“No matter how difficult the interrogation was, there was no way that she would have taken her life before the outcome of the trial. So it’s strange…”
“You seem to have come here with some certainty, but was that just a feeling?”
Elvin asked curiously.
I shook my head.
“The nanny is not a person to give up so easily. But the suicide note said that she had bribed the maid and committed it on her own.”
Before coming to the Hermes, I remembered the contents of the will I had checked from Stephen in the mansion.
The nanny cared for her children until the very end.
At the end of the will, it was written that she was also sorry.
Blinded by jealousy and resentment, she was ashamed that she had done something beyond her control, and since the verdict was clear, there was no longer any hope and she was going to end her life.
This was the part I was most suspicious of.
“If it were a nanny I knew, there would be no way that she would confess so easily, and she would not want to die alone. At least she would have tried to bring in at least one person with her.”
“You know her very well.”
“I’ve known her for years, so it’s natural.”
I replied with a nonchalant face.
But while I was speaking, I felt like he had something to say.
“What is the reason for keeping such a person by your side?”
“Still, she’s the one who raised me. Even if she’s a bad person in the eyes of others, I can easily dismiss her. But I didn’t know she could point the tip of a sword at me after all.”
“The Princess seems to have a lot of affection. But you look calm.”
“That’s it for the private conversation. I don’t have that much time today.”
I cut off Elvin’s words with an uncomfortable face.
He was a tougher opponent than expected.
Fortunately, Elvin no longer bothered me with useless words.
But he didn’t even answer my questions right away.
“I will ask you one last question. What would the Princess do if Viscountess Willis did not commit suicide?”
Elvin narrowed his eyes and looked at me.
He seemed to be observing my reaction.
A pair of bloody eyes passed me by, and my spine felt cold.
Even though I had not heard the answer yet, I felt like I already knew.
“Well. Let’s think about it after hearing the answer.”
“It is not that difficult to tell the inside story. But it might be better not to hear the truth that you can’t bear. The more you know, the sooner you die.”
Elvin warned me with dangerous words.
I swallowed dry saliva.
“It may sound like something that doesn’t apply to Princess, but the fact is that the more you know, the more dangerous it becomes, regardless of your rank.”
Elvin’s face as he spoke was serious and solemn.
“Thanks for your concern, but I can do it with that much money.”
“Then I will tell you. Viscountess Willis did not commit suicide. She’s been murdered. And she is not the only one who has died.”
“What else do you mean?”
When I opened my eyes and looked up, Elvin continued.
“The maid of Baron Dana’s daughter, who was taken with them, also died during the interrogation, unable to withstand the harsh torture. But we will have to investigate to find out what the truth is.”
Even while speaking of someone’s death, Elvin’s expression did not change.
“It’s understandable that two people involved in the same thing died overnight.”
I emptied my teacup and got up.
Elvin with a puzzled face grabbed me.
“Is it okay if I don’t tell who is behind it?”
“Because the more you know, the sooner you die?”
Elvin made a rare bewildered face. Seeing him like that, I laughed without realizing it.
“It’s fine. Because I think I know who did it anyway.”
I took a small bag out of my pocket. Then I put it on the table.
“Thank you for today. This is a commission fee.”
“I am not taking any money for this quest. It will be the same in the future.”
Elvin looked down at the table with a subdued gaze. Then he pushed the sack towards me again. The Grand Duke of Croix was a very wealthy family, and Elvin was the eldest son of such a family.
In addition, he was the owner of the large organization, the wealth would have piled up to overflowing. But wouldn’t a merchant sell things and not get paid?
I couldn’t understand.
“What do you mean? You mean that you won’t accept my quests in the future?”
“I don’t mean that.”
Elvin immediately denied it.
I became even more puzzled.
“Instead, there is one thing I wish for. If the Princess agrees to my request, I will not receive any commission from the request.”
It was an outrageous proposal.
But I had money too.
Instead of answering right away, I thought seriously.
I wondered what he was up to, but because he was the other person, I was worried about what kind of request he would make.
“Can I decide whether to answer or not after hearing it?”
“Then it doesn’t matter. What do you want from me?”
“If the Princess allows, I would like to have a closer relationship.”
I doubted my ears for a moment.
I wonder if I may have heard it wrong.
But Elvin’s gaze on me was sincere.
My brain went white.
For the first time, I felt fortunate that no one was listening in the room right now. Because Elvin didn’t seem to care at all how his words might sound to others.
‘What do you mean?’
I thought there might be other political intentions hidden in Elvin’s words. But in this situation, there was only one thing to say. I suddenly remembered the conversation the maids had yesterday.
I don’t think that’s possible, but…
‘……. Maybe, maybe not.’
I soon calmed down.
There was no flutter of excitement or affection in his gaze looking at me. It seemed like a pure childish curiosity, nothing more and nothing less. I quietly waited for his next words.
“For example, friends.”
I heard the answer, but I couldn’t understand more and more.
“Why? Is there something to be gained by being friends with me?”
“Do I have to get something?”
“If not, why…”
“The Princess seems to be trying to find the reason for my actions from the last time.”
Elvin said in a cold voice.
I was speechless for a moment, as if reprimanded.
Contrary to his dull expression, his eyes were cold.
Is he offended by my words?
Indeed, anyone would not feel good if they helped others with a good heart, but the other person doubted their intentions and questioned them.
But everyone, not just the Crown Prince, said the same thing.
The Young Master of Croix was cold and heartless.
I don’t believe what they say.
At least Elvin was a good person to me.
But he always treated me differently, so I couldn’t help but doubt his intentions.
At least today, I wanted to go back after hearing that answer. Otherwise, I would not be able to sleep comfortably.
“I apologize if I offended you. But today you have to explain why. Why do you keep helping me? For what? Simple compassion?”
At my words, Elvin’s mouth opened and then closed again.
He looked down at me silently for a while. Then, in a questioning voice, he asked me again.
“Must there be a reason?”
I was speechless for a moment.
“It’s not, then I’m curious.”
“So am I.”
I looked at Elvin, wondering what he was talking about.
“As I watched, I got curious. Then I thought I wanted to get to know the Princess. That’s all. I don’t want anything from the Princess or have any special purpose. Is the question answered now?”
Not all questions were completely answered.
But it was somewhat understandable.
He said that, so I couldn’t doubt and question him any more.
As I nodded, Elvin’s expression became lighter.
“Since you did not turn down my proposal, I understand that you have accepted it positively. Then go back carefully.”
Elvin stood up without giving me a chance to say no.
I looked at the place where he disappeared with a blank face and then got up.
Fortunately, I was able to return to the Duke’s residence before the sun went down.
After changing my wet clothes and drying my hair with a towel, Stephen came to pick me up. I followed him down to the dining room.
When I entered the spacious dining room, the Duke had already arrived and sat down.
“Are you here? I heard you went out. Where have you been?”
“Sorry to keep you waiting. I have something to buy for a while.”
“It’s okay. I’ve just arrived, so sit down.”
I sat down at the ready seat.
The dining room was decorated with gold candlesticks and roses.
A white tablecloth was spread on the wide and long table, and all kinds of seafood were laid out on it.
It was too luxurious for two people to eat.
Even if ten of the knights with great appetites came, it seemed that they could not eat them all.
Looking at the richly decorated table, I felt as if my missing taste had returned a little.
“Come on, let’s eat.”
I took the fork and knife according to the etiquette.
Then, I cut the steak in front of him into bite-size pieces and put it in my mouth.
The duke’s chef cooking skills had already been sufficiently verified.
However, no matter how good the food was, I couldn’t enjoy it properly.
Every corner of my heart felt stuffy and uncomfortable.
“You don’t eat well today. Could it be that the food does not suit your palate?”
“Could it be?”
The Duke looked at me suspiciously.
Then he asked carefully.
“Your complexion doesn’t look good. Have you heard the news?”
The Duke coughed then looked into my eyes.
“You must have heard it.”
Instead of answering, I smiled bitterly.
Viscountess Willis brought the trouble on herself.
It was not even worth sympathizing with… I thought so in my head, but I couldn’t help but feel troubled.
“Don’t worry too much about Viscountess Willis.”
I nodded with a calm face.
I also didn’t want to worry about the nanny anymore.
She betrayed Roxana and put her in a corner until the very end.
She almost ruined one person’s life by framing others and setting a trap.
So it wasn’t even worth sympathizing with.
But when I thought of the nanny, my heart was still shaky.
Who knew that the end of her high-status would be so lonely?
“It’s my fault. To put such a person by your side. I feel pathetic that you felt relieved after that. I don’t have an eye for people, so you must have suffered a lot.”
Perhaps it was because I fell from the Imperial Palace was a great shock to the Duke, and since his return, the Duke paid great attention to me.
Even though he was clumsy, I could see that he was doing his best to do well.
It seemed that he was moving further and further away from the cold and indifferent father in Roxana’s memory.
I had a strange feeling.
“I’m fine. It’s me who kept her by my side even though I knew she was that kind of person.”
I forcibly pulled the corners of my lips up to smile. After that, I lifted the fork again and put the cut meat into my mouth.
“The food is delicious. The chef must have paid a lot of attention.”
As I changed the subject, the Duke looked at me with a complicated gaze. But when I became uncomfortable, I stopped talking about it.
“Your birthday is coming soon.”
As if the Duke was trying to evoke an uncomfortable atmosphere, he changed the subject.
“Is there anything you want?”