He slowly put me down. If my arms hadn’t held on to him my legs would have crumpled immediately to the ground. I felt confused; I lost all the strength in my legs! While I was bewildered, he caught me. His eyes were twinkling mischievously.
“Don’t go looking for rich trash while I’m away. Because I’ll be a rich scum if you want,” he suddenly said. “Won’t we have a good married life until you kill me? What you want will be fulfilled, and vice versa. How about it?”
I tried to keep my face impassive. “Then you’re saying, you’re going to prevent all assassination attempts,” I said, “and then continue on the marriage proposal?”
“Did I get caught already?”
I ignored him. I could barely stand on my legs; I trembled slightly like a newborn deer as he laughed.
“Archer, take the Lady to the Warwick brothers.”
Archer raised his eyebrows. I looked at his expression and then looked back at Leon, no, the Grand Duke.
“What is it…” Oh, d*mn it! Where’s the mirror? When I frowned and glared at him, he grinned, showing his teeth. He came over to me and gently wiped my lips with his thumb.
“It can’t be helped. The swelling won’t go down anytime soon,” he said. His eyes scanned my body. “You are fine elsewhere, though, so you’ll be fine as long as no one stares at you.”
“How can they not stare at me?!” I said, aghast. “I’m going to ride a carriage face to face with my brothers!”
“They’ll be my brothers-in-law someday, so that’s fine.”
“I’m not fine!”
“I believe the Warwick brothers are going to barge in here at this rate,” Archer said quietly, but even though we heard it, we continued to argue for a little while longer.
My mother’s voice pulled me out of the memories that I had with that d*mn man. He said he wouldn’t be able to come to Schway any time soon, so he probably didn’t hear this news, or even if he heard it, he wouldn’t be in a situation to look into it more. This time the victim was an aristocrat, so if he wanted to get information, he could do it. But can he find more information than the rumors spreading around? How competent was the investigator in charge of the Capital Guards?
“Yes,” I said, bringing my mind back to the present.
“Madame Shirka told me that she wanted to show a new design, would you like to come with me? I was just going to go alone if you arrived late, but you arrived earlier than I thought.”
Madame Shirka. The most famous dressmaker in Schway. Wealthy and high-ranking aristocratic women often gather in Madame Shirka’s boutique to chat. It’s much better than men’s social clubs, but in terms of expenditure, it’s probably similar. Anyway, the important fact was that it was some kind of hideout where aristocratic women gather and chat. Presentation of new dress designs was like a tea party, especially held for important customers. As long as I’m not the main character, there’s nothing much to bother with. All I need to do is sit next to my mother and act like a lady of a decent, fine noble family.
“If you’re tired, there’s no need to. You may not want to go anywhere after returning from Glouster territory,” she said.
I shook my head. “No, I want to go with you. I’m free to go tomorrow.” Being a teenager was good. Even after a tiring trip by carriage, I’m full of energy after a half day’s rest. This must be thanks to my age.
Alex was still talking to dad. It must be about politics, but I don’t know whether I should listen to that kind of talk from now on. My mind drifted to the older brother who pushed his younger brother to be a traitor, and a younger brother still surviving the assassins sent by that older brother even to thisas day…
We didn’t talk in the carriage, but I’ll have to talk to Alex later. My eldest brother would have valuable knowledge for me on how to evaluate the situation at the royal palace. Of whether I should still be worried about that or not.
It was a headache thinking about both murders and assassination attempts. I have to do it one at a time. For now, I should focus on the murders. I said goodbye to mother and asked Amy to bring me some bath water. I went up to my room, listing in my head any possible suspects for this case.
Madame Shirka’s boutique was divided into a workshop where the clothes are made, and a space for receiving customers. The customers are not allowed inside the workshop; the space where customers had their measurements taken, and where they tried on clothes, was luxuriously decorated like a quiet, cozy drawing room. If it was not for the high platform and a large mirror on one side, it would feel like the house of a noble. Several noble ladies were already seated in the semicircular seats spread about. They were talking quite loudly while drinking tea and eating desserts from small plates. As expected, the topic was about Countess Ward.
“That woman… one of her lovers was a male actor at the Bellevue Theater. Did you know that?” one whispered conspirationaly.
“I know! Who was it again? Le, Le….”
The other party knew the name, but acted as if she didn’t know. A young lady nearby chipped into the conversation. “Legional Strada, right? I was really moved by that actor’s performance in Brave Knight Jalan!”
“I believe he did spectacularly in Say it with a Kiss! Jalan didn’t really show Legional’s potential. In the first place, the playwright…”
The woman, who pretended not to remember his name, lashed out at the actor’s evaluation. The young lady blinked in surprise, and the other lady who was talking with her, stood up from her seat looking at my mother and me.