That day, Adelia had a most unexpected visitor.
“This is unusual, Darten. What business could you have with me?”
Usually, Darten only talked to his brother, Qudels, or he made his reports to the village chief.
…Apparently, Darten was not very fond of people like Adelia.
“Hmm. Well, you see… There’s something bothering me and…the other people aren’t reliable, you know? And since you’re supposed to be smarter than me, and you aren’t scared of Qudels, I just thought you might be my best bet in regards to the problem.”
Adelia heard the words come out of Darten’s mouth and began to speculate.
If one of the requirements was not being afraid of Qudels, this meant it was something he wanted to hide or something that wouldn’t be to Qudels’ benefit.
And even if he didn’t find the others reliable, the fact that he was going out of his way to her suggested that there was a high risk involved.
“Oh, and so that’s why you came to me? I’m honored that you think of me as reliable.”
Adelia smiled and closed the folder of documents that she was looking at.
Perhaps this would take some time.
“Well then, why don’t you take a seat. I’ll even treat you to some tea.”
When she had put away the documents, Adelia tapped her magical teapot so that the water inside started to boil.
Then she opened a pot of tea that Qudels had given her.
The sweet smell of muskat drifted through the room and both Adelia and Darten smiled.
“Ohh, this must be some of that fancy tea? I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s that stuff they harvest in the summer, isn’t it?”
“Ah, so you recognize it? Wonderful.”
—At least he was able to tell good tea from bad tea.
Adelia was pleased with this surprising presence of taste in what appeared to be a shallow person.
She measured the temperature, mixed the contents at the perfect speed, and then rung every last drop out with the utmost care. And then she offered the preheated, white teacup to Darten.
“Heh. I thought you’d have something fancier than this plain thing. That’s a surprise. But then again, plain white porcelain that has abandoned any decorations is pretty fitting for you.”
“Isn’t it? Without any decorations, you cannot trick people. The shape and quality of the pottery, as well as the skill of the crafter, are all laid bare. As someone who lived in an aristocratic society with its sea of lies, I find things that are simple to the extreme to be far more precious.”
After saying this, both of them took a sip of their tea.
They didn’t say anything but just enjoyed it.
It must have lasted for at least five minutes. Finally, it was Darten who opened his mouth.
“Well, I should probably tell you about it then. What is bothering me now, is the situation the village was in during the disaster.”
“Oh, what a surprise. Someone aside from me having an interest in that.”
Adelia looked surprised, but she was really feeling happy.
–I did not expect to find a possible collaborator out of such a person!
She had found the whole situation very strange. It had been bothering her for a while. But as she was so busy, she hadn’t had time to do anything about it.
She had questioned Qudels about it once, but apparently, there was something concerning it that he didn’t want to discuss, and he would keep changing the subject.
And Adelia could not tell if he was testing her or if it really was something that he didn’t want her to know about.
In any case, it did not feel good to know that something was being kept from you.