Chapter 19.
Marianne, What Else Did You See?

“Don’t talk nonsense when you don’t even know anything! For a mere woman, what do you know? I’ve worked here for about seven years! I know more than you! You just have to do what I tell you to do.
Got it?”

 

He shouted furiously as if he would devour Marianne at any time.
Maxim hated this situation where she invaded his territory.
Objecting to his opinion was included as well.

 

Kristoff, who had been quiet as if he was an outsider until then, stepped forward.
He was a man of great presence in any sense.
Just because of his movement, the eyes in the room immediately turned toward him.

 

Kristoff, who had been through all sorts of hardships at the court, knew instinctively when to speak up.
Marianne, Maxim, and the middle-aged woman’s eyes were all directed upon him.

 

He only parted his lips when the tension in the room reached its peak after having been silent.

 

“Who is this guy?”

 

Kristoff pointed his chin at Maxim.
At that moment, Maxim frowned at his arrogant attitude.

 

“Does this guy not know that you graduated from the Law Major in the Royal College?”

 

Marianne stared at the two alternately with a nervous gaze.
Maxim glared at Kristoff with his cold gaze.

 

“You must have thought the field is the same as the theory you learn at school, you bet.
The crime doesn’t take a smooth turn.
And who are you to stay in the crime scene? Aren’t you a rookie who doesn’t even know basic common sense? That outsiders are not permitted to enter the scene.”

 

Chuckle.

 

Kristoff chuckled lightly upon hearing the word rookie.
His smile was a somewhat spine-chilling one.

 

He held out his right hand leisurely.
Maxim, who flinched, looked at Kristoff’s hand.

 

“My name is Kristoff Schneider.”

 

“Schneider?”

 

In an instant, Maxim’s expression stiffened.

 

In Blauberg, Schneider’s surname has more influence than one could imagine.
It wasn’t strange, given the fact that this entire territory belonged to the Schneider Family.

 

Moreover, Kristoff Schneider’s name was famous in other ways.
The fact that Marquis Schneider’s grandson was the most famous lawyer in the capital was the most common talk among people in Blauberg.

 

Even the trial results he was in charge of were conveyed to Blauberg in real time.
People were cheering and proud of his victory.

 

“I-I’m Maxim Francke.”

 

Maxim held his hand as if possessed.
Kristoff shook his hands lightly and took a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his hands.
As if he had touched something nasty.

 

Gracious heaven!

 

Marianne sighed, meanwhile Maxim was embarrassed and his face became red.
However, Kristoff remained calm.


 

“I’m in charge of legal consulting for the Blauberg Police Agency from today, but I guess you haven’t heard about it yet.
I was waiting for the personnel appointment to be issued, so you’ll probably hear about me when you return to the National Police Agency.”

 

Marianne’s eyes widened at his remark.

 

“How……!”

 

Kristoff, who looked at her, replied with an expression that spoke as if it wasn’t a big deal.

 

“I used the same method as you.”

 

Marquis Schneider.

 

Marianne closed her eyes tightly.
The Marquis’ words, when he said he cared for her more than anyone else, but would take Kristoff’s side during the crucial moment, came to her mind.

 

I think you’re favoring Kristoff too much, My Lord.

 

“By the way, Sir Kristoff Schneider, why are you here…..”

 

Maxim looked alternately at Kristoff and Marianne with a suspicious gaze.
She stared at the stairs in front of her to avoid Maxim’s gaze.

 

Instead of answering him, Kristoff threw his gaze at the dead body.
He didn’t even blink when looking at the horrible sight of the dead body in front of him.
He brought his gaze to Maxim again.

 

Maxim somehow felt like he was pulled back.
The cold atmosphere put him on eggshells.
He involuntarily straightened his back.

 

However, he also got a position.
Regardless of being the successor of the Marquis Schneider, he couldn’t back down easily.

 

This was his territory.
The castle which Maxim Francke has built bit by bit for over seven years.

 

Kristoff spoke up first when he was about to say something.

 

“Marianne.”

 

“……”

 

“Tell me everything you’re thinking about this.
Don’t mind the guy who just barks like a wild dog.”

 

Kristoff stood straight and folded his arms.
Maxim’s face reddened even more.
Glancing at his face, Marianne spoke slowly with a thoughtful expression.

 

“He said she hit the back of her head on the stairs when she fell, but there are no blood stains anywhere on the stairs.
Furthermore, the wound is wide and obtuse, as if she had been hit by a blunt instrument rather than hitting the corner of the stairs.”

 

“Ukh.”

 

Maxim hurriedly examined the body after groaning lowly.
She was right.
Great frustration was displayed on Maxim’s face.


 

Meanwhile, Marianne’s voice shook the quiet air once again.

 

“There is a small amount of blood on the victim’s fingernails, but it doesn’t seem to be the victim’s.
If she just touched the wound, her nails would be smeared with a lot more than this amount of blood.
Not just on her nails, but on her whole hand.”

 

“All right.”

 

Kristoff, who nodded with a satisfied expression, glanced at Maxim as if showing off her skill.
Maxim crumpled his face upon his smug expression as if bragging about his smart child.

 

“I-I also have already examined that much! However, that much doesn’t prove it wasn’t an accident!”

 

Kristoff hated knobheads.
He hated stubborn people even more.
However, the person he hated the most was someone who was foolish and stubborn.
Maxim is the perfect example of that kind of person.

 

He eyed Marianne.
One of his crooked eyebrows straightened.

 

“What else do you see, Marianne?”

 

“Although the wound is big, the blood smeared on the carpet is less than there should be.
That means……”

 

She looked at Kristoff quietly for a moment, as if organizing her thoughts.

 

“Does that mean she was moved here from somewhere else? Why?”

 

Kristoff was the most surprised in the room despite not showing any sign of it.
Her explanation was logical and reasonable.
Also, it was valid.

 

“I’m not sure.”

 

Kristoff, who looked at the middle-aged woman as if he had already guessed it, remained silent with a calm look on his face.
The next moment, he hunched with one knee bent.

 

And lifted the carpet.
The white floor was exposed.

 

“Dust is piled up under the carpet.
The carpet wasn’t supposed to be here in the first place.
You’re right, Marianne.
The body was moved here with the carpet.
And.”

 

Stretching his back slowly, he threw a serious look at the woman who was standing in front of the kitchen.

 

“If the blood on the victim’s fingernails is not hers, there remains one answer.”

 

“The perpetrator?”

 

She followed Kristoff’s gaze whilst answering nonchalantly.
Then, he noticed who was at the end of it and seemed shocked.

 

Kristoff smiled faintly at the sight and murmured to himself in a low voice.

 

“You don’t know how cruel a good person can be sometimes.”

 

She hoped that she would never know.

 

Marianne looked at the middle-aged woman, her pupils were shaking.
A woman who was the victim’s mother.

 

“Tsk.”

 

Clicking his tongue slowly, Maxim approached her.
Without asking for her consent, he rolled up her arms in a rude manner.
The struggling and rebelling woman was held against her will, for her sleeves to be pushed up.

 

“……”

 

Her arms were clean.

 

“Ha.”

 

Maxim looked at Kristoff with a sneer on his face.
Kristoff’s eyebrows twitched.
At that moment a shady smile slid across Maxim’s lips, a boy stuck his head out of the kitchen.

 

In an instant, Maxim’s expression disappeared from his face.
The middle-aged woman who followed his gaze grasped Maxim’s arm urgently.

 

“I did it, I……! I accidentally hit Mary.
I killed Mary!”

 

His sharp voice sounded like a desperate scream.
The silence that followed her cry was much more serene yet colder than before.

 

He doesn’t live as a police officer with meritorious deeds.
Seven years of using his intuition has pulled him out of his shell.
And in this case, his intuition was right a hundred times out of a hundred.

 

Maxim shook off the woman who grabbed his arm and walked toward the boy.
The boy shrugged his shoulders, as if frightened by Maxim’s body who was approaching him.

 

He grabbed the boy by the arms without saying anything.

 

“KYAA!”

 

The boy screamed as if he was frightened.
Marianne unconsciously approached him.

 

“Maxim! He……!”

 

However, Maxim was one beat faster than her.
He rolled up the boy’s sleeve immediately.

 

“……”

 

Her feet suddenly came to a halt.
There were two reddened lines on his small forearm.
Blood seeped out, sharp marks to be precise.

 

Thud!

 

The middle-aged woman knelt in her place.
Maxim held the body of the violently struggling boy, and he finally burst into tears.

 

“Let’s hear the details at the police station.”

 

Maxim notified in a domineering manner.
The middle-aged woman closed her eyes tightly with a sorrowful expression, meanwhile Marianne stood there and looked at the boy.

 

“Huhu! Mother! Mother!”

 

The little boy was crying in utter terror.

 

“Mother! I’m scared! I don’t want to go! Mother! HUAA!”

 

How could he express this feeling?

 

It was different from resentment.
It was also different from embarrassment.
Even less than compassion…… No, it was a mix of resentment, embarrassment, and compassion.

 

“Marianne.”

 

Kristoff approached her and called her name.
Marianne didn’t know what kind of expression she had to put on her face.

 

Kristoff stared at her with his deeply subdued eyes.
He wanted to hug Marianne by the shoulder.
He wished to hold her in his arms and gave a pat on her back.

 

However, he couldn’t.
At this moment, Kristoff was keenly aware of what he’d lost.

 

He was no longer the man Marianne loved.
He didn’t deserve to embrace her.

 

D*mn it.

 

Quiet curses slipped through Kristoff’s teeth.
He didn’t want to give other men what he didn’t have.
Kristoff stared into the air with icy eyes and clenched his empty fists.

 

It had to be brought back.
Her heart that left him.

 

***

 

“That man, doesn’t he like you?”

 

At that question, Marianne’s eyes followed Kristoff’s.
There was Maxim at the end of his gaze.
Maxim Francke, who seemed to be somewhat furious.

 

Marianne frowned, as if she heard nonsense.
Voice laced with displeasure slipped out through her teeth.

 

“Why on earth do you think so? Didn’t you see that Maxim was dying to slaughter me, Kristoff?”

 

Marianne glanced at him with a look as if saying it was impossible.
Kristoff missed the right timing to answer because he was busy savoring his name that came out through her lips.

 

He wasn’t a fantasizer, but that moment was quite romantic for him.
She made him like that simply by calling his name, Kristoff.

 

Not the successor to Marquis Schneider, nor a high-profile lawyer, but simply Kristoff Schneider.
What should he name this emotion? Too obsequious to be considered possessive, but also too sweet to be considered obsession.

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