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  • Writer's pictureRina

Chapter 62

Updated: Dec 14, 2023


Tara concludes her close call with the Prince and tracks down a man named Josh Lucas...


This chapter is dedicated to LucilaFavela, thank you so much for your donation!


Disclaimer:

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Episode 62. 77 kg (6)


"You'll need an ice pack. The swelling should go down quickly, but the bruising will be long-lasting. Now go make your report, Third Secretary."


"Yes, Your Highness."


With one last glance at Tara's swollen eye, Kyle exited the teahouse.


***


What kind of sadism was this? Giving me a gift when he knew I didn't like it?


In my hands, I held a bundle of green tea leaves. I stared at it for a moment, as I watched the Prince walk away.


What a persistent man...


Despite knowing my intentions going in, he accepted my explanation and had high expectations for me.


‘What on earth must he think of me?'


More importantly, what were his "true intentions"?


I didn't want to hear it. I knew all too well what "true intentions" he was talking about, but I didn't have the courage to ask him again.


Had he been content to remain as the Second Prince, the danger would have been slightly lessened. But it was obvious to anyone who saw him that he was far too outstanding. His current position didn’t suit him, and he deserved a greater one.


I had already guessed that he had his sights set on the highest office in the Empire. However, guessing and hearing it directly from him were two different things.


I was thinking so hard that I suddenly felt an unexpected tingling on one of my temples, and it hurt!


"Ouch!"


"Miss, what's wrong?"


"It hurts. Beth, do you have a mirror?"


"Hmph. Why didn't you just leave it to Sir Bernard to take care of things? What if you had been hurt even more seriously than this? We're leaving tomorrow! God forbid the Count and Lady Isabelle see this."


She nagged me the whole time as we made our way out of the teahouse and back to [The Kingdom], Bernard following exactly 1 metre behind us.


"Beth. Why don't you give me the mirror first and then you can nag me?"


"Here you go. You didn't need to learn to use an axe just to lose weight. You're only getting yourself into trouble by carrying a weapon."


Beth used her special move, Motor Mouth, yet again.


It felt like my ears were starting to bleed, but it was always better to let her say her piece, so I sucked it up and let her talk. Bernard followed us from a short distance away.


Clearly, he was of the same mind.


I casually raised the hand mirror and let Beth's words fade into the background, when I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks.


"If from now on you'll be carrying an axe...."


Aaaaahhhhhhhhhh!


No way! This was impossible! Had I really just had a solo meeting with the Prince looking like this...?


Beth must have sensed I was screaming internally, because she nodded her head as if to reassure me that it wasn't too bad.


"Why didn't you stop me…”


"I know. I should have."


"I look like I'm a puffer fish, uhh... Why didn't I notice the pain when I can barely see properly through my eye...?"


"Miss, I didn't say anything because I felt sorry for you. The Second Prince was dressed so neatly in comparison. So next time, just leave it to Sir Bernard and don't put yourself in danger like that...."


Just as I was questioning why I hadn't noticed my injury earlier, I felt a sharp spike of pain. I had been so nervous about having a private conversation with the Second Prince earlier that the sensation was numbed.


‘Aagh, my life is so unfair! I keep fainting and collapsing through brick walls... Why am I always like this... Aaaaah.'


I tugged the cloak over my head and walked into [The Kingdom, an a la carte restaurant beloved by the Imperial Palace].


***


[The Kingdom] restaurant staff break room.


"Is that all?"


The man's name was Josh Lucas. He was 26 years old with dark hair and impressive sideburns.*


He was born into a family known for its culinary talents and trained from a young age to follow in their footsteps working in the kitchen. As much as Josh loved to cook, there was something he loved even more: medicinal herbs.


While working with food ingredients, he became intrigued by the fact that certain foods could both improve someone's health or kill them if eaten incorrectly, and he began to study it on his own time.


By now, he now had skills comparable to that of a professional herbalist, but Josh nevertheless hadn't devoted himself to herbal research.


Or, more accurately, he couldn't.


He'd needed to take over the family business, and research required funding, which was expensive. He'd been taking more and more and more time off of his research, eventually taking months away from his projects altogether.


The more he practiced, the greater his passion for herbal research grew, so today's proposal would be like a welcome rain in a drought for him.


"Yes, please send me private reports of your progress. That's all I ask."


"And if I don't get selected?"


"In that case, I'll sponsor you directly."


"....!"


Bernard and Beth, standing behind me, regarded the table we were sitting at with surprise. Both of them knew that sponsorship was quite a significant commitment.


"Why do you think so highly of me?"


The Chronicles of Oceria had been a very dull novel for me, and I would have dropped it in a heartbeat if it hadn't been written by Kim, one of my fellow writers.


But I remembered this guy, Josh Lucas, for one reason: out of all the boring stuff, the episode he was in was the least dull.


That's why the question, 'why do you think so highly of me?' was difficult to answer. I mean, how was I supposed to explain that it was because he was a person from a novel?


Josh Lucas, the man sitting in front of me, was a man who would have his name written in medical textbooks in the future. That was why I was here, and perhaps, if all went according to plan, he would be a major contributor to my promotion in the future.


"Hmm..."


I looked up thoughtfully, struggling for a moment to find something plausible to say.


Beth, Bernard and Josh all stared at me, eyes shining, in anticipation of what would come out of my mouth. It felt terribly burdensome.


After putting the right words together, I spoke with as much sincerity as I could muster.


"Haha... The Elias family is one of the Empire's top families, and we're always in need of good people. We're always on the lookout for people who can make money. From what I understand, you're a pretty good researcher. You're doing your own research and publishing articles in journals."


"It's just a small journal, and it doesn't sell a lot of copies..."


"Actually, I'm very interested in the research from that journal. It would be great if you could get more support for your studies."


"Oh, I've only been conducting the research by myself, and honestly, I've only done the first round of clinical testing. I'm not sure it will work, since I don't have an academic background."


"Still, it's rare to find someone with that kind of passion. It's notable that you're running your own laboratory in addition to your day job. This is only a chance to go through the review process, so please take it."


"This is too good of an opportunity for me... I feel bad that you're asking me for so little in return for giving this to me."


"Actually, there's one more thing I'd like to ask of you."


"What?"


I leaned in close to Josh and whispered quietly so Beth and Bernard wouldn't overhear.


"I'll be away from the capital for a while, and if there's any use for the drug you've been developing, please do so in the name of House Elias. And if you can't report to me, please find my superior."


"Your superior?"


"His Highness Kyle Amure, the Second Prince. If you give him my name and this password, he will meet with you."


I scribbled the password on a notepad and slipped it to him.


Josh stared at the note, frowning in confusion, and then asked in surprise, as if the password wasn't the problem.


"How could I dare go to the Palace and meet someone so highly ranked?"


Hmmm. Where did he get the courage to go to the Palace in the novel? Perhaps it was because the situation was so dire?


"That's assuming the drug is finished and there's a situation where it can be used when I'm not here. There are a lot of complicated circumstances behind it."


"You really think my research will be that useful?"


"Yes, your article in the journal was very striking. So, please, accept the support from my family. Not to mention..."


It was best not to ramble on. I had to really drive my point home.


"My knight has a chronic condition, and I need someone to provide a steady supply of medication for him. Doctor Oliver has been taking care of him, but I can't keep asking such a busy doctor for help once we leave for Durben. If all goes well, I'd like you to enclose Bernard's medication alongside your reports."


Of course, my knight-in-shining-armour would be very angry at me for meddling in his digestive related affairs, but what could I say? It was true.


***


On the way back to the mansion, after finishing up our off-site business, Beth's nerves were rattled.


"Please stop talking about my bowel problems."


"Oh, I'm sorry. I don't have any excuses, I'll be sure to get your permission from now on."


"No, don't talk about it at all."


"Okay, all right, all right.”


"But why on earth are you working so hard to get this Josh guy?" Bernard grumbled from his place next to the carriage on horseback when I opened the carriage window.


"Bernard, you know I'm a bookworm, right?"


"Yes. So I've been told."


"Maybe that's why I can't resist reading things that pique my curiosity. It puts my mind at ease. Anyway, in that journal I was talking about, Josh had published some research on herbs from the East, and it looked quite promising."


This was actually something that had come up when I began investigating Josh. In addition, the contents of his journal article were a large contributor to Josh's visit to the Palace in the future.


"A herb from the East?"


"Yes, there's a plant called wolfsbane, it's classified as a poisonous herb and can cause death if consumed improperly."


"Huh, it's... poison?"


"Yes. But to Josh's surprise, the root of this poisonous plant also has analgesic, sedative, and local anaesthetic properties when applied directly to the skin."


"Local anaesthetic? What's that?"


In the Ocerian Empire, there was no such thing as local anaesthesia, which provided a concentrated numbing effect on a single part of the body in contrast to the broader effects of analgesics and sedatives.


So it was no wonder that Bernard, a knight who was always used to living with injuries, didn't know what local anaesthesia was.


"So local anaesthesia is..."


After listening to my explanation, Bernard asked in amazement.


"It can really do that?"


"Yes. You can read more about it in the journal where Josh's theory was published, but unfortunately, as he said, after it was published in that small journal, it never got any further coverage in other newspapers or periodicals, which is a shame, because it's pretty good research."


"Well, if he's right, it sounds like it could be groundbreaking..."


"It is. If no one else is interested, this is a chance for Elias Pharmaceuticals, because there's always a shortage of talent."


"I see."


Bernard nodded in understanding at my explanation.


Well, Josh needs me more than I need him...


With that, I finished my business with Josh Lucas and returned to the mansion with only two more things to do before I finally left for Durben.


At that moment, I had no idea that my association with Josh Lucas would prove to be a double-edged sword that would come back to haunt me.


___


Editor’s Notes -


* I cannot articulate how funny and jarring it was to realize that novel Josh has hilarious historical side burns. This whole time I assumed he was a cute looking twink like he is in the manhwa but he actually might look like this?? LOL



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11 commentaires


ProMama
ProMama
15 déc. 2023

Bernard had his issues outed to yet another stranger. Our poor, beleaguered IBS Knight.

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Indomitable Jewels
Indomitable Jewels
14 déc. 2023

Dying to Motor Mouth 😁

Also weirded out by sideburns 😺


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ProMama
ProMama
15 déc. 2023
En réponse à

How does Josh have chops…🤣

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Laralee
Laralee
13 déc. 2023

I agree with Tara - Beth's special move is Motor Mouth. I could be evil and toss Nick and Beth in a locked room for a day or two. Ouch.

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June
June
08 mars
En réponse à

Haha! I was also thinking that Beth and Nick would get along really well 😆

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Laralee
Laralee
13 déc. 2023

😂🤣

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Rina
Rina
13 déc. 2023

Then again Josh's sideburns were described as looking 'impressive', perhaps this is a more accurate illustration? 😆


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June
June
08 mars
En réponse à

Oh my goodness!!

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