༺ Investigation (2) ༻
The next evening in the mansion’s reception room.
Albrecht, who sat down once more to hear the answer to his proposal, thought.
‘This time for sure!’
I won’t make the same mistake as yesterday!
Albrecht straightened up and folded his arms, one hand sweeping down his chin.
“So, have you thought about it?”
Albrecht smiled, revealing his bright white teeth.
Renee, who was across from him, nodded slightly and answered.
“Yes, he’ll join the investigation.”
Albrecht’s expression hardened when Renee interrupted him, then she continued.
“I’m also joining.”
She forcibly got the approval from Vera when they talked last night.
No matter how dangerous he said it was, or how much he asked for her to reconsider, she managed to get his permission in the end despite Vera’s pleas that almost sounded like he was begging.
Of course, Renee also knew that she could get in the way.
However, the thought of Vera going off alone and being put in harm’s way constantly crossed her mind, which left Renee with no choice but to force him.
Renee’s love was the kind that couldn’t bear to see the other suffer alone.
A troubled expression emerged on Albrecht and Count Baishur’s faces.
Albrecht panicked once again.
He wanted to ask whether that was alright, but even the tactless Albrecht knew better.
If he said ‘You’re blind, don’t you think that you’ll only get in the way?’ there would be a fatal blow to their relationship with the Holy Kingdom. That would be discourteous towards his elder brother in the Imperial Palace.
Albrecht’s golden eyes shook violently. His bright smile began to crack and the corners of his mouth twitched as a dumbfounded expression fell upon his face.
His thoughts were getting further and further away.
Albrecht shut his eyes tight and regained his wits.
What would the Holy Kingdom think of the Imperial Family if he showed such an idiotic image?
Albrecht opened his eyes and pulled himself together.
“Well, there are reinforcements…”
Renee’s rebuttal followed.
She explained with a smile.
“I know what you’re worried about. You think I’ll only get in the way, right?”
Renee could sense the trembling in Albrecht’s voice. She also understood him. Her flaw of being blind evoked those kinds of thoughts.
However, the somewhat frail-looking Second Prince was missing something important.
“You haven’t forgotten who I am, have you?”
Albrecht tilted his head.
“Are you not the Saint?”
“Yes, I am the Saint. And that title is bestowed upon someone who has been given the power of the Lord.”
Renee wasn’t the kind of person who would put others in a tight spot because she was being emotional.
Naturally, her blindness was disadvantageous, but Renee had a definite advantage that canceled it out.
“With my powers, it will be much easier to investigate the unidentified cartel.”
The power to weave fate.
A miracle in exchange for her light.
It was an unpleasant ability for Renee, but she felt a small sense of gratitude for it at that moment.
It was a feeling that arose from the realization that even with this useless power, she could stay by Vera’s side and help him.
Albrecht had a dazed look upon hearing Renee’s words.
He would be very grateful if she could help.
It wasn’t like Albrecht hadn’t thought of this method, either.
Clearly, with the power of the Saint, the investigation would go a lot smoother and could lead to produce definite results.
However, there was only one reason why he did not ask Renee to help, even though he knew that.
Three years ago, his Father, the Emperor, targeted the Saint.
Albrecht may have been clueless about the world, but even he knew about that.
Asking for her power could be seen as a proof of his shamelessness and a blatant act of ignorance of what had happened three years ago.
At the very least, as a member of the Imperial Family, he needed to be cautious about mentioning Renee’s power.
Albrecht asked a question in a tone that was more cautious than before.
“…Would that be alright?”
He omitted the subject, but Renee could understand Albrecht’s intentions.
“Yes, because it’s the right thing to do.”
It would be a lie to say she did not have a personal grudge. Renee knew that the Emperor targeted her. She knew that he was after her power.
However, she came up with that decision because it was against her principles to turn a blind eye to those who were in danger simply because of her personal feelings.
“What do you think?”
Albrecht looked at Rene without speaking, then finally bowed his head and replied.
It was a sincere gratitude that was uncharacteristic of Albrecht. And with that, Count Baishur looked touched.
He had grown! He now knew how to be grateful! The shock therapy worked!
It was a sentiment that didn’t fit the situation, but how could he stop when it was something he could only have dreamt about before?
Count Baishur nodded quietly and celebrated Albrecht’s growth.
His voice was bright with such sentimentality.
“Well, I think this story ended well. Since it’s already time, why don’t we have a meal?”
“What? Oh, that sounds good.”
Renee nodded, wondering about Count Baishur’s sudden burst of happiness.
At the dining table.
In the middle of the meal, Count Baishur looked at Renee and Vera and asked them a question.
“So, when do you plan to start the investigation?”
They didn’t have any definite plans, so he wanted to finish planning now that they were all gathered there.
Vera answered this time.
“We’ll start in four days.”
“Hmm? That’s pretty late.”
“Reinforcements will arrive from the Holy Kingdom.”
Vera sliced the meat in a formal gesture, then added.
“Our wayfinder is someone reliable. It would be better to take him with us than to run around in circles. In the meantime, Count Baishur should increase the security.”
At Vera’s words, Count Baishur made an ‘Ah!’ noise and replied.
“Are you talking about the Apostle of Guidance?”
Count Baishur nodded.
“It’s been a while since I’ve seen him.”
“…You’ve met before?”
Vera asked. To this, the Count nodded and replied.
“Yes, he came to deliver my wife’s letter about this time eight years ago.”
It was a brief meeting when Marie was still in the Great Woodlands.
The Count was about to continue when he was interrupted.
“Oh, why are you talking about work at a place like this? Stop talking and eat!”
Marie scolded him.
At that, Count Baishur and Vera flinched.
Marie’s eyes narrowed at the sight, and an awkward smile appeared on Renee’s lips.
“Talk later after you finish eating, you’re making the Saint uncomfortable.”
“Oh, don’t be so considerate. You have to be tough on them like this once in a while! Ah, do you like today’s meal, Saint? I told them to put in more effort.”
The conversation suddenly began to change.
Marie’s endless chatter was triggered.
Once it started, it was a long and endless chatter that didn’t easily stop. As a result, Vera and the Count began to focus on their own plates.
Marie’s chat ended only after the meal was finished and dessert was served.
It was then that Aisha, who had been eating silently until then, took advantage of the silence to speak.
“Hmm, what’s wrong?”
“Are you a man or a woman?”
Aisha waited for Albrecht’s answer with sparkling eyes.
She was curious about it all throughout their meal that she couldn’t resist asking.
He was too pretty to be called a man, but his actions were more like a man than a woman.
“So, which is it, Prince?”
Albrecht was briefly taken aback by Aisha’s words.
It was a natural reaction, as he had never been asked such a question before.
Momentarily fazed, Albrecht began to understand what she was saying. As always, he took it as a compliment to himself.
‘Ah, I was so beautiful!”
He was so beautiful to the point that he confused the young girl enough to make her wonder if he wasn’t a man!
…It was the same as his usual self, making Count Baishur’s earlier impression of him disappear into nothing.
Albrecht leaned his head and his blonde hair fluttered. His golden eyes made a half-moon shape after his finely formed smile.
Albrecht replied to Aisha with a big smile.
“Well? I could be a man or a woman, right?”
A girl’s innocence must be kept. His beautiful self should remain as an elf in the girl’s heart. He thought of that answer.
“Hmm… so the Prince neither one, nor the other?”
Aisha answered like it was insignificant.
Albrecht’s smiling face turned to ice.
Dovan exclaimed, embarrassed. At that, Aisha tilted her head and drove a nail into Albrecht.
“As Master said, the most useless things in the world are the ones with uncertain purposes. Adding useless things will make it into neither this nor that.”
With what he had just heard, Albrecht wondered.
‘Am I dreaming right now?’.
Uncertain purpose. Neither this nor that.
Something didn’t seem right. It didn’t make sense for those words to be referring to him.
Albrecht could hardly accept that those words were directed to him.
So, he concluded that this was all a dream.
In other words, he chose to escape from reality.
The light faded from Albrecht’s eyes.
Count Baishur smiled hollowly at the sight of Albrecht.
At Aisha’s words, the two of them sank.
…No, two people sank and one more person was on the verge of sinking.
Renee felt her fingertips twitch at the conversation.
‘He-He doesn’t know?’
Why don’t you know? Why don’t you know your gender? Are you hiding it? Are you actually a woman?
Cold sweat trickled down her forehead. She tried to pretend she was calm, but her face was full of anxiety.
In the midst of the serious atmosphere, she had forgotten something.
Albrecht could be her love rival.
Renee clenched her hands and formed a fist.
‘It might not be time for the sword in my cane to rest yet.’
Renee’s train of thought was the same as usual.
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