Chapter 15 Emergency meeting
Jeffrey was attending an emergency meeting convened by His Majesty the King.
The participants were the King, Crown Prince Conrad, Second Prince Cedric, the Chancellor, First Knight Order Commander, Manager of Personnel, the victim Marquis McKenner, and Jeffrey.
First, a brief explanation of what happened tonight was given by the one in charge of the event, Crown Prince Conrad.
“Marquis McKenner, do you have any idea of the reason for the crime?”
“I can’t think of any reason at all. The man must have been hired by someone, but … I can’t think of anything that would provoke a grudge against me.”
Marquis McKenner is in his fifties. He straightened his back confidently and answered with a bit of confusion.
“However, I deeply apologize for the inconvenience caused to the evening party presided over by Your Highness. If the Second Knight Order Commander didn’t come rushing over, I would have …”
“You would have died. The man had a thin, poisoned knife.”
The Crown Prince’s words made the faces of all the participants grim.
“Jeffrey, when did you notice the man?”
“The first person who noticed him was not me, but the young lady who accompanied me today. During the dance, I was told that there was a waiter who hadn’t been working for some time. I looked and did find his movements unnatural and noticed when he cut through the venue, which was when I chased after him.”
The Crown Prince tapped the fingertips of both hands together.
“I see. A woman pointed him out?”
“That man has been working at the castle for over a year now. I have sent soldiers to summon Baron Eld, who wrote the letter of introduction for that man, but my guess is that he probably bribed the Baron to pass off as his follower.”
The middle-aged man in charge of personnel, who couldn’t see through that guise, was wiping his cold sweat with a handkerchief.
“Actually, the first guard who pursued the man into the garden has very good night vision. When he arrived at the fallen man, he caught a glimpse of the back of a woman running away.”
“Did a woman knock that man unconscious?”
Everyone was surprised.
“He didn’t see the woman knock the man unconscious. The guards had chased the man from the venue, to the terrace, and to the garden. The man only disappeared for a few seconds after leaping into the garden. But when they found him, he was already unconscious. It’s difficult even for a man to knock a man unconscious in such a short window of time. That’s why it’s also possible that the guard made a mistake. Or maybe a woman who happened to be there was surprised and ran away.”
“But there must be someone who incapacitated the man, right?” said the King.
“What were the characteristics of the woman?” asked the Knight-Captain of the Royal Guard.
“There was already a considerable distance and it was dark, so I don’t have any details other than she wore a dress.”
Crown Prince Conrad answered regretfully.
Jeffrey listened with his mouth shut, but Victoria’s face came to mind. It was she who noticed the movements of that man. And he recalled how she showed no hesitation when she tripped the thief with Nonna on her back.
“First, we have to find out about the man’s background. Marquis McKenner, could we talk a little more?”
Marquis McKenner answered the call of the First Knight Order Commander, who also acts as the Knight-Captain of the Royal Guard.
With no further information, the meeting was dismissed, and several left the room in haste to go about their tasks. Five people remained in the room: the King, the two Princes, the Chancellor, and Jeffrey. Jeffrey remained as the Crown Prince signaled him with his eyes.
The Crown Prince started the conversation.
“Jeffrey, I have a feeling that the woman was your companion. I did not reveal it in front of the others, but the guards managed to see the color of the woman’s dress. It was either light purple or light blue. They couldn’t be sure. But your partner was wearing a light purple dress. And she noticed the man’s movements at an early stage? Who is that lady?”
“She a lady I met recently, named Victoria Sellers.”
“Can you tell us how you met?”
Jeffrey decided that it would be better for Victoria if he spoke honestly, and first apologized to His Majesty the King and the two Princes for letting her, who is a commoner, participate as a noble.
“It doesn’t matter now, don’t worry about it. Can you tell us the details of your encounter? Is it possible that she approached you with some purpose in mind?”
At the King’s request, Jeffrey explained things in order, starting with that day off he had.
She tripped the snatch thief while carrying a sleeping girl on her back.
She picked up an abandoned child who happened to be at the site of the crime and asked him to be her guarantor to take care of the child.
He met her again when she became his uncle’s assistant.
She became a tenant in the home of the snatch victim Yorana Haynes.
When he invited her to dinner, she asked that her child came along, so the three of them ate together.
He invited her to the evening party, and although he was turned down once, his cousin coerced her a little and she agreed.
Crown Prince Conrad nodded with a ‘Hmm’.
“I see. From what I’ve heard, it’s a chance meeting. It was Jeffrey who courted her after all. It doesn’t seem like she approached you with a goal in mind.”
“I wasn’t courting her.”
“No matter who listened to that story, clearly Commander is making advances. This is rare. Why?”
“…She doesn’t look at me in an unpleasant way. I felt comfortable. More importantly, she has the spirit to live without relying on others despite being a woman and she picked up and tries to nurture a child from another country …”
“Are you in love?”
He honestly nodded at the frank remark from the King.
The Crown Prince looked at Jeffrey with a deep sigh.
“You’ve turned down all the good ones I’ve offered you, but you’ve fallen in love with a troublesome woman again, Jeffrey.”
“I’m very sorry about that. But she’s not a troublesome person.”
“Brother, I would like to meet that woman too. If she was the one who incapacitated that man, she must be magnificently skilled.”
The second prince Cedric, who was confident in his physical strength and swordsmanship, said.
“What are you going to do when you meet? This doesn’t concern you.”
“Don’t you want to know just how skillful she is?”
“Please stop, Your Highness.”
The King and Jeffrey intervene at the same time.
“Your Majesty, Your Highness Conrad. You may think that Victoria is someone’s subordinate, but if she is that kind of person, would she take custody of a child who would hinder her work?”
“Well, that’s certainly a good point. Jeffrey, I’m not going to interfere in your attempt to court that woman. But if anything should go wrong, can you report it to me?”
“If you don’t like that, Commander, I’ll take on that role.”
“I refuse to do that, Your Highness Cedric. I will watch over her.”
So the five of them also dispersed and Jeffrey left.
His Majesty the King returned to his room and whispered to the Chancellor who was following behind.
“Have someone in the Kingdom of Randall research Victoria Sellers.”