Eleris didn’t put any protective magic on her door, so it was easily broken.
However, if she had put some protective magic on it, that in itself could be seen as a piece of evidence. That locked door would have caused trouble no matter if it was able to be broken or not.
The moment this place caught Charlotte’s eye, it was already over.
This situation was no longer stoppable. I couldn’t do something crazy like smacking Charlotte in the back of her head, either. Leaving the commotion brewing outside behind, Charlotte entered the shop.
“Hmm…. The cabinet is locked”
The scroll cabinets everywhere in this shop were now literally shuttered down. Charlotte went over to the counter and carefully checked over every scroll cabinet.
“There are magic locks installed. Still, everyone uses these, though….”
The property of scroll shops were the scrolls themselves. So it was only natural for the cabinets to have magic locks to prevent theft on them. Charlotte tapped on one of the shuttered cabinets that occupied one of the walls.
“Reinhardt, if there were any Fireball scrolls in there, what do you think is the probability of it being the one from that other shop?”
“Well…. Pretty low, right?”
“Hm…. Right? Although it’s quite expensive, it isn’t a rare type of scroll. Even if there were any in there, they could simply be up for sale…”
Charlotte knew that even if there was a Fireball scroll in there, it certainly wouldn’t make good evidence.
She took a book out of her pocket. It was a scroll book. After flipping through the pages, she immediately pulled out a single scroll.
“Still, it wouldn’t be a waste to check. It might contain the demonic scrolls he had with him.”
Eleris might have taken the scrolls and killed me. There was a good possibility that she was thinking like that.
It was obvious what kind of magic scroll Charlotte took out. I didn’t even have to look at it.
It was probably a scroll of type Unlock or Dispel. The moment Charlotte was about to rip apart the scroll to cast the spell.
“Huh…? No, what is this mess?”
Eleris, who should not be here, appeared on the stairs leading to the upper floor.
“Y, you! Who are you…?”
She was looking at me and Charlotte, who was about to cast Dispel, alternately with a startled look.
She simply asked who we were.
Thanks to these words, I realized that she completely knew what was going on here. I didn’t exactly know what happened, but Eleris was back in her shop, and she knew what was going on.
She was pretending not to know me. That was the proof.
“Ah…. You were there?”
After some confusion, Charlotte took off her robe.
“My name is Charlotte de Gardias. As the Imperial Princess, there are a few questions I would like to ask you.”
Charlotte judged that now wasn’t the time for her to continue to hide her identity.
Ignoring the commotion outside, Eleris appeared quite flustered and immediately bowed her head in front of the Princess.
“F, for her Highness the Imperial Princess to come to such a shabby place like this….“
“I have no intentions of dragging this out any longer than necessary. I would like you to answer some questions.”
After revealing her identity, Charlotte began to speak in a coercive and cold manner. Eleris was certainly acting like a normal commoner of the Empire.
I had no idea in what direction this would lead, but I prayed that this would resolve all this. I fiercely hoped that Eleris prepared a plausible excuse. There was nothing I could do to help at this point.
I didn’t even imagine I’d ever enter this place with Charlotte and even meet Eleris, so my mind was in total chaos at the moment.
“You should know that there are many people looking for a single boy around this area.”
“Yes, I’m aware of that, Your Highness.”
“I heard you said you never saw that child. Are you sure of that?”
Charlotte, who completely revealed her identity, still remained somewhat respectful, but as a member of the Imperial Family, she had an attitude that it was only a matter of course that her questions would be answered.
“Yes, Your Highness. I am sure. I’ve never seen a child like that anywhere around here before.”
“Look into my eyes.”
“Look into my eyes and tell me.”
As if she was trying to see if Eleris was lying, Charlotte stared into Eleris eyes with a completely blank look. Eleris also struggled to move her head facing Charlotte away.
“Have you really never seen him?”
I wondered what she saw in Eleris eyes, as she was clearly lying. Charlotte looked like that at her for a long time, then pointed her chin to a specific place.
“Unlock the scroll cabinet.”
The Fireball scroll.
Charlotte was trying to see if she had any.
I didn’t even know where she placed it. Only Eleris knew. She trembled in fear and soon unlocked the magic lock.
“Please show me your ID.”
“Ah, yes…. Here you go.”
Charlotte checked the ID Eleris had given her, and soon lost interest, then she went to open the scroll cabinet and began to rummage through it.
While rummaging, Charlotte asked a few more questions.
“Is Count Pergia a decent lord?”
It was a pretty meaningless question. What the hell did she want to achieve by asking something like that?
“Tha, that…. Count Pergia…. The one in charge of the region is Bishop Rendry. Count Pergia isn’t actually a lord….”
“Oh, is that how it is?”
And, as I heard Eleris’ sudden response, I felt a chill running down my spine.
Charlotte was questioning Eleris about her origins.
I didn’t know where it was located, but it seemed like Eleris set up Pergia County as her place of origin.
If Eleris said that Count Pergia was a pretty decent lord, Charlotte would have mentioned that it was actually ruled by Bishop Rendry. It was a trap. If one wasn’t from that place, one wouldn’t actually know that it was ruled by someone of the church.
If she wasn’t actually from that place, there was no way for her to have known such a tidbit. However, Eleris answered correctly.
Charlotte was, of course, aware of such issues within the Empire. Eleris did some preliminary research about that place as well, to be able to answer questions about her supposed place of origin.
Both were rather creepy in my opinion.
As she continued to rummage through the cabinets, Charlotte didn’t stop asking questions.
“Are you a wizard?”
“No, Your Highness. But there are tools that I can handle using magic power.”
“Hmm, wizards wouldn’t have a reason to run a scroll store. However, it’s not like there aren’t any such cases.”
After she was done going through that cabinet, Charlotte looked at it with crossed arms.
“There aren’t any Fireball scrolls…”
Anyway, it seemed like the Fireball scroll was already disposed of.
“This seems to be quite the unique store. They don’t sell any attack magic scrolls whatsoever.”
Charlotte noticed a peculiarity that made Eleris’ store different from other stores.
“Bring the ledger.”
It seemed like Charlotte wouldn’t leave this place until all her suspicions had been answered.
I realized again how meticulous Eleris was. Regardless of whether the business was going well or not, Eleris thoroughly managed her books.
She was placed into the Imperial Capital as a spy of the Demon Realm, but one would never know when she might get discovered. So, it seemed like everything was meticulously prepared so that she wouldn’t leave anything suspicious behind.
“Why aren’t you selling attack magic scrolls?”
“That…. Because attack magic can be easily abused for violent crimes. It would be fine if they were just used against monsters, but I know there are quite a few cases where they aren’t used as intended…”
Eleris kept in mind that the scrolls she sold could be used for crimes. That was why she didn’t sell attack magic scrolls.
That was absolutely something Eleris would do.
However, in the end, this aspect turned into a weakness in a way. Eleris wasn’t as meticulous in that area.
“But aren’t attack magic scrolls in high demand?”
That was why her business wasn’t doing all that well. It was impossible to find fault with the fact that the merchant herself refused to sell certain things, though.
After Charlotte looked through the whole ledger, she closed the book.
“It seems like you have nothing to do with the boy I’m looking for.”
Charlotte predicted that the one who recognized the true worth of these demonic scrolls probably took it from the boy and did him in. However, Eleris didn’t deal in attack magic scrolls, and according to the people around her, she didn’t really have any business sense or drive.
It goes without saying that she wouldn’t even consider stealing something from someone else.
So, this made it seem like all doubts had been cleared on that side. However, Charlotte still pointed at the ledger.
“But it seems like you didn’t write down the store’s maintenance fees here.”
After having taken a look at Eleris’ shop, Charlotte seemed to have some more doubts. Having taken a look at Eleris’ sales, she must have noticed that they were really little.
“Where do you take the means to maintain this shop? Refusing to sell attack magic scrolls, which are in high demand. It seems that you don’t have the smallest intentions of making money….”
The maintenance fees are covered by the Rotary gang. However, if Charlotte managed to figure out things up to that point, it was very likely that she’d come to the conclusion that I was entangled in this as well.
I was getting goosebumps.
Would she really manage to do that?
“That…. I’m actually losing money….”
Of course, Eleris told her that she was doing business while gnawing away at her own capital. In the end, she chose this simple excuse that was just incapable of doing business. She jumped into the business world half-heartedly, but she was stubborn, so ended up bleeding herself dry.
“And yet you went on vacation during the Victory Festival?”
“Where did you go?”
“I just… went camping near the Capital…. Then I heard that there was a terrorist attack, so I decided to stay there a little longer and only came back today….”
If she said that she went somewhere using the Warp Gates, one could easily check that by going through the gate usage history, so she probably tried to avoid saying anything about that for that reason.
“Camping…. Camping, is it….?”
‘You had a good time, huh?’, was what Charlotte’s expression seemed to express.
It seemed like Charlotte’s feelings towards her were slowly changing, didn’t they?
She seemed to find her truly pitiful.
“I heard that all the Aligar district merchants were filthy savages. I now believe, that not all of them are like that.”
As if she never heard of anyone who was willing to go bankrupt for their principles, Charlotte seemed happy in many different ways. It seemed like all her doubts had finally been cleared.
That was what I thought until she pointed towards the stairs.
“Could I go up there?”
Charlotte pointed towards the stairs leading up to the second floor.
The upper floor was where Eleris lived.
There was only a living room and another room.
“……It doesn’t seem like much of a living room.”
Charlotte said so after seeing this minimally furnished room. There was only a single table and some chairs in the room, and a bed with a blanket in the other room.
“That’s…. because I can’t afford more….”
It was true that she lived in great poverty.
It seemed like Charlotte didn’t find anything but the reality of someone living in poverty in this barren room. Eleris squeezed herself in and showed Charlotte around while my heart was about to burst from tension.
Actually, these types of rooms were found in many households, but there were some that were actually worse off.
In her kitchen there was just a simple fridge and some cookware.
Charlotte was now looking through Eleris’ fridge, took account of the frozen snacks she had in there and nodded slowly.
Eleris started preparing some food in case she had to give me some. I wasn’t sure if fridges were expensive in this world or not, but having it justified her having bought this food, but not having eaten any of it.
At the moment Charlotte thought Eleris to be the prime suspect of causing Valier’s disappearance, so she looked through her place, but she was actually investigating the living space of a vampire who infiltrated the Imperial Capital.
If Charlotte was actually suspecting her to be a demon, then she’d be able to find many suspicious things in this place, but she was only looking for traces that could lead to Valier.
Then Charlotte went into the bedroom. All it held was a window near the bed, a blanket draped over the bed, and a wardrobe.
Occasionally, Eleris’ and my eyes met to avoid Charlotte’s gaze.
‘Are you alright?’
‘I think so!’
We held such conversations with our eyes. Charlotte kept looking at the bed and then grabbed something.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“This hair. Whose is it?”
There, on her bed, was a hair that was clearly blonde. Completely different from Eleris’ red-brown hair.
When I hid my horns and took on my human form, my hair turned blonde. And the hair Charlotte picked up was exactly the same blonde tone.
That was obviously my hair. I was here at the start of the Festival for a few days.
Charlotte probably would mistake that hair for Valier’s hair.
That’s right! My hair was my hair. That much was obvious!
However, would it still be my hair if it fell from the head of another me? Not Valier’s hair, but Reinhardt’s hair?
I, in the first place, why did that hair even fall out? No, well, one usually loses one or two hairs, right? It just naturally happened when one slept.
It was fine as long as it wasn’t black! No, how could it even turn black? I was blonde like this, after all.
I clenched my fists and held back the desire to immediately check how many hairs were missing from my head.
“I asked whose hair this is.”
Of course, Charlotte, who had a view completely different from me on this, began to question Eleris again.
Eleris’ face was already getting red. For the day to come where I got to see a vampire’s face turning completely red. Did vampires actually have that much blood in them?
Charlotte was questioning her on this hair that was obviously from someone else.
“Tha, that’s…. m, my…. My Bo….Boyfriend’s…. It…. It seems….”
What else could Eleris say to that other than this?
Charlotte freaked out and immediately let go of that piece of hair.
“Tha, that’s…. I see….”
“Yes…. Your Highness….”
As Charlotte was still rather young, she seemed to have pretty low tolerance to these kinds of things. Both Eleris and Charlotte had tomato red heads for varying reasons. Charlotte couldn’t even look at Eleris’ bed again, as if she just saw something she shouldn’t have.
That little kid. What was she imagining, that she couldn’t even lift her head because it turned so red? Huh?
“Tha, that…. Boyfriend…. What’s his name?”
Of course, Charlotte still continued her interrogation even though she felt such shame.
At that moment, I thought that she was pretty great in many different ways.