Translation and editing: Team Foxsunes
A night has passed after the youth, Lucius, has disappeared. Pacing back and forth, I was completely restless in the mansion during the day thinking that he might contact us. But, I couldn’t get any information, so here I am now. You might be inclined to say that it’s ‘just a night’ but, considering his social status, even a single night of disappearance is a big deal.
Certainly, he isn’t a child anymore. It could just be that he felt like cutting loose and enjoying the night. After all, no matter how high his status is or how important his position is, he’s still a teen. He’s at the age where kids are at the prime of their mischief. There’s a possibility that he found it too awkward to face Edi again, with whom he had fought, and thus, he left the mansion. I understand that. I understand but―…..
「―But, wasn’t it Lucius-sama, you are the one who said something about wanting cookies right?」
The small mumble, that wasn’t directed towards anyone, dissolved in the air and disappeared in vain. The cheese cookies I made as per request of Lucius, and the cookies that I made for father were piled up on the living room’s low table since last night. I took one from the pile and brought it to my mouth. I silently blew my own trumpet that it was made well, the blend of cheese’s saltiness and honey’s sweetness tasted good. I sadly have to praise it myself, since the youth who was supposed to eat them hasn’t returned since the day before yesterday. It would be a great scandal for our country if something happens to Lucius. If it gets worse, it wouldn’t just stay like that, rather it would definitely lead up to a diplomatic turmoil. I think he understands that. Thus, it’s safe to assume that he didn’t disappear of his free will. The conclusion that I have come to is quite a headache-inducing one. Well, it would be nice if the only thing it did was cause a headache. In the worst-case scenario, I may get decapitated, and then wouldn’t even be able to feel pain anymore. It’s just terrible.
The moment I tried sitting on the sofa holding my aching head, the magical orb which was connected to the entrance and was set on the wall began to emit a pale light. I walked swiftly towards it, fluttering the hem of my dress. I’m often told that our mansion is too small for the Royal Court’s Head Magician to live in, but it’s quite weird that the distance between the living room and the entrance had never felt so long until today.
「Welcome back, Edi. And, any news on Lucius-sama…..?」
I ran noisily to the man who was there standing quietly, wearing his usual black robe and hiding his face in the hood. He usually takes the robe off right away, but this time he is just standing still, motionless.
Clearly, he’s acting odd. I wonder if something happened? Well, to be honest, it’s pretty obvious that something had occurred, since Lucius hasn’t returned at this hour.
Even so, I can’t stop myself from hoping that he might have stayed at ambassador Gabriel’s place for the night after Lucius went to visit him last night, but then again the possibility for that seems nonexistent.
「Edi.」I called him again, to which he responded by taking out a paper from his pocket and thrusting it in front of me. Something was written in a beautiful script on the paper fluttering in front of me. I took the paper to read it properly, but before I could fully do so, the man told me the conclusion in one line.
「Lucius seems to have been abducted.」
He said it so naturally that, for a moment I couldn’t comprehend what I had been told. Abducted …… Abducted? I couldn’t believe the words that left his lips and skimmed over the letter hurriedly. I felt my frown worsening, and my skin becoming paler as my eyes scanned one word after another.
「It seems like they have taken Lucius as the hostage in order to lure you out.」
The writing was quite lengthy, probably because it was written in a complicated manner, but that’s what it said if we were to sum up the meaning. It was instructed that Edi should come to the small temple in the outskirts of the capital all alone if he cared about Lucius’ life. The man nodded and snatched the letter from my hands. His sunrise-tinted eyes shone like cold metal under the hood.
「Yeah, it seems so. This letter was sent to me a moment ago, using magic.」
「Who could’ve done such a thing?…..」
The man ignored me, who was tilting his head wondering about the situation. He flicked the letter with his fingertip, though as if he were bored and spoke up as if it was something obvious.
「The priest of the temple and the Nerogant’s ambassador did it. Light magic used by priests, and Nerogant’s unique communication magic have seeped into the letters a bit. They’ve applied a couple of cheap tricks to camouflage it, but if they think that they can deceive me with this then they take me for a fool. 」
…..I wonder how he can drop bombshells like that so easily, this man is identical to Lucius even when it comes to things like these. I couldn’t read emotions from his voice that well, but I felt like he was neither angry nor flustered. His voice just sounded as if he was disappointed. I wonder why he sounded like that. Our eyes met when I looked inside his hood. Suddenly, he looked away. ‘No way’ I thought but the thought had crossed my mind.
「Edi, are you not going to save Lucius?」
The man must have noticed that my voice had spontaneously turned stiff, but he grinned sarcastically as if he hadn’t noticed such a change at all.
「Do you think that I should save him?」
He answered my question with a question, and I didn’t know what to say. The answer should’ve been so obvious. Is he suggesting that he’d leave his half brother to rot, his half brother who admires him so much? Didn’t you promise yesterday that you’d properly make up with him?
My feelings were probably obvious to the man, as far as I know, he could vividly see the criticism in my gaze. He looked into my eyes again and squinted, while speaking emotionlessly, as if the topic was insignificant.
「Probability of this being a trap is high. You have already witnessed the link between ambassador Gabriel and the priest. It is safe to assume that the priest, who wants me out of the country, and the ambassador, who wants to take me in his country, have joined forces. And the youth, Lucius is Gabriel’s subordinate. So, is it wrong if I doubt that things that happened till now were all an act and that this abduction is also a part of their script?」
I wanted to tell him that this wasn’t the right time to say such things, but I couldn’t deny the possibility of what he had said, although I think he is overthinking.
I don’t want to believe that the smile full of goodwill and words that wished for Edi’s happiness were all a lie. It’s all my selfish desire, which might just be a troublesome pressing of an opinion from this man. It can’t be helped for this man to doubt Lucius so much, since he has been living in a world where doubting others was the only way of protecting oneself from the path of harm. But, but even so.
「What is it?」
A loud slap resonated in the room. Of course, it would sound like this. If you hit someone’s cheeks with both hands, this much of noise is to be expected. I looked up at the sunrise-tined eyes that were open wide with surprise rather than pain. I covered both his cheeks with my hands and smiled at him. Dear husband, stop acting like such a baby.
「What are you saying, when you’re so worried?」
If he was to really abandon Lucius, he wouldn’t have told me about him in the first place. He would’ve just made up a sloppy story and said 「Seems like Lucius is going to be staying with the ambassador Gabriel.」Then I’d have unwillingly accepted it, if that was the case. Instead, he explained it to me without doing so, and the reason behind it is that this man wanted me to give him a push.
「Hey, Edi. Don’t use me as a tool to speak up about your true feelings. 」
I would definitely rush this man out of my extreme sense of obligation if I was informed that Lucius had been kidnapped. It is safe to assume as such, since that is what’s happening as we speak.
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