Back at Zierfeldt’s house, he sends Neurath to fetch Max. He prepares a bath and instructs the maids to “give Clara a full body wash.” I whispered a few words to them and threw her into the tub. I’ll tell Lily to come to her father’s room as soon as she’s dressed.
I’ve asked Norbert to give the maid some other instructions and I’ve gone with Schünzel to my father’s room. I’d like to finish conferring with my father while I’m there. He won’t be able to overhear us in the bath with several maids.
“Don’t bother bringing it back.”
I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I’ll take care of this.
My dad got mad at me when I told him what happened. But he’s not that furious. He seems to be assuming that I’m being targeted. Neurath and Max come in a little later than Lily, and I explain the situation again.
By the way… the reason our carriage was late is because we almost hit someone on the way. He said he ran out from the other side. Whoever it was was probably trying to stop the wagon, so it’s probably true.
Where did you suspect her?
The examiner, or Norbert, threw a question to Lily. Lily looked a little surprised, but immediately nodded in agreement.
“Yes. When Mr. Werner, who had gone off on a side road, came back and told you it was murder, you didn’t seem upset. I thought she was too calm for the daughter of a refugee.”
It’s calmer than I expected. Death is closer than in my previous life in a world where demons roam. I don’t want to scare you… but you seem okay.
“How did Neurath and Schunzel see…”
Now I ask them. They looked at each other and nodded.
“If there were four of them and Clara escaped after hearing what they had to say, it doesn’t seem natural that all four of them would have attacked her father. At least one of the four must have been after Clara.”
“When I heard Werner-sama’s name, your reaction seemed to be somewhat deliberate. When you called him ‘nobleman’ when you spoke to Werner-sama, it seems as if you knew his face.”
“I could smell the blood as soon as I looked down the side street. Partly because it had been so long since the murder, and partly because I wasn’t responding to Lily calling my name. I’m a celebrity, after all. I guess I was just thinking about talking to her like it was scripted.”
Schünzel continues and I continue with a cowering look on my shoulder. I’m glad you’ve all been paying attention.
The reason I expected it, or rather suspected it, was because, as I had thought before, the top commanders on the other side seemed to be unable to lead their subordinates. I had considered the possibility that some of them would think that since he had succeeded, they might do the same.
I didn’t expect it to come today, but…
“The Triots have a policy of five families per refugee group. We’re keeping Clara’s whereabouts a secret, so if that family is really gone, there’s bound to be one that comes forward soon. We’ll find out soon enough if it’s true or not.”
And that dead guy, the father, he’s not right. First of all, there were no defensive wounds.”
It’s not that common on our world. Lily’s head tilted back, so I’ll give her the short version.
“If someone tries to cut you with a knife, you usually try to protect yourself with your hands, but you get a wound on your hand or arm. That wound is called a defensive wound.”
A hesitation wound made during suicide is also a defensive wound… but I don’t need to explain that now. But long live a certain detective manga…
“His hands were clean, no defensive wounds, no blood. I’m guessing the first blow took the man’s life at that point. The rest of the time, he was probably wounding a corpse.”
“So that’s it. What are you going to do now?
Max nods again, and then my father gives me a look of confirmation.
“Lily, I need you to draw Clara’s face first.”
“But you don’t have to draw it as you see it. Just don’t make it too similar. It’s okay if it looks vaguely similar.”
You’re tilting your head curiously, so I’ll just explain it to you.
“If you look too much like someone else, it’s easier to think you’re not the same person. It’s easier to get information if you’ve seen someone who looks like you.”
“I see. Then I’ll draw some pictures.”
This is also from a previous life, but it seems that this is in fact the kind of description used by the police. I suppose it’s possible that some of the traits witnesses remember are the ones that other people see. He nods at Lily and turns to his father, opening his mouth.
“If the mastermind is a refugee from Triots and it’s a girl with no family, he probably thought I’d keep her for a while. I’m not even sure she’s a refugee.”
I was just about to say that when there was a knock at the door. One of the maids, who had waited for my father’s permission to enter, handed Norbert something and whispered in his ear.
“There was a double layer on the inside of Clara’s dress where this was sewn in.”
Since I’m not the best person to go through a woman’s clothes I asked him to do it while I bathed Clara and he was right.
It’s small and puffy to the touch, but it’s quite thin. It looks like a moderately expensive piece of makkaku paper. but if the mastermind gave it to him… he must be a nobleman or someone close to one.
I opened the package and found a white powder. In a detective drama, there might be a detective who licks it, but he won’t do that because it’s a poison. Even in a real investigation, they wouldn’t lick it on the spot because it’s evidence.
Pockets are also rather common in this world, by the way. In the previous world, pockets weren’t even found on men’s clothes, let alone women’s, until near modern times, but in this world, they seem to have been invented by adventurers who carried potions and the like around with them, and many clothes have pockets.
However, since the fabric itself is very precious, most of the civilian clothes don’t have pockets. If pockets weren’t so common in this world, I’d have made it into a useful clothing invention and a business opportunity.
“Just replace the contents with salt or something and put the packet back. I want them back by the time Clara gets out of the tub. I’ll check the contents.”
“I wonder if he’ll notice he’s been replaced.”
“They’ll probably hand it to you in a packet, but if they notice you’ve switched it, that’s fine. They’ll rush back to their owners, which will only hasten the process.”
He’ll answer Max’s questions. Rafed can handle the drugs, find out what they are and where to get them. He’s a hard man to deal with, but I’m sure he’s good at it.
“If they were a professional assassin, they wouldn’t do anything to arouse my suspicion. The timing is too obvious. Maybe Clara’s a low-level operative who’s up to something on her own. But it could lead us to the big guy, so we’d like to catch him.”
“I’m sure their intentions will change depending on whether the contents are potent poisons or just feverish, but for the time being, please be careful with your father and mother as well.”
There’s magic in this world that can counteract poison… but the reality is that poison kills a certain number of people. As far as this is concerned, it doesn’t matter if you’re a noble or a commoner. In the case of commoners, it’s not always clear whether they died from poison from snakes or from being eaten alive by demons.
In the case of the nobility, there have been cases of death by poisoning even if the death was ostensibly due to illness.
I’ll make arrangements on that, but…
I explain the plan to the maids who have brought in the medicine packets, and have a quick meeting with Max and the others.
And when I asked my father for a loan he gave me the cold shoulder. I’m sorry but I need the cash tomorrow.
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