Eleris quickly came up with her ‘boyfriend’s’ personal information in detail. She came up with something so fast that I almost thought that fake boyfriend was actually a real person.
No, this might be the personal information of an actual person. There was a high possibility that Charlotte would run a background check on him after all.
She was indeed a bit strange, but Eleris seemed to have been cleared of all her charges.
That was how Charlotte seemed to judge her, at least. There was no evidence after all. She only had a suspicion, but there was no physical evidence to support said suspicion.
What would have happened if Eleris wasn’t here?
There was no evidence in the scroll cabinets, but there was this blonde hair she could presume to have fallen off Valier’s head on her bed.
Charlotte would have persistently dug up information on Eleris just by finding some circumstantial evidence alone.
“……For the door repair fee.”
Charlotte handed two gold coins to Eleris.
“Tha, thank you, Your Highness….”
It was probably a much larger amount than required to repair the door.
“Then excuse us, Miss Elena.”
Charlotte decided to leave the shop, probably because she didn’t have anything more to ask Eleris. Before leaving, Eleris’ and my eyes met.
We spoke no words with each other, but it felt like we conveyed a lot of things.
After we went back onto the street and walked for some time, she suddenly stopped.
“No matter how much I think about it, it’s very suspicious.”
It seemed like Charlotte still hadn’t put her doubts aside. She dragged me into an alley and stared at me.
“Then… do you think that her testimony was all a lie?”
“Even if she has nothing to do with his disappearance, she, as a person, is just too suspicious.”
At these words, I felt like my head completely froze over. I thought Charlotte didn’t care about anything else but Valier. I was wrong.
“Attack magic scrolls are the most sought after among a scroll shop’s products. However, she doesn’t sell any, because there’s a possibility that they could be used to commit a crime? Meaning that she never had the intention of running a proper business in the first place, right? More like, she has no interest at all. I looked at her ledgers and she wouldn’t be able to even pay the rent with the measly amount she makes. And yet, judging by her records, she’s been running this store for about 2 years now. That would mean that she was able to continue her business without making any proper sales for these 2 years.”
That was suspicious.
A scroll store that didn’t sell attack magic scrolls.
Even though she made nearly no sales at all, she was somehow able to maintain her store. Doing business didn’t seem to be her purpose at all.
“And the rooms upstairs. Putting the thing with the hair aside, there were only a few household items.”
Regardless whether she was involved in Valier’s disappearance or not, Charlotte had already marked Eleris as a very suspicious person.
“No matter if the owner is there or not, what did she even do in these rooms? One can’t even see that someone actually lived there.”
Another suspicious point.
The rooms seemed rather sterile. One couldn’t tell at all what type of life she lived in there. It wasn’t strange to call Eleris’ apartment, which was completely void of a sense of being lived in, totally empty.
Leaving the problem with Valier aside, it seemed like Charlotte came to the conclusion that the shop owner called Elena should be thoroughly investigated as she was highly suspicious.
What should I do if the thought that Eleris might be a demon spy came across her mind? Of course, Eleris would be able to escape on her own, but that would mean that I wouldn’t be able to see her in the Capital ever again.
I had to do something.
Whether I muddy the water or not, I wasn’t the one who was in immediate danger, but Eleris.
She already became convinced that the store was just a front and that she actually had a different goal.
And, in order to prove that conviction, Charlotte would absolutely investigate every aspect of Eleris using all her might.
It was only a matter of time before she realized that Eleris was a demon.
“Charlotte, don’t get me wrong here. Just listen.”
If that was the case, then it might be the better course of action to stop Charlotte’s train of thoughts by telling her some of the truth on my part.
“I think we should stop here.”
This became too big a deal.
We should stop here.
Charlotte furrowed her eyebrows hearing these words, as if I was talking nonsense.
“Stop? What do you mean?”
She finally was able to find a clue, so she, quite understandably, wore an expression as if she couldn’t understand why we should stop now.
It wasn’t the most conclusive evidence, but anyone could see that this situation was suspicious. Charlotte thought, if she dug up anything about Eleris, she would be able to find Valier.
“As you said, this person is running this shop for some other reason, right? But she’s deliberately shooting herself in the foot by doing something as strange as not selling attack magic scrolls, isn’t that right?”
Charlotte listened quietly, showing me her willingness to listen to what I had to say.
“There’s no reason for her to act like that, so couldn’t that mean that this person is just so kind bordering on stupidity? I wouldn’t know for what other purpose she’d do something like that.”
She had this strange principle of not selling attack magic scrolls because she was afraid that they’d be used to commit crimes. There was nothing else to it, but her being simply that kind. Hearing that, Charlotte nodded subtly, although she didn’t seem conceived yet.
“I guess so. But what does that have to do with us having to stop here?”
“The boy you’re looking for must have entered that store, just as you guessed. That’s certain.”
I was trying to stop Charlotte from thinking any deeper into this by telling her the truth backed by plausible reasoning.
“And that kid obviously realized that there was something wrong with the demonic scrolls he was trying to sell. He’d try to sell the fireball scroll in the next store, right? That’s only logical.”
“It must have been like that.”
“What would you have thought seeing a kid carry around something as dangerous as that if you were someone like that shopkeeper?”
What would the shop owner, who is so wary of crimes to the point of not selling attack magic scrolls, do, faced with a kid running around with a fireball scroll?
“I would have taken it……. Something like that, right?”
“You wouldn’t have let the kid carry around that thing with him, no matter the price, right?”
In fact, Eleris was trying to buy that fireball scroll off of me without even knowing who I was. It was also true that she became angry with me for carrying something so dangerous with me.
“Additionally, she must have seen the scroll book he was wearing when he sold the fireball scroll, right?”
“That… could be the case.”
Eleris thought I was someone who stole and sold scroll books. So she almost took away my scroll book as well, saying that I probably had more dangerous scrolls in there, too.
Then she found the demonic scrolls.
It seemed like Charlotte wasn’t able to understand what I was trying to express with this lengthy explanation.
“What I’m going to say now is pure speculation.”
I wasn’t actually guessing, these were hard facts, but I had no choice but to sell it to Charlotte like that.
“That person probably checked the contents of the scroll book, so I’m guessing she was able to recognize them as demon scrolls. Going by that, we could assume that she probably is a wizard.”
Although she was actually a vampire who happened to be a wizard, I only told her the second half of that truth. If she asked me how I could know that, I would have nothing to say to her.
“Assuming she recognized that they were demon scrolls. She must have questioned him about where he got them, right?”
“I guess so. What are you trying to say?”
Charlotte asked me, as if she still didn’t get what I was talking about. Charlotte always lost her composure when it involved Valier.
Of course, now was the right time to hit her with a sudden revelation.
“I think she’s somehow trying to protect that child in some way.”
Before landing in a much more dangerous situation, I opted to tell Charlotte some half-truths.
“If it’s true that this person is a wizard, is able to recognize a demonic scroll, and is indeed a good person, she must have tried to help him once she found out that he was in danger.”
Hiding him or sending him far away. I didn’t tell her the specific method of how she was protecting him, but she seemed to think of various possibilities already.
“If we’re so sure we can find him through her, we should dig even deeper. And how do you even know that this person is actually protecting him? Your conclusions are only based on guesswork. Yes, your guesses could be true. Then why do we have to stop here? According to what you said, there are no other clues than what that person knows.”
“It might be more dangerous for him if we found out his whereabouts.”
Charlotte opened her eyes wide at my words.
“If we find out, so could Bertus.”
Charlotte thought it would be good if she were able to find the boy, but she didn’t think that far ahead, apparently.
“We’ve already caused quite the commotion on this street. I don’t know how far this news will spread. But if we were to actually find a meaningful clue, Bertus would be able to find out. If you start moving people to dig further into the shopkeeper, of course Bertus would know.”
Charlotte might be able to find out his whereabouts that way, but there was a chance that this information could reach Bertus’ ears. Then he’d also move to find the boy, throwing him into a very dangerous situation.
“I confirmed that the boy is safe with my supernatural ability. I don’t exactly know how he’s doing, but if we were to forcibly find out the information that person is hiding, things would become even more dangerous for him.”
I didn’t have enough evidence to prove my speculations.
The assumptions of Eleris being a wizard, recognizing the demon scroll and being a very kind person that would do everything to protect a single child, should all be true.
However, I told her just now that we shouldn’t touch Eleris, especially because she might hold important clues.
If she knew nothing, then it wouldn’t be right to dig deeper, and even if she did know something, we shouldn’t touch her further.
That’s what I told her, basically.
“We can’t be sure of that. Of course……. It’s not like I doubt your ability, but we can’t know if that person is really protecting him or not…. We just can’t be sure.”
In the end, it was all just speculation, right? It was true that Eleris might hold a clue, but she might have nothing to do with this as well. The boy might have disappeared somewhere else, but she seemed unsatisfied to stop like that.
“Fine. Then let’s go back.”
“Yeah, if we give her the impression that we aren’t going to step down so easily, she might tell us the truth even if it’s just a bit, right?”
Of course, this was all bullshit.
All I had to do is give Eleris a sign that it was okay to talk a bit about this.
We returned to Eleris’ shop. We had no problem seeing into the store as the door was open. Eleris was sitting idle in a place we could clearly see, and when we returned, she jumped up from her seat.
“Y, you returned…. Your Highness.”
Some time had now passed, and the number of people passing by was getting smaller and smaller. People directed their gaze towards the shop while passing by, but none seemed to have any intention of eavesdropping.
Charlotte regarded the open door and pointed towards the stairs.
“How about we go upstairs?”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Eleris hesitated slightly, then led us upstairs again. She wore a very nervous expression.
“I won’t take much of your time.”
Charlotte wasn’t here to interrogate her.
“I think you have a clear connection to the disappearance of this boy.”
When she voiced her convictions, Eleris clearly revealed a look of perplexity.
“But I also know that he is in a lot of danger. So I have this hypothesis, that you are hiding or protecting him, because you think he might get harmed, and that it would be just as dangerous to leak information about his whereabouts to me, so you lied….”
Charlotte thought this was too much of an exaggeration. Even I wouldn’t agree to something like that.
Charlotte was only presenting this reasoning because of my conjecture, thinking that she should do everything she could.
“I will investigate you in any way I can, whether you tell me something or not. If there’s anything you are hiding from me, you should tell me now. If it is true that the boy will be in more danger if the truth is revealed, I was thinking of stopping here for now.”
After taking a few deep breaths, Charlotte was looking at Eleris.
“Elena, do you think it would be dangerous for him if I were to find out where he is? Is that why you are hiding information from me?”
I looked at Eleris from behind Charlotte. I gave her a sign by slightly nodding my head.
And, Eleris clearly understood what I meant.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Charlotte was so surprised, she froze up and just blankly stared ahead.
On the way back to Temple.
Charlotte was walking as if her soul had been drained out of her body.
“Look where you walk. You might fall down.”
“Huh, ah. Yes….”
Eventually, Charlotte collapsed onto a nearby bench after we left the shopping district, saying that she felt too exhausted to walk any further.
Charlotte sobbed quietly, covering her face with her hands. People would do these things, no matter if they were happy or sad.
Charlotte was crying out of happiness.
‘Yes, I’m protecting the boy.’
‘I already know from what the kid told me that Your Highness does not intend to harm him.’
‘But there are just too many people after him.’
‘That’s why I couldn’t tell you the truth. Please forgive me for this.’
‘I’m telling you this because Your Highness said that you’d use all powers available to you to find out everything, no matter what.’
‘He is doing well. I think it would be better for Your Highness to not know where he is located or what he is doing at the moment.’
‘I’m a wizard. Although I’m not the strongest, I’m good enough to protect him. It may be difficult for you to believe in me, but I hope you’ll find it in your heart to place some of your trust in me.’
In the end, Charlotte saw my conjecture become true right in front of her eyes.
After being frozen for some time, Charlotte’s knees buckled and she sat down where she was, seeming like she was about to collapse. Then she cried until she was out of breath. In order to protect Eleris, I had her expose this much.
Charlotte was protecting me for being her only connection to Valier.
Therefore, she would also protect Eleris, who was protecting Valier.
“He’s okay…. He’s safe, so everything is okay…. He’s fine….”
Although she wasn’t able to see him directly, she did find someone who said she was taking care and protecting Valier. Charlotte was so moved by her findings.
‘It seems that it’s possible to exchange information through a more inconspicuous method. Through letters, for example.’
‘However, meeting in person is too dangerous for me and the boy. So, I think it would be better if you send someone else to send and receive information.’
Eleris was going far beyond what I signed her to do.
‘For example, this boy who came with you today….”
Eleris even created an excuse for me to visit her store as Reinhardt.
We didn’t know what this revelation of some of the truth would lead to in the future, but if we had stayed still, the fact that Eleris was a vampire would have come to light.
It might not be ideal, but that was the best I could think of at that moment.
Still, Charlotte learned that the boy was safe, and although she wasn’t able to meet him, she was able to send him letters as well as receive some from him.
After regaining her composure, Charlotte looked at me and took a deep breath.
“This must never reach Bertus’ ears.”
What she meant to tell me was that I had to watch my mouth, as well as that this couldn’t reach Bertus any other way either.
My absurd speculation was nothing more than just that. The reason Eleris suddenly decided to open her mouth was because I ordered her to. Charlotte might find it strange that Eleris’ revelation came so suddenly, even though she was so adamant before.
However, she wasn’t able to deny that she was able to find the boy because of me, so after some time Charlotte turned to me.
Charlotte carefully grabbed my hand as she thanked me.
I couldn’t bear to meet Charlotte’s gaze. She was smiling. Her smile even reached her eyes. Her hands were a bit cold though.
“Let’s get going. It’s cold.”
Of course, this wasn’t the end.
Charlotte would now do everything to protect Eleris.