“Konomi, when did you notice?”
Benedict’s question affirmed my guess.
He sat next to Dominique and told me, “sit down,” while pointing at the sofa opposite to it. I did as he directed, keeping my eyes on him.
Then, started answering him.
“I was suspicious in the afternoon when His Highness paid a visit to Aldington’s House, when we went to the women’s dormitory to get the invitation of Charlotte Oliver.”
Word by word, I slowly fumble my words out.
May my thoughts be transmitted to them correctly.
“We visited Charlotte Oliver’s room in the women’s dormitory. That’s when I thought something was wrong. When I opened the post in Charlotte Oliver’s room, it only had ‘few’ newspapers.”
I remember. I can bribe the president of the Girl’s Dormitory Council, Isabella, that day to secure the invitation letter.
Eventually, the letter wasn’t there in the post, but rather in the office.
“Win-san―― I asked a servant of the Aldington family to confirm. Whether the newspapers are delivered every morning, or two times a day, in the morning and evening. He confirmed that newspapers are delivered every morning.
However, that is weird because Charlotte Oliver had been staying at Aldington House three days ago.”
She couldn’t return there.
But I don’t need to tell them why.
Anyway, the post should have three mornings worth of newspapers.
But the amount in the post isn’t right.
“In other words, the post in Charlotte Oliver’s room was opened and the contents were removed at least once by someone. Which happened between the time Charlotte Oliver stayed at Aldington house and the day we visited the dormitory.”
So I thought.
What if that invitation was sent by ordinary mail?
“Konomi, you meant to say that someone in Fitzgerald Girls Dormitory is the culprit?”
“Not necessarily. It is a possibility that there was someone in the dormitory whom the culprit had tricked.”
Just like how I did it with the dormitory president using the chessboard.
It can also be done even if the dormitory students are not involved.
All they have to do is intrude during daytime when classes are ongoing, when the students are away, and pick the lock of the post.
The post could be opened using a wire if they have one.
“The next question I had arose at the garden party.”
Mild climate, beautifully blooming flowers.
That’s how Dominique described the meeting.
Delicious mini parfait. And――
“This is simply a matter of probability. Generally, there are more right-handed people. The percentage of left-handed people in the adult population is around 10%.
That said, assuming that the woman was right-handed, when serving a non-poisoned drink, it would be more natural to support the tray with her left hand and present the glasses with her right hand. Otherwise, she would fail to act natural among the other servants.
So that means, to act natural, she would have to serve the target with her 「left hand 」 and used her 「right hand」 when serving the other guests.
――However, when she served the glass to Charlotte Oliver, she used her left hand, which she should have been unaccustomed to.”
Benedict listened to my explanation and -fun- -fun- he nodded twice.
“But isn’t it possible that the woman’s dominant hand was her left or both hands?”
“There is an ample chance of that being the case. So, that’s why I said it is a matter of probability. This is just something that caused me to have a doubt.”
I keep talking and thinking, and now I’m thirsty.
Unfortunately, there are no affordable vending machines in this world. I lightly licked my lips to put such thoughts away and continued.
“Furthermore, Gonneau-senpai. You never said it was 「His Majesty’s Glass」 that was poisoned.”
“……Wow. You’ve said a lot…”
Dominique commented with a bitter look on his face.
He emphasized the poison glass as, “the glass seized by Konomi.”
It’s not a lie, but it just sounds like he was trying to mislead us.
――However, I seized both of Benedict and Eileen’s glasses at that time.
…But those aren’t all.
When I spilled the two glasses on the flowers, for some reason, the flowers reacted to the drink in Eileen’s glass.
At that time, I wondered if I had gotten it wrong― But well.
There are other elements that raised doubts.
“There’s still one more. Why was I targeted at the theater?”
“…It was your clothes.”
Dominique exhaled exaggeratedly after he listened to my explanation.
“That’s right. It wasn’t due to a poorly skilled sniper who misfired and hit the seat of the person next to me, who happens to be you, Konomi…
Your outerwear has a luminous paint on it. Maybe, the culprit marked it before. However, he wouldn’t have imagined that you and Charlotte Oliver changed clothes just before he fired.”
Dominique completely raised a white flag.
He looks at Benedict for any follow-ups or supplements, but he just smiles and shakes his head.
“Hahaha, I saw it well. You truly beat this Dominique in five minutes.”
“Not in five minutes! It was seven minutes!”
But that doesn’t matter right now.
I tried to calm myself down while Benedict was laughing cheerfully and he admitted it.
However, my voice is shaking as I continue.
“Why did you tell such a lie, Your Highness. Thanks to you hiding that information, we came to this meeting without even knowing that we are in danger.
Please answer me. Did Your Highness try to sacrifice us, who knew nothing, to capture those who seeked revenge against the royal family?”
I am angry.
But it was Dominique who responded quickly.
“If that is so, what would you do?”
“What, you asked?”
“W-would you, end up hating me?”
“I never had a good impression of you from the start, so you don’t have to be so bothered about that, Senpai.”
Dominique’s face distorted, as if he is about to cry.
Of course, I am thankful to Dominique.
Without him, it was I― Eileen’s body that would have been shot at that time.
I don’t know if this weak body, with little to no physical strength, could withstand the shock.
It is thanks to him that I am intact.
That’s another story.
Did you deliberately give us wrong information to cross the Rubicon River――
(TN: Rubicon – point of no return)
Well, I don’t know if the Rubicon River existed in this world.
But I intend to point out Benedict’s mistake as sharply as possible.
Completely unlike my intention, Dominique is the one flustered and in dismay.
Benedict bowed deeply at me.
“Konomi, I apologize for being silent. I’m sorry, it’s my fault. But this was the result of a deal. I beg you to pardon me.”
“A deal? ……With whom?”
“It’s a deal with Charlotte Oliver.”
Benedict casts his eyes down.
“Yes, Konami, I once again apologise for being silent. However, there is one thing missing in your story.”
“Charlotte Oliver should have told everything.”
Charlotte Oliver ― Eileen.
“When? And how?”
“The day after we met in the park. The day you took a break from school because of an illness, I met her at school. It was at that time.”
The day I helped Benedict and fell unconscious.
Eileen went to school alone.
――The Young Lady seemed to have been affected somehow.
That was Win’s comment.
“The intimidation letter, as you might have guessed, is to exclude Charlotte Oliver from the lists of invited guests to the gathering.
If we want her to be invited, we must guarantee her safety―― The sender is unknown, but we can’t simply give in like that.
We couldn’t let all the guests be in confusion, so I tried to come up with an appropriate response. I was in the park that day to think of a solution.
At that time, I met you and Charlotte Oliver who helped me.”
That’s right. If the target really was Benedict, even if he’s the 「Eccentric Benedict,」 it would not have been possible for him to go out alone.
Such extra thoughts popped up in my mind.
“You guys are good friends.”
“……We’re not friends.”
I dare say that our interests just matched. However,
Benedict is shaking his head.
On what basis is he denying my claim? I wondered and waited for him.
“Charlotte Oliver seems to want to help you.”
I was amazed by the unexpected reply.
“You seemed to be interested in a certain country. One that is distant, and far far away. A place I don’t know about just by hearing the name, and I don’t even know where it is.
Charlotte Oliver doesn’t know about that country either. She looked up in the school library and realised that she couldn’t find any material even when she asked the staff there――
And, that’s where I come in.
Then, the deal was, 「I will help secure the criminal, in exchange, find out about the country that Konami knows.」 She said to me.”
I even forget to close my mouth.
From this place, Japan is like another world.
If they look for Japan, they will not find it in this world. And even if they do, it would not be the Japan I am from――
But that’s not the point here!
Did that selfish Young Lady really say that!?
“I haven’t heard about what happened between you and her, but she said she was interested in your roots, so she researched the country you said. But instead, she became a target and joined the gathering.”
“…Is that, really because she wanted to help me, and not her personal interest?”
“Sure, she did said, ‘I would like to go to that country too!’ ――Well, to me, it’s as if she just wanted to say things in a roundabout way.”
He glanced at Dominique by his side, as if implying that he is used to dealing with people who may not be quite normal.
Dominique Pretends to be unaware.
“Let me add a little more. It was her wish that you weren’t told the truth. She used herself as a scapegoat. She might have been ‘scared’ or the like, but didn’t want to make you feel the same out of her good intentions.”
I suddenly recalled Eileen rubbing her arms with a blue face. Where did I see it? ――Ah, right.
When I exchanged smiles with Isabella.
She pretended that they were goosebumps.
(TN: Chapter 27)
“It might have been a nasty mess, but when I asked her, ‘is that the only reason you let yourself be in danger?’
She pouted her lip and answered, after she started hanging out with you for just a few days, she felt that it wasn’t so bad, and that she was able to experience a lot of interesting things… That she has to return you the favour.
Again, I’m sorry to get you involved, but I want you to understand what actually happened.
After all, if she was thrown into this party alone, I don’t know what dangerous situation may take place.”
But in the end, she is a resident of this world. And to us who are from “outside” this world, she is called Villainess Young Lady.
I have difficulty keeping up.
I look towards the door.
There is no sign of Eileen returning.
There are many things we have to think about.
Those just mentioned could also be lies Benedict told.
――In that case.
I got up from the sofa.
“…I’ll fix my makeup for a moment.”
“Yeah. When you leave the room, go left, then right. Take your time.”
――If I’m not sure of what’s the truth, I have to ask her myself.
Benedict said, “we’ll be waiting here” and I left the room.
The toilet is on the left, then right, as I heard from Benedict.
Before the party, I had scouted alone and swiftly walked around the corridor.
The wind is blowing in the corridor right now.
Of course, it feels a bit different from back then.
The day is getting late and my shadow grows longer than that time.
The corridor feels darker than that time.
And at last, right―
At that time.
I stumbled upon something and stepped on it.
Did the carpet wrap or something?
Dangerous―― When I look at what I tripped on.
It wasn’t the carpet.
It was the escort who left the room with Eileen.
Why is he falling down like this!
I sat him up.
He doesn’t seem conscious, but he has a pulse and is breathing.
I looked up and saw a person in the hallway.
Who is with Eileen!
Eileen seems to have fainted too, and was carried by someone.
Ther turned around the corner and disappeared.
Unpleasant sweat comes out and frustration fills my chest.
I kicked the floor without realizing that it wasn’t the most rational judgement.
I follow the shadows and turn around the corner.
“Someone” stood there.
I made a grand fall as my feet tripped on something.
I look back while lying on the floor.
The evening corridor is dim, and everything looks unclear.
But I know that something is swinging towards me.
It took only a moment.
Where did I branched that I ended up on this route?
Where did I make a mistake?
I knew from the start that this body was weak.
I should have called someone before chasing the shadows.
No, that’s not it.
I knew this mansion was dangerous.
I should have been with Eileen when she said she wanted to “go to the toilet.”
No, that’s still not it.
We shouldn’t have come to this mansion in the first place.
I should have ditched the invitation no matter how much Eileen hated it.
No, that’s still wrong.
Of all things.
Should have talked more with Eileen.
TN: Hooray!! a new patron 『Sophia Faalogo』 Thank you very much.(｡>﹏<｡)
Thank you very much to my patrons 『Lan Hoang』 and 『Isabell Zultner』