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  • Writer's pictureRina

Chapter 82

Tara escapes but soon starts to feel the effects of the poison. Meanwhile, Kyle decides to visit.


This chapter is dedicated to the wonderful Indomitable Jewels! Thank you for your support and comments!


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Episode 82. About a year (9)


“Please elaborate, 3rd Secretary. What is going on here?”


When he asked, he noticed her odd outfit, and dishevelled hair. This was getting increasingly strange.


She explained that she had stopped by the club and stumbled upon a secret room, where she had found a person who had been reported missing from the local Military complex.


Walter listened attentively, but his eyes were piercing, scanning her face the entire time she spoke. After he had finished listening to Tara's story, he asked.


"How did you know he was a missing person?"


"Please inquire with Sergeant Bruno at the Joint Security Unit about the missing person. I told him I'd assist and put up some posters for him at the embassy. I went out of my way to help him because it would reflect well on my service record."


Walter mulled that over for a moment, then decided it wasn't his place to judge.


"A coincidence. I see..... First, you need to return to the embassy. We'll investigate witnesses separately after the field investigation here is completed."


"Yes, of course."


Meanwhile, Leonard, who had been watching the scene from afar, left a note for Jack with a message for Tara and hurried away.


***


The afternoon was dusky and dark. It had been about two hours since Kyle had arrived in Durben.


On the way to the Integrated Security Unit. The closed Ocerian embassy caught Kyle's eye.


He gave it a quick glance and continued, but then after an instant's thought, he pulled his horse to a halt with a swift tug on the reins.


"Your Highness?"


Kyle's sudden halt also caused Chris to jerk his reins and halt his horse in its tracks.


He spun his horse in place, eager to get going, and quickly returned to Kyle's side.


"Where's the item I asked you to bring?"


"Ah... It's in my saddlebag right now."


“Go to the official embassy residence and inform them of my arrival. I want to meet with them.”


Chris didn't bother to ask who he wanted to see. Perhaps because he'd been working for Kyle for so long, he immediately understood and did as he was told.


***


Richard Clarke, a third-year veteran who'd  played a part in Operation Gallon d'Or, had been transferred to Durben about six months ago.


As a scout, he was tasked with keeping tabs on enemies or potential enemies, and this was one of those times.


Posing as one of the guards in front of the embassy, Richard watched closely and reported back on the subjects under surveillance.


‘She's just a new secretary... Why am I watching a newcomer? Hmmm. Could it be that His Highness has his eye on House Elias...?’


This simple question he'd had since the beginning hadn't been resolved yet, but that was understandable.


His curiosity about the subjects of his surveillance was often left unsatisfied, so he dutifully observed with an objective watchfulness.


However, this one was every different from the subjects he usually conducted reconnaissance on.


‘Hmmm... What on earth is going on, and why is she being watched by His Highness for such a long time?'


It wasn't usually like this. This surveillance period had been unusually long. Typically, when a request for surveillance was made, the investigation was completed within three months. Even in the case of Gallon d'Or, the case had been closed after only one week of observation.


But even after six months, the surveillance hadn't ended. Richard pitied himself. It was miserable going undercover as a security guard in the Durben conflict zone.


‘I shouldn't have volunteered for this.... I thought I was going to work this job for a few weeks and then come back... This is it, ugh. This is killing me.'


From what he'd seen over the past six months, Third Secretary Tara Elias was a bit, or rather, very weird, but far from potentially dangerous.


But you could never be too careful. Criminals were more sophisticated than most realized, and they were everywhere throughout the Empire. In the past three years, he'd seen more than his fair share.


And so, today as well, Richard stood guard at the official consular residence, standing guard in order to best fulfill his duties.


"She should be coming back soon, right...?"


There wasn't even a tiny ant in sight. Even the neighborhood children who sometimes ran around seemed to have gone home for the evening, perhaps since it was now approaching dinner time.


It was getting dark, and the smell of the night's beef stew slowly wafted from the kitchen of the consular residence. The delicious smell drifted to his nose and tormented his stomach.


He closed his eyes for a moment, savoring the smell.


"...Hey, Richard, His Highness has arrived."


"Argh!"


Richard's eyes widened in surprise, and he jerked back in an uncharacteristically awkward pose, squinting as he struggled to recognize the man in front of him. It was Chris Bow, the deputy commander of the Order of the Phoenix.


"Do you mean to tell me that His Highness has traveled all this way just to see me?"


"What?"


"This is such an honor...!”


"Of course not. Come to your senses, your mission isn't over. You're a guard now, go to the consular residence and announce it."


"Ah...."


Richard, who had come to his senses too late, looked at him in surprise and tried to smile in embarrassment. His head was in a state of disarray. He quickly ran into the residence.


***


The sudden appearance of the Second Prince caused brief chaos in the entry hall.


It was rare for a member of the Imperial l family to visit the consular residence. The fact that it was a Sunday and the residence's owner was not present made the visit even more confusing.


The Second Prince, Kyle Amure was the commander-in-chief of the Military, and was known to show up unannounced to visit units all over the Empire.


This was hardly surprising, but the official residence was private and rarely visited, unless there was a corruption investigation underway.


Jack, the chamberlain, was the first one to receive the announcement from Richard Clarke.


After retrieving the message from Leonard, Jack had taken a shortcut so he would arrive at the residence first, where he waited for Tara Elias to arrive.


But the Second Prince. Jack's eyes had initially lit up with surprise, but he quickly informed both the chef and Beth.


The chef, Wilson, had been concentrating on the beef stew in the kitchen, and Beth had been hovering beside him, commenting on the sauce. She'd been saying that it was too spicy and a bit boring. Their expressions turned to shock, and their eyes widened when he told them.


"Good heavens! What shall we do, Mr. Wilson? She's not back yet!"


“What can we do? Escort him to the parlor quickly. Hurry!”


Wilson, who had just finished marinating some beef short ribs, wiped his hands in surprise.


As an experienced chef, he had often acted as butler in the absence of his Master, and, as such, he would handle the hospitality of the house, which had neither Master nor butler at the moment.


Beth, Wilson, and Jack immediately headed to the entrance hall as soon as they finished speaking. John, the chamberlain, was surprised and gathered with the others instead of fixing the door knob.


***


"Why didn't you go with her?" Kyle asked.


After realizing Tara wasn't there, he briefly stared out the residence window.


Beth swallowed hard before replying, "She... She said she didn't need me there, she went with her personal knight."


Cold sweat trickled down her back, as if she were guilty of a crime she hadn't actually committed.


After all, it was highly unlikely that a noblewoman's maid would ever find herself face-to-face with a member of the Imperial family.


Beth was a commoner at heart. She felt she had been seeing far too much of the Imperial Family, and especially the Second Prince of the Empire lately. 


"Yes, I see."


"She said she would return this evening before dinnertime, so she should be back soon. Shall I escort you to the drawing room, Your Highness?"


After a moment's consideration, the Second Prince seemed to have made up his mind.


"I will wait in the hall."


The Prince walked leisurely over to a chair and sat down as if this was the Imperial Palace. The knight who had arrived with him very casually positioned himself at the entrance to the hall.


"Go about your business."


At Chris's dismissal, Wilson and the chamberlain returned to their workspaces, Jack stood by the wall like a loyal servant, and Beth cautiously approached the Prince.


"Tea... Do you wish to drink anything, Your Highness?


"Olive leaf tea."


"Yes. Your Highness. Pardon?" Beth stammered, then urgently repeated the request. She'd never heard of that type of tea before.


"Y- Your Highness, I don't believe we have that kind of tea."


"The tea I gave you back there, in the alley in the Capital. Didn't you bring it with you?"


"....?"


Beth stared blankly for a moment, but after a few more seconds, she realized what tea the Prince was referring to.


"Ah! Yes, we have it, Your Highness."


With the swiftness of the Empire's most capable maid, Beth went to the kitchen and retrieved the green tea leaves from the cupboard.


The tea hadn't been touched since they came to Durben. Beth had heard its name when Tara had first received it, but she couldn't remember it and didn't recognize it by name. It was olive leaf tea.


Beth steeped the tea carefully, trying to avoid embarrassing her Lady as much as possible, and hoping that she would return soon.


***


Time passed by sluggishly.


My head was getting heavier and heavier. The carriage had left the club for the official residence about 10 minutes prior.


A chill crept into my body, causing me to tremble.


Shit. What was happening? I was going to be fine because I took the antitoxin, right? I wasn't going to die, right? Ha... Andrei, just wanted me to look, huh! I was a novice but had been assigned such a dangerous job... Haa.


I sighed heavily and leaned back against the seat of the carriage.


It wasn't something Andrei knew about ahead of time. Besides, he'd had a backup plan, and the choice had been mine. He'd needed me to check the tattoo to be sure, and I'd succeeded.


When I'd been inside the warehouse, I had been the one who chose to open the room. Andrei had given me the job, but he hadn't forced me to make those decisions.


I was in no position to blame anyone. Every choice I'd made was ultimately my own.


That didn't mean I regretted my choices today. When I'd first decided to save my family from treachery and destruction, I'd known that dangers would lurk around every corner.


If I wasn't able to save myself from danger at any moment, I would never achieve what I set out to do.


Andrei would get me the perfect antidote for the cold poison. There was no better alternative or sense in worrying about it anymore.


It would be far more beneficial for me to consider my future plans than to waste time with the antidote.


I gathered my thoughts and chewed the top of my index finger.


"...If the Second Prince's closest knight is here, there's a good chance the Second Prince himself is in Durben as well...."


I glanced down at the ledger wrapped in my cloak.


"Both the Military and Andrei executed large operations to find these ledgers. Why is that?"


Perhaps I'd find out more when I made it back to the Capital. I had the ledger in my hands.


This was what Andrei's tactical team members were trying to obtain. However, I had been dispatched early and had ended up getting my hands on it.


Despite being his apprentice, I didn't yet know all the inner workings of the organization, but what would happen now that I had the ledger in my hands?


Words spilled out of my mouth unconsciously.


"I wonder if I can make a big enough use of it...."


The carriage stopped in front of the residence.


"Ugh... It's cold."


I couldn't wait to get into bed.


“My body feels weird.”


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ProMama
ProMama
6月06日

If Beth thinks she’s seeing too much of the Second Prince now…🤭

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