Chapter 180 – Someone Unknown
“How are the results of the investigation of the three houses?”
In the Vice-captain’s office of the Royal Magicians Order 3rd unit.
The room was locked, and an anti-eavesdropping magic tool was glowing with blue light.
Leticia Risettestone looked around the room and replied to the sapphire blue eyes.
“I did not find any evidence to prove it. And so I would have to say…that the results are that there are no connections that can threaten the kingdom.”
“So out of the three, House Albarn and House Eniagram are clear?”
“I don’t think that the situation is as simple as that. It’s almost as if they are too clean. Like they knew there would be an investigation, and prepared in advance. Something feels too intentional.”
“Well, there was that matter with Count Wilhelm. It is possible that they became more cautious.”
“But I do not think they could have done it in such a short amount of time. If they really are guilty, they have likely prepared little by little for a long time now.”
There was silence in the room.
Something in the air felt tense.
“What is your opinion, Ms. Leticia?”
“Well, if we only base our opinions on clear facts, they are innocent.”
“And what about the things that are not as clear?”
“What does your instinct tell you?”
Leticia was silent for a moment.
“I think they are guilty. House Albarn and House Eniagram are in contact with enemies of the kingdom.”
“Something that we were dreading.”
“But isn’t it a good thing for you?”
“What do you mean?”
“You now have a chance of exposing them. You could hardly ask for a better achievement for the 7th unit, this early on. You will likely get that Magus-Rank promotion.”
“Indeed. I suppose you are right. However, I had already expected this much. As the Waldstein heir, I know a lot about those two other houses. After all, we have connections to them.”
“So you think that Waldstein is also…”
Leticia stopped there.
“I did not find anything from our house.”
Luke said without changing his expression.
“It is not the same as your investigation. There has been no increase in countermeasures or preparations. In fact, there is a whole array of incriminating connections. If any of it were to get out, it would deal a massive blow to the house’s reputation. Of course, my father would not allow it, but…”
“But you found no connections to enemies of the kingdom?”
Luke had a pained expression as he gazed out of the window.
“You should be relieved. At least it is not all three houses that are traitors.”
“It is no relief at all.”
Luke said without emotion.
“This is the worst.”
Leticia assumed that the target Luke wanted to take down more than anyone was his own father.
By exposing and ruining his father, he would become a hero and the new lord of House Waldstein.
He could tear down the house of corruption and create a new, clean foundation.
(And then he could marry her without any objection. And it would not hurt her in the eyes of the world.)
Once Luke realized the possibility that the three houses could have such connections, his heart must have been filled with hope.
It would have been the best way to get rid of his father, and solve all of his problems.
But reality was a little different.
Waldstein was at the head of the royalist faction. Perhaps the enemy had felt that it was unlikely that he would switch sides.
It was a careful and wise decision.
Leticia would have done the same in their position.
(They must know a lot about what is happening inside of the country.)
While Waldstein may be the head of the royalists, House Albarn and House Eniagram had deeper, blood ties.
Which would bend and which would stand firm?
It would be no easy feat to determine it from the outside.
(Perhaps they were already quite deep inside this country before making contact with the three houses? Or they had some method of learning about what was happening.)
She looked down at the documents that Luke had given to her.
The newly formed 7th unit was currently organizing documents and records in the grand library.
On the outside, it would seem like they were being given chores that others did not want to do. However, their real motive was to find the informants within the palace.
Like Count Wilhelm, there was someone who was using lost magic from the ancient civilization.
Luke had already made some moves behind the scenes, resulting in either servants and three nobles being monitored by the regulatory bureau.
However, in spite of all of this work, Leticia had found and learned almost nothing. What was this enemy organization?
(A relic had been used to turn that dragon mad in the western frontier. And in the misty forest, the goblin emperor had used advanced concealment magic. And there was someone offering funds to the criminal organization Twilight. And then there was the ancient dragon in the sealed city. Hardly anything was known about the culprit behind that incident.)
All of these could have resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
Especially the case of the ancient dragon. A whole country could have been destroyed.
Luke and Prince Michael sensed that there was something in common behind all of these incidents.
However, it seemed likely that further investigation would result in nothing.
Leticia felt that she would have to do something a little more risky.
You had to enter the tiger’s den to catch the cub.
Sometimes, you have to make a sacrifice in order to gain a lot.
(He is probably putting himself in great danger already. I will have to do something as well.)
He liked to work alone, in spite of the risks. And Leticia saw him as a kindred spirit.
And so she had been interested in him ever since he joined the order.
And a similar type of person, she knew that he could not be stopped.
In order to protect him, she would have to take risks as well.
(After all, I have lived eight years more than him.)
Her thirtieth birthday was approaching.
She had dedicated so many of those years in avenging her beloved master, and so she had no regrets.
Now it is my turn to help them.
(While nothing new, I am always stunned by it. The extent he goes for someone he likes. How normal is that?)
Leticia could not imagine it. Perhaps she was too cold and not sentimental.
She did not know what it felt like. Being in love like that. It was not an experience she had ever had.
Men had expressed their feelings towards her in the past. And sometimes, they had meant something to her. However, they had never stirred her heart.
Perhaps she was just too preoccupied.
Or she was just not meant to have such connections.
‘She is so cold.’
‘I have no idea what Leticia is thinking.’
She thought back on the words that had been said about her.
And she felt they were right. After all, she did not even know herself.
(Maybe…that was love.)
She recalled something long ago. When she was just ten years old, and felt that god was protecting her.
All the adults looked big and important.
Whenever she was sad, her parents or master would comfort her.
None of her acquaintances had died.
She thought that she and everyone around her would live forever.
Of course, this did not last long. It was only a brief dream.
On one such day, Leticia and the other children were taken by their master and they visited the magic tool store in the town.
Leticia had then found a boy who was lost. And so she talked to him, and together, they searched for the boy’s parents.
As Leticia was very bright, she was able to draw out useful information from the boy’s awkward explanations, and restructure it in her mind.
She soon was able to find the boy’s parents, and they were incredibly grateful towards her.
But it was then that she realized that there was no one familiar around her.
As she had been so calm, the boy’s parents assumed that she lived there, and her master’s other students also thought she would be fine, as she was always so reliable.
No one expected her to become lost as well.
Besides, there had been one gap in Leticia’s knowledge that no one knew about.
When it came to things she did know, Leticia could act with all the level-headedness of a grown-up. But when something was new to her, she went back to being like any other child.
As she had been raised in a noble’s house, she knew nothing of how dangerous some parts of the town were. Or that the world could be a violent and dark place.
She wandered into a dim alley.
Filthy cloth, wooden shard, smashed bottles.
Rotten fruit and rat carcasses.
And then her arm was grabbed by a large man in tattered clothes. He reeked of sweat and drink.
But in the next instant, a filthy, gray shoe was in the man’s face. It was one of the boy’s who attended the same class as her. After kicking the man, he grabbed Leticia’s hand.
And without another word, pulled her away, and out of the alley.
“Where are you going? Don’t you know that it’s dangerous?”
He seemed upset, but he held her hand firmly.
He did not look at her, but kept walking forward.
His hand was hot, and it felt strange, like he was an entirely different creature.
She knew him, but he may as well have been a stranger.