Volume 4, Chapter 31: Search for the Criminal

“T-The liver’s been stolen –”

“– what do you mean!?”

Alice was sleeping beside me but quickly shot up when Eric burst into the room.

“A-Alice is here? E-Excuse me. I should’ve knocked.”

Eric blushed and averted his eyes. Alice was wearing a thin negligee that had started to slip off her shoulders, exposing the top of her chest.

I grabbed Alice’s arm and forced her beneath the covers before returning my attention to Eric.

“So, what do you mean the liver was stolen?”

“Well, actually –”

Eric stared off into space and told us about what happened.

According to him, the knight that was on morning patrol discovered Seth on the ground in his workshop.

“Is Seth okay?”

“He has a head injury but seems like he’ll be fine. The knight was able to wake him up without issue, but after searching his workshop, they found that the liver was missing.”

“Is that so….”

It’s good that Seth is okay, but without that liver, he won’t be able to make the medicine. I immediately fell into despair.

“I’m sorry. This is all my fault.”

Eric gave me a deep bow.

There was a lot I wanted to say, but I held it all in. What’s most important right now is deciding what we should do.

“Did he see who stole it?”

“As soon as he’s been looked over, I was planning on asking him. I wanted you to be there when I did.”

“…okay. Have you…told Sophia?”

“No…. Do you think it would be better to tell her?”

“I’m not sure…. Let’s hear what Seth has to say first.”

Sophia was overjoyed when she thought we’d be able to save Elyse. I don’t want to tell her the liver was stolen unless I have to.

Depending on what Seth knows, we may be able to recover it.

“All right, I’ll leave her to you then. I’ll be heading to Seth’s office. There will be a servant waiting outside for you when you’re ready.”

“Okay, I’ll get dressed right away.”

Alice and I got dressed and washed our faces before heading to Seth’s office.

When we arrived, Eric and Seth were already speaking to each other and Seth’s office had been ransacked.

“We’re here.”

“Then we can get started.”

We walked over to Eric as he started questioning Seth.

“Now then, Seth, please, tell me what happened here.”

“Of course. Last night, I was working on drying out the liver and I was also handling some other minor tasks. As I was absorbed in my work I heard something behind. When I turned around, there was a man standing there wearing a mask.”

“…I see. Did you learn anything about this man?”

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“I’m very sorry. He knocked me out before I could even try to fight back. I couldn’t tell you who it was.”

“I see…. Is there anything else you can tell else.”

“I’m sorry but no. It all happened so fast.”

Eric looked disappointed as he turned to us. Seth wasn’t able to tell us anything useful.

“Is there anything you can think to ask him?”

“Let’s see…. I know you said it happened fast, but do you remember how tall this person was?”

“Umm…yeah, actually, he was about the same height as me and he had an average build.”

A man of average height and build. That doesn’t help much, but…I have a strange feeling about this.

“This man…did he have blonde hair and blue eyes?”

Eric held his breath as he waited for Seth’s answer. Most of their noble relatives would have blonde hair and blue eyes.

“…I could see his eyes through the mask, but…I’m not sure if they were blue.”

“Okay….”

I glanced over at Alice who was looking at me. She seems to be thinking the same thing.

“L-Leon, what was the meaning of that question? You can’t possibly suspect a member of the Sfir family is behind this.”

“Ah, no, I’m thinking it may be someone else. Someone that holds a grudge against me.”

It’s the same man that Crane told me to watch out for. Patrick.

There’s one thing that stands out to be about this more than anything else.

Why would this thief steal the liver? To the average person, the leaves of the World Tree would appear to just be normal leaves, the earth dragon claw may draw interest but could be mistaken for the claw of a large animal, and the liver could be a liver from any animal.

Yet, this person only stole the liver. There has to be a reason for this and there’s only one that comes to mind.

After what happened with Max and Melissa, the entire country would know that the Grances family wanted the liver of a Lyk Skull Bear. If there was someone that wanted revenge against me, stealing the liver would make sense.

“So, who is this person?”

“Patrick.”

“Patrick? Wasn’t he disowned by the Rodwell family? Would he even possess the means to get revenge on you?”

“…he’d be able to do it on his own.”

Patrick can use magic. Even without any money or power, he’d be capable of breaking in and stealing the liver.

But I didn’t know where Seth’s office was until yesterday. If Patrick didn’t know where the liver was being kept, he’d have to search the entire grounds for it.

That must mean….

“I hate even suggesting this, but I believe there may be someone working for him within the mansion.”

“Who would do that…? But it does make sense. How else would he know where to look for the liver.”

“It’s possible he knows someone with increased senses like you and used them to find the liver, but…that doesn’t seem likely.

“Yeah. It’s regrettable, but it seems likely that there’s a traitor within the mansion.”

Eric said this to Alice then shifted his gaze to me.

“Leon, every second counts right now. I want to use Sophia’s ability to help find the traitor…. Are you okay with that?”

“I think we have to….”

In order to use Sophia’s ability, we’ll have to tell her that the liver has been stolen. I wanted to avoid that if at all possible, but…it would be worse for her if we lost our only chance to recover it.

“All right. I’ll tell Sophia what’s happened and ask her to use her ability. Eric, can you gather all of the servants?”

“Sure, I’ll gather everyone in the courtyard. And also…Seth?”

Eric called out to Seth but there was no reply. We looked over at him to see he was deep in thought.

“Seth, what’s wrong?”

“Eh? Oh, excuse me, I was just wondering if it would be possible to make the medicine without the liver.”

“…what? Could you actually do that?”

“I’m just thinking it may be possible. The leaves and claw should have some effect on their own. Even if it doesn’t heal her complete, it should still help her some.”

“Okay then. See if that will work.”

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“Of course.”

We separated after leaving Seth’s office. Alice and I went to find Sophia.

We found her eating breakfast with Milli in the dining room.

“Ah, Leon onii-chan, everyone seems to be in a hurry. What’s going on?”

“Actually…. Please, remain calm and listen to what I have to say. The liver has been stolen.”

“– what do you mean it has been stolen!?”

Sophia slammed her hands down on the table as she stood up.

“I’ll telly ou what’s happened. Just remain calm.”

“How can I be calm!? Without the liver, we won’t be able to save Mother! Why are you acting like everything’s okay!?”

“Sophia, calm down. Leon is just as worried as you are, but we need to keep calm so we can find the liver.”

Alice chimed in. After Sophia regained her composure I continued.

“We need your ability to find the liver. Will you hear what I have to say?”

“…my ability?”

Sophia took a deep breath and sat back down in her chair.

“I’m sorry, Leon onii-chan. Can you tell me everything?”

“The thief broke into the mansion unnoticed, entered Seth’s office, and only stole the liver. We think they may have someone working for them inside the mansion.”

For the time being, I’m going to hold off from mentioning Patrick’s name.

If I were to tell Sophia now, I doubt she’d be able to stay calm. Besides, as long as we don’t know he’s actually involved, there’s no point in mentioning his name.

“So you want me to use my ability to find the traitor?”

“…yes. It may be hard for you, but are you okay with doing it?”

The people in the mansion may become scared of her if they know she can read their feelings. On top of that, reading another person’s feelings may affect her mind as it did before.

Honestly, I don’t want to put such strain on her, but…Sophia nodded immediately.

“Everyone is doing whatever they can to help Mother so I must do the same. I’ll read everyone’s feelings and definitely get the liver back!”

“…I understand. Eric has gathered everyone in the courtyard. Let’s go there.”

Every person within the mansion was gathered in the courtyard. Knights and servants all stood in rows before us. Sophia questioned all of them — but there was no traitor among them.

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