top of page
  • Writer's pictureRina

Chapter 66


Tara catches up on news from the Capital and pursues a few intriguing intelligence leads.


This chapter is dedicated to Kivi, thank you so much for your donation and support!


Disclaimer:

DO NOT publish our edits anywhere else. Especially on social media. Otherwise we may have to stop doing this. Thank you.


Episode 66. 72kg (3)


"Wow! Who knew an illiterate person could learn how to write so quickly? I had a feeling when he memorized everything you told him so easily, Niels must be a genius! Oh, I think you're amazing too, Miss, but Niels is incredible."


Beth sat across from me, nibbling on a cookie.


She'd been afraid of dying when we first arrived, but after living without the supervision of the Head Maid for a while, she thought Durben was paradise, and now she secretly wished we could stay longer.


"He's a smart kid."


Beth was right. He had learned to read and write in just a few months.


I hadn't realized it at the time, but he must be even more gifted than I had initially thought.


"Oh, by the way, here's the newspaper, Mr. Niels enclosed alongside it, Miss."


I took the paper and scanned the contents, marvelling once again at the Second Prince.


[On the occasion of Princess Jessica's 28th birthday, the immediate royal family gathered for a grand dinner. At the banquet, the Emperor ordered that the delayed selection of a husband for Princess Jessica Amure be finalized within the year, and that the selection of princess consorts for Prince Kyle Amure and Prince Joseph Amure, the second and third in the imperial succession, should proceed immediately after the princess's marriage.


Shortly thereafter, the Second Prince departed the banquet hall, and before leaving, he was said to have requested to relocate 20 percent of the Palace's guards garrisoned in Izari for the central defense of the Capital.


In addition, according to a reliable source inside the Imperial Palace, the Second Prince boldly asked the Emperor for direct Imperial Palace support for the Military...


May 20, 1815.

Imperial Palace Daily]*


[In the end, the additional budget for the Military was not enacted. Nevertheless, the Commander-in-chief of the Military, Second Prince Kyle Amure, reorganized the military units of the Capital's central army, transferring 30 percent of their units on the border with Skandoa.


In response to this drastic move, members of the aristocracy announced that they would petition the Emperor to strip the Second Prince of his command of the armed forces, calling it a blatant disregard of parliament...


June 25, 1815.

Osiria Daily News].


"Wow... He's moving quickly."


"What?"


"Ah. Nothing. Give me a minute, Beth."


I took out my brush pen to reply to my mother's letter, which I had read before Niels'.


My mother had already written me four letters since I arrived, and they were always the same.


They all started with "I miss you" and included, "If it's too much for you, resign and come back home." But they also always concluded with, "I love you, my dearest daughter, and I'll always support you," which made me smile.


One thing was certainly true, the Korean motto was 'Fighting!' Oh, but I suppose my mother wasn't Korean.


Hoping to ease my own worries, I wrote back, starting with 'I'm adjusting well' and ending with 'I'm content with my job.'


I immediately wrote back to Niels, asking him to keep an eye on her, left the letters in Beth's care and got up.


"What? You're leaving again? It's almost time for dinner."


"I have night duty, I have to go."


"A night shift. We've been here for two months and I haven't even memorized all of your duties... Conflict Management, Post-Conflict Restoration, hmmm... and umm... Hmm, and analysis..."


"Analyzing Conflict Prevention Intelligence, Investigating Reports of Internal Misconduct, Issuing Travel Documents to Ocerian Civilians, Managing Consular Supplies, Military  Supply Chain Management, and Completing Transfer Documents for Military Members. Eight in total."


"Ah really, there's so many that it's impossible to remember it all. Isn't this too much for you, miss? Everything that you're doing...!"


It was pointless saying the same thing a hundred times. It would only make my mouth hurt. Already knowing what Beth was going to say, I held up my palm to silence her.


"Please just get me a sandwich and some water."


"It's good that you've lost so much weight, my Lady, but you're going to collapse if you do too much! You had a hard time adapting to the new environment, and have completed basic military training on top of your training with Sir Bernard...!"


But Beth never made it to the end of her speech, because her Mistress had already disappeared.


***


Two months later, August, Durben.


Ocerian Empire 3rd Post in the Tripoint Joint Security Area.


It was nighttime, and I was waiting for an informant at the 3rd security post, Bernard having willingly accompanied me.


When meeting with an informant, it was important to do so in a place where you couldn't be easily seen.


The 3rd Imperial Guard Post was located on the outskirts of the joint security zone, so there weren't many people around, and it hadn't been used in over three months, so there was no chance of anyone coming here. No one except for the informant.


"How long will this take? And will the informant really come?"


"I have to verify this, it's one of my eight duties. Investigating Reports of Internal Misconduct."


"Hasn't the same report been made twice already and both said the same thing?"


"Yes. But, why would they write down the meeting place and not show up? If it's a prank, they're very dedicated to playing dirty tricks, but if it's real, the report is serious, but they lack the courage. Or perhaps they don't like me because I'm new, so they're testing me..."


"What if they don't come tonight?"


"Then my first priority...."


"Your first priority?"


"I'll decide what to do after cursing them out a bit. Whether I want to verify the information or take them in for obstruction of justice."


My predecessor had resigned as soon as I arrived. The previous administrator had been 67 years old and had worked here for two years past the standard retirement age of 65.


"...It's admirable. It's commendable that you're the only military administrator here, my Lady. But it's also surprising that the Military still hasn't assigned additional personnel."


"My predecessor said that one person was enough. And maybe it's because I'm so good at my job? Hehe."


"I also heard that your predecessor didn't get anything done on time and put everything off until later. He didn't even bother to tell the higher-ups.... Haa. Are you laughing?"


It wasn't an ideal situation to be laughing, but I couldn't be deadpan all the time, could I?


"Should I be crying instead? Besides, Bernard, I won't just languish here forever. I told you, I'm leveraging every opportunity."


"Oh... Because the second way to  get a special promotion is excellent job performance."


"Yes. I've been keeping meticulous records of every single task I've done for the past four months, and I'm due for a performance review in two months."


"Will that be enough? Even if you've decided to do this, maybe you should try for the fourth option on the list, making a significant contribution to the Empire outside of work."


"I know that. Before I got here, I thought I'd be able to make an impact because there would be plenty of opportunities, but who knew a conflict zone could be so peaceful? So I'm going to have to bet on excellent job performance instead. Does that make sense?"


By month four, I felt like the military had forgotten I existed.


Originally, I thought there would be a lot of big incidents in an active conflict zone I could use to distinguish myself with, but who knew it would be so peaceful? I had a good reason to return to the Palace as quickly as possible.


"Not really, but I don't get it! You should ask the military for help. Why are you doing this? You won't even take a single day off, and now you're even working at night?"


"Is that so? Ah! The letter. That's right. I brought this."


It was a letter from Josh Lucas that had arrived this evening. The third one already. His previous correspondence hadn't given much detail, but he'd dropped hints, so I opened it quickly, hoping to learn more this time.


[...I never considered the method the Lady mentioned, but upon reflection, it occurred to me that it would be more efficient for the patients; so I tried to dispense it as you suggested, and found it to be quite efficacious. Councilor Oliver advised I can use as many herbs as needed from Elias Pharmaceuticals. The fruit you mentioned from the Kingdom of Barron is also difficult to obtain, and there is no official import route, so I can't get a lot of it, but there is more than enough for my research. Before this I didn't dare to buy it because it was too expensive.... This is yet another benefit of your patronage, my Lady. Thank you very much. I don't have many test groups yet, but I'm looking into it.]


Hmm. Was it really okay to steal the credit here? I'd only tried to ensure Josh Lucas would discover a certain thing from the future earlier.


But I wasn't overly troubled. I needed to become the Family Head. This work was too important to me, too important for my family, and for the Imperial Palace.


[I will write to you again as soon as I have more accurate figures. By the way, Sir Bernard's medicine is enclosed. I am sending you a powder of cranesbill and lotus flower, which is good for muscular aches and fatigue; drink it like tea before bed. I will write to you again, Josh Lucas].**


"...There's nothing you can do. Really, why are you helping him when he has Elias Pharmaceuticals? You're drowning in work as it is, and look at the weight you've lost. Hmph. It's good to get more toned through training, but your work is what's causing the weight loss."


"Bernard, you're always such a worrywart. It's strange, but I feel more relaxed here than I was in the Capital even though I have so much work. I'm always getting exercise! Haha."


"Well, you might be on the way to being more fit. Anyway, just do your job here for now. As for Josh, I think you can leave that job to Doctor Oliver."


Bernard couldn't understand why I was receiving letters from Josh, reporting on his research.


The situation was unnecessary in Bernard's eyes, so I had no choice but to give reasons that would sound good to him.


"Well, since I recommended him, I'd like to keep an eye on his progress to see how he's doing. I could be the next Family Head, right?"


"Hmph. Well, I suppose so, but do you really think it's possible? Becoming the Family Head?" Bernard asked seriously.


Just five months ago, Bernard would have scoffed at the idea, but perhaps after watching me for the past few months he began to think it might be possible.


"I'm past the stage where I see it as a mere possibility and I'm moving toward it. My goal is clear and unchangeable and I refuse to deviate from it. I will do anything to achieve it.”


Bernard was asking about becoming the Family Head, but when I responded I was thinking about preventing my family's execution.


"I've wondered about it a few times, but if I don't do it, it would cause problems. Of course, being Family Head is a big deal, and it might not happen. I have to be prepared for that eventuality."


The words 'or I'll die' hovered in my throat, but didn't come out.


"Oh... I suppose so."


After my insincere response, silence descended on the outpost, and after a long wait, the informant didn't show up. For the third time in a row.


"That son of a bitch, what is he doing? When we catch this guy, I'll grab his tongue and rip it out!"


Haa... How brutal.


After a tremendous amount of internal debate, I decided to get to the bottom of this matter.


It would be worth it to find a cowardly whistleblower, and if that didn't work out, it would also be satisfying to find this chronic prankster and beat the crap out of them.


Who knew, maybe I'd get some extra credit for my work.


I returned to the official residence at dawn with a very groggy Bernard.


Three hours later, I reported to the consulate to begin one of my eight duties: Issuing Ocerian travel documents to civilians in Durban Tripoint.


___

Editor’s Notes -


* So yeah, Kyle has a 28 year old half-sister no one mentioned up until now. As far as I know this is the only time in the entire novel that Princess Jessica is mentioned. We know that Vivian and Emperor Louis also have another daughter, Princess Margaret, who Chloe is working for, but don’t know much about her and neither of the princesses really have any significant presence in the story. Even the fact they are Vivian’s daughters is pure speculation. I’ll be the first to admit that this is frustrating writing, I would love to know who these characters are but they are treated as irrelevant to the plot. We also never see Franz’s wife in the main plot (yes, he has a wife). Honestly I could write a full conspiracy style essay trying to assemble the scant details we have on the women of the Amure Family and it’s a weird choice to write them into the story but not use them. 


** Both of these herbs are ingredients in Chinese and Korean herbal medicine. The first herb, cranesbill (Geranium thunbergii), and lotus have both been traditionally used to treat various maladies (so many it's hard to list all of them).


Enjoyed the chapter? Buy us a ko-fi!


422 views6 comments

Related Posts

See All

6 Comments


Indomitable Jewels
Indomitable Jewels
Dec 31, 2023

I suppose it's not surprising, if they cannot succeed the throne, their only worth is to be pawns in political game through marriage. More surprising is not to marry them off the second they come of age.

Still, it would make for better worldbuilding to include them in the tapestry. I second the opinion that it makes no sense giving a character name and such an important status and rank, if you don't mean to use it.

It's

Like

Thamalasca
Thamalasca
Dec 28, 2023

How women are treated in this novel whatever role they are in, including our beloved MC is definitely a subject I'll write about someday. I must admit that it is one of the rare grievances I have with the author, unless, as I suspect, she's going meta with it.

Like
Thamalasca
Thamalasca
Dec 28, 2023
Replying to

I have read the 'whole thing' thus my statement about women in this novel. The'satire' as you call it is fierce to say the least. Once you've read it all, I'd love for us to revisit this conversation to get your pov on it all. It's bound to be interesting.

Like

ProMama
ProMama
Dec 27, 2023

It IS strange to give half sisters for the three princes to ignore. But I guess it’s almost a statement of how little a woman matters in the imperial court unless she’s empress, and even then, it’s her family’s backing that gives her power.

Like
Rina
Rina
Dec 27, 2023
Replying to

There's definitely that to consider. I also get how the Princesses would want to stay out of the court drama between the three brothers considering how little power they have.

Vivian is not a good mother to her sons so I imagine she is no better with her daughters.

Like
bottom of page