< — The founding party — > (1)
David walked by Princess Katherine’s break room and beckoned to the two knights in front.
“You two. Come over here.”
The two knights exchanged glances with each other for a moment before they approached David. If it were an ordinary noble, there was no need to listen to them, but David was the son of Duke Ramis and the younger brother of the Queen. His status was one that couldn’t be ignored.
“What is the matter, sir?”
“Come with me for a moment.”
“But we have to guard here…”
“Jeez. It will only take a minute.”
“Alright then, one of us will stay behind.”
“I need help from two people. It is only just a moment. You mean you can’t even give me a minute of help? I’m disappointed.”
It was right for them to refuse for the sake of their duty, but they were only powerless palace knights. If a high-ranking noble held a grudge against them, they would lose their jobs without having any chance to defend themselves. The two knights looked at each other. A minute would be fine. In any case, there was also a maid in the break room.
As David turned around the corner of the corridor, bringing the knights with him, Anita, who was watching the situation, quickly entered the break room.
In the break room, there was a short passage of about ten steps, so that the inside of the break room could not be seen upon entering through the door. Turning around the corner, along the wall at the end of the hall, there was a door in the middle that led to the inside of the break room. When Anita came in, the handmaid stood up.
“You are the person I met earlier. How did you get in here?”
“The princess gave me permission to use this place.”
“Ah? But I have never received such instructions.”
“Then how did I get in here when there are knights guarding outside? Are you saying I am lying?”
When Anita cornered her as if she was angry, the handmaid hesitated.
“If you don’t believe me, I’ll show you the evidence. Come and see.”
The handmaid drew close to Anita. Anita turned the ring she was wearing, pointed it to her palm and opened the lid of the ring. Inside the ring was a tiny needle.
Anita suddenly grabbed the hand of the approaching maid. The startled handmaid took her hand away, but after a while, her eyes spun, and she collapsed to the floor with a thud. It was a poison that would make you pass out and gradually paralyzed you to death. If she wasn’t given the antidote within three to four hours, the handmaid would die.
Anita didn’t even care about the handmaid’s life. Rather, after doing something irreversible, she felt a subtle sense of pleasure, like all the bars that had been suffocating her were released.
Anita dragged the maid to the restroom next to the break room and laid her down. She quickly changed into the clothes of the now stripped maid. And then, she pulled out the bracelet, the magical tool, that David had given to her.
The magical tool she’d only heard about through rumors, was a crude silver bracelet. Most of aristocratic families’ magical tools were kept as a secret but there were a few things that were secretly known. The magical tool owned by the Duke Ramis family was one of such open secrets.
Anita put the bracelet on her wrist. The bracelet glowed faintly and tightened to fit her wrist. And Anita’s appearance in the mirror slowly began to change.
Her hair color changed to a very pale brown, and her pupils changed to color closer to black. She couldn’t completely change her structure into a completely different person. But, her overall impression had somewhat changed. The appearance and atmosphere around her had changed into such that it would be difficult to think this appearance and Anita were the same person.
The effect of the magical tool would last for one hour. David said that once used, it would take about a year before it could be reuse. But that didn’t matter. To Anita, one hour was enough.
* * *
Fabian lamented his position where he had to work late into the night of the founding day. Seeing his income increase in proportion to his dwindling time for rest, Fabian and his wife, Alice, had mixed emotions.
Without the eyes of his master watching him, Fabian was even busier. If something happened in his master’s absence, it would be a serious issue, so he couldn’t relax his mind.
‘It didn’t show up today too.’
His subordinate’s report had been delayed for a few days and it was grating on his nerves. A secret mission had a lot of unforeseen situations, so a plan was of no use. The date of a report being a few days off was something that happened often.
However, the fact that David was the subject of surveillance kept bothering him. When compared to his master, David seemed ridiculous, but on his own, David was a tycoon-level aristocrat. Moreover, unlike the capital, the Ramis territory was David’s domain.
‘Should I have sent two people to follow him? But this side shows nothing out of sort…’
The conclusion of the surveillance report on the Countess of Falcon was ‘nothing significant to report’. These days, they were only taking note of the Countess of Falcon’s movement. If she didn’t stray from her daily repeated schedule, they didn’t look carefully into it. The Countess poured her attention into the management of the bar and went around the bar every day.
‘Does she plan to completely become a bar hostess? But if she goes too far, her reputation in the social circle will hit the bottom.’
Whatever happens to the Countess’ reputation was none of his business. But putting aside his dislike of the Countess, Fabian had never thought that the woman was stupid. When he looked at her recent trajectory, he wondered what exactly was she thinking.
Fabian still did not stop trying to find out why David went to the Countess’ bar. Once he caught a tail, he never let go until the main body was revealed. That was hiw Fabian worked.
Fabian didn’t know what David had talked about when he was alone with the Countess in the private room. He bought off a few employees and gathered up the words David had said, piece by piece.
When he heard that David had drunkenly praised the Duchess of Taran’s beauty a couple of times, he smelled something strange. And when he looked into it, he found that David gave the Madam a love letter but was refused.
‘This nutcase. He dares to covet who?’
If the man talked nonsense with the Madam and a strange rumor were to arise from that, the anger of his lord would explode. The ones below were always greatly affected by the mental state of their masters.
Fabian shivered. Such a thing should never happen.
A subordinate knocked on the door, came in and gave a brief report. He was in charge of monitoring Harry, the person who was now leading the youth’s association that David started. The subordinate came to report that David met Harry in the evening for a while and then left.
“What? That guy came to see the target?”
“They didn’t talk about anything important. He just briefly asked about the recent news…”
“Whatever those bastards talked about isn’t the problem. Right now-!”
‘David is in the capital right now? This fool!’
Fabian immediately sensed that something had happened to his subordinate that was attached to David. When dealing with many subordinates, sometimes, a ridiculous accident would occur.
Fabian summoned his subordinates immediately. He had to find information about the guy who was captured and figure out a way to bring him out.
‘There’s no way Duke Ramis has called him back to the capital already, so why the hell did he come to the capital? To attend the founding party? Just for that?’
Fabian put together all the information he had and created a variety of possibilities.
‘The founding party can be an opportunity for David and the Countess to meet naturally. But for a secret meeting, the bar is better. Do they really have a need to meet at the founding party?’
Fabian suddenly felt a chill on his back.
‘The Madam also went to the party.’
He had a bad feeling about this. Since Roy was guarding her, there wasn’t much to worry about. But he would only be relieved after sending someone to bring this to Roy’s attention. Fabian hurriedly ordered someone to infiltrate the palace.