Before Erna could even say something, Orpé stood and opened the door. It was rude behavior by the book because she had moved before getting permission from Erna. However, this was natural for her, since for the last ten years she had welcomed Vanessa whenever she came.
You can’t act differently now, Erna told herself as she held back a sigh, watching Orpé open the door. She had to behave as normally as possible lest Vanessa figures out what had happened at the ancient site.
Entering the room, Vanessa spoke as kindly as ever. “How are you feeling, Madam Erna?” she asked.
“I’m in one piece, as you can see. What’s going on?”
“Does something have to be going on for me to come? I was passing by and just decided to drop in.”
Words that Erna would have blown off in the past were caught in the back of her mind today. In fact, there was no particular department around here that Vanessa would bother to visit. But Erna had heard that Vanessa often dropped in while passing by.
Up until now, had Vanessa been purposely coming here to check up on Erna?
Erna blurted out as she took the teacup Orpé was handing to her, “Come to think of it, I have something to say. I’m thinking about using the room on the first floor of the Grand Castle’s main building. Don’t be shocked, but I think I should get rid of the furniture inside.”
“Huh? Why all of a sudden?” inquired Vanessa.
“Because of the ancient ruin in Ilgees Forest,” replied Erna.
At first, she had tussled with the idea of bringing up the ancient ruin. After the conversation with Kalion, however, she’d concluded that it would seem better to speak out about it. Of course, she’d decided to omit the part about how she’d seen Richard Hessenguard inside.
“Demons keep appearing in Ilgees Forest these days, and everything that went on with the site… I think it has something to do with those things,” added Erna.
“…didn’t you go inside the ruin, madam?”
“Nope. I didn’t go past the entrance because I thought I’d get into some trouble if something dangerous came out of that situation.”
Erna, pretending to be as calm as she could, brought up a lie that she had agreed with Kalion to say. It seemed that he had already told Vanessa that they hadn’t gone past the entrance of the ancient ruin. And that the passage had opened and closed.
So, Erna’s story, too, had to match Kalion’s.
“Still, I’m curious about what’s inside. On top of that, it was interesting to see the passage open multiple times in a short period. So, I’m thinking about gathering materials from Ilgees Forest or the ancient ruin. But my office is way too stuffed, so I thought that it’d be good to have one more room to tidy up.”
This was not a lie.
“For the time being, I think I’m going to take some trees and rocks from Ilgees Forest and look at the traces of magic. So, I’m going to empty out the room nearest to the front door and use it similar to a research lab.”
“I see. Understood. I shall alert the people of the main building ahead of time.” Vanessa nodded with no noticeable change in her face.
Erna studied her while pretending to drink her tea. It seemed like she was deep in thought about something, but soon her face returned to its usual expression as if nothing had happened.
Vanessa, too, would start to move.
Since Erna declared that she was going to do research from now on, if there was anything Vanessa wanted to hide, she would act immediately.
Erna and Kalion decided to pursue that.
Erna sighed as she exited the Wizard Group’s building. She had worked uncontrollably from morning to evening; now it was drifting into dinner time.
Thanks to Abel, who instructed the class immediately from today, she did not have time to take classes.
She was still busy, though.
After taking care of everything at once that’d been pushed back, her eyes twirled round and round. Despite this, her work still wasn’t done. She wanted to come out after doing a little bit more, but Orpé, who had gone out and come back, suddenly barged in and shoved her back, telling her to rest.
It was the moment Erna was about to take a step into the main building, putting on her cloak of the conquest of the grand duchess.
She looked to her side, shocked at the calling of her name.
He was seated on the railing at the entrance of the building. He raised his body and approached her.
“What is this? Why are you here? Do you have something going on at the Wizard Group?”
“Yep,” nodded Kalion.
“What is it?” Erna’s face turned serious.
Since the establishment of the Wizard Group, Kalion had never visited this place in person. Cedric, his deputy, came to ask for cooperation even when he needed the wizards’ help to fight demons, and Kalion had never asked him to come. But now he’d come directly?
Erna waited for his response, nervous that it was something serious that had to do with demons.
Then Kalion raised his hand and rubbed her wrinkled forehead with his finger.
“I came to get you.”
“You know it’s time to finish. Let’s go.”
Erna’s lips quivered at his words.
“Don’t tell me… you’re waiting for me.”