After a while, Valery, who hung it around my neck, stepped back a little. As if the lump in his heart eased a little, his expression also got better than before. Valery let out a low sigh.
“Promise me that you won’t.”
“You won’t do anything like before. Promise me you won’t be in danger.”
I was the villainess, but I didn’t understand why he spoke sadly like that.
What’s the point of answering? Still, I just wanted to answer that way, at least only on the surface. He probably already knew my real answer.
* * *
I didn’t even know how I got here. After our meeting was over and I came out of his arms, his coat was draped over my shoulders.
He let me go, but somehow I felt caught by him all the way back to the mansion in the carriage. So I looked back from the carriage several times, not like myself. I still felt like I was half out of my mind.
I was blocking my mother, and it would continue in the future. Would he believe me if I told the truth about why I went away?
I don’t think so. To be honest, Valery let me go today, but I was sure that he would doubt me the whole time. I have no choice but to save myself until I leave this place entirely.
When I finished thinking, tiredness came upon me.
“Ian, wake me up when we arrive.”
I eventually closed my eyes because I felt like someone had weighed on me.
* * *
I didn’t wake up until noon the next day. I didn’t even drink alcohol, but my body felt heavy, and I had throbbing headaches.
After pulling the string, Nina came in a little later.
“You’re awake, Lady.”
“Waiting for Lady down there.”
I got up and put my hand on my forehead, then asked.
“He has already been here since about three hours ago. Should I bring water to wash up?”
“No. I’m going to wash up in the bathroom. Just give me a wet towel.”
“Yes, I’ll bring it right away!”
I got up and shook my head roughly to wake myself up.
I thought Sir Shubart was here to listen about what happened in the masquerade. Still, he could ask Ian rather than waiting for me to tell him, so Sir Shubart must have waited patiently. Did he hear my encounter with Valery?
I roughly wiped my face with the wet towel Nina brought, shook off my sleepiness, and went to the bathroom to wash myself.
Went downstairs, shaking my wet hair, I could see Sir Shubart looking at the newspaper leisurely. Sir Shubart had a relaxed appearance, which I could only see once or twice a year.
“Why didn’t you wake me up?”
I opened my mouth, leaving one remaining step. Sir Shubart put down the newspaper slightly and smiled as if he knew I was coming down.
“I should give you time to relieve your fatigue.”
During my two years in a foreign country, Sir Shubart managed to get rid of two of the emperor’s confidants. Madam Perza was fortunately safe, but I never knew whether they would try to get rid of her again.
After cutting their limbs, the next target would be the emperor and empress. But there was something strange. Two of his confidants have disappeared, so why doesn’t the emperor move? Why doesn’t the empress get angry?
Given that Sir Shubart succeeded after several failures, they must have prepared something not to let it happen again. Still, the relationship between the emperor, the empress, and my mother felt strange and stranger.
“I heard something strange.”
I told him what had happened yesterday. Sir Shubart focused on listening to me.
“So, we should think more carefully about dealings with Barbera and Radwike. Are you sure Marquis Radwike is still not on good terms with the imperial family? We need to check if their relationship has improved again. It was like walking a tightrope between the two.”
Sir Shubart tapped the sofa with his finger.
“The number of times the emperor tried to assassinate your mother.”
Didn’t the emperor just stay still?
“Barbera is used for checking. Giving the coral beach was also the deal with me.”
When I heard that, I was relieved.
“You sent me on purpose. To ensure he’s not gained more than he should, right?”
“I’m sorry. I thought it would be better for you not to know.”
“Haa, I was worried for nothing.”
Sir Shubart apologized while putting his two hands together.
It wasn’t the first time I’d been taken advantage of. Still, it’s unavoidable that I feel frustrated every time this happens.
“Is mother really okay…? To suffer it five times…”
I was talking and ended up swallowing my words.
“She’s okay because I’m protecting her.”
“…that’s the case.”
“What if the emperor brought this up publicly rather than assassinate her?”
As if it was not enough to send her to the North, he even tried to assassinate her five times. It seemed like he was desperate to kill her, just like my mother.
“It won’t happen.”
Looking back, I suddenly remembered what Sir Shubart said at that time.
“Each person has something that they can’t let go of.”
“That’s why. It’s something she can’t let go of.”
Something she couldn’t let go of. Her own revenge. Something the emperor and empress hide.
“Um, Sir Shubart.”
“Mother said that last time. The second prince was born by stealing something from her.”
“What did she mean? Mother doesn’t tell me.”
Sir Shubart closed his mouth and never thought of opening it again. I waited patiently, thinking that I needed to hear the answer for some reason.
“Yes, Sir Shubart.”
“Sometimes it’s better not to know.”
I got up from the sofa to the point my hips floated up, then sat down again.
“I’ll tell you later.”
“Yes. I will tell you everything later. I don’t think this is the right time.”
In the end, I had no choice but to nod my head. I thought if I asked more, he would tell me not to forget the purpose I was brought here.
If they didn’t tell me, I would have to find it myself.
* * *
“Nina. Don’t let anyone in my room. It’ll only take about an hour.”
“Yes, Lady. Don’t worry about that., I will be on guard!”
“If there is a problem, you can tell Ian immediately.”
“Yes, Lady. Don’t worry about that either.”
“Is this the right map?”
“Yes. If you turn right here, you will see a black brick wall. If you press 10 spaces from the bottom to the top and the third space from the right, a person will come out from the inside. He told me he would be there in a few days, so you won’t have to wait long.”
I put on my hood to meet Shale Iskar in person.
I hold on to the mana stone, thinking of the exact place to move. It’s a waste to use, but I had no choice but to use this mana stone because I had already handed over the rest of the mana stones to Sir Shubart in the past. However, I couldn’t remember if this was the right way to use it because I had never used it before.
“Have a nice day, Lady!”
Nina clenched her fists and whispered softly as I grabbed the mana stone and tried to close my eyes. I shook my head and grabbed the mana stone as hard as I could. As soon as I closed my eyes, the temperature of the mana stone rose to the point where my hands felt warm.
For a moment, motion sickness rose, and when I opened my eyes, I saw a black wall in front of me.
“…is this the right place?”
When I slightly leaned back and turned my head, this place seemed like the right place where Nina talked about. As soon as I turned right, I saw a wall darker than the one I now see.
“It’s not a big deal. He’s coming soon, right?”
The tip of the mana stone had faded slightly to gray. Perhaps the mana in it was reduced as much as the mana used.
“If it’s this close enough, I could use it 10 or even 20 times.”
After putting the mana stone in the inner pocket, I did what Nina told me to do, and the door opened from the inside.
“I’ll take you inside.”
The men bowed to greet me and led me inside.
“It’s similar to Bei.”
The two men guiding me stopped and walked down the hallway again. They bowed their heads once more in front of the door I arrived at. Then I knocked on the heavy door and opened it.
“You’re finally here.”
The face of another man was revealed.
At first, he looked different because this place was dark, but when I looked at him again from the bright place, he looked neat. If his long red hair wasn’t noticeable, he would be almost unrecognizable.
He chuckled at my greeting.
“Ah, that’s really funny.”
Shale, with his hands roughly put in his pants pockets, stepped forward in front of me. I took off the hood I was wearing deeply and lifted my head. He paused for a moment, then raised his eyebrows.
“What are you staring at?”