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A Laughable Move
“For example, even if they wanted to peek into the room, when the door locks, there is no gap.. They wouldn’t be able to see in at all.”
I plucked a juicy grape from the bunch in the basket and put it in my mouth. Squeezing the flesh in my mouth, I picked up the grape skin I had pushed onto my lips with my finger. As I did so, I felt the reverent gaze of the ladies-in-waiting surrounding us at a distance.
“Of course, they don’t have the keys. However, when they closely examine the door, they’ll find that part of the clasp mounting engraved relief to the door beside the handle is loose.”
I leisurely licked my finger stained with grape juice. The Adam’s apples of the temple knights, waiting under the arch that led into the courtyard bobbed up and down.
“With the tools at hand, they successfully remove the loose clasp. Once the metal fixtures are gone, the door is left with a small hole in it. The light in the room escapes through that the tiny hole. With one eye on the hole, they can peek inside. That’s where they’ll find a shocking secret.”
Wiping my hands again with the cloth Malacia held out, I grinned.
“I don’t think there are many who would doubt the information obtained in such a manner.”
“…I see. How cunning.”
It was a common feature in period dramas and mysteries. When they get exposed, the villain would carefully explain the modus operandi of his crimes for some reason. Well, it was for plot development. If they didn’t do that, the story would be difficult to understand.
“The plan Lord Anderheim had thought of beforehand turned out to be quite useful.”
“…I had already planned a way out in advance. It’s standard practice when doing something illicit. If you commit violence without any measures in place, you’ll only end up leaving your tracks behind.”
[I] didn’t make many moves when Morino desperately searched the royal family’s accounting lead. Those numbers were the result of Prime Minister Anderheim and Head Priest Malacia joining hands and performing dodgy dealings bit by bit over the years. Even if Morino found the trail of illegal gold and traced it back to its source, the culprits would already be six feet under before he reached them. And since the other party was the royal family, Morino would not actively pursue them due to the Crown Prince’s influence.
Moreover, Anderheim also had a hand in Malacia widely selling Suimo.
Other than the customers that bought Suimo simply for pleasure, he also found wealthy families with members suffering from severe illnesses. They needed its pain-relieving effects. He sold Suimo to them as a medicine that would ease pain. Their wish to see their family, who continued to suffer due to illness, have a peaceful death would be fulfilled. The remaining family often thanked Malacia with tears in their eyes.
We hid all the trails cleanly but left many minor clues on how the customers who bought Suimo to relieve the pain of their suffering family obtained it on purpose
And just as I predicted, Morino’s subordinate took the bait and sent the report in a panic. Confused regarding the information about the royal family’s operating costs for the shrine, Morino simply connected the dots and only to be met disappointment.
…All while he didn’t realize, the secret he’d spied through that tiny hole in the door was just a facade. The truth lay hidden behind it.
“Lady Julieta, let me carry your luggage.”
“No, I shall help you.”
“Thank you, but it’s fine. I wish to move a bit.”
“Your foot is injured. Please do not force yourself.”
At the garden table and chair set in the courtyard, I sat with my elbows on the table, accompanied by a relaxed Malacia. We were looking over Julieta, who was carrying her few belongings out from her room facing the courtyard in preparation to return to the Asbal residence. As she walked with the support of a stick, countless ladies-in-waiting gathered around her, repeatedly urging her to let them assist her.
Her foot was cast in a plaster brace, keeping her foot straight as if she was on tiptoes. It was all per my instructions. As the injury was my excuse to free her from house arrest in the royal castle, I couldn’t use recovery magic on her foot. However, the rupture of the Achilles tendon would naturally heal by itself even without immediate surgery to fix it in place.
Once her Achilles tendon healed, I would gently rehabilitate her ankle with stretches and massages. Incidentally, it was something I had learned when my younger sister in my past life ruptured her Achilles’ tendon and I had to tend to her for a long time.
The farce that unfolded at the banquet had spread throughout the capital in a blink of an eye.
It was to the extent that Julieta’s reputation as ‘Prime Minister Anderheim’s selfish daughter’ changed overnight into that of a saint.
A Dragon Priestess who endured excruciating pain thinking only of her love of ten years—the Crown Prince. With only half a year remaining she would finally be free from the pain, and yet, it was at that time, that the Crown Prince betrayed the Dragon Priestess and declared he would marry the beautiful Sacrificial Priestess instead. The Dragon Priestess was hurt, but even so, she accepted her fate of becoming the Sacrificial Priestess….
Once the rumors spread, the ladies-in-waiting serving the shrine rushed to Julieta’s defense. With both their hands and feet on the cold floor, the ladies-in-waiting apologized for their impoliteness. Julieta took their hands and bowed, saying she too was at fault.
“I was only a nuisance to you all. From here on, please support Lady Melia as the new Dragon Priestess.”
“Nemo!? What happened to your cheek…!?”
Seeing the swollen cheeks of a lady-in-waiting she recognized, Julieta let out a shout.
Boosting the authenticity of the rumors were the violent acts of the new Dragon Priestess Melia.
Due to the effects on the ring, Melia was in a state of confusion and ferocity. She wailed, asking why it had to be her, hurling filthy words of abuse at the Head Priest. She exercised violence at the ladies-in-waiting who served her.
The Dragon Priestess’ body could not be hurt no matter what. The ladies-in-waiting had to endure in silence.
Compared to her, selfish Julieta’s actions seemed like a child’s tantrums. And despite her actions being due to the agony she withstood bin her role as the Dragon Priestess, she still courteously apologized.
They had been wrong.
A girl with such a pure body and heart was betrayed by the Crown Prince. Yet she had been ridiculed by those saying, “Serves her right!”.
How foolish they were.
“They seem to be in good spirits…the longer they are at a loss on how to deal with Melia, the better.”
At this distance, Malacia and my conversation couldn’t be heard in the room.
Taking advantage of the opportunity to spew venom, Malacia reached into his pocket and took out a small glass vial. In the vial was a light purple liquid containing a flower with round petals submerged at the bottom.
“I will use it at a suitable time.”
“That’s right. You understand the situation better, so I’ll leave it to you.”
“Mhm, I’ll use it when appropriate.”
“Also it’s about time the Crown Prince sends a spy here. According to my predictions, it should be the Knight Commander’s son.”
“That short-tempered brat, right?”
Malacia chuckled, remembering Lutora’s burning glare.
“It seems like he has some plans in mind for me It’s a rare opportunity. I should take the chance to get acquainted thoroughly.”
“Haha, I pity Lutora Well, I’ll be waiting for the Head Priest’s skills. I must be under watch too.”
“Leave it to me, Your Excellency”
Hasr11: I won a bet with Grace and she’s agreed to PR this novel for a month…but that doesn’t mean I’m not looking for editors!