Updated: Jul 30
Where Kyle does a bunch of explaining.
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Episode 249. About 9 Months (8)
"Nick will secretly set up a search team to find the rats hiding in my Palace. But do so quietly. The rats shouldn't even be aware we're looking for them. Even after you find them, leave them alone."
"Yes, Your Highness. Should we also send a search team to House Elias?"
"Yes, it'll be much easier to hide in the Elias family, so we need to keep it as discreet as possible. Send two more people. Tell Toby to avoid contact with the Black Society's undercover team for the time being. And... Hold on!"
Kyle stroked his chin and muttered as he was trying to organize his thoughts.
"Even House Elias, which is easier to infiltrate, would've been misled in a similar fashion as I just now. There must've been something that made the situation as dangerous as it is now... There was!"
Kyle slowly clenched his fists and recalled Ferrero’s testimony, the mastermind behind the crime, on her birthday.
[Four days before we were supposed to proceed with the job, there was a sudden change of plans. I refused because I had never trafficked a noblewoman before, so I turned it down, but the amount of money was so large...]
Someone had hijacked Victoria's request and arranged for the kidnapping of a noblewoman.
Donnie, the man whom Victoria had commissioned and instructed, had vanished.
Had they gotten their way and Tara had disappeared, with only a note saying she was running away with her paramour, no one would've paid attention to her.
However, he would've been searching for the missing Tara. He, even though he was only her boss and not a member of the Elias family, would've gone looking for a subordinate who had allegedly gone into hiding.
The Dragon Fruit incident, the Hunting Contest incident, and this incident were the same.
Kyle gritted his teeth.
In the Dragon Fruit incident, the Emperor had been targeted and House Elias had been framed.
In the Hunting Contest Assassination case, the victim had been the First Prince, and only one arrow was used.
It was the Kezak family who had almost been framed for treason.
In both cases, he intervened and defended himself.
Was that why they were trying to find a weakness to catch Kyle himself? Was he jumping to conclusions? He needed more information.
If Kyle's guess was correct, Tara was not safe by his side until he found out who was responsible for what happened.
In addition, she shouldn't be seen as someone important to him until he caught the culprit.
'If I'm jumping to conclusions with my theory, that's fortunate, but if I’m correct then it's only right that I remove her from situations where she could be in danger.'
Kyle quickly added another order.
"As of today, the Second Aide will be relocated to the Permanent Aides Office, and I will personally write her transfer order. An abrupt reassignment will draw attention, so spread the word around that she failed to fulfill important duties due to her leave of absence."
Nick and Walter looked at him in surprise, and Kyle went straight to his desk to write the order.
"I... May I ask why, Your Highness?" Nick asked cautiously, nervous because of Kyle's scathing demeanor.
"This is nothing more and nothing less than an employment transfer for dereliction of duty. Immediately notify the Military's Administrative Office of the reassignment , and notify each department with an official letter, and also forward those to my Palace."
"Yes, Your Highness. But what if the Second Aide visits us? I'm sure she'll be very upset..." Walter asked.
"You will understand my intentions when you see the order. She is not to enter this place without permission. I will inform the guards and punish you if you let the Second Aide in because you know her," Kyle ordered in a cold voice.
"Yes, Your Highness."
Gulping, Walter and Nick took the orders and left.
As they exited the 2nd Imperial Palace, Nick could no longer contain his curiosity and turned to Walter.
"Hey, Walter, it's strange now that I think about it. The fact that the Second Aide was attacked is a serious matter, but is it so important that His Highness himself would come running? Besides, that sudden employment transfer. Isn't it a little harsh that the Second Aide is going to bear the brunt of the damage when it was someone else who faked the message?" Nick asked quietly.
'Oh,' muttered Walter. He looked at Nick, impressed by his judgment .
"His Highness is known for caring for his subordinates as if they're part of himself , so it's not that surprising. And he has great things ahead of him. He'll need talented people by his side, but I'm afraid she’s only becoming a hindrance now. He's a rather intuitive person."
Nick slowly nodded at Walter's words.
"Hmm... I suppose so. He's always looking for maximum efficiency."
Watching Nick agree with him straight away, Walter thought he had done a good job covering things up.
Then, he recalled the confidentiality agreement he had with the Second Aide.
'Yes, I'll keep it a secret. I'd have a hell of a mess to clean up if that mouth of his started flapping its gums. Ugh... Just thinking about it is terrifying. Just awful.'
Putting it off and telling Nick the truth at a much later time was fine.
It would be a shame if he found out before that, but since Nick was famous for being clueless anyway, there was no way he'd catch on first.
The Duke of Toulouse was waiting in front of the Imperial Palace for an answer.
He was not allowed to enter the Palace because his trial hadn't ended yet. It was an unpleasant experience to wait for a reply by the main gate in a carriage to meet his nephew, the Third Prince, Joseph.
After about thirty minutes, there was a knock on the carriage door.
"Your Grace, it's me."
When he opened the carriage window, he saw that it was not a messenger, but a man he had once met in the Third Prince's Palace, standing there with a polite smile.
"Hans Button, Third Aide to the Ministry of Finance, Your Grace."
"And why are you bringing me the Third Prince's response?"
"His Highness has graciously agreed to give me this errand."
He kept his eyes down, so the Duke couldn't see them, but politicizing his intentions by humbling himself wasn't a bad method.
'If the Third Prince keeps you by his side, you must be useful. But has he really figured out whether you're a servant or a parasite?'
The Palace was full of people hiding their intentions. It was also a place filled with people who wanted to make an easy living by leeching off of the Imperial family.
The Duke withheld his assessment and read the reply Button had given him.
[Please be considerate of me, your nephew, as I'm unable to meet you in person, Uncle.
I am delighted that you have taken it upon yourself to seek me out.
Unfortunately, I'm in the middle of etiquette class with my tutor.
It's difficult for me to leave. I will definitely visit you tomorrow night at your house, Uncle.
Until then, please be patient, my uncle.
Joseph Amure, the Third Prince of the Ocerian Empire]
'A year ago, the Third Prince would've come running if I called... His attitude has changed.'
The Duke gritted his teeth, but he didn't show it in his expression.
"Tell him that I look forward to meeting him tomorrow."
"Yes, Your Grace."
Hans bowed politely, and the carriage sped off in the opposite direction of the Palace.
The next day.
In the Imperial Palace's throne room, all the members of the Council were gathered for the weekly state of affairs briefing.
The Third Prince was there, assisting Count Nicholas Cold, who was the Minister of War, as his deputy.
Kyle, commander-in-chief of the Military and the Minister of Security, was also attending this week's briefing, although he was absent most of the time.
The throne was still empty. Twenty minutes before the weekly briefing was scheduled to begin, the councilors started glancing over at Kyle, who was standing in the very back of the room reading the report, openly frowning at him.
It seemed that they were reminded of the weekly briefing about the Dragon Fruit incident that had caused a huge stir last year.
Whether they were looking at him or not, Kyle slowly perused the report on the infiltration of the First Prince's residence that Walter had brought him.
Five months had passed since the First Prince started living in his private residence, so the report in his hand was worth five months of information.
'Malicious rumours are deadly to both the Empress and me. The person who started these hearsays is a shrewd one, so if they were on the Empress' side, they wouldn't have spread such a flimsy tale. Therefore, Jim Harriet, who aimed to have a connection with the Empress but became her target, is a used and discarded pawn. Just like the gardener in the Dragon Fruit incident and the assassin in the Hunting Contest Assasination case.'
He had already seen this report, but Kyle studied it carefully to see if he had missed anything.
"Well, let's get started then... Hmm. Second Prince, you happen to be here. Did something happen?"
The Emperor, who had arrived just in time, was surprised to see Kyle, as it reminded him of the last time, when he had reported on the Dragon Fruit incident.
"Nothing like that happened... I came to report to you, Your Majesty, that there has been a twist in the Central Province's Axis case I'm working on for the Military, and I was hoping you could spare a few minutes after your weekly briefing."
The Emperor stroked his chin and carefully examined Kyle's face to see what was going on, but he had no way of knowing because his expression was, as usual, blank.
'Well, it's hard to tell what's in his heart from his expression...'
"Yes, I understand. Alright, let's get started. Vice Minister of State, you go first."
Reports from each Ministry followed, and about half an hour had passed when the meeting was half-way through and the Vice Minister of the Military finished his report.
When the report was over, Kyle stepped out into the center aisle and handed a section of a newspaper to the butler.
"This is something everyone needs to hear, and I want the butler to read it out loud."
The Emperor raised his hand in a gesture of approval, and the butler read the newspaper in a loud, quick tone.
"An obituary from the Imperial Central Daily..."
The content was as followed.
[The brother of architect Fred Berg ▲ Baron Charles Berg has passed away ▲ It is estimated he died on the morning of the fourth ▲ His funeral will be held in Fed Berg's Mansion Hall in the Western Castle ▲ Funeral schedule = February 7, 1816 at 9:00 in Charles Berg's Family Cemetery in Preston, Central Province ▲ Remarks – Only relatives of the Berg family are invited to attend the funeral.
Details — Baron Charles Berg, an architect of the Imperial Palace, passed away at the age of 67. He was single, and after suffering from a chronic disease for a long time, he went to visit his cousin, Fred Berg, in the west, when he collapsed and did not wake up. He was found two days later, cradling his will in his arms as if he had predicted his own death.
Baron Charles Berg's title and estate were inherited by his cousin, Fred Berg, who was the only family member he had left, as per his will.
May he rest in peace.
February 5, 1816. Imperial Central Daily.]
After hearing it, the Emperor furrowed his brow in thought.
"Hmm. So he's dead. Does that mean there will be problems with the Central Province Axis project?"
"Fortunately, the man who inherited his title is an architect of similar caliber as Charles Berg, and, if His Majesty permits it, I would like to entrust it to him."
"Very well. Let the Second Prince take care of it. Is there anything else to report?"
"None, Your Majesty."
"Alright. Then, let the long-awaited Count Elias come in. I'm very curious to see how the finished product has turned out. Hahaha."
Count Elias entered with the final product of the heart medicine that would forever replenish the Emperor's bank account.
He glanced at Kyle, who was standing in the aisle as he approached the Emperor, looked straight ahead again, and then turned his head to look at him once more.
No. It would be more accurate to say that he glared intensely.
'Oh, my... The Count is misunderstanding me.'
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