Act 51: False Good Deeds and Sincere Diligence
When Ronnie briefly explained the situation to a knight who had arrived at the scene, they were told to go to the castle like he had expected.
Before moving to the castle, Cordelia told one of the knights that Earl Zakharov might be looking for them, and asked the knight to look for Earl Zakharov.
When they were about to head to the castle, Shelley woke up, but she was really excited to hear that she could enter the castle before she even grasped her own situation.
Therefore, she was more excitable than she was at the circus while they were travelling and while they were waiting to be interviewed.
“Wow, I’m in a real castle! I’ve always wanted to come here! I wonder if I can meet the Prince by chance. I wonder if I’ll be able to see him if I go out into the corridor.”
Cordelia wanted to sigh deeply at Shelley’s excitement, but she held it in. I’m glad you’re not traumatised by the kidnapping, but I want you to think about why this happened. If this happens again, what will you do?
Ronnie was being interviewed first, so only Cordelia and Shelley were here.
“Shelley-san, please stop following people you don’t know from now on.”
“Argh, I know!”
No, that’s the typical response of someone who doesn’t understand. In fact, you’re not reflecting at all since you even secretly added, ‘I’m finally having fun’.
(I wonder if this child won’t listen to anyone unless it’s the Prince who she admires.)
But, if Shelley meets Sylvester-sama, then she’ll be more excited than she is now and won’t be able to talk.
And, one more thing. Shelley is really pushy, and it feels like she’s the in-game 『Cordelia』instead of the『Heroine』.
She won’t listen to anyone, she has absolute confidence in herself, and her attachment to the Prince―――.
Once she started thinking about it, everything seemed to overlap, and Cordelia shook her head a little. There are many problems with Shelley’s behaviour and speech, but if she is a noble’s daughter, then it’s possible she’ll be educated, and her behaviour and speech will improve. Although, it may be hard to change her fundamental thoughts.
“Oh? Shelley-san, did you drop this?”
Cordelia had found a small bag rolling at Shelley’s feet, so she stood up and picked it up. The sachet was about the size of the aroma bags that Cordelia had previously made for the children in Oulu Village, and the string which was used to hang it around Shelley’s neck had unfastened. The fabric was also worn out because it had been used for a long time.
Shelley looked surprised, then she snatched the bag away from Cordelia.
“Oh, thanks! I can’t lose this!”
“Huh? Um, I’m glad I saw it then.”
Cordelia widened her eyes because it was the first time Shelley had thanked her.
“Can I ask what it is?”
“You can. This is a memento that my mum gave me. She said that I’ll be happy if I have this,” she said while retying the unfastened part of the string, then she wore it on her neck and hid it under her clothes. It seems to be a charm that she always carries.
Cordelia gulped and stared at the bag.
“What is inside of the charm?”
“I really don’t want to show it to you, but… it’s a small ring. You picked it up for me, so I’ll show it to you.”
Shelley was in a good mood, and what she took out of the bag wasn’t a small ring… it was an ear cuff. The surface was a little cloudy, but there was a small bird pattern engraved on it.
“Huh? Do you know this bird?”
“Yes. Say, have you ever shown this to the priests?”
“Nope. The priests told me that charms shouldn’t be opened.”
I see so that’s why they couldn’t identify her so far.
Cordelia breathed out slowly and then looked straight at Shelley.
“This is the Clydereine House’s crest.”
“Cly… derine?? What’s that?”
“Earl Clydereine’s House. I don’t know why your mother had something like this, but maybe Earl Clydereine might know.”
Cordelia explained since it looked like Shelley didn’t get it, and Shelley jumped.
“What?! This is the crest of an Earl!? I only know Earl Zakharov’s name!”
“Earl Zaharov’s crest is also a bird, but, if I’m not mistaken, it’s a seabird. That’s a dove. There are olive branches on the ear cuff, so I’m probably right.”
Cordelia carefully chose her words in front of Shelley, who was confused. She couldn’t say that they were parent and child just because Shelley had a reasonably expensive ear cuff with an elaborate design, but they do have some kind of connection.
“I don’t know why your mother had that, but I might be able to find out. Do you want to know?”
“I am curious… But, does this really belong to that… what’s his face Earl?”
“No one would make a fake with a noble’s crest. Misrepresentation of social status is a crime.”
Shelley stared at the ear cuff when she heard what Cordelia had said. But her confusion gradually faded, and her eyes began to shine.
“Hey, if this belongs to that Earl, then I’ll be acquainted with him, and I can show the Earls my power, right? If that happens, then it’ll surely give me a chance to get closer to the Prince! Earl Zakharov won’t advertise my powers, but the other Earl might!”
Even though she had hinted that she could acquaint herself with Earl Clydereine, she still didn’t seem to realise that he could be her father.
(I heard from Isma-oniisama that Earl Clydereine and Otou-sama aren’t on good terms, but he did say that they can talk, so it shouldn’t be impossible to make contact with him.)
If I can tell him that there’s a young girl with an ear cuff that has the Clyderine crest on it, then I can leave the decision making to him. I doubt the Earl would forget who he gave the ear cuff to.
“Shelley-san, can you keep this a secret? We need to investigate this, but the investigation won’t progress if there’s confusion.”
“Really? Well then, investigate quickly.”
Shelley seemed a little unhappy, but she couldn’t let the chance slip away, so she didn’t say anything else to Cordelia except for her to rush. Furthermore, her unhappy expression had already changed to a happy one, and she was already on cloud nine.
(But the problem is how long can she keep silent? I have to hurry.)
At least, Cordelia hoped that she would keep quiet about it until tomorrow, any more than that worried Cordelia. In any case, it doesn’t change the fact that I have to hurry, the moment Cordelia thought that she was called to another room.
When Cordelia entered the room being used for interviews, there were two knights there, and one of them was her brother, Isma.
“I didn’t think we would talk here… but I heard about what happened from Ronnie. It was a disaster.”
Isma seemed a little troubled as he laughed. He was probably showing consideration towards her.
“But I have to make sure that the details match up. Can you talk about it?”
First, she talked about how she visited the church and was invited by Earl Zakharov to go to the circus with Shelley. Then, when Shelley and Cordelia were talking in the plaza, a suspicious man came and tried to take Shelley away, so she followed them. Isma and the other knight wrote down what she had said.
“Did you notice anything else?”
“I thought it wasn’t something so simple since he had kidnapped her in front of her companions. He did lure her with goods at first, but after that, he acted a little too pushy. I don’t think he would have aimed for her if he just wanted to kidnap anyone.”
“Then, do you think she was targeted?”
“No, I think it was too unnatural. She had only just decided that she would go out. The only person who knew that she would be at the circus was the person who invited her, Earl Zakharov, but he also invited me, Ronnie, and Clarice Keighley, a knight.”
“He invited Keighley-dono?”
“He did. Me aside, I don’t think he would invite a knight and a magician from the Pameradia House if he was planning to kidnap her.”
“Thanks. I’ll use that as a reference,”
Isma said and sighed. Then he whispered, “It’s the same as what Ronnie had said.”
“And, this isn’t directly related to the disturbance, but why were you at the circus? Even if you were invited, you could have refused since it was a sudden invitation.”
“That girl’s name is Shelley, and she’s a very hyper girl. I worried that she would get lost if only she and the Earl went.”
“I see, you couldn’t ignore that fact. But she wasn’t kidnapped thanks to that. That child was lucky.”
I think I might have been able to lie to him about Ghost with that, but what shall I do now?
If possible, I want to talk to Onii-sama about Shelley, but I don’t want others to hear us. A child having the crest of the Clydereine House is a very delicate topic. That’s why I told her not to tell anyone.
“Oh, that’s right. I heard about the hoodlum’s hideout, but I forgot to ask them about where they’re from. A map of the plaza… isn’t very detailed. I’ll go get another one.”
“Then, I’ll go get it, so please wait with your little sister.”
Isma thanked the knight who was leaving the room and sighed as soon as the door was closed.
“Now, it’s only the two of us. I’ll listen to what you have to say, now.”
From what Isma had said, he had cleared out the room so that they would be alone. She felt terrible that she was taking up more time, but she was grateful that he realised she had something to say.
“No, it’s fine. So, what did you want to say?”
“I just found this out, but Shelley has an ear cuff with the Clydereine crest on it. Can you tell this to Earl Clydereine?”
“Something with a crest…?”
“Yes. It’s her mother’s memento, but she doesn’t know how she got it.”
“Alright. Earl Clydereine did get ear cuffs made, but that’s not strange… but, she was given something very personal.”
Isma also strongly felt that Shelley was related to Earl Clydereine in some way.
“But, if she is, then she’s in a pretty complicated position. So then, the girl they were trying to kidnap is the Dreamer Girl, and she’s also somehow connected to Earl Clyderine? I’ll be glad if the kidnappers confess everything quickly. By the way, what do you think of the Dreamer Girl, Cordelia?”
“What do you mean?”
“Your impression of her. What do you think of her as a person?”
“She seems to adore the Prince from the bottom of her heart. I don’t know if those feelings are love or admiration. She also has a lot of confidence in herself, and she doesn’t listen to others when they reprimand her.”
“So, she’s a child who does things that need reprimanding.”
Cordelia smiled wryly when Isma made a face saying ‘you’ve done a great job’.
She was sad that she couldn’t deny that, but there was no point in glossing things over to her brother.
“I’ll tell Earl Clydereine. I’ll report it to father too, but it’s probably better for me to mediate this matter. If he hears it from father, then the Earl would put up his guard too much.”
Isma’s wry smile hinted how bad the relationship was between Elvis and Earl Clydereine. Isma was better at things like that, since he was amiable.
“Thank you very much, Onii-sama.”
“I don’t mind. It may not be directly related to the kidnapping, but if she has nothing to do with Earl Clydereine then he would just ignore it, and if she is related to him, then he might owe me one.”
With a smile, Isma didn’t hide his true feelings, and Cordelia smiled a little.
“Now then, it’s about time my colleague comes back. Do you have anything else you want to secretly tell me?”
“No, I’ve told you all I can for now.”
“Alright. Then, you’ll have to deal with father when you get home.”
When Isma said that, a knock sounded at the door. Cordelia gulped because they had barely finished talking in time, but Isma continued to smile.
(Onii-sama is so amazing.)
It was her first time seeing him work, but she couldn’t help but think that he was living in the world of adults just like Elvis and Cyrus.