“Marchioness Wishburn! So we meet here.”
“Nice to meet you, Countess Milton. Oh, is this Mrs. Ovin?” The people gathered quickly greeted mother. Most of them seemed to already know each other and my mother. There were people I saw from the party held in the royal palace, but no one gave a full name, so I just smiled and bowed my head to say my greetings. No one wants to have a serious conversation with a 15-year-old who just debuted into society anyway.
The maid stood in front of the table where the dessert and tea were placed. When she was gestured, she placed some snacks on a plate, brought them along with the tea and placed them on a small table situated beside the seats. Mother and I sat in the empty seats at the middle.
“Marchioness, you also heard about the Countess Ward, right?”
“Is there anyone in Schway who didn’t hear that?” Mother gracefully said, lifting her cup calmly.
Whenever I see how my mother behaves at gatherings, I am struck with amazement. Of course, being the only daughter of the Duke of Seymour and now the Marchioness of Wishburn, one can say that elegance has been ingrained in her. After all, she has been an aristocrat all her life, yet there were many unrefined people in the world regardless of their upbringing.
“It’s really horrifying. I can’t believe it happened in the middle of Schway, not in the middle of some countryside”
“We hired a new escort. I have to take him wherever I go.”
“Honestly, I can’t rely on the Capital Guards at all. I don’t even know if they can find the culprit.”
“What’s wrong with the Capital Guards? Are they not good at their work?” I asked naively. The women looked at me. I said with a shy smile, “I’ve been in Wishburn the whole time, so I don’t know much about Schway…”
“Our Alice came here just after her debut party, so she’s not very familiar with the big city,” Mother said in a generous tone. She seemed modest, but she’s actually trying to say that I was still an innocent girl who didn’t live much of a city life. Some seemed to understand the meaning, and some laughed.
Fortunately, no one intervened, and the woman, who said earlier that the guards were unreliable, answered. “The Schway Guard is a place where odds and sods are gathered as soldiers. They didn’t get proper training, and the pay is low. After all, everyone hires their own soldiers to guard their houses, so the Capital Guard doesn’t have much to do. Even more, finding the culprit, how laughable!”
City guards are primarily managed by the city administration. Of course, the city administration has an allotted budget and a tax levied in the city, and in a city about the size of Schway, the tax should be a considerable amount. Besides, it is where the royal palace is located. There is no reason to save money on the guards. At this point, I was really surprised. Why isn’t the Schway Guard working properly? Fortunately, as the topic was brought up, everyone joined in.
“Ever since the Red Riot? The Schway Guard wasn’t that bad back then.”
“They were used as a shield back then. The guards voluntarily stopped the riots only at the beginning, but after that, even with all the guards who guarded at the front, the Royal Palace Knights pinned everything on them.”
“Some even said that the guards were able to suppress the riot in a reasonable way, but the situation worsened because the Knights were too quick to execute the rioters.”
“But this is Schway. A riot here is nothing less than a revolt against the royal family and nobles. Don’t they know that it means death?”
“Initially, the murders started with the underground district…”
“I heard that the Schway administration had asked the royal family several times to do something about the underground District… It also came up on the agenda several times at the nobility council…”
So in summary, the Royal Palace Knights brutally executed the rioters for the Royal Family and the aristocrats living in Schway, and the responsibility was shifted to the City Guards. Combining that with what Alex explained, I can see the situation roughly.
Because of that treatment, the City Guards didn’t want to work hard anymore. They were nothing but scapegoats. The citizens of Schway would notice a difference between when ordinary citizens, nobles and the royal family were attacked. So they would no longer want to do anything for the country or for the city.
Of course, many of the people of Schway make a living by doing business with the nobles and the royal family, but apart from that, Schway’s system must prioritize the citizens of Schway. Because even if there is a royal family, this is not a royal city, but the Schway city, which has a separate administration. If they don’t like it, then they should make it a city directly ruled by the royal family. Some countries had capitals like that.
Putting all these things together, the fact that the murder case from the underground district was turned over to Teresa district, means that the victim has changed from a citizen of Schway to a noble. Commoners might think of this as a crime targeting nobility, rather than a crime committed against Schway. There is no need for the Schway Guard to take such an incident seriously. The Underground District was an abandoned area, so there was no need to worry, and now it is a matter for the nobles to take care of themselves, and they don’t have to worry about it either.
If the culprit changed the target with all these things in mind, then they must be clever. If it’s only to get attention… It was still a smart ploy. Even if a nobleman hires an investigator, the investigator will not be able to gather all the information, and it will not be resolved properly until the royal family comes forward in the end. The killing won’t stop and the whole country will eventually burn.
Everything was as that man had expected to happen. At this point, should I call it a prediction or a prophecy?
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