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Chapter 86


Where Tara and Kyle have a moment, Emperor Louis has a headache and Jason is his lovely usual self.


This chapter is dedicated to Promama! Thank you for your kind words, support and great comments on the site!


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Episode 86. About a Year (13)


A small hand emerged from the blankets and clutched the hem of his cloak at waist level, refusing to let go.


A small pale hand that wielded an axe but was never weak. She had entered the enemy camp to fight alone and now held onto his cloak as if it were a lifeline.


She was fighting the cold poison now. It had stopped its progress but hadn't completely left her system.


The bone-chilling cold was tolerable at first, but the pain increased the longer it lingered.


He took her hand and slowly released its grip. He glanced down at the small hand that was now in his. 


"... Was it always this small?"


He put the tiny limp hand back under the quilt.


Then he saw her forehead, damp with cold sweat and sticky stray hairs.


He wiped it as if it were natural to do so.


Then he quietly looked down at her.


"Hey, Third Secretary Tara Elias. You can win against this. It's just a ridiculous poison."


Whether she heard Kyle's words or not, Tara grimaced slightly, even though she was still deep asleep.


After studying her face for a moment, Kyle noticed a clump of hair tangled around her neck in a frustrating knot and reached out to touch it, stopping short in midair.


‘..... This is overkill.'


But the thought didn't last long. Not one to resist what he wanted, he casually brushed the tangle of hair away, alleviating his frustration.


He turned and walked over to her desk, scribbled a few words down on a notepad, and exited the room without further ado.


It had taken a while, but it had been worth it.


"Report to me as soon as the antidote from the Black Society arrives. Bring the man you arrested in the club straight to me."


"Yes, Your Highness."


As he turned to leave, Kyle gave Chris one more instruction as if he'd just remembered it.


"I don't mind if it takes time, but I want you to find out what dynamite is."


"What? Yes, Your Highness."


Shaking his head, Chris mounted his horse and rode behind Kyle, who had got on his mount in a graceful and fluid motion. Then they rode straight to see the Joint Security Unit.


***


Capital City of Oceria.


The Palace was bustling in the days leading up to the Victory Ceremony. At the behest of Emperor Louis Amure, this celebration of their victory over the Skandoans was to be the grandest ever held.


The Emperor had instructed, not only the immediate Imperial family, but also the collateral Imperial members, who were usually stationed in the lower chambers, to partake in the ceremony. 


Even a distant cousin who didn't live in the Palace had been invited with his entire family to join the celebration.


Alas! A message which had been rushed into the Imperial Palace blew the Emperor’s plans out of the water.


He didn't hide his anger.


"This...! What manner of nonsense is this? If he doesn't show up at the victory ceremony, who the hell am I going to replace him with?" 


Nick fell to his knees, wondering why he was always the one chosen for these tasks. Tears blinded him, but as a knight, he couldn't show them.


"Your Majesty, I heard that this was a very important task. Ha... Please read the whole message just once, huh... Your Majesty the Emperor."


But the Emperor wasn't listening to Nick. Instead, he glanced over the top of Nick's head and chuckled inwardly.


‘How could Kyle have such a clueless subordinate...?'


His request for an audience had come just in time for a break in the Monthly Palace Council, a gathering of the Empire's most important representatives.


The Emperor had heard that troops from the border had just passed the Capital gates, loaded with loot.


Naturally, he had assumed that Kyle would send a courier ahead of his arrival, but who would have thought that he would come bearing such ridiculous news?


The Emperor paced back and forth across the room, looking at his deputies with a deliberately over irritated expression.


"He's testing my patience! I'm about to celebrate a great victory and he's arriving late without even asking for my permission first?"


The Emperor shouted for all to leave the room, then went to his throne and sat down as if he was suffering from a headache.


His face filled instantly with anguish and agony which deterred the ministers from saying anything.


Despite the Emperor's expression, Grafton, the Duke of Toulouse, Minister of State and Minister of Finances, approached the throne with a thin smile.


"Your Majesty. How many times has he missed an important appointment at the Palace, heedless of Your Majesty or your Ministers? Since he was responsible for winning the war, please be generous enough to forgive him once more. Perhaps his background can be blamed for this as well."


It was a blatant slander. What could one expect from a Prince who hadn't been brought up in the Palace but disrespect to the Emperor and his Ministers?


The Emperor's lips twitched upwards, but his hands gripped the throne's armrests so tightly his tendons bulged.


".... That's indeed the kind of man he is. He's done it once or twice before, so he'll do it again, isn't that so, my Lord?"


The Emperor turned his gaze toward his salvation, Count Nicholas Cold, instead of the Duke.


"Haha, Your Majesty. The position of Commander-in-Chief or the armed forces is not without its perils. What kind of commander who just finished waging a war would forsake the victory ceremony where his exploits would be widely publicized? What could be so urgent? First please look at the message the Second Prince has sent you and judge for yourself, Your Majesty."


The Minister of State, in charge of the Empire's diplomacy, education and culture, was also the Emperor's sole confidant. They had studied together since Emperor Louis had been the Crown Prince.


‘The only one on my side in this dreary Palace.'


"Yes... Hahaha. It's not purposeless is what you mean, isn't it? It has to be a very serious matter for him to be willing to renounce claiming the laurels for his achievements."


".... It has to be, Your Majesty."


The Emperor stared at Count Cold's balding head, and for a moment was deeply moved by the strength of their friendship.


The Duke of Toulouse, standing opposite Count Cold, tried hard to hide his displeasure, but couldn't conceal the frown that creased his brow from hearing this truth.


"Where did he go after giving you this message?"


"We moved to the disputed Durben Triangle at the end of the Hellarion Mountains."


The Duke of Toulouse's eyes narrowed slightly, then returned to their original position without anyone noticing.


"Hmm... is that so?"


The Emperor calmed himself and opened the letter.


[Spy found to have passed on Imperial secrets. Suspected connection to a person in a key position in the Palace. Please do not even inform Count Cold. 


The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces - Kyle Amure.]


“……!”


Clearing his throat, the Emperor took a moment to glance around at the Ministers in the room, then spoke a little louder so they could all hear.


"That punk. All that just to inform me that he went to Durben just to do some important military work. By God, he's such a fool...." 


And with that, he tore the message into shreds and tossed it toward the nearby fireplace.


The Emperor sighed inwardly as the shrewd chamberlain gathered up the scattered shreds and tossed them into the fireplace.


The Ministers, accustomed to such behavior from the Emperor, were not surprised and went back to enjoying their own rest.


The Emperor motioned for the knight, who was still kneeling and clutching his head, to leave. Watching him cautiously back away, the Emperor surveyed the faces of his Ministers.


The Palace was a place with too many enemies pretending to be allies. The number of court officials next to the Minister of the Treasury were about two-thirds of the total council.


That alone was enough evidence of the Emperor's degree of power.


A powerless king always had to make friends with a man called 'uncertainty'. That was the fate of Emperor Louis Amure.


***


The same time.


Jason had just left Franz's Palace, getting off work earlier than usual. 


The last seven months of grooming and flattering had finally paid off today.


For the past seven months, since Tara had left for Durben, his father had watched him with a wary eye.


Even before, his father had never been overly pleased with him, but still had treated him as the eldest son.


But all that changed after the Administrator Exam when he'd been exposed for all his misdeeds. His standing within the Elias Family had plummeted from the top to the bottom.


Also, that day. The fat bitch's provocations on the stairwell had only fueled his anger.


Only then had he realized that there were all sorts of clever thoughts in that fatty's head.


‘How dare you go against me...'


He still shuddered thinking about it. But he was of superior intellect. A high-ranking noble of the Empire, a pure blue-blooded man, he could never be intimidated in any circumstance. 


Like a wild beast on the hunt, he would lay low for a while to better catch his prey.


He swore to himself that today would be the day he would rise again in the family, seizing the opportunity to strike down that pig of a woman.


"I'll make her regret it. That bitch!"


Jason had passed the Administrator's Exam solely due to the Toulouse family's influence, something he knew far better than anyone else.


Most of those who became secretaries applied for the Ministry of Finance. The Treasury, being in charge of taxation and finance for the Empire, was powerful. 


It was to the point that the threshold of the Toulouse family's manor in the Capital was worn out by the feet of the sons of nobles from all over the Empire, desperate to switch departments.


Jason had been fortunate enough to be assigned as a third secretary in the First Prince Franz's Palace, who was the deputy Minister of Finance.


He would have been in trouble had he been assigned to the Treasury Tax Office where he would have been out of his depth as an accountant.


Franz was a noble, dignified, and pompous man. His generosity was standard Imperial practice, and he lavished on those he kept close to him.


He never risked this life on trivial matters. Unlike the uneducated Second Prince who did everything himself, Franz did his work easily, without making a fuss.He entrusted his close allies with the most essential tasks and left the less important ones entirely to his servants. 


He was a full-blooded Prince, related to the House of Toulouse, and the Amure Imperial family. Jason wondered why he hadn't been made Crown Prince yet.


After seven months working steadfastly under him, it was clear that Prince Franz had taken a liking to him.


He listened and valued his opinions. Although things weren't always done according to Jason's input, it was never meant to be dismissive.


In addition, the Third Prince Joseph Amure, who frequently visited the 1st Imperial Palace knew his name. His name! When he was merely a third rank official.


Even the Imperial family recognized him when his own didn't.


"Hmph. Well, my family members have always been narrow-minded."


But today, he was finally going to be acknowledged. He would get a huge deal that not even the head of House Elias could have dreamed of.



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2 Comments


ProMama
ProMama
Jun 07

…and thanks for another great crappie and the kind words~

Like

ProMama
ProMama
Jun 07

The foreshadowing though… we already know what happened the LAST time he made a big deal…😭

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