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Chapter 85


Where Tara gives in to the poison, Kyle acts unexpectidely and Bernard is the best ever.


This chapter is dedicated to RB ! Thank you for your constant support!


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Episode 85 About a Year (12)


[Your testimony as a witness from within the organization is different. If we have a solid witness, we can take you into custody right away, not just arrest you. But, if you refuse to testify, it gives the Scorpion hierarchy time to create an escape plan. And they'll take you out first. Don't you think so?]


[...]


[If you take the stand and say my password, the Black Society will help you.]


[The Black Society?]


The Scorpion agent's eyes widened in surprise.


[Yes, the Black Society will give you a way out of jail. I promise you this as their disciple.]


[Ha... Why should I believe that?]


[Hmm. Well, there’s nothing I can do if you don't believe me, but there is no harm in doing so either is there? The moment they hear you've been caught, they'll try to kill you. It's better to lay low in those circumstances, isn't it?]


The man was dumbfounded, but gradually realized that Tara had a point. He wasn't the brightest, but he didn't seem to be stupid either.


[By the way, there's really no antidote for the cold poison, is there....?] Tara asked once again.


[It's at Capital headquarters, not here.... Like I said, we’re constantly taking anti-toxins, so we've built up a resistance to the poison. We don't carry an antidote for cold poison. How long will I be in prison?]


[Well, it depends on how cooperative you are. The Black Society will give you a lawyer. One who can arrange a plea deal, that is. When you get out of prison, go to the Black Society. My name is Tara Elias. You?]


[Hugo Johnson.]


[Hahaha. I never thought I'd be able to say something like this. If you do as I say, the Black Society will help you get a new life.]


[...]


[I can't help it if you don't believe me, I know how empty verbal promises are in this world, but I'll say it again, isn't it worth the risk? I hope you don't miss the opportunity because of your doubts.]


His eyes were still suspicious, but he seemed to be calculating whether the odds were in his favor in this situation.


This was a golden opportunity to save his life if he did as I said, and to gain the backing of the Black Society if he did well.


[What's the password?]


[Light the Dynamite!]


[....?]


This phrase, which I had spontaneously uttered in the tea shop, always made me smile.


But they would never know what it meant. And I didn't feel like explaining it to them. It was my little guilty pleasure in this world.


[It's a password. Just memorize it, and when the military commander asks you for it, don't hesitate to tell him what you know.]


***


The story was over. When he got back, Chris handed Kyle the roots of the ‘neutralizer herb’, which looked like nothing special at first glance.


"One more."


"Ah.... yes. Your Highness!"


When Chris handed over the neutralizer plant that he had very carefully removed from his bag, Kyle casually tore off the precious leaves and handed the hairy purple roots to me.


Two roots, each about the size of a finger, worth about 100 gold coins apiece.


"Chew it."


I hated being in debt to him, and normally I would have said I'd pay him back. But it was too expensive. 


I couldn't spend my inheritance until I was of age, and my monthly salary was only 12 gold.


Therefore, I could never pay him back with my money. Also, I just didn't want to eat it. 


"Yes, of course."


I took a root and chewed it methodically. I didn't drink any water, though it was bitter, because I knew it was a good medicine. For some reason, I felt the more I chewed it, the better it would work.


After chewing it over and over, I smiled weakly.


"Master Andrei will pay you back...I... ha."


"Yes…."


"Then you accept... the ledger transaction deal?"


"Yes. What is the password for Hugo?"


"Ha... It's light the dynamite...."*


"Huh! Where do those strange words come from?"


"....... I won't tell you........ scared......."


"...."


***


Kyle was obviously in a bad mood, but the corner of his mouth turned up.


He wondered what on earth that password meant and why she used it so illogically, but either Tara had exhausted her last bit of strength, or it was the herb taking effect because she could no longer answer.


Leaning back in her chair, she had drifted off to sleep.


".... You held up pretty well, Third Secretary."


Chris, who was standing at the door, approached.


"Shall I call someone, Your Highness, or would you like me to move her?"


"You do it."


Kyle reached for the book still on the table and glanced as Chris moved to slip his hand around Tara's waist.


Before he knew it, he was gripping Chris's forearm.


"Your Highness?"


".........I'll do it."


"What?"


Chris's jaw dropped, genuinely surprised. Never before had His Lordship actually acted physically in consideration of someone else.


No, that wasn't quite true. On the battlefield, he'd witnessed him personally tending to wounded men, regardless of rank, but he'd never seen him do so off the battlefield.


It was impossible to know what His Highness had been like before he entered the Palace, but as far as Chris knew, that was who he was.


But to see him physically move for one of his people when he wasn’t on the battlefield was a surprise.


"You take that and follow me."


Chris grabbed the book Kyle pointed to, never taking his eyes off his Lord.


The Third Secretary was a woman as well as a subordinate. The sight of him embracing a woman was something Chris never thought he would observe in his lifetime.


He felt like he had to write it down, etch it into his memory and share his surprise with his colleagues.


Kyle carefully wrapped his arms around Tara's waist and neck. He didn't know why he was doing this, but something about the thought of Chris's hand slipping around the small of Tara's back made him feel very uncomfortable.

 

To be more precise, it was unpleasant. Like he touched something he shouldn't have.


She was much lighter than he thought.


"Pfft, you've overexerted yourself."


Unconsciously shivering from the cold, she burrowed into his arms like a puppy caught in the rain.


As he left the anteroom into the hall, Kyle was greeted by the staff and the maid, Beth, who stood stiff with surprise.


Her knight was nowhere to be seen. Like it or not, Kyle ascended the stairs with all-too-natural ease.


"Show me to her room."


Beth stumbled and rushed to Kyle's side, leading him to Tara's room.


***


While Tara and the Prince were in the waiting room, Bernard stood behind a warehouse a hundred meters from the official residence, facing Leonard stiffly.


"We've removed all operatives sent to each base. We didn't expect the Second Prince to move this fast. What about you?"


Bernard was furious that Andrei had sent a novice into such a dangerous operation. But he also hadn't given it much thought when he had heard about it.


Even in Bernard's eyes, who had been in battles and operations large and small, this was a low-risk operation.


The only issue had been that this was, in fact, the base of operations. But that was the price to pay for ignoring the odds.


The Black Society wasn't to blame. It was his own fault for letting her take the risk alone when he should have stayed with her.


So, it was he, Bernard, who should shoulder the blame, but he couldn't help the gruffness in his voice.


"... It's called cold poison. Do you have anything but a broad-spectrum antidote?"


"It's in the Capital. I'll leave right away."


"What should I do? Will she be alright?"


"First of all, she's on a broad-spectrum antidote, so she'll be fine. But if she doesn't take the proper antidote within the next two weeks, she'll feel shivering cold for the rest of her life."


"That fucking peacock."


"I'll pretend I didn't hear that."


"You don't have to. Actually, be sure to report to your Chief what I said."


Ahem. Clearing his throat, Leonard quickly changed subject.


"If you were in the club warehouse for any length of time, did you notice anything?"


"... It's not for me to say. Bring back the antidote and ask my Lady."


Having said his piece and turned away to leave, Bernard stopped and spoke.


"The Second Prince visited the Official Residence."


"What?"


Leonard, who had one foot in the stirrup, stopped dead in his tracks. What an unexpected occurrence.


"Why visit a diplomatic office and not the troops...?" 


"Well, I don't know. He's such an unpredictable Imperial. Perhaps he knows that my Lord was moving on the Black Society's orders, but I don't really have a head for this, so go tell your Chief. See if there is anything he has prepared for this." 


Leonard thought about the Prince's visit and the possible repercussions for Tara, but he couldn't come up with a cool answer.


Literally, he was just a messenger. Such complicated matters were for the Chief to know.


"Very well, I'll run all night, then!"


Spurred on, Leonard rode faster than ever before. If he rode hard enough, he would be in the Capital in a day and a half.


Bernard watched him gallop through the city and returned to the Official Residence with a worried look on his face.


[Is it dangerous? Of course it's dangerous. No, I shouldn't be in too much danger.]


Leonard recalled Tara Elias's words two days ago and felt a pang of guilt.


But that's the way this world was. Danger lurked around every corner, no matter how prepared or careful you were.


Still, he couldn't help but think of Tara nervously standing at the club's entrance in her skimpy dress, ready to do her best for the mission.


So now all he could do was get the antidote as fast as he could.


"Giddy up!"


He sped up as soon as he was out of town. A disciple exposed to the poison was one thing, but the Second Prince had been quicker than he thought to have targeted the bases and started eradicating them en masse.


On top of that, an Imperial Family member had personally come to visit the disciple. Perhaps that made him even more anxious.


***


At the same time, Beth opened the door to Tara's room wide for Kyle to enter and moved quickly to pull back the sheets to make it easier for him to lay her down.


Kyle followed suit and tucked Tara safely into bed.


"Uh... Miss.... Is she going to be alright, Your Highness?"


Beth looked at Tara's pale face in surprise as she blinked back tears of anxiety.


"Did the knight tell you?"


"Oh... Yes, Your Highness...."


A maid who shed tears at her master's misfortune.


‘You've gotten yourself some pretty good people, Tara.'


"Wipe her sweat from time to time with a warm towel and go fetch some firewood."


"Yes, Your Highness."


Beth hurried out of the room, crossing paths with Chris bringing the book. Kyle looked at it for a moment, then looked around the room.


He was about to move toward the memo paper on her desk when a slight tug on the hem of his cape forced him to turn around slowly.


Editor's Note -


*불타오르네 다이너마이트 means essentially ‘Light it up Dynamite’ which is basically the same as the lyrics “light it up like dynamite” to (you guessed it) Dynamite by BTS. This is also a reference to Chapter 61.


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ProMama
ProMama
Jun 06

Bernard is so hard on himself. 😭

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I keep going back and re-reading these beginning chapters and you can already tell Kyles walls are breaking for her. I love how Kyle is already so far gone here that he has to be the one to carry Tara. While their relationship seems to happen fast once they both admit their feelings, it really doesn't. It's been a slow burn from the beginning 🤗🥰

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