as the one visiting the Prince's Palace, even though this was his own residence.


His sharp gray eyes and expressionless face remained indifferent.


The last time he'd seen those eyes he'd been detained for a month.
Damn it.


“It’s been a while, Sir Elias.
It's been two years hasn't it?”


Impudent bastard.
He was constantly offended by this guy’s informal tone.


Lloyd didn't feel too guilty about cursing the Second Prince inwardly.
Because all nobles spoke ill of him like he did.


It was true that the most exceptional people were often the most hated.
He had to admit the man was intelligent.


“Yes, Your Highness, we met for the first time at the border.”


The Pantheon Plain is quite troublesome.
Conflicts and smuggling are all too frequent….”


When his children passed the Administrative Examination, he wanted to maintain neutrality and didn't want to get involved with him, but he also considered working under the 2nd Prince.


His skills were first rate, and anyone could tell that he would become the next emperor.
Perhaps if Brandon was alive, he would have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with him.


Even under that impudent fellow, Brandon would have done his best for the Empire, and he would have become an indispensable talent and helped the Second Prince to lead the country.


It was sad, it was so unbearably sad.


With Brandon gone, he hated him even more.
When he saw the 2nd Prince, he remembered his son's lost future, and his tragic end.


Besides, if that hadn't happened two years ago.
He wouldn't be cursing him so fervently.


Two years ago, he encountered the Prince while he was on a border inspection tour near the Principality of Ga'an.


He had been at his prosperous estate, which was well known among the Family elite.
The Pantheon Plains.
Through his landholdings on the plains he exported and imported a variety of goods from the Principality of Ga'an.


However, the strict Second Prince had held his merchandise for a whole month, claiming that a prohibited transaction had been reported.


He couldn't believe it no matter how much evidence he gave or how much he explained.


But what was even more upsetting was that a month later, the Prince actually wound up catching some smugglers.


They were part of one of the Elias Family's lower level business subsidiaries.


The fines and losses paid at the time had been enormous.
But those hadn't mattered to him.


He had been boasting for the whole month, and laughed to himself, convinced that his business group had surely never had any rats.
But after the Prince uncovered the smuggling ring, he had said something to Lloyd.


Words which drove a stake through Lloyd's heart.


[It is said that the quality of a leader is reflected by the actions of those below him.
Is this the reason why your family is ranked 5th in the Empire?]


Forcing himself to erase the old memories, Lloyd pretended to be calm and controlled his expression.


“Yes, Your Highness.
I will never forget the grace you bestowed upon me at that time.”


“If your sentiment is serious you must live up to it, Count Elias.”


“…I am true to my word, Your Highness.”


“So you say.”


This bastard.


“The reason I visited the Elias Family today….”


The Second Prince paused without finishing the words, suddenly picked up his teacup and savoured the tea very slowly.


Everyone in the banquet hall gulped while staring at his relaxed appearance.
He was acting like all was peaceful and he was alone in the world.


I know for sure he's here to interrogate me, but…


Lloyd closed his eyes in humble anticipation of his forthcoming interrogation.


“To accept your invitation.”


For a second, Lloyd thought he'd heard wrong.


“Pardon? What invitation do you speak of, Your Highness?”


The room buzzed at the word 'invitation'.


'What the hell is he talking about?'


'What invitation?'


'Was there an event hosted by House Elias?'


'Did I hear him right?'


“I thought I might be late, but I believe I chose the correct date.
Is that not why all of you are gathered here?”


“Please excuse your humble servant, but I don't understand.
Did you just mention an invitation, Your Highness?”


“Hahaha, was what you said to me a mere joke? I thought you were being sincere.”




“Ha ha.
Oh, my.
I'm disappointed, Count Elias.
Don't you remember what you told me two years ago?”


“What I said two years ago…..?”


[After the fine is paid, I will report this to His Majesty]


Your Highness! I will pay gladly.
I had no idea I had such a rat.
Your Highness…
I wish to repay you….]


[Don't you know that bribery is prohibited by law?]


It was simply a request.
I – I was merely grateful.
I'd like to invite you to a meal, even if it's a small gesture, but I apolologize.
Since you are such an honest person I will instead express my gratitude.
Of course.]


[Just a meal you say? Do you truly wish for me to visit your mansion?]


It would be an honour, Your Highness.]


If I have a chance perhaps someday.
Until then, mind your business well, Count Elias.]


What a rotten fellow.
That wasn't a proper invitation.


Words like those were mere formalities to most people that heard them.
It was a polite way of bidding someone farewell.
He hadn't wanted to act too familiar, but he also hadn't wanted to have him leave without saying anything.


It was merely a common closing remark.


“I’ve been too busy all this time, but I have considered visiting.
So I simply decided to come now.”


“A – A message in advance would have been appreciated, I would’ve liked to prepare….”


“I couldn't have.
If I had given you a message in advance, you would have considered it a burden, and I would have also lost the opportunity to visit a friend comfortably.
Don't you think so, Count?”


“Ha, ha, ha.
Of course.
Th – That's how it is among close friends.”


Cold sweat ran down his back.


“Then I shall organize a lunch…!”


“Since it's an invitation from such a prestigious family, I thought you would be disappointed if I stayed for such a short time, therefore I have decided to stay for two days.
It's a shame that I don't have the time to stay for three days, Count.”




Two days.
He'd stay at his house for two days….
What the hell was he up to? This snake bastard!



Editor’s Notes –


Kyle really does know how to make an entrance.
This entire chapter is basically just him messing with Lloyd.


Weight conversion: 90kg = 198lb


Two interesting pieces of Korean terminology I learned from this chapter:


똥줄이 탔다 – roughly “ride the shit-line” – informal term means to feel anxious.

모난 돌이 정 맞는다 – “An angular stone is bound to be hit by a chisel” – idiom meaning that exemplary people/ or those who stand out are often hated

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