After that, Fii and Conrad scoured letters and various documents to gather information on things like where the slaves were being hidden, or which shops were conspirators.
“It really is easier with somebody else with me. But even this idiot didn’t keep something as dangerous as a client list,” said Conrad, as he crossed his legs, and skimmed through the papers.
Apparently Luboera didn’t have the information they wanted most.
It wouldn’t be too difficult to simply lock up the vendors, but the problem was getting the buyers.
Most of them were from ancient and powerful noble families. It would be hard to have royal soldiers search their territories. Not only that, but many of the slaves were falsified as ‘live-in servants’.
“Well, it looks like a few people are still finished though.”
Conrad smiled as he flapped the letters in his hand.
“Now then, since we have proof, let’s go home.”
Conrad stood up from the chair, and Fii followed behind him.
The two of them put the papers back where they found them.
After Conrad put on his veiled hat, he left the room with an innocent look.
The two guards stared hard at the two, but Conrad turned around, and smiled with only his mouth visible.
“Tell Luboera that I had a fantastic time. Ah, but later, since he doesn’t want you inside for a while.”
When Conrad gave a giggle, the cheeks of the guards dyed red.
After that, just like when he arrived, Conrad boldly and elegantly walked down the hallway.
And Fii followed behind him.
By now, Fii’s nervousness had left her.
After all, the only thing left to do was leave the shop.
Unfocused, her shoulder clipped a badly placed vase.
It tilted towards her.
Fii tried to stop it, but water spilled from its mouth to her head.
She screamed in reflex, before covering her mouth in panic.
(I’m not supposed to be able to talk…!)
Her heart started pounding.
“Are you okay!?”
The guards were coming over, but it wasn’t because of suspicion.
Apparently they didn’t know about her being a mute. Fii felt relieved.
The water dripping down from her hair was red.
The wet parts of her hair had changed back to her original colour.
“Why is your hair dyed… Come with us for a little.”
The two guards tried to bring Fii to Luboera’s room.
In panic, Fii avoided their arms.
Immediately, she tried to knock them out to avoid alerting more guards.
But she had no weapons…
Since it was an infiltration mission, she left her sword behind. Unarmed, Fii had no way to deal with these large men.
(What do I…)
“This kid is resisting!”
“He’s completely suspicious! Let’s get him!”
Now that they had seen her resist, they began to attack her for real.
Fii avoided their knives in a fluster.
(What do I do…?!)
She had fallen into a huge pinch because of a little carelessness. Because of her panic, she wasn’t thinking properly. Not only that, but she even got Conrad involved because of her failure.
Fii couldn’t think of any way to break out of this. Far from it, at this rate she would be finished if more people came.
At that point, Conrad suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and stepped gracefully in between Fii and the men.
His movements were unbefitting of the atmosphere, almost like royalty, and attracted the gazes of both Fii and the guards.
Having taken off his veiled hat at some point, Conrad looked up at the guards and gave an angelic smile.
Their eyes seemed to be glued to that beautiful expression.
At that moment, Conrad’s hands approached them from a blind spot and strangled their necks. Despite their difference in size, the guards were lifted cleanly off the ground.
Fii could hear the dull noises of constriction.
The two guards began frothing at the mouth as they lost consciousness.
The instant change left Fii in shock.
Turning around, Conrad gave her his usual, kind smile.
“This served as a good lesson, Heath-chan. When you’re on an infiltration mission, a moment of carelessness can mean your life.”
“I’m sorry, I…”
“It’s okay. It’s quite common to have unexpected developments like this one. What’s important is to deal with them. I’ll fix things this time, so you just stay there quietly.”
Leaving those words, Conrad left the hallway with elegant movements.
Attracted by the sounds, some other people had arrived.
“Menué-sama, what was that noise…?”
“Uhuhu, my butler accidentally broke a vase.”
The sounds of a peaceful conversation, and then more dull sounds of constriction, reached Fii’s ears.
A few minutes later…
Still as elegant as ever, Conrad returned to Fii. He hadn’t even broken a sweat.
“I’ve pretty much gotten all of them, so let’s head back.”
“Umm… I’m really sorry…”
This time was a huge failure.
Fii was feeling depressed.
“It’s fine. I thought I would let them swim free for a little longer, but I was going to report them soon anyway, so there’s no real problem. More importantly―――”
Conrad approached Fii, and stroked her cheek.
There was a small cut there, from when she failed to completely avoid a knife.
“You really have to take care of your face. You’re a girl, after all.”
She nodded for an instant, but once she digested the words in her head, Fii shook her head in a great fluster.
“NONO! I’M A GUY!”
Conrad gave an impish smile as he watched Fii’s reaction.
“I’m an expert in disguises, you know. Did you really think you could fool me with your half-baked cross-dressing? But well, I suppose none of those other blockheads have noticed, though.”
Apparently she had been outed a long time ago. Fii was completely shocked.
And at the same time, she felt relieved that apparently nobody else had noticed.
“Umm… If possible, could you keep this a secret…?”
“That’s fine. It’s funnier this way.”
Conrad readily gave his consent. But ‘funnier’…? Fii was now plagued with a different kind of anxiety.
Together, the two of them headed for the shop exit.
Every person in the shop had been strangled into unconsciousness.
(All of this, unarmed…!?)
A cold sweat ran down Fii’s back as she observed this unbelievable scene.
When they finally left the shop, the only one left was the guard outside. Apparently he hadn’t noticed any of the events inside the shop, and stood there just like when Fii first arrived.
“Why if it isn’t Menué-sama―――”
The moment that the guard turned their way, Conrad reached for his neck in an instant and stole his consciousness too.
Conrad dragged the man along for a little before tossing him into an alley.
“Now then, let’s alert the knights and have these guys arrested, shall we?” slapped Conrad, as she smiled at Fii.
“Yes…” nodded Fii, as his smile gave her another cold sweat.
Today, Fii learned three things.
First, was that Conrad-san was an incredibly fearsome person.
Second, was that he was actually a very busy person too.
It was after they alerted the knights, and headed back to the castle that she knew.
Apparently he regularly disguised himself, and infiltrated crime syndicates for information.
Because of that, he was the one who had the least time in the 18th’s gathering place. Apparently Conrad purposefully adjusted his schedule so that he could be there when Fii was.
As for why he went to so much trouble to do so, it was apparently because watching Fii was fun…
Finally, the third thing she learnt was…
“How was it, today?”
“It was tiring because of all the shock and nervousness. And I failed too…”
“Huhu, good. But you really don’t have to worry about your failure. I brought you along because I wanted you to get a feel for infiltration.”
When they returned to the castle, the two of them were the centre of attention.
And naturally so. Because one of them was a peerless beauty.
Fii had immediately changed, and returned to her apprentice knight’s outfit. But Conrad was still cross-dressing, and walking about as a woman.
Because he had taken off his veil, the gazes of the Capital’s men were all nailed to him.
And under these gazes, for some reason Conrad seemed 20% happier than usual.
Watching this, Fii was sure now.
(This person’s penchant for cross-dressing has nothing to do with his mission…)
Today was the day that Fii finally got to know Conrad.