As he was about to leave, he paused as if he had something to say. Vivian, who was trying to calm her red face, widened her eyes.
“The old woman you saw in the village, is the location you told me correct?”
Last time, Roger asked the location of the old woman who informed her that she had dark magic in her body. She said she had doubts, so he should go and see it.
Vivian traced her memory and explained the path where the bookstore was located in as much detail as possible. It was in the middle of an old-fashioned street, so it wasn’t difficult to remember.
Vivian nodded her head without hesitation. Roger tilted his head.
“I went to look and there was no one there.”
“No one was there?”
“Yes. There is a bookstore, but no one has visited for several days. There was no one inside.”
“Is that possible? There was definitely an old woman then…”
“Let’s visit again soon. Think carefully about whether there is anything that you may have forgotten.”
After Roger finished speaking, he turned around. He looked busy, so she couldn’t hold onto him any longer.
He came to talk about their dream, but somehow he couldn’t even talk about it properly.
After he left the mansion, Vivian thought about her dream some more. But no matter how much she thought about it, nothing came to mind. She didn’t even know why she was dreaming in the first place, and she had no idea why she suddenly didn’t.
‘Is it because of that night…?’
There was only one time that she thought was dreaming but wasn’t. As time went on, unresolved worries only piled up.
‘We should talk properly.’
Looking around the spacious study, Vivian wondered when Roger would return.
At that moment, Enka, who browsing a bookshelf across from her, piped up.
“My Lady, what did you find?”
“Nothing. It’s just books.”
In fact, she wasn’t a free person who only cared about her dreams now. She was very busy just looking through this questionable library.
These days, the Western Expeditionary Force was divided into two groups. Roger’s team worked hard at the construction site, while Vivian’s team scoured the suspicious library. Unlike the village group, which proceeded smoothly, the mansion group always stood still.
Vivian sat down with frustration. Enka, who was in front of a bookshelf across from her, turned towards the stacked books.
“There has been no progress.”
“Maybe it’s a really ordinary study?”
Paradoxically, Vivian couldn’t abandon her doubts even as she asked the question. The image of Daniel struggling to break the double security magic was clear in her mind.
“If something comes out of here, we will definitely be able to capture Marquis Ogent.”
Naturally, Marquis Ogent was the first to be mentioned as a suspect in the locked door fiasco and the strange phenomenon in the West.
He was talked about three days ago at dinner.
After a brief meal, the expedition team had a serious conversation for the first time in a long time, and most of them were suspicious of Marquis Ogent.
It was the same with Vivian. He was the former owner of this land, the real owner of this mansion, and the one associated with the West.
But for now, there was only suspicion, and there was no reason to arrest him. She could not find any connection between the Marquis and the rifts that created the magic beasts, or the closed study.
It was strange to refer to him as the Marquis of Ogent.
‘It’s too obvious.’
The situation was set up as if the Marquis was the culprit. It felt as if a third party deliberately manipulated facts so that he was a suspect. So they could not blindly suspect only the Marquis.
But the most serious and fatal problem was that there were no suspects except the Marquis.
There was a difference between discussing various possibilities and discussing only one rare possibility, and, in this case, the latter was difficult.
Enka sighed as she put the books she had taken out of the bookshelf back one by one. She was equally frustrated.
“We sent a letter to the Capital asking them to keep an eye on him, so if there’s anything suspicious, we’ll be able to stop it right away.”
As soon as the suspect pool was narrowed down to Marquis Ogent, Roger wrote a letter to the Emperor asking him to take a closer look. Thanks to his quick action, he was able to lessen their worries about Marquis Ogent’s whereabouts.
“When the crew returns from the village, we should talk again. When did you say he will be back?”
“He will be back in the evening. Today was the last day.”
Vivian nodded her head and started looking through the bookshelf again.
Solving the problems of this land was more important than dreams.
The bookshelves here were to the point where she got tired of looking at them again and again, but she couldn’t stop her hands because of the anxiety that was growing in her heart.
* * *
As Enka said, Roger returned to the mansion before the sky became dark. There was dirt on his face and clothes, but his expression was relieved, so it seemed that construction work had been completed.
The village group and the mansion group gathered at the dining hall and talked.
“What was the reaction of the villagers, Sir Knight?”
While waiting for them all to arrive, Vivian quietly brought up the question she had been holding in the whole time.
She wondered what the reputation of Marquis Ogent, was now under suspicion, was like when he ruled this west, and Roger decided to go out today to find out.
One knight who was about to put a large piece of meat in his mouth stopped and answered.
“Oh, it was good.”
“Did you say the reaction to Marquis Ogent was good?”
“Yes. To be honest, I thought that everyone would be nervous as the lord abandoned the estate and ran away… But they said he was a very caring and responsible lord until the West became like this. It goes without saying that he played a big role in the development of the West to this extent.”
The knight had an expression on his face as if even he himself did not understand. After one knight opened his mouth, everyone recited what they asked and heard today. The content was the same. In short, Marquis Ogent was a pretty good lord.
“From the reactions of the people of the west, it seems that the Marquis valued his land very much. Is such a person really the one who put the land in danger?”
If their response was not good, the assumption that the Marquis of Ogent might be the culprit could have been strengthened, but ironically, the reaction was generally good.
Most of all, it was even more shocking to hear that before the land became so devastated, he was eager to cultivate the west.
“Maybe he’s painting the bigger picture.”
Roger’s low tone echoed softly over the table. Everyone’s eyes turned to him one by one.
The first knight to come to his senses asked confusedly.
“A big picture?”
“I don’t know what it could be. But if he was a very good lord as everyone said, he wouldn’t have left the land so mercilessly.”
It was a valid point. They all nodded their heads in agreement. As he said, if Marquis Ogent had a bigger plan and had been preparing for years…
“Anyway, the fact that he was the owner of this mansion is something to be suspicious of.”
Dinner ended with Roger’s resolute words.
They all looked tired because they got up early in the morning and started working. The knights, who had been yawning throughout the meal, tumbled into their barracks with more speed than usual.
Vivian headed upstairs, hoping that no cracks would appear so that they could have a restful night. Her destination was the study.
Her nightly routine was no different than the day’s. She looked more closely at the books she had seen several times, but found nothing unusual.
Vivian let out a deep sigh. Now this scenery was also starting to get boring.
As she continued to stay in her hunched position, she groaned in pain. Turning her head, she saw that the sky was much darker than when she finished eating. When she checked her watch, it was already past 11 o’clock.
Vivian, who habitually looked out the window as she got out of the study room without much care, stopped when she saw a young man standing in the distance.
He was swaying in the wind, dressed lighter than usual, and was tall enough to be seen from afar. It was Roger.
‘Where are you going tonight?’
He stretched out his long legs and headed off for somewhere. Vivian stood in front of the window and watched him silently. She heard something shaking in his hand, but couldn’t see it. He seemed to be heading towards the back garden.
Vivian took out her watch one more time and headed to her room. Considering the cold weather outside, she picked up her cloak and carefully exited the mansion.
As she stepped outside, the cool night air enveloped her body. She thought it was a good idea that she brought her cloak and she wrapped it around her shoulders.
Dry leaves on the ground crunched under her feet, making a small noise. Unlike the Capital, which was still noisy at night, the west was always immersed in a calm wave of peace. When rifts appeared, there was terror, but when there wasn’t, it was always a peaceful and quiet place.
The sky was dark as the night went on, but the road was not due to the lanterns hanging all over the mansion. Using their light as a guide, Vivian continued walking in the direction she had seen Roger heading in.
As she passed through the gate between the fortress wall and the mansion, a landscape she had never seen before appeared.
The garden at the back of the mansion was so quiet that the sound of the wind filling the empty landscape could be heard. It was similar to the garden in front of the mansion, but it had a more dry and barren atmosphere. It was a space that went well with the dark night sky.
Vivian stopped walking as soon as she came closer.
A large figure sitting on an ivory-colored bench caught her eye. Roger had his head tilted back and his arm rested on his forehead. The moonlight shone clearly on him, making him stand out like the main character on the stage.
But even in the midst of the sparkle, she could feel an indescribable atmosphere change. In the calmness Vivian stood for a long time, unable to approach him directly.
The silence made her unwittingly silence her footsteps. But as soon as she took three steps, Roger turned his head towards her. It was unsettling.