Chapter 14 Royal castle evening party (2)
When I gazed up at Commander after replying with a sweet voice on purpose, his gaze down on me was even sweeter. (Wow) I was uncharacteristically nervous.
“Please excuse us then.”
Commander said and moved us away from the young lady who was about to shoot fire from her eyes. Commander brought me around the venue to greet others, but the superior who wants to push marriage proposals onto him didn’t seem to be appearing.
Before long, His Highness the Crown Prince appeared on behalf of the royal family. His Highness the Crown Prince had blond hair and blue eyes, giving the impression of a powerful ‘stillness’.
After a simple greeting, he displayed a dance with a woman who seemed to be Her Royal Highness, and then His Highness entered the circle of pleasantries. The participants started dancing, so we danced too. Commander danced elegantly with a big body. The dance was easy under his lead.
“Eva reassured me saying you’re good at dancing, but you’re definitely skillful. You truly surprise me every time I meet you.”
“You flatter me. And so, who is Commander’s superior?”
“It’s His Highness the Crown Prince who was dancing earlier.”
While returning a smile as if I was impressed with Commander, (it would be normal if you’re a knight of the Imperial Guard, you’re from the Second Knight Order! Are you His Highness the Crown Prince’s favorite!?), I shouted in surprise internally. Despite my surprise, my eyes tracked a man at the venue.
A man in a white waiter uniform hadn’t been working for a while. He held a silver tray lined with glasses of liquor, but it didn’t look like he was looking for someone who needs liquor.
On rare occasions, a suspicious person may slip into the venue of a large evening party, but it is unthinkable in the royal castle. In order to work in the royal castle, they would follow strict confirmation of identity, and newcomers are not given important work such as evening parties.
The movement of the man was that of an amateur. And the target of such an amateur would be limited in such a place. For a moment I thought about pretending not to know, but I quickly dismissed the notion. I’ll prompt Commander to make a move.
I sent a signal to Commander’s arm.
“The person in the back diagonally to the right from Commander’s point of view, even though he is a waiter, he hasn’t been working since a while ago. Perhaps he’s aiming for the young ladies’ jewelry. But I might just be thinking too much since we’re in the royal castle.”
Commander naturally turned me around and turned to face the man. He nodded after looking at him for a while.
“Looks like he’s looking for someone.”
While dancing, I also stared at the man. The man suddenly started moving in a certain direction. He must have found his target. I kept my eyes busy looking for a route that the man might choose to escape.
“Victoria, I’m sorry. I’ll move over there for a while.”
“Please go ahead.”
As expected of Commander. He seemed to have noticed that the man had moved into action.
Choosing a high-security evening party as the location of the crime, he probably could not approach the target in any other way.
Alone, I headed for the terrace at a speed that seemed natural. Descending from the terrace to the garden. I ascertained where the man was likely to pass by and crouched under the shadow of a garden tree. As much as the venue is bright, there are many garden trees here, and the spot was secluded and dark. There weren’t any braziers either.
Before long, the screams of several women and the sound of shattering glasses came from the venue.
A pity, did they fail to catch him?
A black silhouette popped out against the background of the bright lights of the venue.
The man jumped over the railing of the terrace, crouched, and ran. He quickly took off the waiter’s coat and came towards me. Just as I expected, the pure white uniform would stand out and he would quickly take it off.
I stood up, pulled up my dress, and sent a roundhouse kick to the side of the man who was pulling his arm out of his jacket sleeve in front of me. In a flash, I grabbed both shoulders and kneed him in the abdomen. As he pitched forward, I chopped with a knife hand with my weight behind it between the man’s head and neck. It only took three or four seconds. The man leaked out a ‘guh’ and fell forward.
I ran away from the man as fast as I could. When I looked back while retreating with my posture lowered, many men were jumping off the terrace. The man would be caught unconscious.
After taking a few deep breaths to catch my breath, I casually returned to the venue to find that the evening party that had just begun had been ruined. Since Commander was looking around, I approached and gently called out.
“I could return by carriage.”
“Oh, phew, you’re here. Use my carriage to go home. I can’t go back now. I’ll see you another time.”
I was about to tell Commander about the man’s movements but I closed my mouth. No, I should stop. He’ll be suspicious if I did that.
One corner of the venue was in a miserable state with scattered broken glass, spilled alcohol, and food. Ladies who seem to be in shock were being cared for by their companions. I left the venue following the people who were leaving.
Even though we caught the culprit, the response of the person in charge of security was lenient, which helped. If I were the person in charge, I would have interviewed everyone and stopped anyone from leaving.
When I found the Asher family’s carriage and was about to board, the driver asked me worriedly.
“It seems that there was a disturbance at the venue, did something happen?”
“There was. But it’s already settled. I want to change clothes on the way, so I’d like to stop by a shop somewhere in South Ward.”
Why change clothes when you’re just going home? As expected of a Count’s servant. He didn’t say anything.
I spoke to the coachman in front of an unobtrusive clothing store in South Ward as I got off.
“You may go back now.”
The coachman seemed to have something to say, but I gave him a generous tip and sent him back. It’s been a long time since I’ve done something like that, so I didn’t want to go straight home and face Nonna. I have a feeling that that child is sensitive to such signs.
I bought a plain dark blue dress at a clothing store for commoners and changed into it. I also let down my hair, which was tied up. As I paid, I told the owner that I would pick up my dress tomorrow.
There was a tavern in the back alley one street from the street where the clothing store was located, so I pushed the door and entered. Luckily the tavern was empty. I sat down at an inconspicuous seat in the dimly lit store, and ordered from the man who seemed to be the owner of the shop, ‘If there is any distilled spirits that you recommend, I’ll have that’.
I felt a pleasant sense of fulfillment.
A sense of accomplishment when anticipating the development and taking control ahead of time. The tension and excitement that seems to slow down the movement around you at that moment in time. It has been a long time.
After downing the strong alcohol that was placed on the table, I called out to the owner, who had just turned his back, ‘I want another, same one’. The owner with short black hair and a beard turned, glanced at the glass that was emptied in an instant, and replied ‘yes’.
(I thought I was working purely for my family and Lancôme, but I guess I loved that job.) I thought to myself.
Of course, I have no intention of going back to that line of work now. Now I have Nonna. I want to live with her.
I savored the second cup while drinking, and after I felt a little calmer, I paid and left the store. The bearded owner sent me off with a, ‘Please come again’ in a glum voice.
As I walked, I recalled what happened earlier.
I interrupted the man because I didn’t want him to commit murder.
There was no way to know then whether the targeted person is a bad person or a good person. However, if I pretended not to know that a murder was about to take place, and later learned that a good person was killed, I would regret it even if I have a resilient mind. I’ve had enough experience of regret harrowing the mind.
Besides, if an amateur wants to kill someone, it’s usually because of a personal grudge. The fact is that the past that gave birth to that personal grudge will not disappear from memory even if the murder is successful. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who would say, ‘I completely forgot about the terrible things that happened to me because I killed the one I hated’. I know several people who have murdered out of personal grudges, but they all lived dispirited lives.
I didn’t allow the man to flee for my own sake.
In that garden, there is a tall tree a short distance away from the very high fence. It seemed like a nimble man could jump over the tall fence if he climbed that tree. On the other side of the fence is the area of another tower. Since there’s an evening party going on, there will be few or no people there. If he failed to land, he’d break both of his legs, but if he didn’t get hurt, there’s a small chance he’ll be able to escape.
Moreover, there were no guards posted there because that place was a dead end. Even though he’s an amateur, he seemed to have put a lot of thought into it.
If the man escaped, the participants would be investigated to find the man’s identity. It would be very inconvenient for me if I were to be investigated in detail because I am a foreigner who participated for the first time and am a commoner, but I pretended to be a noble and even forged my ID. If I were the one in charge, I would have investigated me thoroughly.
But if the man is caught and the motive for the crime is known, the chances of my unrelated identity being investigated in detail would be low.
While thinking about these things, I walked back and encountered Mrs. Yorana.
“Why did you walk home alone?” “Why did you come home so early?” “Why aren’t you wearing the dress?”
I was bombarded with questions.
It was a very dark night.