Chapter 24: When I Returned to the Royal Capital… (Otou-sama’s POV)
When I returned to the Royal Capital, I went to the guard’s headquarters and then went home. Sadly, I couldn’t bring Lei back with me even though Luke and the other people in the mansion are looking forward to seeing her. I rode the Rug Dragon that I had gotten from Lazuli, and couldn’t control my gloomy feelings.
But the aura inside of the mansion was more depressing than I’d expected. The barn boy who had taken my dragon and the people who greeted me at the entrance all looked grave.
“Jude, did everyone already receive information about the search for Lei?”
“Yes. The guards reported it. But that information was only relayed to Luke-sama and a portion of the staff.”
“Then why is the mansion so depressing?”
Jude is the head butler. He mainly manages the accounts and my social life. Sebas manages the estate. Where’s Sebas?
Luke ran down from the second floor. Poor thing, his face looked terrible as if he had been completely worn out these past few days. His magic flow had also stagnated.
I opened up my arms and hugged Luke as he came running.
“Luke, Luke, it was useless. She was within my reach, but I couldn’t bring her back.”
“So Lei really is gone! But I couldn’t believe what the guards had reported! I didn’t want to believe it until I heard it from Otou-sama!”
“I’m so sorry, Luke.”
Luke was always calm and quiet, but he was weeping like a typical 11-year-old child. My heart hurt just like when I was forced to let Lei go. My lips began to tremble.
However, my miserable self had already wept too much at that time. I had no more tears to shed even for myself.
I hugged him until he calmed down and continued to rub his back.
“Master,” there was a movement where the servants were, and Jude called me quietly.
“A guard is here. Guards were investigating the mansion while you were chasing Leila-sama. I have the report.”
“So you know who the culprit is?”
“That’s-,” Jude hesitated, but then he stated clearly, “The suspicion is on Sebas.”
“What did you say?”
At the same time, Luke jumped in my arms. It seems like Luke knows about this.
This was the third time. I got irritated.
“Sebas is currently missing.”
“What did you say?!”
Didn’t he just get caught by the criminals? Even now, I don’t think that he’s the culprit.
“Furthermore, his things are gone, everything that had monetary value including his savings.”
“The guards can give you a detailed report, but Sebas was the one who hired Hannah. We have enough workers here. But Sebas concluded that the servants here were too bias against Leila-sama.”
“I know about that. But why is he a suspect?”
“The guards concluded that Sebas had intended to kidnap Leila-sama from the start, and that’s why he’d hired new personnel.”
I see. I get the situation now. Jude didn’t want to believe this either, but he was compelled to.
“When did Sebas disappear?”
“On the day Master went to chase after Leila-sama, people saw him going to Hannah’s parents’ house while looking very pale. Then, the next day, he said that he needed to rest because he was in shock. Just like that……”
“He was gone?”
Luke grabbed my clothes while still in my arms and looked up at me.
“Sebas didn’t do it! Sebas definitely didn’t do it!”
“But, Luke-sama. The truth is that Hannah did kidnap Leila-sama,” Jude reprimanded Luke. The heir of a Marquis must always remain calm. I was also told this while growing up.
“Fine. I’ll speak with the guard.”
I crouched down and looked into Luke’s eyes.
“Luke, can you stop crying and arguing?”
Luke was startled, he rubbed his eyes with his sleeves even though he probably had a handkerchief in his pocket. For some reason, that gesture reminded me of Lei, and my heart ached.
“Luke will also be present while I talk to the guard.”
“But, Luke-sama is still-.”
“Luke has the right to know.”
His eyes and nose were still red, but he had straightened himself out and was completely different from the crying mess from just minutes ago. I didn’t intend to keep him away from the truth just because he was young.
“Luke, take my hand.”
“Jude, got to my office once you’ve calmed down a little.”
I saw Jude leave from the corner of my eyes after I instructed him to prepare a light meal and snacks; then I held Luke’s hand as we headed to the office. I wanted to change, but I can do that later.
“I heard that Hannah kidnapped Lei,” Luke murmured.
“Lei was certainly with Hannah.”
“Why? Why did she take Lei?”
“First, calm down and listen to the guard. We’ll think about it after that.”
I squeezed Luke’s hands which were now too big to be held. I felt like I would be unable to stay in this mansion any longer if I didn’t do this because it was too big with just the both of us.