I heard Benjamin and David letting out some fake coughs.
“What is going on outside-“
“There is something more important, Marquis-nim.”
Christelle sternly whispered.
I looked down at her blue-gray eyes that sparkled even in the darkness.
“It is about Emille de Haas, the Haas Merchant guild leader. He’s a terrible bastard.”
“……How did you know about that, Dame Sarnez?”
“Hmm? How did the two of you know?”
The MC asked back. Crown prince Cédric let out a deep sigh.
‘Don’t do that, it’ll increase the temperature.’
“We found out while interrogating his older sister, Joanne de Haas.”
It was difficult for Christelle to know the situation because she had not been here every time we interrogated Joanne.
She scowled once we told her about the scam in the auction house and about how Emille did not pay his sister properly for her art.
“I thought he was just immature but he’s inhumane. What kind of cra……”
Christelle viciously mumbled to herself.
I did my best to pretend that I did not hear and said something else.
“And although I did not tell you because it was hard to confirm…… There were talks of the merchant guild leader aiming to be your husband, Dame Sarnez. They said that he’s gone crazy to get a rise in status.”
“That is correct, your highness.”
She looked right at us and whispered. I blinked in shock.
‘She knew about it? Or maybe she found out after meeting him separately?’
“That bastard thinks that he’s awesome. He is extremely narcissistic. The problem is that he does not stop and is never satisfied. He even schemes against other people. He uses those schemes to raise himself higher.”
It was a total relief that Christelle had not fallen for him but Emille kept having layer after layer despite not being an onion.
Her tone became sharper.
“He slandered you in front of all of us. That dumbass.”
The crown prince coldly mumbled. I grumbled and changed position.
I couldn’t help it because there was a significant difference in their body temperatures.
‘This is a bit better. Nope, it’s still the same.’
“What would he gain by slandering me-
“He must have been jealous because everybody seemed so friendly with you, Marquis-nim. Maybe he thought that we would like him if we stopped liking you?”
This was a bit embarrassing.
It would have been great if I had the divine beasts or some snack but it was hard for me to hide the embarrassment because my hands were empty.
I quickly pulled out a holy stone the size of my pinky fingernail from my inner pocket.
This was one of the many stones of the same sizes thatFrank, the Imperial Palace’s blacksmith, made for us to experiment on.
I placed one in Christelle’s hand and one in the Crown prince’s hand, causing the two of them to stare at me.
I gave them a reasonable answer.
“We’ve never tested it in the dark. Why don’t we try it since we are in here anyway?”
Christelle smiled and fumbled with the marble. She then continued speaking without holding back.
“Anyway, our liking you is not a one-way thing, Marquis-nim. We are close because you like us as well, but that merchant guild leader bastard doesn’t know that.”
“He doesn’t know that human relationships cannot be formed by tyranny.”
She made eye contact with the crown prince.
My instincts were telling me to not get in the middle, making me pull my head back.
Christelle smiled. An extremely delayed greeting flowed out.
“It seems like it has been a while since I’ve seen your face and chatted with you like this, your Royal Highness.”
My eyes, now used to the darkness, noticed the crown prince’s eyebrows moving.
He didn’t say anything but that was clearly a positive gesture.
It was understandable that it felt like a while since they had not been taking Sir Johann’s lessons together lately.
I held my breath because it felt weird being between them.
‘I wonder if Eunseo felt this way whenever she read QNW.’
“So, what will you do? It looks like we need some sprite.”
The crown prince asked back. She said that it was similar to cidre.
“It has foam so it clears your inside when you drink it. Someone like Haas needs revenge as refreshing as cidre.”
“To be honest with you…… I wondered whether I should proceed with an investigation. Informing her Majesty and having the Imperial Guards taking over seemed like the cleanest plan.”
Although I had no issues with those refreshing sprite developments in stories, I had not even considered it as I had never had such opportunities in my own life.
However, it must have been different for our MC. Her blue eyes sparkled like jewels.
“That is the official way, however… It is obvious that it would just end up as fines for the merchant guild leader. You said that his sister also said that he probably had a way out?”
That was true. Emille had tried to resolve his sister’s crimes with money as well.
It was likely that he would squirm out like an eel and quickly restore his image if we went with the lawful route.
Joanne would probably remain the only villain in the art scam auction incident. Then……
“That bastard wants fame and thinks that he can become perfect if he had a title. Using that to attack him will probably be the only way to actually affect him.”
Christelle slyly commented. Just hearing her voice made me think that she was the villain.
“We need to make him lose face in front of a lot of people.”
The crown prince immediately agreed. I was a bit worried because they both seemed a bit hostile.
Our strategy meeting ended quickly. There was nothing to add because the plan itself was simple.
Vice Captain Élisabeth’s cheeks were flushed red ever since we came out of the closet, but thankfully, she didn’t have a cold.
Ganael confirmed that there was nothing to worry about.
Christelle stared at the young Countess’s face. The two of them laughed out loud.
Then it was the next day.
September 1st. The beginning of Fall and the second day of the Haas Auction house’s divine item week .
This was the day to initiate our plan.
I groaned as the carriage clacked forward. Our test in the closet yesterday was a failure as well.
∙ Result of Holy stones testing
– Adding unique ether while running (extreme exercise): Failure
– Adding ether while sleepy (mental and physical stability): Failure
– Adding small amounts of ether for a long period of time (one drop per minute): Failure
– Adding a large amount of ether at once: Failure
– Adding ether in darkness: Failure!
The page in the notebook was full of the word, failure.
Christelle, Sir Johann, and I had tested the holy stones quite a bit while the crown prince was busy with his work.
The situation where the holy stone maintained its form the longest was when I concurrently opened my circle and provided ether to a Holy Knight.
It did seem as if a priest’s power played a big role in the stability of the item, but……
I jerked my head up. Joanne, who was seated across from me, was looking at me with a scared look on her face.
“Is this really okay? I don’t fit in at an event like this. Won’t the nobles at the auction look at me and sneer?”
She quickly rattled on.
Joanne, our artist and bandit, was cooperating with us sort of, kind of, just ever so slightly out of her own free will.
She looked fine after washing up, receiving some new clothes that the attendants of the Lord’s Castle let her borrow, and cleaning the cloth on her hair.
Benjamin and Ganael still seemed discontent at the fact that she was speaking informally to me.
Vice Captain Élisabeth, who was here to keep an eye on Joanne, seemed the same as well.
I tilted my head for a different reason.
“Is that what you think of yourself?”
“Me? I’m proud of myself. But the standards are different for those people in high places. My head looks like this as well.I don’t look like a well-educated artist.” She grumbled.
I observed Joanne’s hair that was cut unevenly. Now that she mentioned it, I was indeed curious about that.
“May I ask how your hair ended up like that?”
“One of the punks in my gang took out a loan to take care of his sick mother. I paid it off for him by selling my hair.”
“Was that a boring story? If you have an issue with that, you can put me back in a cell. Or you can get me an expensive wig or something.”
Joanne sharply commented back. I assumed there was a story behind it, but I did not expect it to be something like that.
I smiled and answered back.
“It looks great. I think it will start a trend in the Imperial Capital.”
“Oh right, this is the magic tool I explained this morning.”
I pulled a pair of ear cuffs from my pocket. Joanne closed her mouth.
It was used by placing it on the auricle, and, just like before, it was a party item Christelle had personally purchased from the Legault Central Commerce Center.
She was currently on the carriage of the Duke’s House of Sarnez following behind us.
The crown prince was in the Imperial family’s carriage in front of us.
“Each one will give the user fifteen minutes for a total of thirty minutes where the wearer’s presence is hidden. It can only be used once and activates if you press this round embedded jewel three times. We will use it once when the carriage door opens outside the merchant guild’s building, and after that……”
It was at that moment.
– Knock, knock, knock knock!
Someone frantically knocked on the window. We gasped and looked out the window.
‘Who is knocking on a moving carriage,’
I shouted almost in a gasp. My eyes felt as if they would burst out.
The chimney bird was frantically pecking at the window. But that was not the end.
“What about Demy, hey! You’re going to break your ankle!”
“Please calm down, Marquis-nim.”
The young Countess’s voice was shaking quite a bit as she spoke as well.
It was understandable because Percy was clutching the red panda, which was about twenty times his size, as he flew next to us.
Benjamin and Ganael looked up at the sky and started praying.
I opened and closed my mouth without being able to say anything in astonishment.
‘I left them on purpose in case something happened but they followed us like this?!’
The carriage slowed down. It was not because the coachman noticed them.
The Haas merchant guild building was in front of us, so the guests who arrived before us must be getting off their carriages.
I quickly opened the door and grabbed the little headaches. Demy pushed against my ribs.
– Whimper, whimper
“Okay, I’m sorry. I thought you guys would be uncomfortable because there are a lot of unfamiliar people.”
– Piruuuuu, pipipi!
“I didn’t leave you guys there because I don’t like you.”
These punks oddly kept criticizing me.
Percy kept tapping the window with his beak even after entering the carriage.
Ganael finally looked outside and flinched.
“Marquis-nim, look over there. There is water coming out of the merchant guild’s carriage!”
I carefully grabbed Percy and brought him down so that I could look out the window.
The young boy was pointing toward a freight carriage with a large crest of the Haas Merchant guild.
The carriage was heading toward the rear door of the building and a large amount of water poured out as the hinged doors on the back opened.
There seemed to be some mobile tub in it or something.
I became anxious and looked at the chimney bird and the red panda.
“Is it because of that?”
“What is inside?”
‘It would be great if I could understand them……’
Everybody looked confused.
Joanne, who had never seen something like this before, was blanking out. I looked out the window again.
At that moment…
A white tail moved past the carriage door and a pair of black eyes brushed by.
I got chills all over my body. I quickly looked around at everybody else.
Benjamin, who was seated on the inner seat, nodded his head. I had not seen wrong.
“It is not human. But it is definitely a creature.”
The young Countess calmly commented. The merchant guild’s carriage had already turned a corner, making it no longer visible.
Our carriage was slowly moving forward as well. It was almost time to get off.
Joanne and I made eye contact.
“Does your brother auction off living creatures as well?”
“Rare demonic beasts have appeared a few times.”
“Then do you think that was a demonic beast just now?”
Ganael quickly asked. I shook my head.
The crystal bell in my pocket was too calm.
Furthermore, if it was a demonic beast, Demy and Percy would not have worked so hard to fly over here to find me……
“Is it a divine beast?”
Both of them chirped loudly as if that was the right answer.
My jaw dropped and I got chills at this unexpected development.
Today’s plan had been extremely simple and clear. So how did it end up like this……
“There are other divine beast-nims other than Demy, Rhea, and Perry-nims?”
“It seems like it. It looks like we will need to meet with the merchant guild leader as soon as we get in there and request or order him to take down that auction item……”
I was answering Ganael’s cautious question when Demy and Percy pulled at my shirt and cravat.
They were asking with desperation for me to quickly rescue this mysterious divine beast.
Everybody quietly watched them. Demy’s eyes turned teary.
I only handed Joanne one of the ear cuffs and put one on myself.
I tightly hugged Demy then placed him on Benjamin’s knees.
Vice Captain Élisabeth looked quite shocked but she did not stop me.
I silently bowed toward my understanding friends.
“Thank you very much. Please take good care of Demy.”
“Please be careful, Marquis-nim.”
“You don’t need to worry about anything here.”
“I will inform his Royal Highness and Dame Christelle.”
Benjamin, Ganael, Vice Captain Élisabeth, and Demy responded one after the other. I couldn’t help but smile.
The carriage completely stopped at that moment.
“Yes, I will trust you. See you later.”
Tap tap tap. Joanne and I tapped the jewel on our ear cuffs three times.
I quietly walked out as soon as the coachman opened the door.
I quickly walked toward the corner and gave an order up to the sky.
“Jung Percy, lead the way.”
Jung Percy, I choose you!