Author: Tam Editor: Genie

‘What kind of help will this be—?’

 

It was merely a list of all the cases and their details. She quickly turned over the paper. Then, a case caught Amelie’s attention.

 

‘Oh? Is this what happened last year on Hunting Day?’

 

Amelie felt uncomfortable. Clearly, there was no record of this date in her documents, which she received from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. She hurriedly fliped through the paper, confirming the date of the incident. 

 

‘I think this also didn’t exist? This too.’

 

It was clearly different from the data she received.

 

“Young Lady Bowen. Did you get the data yourself?”

 

“Yes, that’s right. I even went into hiding in the Ministry of Internal Affairs to find it.”

 

Serina was proud. As she saw Amelie’s enthusiastic response, it was clear that it was a gift that she liked.

 

‘I’m sure Miss Amelie will do me a favor now, right?’

 

Serina raised her head to look at Amelie and to ask her again. But strangely, Amelie was not happy, instead,  she had a hard expression on her face.

 

“…Miss Amelie?”

 

“You said a while ago that this is unmodified data, right?”

 

“Yes… Surely it was…”

 

Amelie swallowed a sigh.

 

“Then it means that the data I received from the Ministry of Internal Affairs last time has been modified.”

 

“Oh. Yes. No. That’s—”

 

Serina was nervous without realizing it. She instinctively felt that things were going in a different direction from her plan.

 

“Why are you so nervous? I’m trying to check how much the Young Lady has worked for me and how valuable it is.”

 

Amelie smiled and spoke softly. It was to lower Serina’s alertness. Serina smiled awkwardly because she couldn’t figure out the situation.

 

“Young Lady’s document is the original, right?”

 

Amelie threw the bait.

 

“Yes! That’s right. The previous data you received was modified. My brother said that. The data I gave you has not been modified at all.”

 

Serina bit the bait.

 

“The data requested through His Majesty has been modified at will. Your younger brother can’t avoid punishment. I’ll let His Majesty know. He must have hated my interest in the affairs of the Imperial Palace?”

 

“What? That’s a misunderstanding! It’s what His Majesty ordered him to do!  My brother isn’t the kind of kid to go around deleting things randomly.”

 

“….”

 

Serwin ordered it?

 

Amelie seemed to blank out in shock. Her head tingled as if she had been stabbed in the back of her head. When she talked about the abnormalities of the imperial palace, Serwin’s attitude came to mind. He used to change the subject on purpose, saying never mind. At that time, she passed it casually, but on second thought, it was strange.

 

‘There’s no way Serwin didn’t know about the abnormalities. It’s about the disaster.’

 

The sense of discomfort that was ignored at that time was revived all at once.

 

‘He hid it from me on purpose. Why? Why is that? Does he still not trust me? If not, why?’

 

Her heart was tightened with shock and disappointment. She read the paper again and went down, holding her nervous mind.

 

‘If Serwin modified it on purpose, there must be something in the deleted content.’

 

The records of the past were no different from what Amelie saw. The problem started from Serwin’s accession period. It was 12 years ago that the abnormalities of the Imperial Palace reappeared, and it coincided with Serwin’s accession period. After that, abnormalities occurred three or four times a year.

 

‘The dates are all different, but an anomaly is occurring on the same day only for one day a year.’

 

The date was today, hunting day.

 

‘What do we have today?’

 

Amelie felt somewhat uncomfortable. There were more than one or two things on her mind. Serwin was depressed about the hunting day and readily agreed to let her go out of the imperial palace. A small sense of incompatibility that she previously ignored as nothing special broke out at once.

 

‘Come to think of it, Mrs. Willow said. Do you know what that monster is doing on a day like today?’

 

Come to think of it, it was 10 years ago that Mrs. Willow suddenly quit her job. It is exactly the same as the year when Serwin changed the hunting day from the Grand Malt hunting ground to the imperial palace.

 

“Young Lady Renia!”

 

Amelie opened the carriage door and called Renia. Renia came at a rapid pace.

 

“About Mrs. Willow. You said she has been traveling and only comes to the capital at this time of year, right?’

 

“Yes. Only on hunting day.”

 

“Do you know why she only comes back on hunting day?”

 

“I think it’s just because Mrs. Willow wants to? I don’t know why either.”

 

Amelie bit her lip. Hunting Day was not a specially celebrated day like Harvest Day or National Day. It’s been a long time since commoners even had a little more delicious food at home to acknowledge it. There was a hunting day, but it was only an event for some nobles, and it had nothing to do with Mrs. Willow. Still, it was very strange for her to return to the capital every year, only on hunting days, not to meet anyone.

 

‘Did Mrs. Willow see something?’

 

When she met Mrs. Willow again, she had a story to hear.

 

*******

 

As soon as the carriage stopped, Amelie ran out. Then she strode over and opened the door, and she went in at will.

 

“Miss Amelie? What are you going to do?”

 

The party followed Amelie’s unexpected behavior, flustered. Seeing Amelie’s return, Mrs. Willow’s daughter rushed out to the front door. 

 

“You’re back again?”

 

“I have something to ask Mrs. Willow.”

 

“I’m sorry, but my mother won’t meet you. I’m really sorry. Please go back now. It’s not polite to keep doing this even though you don’t meet her.”

 

Her daughter was very sorry and closed the door. Amelie suddenly felt her gaze and lifted her head. She saw Mrs. Willow, who was standing by the second-floor window, and her eyes met.

 

“Mrs. Willow! Let me talk for a moment—”

 

Amelie shouted. But Mrs. Willow heartily closed the curtain.

 

“Why didn’t you listen to me? You’re the one who asked me to come!”

 

Milena was furious by the blatant door. What’s the point of calling someone to come over to talk and then kicking them out after just saying what they have to say! There’s a degree of ignoring people!

 

‘Since Miss Amelie can’t say bad things to people, I have to do something!’

 

She clenched her fist and tried to scream. But Amelie touched Milena’s shoulder.

 

“Milena. Calm down.”

 

“Please don’t stop me. You have to be really angry at times like this.”

 

“If you yell, people will come and I can’t use magic.”

 

“Yes?”

 

Milena looked back at Amelie. Amelie’s expression was different from usual. The eyes staring at the window where Mrs. Willow was standing were quite sharp.

 

“Sir Chad! Please watch around!”

 

“What are you going to do?”

 

“If she doesn’t want to come down, I can just jump in!”

 

If it were another time, she would have made a promise later, but now things were a little urgent. Amelie murmured the spell and rolled her feet.

 

With a light noise, the ground under Amelie soared into the air. In a blink of an eye, a two-floor earthen pillar was formed. 

 

‘Is a witch’s magic really instantaneous?’

 

Renia only blinked in surprise. It wasn’t the first time she’d seen Amelie use her magic, but she was astonished every time she saw her. Even the wizards, who are considered to be the best in terms of skills, couldn’t use  magic as naturally as Amelie did.

 

Amelie knocked on the window. At the sudden sound, Mrs. Willow opened the window.

 

“H, how can you be here!”

 

She was surprised to find Amelie there. This is the 2nd floor, so how?

 

“Mrs. Willow, thank you for opening the window. Excuse me.”

 

Amelie walked into the room. Mrs. Willow was so surprised that she couldn’t kick Amelie out and stepped back.

 

Amelie closed the door first.

 

Bang. 

 

When the door was closed without touching it in front of her eyes, Mrs. Willow turned pale.

 

“Guard, I’m going to report it to the guard!”

 

“I’m sorry if I surprised you. There’s something I have to ask you.”

 

Amelie closed the window. Mrs. Willow shook her shoulders at the window that was closed even though she hadn’t touched it.

 

“You don’t look good, let’s sit down first.”

 

Amelie magically pulled a chair and let Mrs. Willow sit. After that, she brought a chair to sit on.

 

“What is this—”

 

Mrs. Willow doubted her eyes. She can’t believe everything comes at once. She can’t believe this magical situation. She knew women who performed magic with their fingertips.

 

“You’re a witch, aren’t you?”

 

“You recognized me right away.”

 

“It’s taboo now, but when I was young, I used to get help.”

 

Mrs. Willow’s mother also said that she was helped by a witch when giving birth to her. Growing up, she has been told that she’s so healthy because the witch blessed her. It was unimaginable now, but it is said that witches were common back then.

 

“Why is a witch by His Majesty’s side? What is it that makes you so curious about this fuss?”

 

Amelie was nervous about her question. When she asked the question, she felt strangely nervous.

 

“What did you see on hunting day 10 years ago?”

 

“…Nothing happened.”

 

Mrs. Willow replied calmly. But Amelie saw her shaking for a short moment.

 

“Please be honest, I’m here to get things done.”

 

She shut her mouth and turned her head away.

 

“Have you never had a question while working at the Imperial Palace? Why do people suddenly get weird? Why is the ground rotting?”

 

If she had worked in the imperial palace for 50 years, she couldn’t help but know.

 

“You said His Majesty is a monster, right?”

 

“….”

 

“Do you have any idea about what happened to him?”

 

“That’s—”

 

Mrs. Willow was speechless. Her wrinkled face was distorted into pain. She trembled, covering her mouth with her hands. After becoming a maid of the imperial palace in her teens for decades. The painful memories from her heart came to mind one by one.

 

When she first became a maid, the senior maid made a request. There is a monster living in the imperial palace, so she told him to keep her mind straight and not blame anyone.

 

At first, she thought it was just a way to scare the newbie.

 

But before a year passed, she saw the monster.

 

While she was sleeping, she suddenly woke up. Her surroundings were as quiet as dead, and there was a strange sense of uneasiness. She casually looked out her window. 

 

There stood someone who lived in the next room.

 

‘Are you going to meet your lover again?’

 

She didn’t think it was strange, because her coworker used to secretly go out on late night dates with the knights. She was looking at the back of her roommate, thinking vaguely of how envious hse was, until she saw a thick black mist clinging to the dark silhouette.

 

At that moment, chills crawled all over her body and fear rushed in. As if running away, she returned to her bed and rolled her blanket tightly around herself.

 

‘W, what is that?’

 

While shaking, the morning came. And she heard that someone killed several knights last night when it was foggy.

 

The memories were so scary and terrible that she wanted to run away, but she couldn’t stop working due to family circumstances.

 

She worked hard. On foggy days, she locked herself in the room and covered herself with a blanket and didn’t take a step out. The next day, the fog would surprisingly be cleared, and tragic news was delivered without fail.

 

She struggled to forget the memory of the night. But strangely enough, it was gradually piled up and forgotten.

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