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The day after I had unusually raised my boss’s favorability rating, I requested the princess if she would take me to the palace.
Her eyes widened as she asked me.
“The palace of the Kingdom of Ernia, right?” (Sicily)
“The palace of the Kingdom of Astoria, I suppose, after the Princess has to be promoted to the rank of Grand Marshal before she does.”
“I can show you around the palace of Ernia, but what for?” (Sicily)
“I want to meet your younger brother. I want to know who he is.”
“You want to meet Reinhardt.” (Sicily)
“Then that’s impossible.” (Sicily)
Sicily replied immediately. There is not a hint of hesitation.
“I understand that you don’t want to involve your brother in political disputes. But if Maxis succeeds to the throne, he will inevitably be purged.”
“I know, so I will protect my brother with my everything.” (Sicily)
“Then why won’t you let me see him? Don’t you trust me?”
“No way. I trust Leon-sama more than anyone else. There are certain circumstances that prevent me from seeing my brother.
First of all, my brother does not live in the palace. He lives in a villa on the outskirts of the Royal Capital.” (Sicily)
“I see. If he doesn’t actually reside there, then I can’t see him. Is there a reason why he doesn’t live in the palace? —Does he not get along with the king or Maxis?”
“Well my younger brother is, on good terms with our brother.” (Sicily)
I let out a chuckle.
“His Majesty the King and my brother live in the palace, but our other siblings have been given their mansions and halls.” (Sicily)
“Did your younger brother just follow it?”
“Yes, but there is a reason for that.” (Sicily)
“Let me hear it.”
“My younger brother is sickly by nature. The other day he collapsed at a banquet hosted by our brother. He is being treated at a villa on the outskirts of the royal capital.” (Sicily)
“I see, but the fact that it was after a dinner party hosted by my brother is a bit of a problem. No, I think it’s too much.”
“…There are rumors that my brother was poisoned.” (Sicily)
“There’s enough motive.”
“Yes. That’s why my brother is now off-limits to visitors. The queen says he can’t see anyone.” (Sicily)
“The queen? The one who was bullying you?”
“No, not her. The third wife, the lady who gave birth to my younger brother.” (Sicily)
“Does she hate you, too?”
“I think I was cherished.” (Sicily)
“‘Was’, so it’s different now.”
“Since the incident, she has been blatantly avoiding me. She suspects that Maxis is involved, but it seems that her aides have convinced her that I am also complicit.” (Sicily)
“It’s unfounded, but it’s a truth in the third wife’s mind.”
“Yes. The life of her only son is at stake, so she must be paranoid.” (Sicily)
“It’s quite possible from a motive standpoint, objectively speaking. If Reinhardt dies, you’ll be second in line to the throne.”
I think she is not willing to talk about it. Sicily just holds her mouth.
“I understand the relationship between you and your brother, but then I have to meet your brother and also the third wife.”
“Are you planning something?” (Sicily)
“Well, I’ll tell you all about it in due course.”
“…I believe in you, Leon-sama, and if you want to see my brother, I will do my best to accommodate you.” (Sicily)
“I’m grateful for that, but from what I’ve heard, I don’t think we can do it the hard way. I think I’ll meet him secretly from behind the scenes.”
“As expected, the Shadow Court Magician.” (Sicily)
Sicily begins to get dressed when she says this. It seems like she’s coming along.
It’s a good thing that I need Sicily for this interview.
When Sicily was about to change her clothes, Chloe, the maid, blocked both my eyes.
“Gentlemen are not allowed in here.” (Chloe)
I then tell her.
“I know, I know. Do you want to be crawling as you get out of here?” (Chloe)
“I feel like a total pervert, so please be reasonable.”
“Okay. All right, I’m going to go back to help change clothes and you can take the carriage to the clock tower.” (Chloe)
“It’s fine, but Leon-sama only has that outfit, doesn’t he?” (Sicily)
“I’m sorry. I just have a lot of clothes with the same style.”
“How lazy. You sir have no passion for fashion.” (Chloe)
“I don’t want to be told to you who only has her maid uniform.”
I will give back what they give, I went back to my house and put on the “best” one of the same design.
Then, I reached for the novel I was reading but the carriage suddenly arrived.
The carriage was too simple for royalty to ride in, but it had the royal coat of arms strapped to it. The carriage had no personality, but it only gave off a golden color.
After a few hours of riding in the carriage, we arrived at the outskirts of the royal capital.
I couldn’t help but wonder how it was possible to reach such a scenic place in just a few hours from the big city of the royal capital. When I let out these thoughts, Sicily explained to me.
“This is a scenic spot in Ernia that has existed since ancient times. When the first king of Ernia selected a site for the royal capital, the proximity to this site was one of the reasons for its construction.” (Sicily)
“The first king is quite the sophisticated one, isn’t he?”
“Yes. Since then, the royal family and great nobles have built villas here. My younger brother inherited one of them.” (Sicily)
“This is a place with beautiful mountains and water. It is rich in nature. The air is good, and it’s the perfect place for the sick to recuperate.” (Sicily)
“Why doesn’t the king come here?”
“The king cannot leave the palace, and–” (Sicily)
Sicily could not say that it was too late. Her face sank briefly, so she returned to the subject at hand.
“I’m sure the royal family’s villa is heavily guarded.” (Sicily)
“Yes. I’ve heard that the security system usually does not allow even a single ant to enter.” (Chloe)
“On top of that, there’s a terrified mother who’s on the lookout for assassins. Then, if we go head-on, we will just be turned away.”
Sicily agrees with my conclusion. Her maid too.
“Then, Leon-sama, what are we going to do? Is it possible to break through the front by force?” (Chloe)
Chloe takes out her pocket watch from her pocket.
Good, she’s motivated, but I think it’s a bad idea to break through forcefully at the moment.
“It’s a good idea, but I’d rather have a peaceful meeting. I’d like to tame the wound-up mother dog and seriously talk about her pup’s future over a cup of tea.”
“If so, we have to sneak in.” (Chloe)
“I’m going to go that way, but I’ll need to gather some information for that.”
I unfolded a map showing the location and layout of the villa.
“It’s a magnificent villa. I mean, it’s almost as big as a castle.” (Sicily)
“It’s designed to function as a fort in case of an emergency.”
“It’s the Royal Family’s but “castle” is a strange word to describe it.” (Sicily)
“Did you just praise yourself?” (Chloe)
Chloe is shocked.
“Well, that’s right. A castle means that there are tunnels. Since ancient times, there are no castles without tunnels.”
“Well, I suppose you’re right. But the question is how to find the tunnel. Do you want to find the dwarves who built this villa?” (Chloe)
“This villa is over 300 years old. Even dwarves can’t live that long.”
“Then, will you randomly dig a hole? Hoping you may be lucky enough to find a tunnel.” (Chloe)
“That’s not bad, but think of a more rational method.”
“What do you mean?”
“We’ll rely on the princess’s memory”
“…too easy.” (Chloe)
“It’s easy, but it’s reliable. I’ve seen the pictures you took with your brother by the lake of this villa. You must have stayed here in the past.”
“Yes, Leon-sama, I have hundreds of photos in my mansion and you’ve noticed that one.” (Sicily)
“It’s just that I’m a bit curious. — You and your brother were so energetic in that picture that I wondered if you were playing a game of exploring the villa.”
“You are right, Leon. That’s a good answer. Actually, I was exploring the underground passages at the behest of the young Reinhardt. At that time, I had enough energy to escape from the villa.” (Sicily)
“I knew it. So, where is the secret passage?”
“It’s just up ahead, in the woods. There’s a secret staircase under a big rock.” (Sicily)
Chloe and I both smiled, but Sicily frowned.
“…But I only know the loophole halfway. Since that time, Reinhardt was sick, so we came back within an hour.” (Sicily)
“So you’re saying you don’t know the way out.” (Chloe)
Chloe’s shoulders slumped. Sicily follows suit, but I can’t help but smile.
“It’s enough to know the outer entrance, you know.”
“Isn’t the exit inside more important? If we get out in the middle of the guards’ patrol, that won’t be a joke.” (Chloe)
Those were Chloe’s words, and she was right. But I have a collection of tens of thousands of books in my head, and among them, the books on architecture are the most useful. In other words, I have a deep knowledge of architecture.
“I’m from a magic academy where the elite gathers, but I’m actually interested in architecture, so I submitted my application there as well.”
“Oh my.” (Sicily)
This surprised Sicily.
“It’s an unexpected past. If something changed, you would have become a court architect and a military strategist.” (Sicily)
“That’s right. I was very curious about the subject, though my talents were directed towards magic and military science. I even participated in the architecture classes.”
“You were quite a studious student at that time, weren’t you?” (Chloe)
“Oh, I’ve been enthusiastic since ‘that time’.”
Chloe giggled. It seems that she can’t imagine that from my attitude towards work, but I just ignore her, I will show them what I learned at that time.
“Buildings may look different, but they all have a similar internal structure.”
“It’s true that the inside of every building looks the same.” (Sicily)
“No doubt. The reason is simple: people can’t get through a door in the ceiling.”
“So that’s it.” (Sicily)
Sicily nods with a serious expression on her face. —She seems to be taking the joke way too seriously. She is an innocent girl. I’m going to tell her the truth because I feel sorry for her.
“—The other reason, which is the main one, is that the interior of the buildings is similar in structure. Buildings are built using physics. They are built by calculating the positions of columns and walls. If they don’t, they can’t maintain their strength and will collapse.”
“You mean you can’t just cut out a pillar because it’s in the way?” (Sicily)
“That’s right. In other words, we can roughly guess the location of the exit from the floor plan I just showed you.”
I stared at the map and the floor plan as I declared this.
The two girls’ gazes were drawn to me, but I didn’t care as I pointed to the charcoal-burning hut next to the villa. I point to it.
I said that.
“This shabby charcoal hut? I don’t think this is where the royals would run off to.” (Chloe)
I responded to Chloe’s point.
“That’s why. Make an escape route in a place where you can’t expect the royal family to escape. It’s a psychological trick.”
“So that’s it.” (Chloe)
“If you calculate the path from the forest, this is the most efficient place. There is no other path.”
I insisted, Sicily then agreed with me.
“It is true that I have been strictly forbidden to enter this place since I was a child. We were taught that this was not a place for royalty to stop by. However, the door was locked so that even the servants could not enter. I always thought it was strange.” (Sicily)
“That’s confirmed. Now we just need to find that big rock.”
“Leave it to me. I used to run around here as a garden every summer.” (Sicily)
“There is no princess like Sicily.”
“I was as full of energy as a boy, despite my appearance.” (Sicily)
When I questioned whether this was true, Chloe told me.
“Her Highness Sicily likes insects and used to catch beetles. The Doll tribe fries beetles, but when fried the beetles that Her Highness Sicily gave me, she would cry…” (Chloe)
When I hear that anecdote, I was rendered speechless. I sympathized with those who misunderstood her, but I thought we should go looking for something that can be called a big rock immediately rather than delving into the anecdote.
We went into the woods under Sicily’s guidance.
On the way, we saw several beetles on a large oak tree.
Sicily’s eyes were sparkling, but we decided to put insect collecting to rest. For now, she had to look for the big rock.
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