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  • Writer's pictureRina

Chapter 274

Tara and Kyle come face to face in a meeting and try not to give their ploy away.


This chapter is dedicated to Ali! Thank you for your support!


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Episode 274. About 6 months (4)


I also stood up hesitantly, glanced at him, and sat down again.


He acted so indifferently, but I knew it had to be that way. Even so, I enjoyed the chance to see him so handsomely dressed.


Kyle was wearing a blue cloak over lightweight chainmail, as if he had just arrived after a long journey. He calmly and methodically took off the cloak and placed it over a chair.


His black form-fitting chainmail and open-necked white shirt went well together.


After rolling his shirt cuffs up his forearms, he sat down and began to read the meeting agenda Walter handed him. 


I glanced up at him cautiously.


And the memory of that night together suddenly crashed into my mind.


Kyle, his brow furrowed, staring down at me as if he couldn't bear it any longer. The way he touched me all night. Him behind me... No! Bad! Stop! Focus!


I squeezed my eyes shut, opened them again, and refocused on the meeting.


"The regular military exercises for the first quarter will be conducted in a set order, starting with the southern units, and the training plan will be centred on practical weapon use skills. The resulting military weapon supply will be budgeted by the Military Weapons Management Administration and reported by next Monday...."


As I wrote down the contents of the meeting, I glanced around as if surveying the conference room, and caught a glimpse of Kyle.


I couldn't help it. Lately, my mind had been a mess of thoughts about Logan, Hans Button, and the map. But after seeing Kyle for the first time in a long time, I felt like the headache that had been bothering me for weeks had finally disappeared.


How long had it been since I'd seen my boyfriend's face properly? I needed to look at him, because I had no idea when I would see him again.


For a moment, our eyes locked, but Kyle just looked away with the same polite expression as if it was just a passing glance.


.... I knew he was doing it on purpose, but I still felt disappointed.


But Kyle was trying his best, so I pulled myself together and focused back on the meeting.


The advisor sitting next to Kyle began to speak.


But, perhaps because the 2nd Prince had suddenly appeared next to him, he began to speak faster and faster.


"In line with the new talent cultivation system we've introduced, we will be holding the first Imperial Intermediate Commanders' practical examination in two days. The applicants have all passed the written test, and the practical exams will be held simultaneously across the country."


I quickly scribbled down the information, thankful that it was something I already knew about.


"The total number of applicants for the 2,895 expected positions of Intermediate Commander is 32,813, and the competition ratio is 11.3 to 1. Of those, excluding swords...."


Ugh. Damn, two thousand eight hundred and ninety-five people, thirty thousand... something total...? Ah. I'd have to go back and ask later.


“The largest group of special weapons wielders is the bow with 1,023 candidates applying for that category, 677 candidates are applying for the axe, and for the spear… !”


The advisor continued to speak, heedless of my struggle to keep up. But then, suddenly, I heard Kyle's voice interrupt him.


"Wait! You're talking too fast. Slow down."


"Ah, yes. I'll correct that immediately!"


Thanks to Kyle, the advisor spoke more slowly, and I bit my lip as the corners of my mouth threatened to curve upwards. I glanced at him.


That handsome man knew my weakness. As if he knew I was looking, he tousled his hair and let it fall softly over his forehead.


My lips twitched and I immediately pressed them together.


He knew. How convincingly indifferent he'd looked. He was doing too good of a job.


When the meeting was over, Kyle stood up.


"We'll meet again in two weeks for the final result, then."


"Yes, Your Highness."


I feigned politeness and watched Kyle's back as he stormed out of the room before I sat back down.


Soon the conference room was empty. Left alone, I began organizing my notes from the meeting.


After a while, I closed my notebook and turned my attention to where he'd been sitting.


It was a shame I only got to see him so briefly, but I was also glad I got to see him at such an unexpected moment.


I wished him well on his mission with Andrei. I prayed he would be safe.


"I wonder how the joint effort is going? Have they identified the main culprit yet…?"


Then, for a moment, a thought invaded my brain and I muttered involuntarily, as if the answer had suddenly hit me on the head.


"Yes, perhaps we're after the same guy."


Hans was one of the three administrators Kyle had identified. Despite the information I had gained from Writer Kim about him being a sociopath, I was worried I might miss the real culprit by focusing too hard on him. So, I was trying to be more cautious by keeping all the possibilities open.


However, after hearing his speech, and having that dream, I strongly suspected Button might be the main culprit of all of the incidents, not just treason against the Second Prince.


Of course, there was still no clear evidence. So I made a decision shortly after returning from the club.


I needed to break the link between Logan and Button before they became personally associated.


To do that, I needed to find the map that outlined all of his misdeeds.


If I could get my hands on the map, expose his evil deeds, and put him in jail, I'd be able to prevent the assassination attempt against the Second Prince in six months time.


Then, of course, Hans won't be able to meet with Logan and Logan wouldn't fall for Hans's ruse.


Moreover, the word ‘trap’ that also appeared in the dream kept bothering me. I wondered if that meant Kyle would be in danger.


"I need to look harder. Harder."


Everything was leading me to that map.


My mind was racing, but I tried to calm it down.


"I need to look hard, but I can't rush too much. The more urgent I act, the more I risk a setback."


Thanks to my work in the Permanent Secretarial Division, I'd been able to search the Imperial Palace warehouse quite often over the past two months. Immediately after hearing the speech, I had tried to search it even more thoroughly.


In the Permanent Secretarial Division, all but the simplest of tasks were completed while  providing support to other departments, so it was possible to look for the map there.


But why the Imperial Palace warehouse?


"....."


I couldn't figure it out.


Was it possible to understand the author's intent? If the original author had said it, then it must be true.


I was once again grateful to Kyle for assigning me to the Permanent Secretarial Division, since it allowed me to easily explore the warehouse in the name of organizing or finding materials.


However, I couldn't find any maps in the Palace warehouse.


Still, the dream and Button’s appearance at Logan’s meeting gave me a glimmer of hope, as if I had a tangible clue that might save my family.


I quickly finished all the organizing and went to the military administration's underground warehouse to file the meeting records by date.


I immediately started organizing the documents. Because it was something I enjoyed and did often, I finished the last of the work I had planned for today with 30 minutes to spare.


"Whoa... I have half an hour left."


I'd expected it would take about an hour.


I sprang into action, eager to get the conclusive evidence that would identify Hans.


I had tried to think of an efficient way to find the black map, but I couldn't think of a good way to do it, so I just blindly searched the warehouse like I was going on a treasure hunt.


What kind of traps did he set up in those villages, anyway? And what purpose did he have for them? It would surely reflect his deviousness.


No matter how much I searched through my memories, there were no answers, only question marks.


It was something I thought about every time I searched the warehouse, but I wouldn't know the answer to that question until I found the map.


Fortunately, the underground warehouse of the military administration department was only half the size of the warehouse for the Permanent Secretarial Division, so the search area was smaller.


I opened the drawers closest to me one by one, starting from the bottom, and sorted through them carefully.


After about 30 minutes. I concluded that there was no such thing as a black map in this warehouse.


I couldn't help but let out a deep sigh.


"Haa."


I slammed the final box lid shut with a grunt and stood up, taking a quick look around.


"Is it not here...? Does it really exist? Am I putting too much faith in my dream?"


But then I shook my head.


It was a dream, but it was an actual conversation I'd had with Kim in Yeouido Park. If it was a dream that triggered a memory, and if the story followed the way Kim had constructed it, then there was a map.


"Then I should try to find it.... Haa.... How is this any different than finding a needle in a haystack? No, no, no. I'll find it. That 'trap' could be putting Kyle's life in danger, so I'll have to find it somehow!"


***


Following his return to the palace after three days away, Kyle spent all of March and April outside the palace.


He was only able to return in May for a short business trip. Upon his arrival, he was scheduled for a brief meeting. The tight schedule left him feeling exhausted.


"I'll have you write up a detailed report of the meeting, and then you can go get some rest."


"Yes, Sir."


At Walter's response, Kyle massaged the back of his sore neck and moved away towards the conference room. He was almost at the door when Walter cautiously added that Tara had been assigned to transcribe the meeting.


Kyle paused for a moment. It would be even more uncharacteristic not to go because it was on the official schedule, so he opened the conference room door.


After two weeks of not seeing her there she was, his woman, Tara. And she was struggling to keep up with the note taking.


Feeling something in the left side of his chest tighten, Kyle sat down as nonchalantly as he could.


She sat sideways, focused on the content of the meeting.


He slowly lifted his gaze to look at the speaker. Naturally, she also came into his field of vision.


Tara looked so beautiful as she diligently scribbled down the meeting notes. And the way she glanced at him trying to pretend she didn't know him was cute.

.

When the speaker changed to Ferris, who sat next to him, she lifted her gaze to look at him.


He waited for the moment when her eyes turned back to him, and then did the motion she liked so much (he had no idea why she liked it in the first place). He flipped his hair over his forehead. Her lips twitched. Even that small gesture was lovely.


‘I'm going crazy.'


He had no idea how long they had been here. All he knew was that he couldn’t stand to be here a moment longer. It was dangerous. He couldn't rid himself of the sensation of her gaze lingering on him.


It was difficult for him to remain indifferent after seeing her for the first time in two weeks, especially since he had spent so much time lately thinking about her.


“…Um? Your Highness?”


"I'm listening."


“He's waiting for you in the training hall right now.”


‘He’ referred to Leonard, the high-ranking Black Society agent who relayed news between Andrei and Kyle.


They had made it a rule to avoid entering the palace unless it was important. If he had come to see him, he must have news of some significance.


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3 Comments


ProMama
ProMama
Jun 27

Ahhhh the hair flip~

I keep wondering, though, why she doesn’t at least reach out to the black society contact at home and relay a message she has info to Andrei (since he and Kyle are working together and her association with the Black Society is well established)—she witnessed and recognised Button trying to stir up sedition and that’s info they may not yet have.

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Rina
Rina
Jun 27

I can't believe this chapter got me flustered over a hair flip, but here we are.

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Laralee
Laralee
Jun 27

yessss!! I'm grateful for even public and brief meetings. Get everyone together and compare notes --- soon, please.

Thank you for the lovely chapter

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