Chapter 182 – In the Night
House Albarn was renowned for its military brilliance.
They had fought for the kingdom every time there was war. Great commanders had come from there, and raised the rank of the house.
And so many with that name were now in the Kingsguard and Royal Knights Order, as well as the kingdom parliament.
Currently, Graham Albarn was the head of the house.
He was a royalist, and one of the most powerful people in parliament.
The family was united and deeply connected.
However, it was also notable that there were some who rejected their old ways of doing things, and cut off all ties and worked alone.
It was said that Raven Albarn, the greatest Adventurer of the west, was originally from that house.
As a Royal Magician, Leticia had become involved with the Albarns several times.
And one thing she always felt was severe discipline and uncompromising tradition.
Everything about them was trained. As if the way they carried themselves was the result of thorough education. It was carved into their bodies.
And so there was no room for creativity or imagination.
They had good posture, strengthened physiques, and could naturally speak and choose words that made you accepted in high society.
Leticia often wondered if Luke’s harsh upbringing was an attempt to imitate their rival house.
Waldstein had been known for its magicians, and so they were a few steps behind when it came to tradition and acting like a noble.
By incorporating their strengths, they could create an heir that was more brilliant than anyone.
Well, the results spoke for themselves.
(Perhaps House Albarn felt threatened by Luke, and this led to their betrayal.)
Leticia wondered this, but Luke’s theory was a little different.
‘As the Waldstein heir, I know about the other two houses. We have connections.’
He seemed quite sure that they were already in league with the entity that was threatening the kingdom.
As someone raised in one of the great houses, he had a different view from those who were on the outside.
If they decide there is value in it, they would become involved with the kingdom’s enemies, as a backup when in danger.
Perhaps the Albanrns had that kind of strength.
The Eniagrams were likely the same.
They were known for their political maneuvers, and were the greatest strategists around.
Cleverly reading the winds and siding with the victors. But also supporting the opposition from the shadows.
On the other hand, they considered the possibility of having to take responsibility for cooperating with the losing side, and always prepared to cut others off if necessary.
Like a lizard abandoning its tail, they made someone else take the blame, so that their reputation was not tarnished.
Of course, all of this was not widely known.
Eniagram had the least amount of problems, and were known as a great house that had the ability to access a situation.
(The stronger the light, the deeper the shadows. The cleaner something looked, the more dirt there was on the other side.)
Leticia knew this more than anyone.
(The problem is, just how involved these houses are. And so it is important to get information about this organization.)
The infiltration investigation of the two houses would not be easy.
The grounds were protected by powerful magic barriers, and there were soldiers prowling the area like wolves.
However, Letica knew a lot about the kind of security royals and nobles had for their houses.
And so she used transformation potions to change her identity and gather information.
She made a record in the notebook she kept in a hidden compartment in her room.
The words ‘religious organization’ were used twenty-nine times. And ‘Order of the Dragon’ appeared twice.
Leticia speculated that these were referring to the enemy organization.
It reminded her of the sealed city, and the incident with the ancient dragon.
Perhaps this organization was related to that ominous being that was sealed there.
Ultimately, what she learned through her investigation was that the two houses were more involved than she thought.
(Such a great amount of money…)
Leticia was speechless by the immense amount of gold that had been prepared.
She didn’t know the details, but Albanrn and Eniagram were trying to move an unprecedented amount of funds to a certain organization—likely, this Order of the Dragon.
(But why… Were they being blackmailed? Or perhaps there was something they wanted, and could only acquire through this organization.)
In the end, the idea that she landed on was the one she didn’t want to think about the most.
(When the Order attacks the royal family, perhaps they wish to take their place.)
It was not impossible.
Considering how boldly they were cooperating, and the amount of money. It made sense. It made too much sense.
(After the Wilhelm incident, the royal family is moving forward with the tax exemption abolition. And there are some nobles who see it as a betrayal.)
And so perhaps Albanrn and Eniagram had come to the same conclusion.
The pride and glory passed on through generations.
The tax exemptions had allowed them to make profits, but it wasn’t everything.
It might just be an excuse, and they merely wanted to protect their current rights.
She did not know which was more realistic.
Sometimes, humans lied without thinking about it.
And lies that were beautifully convenient could trick you.
However, these funds would greatly increase the power of this Order.
(It must be stopped no matter what.)
Leticia gathered information on the transaction.
Apparently, the money was going to be transferred over at night, three days from now.
The location was district nineteen in the capital. It was known for being especially dangerous, and there was a corner that was abandoned. This place seemed to be one of the Order’s bases.
However, she could find no detailed information about it, no matter how hard she searched.
It was likely that the two houses didn’t know any more than that either.
This Order was moving very carefully and secretively.
(This is the limit for now. I should take this information back and inspect it carefully.)
And so while being careful to make as little sound as possible, she started to make her way out of the house. That was when it happened.
She suddenly felt a terrible chill.
The smell of approaching danger.
Perhaps it was just her. She could not sense anyone around her.
However, Leticia obeyed her instincts without hesitation.
She unlocked the small window that led outside, and crawled through it.
It was the right decision.
Something was trying to surround her.
There were at least three people.
But it would be best to assume there were at least twice that number.
And so Leticia attempted to escape by the shortest route possible.
She had also activated her own concealment magic. And so she wanted to avoid using any other spells.
If it was known that the intruder was a brilliant user of ice magic, then they would look at the Royal Magicians Order with suspicion.
And she and Chris, of the 2nd unit, would be watched carefully.
It would be a bad idea to give them any information. In other words, the only way she could win here was to escape without using magic.
She jumped off the roof of the second floor and landed on the grass below.
The scent of flowers surrounded her as she ran through the garden. And then she made a hole in her barrier up ahead.
However, the invisible enemy was even more capable than she expected.
A knife flashed through the air and grazed her skin.
In spite of her concealment magic being active, they were able to locate her with precision.
She quickly grabbed the arm and dislocated the shoulder.
Leticia had trained with martial arts in order to deal with enemies such as these.
However, the large man did not scream, or let out a sound.
He just sighed.
And in the next instant, sparks flew in front of her eyes.
A sharp pain on her forehead.
Her body floated in the air.
She felt the impact on her back as she rolled across the stone pavement.
That was when Leticia realized her mistake.
This was not an enemy she could fight without using magic.
She should have tried to escape without limiting herself. She should have used all of her power.
In that small moment, the enemy had caught up with her. It was too late to activate magic now.
(If I am caught here…)
She did not want to think about it.
The two houses, with their immense influence, would try to erase her and Luke.
They would likely be accused of some crime they didn’t commit, and be thrown in prison for the rest of their lives.
Or perhaps they would just be killed, their bodies thrown into some lake.
Leticia was considering casting some magic, in the event that she was tortured and forced to confess. But then it happened.
One of the enemies that was surrounding her was blown away, and the other was knocked to the ground.
Some other invisible person had attacked them.
(Are they fighting each other…?)
They would not have expected this at all.
And then something pulled Leticia’s hand, and they ran towards the hole in the barrier.
The result of the battle was just a second’s delay.
Leticia and the stranger went through the hole, and then she deactivated the relic that had opened it.
And so the magic barrier blocked her pursuers.
She picked up the relic so as not to leave any traces, and they ran through the night street.
It was a large hand.
And it felt familiar to Leticia.
Once they saw that they were not being followed, the stranger let go of her and disappeared into the city.
She could not follow.
And so she stood there, alone.
A strong breeze brushed Leticia’s cheek.