The next day, I made a small pendant with the catalyst I received from Sara. And I bestowed upon it a spell to cloud one’s consciousness.
Unsure of whether the enchantment had worked, I first tested it on myself.
…. It worked the first time… but not in the way that I was expecting.
I could not recognize Dahlia when she called me over, and I ended up continuing incoherent conversation for quite a while.
After calmly collecting myself, I realized I could not clearly make out the identity of who I was talking to.
Even if I were to put this pendant on someone, any guarded person would be quick to realize that something was off. First and foremost, relying on the target to put on the pendant themselves seemed foolish.
Until I could figure out a good way to put it to use, it seemed like this one would be collecting dust in storage for a while.
After several attempts, and wasting precious catalysts by turning them into useless objects, I was finally successful in creating something of value.
While wearing this jewel necklace, no one would be able to recognize who I was, and they would not feel as though something was out of place.
They would be able to have a normal conversation, but after the exchange, would not be able to remember who they talked to.
However, it only seemed to affect those who are close by.
I found out when I went on a test run in town and was called out to from afar by an acquaintance, who then began to look disoriented as he approached my general direction.
So it seemed like it would only come to use if I got close to the target first.
Shiro came into the store disguised as a customer a few minutes past noon in order to inform me that arrangements had been made for one of my requests.
I closed the store a little early, changed my clothes, and headed to New Town from Old Town.
「Ugh exactly, they’re seriously the worst!」
I was sitting in a noisy bar in New Town.
Sitting across from me was a young woman who was complaining about what must have been a customer that she had entertained today.
Her speech was rough around the edges, but her facial features had a sense of refinement.
She was relatively tall, and though it wasn’t silk, her tidy garments were made of expensive-looking fabric.
「It must be tough working at an estate. Does it pay well?」
「If it did, I wouldn’t be complaining like I am now. I mean, they do provide the bare minimum, but if you heard how much the meals that are served to the guests cost, you would lose the will to work as well.」
She leaned across the table, her small but nicely shaped breasts almost spilling onto the table, to grab some grape wine that had been poured into a wooden cup. She looked like a cat swiping at a small bird.
Her name was Grace. She worked as a laundry girl… and she was one of the maids at the Lambert House.
Of course, this was information that I obtained from an assassins guild. They would pick out those with questionable behavior and try to extract information from them.
Grace was one of the first people they caught, as she was known to cross over from Old Town to New Town during her breaks to drink at bars, and lay with the men she encountered during her escapades.
I wasn’t sure if it was because she had a sense of professionalism, but she didn’t mention where she worked. But I had already been informed beforehand. Therefore it was easy enough to glean the true meaning behind her words.
According to my research, Grace was a bit reckless with her money for a servant. Either she has no money saved, or she was using her feminine wiles to earn money another way.
There was a possibility that this was a trap set by Galatia, but my sources suggested that Grace had done similar things in the past.
I also could not imagine why Galatia would plot to trick me now when there were plenty of opportunities to do so prior.
I thus concluded that it was highly unlikely that there was any danger that Grace was being used as bait to catch me.
「God is cruel to force such a cute girl like yourself to do such difficult work」
Yes, God, if such an entity exists, could be so unfair. He would not be able to protect Grace from what was about to unfold.
Waiting for the right moment, I had put on the pendant after treating her to a drink.
We had continued the conversation after that, so Grace was probably unaware of who I even was.
However, I would let her think that it was the alcohol that was clouding her memory.
「Are you a peddler? Do you have any like, cheap and cute accessories?」
「I do actually have a pendant that would suit you. I can’t say that it’s cheap, but if you are interested, I could give you a little discount…?」
Just in case, I had prepared an aphrodisiac to mix into the alcohol. But it seemed like Grace was interested even without it.
She accepted my invitation under the condition that she leave early in the morning for work.
「Since you’re my type, I’ll serve you for free tonight♪」
I made sure to avoid any inns that I had frequented before and had made a reservation at a cheap inn that peddlers and travelers often use in New Town. I welcomed Grace into the room.
I had bought liquor and snacks that may not have met the tastes of city aristocrats, but would have been considered top shelf for the maids, and turned to Grace when we got into the room.
「I’m fine with this… but are you sure you’re content with this?」
Enjoying a thrilling game with peddlers and travelers who wanted to have some fun. To Grace, this must be just a way to release her pent-up frustration from the day.
However, for me, this was a strategic move in a battle.
Although from the outside it seemed like I was just enjoying myself, I had Shiro stationed nearby to alert me in case there was any strange movement.
I felt bad for Grace, but I would just have to get this over with quickly.
「Oh wow master, you’re quite skilled…」
I had fed her the alcohol spiked with the aphrodisiac, but it seemed like Grace was already turned on and ready for some enjoyment.
She was already wet when I pushed my fingers past her lush pubic hair to feel her down there.
「You don’t want to become a mistress to your master?」
Traveling performers and troubadours often sang about the romances of beautiful but poor maids who attended to young nobles or merchants.
「If I was to be found out, they would slit my throat. Also… the current master of the house is old and probably has difficulties getting it up. Not to mention the young master already seems to have his favorites… Anyways, never mind that. When are you going to make me feel good?」
Grace said, pressing her lips into the nape of my neck. She ran her tongue down my collarbone; then lifted my shirt and made her way down my chest to my abs.
It seemed she was quite skilled herself, though maybe not as much as Dora.
I slowly stripped off my shirt and began rubbing her breasts and butt which were enveloped in her expensive-looking lingerie. And we both worked to heighten each other’s pleasure.
「It seems like you have your fair share of fun, master… it’s such a strong color」
She said while looking up at me, and pushed me to sit on the edge of the bed. She then got down on her knees and began to pleasure me with her mouth.
I watched her while running my hands through her copper shoulder-length hair.
She was slender, and though her hands were rough from work, the rest of her skin was soft and pretty. I didn’t feel any magical powers from anything she was wearing, or from Grace herself. As I thought, it seemed highly unlikely that she was sent by Galatia to ensnare me.
Well then, it was time to lay my own trap.
I focused my power to my fingertips and imagined it forming into thin, thread-like strands and entering Grace through her ears.
The magic threads entered her as if to trace the image in my head.
As the threads penetrated her, I began to see a hazy shape take form inside her body.
Through the pleasure, I focused closely on the shape, fixating my gaze on the center which seemed to pulsate like a heartbeat.
Even I do not know what exactly this is. But it must be something like the core of her spirit.
I grabbed her head and forced her to look up at me.
「Huh, what’s wro- …. eek!」
As soon as our gazes met, I forced the magic threads to pierce the core, and take control of her spirit.
She resisted weakly, but the threads that had found their way inside continued to invade every inch of her body.
Her eyes lost focus for a moment, and as if she had lost the ability to regulate her bodily functions, she began to relieve herself. I quickly returned control of her body and proceeded to overwhelm her with a feeling of intense pleasure. Now her whole body seemed to tremble, and she began to drip sweet cum.
「Wha-… what’s… I don’t know what’s happening to me….!?」
「I’m happy you’re already feeling it this much, Grace. Now, give it all up to me. Lay down on the bed and prepare yourself to receive me」
I needed to make her believe that she was doing it of her own accord.
It might not have much meaning, but it made things easier that way.
「If it feels this good just from sucking on it… what’s going to happen to me once you insert your penis…?」
What reflected in her eyes was not fear, but desire. It seemed like I wouldn’t need to tamper with her emotions.
Her legs trembling slightly, she pressed her body into me, and used both of her hands to pry open my legs, and proceeded to beg.
「It’s the first time… I’ve ever felt like this… I want it, please…」
Forcefully awakening someone’s desire seemed to arouse both pity and a carnal instinct in me.
I slid my rod against her slit, and as if to tease her, entered her slowly.
「No, hurry, faster, please! I want it more… more!」
I was overcome with the desire to take control of her body completely and make her one of my demons.
But, that would be problematic.
Becoming one of my demons would mean that a link would be created inside her to my magic powers.
In the case that Galatia became aware of that link, it would blow my cover, and I needed to avoid that at all costs.
I spent longer than usual to penetrate the deepest part of her.
Grace had already reached her first climax.
「So Grace, you aren’t fond of that maid?」
Since then she had climaxed about ten times in total, and I had ejaculated into her twice. She was in a half-conscious state, seemingly drunk on pleasure.
I was sitting up on the bed, and she was on my lap, our bodies still connected. As she swayed slowly, my threads were wound around every part of her. I had her under such a deep spell that if I so desired, I could make her climax by just brushing her fingertips.
This had been the main objective of tonight. I wouldn’t be able to know if she was speaking the truth if I had just extracted the information from her through conversation, so I had to peer inside her thoughts while I had full control over her body and spirit.
It was definitely in poor taste, but I wasn’t strong enough to be able to choose my methods.
「That maid, she acts all high and mighty because the master found her when he was still young… even though it was just a couple years before I arrived. And it seems like even some of the knights cannot oppose her… The young master knows about it and lets her do what she wants, and I don’t really like that…」
Interesting, so it seemed Galatia wasn’t actively trying to curry the favor of those within the estate, but it seemed she did have a couple game pieces under her control.
「… And it seems like she has a lover that lives in the outskirts of town」
Ho? This was big news.
「A little outside the city, near the sluice gate there’s an area of villas owned by the aristocrats. It was built close to the village where the family of the gate manager and ferrymen reside. Even though she’s just a servant, it seems she owns a villa there. She goes there from time to time, so she’s probably stowed her lover away there. I don’t hear a single amorous rumor about her, so that must be it」
… It seemed I needed to look further into the matter to determine whether it was really a lover she was hiding.
However, I had gained important information on one of the places Galatia frequented.
「Hmmm, that’s interesting. But how do you know that, Grace?」
「Well… you can’t tell anyone because it’s a secret, but I’m a spy. I mean… I say ‘spy’ but it’s not anything serious. I just receive money to do some research for an estate that’s kind of like, a rival of our estate」
So it was true, the aristocrats of Abrams were not a monolith.
It wasn’t just that they were divided as Olivia had said. It seemed there were a number of factions that were working together to oppose the Earl of Abrams.
If there were any aristocratic families that opposed the Lambert House, there was no harm in knowing.
It seemed Grace’s reckless spending was an outcome of her receiving funds from a rival family.
「So, how about you tell me more about that…」
Several hours later, after wiping off all the sweat and cum, Grace was fully clothed, her cheeks glowing as she walked through New Town late at night.
「…This was the first time I ever felt that good, master. You can invite me out again, you know?」
「It will be a while before I return to Abrams, but will you meet with me next time…?」
I chose words that would conceal my true intentions, as I saw her back to the estate.
Grace wouldn’t be able to remember my face or my name once we parted. But the memory of the pleasure had been seared into her body and spirit. As long as I was able to find her, it would be easy to extract information from her again.
As I walked, I turned over the new information I had gotten from Grace in my head.
About the villa that Galatia owned in the outskirts of town.
About the family who opposed the Lambert House and had sent an envoy to spy on them.
About Rubelio who was the next head of the estate; who had proposed to Olivia; and had put a collar around Lyla’s neck. And about Lyla.
I could see there were a number of things I had to do. At the same time, I could foresee they would be troublesome.
I had to move with caution, as I could not see my opponent’s hand.
We were brandishing our swords in the dark… No, we were trying to reel in the other by pulling at the threads intertwined by our feet.
There were a number of pros and cons to the situation. I had most likely made the first move… but I was still at a disadvantage if it was 1-on-1.
「Maybe if there was a third. Or perhaps… 」
I called out to Shiro who had concealed herself in the darkness to look into the thought that had just crossed my mind.
It seemed the bloodless battle would continue for a while longer.