* * *
Theon opened his eyes and checked the time. It’d only been ten minutes.
He couldn’t sleep because of the cold.
‘Is there anyone else who would help Leila?’
He rose from bed clutching his throbbing head.
No matter how much he thought about it, he couldn’t find anyone else.
Leila spent time at home alone with seeing anyone else, like a beautiful doll. For years.
Besides, wouldn’t the people who would call her would have been cut off because of Theon?
So he couldn’t think of anyone who might have helped her.
If they have money to spare….
Theon, who was leaving the house, stopped in his tracks.
Why didn’t he think of it before? If you have money, you can hire mercenaries and leave.
“Investigate the mercenary guild with the help of their mercenaries”
As soon as he got home, he left instructions for his subordinates, and hurried to get ready to go to the party where he was invited.
* * *
Two days later, he took the stack of papers and sighed in his heart.
Because of his lack of sleep, he now had a headache and felt nauseous whenever he read letters.
He met the head of the trafficking group yesterday, but gained no special information.
“Blonde. There is a woman with brown hair and blue eyes, but blonde…….”
Most people with blonde hair were aristocrats. It was a color that was hard to find in the common people.
This group of traffickers didn’t seem to have the guts to touch the aristocracy.
“My subordinates are coming back one by one from all over the world, but do you want me to contact you if they see a woman like that?”
In the Empire, all slave trade except serfs was illegal.
Therefore, it seemed that they were planning to take the kidnappers to a country where slave trade was legal.
The slave dealer didn’t seem to want to miss the opportunity to sell one at a high price before the long journey.
Even if it’s the same thing, they would get a much higher price by selling them to a aristocrat.
Theon folded away his thoughts and slowly turned over the papers he received.
“I don’t know what you’re looking for, but there’s nothing special.”
The wizard who took a bribe from Theon and secretly handed over the list, smiled.
As he said, none of the magical items sold by the Ministry of Magic in recent three months were unusual.
In particular, only two magic crystal balls were sold, one of which was a disposable bomb used to pierce the stone path.
One of them was bought by the Duke of Cerios.
Theon smiled lightly when he saw the documents Harsian had given when he’d bought the crystal ball.
He bought a crystal ball with wiretapping magic to prepare for a covert assassination attempt at his wife.
I wonder who would try to assassinate the woman who was going to die today or tomorrow anyway.
‘If you’re ready, you’re good at cracking down on your subordinates. The money is rotten.’
The magic engraved on crystal balls was not infinite.
After a certain period of time or more than the number of times of use, the magic that has been applied disappears and it becomes an ordinary crystal bead.
There was a possibility that this was just for exploitation and the need to make a profit since it was a business in its own way.
So, did Harsian intend to buy this every month?
He looked like a poisonous snake, but it was plausible because of his deep love for his wife.
“Thank you for listening to my unreasonable request.”
Theon smiled and handed the papers back to the wizard and returned to the mansion.
He thought it was yet another fail today, and was going to think of the other ways one could acquire a crystal ball.
“The person the Marquis is looking for has visited the mercenary guild.”
The deputy, who was ordered by Theon, came with news from the mercenary guild.
Theon, who was had approved the documents due today already, said. Then the deputy held out a piece of paper to him.
“She posted a notice, but since she wasn’t paying any additional costs, they took it down and kept only the original request.”
Theon glanced over the paper presented by the deputy.
“Are you sure Leila was the one who got it?”
“Yes, the description was almost identical.”
Theon’s face frowned. He looked at the paper once more.
Kingdom of Sronakia. Why did Leila want to go to a place like this?
But what Leila did seemed to make sense, given the deputy’s words on when this was posted and the fact that she’d been trying to hire only female mercenaries.
Was there a connection?
Theon desperately tried to remember. In their time together, Leila had said all sorts of things to him.
She hated being lonely. She wanted to talk to Theon all the time, even on a very trivial subject.
However, Leila’s daily life, which was always at home, never changed.
So she generally asked Theon a question and listened to his answer.
Then, when Theon ran out of stories and closed his mouth, she would tell him her old stories.
Never. She’s never said it before.
However, no matter how much he thought about it, there was no word about the kingdom of Sronakia in Leila’s stories.
But why did she suddenly want to leave for another country so far away?
“And I have to tell you something.”
Theon took his eyes off the paper and looked at the deputy.
“There is a person who posted a different request at the same time on the same day that she posted hers.”
Theon nodded lightly to tell him to keep talking.
“It was a request to protect a mansion.”
“Was it Leila’s mansion?”
“Yes. They got a total of five mercenaries, and exactly 10 days later, they finished the request in the afternoon. The request was destroyed when it was fulfilled, so I couldn’t bring it with me.”
Theon counted the days in his head before the deputy’s words were over.
That was the day before her maid disappeared. Maybe the day before Leila left.
So, they finished the request before Theon last visited her house.
Leila tried to acquire the mercenaries but disappeared without getting them. And there was someone who asked to protect Leila’s mansion.
Was it really for protection? Maybe it could’ve been for surveillance.
If someone found out that Leila was leaving pretended to help her and took her way.
“What? Just, the description is still…….”
“Ask the mercenaries, the mercenaries guild leaders, and the people around Leila’s house to make a sketch. Release all the soldiers who are playing!”
The deputy left and Theon grabbed the quill pen again.
He threw it and grabbed his curse muttering curses. He was sick of everything.
He wondered why he had to work so hard without sleeping until his body tired.
Why did Leila leave without believing in his words to wait?
Why did she have to go get taken away by some ruffian?
Just a little, just a little bit, it’ll all be over.
“………let’s finish it.”
I didn’t want to take any chances. But now I’m really sick and tired of it and I want to end it all.
* * *
“It’s been a long time since we’ve met here.”
“How have you been?”
“It hasn’t been long since I saw you. As you can see, I’ve been well.”
The crown prince tapped Theon on the shoulder.
“Your face seems to be getting gaunt day by day. Women say they like your face, but it doesn’t look all that good to me.”
“Is that so? I’ll take care of it.”
The two sat face to face, chatting about nothing special.
“Does she still bother you to divorce?”
The crown prince smiled mischievously, shaking his glass.
“Yeah. Maybe it’s because I’m not good enough, but she doesn’t relax.”
“Which man in the world is proud enough to say he isn’t enough? That’s the problem.”
Theon drank with a friendly smile.
Perhaps the appearance of Theon was not appropriate, so the crown prince put down the glass with a bang on the table.
“I don’t say anything, but is there anyone else who would take in that nuisance?”
“I think there a lot of people in the talks. Otherwise, would she so easily ask for a divorce?”
“No, I don’t think so. I think she’ll crawl back to the imperial household?”
When he thought of Lishipe, the crown prince shook his head as if he suddenly felt a headache.
“I feel like you should grab her legs and beg her to live with you.”
“Sorry, I grabbed the hem of her dress and begged her, but it didn’t work.”
“Well, tsk tsk. If I could, I’d like to put her in the grave with my father when he dies.”
Following the conversation about Lishipe, they talked a few more minutes.
“By the way, isn’t it about time we talk business? Although I do like to talk to you about irrelevant things.”
At the prince’s words, Theon handed him the envelope he’d brought in.
“This is information from human trafficking groups that are rampant these days. Information about the leaders and their base is written there. I haven’t figured out where they are yet, but I’ve written down my guesses.”
The crown prince opened the envelope and checked the contents inside. What Theon said was recorded as information.
“Why are you giving this to me?”
“What’s the reason? I just caught them when they were wandering around the territory, so I looked into it to help your highness.”
The emperor was bedridden, but his mind was still clear, and he was handling most of the work.
The problem was that the emperor’s body could not handle much work.
As a result, minor problems, including human traffickers, were popping up one by one.
Originally, if the emperor’s body had deteriorated to that extent, the crown prince had to deal with the big and small affairs on behalf of the emperor.
However, the emperor, who was dissatisfied with the crown prince, did not hand over power to the crown prince despite his illness.
The crown prince must be discontent. Not being recognized and the transfer of power not happening on time.
But the situation could easily be overturned beyond his expectations.
The crown prince is not the crown prince for no reason. Already, he was recognized as the next emperor, and his foundation was solid.
What he needed was an opportunity to break the emperor’s stubbornness.
“But isn’t this too much to just flatter me?”
The crown prince clearly recognized what Theon wanted from him.
“If you say so, can I ask you a favor?”
“In the near future, there will be a small disturbance with the Marquis of Karsha. I’d appreciate it if you could close your eyes for a while then.”
The crown prince brushed the side of his head with his two fingers and looked as if he was lost in thought.
Then, shortly afterwards, he burst out laughing.
“Do you call that a favor?”
And… it was taking too much time to post so I’ll just post the normal way.