose.'
To be more precise, since it would have been shocking news no matter how she learned about it, he had intended to tell her about Victoria's commission related to Brandon directly, but in a calm environment where he could have been by her side to comfort her.
He never thought that Brandon's name would come out of the perpetrator's mouth.
He wanted to see her right away but couldn't put her in trouble because of his own greed.
His gaze met with Bernard's, who had suddenly raised his head.
‘She seems to have fainted'.
‘Yes. I'll come back. I look forward to your kind cooperation.'
‘It's useless to ask me. She is my one and only Lady.'
‘What a stubborn servant.'
Kyle nodded and tried to look away, but a piercing gaze came in between Bernard’s and his.
‘The Second Prince?'
Andrei's eyes glistened as he followed Bernard’s stare and recognized Kyle's blurry silhouette.
Andrei's face wore a weird expression. A mix between surprise and laughter.
Kyle frowned and glowered at him in warning.
Editor’s notes -
* In chapter 198, Hans (wrongly) deduces that Tara got her position as Second Aide by sleeping with Kyle. His rampant misogyny and disdain for the ‘weaker sex’ shows again here in all its horrible glory. Hopefully his underestimating Tara will prove his downfall one day.
** In a chapter, I can't remember which and I can't find it (I will update this note once I do...) Andrei speculates about his future as teacher to Kyle and Tara's children since he is currently Tara's. Thus he considers her his "Golden Egg" and sometimes refers to her as such.
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