CHAPTER 127 – TRAP
I heard a slight clinking sound. I stealthily walked to the window, and opened it almost imperceptibly. Through a tiny gap, I saw a man I didn’t know, who wasn’t one of the servants, paying close attention to his surroundings with a vigilant expression.
Without a sound, I simply dug my nails into the fruit I was holding. The fruit’s aroma instantly escaped and surrounded me with a faint sweet scent.
……Even though it’s summer currently, I’m going to have to hide in a small cabinet. It’s too hot. I don’t want to be drenched in sweat. Plus, it’s stifling. Nor is this something like hide and seek.
From outside the cabinet, I could still detect the intruder’s footsteps as he furtively approached. Thanks to the sharp hearing I inherited from my father, I heard even the minute sound of him opening and closing the door.
I bit into the soft flesh of the fruit I peeled with my nails. A sweet juice began gushing out. I spit it out into my palm. A terribly thick, fruity smell was emanating from it.
Then, I finally crawled out of the cabinet. The drawing room in my house on Onboro Street was dead silent, just like usual. ……Other than the window that I opened, none of the furniture was moved at all.
I looked upstairs. Since I’ve left things there to reliable people, I probably have nothing to worry about. Even if I hear a commotion, there’s no need for me to rush.
Thinking so, I began eating the fruit in my hand. It’s a sweet fruit similar to a peach from my old world, and it was effective at slaking my thirst.
– I heard some cacophonous clanging for a moment, along with a scream that sounded like it came from a beast. After I confirmed that the ruckus had died down, I stood up from the sofa.
So, it finally happened. I don’t know what type of person the intruder is, but it seems he must have been the cautious type. Even though my residence is so small, he’s been taking his time and exploring room to room for almost an hour.
I just happened to finish eating all of the fruit. I wiped away all of the juice on my hands.
Even after I left the drawing room, it was completely quiet inside my residence. Although there were already few servants to begin with, in the daytime they typically go out to buy supplies and run other errands, so the house will be even emptier than usual. Especially since “I” went to the House of Lords today, the servants will prioritize their errands outside the residence.
I slowly went up the stairs to the second floor. The guest room right above the drawing room just happened to have its door ajar. It’s the room I’ve lent to Feria for the past three days.
I stepped into the room. The cup of black tea that I sent Feria seems to be broken, and shards were everywhere. Also, Feria was trembling in fear at the end of the bed, while the intruder wasn’t making a sound as he was currently being pressed down on the floor by two men, and a draconis.
“……Oi, you broke this cup. Weren’t you told to not break anything?”
“Hey, I wasn’t the one who broke it. He did it!”
Gunther made the last comment grumpily as he stepped on the male intruder with his full body weight. The man pinned to the floor was flapping his mouth, probably in pain. Wheezing sounds were coming from his throat, and he was salivating. It’s clear to see that he’s having difficulty breathing. With this method, his thoughts and actions are considerably restricted, and he won’t be able to kill himself by biting his own tongue. It’s very painful, not being able to breathe. Even if he wants to die, his body won’t have enough energy to allow him to do so.
“Without letting him die, strip him naked and tie him up. Also, gag him so he can’t kill himself.”
The person who replied this time was Teo, who’d gotten used to my preferred method of treating captives already when he helped me catch the bandit group.
Finally, Rashiok who was also crushing the intruder under his massive weight looked at me proudly and barked. His tail was sweeping left and right on the floor, but being a draconis, his tail is more snakelike, so it didn’t send dust flying everywhere. Rashiok was the one that smelled the fruit scent as my signal that there was an invader, so he got Gunther and the others to be on high alert. Draconis are really such clever creatures.
Since Teo and Gunther just came here, they might not know all the servants yet, and they might mistake one of them for an intruder. In order to deal with that, I decided to use the smell of fruit as a signal to Rashiok. Rashiok is able to detect the fragrance even from the second floor, so he can alert them to capture any invader.
“I think what’s about to happen next will be rather unsightly, Lady Feria. Would you mind closing the curtains of the window?”
When I asked that to Feria who was still pale and trembling, her shoulders jumped. Since I never told her about the possibility of an impending attack like this, it seems she’s badly in shock. All of this happened around her without her involvement, and her complexion looks almost as bad as the man on the floor.
Then, she asked me in a soft voice: “yes, um…… Can’t I just leave the room now?”
“You should just stay by our side. Because of this current situation, I’m worried about leaving you by yourself. I’ll just close the curtains myself. What’s coming next isn’t anything that unmarried women should see.”
Regardless of Feria who looked like she still wanted to say something else, I closed the curtains of the window personally. Right after I closed them, Teo mercilessly ripped off the intruder’s clothes.
A small cry resounded in the room. Well, for a normal noble girl like Feria, she might not even notice the sound.
As Teo tied the man as tight as he could, Rashiok continued to lean on the invader, causing him to breathe heavily. However, even through his hazy eyes and unfocused expression, I still saw confusion and surprise in them as he looked at me.
It’s probably because he saw “me,” together with Earl Terejia and my rather conspicuous two knights as escorts, at the House of Lords.
A child with black hair and red eyes. This is definitely information that this invader would have on me beforehand.
……Well, that child he saw earlier was just a fake though, the real me is still here and never left my residence. My prey fell right into my trap, it was a successful strategy. It was supposed to be a great chance for them to do something to Feria with the lord and all the servants gone…… or so they thought.
“My lord, look here. This man has a family emblem embroidered in his clothes.”
Teo tossed the invader’s clothes to me. I confirmed that the inner lining had the Ogren family crest on it, and Gunther and Teo nodded as well.
“Indeed. Then, when you finish tying this person, put him in the winter storage room. After this, that Freche boy will be able to make his moves.”
“-Is it alright to just leave that kid alone? Without seeing what’s going on over there?”
“As for ‘Elise,’ she has her own task to fulfill.”
“Have you two finally reconciled? It seems like you’ve been on bad terms for two years now, such a long quarrel.”
“Ahh. -For a proper apology, I allowed ‘her’ to slap me once. I figured, why not?”
When I showed Teo and Gunther my left cheek which was swollen, they almost spat simultaneously in astonishment. “To think, that bratty kid actually just wanted to slap another child!” was Gunther’s response to learning about how I made up with Ratoka.
End of Act 2, Part 3
(TL note: In case most of you, as is highly likely, forgot: Eliza saved Ratoka and spared him precisely because she noticed how similar their appearances were. She’s been hiding his existence, making him dress as a girl, and spreading misleading information about his alias, ‘Elise’ with the goal of creating a body double for herself for future purposes, this plan was conceived right when she met him. 100+ chapters later, and Ratoka becomes her body double for the first time.)