I stuck out from the window and shouted. “Amy, what did that man do?”
Amy looked up and looked at us. Her face was flushed, eyes worried but also sparkling with excitement. “He appeared suddenly, and when I told him he can’t be here he tried to grab me!”
Archer seemed to be mumbling something but I couldn’t hear him. Leon sighed again. His breath tickled the back of my neck. But if I pushed him away now, it would look strange to Alex.
“Archer, hadn’t I asked you to keep my visit private? Thanks to you I have to come down and greet everyone properly.”
“I just tried to catch this lady because she was about to fall!” Archer finally looked up and yelled with a red face. I resisted the urge to giggle. It was the first time I’ve seen that look on his face.
“Thank you for being Amy’s first partner, Archer. Was it a good experience, Amy?” I said teasingly.
This time both Amy and Archer flushed. Amy shut her mouth, while Archer gritted his teeth so hard that I could see his jaw muscles protruding even from the third floor window. Over my shoulder Leon giggled, while Alex groaned.
“Alice, you’re such a…” Alex mumbled. I frowned at him. Such a what?
“Archer, come inside with that lady. Well, we should go down to the drawing room like normal visitors. Even if I want to marry you, Miss Alice, if people heard talks about first partners and ;good experiences’, that would be a bit embarrassing,’ Leon said with a smirk.
My eyes widened, and I hurriedly said, “I didn’t do it on purpose! I was just thanking him for being Amy’s first training partner-”
Alex wrapped his arm around my neck and covered my mouth tightly with his palm. “Stop. Every time you say something, it’s worse than the last. Just stop.”
Leon just laughed once again.
My plan to visit Penelope a few days later was ruined by the news that hit the Teresa District. A second murder had happened in the district, and this time, the body hung in front of the mansion’s gate, where everyone could see it.
At once, the Teresa District was under a state of emergency. Not only the Capital Guards, but the soldiers, and even the Royal Knights went around the neighbourhood to stand guard and find the culprit.
The second murder had been quite different from the first one. The first victim had been a woman with frivolous behaviour and the subject of many rumours. Compared to her, the second victim was a well-behaved lady with no such taint to her name.
Too many people had seen the terrible scene. The body was hung by a rope in the middle of the front gate. The soft aristocrats, who have never seen gore in their life, would never be able to forget it. The eyes had been removed from her blue, distorted face. Her abdomen was cracked.
Her husband didn’t seem to trust the Schway guards and had run to get the Royal Knights, so he wasn’t able to retrieve the body for a long time. He had tried to cover her with some cloth, but he couldn’t. In the end, the body had hung in that state, until two knights, with the King’s permission, came from the palace. I had persuaded Alex to go and see the scene.
We were lucky to have left Amy home and only brought Sam with us. Because even Sam had run to a nearby alley to vomit after seeing the body. And Alex, although he hadn’t vomited, was pale and covered in cold sweat on our way back.
I knew many things after seeing the body with my own eyes. Most striking was, the culprit had a lot of experience in murder, and is clearly insane – sadistic towards women. Even if she had been a murderer, she didn’t mutilate bodies in their death.
I left Leon to do further analysis as I am only able to give input, using my previous experiences, as to how the killer probably functions,
The culprit was a man. From the way the body hung on the rope and its state, it was done by a strong, perhaps, young man.
“What kind of a human could do such a thing? How can you hate someone so much that you do that?” Alex murmured on our way back. I glanced at him and quietly said,
“You may have someone specific that you hate, but this crime wasn’t done just out of hate… Those types of crimes are a lot more emotional. You can’t be neat while killing if you hate the victim. And this one has been very tidy.”
“This is neat?” Alex looked at me with an unbelieving expression. I nodded.
“Apart from how hideous that body looked, the way she was murdered and the way her corpse was handled was calculated. Did you notice the skills used to carve out her stomach? Whoever did that knew just how to cut it, and how much strength to use. You wouldn’t be able to do it if you hate someone, you would be way too driven with passion – punching, stabbing, kicking the victim – This one? It’s different.”
Emotions always show themselves from the way the victim was treated, and this culprit doesn’t have any towards his victim. He probably only picked her because of a coincidence; he would have done the same thing to a stuffed toy.