Where Tara plays the waiting game..... And we get an insight into Logan's thoughts....
This chapter is dedicated to Ajisai! Thank you for your support! We also love reading about Kyle and Tara very much!
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Episode 260. About 9 months (19)
"It's been a while since I took a long bath, so I suddenly feel tired. I'm going to bed early."
"Sure, miss. What about dinner?"
"Uh, I'm not hungry. I'm going to fall into a deep, deep sleep, so don't let anyone in the room from now on. Not even you, Beth."
With that, I shooed Beth out of the room, locked the door behind me, and sat upright with my legs drawn up on the couch.
It was half past four.
Today, a Tuesday, the regular schedule for the Second Prince's Palace would be over by 7:00 pm. That is, of course, if he hadn’t added anything else to his schedule.
On the day he's supposed to meet with me, why would he add another appointment to his schedule?
So, his arrival would probably be between 7:30 and 8:00 pm. Nevertheless, I locked the door and waited for Kyle beginning at 4:30pm, just in case he decided to blow through his schedule and come running.
Oh, why didn't he write down the time we were supposed to meet!
Deciding it would be boring if I just did nothing while I waited, I opened today's Imperial Palace Daily, which I had brought with me from my office.
Today's newspaper had been hard to get because fewer copies than usual had been printed, but I had managed to get it through House Elias’s advertiser.
"I never expected to see blind marketing here."
Unfolded, the front page featured a large portrait of the Emperor.
The portrait was dreamlike in its plays of light and shadow. The artist who had painted it was Brandt. This new master of shadows had been chosen on Chloe's recommendation and was just beginning to be recognized by society. *
This illustration was to be used exclusively for an advertisement on Tuesday the 21st of this month.
A portrait of the Emperor that would probably not appear again after today. The price of the illustration, painted by the newly famous Brandt, was likely to cost a pretty penny in a few years.
Did we spend too much?
Surely, and thanks to this ad, Elias Pharmaceutical's new drug would be talked about for years to come.
After the surprise wore off, the questions would be on everyone’s mind. What was that short phrase on the Emperor's left breast?
[Louis in the heart!]
"Yes. People will be wondering what this means. The idea of using the Emperor's name coupled with the blind marketing. As expected, Chloe is bold."
Starting tomorrow, the ad would run until the 1st of March release date. The catchphrase "Louis in the Heart!" would be plastered across the front page, and people's curiosity would be piqued beyond belief.
I closed the illustrated newspaper and shifted my gaze to the bottom of the last page of <Monthly Nobility>.
[A Heartbreaking Story for the Family of Count Elias.
Recently, divorce papers for Count Elias and his wife were filed with the House of Lords and the rumours around the mental health of Countess Victoria Elias, were found to be true. It has been concluded that she can no longer lead the family as Countess. Our source revealed that as a result both families have agreed on a consensual divorce. Following which, all of House Philippe’s shares in Elias....]
"Nice job, Elias PR team. This could have been front page news, but they've reduced its impact by running it alongside the heart drug commercial."
I gave it a thumbs up and set the newspaper aside.
"Hmm, well, it will still create a bit of a buzz in social circles.... I'm sure it will probably do some damage to the Elias Family image, right?... Wait a second!"
With a flash of inspiration, I quickly opened my desk drawer and pulled out the notebook where I always wrote down the novel's events.
I quickly flipped to the last page.
[2. Chapters after the Hunting Competition.
<Ocerian Chronicles> Part 4, Chapter 2 [The Scandal that Swept High Society] ☆☆☆ Unexpected birthday incident.
<Ocerian Chronicles> Part 4, Chapter 3 [The Black Map in the Imperial Warehouse] ☆☆ - I don't remember.
<Ocerian Chronicles> Part 4, Chapter 4 [The Conspiracy to Usurp the Throne] ☆☆☆☆☆ Approximately 9 months left. (Or it could be faster.)]
Was this, in Part 4, chapter 2 [The Scandal that Swept High Society] the one that Author Kim was talking about?
But I quickly shook my head. There were plenty of scandals in High Society, and this one barely qualified as one.
"Wait! Yes, there was. If word had gotten out that I had ran away to elope because of that fake letter...!"
I slapped my knee at the fleeting thought.
"It would have been a huge mess if I hadn't managed to stop it that evening. A young lady that runs away on the night of her birthday to elope; that would have been a massive scandal, one that would have swept all of High Society."
I frowned. Of course, this might not have been the scandal written by Author Kim in Part 4 Chapter 2, but I had this gut feeling that the Birthday Incident was most likely it.
Yes. So far, all of the occurrences that Author Kim had talked about had been altered following my intervention. The events that were supposed to happen did happen, except their magnitude had been changed.
So it's possible that what happened on my birthday was Chapter 4-2 [The Scandal that Swept High Society ].
And there hasn't been much of a social scene since the Hunting Competition.
That means that there were only two chapters left, Part 4-3 [The Black Map in the Imperial Warehouse] and Part 4-4 [The Conspiracy to Usurp the Throne]...
No matter how much I wracked my brain, I couldn't recollect Part 4-3 correctly, so I didn't know what it was about.
Since it was a full chapter, it must have been an important event.
I remember hearing about it when Author Kim had been talking to me about the plot....
"The black map... Maybe Kyle knows about it."
I looked at my watch and jumped up from the couch.
"Ha! It's already 6:00pm. Time flies!"
Logan was on his way home after attending a regular Executives’ club meeting.
Today had been particularly fruitful.
He had managed to listen to the man speak in person, which was good because he only gave speeches every few months.
"Well, if someone is going to lead an Empire, he'd better have outstanding abilities." Logan muttered to himself as he made his way to his room. On the third floor landing, he stopped dead in his tracks.
He turned around and looked at Tara's closed bedroom door.
[From now on, she wishes to attend our clubs as well, so I guess she wants to see what we go to.]
[Really? She wants to participate in the meetings I attend?]
[She's about to make her social debut, and she complained she doesn't have any friends to chat with. She's been locked in her room for seven years, and our whole family has been deeply misunderstanding her. Isn't that your fault as well, brother?]
Logan smirked and stroked his chin, thinking how much Aria had changed in the past year.
[Is that why you're so eager to help?]
[Don't you feel sorry for our sister?]
[I agree. We misunderstood, and I think we overdid it. But, she also never had any intention of actively defending herself, and she never left her room, but that's beside the point. It does make a little more sense in hindsight as to why Brandon was so protective of her].
[Hmph.... She was too young and hurt to defend herself...!]
Logan held up a hand to cut Aria off.
[Stop. So, you want me to take her to a meeting?]
[Yeah, you're supposed to help her with this, we're family].
[...Not completely family.]
[No. You have a point. She's got some skills, and she'll help the family in the future. I'll think about it].
That was a week ago. At today's Executive meeting, there had been several points on the agenda.
Among them was a proposal for additional rallies in the Empire and Principality of Ga’an, the registration of all members personal information, and a motion to change the gatherings from once to twice a month to encourage family participation, as if having Tara's wish to attend in mind.
Logan raised his hand to knock on Tara's door, then stopped in midair.
He'd never spoken to Tara alone before, so he'd never found himself in front of her room let alone knocked on her door.
It was awkward and unfamiliar.
[Even though we may have been born from different wombs, as long as we are woven into the fabric of the family, we should help each other to become healthy and bright members of the family for our own futures. This is one of the important virtues that the members of our gathering should not lose sight of.]
A part of the speech the man had delivered today stuck in Logan's head.
"I guess that's true, but... not yet."
Logan turned towards his room. It felt so strange and awkward to initiate a conversation with Tara first.
Logan didn't have the patience to put up with it. So, he decided to deliver his invitation through Aria.
Wondering if I'd gotten the date wrong, I pulled out the dispatch again and saw that it was the 21st. There was no exact time listed.
I thought I had maybe missed it, but I couldn't find it anywhere.
It was seven o'clock.
Well, he was a busy man, and it was around the time his official workday should end, so he should be here soon.
I felt strangely nervous, even though I told myself to sit on the couch and just wait calmly. On top of that, my heart had started pounding a little bit, as if it was trying to remind me it lived in my chest.
‘Whoa.... I'm feeling weird today. Is it because I stayed in the bath too long....?’
I took out the book 'The Alchemy of Relationships' to make myself stop looking at the clock and started reading.
White blank space and black text. Even though there was clearly a lot of writing, I couldn't make heads or tails of it.
‘I'm a bookworm, but I can't read? How does this make sense?’
‘Why?’ I asked myself, already knowing the answer.
Because from the moment I had locked myself in my room while waiting for Kyle, Bernard's advice had been bouncing around in my head.
* Knowing Munirang's tendancy to use famous people and brands 'Givenchy', 'Tiffany's' I wondered whom 'Brandt' was refering to. Following the description of the portrait in the newspaper: "The portrait was dreamlike in its plays of light and shadow" I found this famous photographer: Bill Brandt . He was an English photographer famous for his portraits full of contrasts in black and white of famous people like Picasso.
But then Rina said it could also be about Rembrandt . Which I admit would be more in tune with the story. Take your pick!
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