He walked to the corner of the room as though deciding how he was going to leave. He then nudged something in the corner with his foot several times and kicked it. The floor began creaking and suddenly opened up.
“There are secret doors?” I asked wide-eyed.
“In some rooms,” said Archer. “You chose a room well.”
It didn’t really sound like a compliment at all.
“Please, could you wipe off the remaining stains? And open the window too.”
“Yes, yes, will do. Just go quickly. A valet can’t be absent for too long, can he?”
Archer just glared at me. He descended the creaky stairs and disappeared. A moment later, the secret door closed.
I hurried to where he had disappeared and examined the floor. If you didn’t know that a secret door opened on the floor, you couldn’t guess it just by looking. It didn’t even have a handle and it was made of stone. Is there a switch on the wall? I wondered and glanced at the spot where Archer had kicked.
I wanted to examine it fully but I didn’t have much time. I walked to the vase on the table, took out the flowers and poured the water on the floor. I grabbed the table cloth and started scrubbing. I put the knife in my inner pocket through a crevice in the hem of my skirt. I slit the wet cloth next to it. The pocket was big enough to fit everything.
I returned the chair to its place, untied the string and placed it in my pocket. The room looked clean as though nothing had ever happened here except a draft of wind from the window.
I was still peeved. It would have been useful to know what kind of drug was actually used. It would take a very long time to find information about it in books. I didn’t even know what it was. It would have come in handy in the future.
No. I should have made her tell me where she found it. Why didn’t I think about that before?!
Maybe a pharmacist could make something like it. There were always unhinged people who tried forbidden things no matter which world it was. Among them were the ones who experimented with dangerous drugs. There must be someone in Sersaw who did the same.
The problem was to find him. I, a noble lady from a renowned family, couldn’t really be seen asking about things like that. It would raise suspicions.
“That’s why I should have gotten it out of that girl. If a palace maid could get her hands on it, it must be common…”
I restrained myself from slapping myself in the face. I had been too reckless and too foolish. I had missed a good opportunity. All because of that damned man! I was so focused and worried about him that my mind wasn’t working properly. I killed her too quickly.
It can’t be helped now. I have to find it myself.
“I liked the old days. I just had to take care of the orders I received and get paid after,” I mumbled in frustration. Protecting someone was too difficult a job. I grumbled as I opened the door and left the room.
“There’s a lot of noise outside. What’s going on?” Rion asked. He was slowly eating the porridge sent from the kitchen for the lord who ‘fell sick from a hangover’.
Archer answered in his usual droll voice. “The Princess’ maids are looking for the food taster. They say she disappeared without a word.”
“Ah, is that so? No one should go wandering in a foreign land. It’s dangerous.”
Archer didn’t respond. Rion ate another spoonful of the lukewarm porridge. He frowned. He had never liked porridge. It gave off such a sickly feeling.
Rion’s room was on the top floor. It wasn’t very far from the rooms in which the Warwick siblings were staying. Of course, none of the guests knew where his room was. The servants were instructed not to disclose the location of their lord’s room. They willingly abided by it. It was safer that way.
The servants at Glouster did not like outsiders. They especially disliked people from the royal palace. So, it wasn’t very difficult for Rion to return to his room unnoticed in the morning. The servants kept an eye out for any wandering guest.
Rion had several rooms in the castle for his own anyway. He didn’t sleep in the same room for a long period of time. The servants kept every room clean and ready because of that. It was always ready for him to use whenever he wanted a change.
It would have been good to know exactly which room they were searching. Alice acted a lot quicker than he had anticipated. But he was strangely happy.