Chapter 158 – Infiltration Mission
After leaving the relic’s area of effect, we used concealment magic to move carefully.
Luke was heading to a separate building that was on the south side of the land.
It was a house mainly used by Count Wilhelm’s son.
According to Luke, this son was the count’s weakness.
“Count Wilhelm dotes on his only son. And so Baldur grew up to have a selfish and proud personality. Always treating servants badly and making ridiculous demands. In other words, if I could impersonate him, I will be able to move freely here, even when security is tight.”
“But, how will you do that…”
Luke took out a small bottle.
There was a faint scent of citrus.
A potion made of bicorn horn, witchgrass, mandragora roots, magic crystal and bergamot…
“A transformation potion.”
“We’ll sneak into the storage house first. There is a carriage that Baldur uses.”
From the carriage seat, he collected fallen hair.
It was placed in the potion and we waited for three and a half minutes.
When it was complete, Luke drank the potion, and his body transformed into that of the selfish nobleman.
“Wait for me. I’ll open the window from inside.”
Luke walked over to the mansion.
There were guards standing by the door, but he passed them by with a sardonic attitude.
(He is rather good at acting.)
I couldn’t help but be impressed as I waited. And then the back window was unlocked and opened.
“Can you fit through here?”
I climbed up the rain gutter, placed my left foot on the small window, and pushed my body inside.
Back in the day, I had been better than anyone when it came to climbing trees and catching bugs.
So this was one of my greatest skills, something I excel at.
I squinted by the bright lights of the chandelier.
We appeared to be in a dressing room.
There was a red carpet and beautiful furniture.
And there were rows of dresses in numerous colors.
“Baldur’s lover is living here. And so he had this room made for her.”
He said as he picked up a strand of blonde hair.
“And you want me to transform into her.”
“Are you sure about this? Isn’t the real son here?”
“It is fine. I put him to sleep.”
“You sure work fast.”
The hair was then put into the potion.
“I’ll go look outside then.”
Luke said a little awkwardly.
(Ah, right. I will have to change my clothes.)
Changing in the same room as a boy who was the same age.
While I was not one to be too self-conscious of such things, the memory of being embraced in the sealed city came back, and was hard to shake away.
(No, no. I have to focus on my work now!)
I told myself as I changed into the clothes of the lover.
It was an extravagant dress with beautiful embroidery.
However, what I then saw in the mirror was a ghastly sight indeed.
The sleeves were too long.
The front too loose.
The length of the skirt was also wrong.
(Don’t think… Don’t think about anything…!)
I drank the potion.
My height then grew, and the dress fitted me perfectly. But there was still a feeling of dissatisfaction that remained.
“I changed, Luke.”
“Hmm… Why that expression?”
“I’m fine. I have overcome the pain and become an adult, that’s all.”
Luke did not seem to understand at all.
That is fine. You do not need to know.
I nodded to him and then looked outside.
“So, what are we going to do now?”
“While playing the roles of the young tyrant and his lover, we shall search through the documents in the house. Yes, since he has brought his lover here, we will make it look like he wants to impress her, by showing how intelligent he is.”
“What should I do?”
“As she is older than him, you should act doting and affectionate, I suppose.”
“I see. A mature and composed lady. You can leave that to me.”
As the embodiment of mature intelligence and composure, this would be all too easy for me.
“Do you have any ideas for where he might hide evidence?”
Luke asked, and I nodded.
“I think it would be in a place that you could not find through a standard search. After all, Count Wilhem knew about the forced investigation.”
“I see. In that case, we will go to the library first. There is something I want to check.”
And with the face of tyrannical nobleman, Luke said,
“Let the infiltration mission begin.”
And so started the infiltration investigation of Count Wilhelm’s house.
While I still felt anxious about the whole thing, Luke played the part quite bold and confidently.
“Where is he? Wordsworth!”
He called the butler with a sharp voice.
“I am going to show Elza the library. Prepare my shoes.”
“Bu-but, sir…it is so soon after the investigation by the Royal Magicians order. It would not do to get in the way of the soldiers…”
“I don’t care about any of that. How dare you defy me, you bastard.”
“Cer-certainly, sir. Please wait one moment.”
The butler looked quite frantic as he made preparations.
I whispered to Luke in astonishment.
“Uh, do you have experience on stage?”
“No. But in a way, I’ve been acting ever since I was a child.”
“Yes. Playing the part of an ideal son. A perfect student that others envied.”
I thought back on that time. Luke really had worn that mask of perfection quite impressively.
I suppose that was why it came naturally to him now.
Besides, he had been raised in this kind of society, so he would have seen people like this all of the time.
Good. Very good.
As a gifted actress myself, I could not ask for a more worthy partner.
After all, I had sometimes practiced singing while cleaning and other chores, as if I was in a musical. And so I would put those skills to use now.
“Oh, how wonderful, darling. So wise and dashing. Hoho. Ahaha!”
“…Why that excessively clingy tone?”
“I know you’re not finding fault with my acting. This is the perfect way to depict a mature woman.”
Luke looked at me without expression.
“Noelle, I think you better stay quiet and follow me.”
I was being kicked off of the team.
(It could not have been my acting…)
It did not make any sense.
As I tried to figure out the reason for this decision, I realized something.
(Ah, of course. That Luke. I must have been playing the part too well, that my charms were exciting him to the point of distraction.)
That explained everything.
“Very well. I shall keep silent. I never meant to be that effective.”
“Hmm? Well, good.”
We then followed after the butler and walked through the mansion grounds.
A garden with vibrant purplish-blue salvias and delphiniums.
Soldiers frantically running in all directions.
Were they searching for me?
Security was especially tight around the main house, where Count Wilhelm was.
I looked up at the great, four-story building.
(This place seems the most likely after all.)
The front entrance was illuminated by orange lighting.
And two soldiers were patrolling the area like gatekeepers.
“What is your business here?”
Said the soldier in a calm voice.
The butler, who had gone ahead, answered.
“Lord Baldur wishes to see the library.”
“That will not do. You come back tomorrow.”
The words came sharply, as if to allow no argument.
However, we had to get in, no matter what.
As I wondered what to do, Luke opened his mouth.
“Tomorrow? You must be joking. Or would you really challenge my authority?”
“I am not, sir. But no one is allowed inside at this time. There is still one magician who has not been arrested yet.”
“I don’t care about that. There is something I wish to see in the library. Are you incapable of understanding me?”
“Please come again tomorrow.”
“I shall tell my father and have you dismissed for this.”
The soldier gulped and was silent for a moment.
The door was opened and we stepped into the mansion.
As we followed the butler, I whispered to Luke.
“You know, it’s not too late to pursue a career in acting.”
“I’ll consider it if I’m fired.”
We walked down the extravagant hallway that was filled with beautiful portraits and decorations.
No one looked at us with any suspicion.
“Please take your time.”
We passed the bowing butler and entered the library.
This room was filled with more documents than any other in the house, and most of the searching had been conducted here.
“Why did you want to come to this room?”
“To inspect documents related to this building. Design plans, construction drawings etcetera…”
“You’ll know when you see it.”
And so we started to search together.
As a student, I had spent nearly every day scouring through the library, so I was at home here.
“What about this?”
“Perfect. I knew you would do it.”
We spread out the working diagram and peered into it.
Luke checked the written details and measurements.
“This here is wrong. Here as well.”
“How can you tell?”
“Because I measured it while walking.”
“What kind of special ability is that?”
“My stride is about seventy-two centimeters, so I can get a good estimate of the distance by counting my steps.”
“Uh, most people don’t walk so precisely.”
“Well, as a child, I was forced to learn how to walk beautifully.”
Luke muttered as he looked at the diagram.
“It is likely around this hallway on the east side. It is the most suspicious.”
“There’s something there?”
“A hidden room.”
Luke said with a smile.
“I’m starting to be able to see Count Wilhelm’s heart.”