As Cordelia scrambled out of her chair, Tiren cut her off.

“Look at what happened earlier, what would you do if something like that happened again?”

“Then isn’t it even more reason for you to be with us? The kid I went after was a magician.
Leaving us behind might be more dangerous.”

“……Wait, what does that mean?”

Cordelia saw Noah and Tiren’s expressions grow serious and realized her mistake.
Oh, it was something to be worried about.

“Why didn’t you mention that first?”

“I was going to! But when I saw that guy, I was so surprised that I forgot about it.”

“Oh my… What is this nonsense again?”

Feeling as though she was being scrutinized by two pairs of eyes that saw her as a troublemaker, Cordelia couldn’t help but feel unfairly accused.
I mean, seriously, as if she intentionally summoned a magician!

“We might have to report this.
Are you saying an unauthorized magician is within the country?”

“When have there ever been just one or two of those magicians? It’s quite common around the border areas.”

“Of course, but…”

The existence of such magicians was a material that could be used to keep the temple, which held a monopoly on magic, in check.
Even the royal family was somewhat complicit in ignoring it.
While it was based on the assumption that it was possible due to the border areas, the reality was different.

“I understand what you’re thinking, but don’t report it yet.
If you do, we’ll surely have to turn everything upside down.
Do you want to stir up a hornet’s nest?”

It was a pragmatic conclusion, and though true, Noah’s emphasis on Cordelia as the primary concern held weight.
While suppressing a sigh, Tiren reluctantly agreed.

“First, explain the situation.
What happened?”

* * *

Cordelia dashed toward the boy, pushing him down onto the ground.
As a crimson glint appeared in the boy’s eyes, the sharp tip of a dagger was pointed right in front of his face.

“Don’t move.
If you try anything funny, I’ll stab you.”

The kid’s eyes, despite her confident words, held a rather fierce edge.
When the boy fell silent, regarding her in a scrutinizing manner, she added gently, 

“Magicians aren’t without weaknesses, are they?”

When Linus had come to inform them that she was part of the scouting party, she had shared a piece of knowledge with them.

‘Magicians use magic through magical power.
Usually, it’s an inherent trait, so one must have the aptitude to become a magician.’

Linus raised Cordelia’s hand, covering one eye with her palm.
Her gaze was serious as she stared at her finger, which was about a handspan away from her eye.

‘There are two ways to block magical power.
One is to use a control device made of a special metal, and the other is to damage the eyes, which are the source of magical power.’


‘Yes, since they’re the focal points for containing magical power, damaging them interferes with the ability to use magic.
So, don’t go around telling people outside about this.
Whew, just thinking that I’m leaking classified information makes me shiver.’

Linus’ nonchalant face belied her words, yet Cordelia could read the unease beneath her gaze.
Instead of mentioning it, she exaggeratedly clapped her hands, as if applauding her.

‘Wow, but can you tell me about all that?’

‘Of course not.’

Linus, who hesitated for a moment, soon opened her mouth.

‘Considering how things turned out like this because of magic, and since you’re involved, there’s a chance magic could be connected to your situation someday.
There’s no easy-to-exploit vulnerability because it’s a weakness.
But generally, magicians tend to be arrogant and underestimate ordinary people, so if they find a weakness, they might be able to control them.

Still, Cordelia instinctively nodded in response to the advice to avoid risky actions and to rely on those around her unless it was truly dangerous.
Soon, she would need to promise to listen to nagging and keep the dagger with her.

No, but really, she didn’t expect things to escalate this quickly.
Her heart pounded loudly.

Should she attack before her opponent could use magic, or should she stab that eye? As she stared down at her tense opponent, the boy let out a low chuckle.
Despite the dagger’s tip right in front of him, he showed no sign of tension whatsoever.

“It seems you know what my weakness is.
Still, you’re quite fearless.”

“I don’t like being dragged around like this.
It’s not pleasant.”

Considering that she was dealing with a child’s physique and that Noah was believed to be strong, Cordelia was a bit taken aback.
If he truly was a magician, he could easily knock her unconscious and take her away, yet the fact that he hadn’t done so played into her judgment that he didn’t seem intent on hurting her.

Despite her heart that kept racing, Cordelia worked hard to keep her expression steady.

“And to be honest.”

Taking a deep, quiet breath, Cordelia continued.

“Regardless of whoever your employer is, isn’t it quite uncool to invite people like this? If they wanted to meet someone like me or the lady, they should’ve sent an invitation.
If they can afford to hire a magician, they must have plenty of money.
Could they not invest a bit for something like that?”

Do they even know how many banquet invitations she receives every month? And even among them, she only responds to the most courteously worded requests.
These naive ones couldn’t even get an audience with the Duke, so where do they get off trying to act so entitled?!

Cordelia swallowed the rest of what she wanted to say and glared at the boy.

“We’re staying at the ﹤Flador﹥ Inn.
We won’t run away or hide, so have some manners and come visit properly!”

As she retorted with a series of sharp words, the boy suddenly burst into laughter.
Seeing his face contort into fits of insane laughter, Cordelia couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.
Maybe he had gone mad all of a sudden.

“No, really… Now that I see up close, I understand.”

The boy, who had been feeling around Cordelia’s vicinity, suddenly clenched onto something invisible.
His gesture seemed like he was holding onto something thin, and Cordelia was taken aback.

No, could it be…?

“Hey, don’t take your hand off!”

As the blade came closer, the boy released his grip and met Cordelia’s trembling gaze.

“I understand.”


“I’ll send you off as you suggested.
So, could you step back a bit?”

Wait, did he mean he was going to let them go like this?

Cordelia, who had been hesitating, stepped back without letting her guard down.
The boy immediately got up from his seat.
At his gesture, the noise once again rushed into her ears.

“Then, I’ll take my leave.”

Looking at the boy who turned with a polite tone, Cordelia blinked without realizing it.
No, wait a moment.

He’s taller than she thought…

She hadn’t seen wrong.
He’s still petite, but he’s definitely not a child, no matter how she looks at it. 

After blinking again, the figure that was presumed to be the boy was already gone.
Cordelia, who had been stupidly staring at the spot for a while, absentmindedly sheathed her dagger at her waist.

And then, she screamed.

“Oh, right.
My money!”

* * *

“So, I never found my purse after all.
Ah, thinking about it again makes me so frustrated.”

As Cordelia finished explaining, Noah, who had been serious all the while, added his words.

“If that’s the case, then the person who sent that magician was probably Duke Persique.
The way those men tried to take me away matched his style.”

“What? Wait, so someone was after you too?”

“Yes, that boy seemed to be a decoy.”

“Just hold on a moment.
That means the person took an unauthorized magician to the palace!”

Cordelia, now with a serious expression, was lightly rebutted by Tiren.

“No, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that.
This place borders a duchy, so it’s understandable if he was escorting the duke for his safety.
It’s a lawless area, after all.”

“That can’t be true!”

“Yes, I know.
It’s just that such excuses are possible.”

As Cordelia was about to say something more, there was a smart knock on the door.
The three of them exchanged glances immediately.
Noah, the owner of the room, raised his voice to ask.

“What’s the matter?”

“A man came and delivered a letter.
He left a message saying it was as promised.
Would you like to see it?”


Tiren, who was in front of the door, received a letter from the guards and checked its contents.
At first glance, it seemed like a normal invitation.
Seeing the seal of the Persique family below it, Tiren clicked his tongue softly.
Moreover, the date was set for tomorrow at noon.

“Well, they certainly have quick action.”

“What should we do?”

“Shouldn’t you go? They sent a formal invitation from their side, so if something happens to us, we’ll have the leverage to protest.
At the very least, they won’t be able to evade responsibility, so it shouldn’t be too risky.
The Duchy tends to stick to neutrality, they probably wouldn’t want to risk a war.”

Tiren turned to Cordelia with a surprised expression.
It was as if a mother bird was looking at its grown chick flying for the first time, with an expression that seemed to say, “I didn’t know you could do that.” In response to his expression that seemed to question if she could come up with such a plan, Cordelia mumbled dazedly.

“I’ve been a socialite for 12 years, come on.
Do you think I couldn’t handle it like this?”

“Well, I only met you at the reception, so it’s only natural.”

“Oh, right….”

“Still, you showed the audacity to openly slap someone’s cheek back then, and now you’ve learned to hide your claws.”

“What? Were you there too back then? Wait, when did all this happen exactly… And there was a reason for everything.
If anyone hears about it, they’ll think I go around beating people up.”

Casting a sidelong glance at Noah, Cordelia was relieved to see that he didn’t seem particularly surprised.
While Cordelia was sighing in relief, Tiren gave her a sharp look.

“Or should we decline? What’s your opinion?”

“It probably doesn’t matter, but somehow I don’t think it’ll end with that.”

That was true.
Just thinking about what happened a moment ago, it seemed like there was a rather stubborn aspect to the situation.
It might be better to deal with it quickly.

“I have a few traps that offer some resistance against magic, so I’ll give those to you.
Will the two of you go for now?”

“You’re not coming with us?”

“The Duke recognizes my face.
If he sees me, he’ll realize that this problem is more serious than he initially thought.
He’s clever enough to figure it out just by looking.”

“Were you really in such an important position?”

“Aren’t you being a bit too forward with your assumptions?”

Despite that, Tiren, who seemed unperturbed, chuckled and spoke to the two of them.

“Now that we’re out of harm’s way, get some rest.
I’ll be right back.”

Before Noah could say anything, he briskly left the room.

“No, why did you bring me out?!”

He tightly held onto Cordelia’s arm.

Grumbling, Tiren, who had brought Cordelia out to the alleyway outside the inn, looked around.
After confirming that there were no signs of people, he grabbed Cordelia’s shoulders, and said earnestly,

“Lady, you surely haven’t done anything to the child, have you?”

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