Sorry about the sudden break last week, I got a bit ill and basically lost all motivation to do anything. ^^; Thankfully I’m feeling better now, so everyone can now enjoy the chapter~ The plot thickens~
“……then, do you mean to say that the one connected to Nord was Cordis Sligar?”
“Yes. When we followed the lead on which firm handled Cordis’ medicinal plants, we confirmed that the Nord Firm was one of the involved organizations…….I deeply apologize for the time it took to confirm this.”
Hearing my question, Alf made a meek expression while bowing his head and answering.
“While I can’t say that it can’t be helped…….weren’t you following the lead from the head of the house, Kurtis? Though I can understand your thought process on the matter.”
“I am grateful for that……it was because some doubts arose due to this time’s attempted attack on the important persons of the Rinmel Principality in Tasmeria Kingdom. Though I really must bow my head at Bern’s work and Mellice-sama’s role in the matter.”
“Is Alf currently aware of where Bern is……concealing himself?”
Rui, who was also present, opened his mouth.
“Yes……with regards to this matter, we had already set up a system of cooperation. Currently, Bern is infiltrating a company involved with the Nord Firm’s conglomerate that is also in contact with Cordis.”
“Is that not too close? I don’t believe that he’d reveal any faults but……if by any chance he is exposed to be the same Abel from Tasmeria Kingdom……”
“He is more than aware of the danger. That is just how important he has determined it is to acquire information about this matter as soon as possible.”
Rui let out a heavy sigh.
That just went to show how much Rui was worried about Bern.
Though Rui also should have understood how essential the things Bern was shouldering were.
In reality, the reason why this incident on the attack of important persons from the Rinmel Principality ended without making a large fuss was because he had obtained intel prior to it occurring.
Even so, having spent time together since their youth, when Rui thought of how Bern was infiltrating into a place that was the equivalent of the enemy base all alone, he could not help but worry about him.
However, in the next instant, Rui faintly shook his head as he looked downwards……and then suppressed the fluctuations of his heart.
…..what could come of simply allowing myself to wallow in my feelings of anxiety from such a distant place from him……Rui thought.
It was because he was thinking of Bern, who was in enemy territory, that he had to calmly make use of the information Bern obtained in the most effective way possible. To do that, he had to mobilise his brain properly.
Like that, he shifted his feelings on the matter.
“Let’s get back to the main topic. Cordis is undoubtedly the one behind the attack on the important persons of Rinmel Principality, correct?”
On the other hand, I made a face faintly resembling that which I used when acting as a Prime Minister, turning my sharp gaze towards Alf as I questioned him.
“Yes……unmistakably. Cordis used the Nord Firm which is connected directly to him to employ several people. It appears that he even went as far as to draft up the instructions for the plan.”
Alf did not falter from my gaze and calmly responded.
“I see…….then, was the case involving the Baskar Ducal House also Cordis’ doing?”
“Yes, it is as you guessed.”
“Anyone behind him?”
“We’ve grasped them.”
“But……just what merit is there for him to do such a thing? Considering that there is some discord between the current head of house, Kurtis and him, I do believe there is some merit for him in the sense that he would be able to get rid of Kurtis together with his younger brother that he’s fighting against to inherit the Ducal House but……as for why he would go out of his way to worsen the relationship between our country and theirs……”
Just as the flow of conversation between the two came to a stop, Rui began to speak.
“Who knows……but he’d be able to get rid of the heads of all the other Ducal Houses at the same time……perhaps using that opportunity, he was planning on taking control of the Rinmel Principality as a whole? It’d probably be easier to unite the country by using Tasmeria Kingdom as its common enemy. However, no matter how much we discuss it, all of our hypotheses will remain as just that.”
I unconsciously let out a heavy sigh while murmuring.
Within the silent study, the sound of that rang out awfully loudly.
The heavy atmosphere and silence that filled the room made it seem as though it had been cut off from the flow of time itself.
“That being said. It is clear that he has been preparing since one to two years ago……there’s no doubt that he’s quite a careful guy. It really makes me glad that Bern and Mellice were able to discover the attack and prevent it just before anything happened.”
Alf was bold enough that it made one wonder if hair could grow on his heart as well. But even his face darkened as he voiced words of denial.
Seeing his unusual state caused seeds of nervousness to sprout in Rui and I.
“He hasn’t been preparing since one to two years ago. At the very least……it is highly possible that he has been preparing since at least three to four years ago.”
In the midst of such an atmosphere, Alf gravely spun his words.
“Three to four years ago? Just what in the world……”
I murmured my question as though I were speaking to myself……and then, in the middle of speaking, I realized what Alf meant and was rendered speechless.
My face stiffened, and my body solidified to an unnatural extent.
“I can’t believe it but……don’t tell me that the incident with Wiel was……”
As though I were a marionette, I turned towards Alf with clumsy movements.
“……yes. Eight or nine cases out of ten, the ones behind that were likely Nord and Cordis.”
It was a strained voice, as though he were squeezing it out.
His brow furrowed, and perhaps because he had predicted the two of our reactions, he was making a pained expression while averting his gaze.
“Wait a second! Is that for certain?!”
Rui also shuddered in horror at the scale of the matter and reflexively half-shouted his question.
……it was only natural.
Because that would be proof that the Anderson Marquis House had been communicating with foreign powers.
No matter how much Gazelle had contributed to the country, for someone of their family……and on top of that, someone who had been close to the head of their house, to have done such a thing, the entire Anderson Marquis House would take the blame.
“……yes. That is for certain. That has been reported from one of my men that has infiltrated the Nord Firm. In time, they should be able to find evidence about it.”
“While it is information I wanted to know, after hearing the answer I feel like it’s something that I’d rather not have known……”
I looked up at the heavens as though I had given up on everything, and quietly murmured.
Once again, a heavy atmosphere hovered within the room.
Rui and I looked away from each other, as each of us immersed ourselves in our thoughts in an attempt to put them in order.