“What ……!”

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 A scream almost left from the well-dressed Count Norden’s mouth, so weak that it seemed unlikely.

 

“You are saying this is a fake replica?”

 

 The family priest looked at his master and the minerals in the crate alternately with a stricken face, and was also in a state of confusion.
He seemed to want to say that what he had brought must have been the right stone.

 

 If this was an act, both of them were quite good.

 

 Count Norden took a deep breath when he realized that his guests’ reactions were too weak to his own obvious upset.
The spirit he trained as a knight does not seem to let him prolong the shock.

 

 He held his forehead and shook his head to shake off the confusion.

 

 The face he raised was lit by the light of reason.

 

“If I may ask, did you all …… anticipate this?”

 

 The family courtier peeled his eyes away while erasing his sense of presence as much as possible.
As if telling people in the room ‘I’m nothing but air’.

 

 After exchanging glances with Lord Dominic, I nodded toward Count Norden.

 

“According to our research, your magic stone is now with the Merryfield family.”

 

 The Count of Norden’s brow furrowed again as he muttered the name “Maryfield”. 

 

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“I remembered that it was the surname of the young lady who had been bothering my son.”

 

“No way, Edward?”(Vincent)

 

“No, that’s not the right order.
Edward must have been attracted to Miss Ulysses under the influence of the magic stone.”(Dominic)

 

“No, it can’t be …….”(Count Norden)

 

“Someone must have taken the magic stone from the mansion.”(Vincent)

 

 This time there was no change in Count Norden’s expression.
He knew that it had been included in his initial surprise.
The reason why Count Norden, an aristocrat, gave such a shrill cry must have been because he realized that he had to suspect his servants for this.

 

 The family courtier, who was the same age as Count Norden, managed to only tighten his wrinkled face and keep his expression as usual.

 

“You have an idea who did this, don’t you?”(Vincent)

 

“…… This magic stone was usually kept in a room in the north wing.
It is a locked room for storing valuable items.
However, anyone from our family can enter for cleaning or other reasons.”(Courtier)

 

“But the key to the crate was in the possession of Count Norden.”(Vincent)

 

 I said, and the old gentleman, who seemed to have aged quickly, sighed.

 

“I have a routine of reading after lunch.
About two months ago, I couldn’t help but fall asleep while reading.
I was woken up by a very flustered-looking servant who asked me several times if I was feeling all right, but I thought it was just fatigue because the day before …… there had been a marching exercise and an evening party of the Knights.”(Count Norden)

 

“The servant was ……”(Courtier)

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“The servant’s name is Walter.
Go get …… him.”(Count Norden)

 

 Count Norden nodded as he sank down on the couch.
He was trying to maintain a minimum elegance on his part, but I knew he was going to fall apart if I wasn’t here.

 

 He has a strong sense of justice, and his feelings for those under him may be similar to Edward’s.
Both of them were men with a strong sense of justice and responsibility.

 

 A young man of about 20 years old came to the house after being summoned by the family courtier.
As soon as he entered the room, he bowed deeply, and when he looked up, he realized everything.

 

 He looked at the magic stone in Lord Domenic’s hand, then shifted his gaze to Count Norden’s gaunt appearance.
Then, as if rejecting to speak, he lowered his eyes.

 

 He was not going to say anything.

 

 From a distance, it could be said that he was a bit blunt.
But the feeling that flowed through this master and servant duo may not be so.

 

“What did you do with the magic stone?”(Count Norden)

 

“……”

 

 The young man did not answer when he was asked.

 

“Walter, this is–“

 

 I raise my hand to stop Count Norden from revealing my identity.
I had to stop him because revealing my identity wouldn’t help us in this situation.

 

 This man, Walter, had it written on his face that he would pay with death if he was condemned by Count Norden but still wouldn’t open his mouth.

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“I see.
You’re not a good servant.”(Vincent)

 

“……”

 

 Walter still did not answer.
But his eyebrows furrowed slightly.
Both affirmation and denial flared in his eyes at the same time.

 

 This man has the same roots as Harold.
I can tell because I’m always watching him closely and often.
He never says anything, but his loyalty is stronger than others.

 

 But this time, there were circumstances that had to twist that loyalty.

 

“Don’t you see why Count Norden is so discouraged?”(Vincent)

 

 His gaze, which had fallen to the floor, rose.
Blue-gray eyes stared at me.

 

“Walter, you didn’t tell Count Norden about your own conflicts.”(Vincent)

 

“!”

 

“…… maybe, if you did, things wouldn’t have turned out like this.”

 

 These things stick in the mind more when said by a third party than when said and heard by Count Norden himself.
That’s what I thought, and I mentioned my guess, but since no one refuted it, I guess I’m not wrong.

 

 I kept my eyes firmly fixed on Walter.

 

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“What did they he say to you that intrigued you? Was …… that man really more trustworthy than Count Norden, who brought you up to this point?”

 

“……!”

 

 ”Hyuu,” his throat rumbled shortly.

 

 Walter’s knees snapped as he fell to the floor.
His healthy-looking limbs crumpled like a doll cut off its strings.
Walter’s shoulders shook as he balled his fists and clutched at the polished wooden floor.

 

 The tears that fell to the floor with a pattering sound told the story of his uncontrollable emotions.

 

 The Norden family is a family of knights.
Both Count Norden and Edward, the head of the family, act with a spirit of chivalry.
How do they treat their servants, and what do they want their servants to be like?

 

 The house has only a minimum number of servants.
This is partly to protect the virtue of scarcity and purity, but conversely, it also means that they have nurtured a small group of elite servants who can be trusted.

 

 How do you wish the people you place your trust in to be? There is only one such thing.

 

 I want the other person to also trust me.

 

 He made a mistake in judgment.

 

 I tried to give him the double shock of having it pointed out to him by someone younger than himself, whom he did not know well.
……

 

“I’m sorry ……! I switched the contents of the ……!”(Walter)

 

 I looked down at Walter, who was kneeling tearfully before Count Norden, and breathed a sigh of relief that, the wall of silence had apparently been broken down.

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