Alexia recounted the conversation from the previous night.
“I see, that’s quite a revelation.”
Christina, having heard the story, took a sip of her coffee and let out a sigh.
“Yes, it is. That’s why there’s no way Father will stop me from getting involved in this current incident. Of course, it seems he won’t be providing any support either.”
“You have the freedom to do as you please.”
“Yeah, no matter what Father thinks, I’ll stick to my own convictions.”
“You’re quite admirable.”
“By the way, speaking of which…”
Alexia suddenly became fidgety.
“Yes, what is it?”
“I, um, we’re going to the White Mansion tomorrow.”
“I mean, we have a lot to discuss, plan, and so on.”
“Eh? We might have many things to talk about.”
“That’s right…Then I’ll stay over tonight!”
Puffing her chest, Alexia said.
“Like I said, we have a lot to discuss, so I thought I should stay overnight!”
“There’s still plenty of time until then, though.”
Christina glanced at a Mitsuoshi-made wall clock.
“I didn’t notice it, but the day has already turned to night. It would be quite dangerous to be out late on the way back.”
“We’ll arrange for a carriage with guards. Besides, if we contact the Royal Palace…”
“In normal circumstances, that might be sufficient, but with the Jack the Ripper incident and the risks of going out at night…”
“That’s true… it could be dangerous. Well then, Princess Alexia, I’ll prepare your room.”
“No need for that. After all, I’m the one who suddenly barged in!”
“But still, it would be…”
“By the way, I just remembered something. It’s not Pochi… I mean, Sid Kageno and Kanade-san who are also staying here, right?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“Well, we can share the same room with them. After all, I’m the one who suddenly barged in!”
“Sharing a room with them? That might be quite rude, or rather…”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. I’m the one who suddenly barged in!”
“It’s fine! I got permission from Father!”
Alexia seemed to have obtained permission, but Christina wondered if it was for a different matter. Nevertheless, she stood up, pulled along by Alexia.
“Come on, show me around! To your bedroom!”
“Why are you here?”
In the bedroom, Sid Kageno confronted Alexia with this question right away.
“That’s a rather difficult question. Why am I here? It’s philosophical. ‘”I think, therefore I am…”.’ The words of Natsume-Sensei. An annoying woman, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s the truth.”
“I think, therefore I am…”
Sid muttered the words spoken by the novelist Natsume, scrunching his face in deep thought.
“Oh, so those words spoke to your heart too? It’s what Natsume-Sensei said during her lecture at the prestigious Lawagus research society. Scholars are all over it, and it seems to be the most popular thesis topic at the Academy of Philosophy this year.”
“Ah, I see…”
Sid gave up, pressing his fingers to his brow.
“What I meant is, it’s not about philosophical stuff. It’s more about why a high-born, cloud-dwelling person like Princess Alexia is bothered to come all the way down here.”
Behind Alexia, Christina’s face twisted in a grimace.
“Oh, it seems you’ve finally come to realize your place. It’s only natural that I’m an existence above the clouds to you. I thought maybe I should take a look at what’s happening down below for once.”
“Your answer doesn’t make sense.”
“You don’t need to know what the view from above the clouds looks like. Come on, move over. I’ll be using your bed tonight.”
“Eh? You’re staying here! And where should I sleep?”
“You can sleep on the floor.”
Alexia said triumphantly and dropped Sid’s luggage onto the floor from the bed.
“Sorry, Sid. You’ll have to manage with this blanket.”
Christina gently handed him the blanket.
Sid stared at the blanket blankly.
“Can I go home now?”
“You’ll be attacked by Night Sword.”
“Even if I’m attacked, I feel like I could miraculously survive.”
“Please refrain. Seriously.”
Alexia said with a serious tone.
Sid sighed and took the blanket.
Alexia sat on the bed and looked around the room.
“You’ve been through a lot as well. You were attacked in this room last night, weren’t you? I wonder if these stains are bloodstains.”
Alexia’s gaze was sharp, as if searching for the traces of the attack.
“No, the attack was in the adjacent room.”
“By the way, that stain is from Kanade spilling coffee earlier when she got carried away.”
Kanade, who had been hiding in the corner of the room, finally reacted to Alexia’s appearance.
“A-ara, I see. That’s from last night, so Kanade must have been worried too.”
Alexia said with a blush on her cheeks.
“Y-yes, I couldn’t sleep at night…”
“Kanade actually snored the loudest and slept more soundly than anyone else. She’s surprisingly tough, so there’s no need to worry.”
“Why are you so noisy? I’m worried about her even though she’s acting all tough.”
“I was just correcting your misconception.”
Alexia and Sid exchanged glances.
“Well, well, you two…”
“Anyway, we should reevaluate the events from last night and Jack the Ripper’s actions. There might be something we’ve overlooked!”
Alexia asserted this while looking at Sid and the others.
“Yes, you’re right.”
“I have no objections to that.”
“Then, have you noticed anything? Whether from last night or previous incidents, anything will do.”
“I still don’t believe that Jack the Ripper is our enemy. If he were an enemy, he would have left us to our fate last night.”
“Indeed, the timing was exceptionally convenient.”
“Yes, I think Jack the Ripper has been tracking the Night Sword for a long time. He likely intervened after seeing us being attacked.”
“Is that so?”
Christina’s words made Sid raise an objection.
“I just think it was a more efficient option for him. Rather than fighting the Night Sword alone, it was easier to team up with you guys.”
“No, I don’t think that’s the case.”
Christina quickly disagreed.
“Because you didn’t see it, Sid. Jack the Ripper’s abilities are far beyond ordinary. He could easily handle us. We were of no help.”
“Ah, well, I did run away in the middle of it, so maybe I can’t understand.”
Alexia couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to tease Sid.
“Yeah, yeah, Mr. Deserted in the middle of the action can’t possibly understand.”
Kanade wholeheartedly agreed.
“W-well, I guess we could also consider that thanks to Sid attracting the enemy’s attention, we were able to hold our ground to some extent.”
Christina offered a follow-up comment.
“None of you really get it, do you? I’ll never forget that moment. He had the eyes of a traitor.”
“You guys talk too much.”
Sid said wearily.
“By the way, there was a report just now, and there’s one puzzling thing.”
Christina remembered and brought it up.
“What is it?”
“The vase in the mansion was stolen. It was there yesterday at noon, so it was likely stolen during the incident.”
“Oh, that’s interesting. What kind of vase was it?”
“Do you know the ceramic artist ‘Da Vinci’ from 300 years ago?”
“Eh? You mean the 200 million Zenny vase in the hallway!? Was that stolen!?”
“Well, it’s a shame, but…”
“Wait a second, isn’t that a national treasure-level vase! You’re not supposed to put something like that in the hallway!”
Alexia exclaimed in astonishment.
“Oh, the stolen item was a replica of ‘Da Vinci’s’ vase.”
“Eh? It was a replica?”
“Yes, because we wouldn’t display the real one in such a location. That’s why it was so puzzling. Why did the thief take the trouble to steal a replica?”
“Well, that’s certainly mysterious. There’s no value in stealing a replica.”
“At least, it was a well-made replica, and I think it could be sold for a few thousand Zenny.”
“If they were after money, they should have stolen something else.”
“Very well, the corridor also features several million-Zeni worth art pieces. Why would the thief specifically choose the replica, which is the least valuable?”
“Considering the circumstances, it’s highly likely that the thief is connected to Jack the Ripper or the Night Sword.”
“Surely they could tell that the vase was a replica.”
“No one would be that oblivious. No matter how well it’s made, you can tell it’s a replica at a glance. Being unable to see that is the mark of someone utterly devoid of culture or a naturally impoverished individual.”
While Christina and Alexia continued their discussion, Kanade and Sid exchanged glances.
“Utterly devoid of culture…”
“A naturally impoverished individual…”
The two of them hung their heads.
“This is puzzling. Maybe Jack the Ripper has hidden a message of some sort.”
“We can’t deny that possibility. It might be worth investigating.”
“I really don’t think there’s anything.”
“Would you just be quiet, Pochi? Christina, lead the way to the scene. Let’s solve the mystery from the few clues we have.”
“That’s pointless, I’m telling you.”
“We’re going, Pochi.”
On that day, Alexia and her companions investigated the theft scene late into the night but ultimately found nothing.
“‘White Mansion’ is just up ahead.”
I followed Christina through the high-end residential area of the capital.
Every house was undoubtedly worth over a billion Zenny. While Christina’s house might have been larger in terms of the building itself, the entire neighborhood exuded an overwhelming sense of opulence that left Kanade and me in awe.
“This is odd. Jack the Ripper must have definitely left a message. Perhaps we can deduce a code that reflects the sunlight onto the corridor’s mirror…”
Behind us, a visibly tired Alexia muttered meaningless speculations.
“Did we end up in the wrong place?”
A suspicious-looking Kanade looked at me.
“It would’ve been better to stay at home.”
“Being together makes it safer!”
“Do you really think so?”
“Alexia, can you move as a group like this without any problems?”
“Maybe Kanade will go down in history.”
Most likely not in a good way.
“Eh? Do you think so? It’s kind of embarrassing.”
Kanade gave a creepy grin.
At that moment, following my instinctive habit of sensing magical presences, I felt an incredibly powerful magic source approaching at an astounding speed.
Who’s this guy? Looks dangerous.
But it turned out to be Delta.
“Uh-oh, something might be wrong.”
“Huh? What’s up?”
It feels like I’m needlessly conspicuous right now.
I feel like it’s unnecessary to stand out as a mob if it comes at this timing.
“Just need to take a little bathroom break…”
That time when I was about to leave for natural reasons.
The beast girl rushed in with tremendous force.
“Uuu!? Delta doesn’t like waiting!”
Delta slowed down for just a moment, but that moment was all she could wait.
But that moment was enough for me.
I backstepped as fast as the mob could go and fired another spell at Delta, who accelerated again.
Delta reacts with a twitch and slows down for a moment.
But it quickly accelerated.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait!”
With a twitch and a twitch, she gradually slowed down and arrived in front of me.
Delta seems dissatisfied with the long wait, and Alexia and her friends are repeatedly overwhelmed by the sudden appearance of a mysterious beast.
I struggled to figure out how to explain it.
“Um, Pochi, do you know that beastman? She seems to have amazing magical power though.”
Alexia spoke with a bit of caution due to Delta’s intimidating magical aura, which seemed ready to burst at any moment.
“Well, my pet… Good girl.”
I kept patting Delta’s head to prevent her magic from going berserk. It would be a disaster if it exploded here.
“Seems like you have quite a dangerous pet. By the way, aren’t beastman slaves supposed to be prohibited?”
Saying this, Alexia gave me a stern look, her sword at the ready.
By the time I realized it, it was too late.
“Oi, don’t speak to the boss, you lowlife.”
Delta perceived Alexia’s gaze as hostile.
“Good girl, good girl.”
With Delta groaning softly, her face melting, Alexia, who was provoking her, drew her sword.
“Low life? I can’t ignore that.”
Alexia, fanning the flames.
“Oi, idiot, cut it out!”
Even though she knew Delta could make her disappear with a single flick to the forehead, why was she provoking her?
Delta, while getting her face gently stroked and melting, responded with a low growl.
I had to step in and put Delta in a headlock to keep her from causing trouble. I dragged her away from the group.
“Well ~ Sorry about my pet causing a ruckus.”
“Hey, wait, the conversation’s not over yet.”
I continued to restrain Delta, and we distanced ourselves from Alexia and the others.
“Ugh, it’s a bit tight.”
“Oops, my bad.”
I released Delta behind the high-end residential area’s wall.
“You’re strong, Boss. You didn’t even use magic, and yet you’re amazing!”
“It’s just some training. Anyway, it’s not good for you to make contact when I’m with people from the surface.”
“I mean, it’s a rule that we shouldn’t make contact when I’m with people from the surface.”
Delta looked puzzled, tilting her head in confusion. Trying to explain this concept seemed futile.
“Never mind. Let’s not waste time on this. I don’t do unnecessary things.”
“Delta doesn’t do unnecessary things either!”
“That’s right. So, Delta, why did you come here?”
“I wanted to see the boss!”
“You missed me?”
“It’s not like that! Boss, can I beat her up? I’ll make her realize her place!”
“No beating her up. She’s the country’s princess, even though it’s a bit troublesome. So, Delta, why did you come here?”
“It’s okay! I’ll beat her up and make her shake her butt in front of the boss!”
“No, I said, why did you come here? And no beating up Alexia, it’s not allowed.”
“It’s not allowed?”
“But she acts all high and mighty even though she’s weak.”
“She does act that way, but it’s still not allowed.”
“Uuuu… I get it.”
“So, Delta, what did you come here for?”
“Um, Delta came to…”
Delta tilted her head and blinked, as if trying to recall something.
“I remember now! Delta came to find female cat!”
“Female cat? Is something wrong with Zeta?”
“Alpha told me to do it! It was something like a mission report? There were lots of blanks? I don’t really get it, but I’m supposed to beat up female cat and bring her back!”
“Ah, is that so.”
Well, if you’re looking for someone, it’s best to rely on Delta’s nose. However, even if she found her, I don’t think Zeta would obediently follow Delta’s instructions.
“Kun-kun, I can smell a bit of female cat’s scent from boss. But just a little.”
Delta, with a twitching nose, sniffs all over my body.
“It’s been a while, hasn’t it? The last time we met was during that recent incident, I think.”
“This country has the scent of female cat. But just a bit. It seems to have moved somewhere else.”
Delta’s face becomes increasingly serious as he sniffs for the scent. It’s the face she makes when hunting.
At that moment, I feel a slight disturbance in the air and turn around.
“Delta-sama, wait for me!”
A breathless beastgirl appears. With blue eyes, white and black ears, and a tail that resembles a Siberian Husky, she exudes a certain charm.
“Wait, Delta-sama? She meant you?”
“Ekum, well, boss is Delta’s boss!”
Delta introduces her, though she hasn’t been properly introduced yet.
“Oh, hi. I’m Sid Kageno. Are you a friend of Delta’s?”
“Eh, No way!? Really~?!”
The Siberian Husky-like girl widens her eyes.
“So, Delta, who is she?”
“She’s Delta’s subordinate!”
Delta proudly puffs out her chest.
Delta having a subordinate? It’s truly a different world.
“A subordinate, huh. What’s her name?”
Greek letters, she must be related to the Mitsugoshi Company.
“I’m Pi~ Nice to meet you!”
Pi says and suddenly flops onto her back.
“It’s a submissive pose!”
Delta nods in satisfaction.
“Oh, I see.”
I give a half-hearted nod, not wanting to bother with comments.
“Uh~ I’m looked down upon and looked down upon~ I’m being looked at like I’m a cockroach~”
“It’s not like that.”
Now that I think about it, there were a lot of beastfolk like this. Yukime and Zeta were exceptions.
“Why~ is Pi being treated so badly? If the master doesn’t like me, Pi won’t be able to survive in this group!”
“Boss! Is Pi not suitable for the group? She’s a bit dumb, but she’s a good girl!”
“Is she suitable?”
I don’t know.
“Hooray, the boss has accepted Pi!”
“I’ll do my best for master!”
Pi jumps up and waves her tail.
Then she sniffed and approached me and she started sniffing.
“Pi remembers the master’s scent!”
“Boss, Pi is amazing! She might be dumb, but her nose is better than Delta’s!”
“Heh~, that’s impressive.”
If anything, being dumber than Delta is impressive.
“By the way, Pi is quite strong!”
“I already knew that.”
The way she disappeared when she appeared was unusual.
Pi chuckles with a goofy smile, but it seems she’s not bad other than that.
“When will you conquer the world, master?”
“I won’t be doing that.”
“Not yet huh? Pi is thinking about a plan to create the strongest group and conquer the world with Delta-sama every day.”
What is that disturbing plan?
“Pi, not yet! We’ve only planned to have ten thousand of the boss’s children for now!”
Delta, unusually flustered, interrupts Pi.
The two of them whisper quietly while glancing at me.
“Eeh, can’t we conquer the world with just 10,000 people?”
“Alpha-sama said it’s not enough! That’s why we need at least a million people for Alpha-sama to acknowledge us!”
“Really? That many?”
Delta explained, waving both hands, and Pi was surprised, also waving her hands.
“So, we still have a long way to go before we can tell the boss about ‘Delta and Pi’s ultimate world domination plan’!”
It’s a really unsettling plan. I can only hope it never gets executed.
“Well, we better revise the plan quickly then.”
“No, we can’t! We’re on a mission to capture female cat right now!”
“Oh, right, but Pi is allergic to cats.”
At that moment, I sensed Alexia approaching.
“Hey, how long are you going to make us wait!?”
“Oh, sorry, sorry, I’m going now.”
I signaled with my eyes, and Delta and Pi instantly disappeared and moved away.
It’s a shame, but this kind of quick and straightforward communication works well. Is it because I’m a dog?
Afterward, I joined Alexia and the others, apologizing with a suitable excuse.
“Count White, Princess Alexia is waiting at the front entrance.”
Count White, upon hearing the butler of the White Mansion, looked up.
“Princess Alexia? But why?”
“She wishes to be present during the attack of Jack the Ripper.”
Count White sighed.
“She won’t be allowed inside the premises. If she remains outside the gate quietly with the knights, I will grant permission.”
“Is that so? It’s Princess Alexia, you know.”
“She’s not particularly strong. After we finish off Jack the Ripper, we can invite her to a dinner party to improve her mood.”
“Very well, then.”
The butler bowed and left.
“Really, at such a busy time…”
Count White grumbled and took his seat at the round table.
There were already six Night Swords, including Count White, seated at the table.
“Sorry for keeping you waiting. I appreciate your help this time.”
Count White nodded in gratitude.
“No need to worry. This is a matter for the entire Thirteen Night Swords.”
“Count Oyano, Viscount Shinobi, and Marquis Jet were all killed by him. The only Night Swords remaining are the six of us here and Duke Dacuaycan.”
“The Night Swords are likely to be weakened. It will take at least five years, maybe even ten, to raise successors.”
“That’s a matter for the future. For now, the top priority is to eliminate Jack the Ripper.”
“That won’t be a problem. The upper members of the Night Swords gathered the best forces without holding back. The clown won’t stand a chance.”
The upper members of the Night Swords spoke confidently.
“Where is Duke Dacuaycan?”
Count White inquired about the unseen final Night Swords.
“It seems he’s negotiating with that organization. We can no longer rely on the Fenrir faction. Negotiations with the influential figures of the Loki faction seem to be progressing well.”
“If the negotiations go well, they might send a powerful ally.”
“The opponent is just one person. Isn’t that excessive?”
“This is a crisis for the Night Swords since his inception. Being a bit excessive is just right. Besides, we still don’t know the true identity of Jack the Ripper.”
“A clown assassin. No clues at all?”
The discussion among the members shifted to Jack the Ripper.
“We initially thought it might be the Hope family’s hired assassin, but the likelihood seems low. The Hope family wouldn’t have hired such a notorious assassin.”
Count White crossed his arms, looking thoughtful.
“Well, then, it must be another organization. What about that Shadow Garden?”
“Shadow Garden wouldn’t go through such elaborate tricks. They wouldn’t bother disguising as a clown and leaving cards with messages; that’s not their style.”
“Jack the Ripper seems to enjoy killing. It might be an individual’s work rather than an organization. A thrill-seeking murderer or someone with a grudge…”
“An individual, huh… We’re being underestimated, the Thirteen Night Swords.”
“We should show them what happens when they underestimate us.”
The Night Swords rose from their seats.
“It seems the preparations of the Swordsmen are ready. Let’s lead the way to the ‘Underground Arena,’ where Jack the Ripper’s grave will be tonight.”
Count White said, and the butler lit the fireplace in the room.
The flames shone blue and drew magical symbols. Then, the fireplace transformed into a staircase leading underground.
“It’s impressive every time I see it. Is this an artifact used in the ancient Elf kingdom?”
“Indeed. Elf artifacts, Elf books, Elf weapons, Elf slaves – everything related to the Elves is valuable.”
Count White led the way and descended the staircase.
The staircase was wide, and dangerous exhibits were displayed on both sides.
“Oh, that sword belonged to the beastman swordsman who lost to the rabbit not too long ago…”
“That was an amazing match. The determination of the beastman, whose family was taken hostage, was incredible.”
“Among the beastmen, the rabbit people are known for their deep love for their families. I could see tears in their eyes.”
The Night Swords spoke as they pointed to the bloodstained broken sword and battered armor.
“We are in the process of turning the body into a taxidermy. When it’s finished, we plan to display it with the sword.”
“What happened to the beastman’s family?”
“Of course, we’ll turn them into taxidermies too. This beastman would probably appreciate that.”
“Every time we pass through here, it reminds us of that intense battle and the emotions… It’s truly remarkable.”
As they spoke, they descended the staircase, passing by various taxidermied exhibits and objects.
Then, they opened the door to the Underground Arena.
Beyond the door was a dim, domed space. Dim pine tree light encircled the circular arena, and the walls bore black stains and battle scars.
There was no festivity here like the Bushin Festival. Instead, there were dim, blood-scented memories of death.
The butler bowed and led Count White and the others to a specially arranged spectator area.
“This place is protected by a powerful artifact barrier. Even if Jack the Ripper appears, he won’t be able to touch any of the Night Swords.”
The Night Swords took their seats and looked down on the arena.
“Beyond the arena, there are skilled swordsmen gathered from various places. Here’s the list.”
Saying so, the butler handed a list with the profiles of the swordsmen to the Night Swords.
“Well done. This… You’ve gathered quite a number of skilled swordsmen.”
Count White looked over the list, swallowing his breath.
“Haha, we, the Night Swords, spared no expense in gathering them. It’s a natural result.”
“The Swordsmen from Vegalta, the demons from the City-States, and the legends from the Lawless Cities… This is indeed an excessive force.”
“Jack the Ripper is just one person. With all of us fighting, he’ll be reduced to ashes in an instant.”
“That’s where Count White’s skills come into play. Are you going to entertain us?”
Seeing the top-notch swordsmen listed, the expressions of the Night Swords relaxed.
“Of course. I’ve prepared something for that purpose.”
Count White pointed to the entrance to the arena.
“There’s only one entrance to the Underground Arena, over there. We’ve sealed off all others, so if Jack the Ripper is going to target us, he’ll have to enter from there. And as soon as he arrives, we’ll activate the barrier.”
As Count White waved his hand, the entire arena lit up, and the dome-shaped barrier activated.
“Just like this. For Jack the Ripper to get out of the barrier, he’ll have to eliminate all the swordsmen we’ve prepared.”
“There’s no way he can eliminate them all.”
“Of course, that’s why we’ll assess his stamina and choose his opponents accordingly. We’ll start with one at a time, gradually increasing our forces as we see fit. It should make for a great show.”
Count White said proudly.
“Are we allowed to make the choice? That sounds like fun.”
“Oh, it’s like an interactive show for the audience. I heard the Mitsugoshi Company recently started doing it.”
“That insufferable Mitsugoshi Company… They’re infringing on our turf…”
“There are many things to learn from their business. For now, we should choose coexistence over hostility. So, who will be our vanguard? How about the legend from the Lawless Cities?”
“They’re too powerful. If it ends in the first round, it’ll be a buzzkill.”
The Night Swords selected the magicians with enthusiasm.
Once the selection was complete, Count White muttered to himself.
“It seems that the sun has already set above ground. But will Jack the Ripper really come?”
“If he comes to a place where so many swordsmen are waiting, he’d just be a fool… But if he doesn’t come, it will be boring for us.”
“Well, if he doesn’t come, it means he’s afraid of us. Spreading the news far and wide will save our reputation.”
“His reputation will be completely ruined instead. If he announced his arrival and then fled, he’d be the laughingstock of the capital.”
“Either way, we won’t lose out.”
“Our pockets will hurt for hiring those swordsmen.”
A vulgar laughter echoed in the Underground Arena.
“Princess Alexia, are you really okay?”
Alexia, Christina, and Kanade walked through the dim underground passage.
“I’m fine. I’m quite familiar with the underground passages of the capital.”
Alexia walked confidently at the front.
“But having a secret underground chamber in the White Mansion sounds like mere rumors.”
“It’s not just a rumor.”
“Do you have any proof?”
“Well, bad guys usually have secret underground chambers, right?”
Christina responded ambiguously and turned to look back at Kanade, who was trailing behind, looking worried.
“As long as I’m near Princess Alexia, it’ll be fine… In case of an emergency, I can be her shield…”
“Will Sid be okay? We left him behind with the Knights.”
“Well, Pochi gets jumpy at crucial moments. Well, his swordsmanship is average, so there’s no helping it. For now, it seems that he’s not a target of the Night Swords.”
“Is the Night Swords’ focus solely on Jack the Ripper?”
“Yeah. They consider Jack the Ripper to be a significant threat. Until this matter is resolved, they’ll concentrate their efforts on him.”
“This case may never be resolved.”
Kanade grinned mischievously.
“Don’t worry. With the plan I came up with… While the Night Swords are in chaos dealing with Jack the Ripper’s attack, we’ll infiltrate the White Mansion from underground and collect evidence of their wrongdoings one by one. If that plan succeeds, everything will be resolved.”
Alexia spoke with confidence.
“Uh, is this the plan you improvised after Sid happened to find the entrance to the sewer?”
“In a strategy, flexibility and adaptability are always necessary.”
Alexia seemed to realize something.
“But Sid happened to discover the sewer entrance, and most of the messages left by Jack the Ripper were deciphered by Sid. Normally, someone should be too scared to do anything.”
“Who is Sid, really?”
Christina asked after a short pause.
“Who is he? Pochi is just Pochi .”
“But he discovered the underground passage and decoded most of Jack the Ripper’s messages. Normally, he should be too scared to function.”
“Well, I had almost deciphered them as well.”
Kanade muttered under her breath.
“And there’s this feeling that we’ve met somewhere before. That mysterious aura… Maybe Sid is…”
“W-What is it that you’re saying…?”
Alexia said anxiously.
“He might be a famous detective.”
“Ha? A famous detective?”
“Yes. His true identity is a veteran detective. He was forced to take a youth-restoring drug by a mysterious organization similar to what happened in Natsume-sensei’s novel, Detective Conan. Then, he posed as a student and infiltrated the Swordsmen Academy…”
“Ah yeah yeah, Pochi couldn’t possibly be a famous detective. He’s just an ordinary guy. Look, see? The White Count’s family crest. It’s all going according to my plan.”
On the wall that Alexia pointed to in the underground passage, there was indeed the White Count’s family crest.
“No way… Could it be that Sid had deduced this as well?”
“Look look? I told you so!”
Alexia began examining the wall, clearly pleased.
“So, what’s your plan?”
“In places like these, there are usually hidden doors or passages.”
“It can’t be that simple…”
“I found it!”
As Alexia fiddled with the family crest on the wall, a sound was heard, and the wall opened.
“It’s the same pattern as the secret doors in the castle. Those in power tend to think the same way.”
With confidence, Alexia entered the narrow, dark passage.
“Oh, these cobwebs are so annoying. It seems like this place hasn’t been used for a long time.”
“Alexia, it’s dangerous. Please be more cautious.”
“I’m the cautious one, compared to Claire.”
“What’s the point of that comparison?”
Christina and Kanade followed Alexia.
They continued down the dark passage for a while until Alexia came to a stop.
“… It’s a dead end.”
Alexia touched the wall.
“The wall seems thick, but I sense something beyond it.”
“Wait, there’s light leaking from under the wall.”
As Kanade pointed out, a faint light was visible through a gap in the wall.
“The material of the wall seems different here… Let me try this…”
Alexia pushed and pulled the wall, and it slightly lifted, creating a gap that a person could pass through.
“All right, let’s go.”
Crawling through the opening, Alexia continued forward.
“Please be careful, Princess Alexia.”
“In this situation, the safest thing is for the second person… The third person might get crushed if the wall falls or get their legs bitten off by monsters.”
“It’s dangerous, so Kanade, follow me.”
Kanade stared blankly at Christina, who was crawling ahead, and then hurriedly looked back.
“Well, no monster presence, no pursuers…”
After confirming the safety of the wall, Kanade crawled after Christina.
“Ah! Hey, Christina! Don’t push me! My skirt!”
“Just hold on, Christina! Don’t touch my butt like that, even if it’s charming.”
“No, that’s not it. Kanade is pushing me…”
In a somewhat comical manner, the three of them crawled through to the other side of the wall.
“Ugh, what’s this place?”
They found themselves in a dim, dome-shaped space.
“Princess Alexia, look over there…!”
Christina pointed to where the nobles of the Night Swords had gathered. It was dim, and due to the distance, it seemed they hadn’t noticed them.
“Six members of the Night Swords… What on earth is happening?”
The three of them hid and suppressed their presence. Upon closer inspection, they seemed to be in what appeared to be an arena.
“This might be an arena… it seems like we’re in the underground of the White Count’s mansion.”
“There have been rumors about the Count. He’s said to make slaves fight and gamble… Could it actually be true?”
As they observed discreetly, the arena started to emit a faint light.
“Something is about to begin…”
Saying so, the three of them turned their eyes to the center of the light.