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  • Writer's pictureRina

Chapter 69



Kyle deals with an intelligence leak and the Black Society plots their next move.


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


Disclaimer

DO NOT publish our edits anywhere else.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



Episode 69. 63 kg (3)


September 10th.


Ocerian Army field camp on the slopes of Mount Keru, on the Skandoan border.


Crack-koom!


The heavy column of rain that had begun that morning didn't cease until the afternoon, completely engulfing the camp on the slopes of the mountain.


The troops had gone to bed early to prepare for the next day’s ambush. After weathering a preemptive strike from Skandoa on September 1st, the Imperial Ocerian forces had turned the tables and proceeded to decimate Skandoa's forces. It was like Skandoa had been expecting them.

.

Still, Kyle thought the Skandoans' behavior during their initial offensive had been unusual.


The Skandoans had taken over the border posts with such precision as if they knew exactly where the frontline troops on the border would be located before Kyle arrived.


It was safe to assume that classified military information had been leaked.


Surprised by the swiftness of the counterattack, the Skandoan forces had retreated back to their borders to reorganize their troops.


Several days had passed, and today Kyle sat in his field barracks studying the terrain of the borderlands and reviewing the strategy for tomorrow's surprise attack.


"... Your Highness, Nick has arrived."


"Come in."


Opening the tent flap of the barracks, Walter entered, and right behind him, a rain-soaked Nick followed, grimacing.


'I've been sitting on a horse for so long I can't feel my ass, and now it's raining. I'm soaked to the point of freezing to death.'


“Nick. Report!"


Walter scolded, and Nick, getting a hold of himself, quickly stepped in front of Kyle and began to report.


‘No, I can't give in to my stupid habits.' He shivered again before beginning his report.


“How have you been, Your Highness? As Your Highness's right-hand man, I was very concerned that something serious might have happened while I was in the Capital... !”


Kyle looked up from the map in front of him, his face expressionless. 


"Are you insane? Have you forgotten that this is wartime?" 


Nick straightened, cursing his stupid impulsive comments.


Even though Kyle was an Imperial Prince, it was hardly unusual to see him standing at the forefront of the battlefield. The heads of each local Ministry of Security department were accustomed to reporting every month without fail, whether it was wartime or peacetime. 


"Your Humble Servant, Nick Bright, was delayed by the rain. I will begin with the regional scouting reports from the Ministry of Security.


Nick rattled off each Ministry of Public Safety report with the utmost discipline.


"...The Black Society, the Empire's largest intelligence organization, did not pass on Empire intelligence to other nations as feared, but they did collect intelligence from other nations from time to time. I was unable to look into the contents of their foreign intelligence in detail. After excluding the Black Society, I narrowed the list of suspect intelligence organizations Your Highness asked me to investigate to three."


Pausing to catch his breath, Nick resumed his report.


"All three intelligence organizations were covertly crossing borders. We are gathering evidence on a number of leaks of state secrets, two of which appear to have been sold to our enemy, Skandoa. Given that Skandoa recently attacked a border post early in the war, we believe the leak included information on each of the border posts and our major troop movements."


"Which ones?"


"Two different organizations, the Black Shadow and Scorpion. Their main areas of operation are primarily conflict zones, and they've been ensnaring military officials who are too difficult for the Ministry of Security to keep an eye on."


After hearing all the security department reports, Kyle issued additional related orders before asking to hear the reports from enforcement.


"Bring me a list of the senior military leaders in the conflict zones. I want the Military's tactical operations team to come up with a new strategy, because it looks like we're going to have to move the posts and reroute a lot of troops based on the information they've acquired. Tell the Ministry of Security to keep an eye out for any more compromising information leaks, and tip off the Black Society operatives holed up in the Palace that state secrets have been passed to Skandoa through either Black Shadow or Scorpion."


"Yes."


Nick was tempted to ask why it was necessary to bring this to the attention of the Black Society, but he held back.


Instead, he decided to ask Walter later.


He hated to admit it, but Walter understood his Master's orders slightly better than he did.


"Tell the Department of Security to increase the number of officers assigned to surveil the Black Society and keep a closer eye on them."


"Yes, Your Highness."


Nick continued with the next intelligence report for each part of the Empire, maintaining his air of discipline.


Kyle listened while studying the map again. About halfway through the report, Kyle interrupted Nick.


"...Wait. Only four lines?"


"What?"


"The report from earlier. Anything else?"


"Uh... That's all I have on the Third Secretary."


"Give it to me."


Nick slid the document he'd been looking at into Kyle's outstretched hand.


Kyle's eyes skimmed over the report. Nick looked at him, and for a moment, his eyes widened in disbelief at what had just happened.


‘Eh? What is that? Is that a... smile?’


It was a smile. An obvious upturned grin, not a sneer. He rubbed his eyes, thinking he'd misread it, but when he looked again, the smile was still there.


He glanced at Walter, wondering if he was the only one who was intrigued, but his eyes had also widened.


‘What is it? What's going on?'


"Continue."


"Yes. Your Highness."


Quickly scanning the entirety of the report that had been handed back to him at Kyle's command, Nick couldn't figure out what had made his Lord smile.


The section on the Third Secretary was a mere four lines of plain summary.


[Report on Third Secretary Tara Elias. Immediately after taking up her post at Durban Tripoint, she has devoted himself to her work as a secretary to the best of her ability.


Is committed to personal training, and working with soldiers to improve fitness. Doesn't shy away due to being young, female, or noble. Strange thing: Not only working overtime, but also looking for additional tasks and seems to be doing three days' worth of work in a single day. Not typical of the Empire, a bit of a novelty.


Richard Clark, Scout].


‘What's going on... Maybe because she's kind of... different...? Yes, maybe he's smiling because it's interesting.'


Nick felt he had found a reasonable explanation, and continued his report. Kyle calmly returned to listening with his usual impassive expression.


Leaving Kyle's barracks, Nick turned to Walter, scratching his head.


"You saw that, didn't you? That was definitely a smile, wasn't it? That's a little out of character for him..."


"I don't know. He's not one to show his true colors. By the way, did you understand why he told us to leak the info to the Black Society earlier?"


For some reason,Nick’s pride was hurt. He'd obviously wanted to come out and ask a while ago, but when Walter asked him so openly, he didn't want to admit to his lack of comprehension.


"Ah… I understand. Of course."


"Ah... Then do you also know why he asked you to increase the number of people in the Intelligence Department to keep track of movement in the Black Society?"


"...I know...."


"Really? Then explain it to me. Let's see if what you understood is the same as what I understood. If not, we'll have to ask the Lord again."


A trickle of cold sweat ran down Nick's back, dripping down his spine.


"...Well, you go ahead and tell me. Then I'll tell you where you're wrong."


Oooh, such amazing quickwittedness. As expected, the vassal resembled his Master...


Nick was inwardly incredibly impressed with his own improvisation.


Walter, seeing that he had a point, smirked and explained his realization.


"The Black Society is the largest intelligence organization in the Empire. I'm told that one of the reasons the Empire tolerates the Black Society is because they never sell information to other nations. It’s a credo and principle of their Head, Andrei Pitt."


"I've heard that, too."


“It is safe to say that most of the other organizations in the Empire follow this principle as they are all offshoots of the Black Society. However, one has emerged that has ignored this principle. If you were the head of the Black Society, would you just sit back and watch?”


Nick listened with open ears. His hands itched to slap his knee in understanding.


But he held back. Instead, he deftly parried Walter's question.


"That's what I thought. He can't leave them alone, so he's going to find the other two organizations somehow. No, he's going to find them, and identify which of the two is responsible for the leak. We're going to increase the number of people in the Intelligence Service to keep an eye on the Black Society, so we can also find them more easily. Hahaha. It must be very comforting for His Highness to know that you and I are on the same page, isn't it? Hahaha."


Walter patted Nick on the shoulder and nodded approvingly.


"Don't try too hard."


"What? What does that mean? Are you telling me to stop doing something? Hey, hey, hey. Walter!"


Surely he could have caught up with Walter, who was walking ahead, and asked him in more detail, ‘What do you mean by don't try so hard?’ But Nick’s instincts told him not to.


Instead, he just stood in place and vainly called out Walter's name.


***


September 25, Black Society Headquarters, The Drunken Dragon. Underground Warehouse.


Andrei Pitt was reading the intelligence from various regions. Behind him, his immediate aide, Curtison, waited to report.


"Is the information that the Second Prince has kindly handed over being utilized?"


"Yes, Sir. Both 'Black Shadow' and 'Scorpion' have been under intense scrutiny since your instructions a week ago. There's one particular organization of interest."


"Is it Scorpion as I expected?"


"Yes, it is."


"That Orlando guy. I knew his greed was excessive, but now he must know his days are numbered... Tsk, tsk, tsk."


A deep sense of betrayal showed on Andrei's face.


Orlando was Andrei Pitt's sixth pupil, one who had run away halfway through and created a criminal organization masquerading as an intelligence agency called Scorpion.


Curtison continued his report cautiously.


"Also, as you said, we have deliberately placed additional personnel at the Scorpion base in the Capital. Presumably, the report has been passed along to the Second Prince."


"Yes. Since the Second Prince dropped a hint, we should... We should provide mutual support. Where did the top-level information come from?"


"There are eight locations where Scorpion operatives have been active recently, three inland ports, two in the Capital, and three in conflict zones."


"Conflict zones?"


There were a total of five places in the Empire classified as disputed territory, including territorial waters.


"The Ollarisa Plains, bordering Skandoa to the north, Durban Tripoint in Hellarion Province to the west, and a total of three areas in Paktan on the border between Skandoa and the Kingdom of Barron to the Northwest. We plan to start by locating the Scorpion bases in each of these areas."


Andrei, who had been listening to his aide's report thoughtfully the entire time, snapped his head up.


"What? Wait, Durben Tripoint?" ____ Editor's Note -


I refuse to apologize for picking this cover image. That is all.


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