He and His Conjecture
“Don’t hand me over this late”
Having heard such unexpected words from Lidi, only thanks to her desperate promise was I somehow able to restrain myself from running out of control.
Today is impossible, so tomorrow――――.
The instant she said that, I reflexively acted out of my self-interest, so she’ll stay here tomorrow as well. When I confirmed her will while enduring the feeling of wanting to embrace her, she nodded, not yet noticing the meaning of what she had said.
In that case it can’t be helped.
With heartbroken thoughts I mustered what little reason I could and while only hugging her somehow managed to fall asleep.
To be able to endure in that situation, I truly want to praise myself.
To make up for it, I soundly slept with her as a body pillow, when we woke up the sun was already high in the sky.
I truly wanted to stay by her side for a while longer, but I have to go to work soon.
I suppressed my feeling of reluctance, and seen off by the listless her left for the office.
As soon as I opened the door to the office, bitter words flew at me.
Since a significant amount of time has unexpectedly passed, it’s true I’m late. I know it’s my fault, so I honestly apologized “Sorry” to Alex who had already started working at his desk.
“… And, Lidi is?”
As my close aide asked that with a short click of his tongue, I briefly reported nothing but the truth.
Perhaps expecting this much, Alex dropped his pen and stared at me.
“Sleeping… No way, for the whole night… There’s no way that’s right”
As expected… As Alex started saying that, I waved my hand to deny.
“I promised Lidi, so we didn’t go that far today. But since she was pushed too hard, she might be resting now”
“… Today? Then, how is it always… Aah, I don’t want to hear it… Still, pushed too hard, is Lidi okay?”
Alex’s worried voice made me remember how relatively lively she is after being listless.
“She’s always so lively in the afternoon it seems her earlier state is a lie. She doesn’t look like it, but Lidi is surprisingly resilient”
I answered seriously, but for some reason a dangerous voice came back.
Contrary to her appearance that looks like she’d snap if hugged, Lidi has healthy stamina.
Honestly speaking, I always regret in the morning that I’ve overdid it, but since she’s always lively in the afternoon I wonder if that’s not the case.
I thought of restraining myself after she groaned after a whole day in bed, but that seemed needless, when I tried tempting her she readily responded.
So even though I felt bad about it, before I noticed I embraced her like usual.
“… I have a feeling the Royal Family is polygamous because keeping up with a matchless husband is too much for his wife”
As Alex muttered to himself “Every member of royalty has high magical power and vigor” with a dejected expression, I denied it with him with my eyebrows knit. How outrageous.
“I don’t like it. No matter how insufficient it is, I have no desire to embrace women other than Lidi. Once a man of Wilhelm’s royalty finds a woman he loves, he’ll devote all his heart to her”
I’m not lying.
Thanks to inheriting the blood of the Dragon God, men of Wilhelm’s royalty often manifest strong characteristic of dragons. The influence is especially pronounced in those in the direct line of descent, like me.
One of the main characteristics is we only love our partner – that is, who we accept as our mate.
Once our mate accepts our love, we absolutely won’t look at anybody else.
It doesn’t matter how much a man plays around before. Once we find our only one mate, we’ll never desire to embrace another woman.
Perhaps it’s the luck of Wilhelm’s royalty that despite many marriages of convenience, in reality over half of successive generations of Princess Consorts have been mates.
Of course there’s also a large number of those who marry Princess Consorts without encountering their mates.
Such men have obligation to make children and spend their lives with their Princess Consorts. Mysteriously, after granting the King’s Flower, it’s rare to meet a mate.
Even so, in the past there have been just a few exceptions where they found their mates even after over a dozen years from their marriage. I can’t express just how unlucky they were.
No matter how much you love a woman, the presence of the ‘King’s Flower’ makes it impossible to divorce Princess Consort.
The polygamy system that’s permitted for royalty is also for the sake of those who want to welcome their mate no matter what.
And speaking of the polygamy system, my father also married one concubine. It’s a concubine he suddenly welcomed fifteen years ago. I’ve never heard in detail why Father married her, but I wonder if rather than a mere concubine she’s perhaps his mate. If that’s the case Mother is already…
I reached the conclusion that I don’t want to think about it much and shook off the disturbing thoughts.
But, I can’t find fault with others. If I made just a tiny mistake, I might have ended up using that system.
I can understand. I was lucky.
At that time when I met Lidi at that masquerade ball, I fell in love at first sight.
I had the knowledge about the matter of mates, but I had never thought it’d happen to me.
I had thought it was completely unrelated to myself.
That’s why I didn’t notice until partway through.
Led by the nose by my first love I caught her… With that much I finally understood.
To discover the mate, so that’s how it is.
“I’m aware. That’s one of the reasons old man wanted you as Lidi’s fiancé. I think Lidi doesn’t know and wouldn’t believe it, but old man seemed to want her to marry out of love”
That’s why, it seems he intended to break off the engagement if you didn’t fall in love at first sight, as Alex continued, I recalled the time when Prime Minister talked with me about her marriage.
I desire the engagement, but I have no intention of having my daughter marry if it brings her unhappiness.
It’s still fresh in my mind how I thought I have to somehow make Prime Minister, who had declared that, believe in my feelings. After I got him to believe I love her, the reason Prime Minister has been surprisingly cooperative must be because he’d heard the story of royalty’s ‘mates’ even if a little.
He’s Prime Minister before the preeminent Duke, he’s in a position to know more than the next Duke Alex.
“And – has Lidi spat that out?”
As the tone of Alex’s voice quickly changed, I returned No.
“Lidi taught me about the conversation she had with Prince Maximilian. But, ultimately she didn’t speak about what made him decide to decisively aim at her”
When I said that while recalling the last night, Alex too made a face as if he swallowed a bitter bug.
“As expected. She’s always had a strangely secretive aspect”
“I didn’t want to force it out of her. In fact, what she said is not really a problem. The problem is that she caught Prince Maximilian’s eye, that’s all”
“Well, of course. We’re talking about her. She must’ve caught his eye saying something strange”
It’d be simple to make her confess.
I noticed that perhaps she felt guilty too as she made an apologetic face for an instant, I understood she’d talk with one more push.
But, I thought I don’t really mind if she doesn’t want to speak. It’s as I said to her, I was overjoyed she got angry for my sake.
I had her promise to speak if it’s necessary, so before something happens, she’ll willingly speak with me. I believe in Lidi.
“It’s not like I’m not worried about what Lidi said to catch his eyes. But there are other problems now. That matter can be delayed”
Because I’ll protect Lidi――――.
As I said that, Alex nodded.
“Got it. She’ll be alright with you. Then let’s get to the first matter at once. Yesterday an unidentified corpse was found inside the castle. There was nothing left behind that could be used to confirm its identity, but going by the skin color and clothes… I think it was Sahaja’s assassin”
“Assassin, huh. It’s not a story where he quietly passed away inside the castle, is it”
The Crown Prince of Sahaja has come. I assumed something would happen.
“It’d be reasonable to think he was sent here through a Sahaja’s assassin guild. I wonder if the client is the King or the Crown Prince… No, isn’t that guess too convenient. Alex, who killed that assassin?”
“No idea. But, it was probably another assassin. It could have been friendly fire”
As I tilted my head in doubt, Alex pointed at his throat.
“He was stabbed in a throat with a knife. A knight wouldn’t do that. Going by that way of killing, I think the culprit is probably a fellow assassin”
“Sneaking into the same place on purpose and killing each other… huh? I didn’t think assassins got along well, but perhaps they have quarrels too? But, who was the target of those two. Was it the same person, or were they different. Are any of the evening party participants missing?”
“No, I tried confirming but everyone is accounted for”
Having already investigated, Alex produced a bulky record. I received it and put it on my desk. I briefly flipped through it.
If assassins come, naturally it should be to kill someone. If the remaining one carried out the job, there ought to be victims.
Yet the outcome is zero missing people. Without any further clues, we can’t do anything more. There’s nothing but to put in on hold until new information comes.
Reluctantly I closed the record.
“Got it. Continue the investigation. Is there anything else?”
Alex seemed to find it difficult to say, still he spoke.
“Andre seems to be missing”
When I looked back at Alex, while he frowned I met his eyes.
Surely Andre was supposed to be transferred to another place as the old mansion was rendered useless. I heard that from my uncle.
“What do you mean? It’s the first time I hear it”
“I and old man received the report from our subordinates today in the morning. A few days ago, during the transport to the newly prepared mansion somebody attacked. They were annihilated, including the guards. It seems only Andre’s corpse couldn’t be found. I’m searching for his approximate whereabouts, but at present there are no reports about it”
I was about to click my tongue.
Immediately I understood Andre isn’t dead. Although he was exiled, he had originally been royalty. Moreover, he has no ‘King’s Flower’. If he were to die, the unleashed divine power should engulf the whole area in an explosion. That not being reported means he’s certainly alive.
I briefly asked.
“Who’s the culprit?”
“I don’t know. But it’s probably the work of a professional. There was no evidence of the crime left”
Alex produced a new report and I received it. I checked it briefly, but there’s no evidence left that could be tied to the culprit.
It’s an act that couldn’t be performed by amateurs.
“… I see. Professional, so I guess somebody hired him. If they had a grudge against Andre, he’d be killed on the spot. To bring him home means they must have some use for him”
While thinking about the current use of the man who had been chased away from the Royal Family, I recalled the incident at the previous Andre’s building.
“Come to think of it… There was one witness in the previous Andre’s case. Footman boy. What happened with him?”
It had been said everybody was killed, but as a matter of fact later I heard a single boy survived.
I ordered to hear his circumstances as they could serve as the lead to the culprit, but I haven’t received any reports afterwards.
Alex hung his head a little, and bowed towards me.
“… Sorry. He was killed before we could hear his circumstances. It seems to have happened in the blink of an eye. He was targeted when he went to relieve himself alone. Probably he was decapitated from the start. When the soldiers realized he’s not coming back and checked on him, his head already wasn’t at the scene”
The act that bore close resemblance to the previous case of five people without their heads made my hand that had been flipping through the report stop.
The target’s head was severed and took away in the short time it took him to go to bathroom.
Looking at person’s neck beheading seems quite simple, but as a matter of fact it’s fairly difficult. Perhaps it’s not harsh when you’re considerably used to it, when I thought so I remembered.
The existence of the assassin who severs heads and takes them with him.
“Oi, Freed, that’s”
Alex responded alertly to my mutter.
Apostate. Sahaja’s assassin otherwise known as Black Apostate.
He’s an assassin that belong to the Assassin Guild ‘Black’ famous in that country. He’s said to be a powerful person who competes for the top spot, no matter what people say his killing method is famous for its uniqueness. I’ve only heard the rumors.
“That assassin certainly severs heads and takes them with him… Alex, you should know that too”
“No, I know of his existence but… That can’t be it, would that famous Apostate expressly come to Wilhelm to attack Andre’s mansion?”
Alex shook his head that I’m jumping to conclusions, but the more I think about it the more I think it could only be him.
He matches the culprit’s characteristics too much.
“It’s hard to believe it, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It’s said Sahaja’s assassins will undertake requests in foreign countries depending on money. It wouldn’t be strange if he came here for work. You’re also aware of Apostate’s method of killing, right? Don’t you think the method of killing in this case is too similar?”
“That’s well… Certainly, it’s believable for the rumored Apostate to kill the five before alone but…”
As Alex nodded with a complicated face, I developed the conjecture further.
Supposing Apostate came here, the client is…