For some reason, Diello didn’t say anything again for a long time after that.
I wondered how Diello had gotten out of his quarters so quickly, though he must’ve snuck out. It seemed like something urgent had come up, so Vielle came inside and led Diello out of the water with a contemplative expression on her face.
“I apologize, Madam.”
Eventually, Diello was taken away(?) by her.
‘I should head back, too.’
Although I had enough rest, I wanted to relax after the bath. Of course, there were things I had to do before lying down to sleep. With a clear mind after spending a long time in the water, it informed me of what I needed to do.
As soon as I went up to my room after washing up, I called Nira. If I could prove that my abilities were greatly enhanced near water, it would provide clear evidence for my words.
However, a problem arose.
Nira responded with a perplexed expression, standing beyond the curtain lowered by Vielle.
“I’m currently in a state where my abilities have disappeared, so I’m afraid I can’t be of help.”
Has his water manipulation abilities disappeared?
Nira must have sworn allegiance to the head and signed a power contract. It would be different from the contract used in Argenta, but given the nature of the Shadow Blade family, it was likely that they had their own contract. The head was still the current Duke of Alors.
Since he hadn’t fulfilled his mission and had even faked his death to deceive the Duke, it was clear that the power contract had been broken.
“I apologize for not being able to help.”
Nira bowed deeply.
I shook my head.
“No need to apologize.”
There was really no need for it. After all, I didn’t bring Nira here because of his water manipulation abilities, but Nira seemed a bit down.
Nira was temporarily assigned to Vielle’s department for convenience. There was no need for him to do anything until I gave an order. Although, that might have made him feel like he wasn’t necessary to me. Still, that wasn’t the case at all.
I felt the need to comfort him.
“I have water manipulation abilities, so it doesn’t matter. Besides, you have already been a great help to me.”
It was clear even without saying it. His disguising abilities were truly exceptional. When Nira heard my words, he raised his head slightly.
“…My disguise abilities remain the same, so please don’t worry. I will do my best to serve you with my life.”
I quietly looked at Nira as he said that.
He had also suffered a lot. Moreover, why were there so many people who were willing to sacrifice their lives? I understood that it meant loyalty, but as someone with a modern mindset, I couldn’t help but hesitate whenever I heard such words.
Then, he said something.
“Also, I have compiled this…”
Nira handed me something. It was an item that Vielle had held all along.
What he gave me was…
[ Current Situation of Alors Family. ]
It was a compilation of the current situation of the Alors family that I had seen before he went to my side. It contained information from the assassin group Nira belonged to, as well as information about the current situation of the Alors family.
“I have organized it in case it would be helpful.”
Nira sincerely spoke.
Duke Alors truly had lost a loyalist. I looked at him and uttered.
As he replied, I spoke in a low voice.
“I will bring down Alors. And since this poisoning incident is related to Cartiel, Cartiel must be defeated someday as well.”
Nira remained silent, with his head bowed in response to my words.
“I made a deal to borrow your powers in exchange for your protection from Alors, but…”
I opened my hand.
“If Alors disappears, the contract will end. What will you do then?”
This was definitely a problem that needed to be addressed. While asking the question, I once again recalled the relationship between Diello and me. I had a contractual relationship with Diello, and I had to disappear when Ferro appeared. It was a similar contract.
However, given my own uneasy feelings about Nira, I wondered if Diello felt the same way every time he saw me. It was a sad thing when someone left their side, for whatever reason.
“You’re the only one who’s an Alors to me, Madam.”
Nira replied at that moment.
I briefly opened my mouth in response. I expected him to say that as I knew that he had nowhere else to go, so I already knew the answer. His voice, vowing not to leave, brought a sense of relief. It was a strange feeling to have someone follow you blindly.
I wondered if Dielo would feel this way if I told him I won’t leave. However, I couldn’t promise him anything, not even for the future.
I looked at Nira and spoke.
“But don’t talk about risking your life.”
I didn’t want him to die.
Nira, with widened eyes, lowered his head in gratitude.
I bit my tongue as he became even more polite.
After he left, I carefully examined the materials he had given me. He had prepared the data at a very opportune time.
The situation was as expected.
Duke Alors was waiting for the right moment when I would remove all of Diello’s lilies. He was convinced that Diello and I were in love. That was when the war between Argenta and Alors would begin, and conveniently, we had just been attacked, so it was a good excuse. Now would be a good time since Cartiel was also quiet.
“Summon the informants.”
I commanded Vielle.
As she pulled the string with a slightly peculiar rhythm, a maid appeared.
Was she the one to deliver the message to the intelligence department? I tilted my head slightly and gave another command.
“Summon the frontline informants.”
The maid bowed her head.
“As you command.”
…Was she an informant herself?
Ah, so the informant could be coming based on the way Vielle had tugged on the string?
“Is there a separate signal for summoning informants?”
The maid bowed her head.
“Yes. You need to tap somewhere three times quickly, then tap twice slowly.”
As she explained, she demonstrated.
Tap, tap, tap.
I watched her knock on the door and replicated the action on the table.
Tap, tap, tap.
The maid was about to respond again, but she closed her mouth. Instead, a shadow emerged from behind her.
Surprised, I saw Rick greet me with a mischievous smile.
“Did you call me?”
Was this Rick’s signal?
“Oh, I didn’t know you would come.”
“It’s the signal to call me.”
Tap, tap, tap.
“Each informant has a different signal to call them.”
Still, I hadn’t realized that when I asked her to tell me how to call an informant, she’d give me the signal for the head of intelligence. Other than that, Argenta treated me as if I were not a person about to leave soon.
No, even more than that.
[ Although this is Argenta, I hope it becomes a comfortable place where you can rest, Madam. ]
I remembered the notes attached to the items in the swimming pool. The people of Argenta were becoming familiar with me. Even the people on the fourth floor who already knew the situation were trusting and treating me as if we were close, like a family.
It made my heart ache. It shouldn’t be like this, I shouldn’t get used to it, yet I couldn’t help feeling good.
With such thought, I shook my head and gestured to Rick.
With a seemingly cautious expression, he entered quietly. Even though the curtains were already drawn, he added another layer of curtains between us.
Confused, Rick bowed his head.
“As you command.”
Once the door was closed, I looked at Rick’s figure behind the thin curtain and spoke.
“There are many spies among the servants on the third floor and below in Argenta, right?”
Rick didn’t hesitate to answer my question.
I thought Diello only intended for that to happen to further spread the image of a vulnerable head, though what was his complete command? However, it was not the time to think about the sudden question.
“You know that Alors is waiting for the lord’s lilies to disappear, right?”
“Indeed, their behavior has changed compared to before.”
Rick also said that Alors was accumulating military supplies. They were definitely preparing for war as well. In that case, we had to act even faster.
“I plan to remove all spies below the third floor before the war begins.”
My words made Rick pause.
Of course, it would be a sensitive matter. Leaving the spies below the third floor until now was part of the plan to make Diello be underestimated.
“Of course, I’ll have to consult with Diello, but—”
He was truly loyal to Diello, so I needed to approach him cautiously.
At that moment, beyond the thin curtain, Rick retrieved something from his pocket.
“Here, it’s a list of spies.”
It seemed like he had already prepared it.