Chapter 30: How It Came About
A full day following her return to the Royal Capital.
Olivia was lying in bed.
She had initially planned to take the day off and was so tired.
However, she didn’t sleep well the whole time but had nightmares that she couldn’t tell if they were real or a dream, and she kept jumping out of bed in a sweat, only to fall back into bed.
The second day following her return home.
When Olivia finally got up, she was visited by a uniformed man who looked like a civil servant.
He wanted to know what had happened at Daregas.
It was painful to recall, but she felt obligated to accompany him to the Knights’ building.
She was taken to a reception area where she was questioned by two men dressed as civil servants.
・The engagement to Henry.
・When her uncle took over the business.
・about the aristocratic work her uncle brought.
・About Viscount Bergor.
Olivia answers without hesitation, though she occasionally frowns.
And after the question has been answered.
Olivia inquired, “What happened at Daregas?”
The two officers exchanged nodding glances.
“You, too, are a victim, so I’d like to give you an idea of what’s going on; please don’t tell anyone.”
“Yes,” Olivia said with a nod, and one of the officers spoke up.
“Have you heard about the banknote counterfeiting that’s been going on for a few years?”
When asked about it, she recalled.
(I believe I heard about it at the bank before arriving at the Royal Capital.)
“Yes—I heard about it.”
“Thank you for informing me so quickly; Viscount Bergor was the prime suspect in the case.”
Olivia’s eyes widened in response to the unexpected mention.
According to the officer, the Viscount smuggled counterfeiting technology from another country and had his captive Jack forge them.
“And you said earlier that Baronet Carter had instructed Jack-san to make [dog collars for the nobility].”
“Count Bergor was involved in several illegal activities—They were slave collars used in the slave trade, and when Jack-san discovered this and protested, he was kidnapped and imprisoned.”
She was taken aback by the story’s absurdity, but then she had an epiphany.
“…Could it also be related to my uncle’s easy takeover of Carter’s Great Magic Tools Store?”
“Yes. It appears that the Viscount is also involved in this. In the first place, it is illegal for an uncle to rewrite and take his niece’s property. It is impossible without the participation of a powerful local noble.
Olivia recalls how often Jack was turned away when attempting to protest at the town hall.
It occurred to her that the Viscount must have been involved.
The official continued.
“You needed a good magic tool maker to commit crimes, but neither you nor your father would accept a commission of dubious origin, so they turned to your uncle, who seemed easy to use and was also in great financial trouble, so he accepted the job immediately.”
“…So that’s exactly what happened.”
“Yes, at first, he intended to use a trusted, well-established magic tool store as a front for counterfeiting and illegal manufacture, but that became unnecessary when they imprisoned and forced Jack-san, a competent magic tool maker, to work for them.”
According to the official, her uncle and his wife are also being investigated for their involvement in the illegal act.
Catherine is reportedly being held under house arrest as a key witness.
The story then comes to an end.
Olivia is escorted away by the officers and enters the carriage alone, curling up in her seat with her head in her hands.
(… I don’t know what’s going on anymore.)
She can’t keep up with everything that’s going on.
She never imagined that she, a person who leads a normal and serious life, would be caught up in such a major incident.
She can’t sort out her feelings and thoughts.
(Normally, I’d speak with Sally or Lottie.)
She wished they would listen to her, but she was unsure.
(I think it’s a well-kept secret that Elliot is descended from the Duke of Frerance.)
Nikka, a member of the Order, may know, but Sally and Lottie don’t, based on what they’ve said and done thus far.
(I don’t think talking to them is a good idea if they don’t know what’s going on.)
Olivia sighs, gazing out the carriage window at the city.
Looking out at the city as the sun sets reminds her of Elliott.
(…I must have liked Elliot a lot to miss him even in these circumstances.)
She sighed several times.
She then returned to the store.
“I’ll tell Lottie I’m back, just in case,” she says as she opens the door to find a worried-looking Sally in front of her.
“Thank God, Olivia! You’re safe!”
Olivia’s eyes widened as she saw Sally’s relieved expression.
(How did she know?)
Lottie responded to her question.
“I noticed you getting into the carriage outside the store and informed Sally-sama.”
Olivia chuckled. (She’s as competent as ever.)
Sally’s eyes widened when she noticed Olivia’s pallid skin.
“What’s wrong with you, Olivia? You look so pale!”
“Well, there’s been a lot going on,” Olivia says as she looks down.
Sally’s eyes became solemn.
“Please explain what happened.”
They shut the store down and went to the back workroom.
Olivia stood there watching as Lottie brewed a cup of tea and began to tell her story.
She wasn’t sure whether she should speak up or not, but she couldn’t keep it to herself and needed someone to hear her out.
So what she talked about is…
・At the wedding, she was almost forced to marry her ex-fiancé, Henry.
・And when she refused, Olivia was kidnapped and rescued by Elliot and the knights.
・The knight who sent it to her said: “Thank you very much for being the bait.”
・that she was shocked by the knight’s words and left Elliot behind.
As for the part where Elliot’s identification as a member of the Dukes of France and the matter that the official has just told her not to discuss, she blurts out, “I can’t tell you because of the nature of the case.”
Sally’s brow furrows and Lottie listens silently as she places the tea on the table.
And when she’s finished speaking.
“Oh my God,” Sally exclaimed, clutching Olivia’s hand with a pained expression.
“I know it must have been difficult for you, Olivia, and I’m so sorry for what you’ve gone through; I’m crying just listening to you.”
Then, with an angry expression, she slammed the table.
“And that Elliot guy! He’s a jerk!”
Lottie also grimaced as she nodded beside the enraged Sally.
“I’ve never heard such a horrific story; I’m glad you’re okay.”
Olivia’s eyes welled up with tears.
She can feel her heart beginning to heal.
Afterward, Olivia discusses the wedding and other topics.
The two are paying close attention.
Finally, after everything has been said and done, Lottie, who had been quiet as if thinking, finally speaks up.
“…However, it’s strange that Elliot-sama, who is so [extremely] protective of Olivia-sama, is using Olivia-sama as bait.”
Olivia nods, still in disbelief.
She, too, could not believe it.
“Indeed, the more I hear about it, the stranger it sounds. I’ve heard Nikka mention bait operations a few times, but the bait is supposed to be played by a female knight in disguise, and I doubt they’d use an amateur like Olivia as bait.”
“That’s true; she needs to be able to defend herself to some extent, or she won’t be able to escape in an emergency.”
“That’s true, and I also believed that using Olivia as bait was not Elliot’s style.”
Olivia’s eyes were sad.
(When you think about it calmly, they’re right: things are definitely strange.)
Olivia has always been there for Elliot over the last two years.
He cheered her up when she was down and assisted her when she needed it. There were no lies or calculations involved.
He concealed his identity and profession, but everything else was genuine.
(Because of all the shocks, I wasn’t calm; I should have asked him directly.)
Olivia takes a deep breath.
(But, I’m honestly afraid to talk to him.)
She would have been shocked beyond comprehension if she had been truly used as bait.
(However, I’m sure there are many things you don’t understand unless you ask.)
She looked gratefully at the two worried faces.
“I thank you; now that you’ve listened to me, I’m a little calmer; I’m a little scared, but I’ll ask Elliot directly when he returns.”
“Right, I think that’s a good idea; I’ll ask Nikka as well.”
“Mm-hmm.” Lottie nods.
The three close the store and go out at Sally and Lottie’s suggestion.
They’re going on a girls’ night out to a fancy restaurant nearby.
They talked until late at night.
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