Chapter 19 – The Smell of Bergamot
The Red Rose Ball was also a social gathering for the royals and powerful nobles of neighboring countries.
Under a chandelier of silver and crystals, next to the beautiful vases and colorful flowers.
The nobles made friendly conversation.
People observed who was talking to who, and in what order they greeted others.
Of course, as a commoner, this was a world that I did not know much about.
However, there was one thing that I did know.
And that was that the decorated palace floor was so beautiful that it made me speechless.
There were golden candle stands that were shaped like the goddess, and a vibrant wine red carpet.
The butlers formed long rows as they carried the food and glasses of wine, while in a corner of the second floor, the royal orchestra played their beautiful tunes.
“The princesses who are our guests tonight. Princess Shiel of the Brandarl Principality. Princess Denaris of Claless…”
So there really were princesses here.
As the names were announced, I was reminded of just how astonishing it was that I was here.
I could even see the Ardenfeld royal family talk pleasantly towards the back. Their thrones offered a view of the whole floor…
“This way, Crown Prince Michael.”
The prince was led by a servant, and passed nearby.
Immediately, everyone around bowed their heads.
With a slight delay, I also lowered my head frantically.
And the prince walked by.
What was this place…
It felt so unreal that I didn’t know what to think.
I was just a commoner who was raised in the countryside. Should I really be in a place like this…
No, I can’t think like that.
I am working right now.
Captain Gawain has faith in me, and so I have to do my duty as a guard.
And so I eagerly looked around for anyone suspicious.
However, with this mindset, everyone looked suspicious. And then no one did…
“This is quite hard…”
I muttered to Luke, who stood next to me.
“Don’t worry, I’ll deal with it. I don’t expect much from you now, Noelle.”
The things that this man said.
As I was now thoroughly annoyed, I promised myself that I would find a suspicious person before he did.
Even as a Royal Magician, I did not want to lose to Luke.
If I were to find and capture the villain…
‘You are amazing, Noelle! To achieve something like this so soon! You are our most reliable subordinate! Indeed, you are two hundred million times better than the likes of Luke!’
Captain Gawain would compliment me in such a way.
‘Very impressive, Ms. Noelle. You’ve done it. You are truly the best in the whole 3rd unit. Young Luke? Oh, he may have his strengths, but I do believe you are his superior five billion times over.’
Ms. Leticia and the others would commend my efforts.
‘I, I…am utterly defeated. Your rival? No, indeed not. I could hardly compete with someone who is nine-hundred billion times more amazing and powerful than me.’
Luke would admit his defeat and hang his head in shame.
And once I am the supreme ruler of the world, everyone shall bow before me and sing my praises while I swirl my wine glass like some kind of Demon King.
“You’re fantasizing about something strange again, aren’t you?”
Luke said with an exasperated expression.
“Well, since you are still my friend, I suppose I will give half of the world to you. So be thankful.”
He returned with a sigh.
Oh, dear. It is as if Luke has no idea about my plans for world domination.
In any case, I need to start by swiftly catching our villain.
But after half an hour, I was tired and dizzy.
I had no idea…
I could not tell who was suspicious and who was not…
“It’s because you are not used to this.”
Luke said with a sigh.
Suddenly, one of the older magicians came to us and whispered something into Luke’s ear.
“Very well. Let’s go, Noelle.”
And so I followed him away from the main floor and then whispered to Luke.
“What was that about?”
“We’re trading positions. After all, we must dance when the ball begins.”
“Ah, I see.”
While we wouldn’t be able to monitor that area, someone else would take our place.
“They said that you can rest for a while.”
“Ah, then I think I’ll go to the bathroom.”
And so I was guided to a powder room that was away from the main floor.
“Why is it so far away?”
“It has to be a place that no one uses, or someone might notice something odd about your behavior.”
He was very right, and I could not object.
I struggled with the long dress that I was not used to as I did my business. And just as I was checking myself in the mirror, I suddenly smelled something nostalgic.
A strong citrus scent.
No, that’s not it.
It was the smell of a potion that used bergamot.
The powdered horn of a bicorn, witchgrass, mandragora root, magic crystal and bergamot seed. The ingredients for a transformation potion.
I knew about it well.
During my days as a student, I had gone through a phase where I studied it, hoping that I could change my body into that of a more mature-looking woman.
Of course, it was very embarrassing, and I did not like to think about it now.
Still, it was nostalgic.
But why would that smell be coming from…
And then it came to me.
I frantically looked into one of the stalls to the back.
The smell was so strong that I nearly choked.
There was no doubt about it.
Someone had used the potion right here.
“Luke. Come quick.”
“Huh? Uh, but I’m a man.”
“There are traces of a transformation potion being used.”
Luke nodded with a serious expression and then entered in order to inspect the stall where the potion had been used.
“Not much time has passed.”
“I think so too. The problem is, what did they transform into?”
“Someone who is on the main floor.”
Luke looked around the room and then activated a spell in front of the locked tool closet.
There was a blinding flash.
And then the lock blew off.
“It would all be for nothing if the person you turned into is still around. So it’s likely that the person has been incapacitated nearby.”
The doors of the closet opened.
And out came a limp old butler with white hair.
Thankfully, he was still breathing.
It seemed like he was just asleep.
“He’s one of the trusted veteran butlers here.”
“But why turn into a butler…”
“…Because they serve wine. And if you added a slow acting poison…”
“You can safely assassinate your target.”
We looked at each other.
There were no more words that needed to be said.
I dashed back to the main floor.
Don’t be too late…