“Don’t worry, Shubart will be watching you directly.”
“Are you worried about me?””
Then my mother looked at me. I smiled at my mother, said my farewell, and came out. Closing the door, I walked out into the hallway.
There were a few stands of my mother’s long hair in my hand. I was still thinking about whether to check it as soon as I returned home. The question was whether Ian brought it properly. Still, no matter how I thought about it, Ian couldn’t brush Sir Shubart’s hair, so it might be difficult. Even just imagining it made me feel weird.
Anyway, I decided to make sure I knew exactly where my abilities came from to minimize the shock. Let’s consciously erase everything else. I thought it would be better.
A little later, Ian appeared with Sir Shubart.
“Let’s go back, Ian.”
“Are you going already?”
“I have to go now. I also said my farewell to mother.”
“It’s too bad. I don’t think I can stop by tomorrow.”
“I know you’re busy. I can eat breakfast alone anytime.”
“Okay, go home safely.”
I said to Sir Shubart, “Please take good care of mother,” and got into the carriage. As soon as the carriage moved away from Bei, Ian held out a folded black handkerchief from his inner pocket.
“Here it is.”
“…Did you succeed?”
“Though it’s only a few strands. Yes.”
He didn’t really brush Sir Shubart’s hair, did you? I looked at him in doubt.
“I brushed one of his shoulders and the other strands on the floor of his office.”
It meant he swept it with his hands. Come to think of it, Sir Shubart was wearing a dark suit close to black today. Then it would have been easier to find out.
“You did a great job.”
I nodded and accepted the handkerchief. There were only a few strands left, so I was afraid of losing them on the carriage, so I held them tight.
* * *
As soon as I got out of Bei and returned home, I was out of breath. At some point, when I went to Bei, the tension doubled, and I felt like I was getting tired.
As soon as I arrived, I told the servant to prepare water for me to take a bath. I was about to put the handkerchief on the bedside table, but Lisa held out something.
“This letter arrived for Lady while Lady was going to dinner.”
“From where? Ah.”
Before Lisa could even answer, I saw the pattern on the letter and immediately recognized it. It was from Juri del Chartero. Lisa added that the person from Chartero came and delivered it in person.
After introducing Shale to me, I thought it would be hard to see her for a while because of her business expansion or something like that. Seeing that she wanted to talk as a close friend, it didn’t seem like an invitation to the tea party where many people would gather like last time.
If she asked me if I had decided on a new item, I would have to answer something this time, but the appointment day was near my meeting with Her Majesty, so the time was a bit tight. Juri, I’m already living comfortably now, so you don’t need to worry.
I waved the letter to Lisa. “I have to go to this too, so please prepare for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.”
“Yes, I understand.”
“Then I’ll take a bath first. If I need anything else, I’ll tell you later. Is there anything else urgent?”
Then Lisa bowed her head. When I heard that the warm water was ready, I cheered inwardly and headed to the bathroom.
* * *
After washing away my fatigue, I returned to my room, opened the bedside table, and took out the handkerchief I had been carrying from Bei. Then I took out the paternity test I got from Shale and the scissors I might need.
I agonized for a long time after putting those two things on the table, Ian’s black handkerchief, and my handkerchief. Shale said it would take less than an hour to know the results. I didn’t know how this device worked. Still, it seemed to be driven by a magic formula embedded like a pattern throughout the paternity test device or a magic stone embedded inside.
The three strands of hair I brought after brushing my mother’s hair were so long that the quantity won’t be a problem. The hair Ian brought to me was eight strands in total. Seeing that there was black hair mixed in, I thought it was one of Sir Shubart’s subordinates’ hair. Other than that, they were all the same color as Sir Shubart’s silver hair, so I wasn’t worried. The man with silver hair in Bei was only Sir Shubart. Even more, Ian found them in Sir Shubart’s office.
Now all I had to do was cut my hair with a scissor and put it inside, but strangely, my hands trembled whenever I held scissors, and I couldn’t do it.
“Was it not enough even though I prepared my mind like that?”
Fake laughter came out from me. It was clear that my mind was shaken more than before. I put down my scissors again and swept away my hair, which was still a little wet. No matter how much I think about it, I don’t think Sir Shubart is really…
Throughout today, I’ve been looking closely at my mother and Sir Shubart. Still, there was nothing that looked like evidence of being imprinted. It was the same when I was in the North or even when I was in the capital before that. Rather, it was Sir Shubart who was clinging to my mother. There was no difference even now.
My mother’s eyes showed no blindness towards Sir Shubart. She was always like that as if it would be okay even if they were parted away instantly. It was the same as before. Sometimes I wondered how she could be so indifferent even though it had been a long time since she had been like that.
I made a decision after a long time. I picked up the scissors and cut my mother’s hair over the handkerchief. Sir Shubart’s hair was also being cut on the black handkerchief. I also cut my hair and mixed a few strands of my own hair into a bundle of two hairs divided into two handkerchiefs, put them in the prepared paternity test device, and closed the lid. After that, I shook it until it melted, as Shale explained. Then all I had to do was wait for the result.
“I have something to be sure about.”
No matter how much I thought about it, I wasn’t confident that I wouldn’t care if the result was just like what I expected. That’s why I decided to check it later after collecting more information I needed. It was funny, but I couldn’t help it.
My heart felt like it would explode even when I just cut my hair, mixed it, and put it in. Even in this state, there were too many things to solve before checking the results.
I hid the paternity test device under the bed and didn’t check the result. Like the way Blake Ariandel overheard me, it was a bit embarrassing, but I couldn’t hide it under the dress I changed every time. After suppressing my rising curiosity for a moment, I climbed onto the bed and forced my eyes shut.
* * *
The next day at dawn. I started dressing up a little earlier than usual. The appointment time was a little earlier in the morning, so there was no time to be late if I wanted to arrive just in time, neither too early nor too late.
“Make it as neat as possible today.”
“Yes, Lady. Don’t worry.”
“Don’t put anything red for dressing up.”
A few hours later, I got into the carriage right after all the dressing up.
“Was there anything strange about Sir Shubart yesterday? Or did he prepare something separately? Something like you need only conveyed to me.”
“There was no such thing. He only told me to take good care of you.”
Maybe it was because of what I’ve done, but I think they’ve been exceptionally quiet lately.
Anyway, I didn’t know what happened to Rudbihi’s mine, which Shale robbed. Seeing that there was no news coming here, it didn’t mean he didn’t have any suspicion. The Duke was greedy, but he wouldn’t cover this up as it was. I have to see that wicked old man go into a rage.
The carriage ran hard and headed to the center of the capital. I left a little early in case of an accident. Still, fortunately, I was able to come to the nearby area without any problems. I stopped the carriage for a while to meet the time and then set off again shortly before the promised time and entered the mansion of Segbay.
As soon as I got out of the carriage, Marchioness Segbay, not his butler or anyone else, welcomed me. I didn’t expect it. It was because, from what I heard, the Marchioness, who got backing from both her parents and Marquis Segbay, had a pretty high nose. That’s why her appearance was rather unexpected.
I grabbed my dress and bowed to her with a slight bend in my knee. “Greetings, Marchioness. My name is Blake Ariandel. Nice to meet you.”
Then Marchioness Segbay smiled softly. “Welcome. Wasn’t it hard to come?”