“Don’t need to be nervous. We came here together.”
Leon spoke in a very dignified tone over my shoulder. Though Mayve’s face regained some color, her wary gaze on me didn’t soften.
What a great opportunity to hear information from a palace spy! Although I continued to receive letters, it was too tedious to decipher the desired information from letters written in code. Moreover, I couldn’t immediately ask any questions I was curious about. In that case, it would be better to meet in person like this.
“I know you’re on vacation, but for how many days?”
He asked as he sat down. I observed Mayve, who sat in a chair provided by a man who was clearly either the landlord or this man’s servant, at Leon’s gesture.
“For a week,” Mayve answered.
“Are you planning to go back home as soon as this work is done?”
As Leon gestured, the servant placed a small box in front of Mayve. It made a metallic clanging sound as something rattled inside.
“Don’t you need to buy a souvenir or something before going back home? I don’t think the palace provides vacation allowances.”
Mayve’s face lit up slightly. It seemed like she was happy rather than surprised. Hearing the word “child,” Penelope’s child suddenly came to mind. The lively, playful girl who looked at me as if she was observing me, like a young beast. The sight of her crawling onto her mother’s lap and falling asleep as if it were natural.
The feeling of being held by my own mother when I was young came to mind. Memories from a time when the existence of my mother was even more unfamiliar than that of a stranger.
I shook my head briefly to shake off the useless memories. Such memories did not need to be recalled now. The past was gone, especially that past from a long, long time ago. It had no influence on the present.
Mayve seemed like an ordinary mother. If we just gave her enough money, she would probably provide us with any information we wanted. Our demands weren’t particularly huge either.
“How’s the atmosphere in the palace these days? The nobles must be making a fuss over the murder case,” asked Leon. Mayve nodded and licked her lips with her tongue before speaking carefully.
“It’s a very tense atmosphere, so we maids are trying our best not to stand out. Even the princess and Her Majesty are very edgy, and if we make a mistake in front of them, we could be fired on the spot. About five maids and servants have already been fired.”
“What about the queen mother?”
It seemed that Leon didn’t miss the part where Mayve said ‘even the princess and Her Majesty’. Mayve slightly lowered her head.
“The queen mother doesn’t pay much attention to such problems. She’s just disappointed that she can’t hold the tea parties she usually has because of the murder case. It’s the time when a lot of nobles come out to the capital city, but even if we send invitations, they all give various reasons to refuse.”
It’s not easy to refuse an invitation from the queen mother. It seems that the nobles are more frightened than I thought.
“Since then, has the queen mother shown any particular interest in this person?”
Asking towards me, Leon tilted his head and inquired. Mayve hastily shook her head.
“She has never asked about her. However, the princess has shown some interest several times. She seems to have asked Aaron Warwick, who is now serving as the princess’s bodyguard, for greetings.”
If the maids are calling him that… then is my brother officially the Princess’s bodyguard?
“Have the princess’s bodyguards increased a bit?”
“Not yet, but there is ongoing discussion to recruit more on a large scale. I think Ethan Duplo will be in charge of the recruitment. I know she has had several discussions with the Ministry of Finance and the Royal Guard, but it has not been confirmed yet.”
“I guess so. It’s an expensive matter. I’m a little suspicious whether the Ministry of Finance will approve it.”
After Leon’s words, Mayve frowned slightly, then answered carefully.
“They probably will approve it. His Majesty mentioned it directly.”
Leon raised his eyebrow. “Did His Majesty talk about setting up a security fund for the princess?”
“Yes. His Majesty has been visiting the princess frequently these days. They talk about many things. I think it’s because the Queen Mother isn’t interested in the current situation.”
“Do you happen to know what His Majesty and the princess talk about?”