Where Tara roasts some bitches, and Kyle recalls a dream.
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Episode 53. 80 kg (18)
"In a world where value is based on appearance, the criticism of those who grew up thinking it's the highest priority is exactly just that–criticism.
"I don't have to listen to you, and I don't have to deal with aristocrats who behave in a manner they know is undignified and disrespectful.
"So your apology isn't worth hearing either. I hope you'll grow a pair of eyes to see people for who they are, not for what they look like."
"I beg your pardon?"
The noblewomen’s jaws slowly dropped. I shrugged.
"I don't know how much better people who go through life with that kind of thinking will be after hearing me because of the narrow-minded way your families raised you. But I want you all to know one thing for sure.
"Right now, you're like the ignorant and vulgar extras number one, two, three and four in those popular novels. Ahahahahaha."
It was so refreshing to see everyone staring at me in disbelief and unable to speak, but once again, I couldn't help but resent not having a phone.
Whether in Korea or here, only the lowest of lowlifes demeaned people based on their looks... Tsk, tsk, when I become a really high-ranking official...
Startled by the sudden thought, I shook my head and started to pick out clothes very slowly.
I almost sounded like someone who actually wanted to become an administrator, and not because of my damned family.
That was something I could only say when I didn't know what the future would bring.
I didn't really want to work as an administrator here...
To clear my head, I pushed my way through the gap between the girls, who were fanning themselves at my words, and inspected the dresses.
Before I knew it, I had found the one dress that fit me perfectly and walked out of the shop with confidence.
Unfortunately, only the dress fit me, and the jacket I found wasn't made for women, so I bought the men's version and would have it altered at the mansion.
The next day, I arrived at the training grounds at the crack of dawn.
Bernard, dressed in full uniform, knelt down on one knee before me and laid down his worn axe at my feet.
It was early in the morning, and Beth had not accompanied us.
With a solemn, serious look on his face, Bernard recited the Master's Oath and held out his axe to me.
"I, Tara Elias, swear that as your master, Bernard Smith, I will put your faithfulness and mine first in all my actions, as you have sworn. I declare this oath to be absolute, one that can only be broken by death from this moment onwards, except when an act of betrayal occurs."
I slowly handed him his axe with both hands, and Bernard respectfully accepted it, bowing his head.
Hereby, Bernard, a future General, was truly one of my own, my vassal.
At dawn, two days after Bernard's oath, in the archery training grounds of the Second Imperial Palace.
Kyle had been firing arrows at a target that was already punctured with countless holes in the same position for an hour now.
He couldn't help it. The dream he'd had again after nearly five months made him get up from bed early.
[... Mother! Mother! Please, Mother...]
He was there again, holding his mother in his arms as the sole survivor twelve years ago after the invaders had left.
The same scene, the same dream, over and over again. The place was covered in crimson blood, and so was his body.
He didn't remember how long he had stayed there, clutching his mother's limp form.
He only knew that he was there until late at night, when the Security Forces arrived.
Ever since, that scene had been engraved into his mind as a dream, and it was the only time he saw his mother again that wasn't a nightmare.
Fortunately, there was a little bit he managed to reap yesterday.
Last night, only a day after returning from Gallon d'Or.
[The man from the tavern threw out all but one thing, all of which was useless.]
[The office where the first mercenaries were recruited was on the Knights Guild Street, and I went to look for it. The man who managed it twelve years ago still lived in the Capital, so I visited him. He's nearly seventy years old, it was too long ago for him, and there were too many mercenaries for him to recount. But...]
[He told me about a vicious rumour from about twelve years ago, regarding a mercenary group. You were not in the Capital at the time and couldn't have known about it, Your Highness, as it was a rumour that only circulated in back alleys.]
[Yes, Your Highness. He said that the mercenary group's story was made into a song that is often sung in the alleys of Knight Guild Street.]
[Hmm... Is that so?]
[Yes, Your Highness, I heard the rumours myself when I was in the mercenary corps, but that fellow said something different to what I heard].
[What do you mean?]
[The song I remember says that the mercenaries have gone out four times, but in the song the manager knew it was five times].
Richard of the Inspection Department recited the 'Cursed Mercenaries' rumour that had circulated twelve years ago. The rumour that was so well known amongst experienced knights that it turned into a song.
Mercenaries have no principles.
Mercenaries will do anything for riches.
Five times they went out to pillage.
One time, they assisted a corrupt nobleman in destroying a village.
Another time, their mission was to kill the commoners who spoke ill.
Then, they visited the vassal who discovered the nobleman in the act and wiped out his servants.
Furthermore, on a battlefield they ambushed an allied general, and the enemy they gifted his head to.
At last, a young illegitimate child they encountered, and his family they brutally slaughtered.
Mercenaries have no principles.
Mercenaries will do anything for riches.
All five expeditions must have happened.
[... What was the exact name of the mercenaries?]
[No one knew that, they just had a nickname, 'The Cursed Ones'.]
He could hunt them down right now and slit their throats, but it wouldn't be that easy. The mercenaries were most likely minions of the House he had been investigating so far.
He'd rather withhold the sweet release of death, even if they were to vomit blood and beg for a clean death. Instead, he'd take what was most precious from them.
To do so, he needed precise and accurate evidence.
One way was to find the people who had murdered his mother and their relatives on that day twelve years ago.
He sincerely hoped they were alive. Not a night had passed since that day twelve years ago where Kyle hadn't prayed and prayed and prayed for that, even though he didn't believe in the existence of God.
The reason Kyle entered the Palace as a Prince was for the power he could wield. He needed the strength to fight as much as a cause.
And as soon as he had that power, he would be sure to reveal the events of twelve years ago and slaughter them as they did.
Kyle shot the last arrow into the centre again and returned to the Palace. News awaited him that would lift his sagging spirits, if only for a moment.
"Your Highness, I have word that Countess Diane Reese, of the Reese family in the South, is visiting. She is expected to arrive sometime this evening, and both she and her family have requested a room at your Palace."
"It's been a year. I'll see her tomorrow at noon at another place, not in a stuffy Palace."
"Yes, Your Highness, I will pass this on."
I didn't leave my room all morning, searching through memories of the old days.
[... Skandoa, who had foolishly started this war despite a clear disparity in power, opted for a guerrilla style of warfare. They fought a losing battle for three months, provoking the Empire until they were finally overwhelmed by Imperial forces and promptly surrendered. Afterwards, the war gave the Skandoan king a justification for dealing with his political opponents who had recklessly started the war...]
Now that I had looked it up, I remembered reading this in the Chronicles a little more clearly.
I refocused on the newspaper.
[The rationale behind an increased Military Budget, which was tabled at the regular budget review in May, was surprisingly the prospect of a new war with Skandoa, which had already ended three years earlier.
Despite the Second Prince's persuasive arguments, the pro-aristocratic majority opposed the bill and it was knocked off the table.
It is interesting to note that, at the same time that this agenda item was being debated it was being talked about by some new administrators at the Administrative Exam Interview, which ended in late April.
The cause of this was a comment made by one of the interviewees, from House E, who eloquently argued for a recurrence of a war with the Skandoans.
According to the words of a new administrator who was there, Lady T of House E calmly explained the diplomatic and social situation in Skandoa with the help of newspapers, logically and…
May 5, 1815 on the Imperial Calendar.
Imperial Citizen Daily]
Was this supposed to guarantee my complete anonymity?
I already knew of the war, so I was certain of myself during the interview, but Prince Kyle was a soldier with experience leading the Military, and as a leader he was convinced the war would recur.
As expected, he was a cheat character... Now that I was thinking about it, about eight months after Skandoa would declare war, the Prince crushed them, the prohibition was lifted shortly after, and then, that would happen...
"It's such a dangerous place to go, you'll have a hard time, my daughter... A lot of awful things could happen, and the weather is bad, so it won't be easy to live there. What should I do with my baby?"
I was so lost in thought that I forgot about the situation at hand.
My sweet and affectionate mother sat by my bedside, looking at me with the saddest eyes in the world while she occasionally stroked my face. This was the second day of my ailment.
It was said that kindness is also an illness. Ha, I couldn't get used to that.
I crumpled the newspaper I was reading and turned to face my mother.
"Haha... How many times do I have to tell you? Mother, I'll be back soon."
"I heard that once you go, getting relocated won't be easy."
"Who told you that?"
Oh my... She was like an old witch.
"No. I looked it up and it said that it's basically a one-year assignment, but if I do my best, they'll send me to the Capital within six months."
"Still, why don't you just give up, dear? You're old enough to find a husband."
"Well, I don't want you to get married any time soon, but I do want you to start going out into society and enjoying the pleasures that normal aristocratic children do."
"I really don't want to see my daughter struggling in the midst of her family. As a mother, I don't want you to suffer."
Oh. I couldn't handle this kind of intense maternal love.
She was only three years older than my Korean age, but now that I was already feeling Tara's emotions, I couldn't help but feel a stabbing pain in my chest at the maternal love of this delicate woman here.
But, that was it.
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