AIWTRO Chapter 154

AIWTRO Chapter 154

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It was a long walk from the Crown Prince’s audience in the Inner Palace to the dungeon.

As they entered the dungeon, the characteristic moist air greeted her. Keira lifted the hem of her skirt as she walked down the steps.

There was a clear division of status even in prison. There was a separate place for imprisoning the nobles and the criminals.

As they walked down the hallway, Keira saw the witnesses the Count had brought.

Keira didn’t look at them for a long time and passed by.

“He’s tied up… but be careful as he can still cause harm.”

The guard anxiously warned as he opened the thick iron door. Keira nodded and entered the cell.

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As the guard mentioned, Count Weinberg was tied tightly to his chair, and his head hung low.

Even though she had only seen him a while ago, he looked so exhausted that she thought he was someone else.

She could see his clothes soaked in blood. Her eyes narrowed.

‘Was he tortured?’

They tortured him, a high-ranking aristocrat, in just a few hours? Something wasn’t quite right.

Keira sat in the chair in front of him and said.

Keira: “Count Weinberg, I have a question for you.”

“…”

She didn’t come to him to ask about his well-being or mock him for failing to harm her.

Keira wanted to know. Cosette and the secrets between them.

If he promised to tell the truth, Keira planned to make a deal that she would guarantee the best possible safety for him.

‘If it’s true that he joined forces with a real demon, he would never open his mouth.’

Although the odds of success seemed low, she had to try.

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Keira calmly called him once more.

Keira: “Count Weinberg, if you’re listening, answer me.”

“…”

Keira: “Count?”

No answer. At that moment, a cold feeling crept up her back.

Something was strange. 

Keira jumped up from her seat.

Keira: “Count!”

She grabbed Isaac Weinberg’s head and tilted it upwards to see a face bleeding from the mouth. He was as white as a sheet.

“…!”

He looked like a corpse.

Keira placed a finger under his nose and couldn’t feel even a hint of a breath. The heart was the same. He didn’t have a pulse.

‘…He’s already dead.’

Seeing the large amount of blood dripping from his mouth, it seemed as if he had bitten his tongue and committed s*icide.

Blood dripped from his mouth and drenched his robe.

She didn’t take much notice a while ago because she thought it was a sign of torture.

‘He was the most promising among Ragibach’s contract candidates.’

Now that he’s dead, the difficulty of revealing the truth grew. It’s a huge loss.

Keira licked her lips and stepped outside.

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Michael asked.

Michael: “What’s going on? You don’t look well.”

Keira: “He committed s*icide.”

Michael: “What?”

Keira: “Count Weinberg. He was dead when I went in.”

“…!”

He leaned over Keira’s body and hurriedly entered the cell. After confirming Isaac’s death, she heard a scream inside.

“Aah!”

Keira pondered as she watched the investigators recover the body. As the shock subsided, she started doubting the events.

‘Why did you k*ll yourself?’

The most plausible reason was probably that he was afraid of being punished for his sins.

However, he wasn’t guilty of treason, and there was a good chance that he’d be spared the death sentence if he properly presented his status as a high-ranking nobleman.

It was strange that he had taken his own life before the investigation could even begin.

Keira asked the guard.

Keira: “When was the last time you saw the Count alive?”

“Well, that’s… when the Grand Duke stopped by here for a while.”

The guard trembled.

“Because the iron gate is thick, it is difficult to hear the sound from the outside. Besides, you can’t see inside unless you open the window on the door.”

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“…”

He looked incredibly pale. 

It would be unreasonable to question the guards about Isaac Weinberg’s s*icide.

Even so, there must be a reason why this guard was trembling so much.

Keira: “You, you’re hiding something.”

“P-pardon? N-no!”

He was terrible at acting. It was, of course, a blessing in disguise for Keira.

Hearing the guard’s voice, Michael poked his head out of the cell.

Michael: “What’s the fuss?”

Keira: “Your Highness, it seems that the next criminal who will use this cell has been decided.”

His gaze moved to the trembling guard. He looked suspicious.

Keira: “He seems to know something. Perhaps he killed the Count and disguised it as s*icide.”

Of course, the last sentence had no basis, and Keira herself didn’t think it was a convincing scenario.

Nevertheless, she said that to throw the bait.

“I-I didn’t!”

Unsurprisingly, he took the bait immediately.

“It’s nothing else… Before you two came here, Lady Cosette also came to visit.”

“You didn’t let her into the cell, did you?”

“That…”

Seeing him hesitate, he must have.

Keira quietly opened her mouth, her voice calm yet obviously angry.

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Keira: “I don’t understand. I could only visit the criminal after the Crown Prince had granted permission. But you let her in without the consent of your superiors? I don’t understand it unless you took a bribe.”

The guard didn’t bring up Cosette from the beginning probably because he’s aware that he’s done something wrong.

Besides, that wasn’t the only problem.

Keira: “Why is Cosette free to roam inside the Imperial Palace? She’s related to a criminal, shouldn’t she be detained?”

It was Michael who answered.

Michael: “That seems like my mistake. It may sound like an excuse, but since many things happened all at once, I was going to issue an order to have her detained at home.”

It was frustrating to think about what it would have been like if things had been handled quicker, but there was nothing to be done.

Keira turned to the guard and asked.

Keira: “Why did you bring Cosette here? Your life depends on your answer.”

After hesitating for a while, he answered.

“…I don’t know.”

Keira: “What?”

She thought he was bad at acting, but he was a fool, too. 

“I-I’m not lying! The guards on the ground said the same thing. As their mind went hazy, they unwittingly let her in. So did I.”

Keira: “Tell me more.”

“The moment Lady Cosette said she wanted to talk to her Uncle… I felt like it had to happen. When I came to my senses, I was already opening the cell door for her.”

“…”

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It was a story that Keira, who knew Cosette’s identity, would not shrug it off

But not Michael. To allow contact between a prisoner and an outsider for such an absurd reason?

Michael: “Do you think that makes sense?”

All he could think of was that the discipline of the palace was shoddy.

“Hiik!”

The guard was startled by the Prince’s fury and fell to his knees.

“P-please believe me! I didn’t lie. If you interrogate the guards on the ground, they will certainly give the same testimony as me.”

He tried his best to explain, but it was futile.

Michael: “Take him away.”

“Y-Your Highness! Your Highness!”

The other guards by the door dragged him out, and there was a moment of silence. Keira spoke first.

Keira: “Count Weinberg committed s*icide after Cosette visited here. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.”

The Prince merely nodded in response.

He seemed ashamed that this had happened within the Imperial Palace under his jurisdiction and that it had happened because of his own negligence.

Michael: “……But I wonder. Isn’t Count Weinberg her relative?”

Keira: “Nevertheless, there must have been a reason why he had to die. For example, she was afraid that he would say something he shouldn’t say during the interrogation.”

For example, things about demons, black magic, and contracts. Secrets that would cause an irreversible situation if words leaked out.

However, if Keira told him what she thought, he would probably think she’s insane. 

Hiding her thoughts, Keira said. 

Keira: “During the hearing, she acted like she wasn’t aware of the Count’s schemes… Maybe she wasn’t acting at all.”

Michael: “Was she silent for fear that we might discover that she was involved in this?”

Keira: “Yes, it seems so.”

Michael: “If that’s true, then she’s a reckless fool. She got rid of her protector in a day…”

Still stunned, he continued.

Michael: “Besides, if it is known that she had visited the Count before he committed s*icide, wouldn’t people suspect that she was silent because she had a secret to hide?”

You’re a fool, a complete fool. Michael muttered.

Of course, the secret that Cosette wanted to hide wasn’t that she was involved in today’s affairs.

However, it would be advantageous for Keira if the Crown Prince, who had doubts, would investigate more thoroughly.

Keira: “Now that you’ve ordered to have her detained, she wouldn’t be able to remove additional evidence.”

Michael: “But she can get rid of the evidence at home.”

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With that, he gave further orders.

After kicking out all of the count’s servants, keep a close eye on them, and lock Cosette in the room so she wouldn’t have any chance to move or touch anything.

It was as expected. She couldn’t ask for more unless they found traces of black magic in the Count’s house.

But it was then.

The stairs to the dungeon thumped, and soon a servant appeared, almost rolling.

“B-big news! Your Highness! The Marquis of Edinburgh…!”