AIWTRO Side Story 3

AIWTRO Side Story 3

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Arthur: “It’s not me! It’s not!”

Arthur retorted as he found the accusation unjust.

Arthur: “Why is everyone looking for me first?”

Keira: “Oh… It’s really not you?”

Arthur: “Really! I didn’t even have time to go near the central plaza because I was busy attending to the people who passed out yesterday!”

Keira: “Oh my, sorry.”

From what Keira heard, they looked for the jewel as soon as it went missing.

They’re usually good at that.

Keira patted Arthur’s drooping shoulder a few times to comfort him.

Then, all of a sudden, a question crossed her mind. 

If Arthur didn’t do it… Who in the world could have caused such a major accident?

Keira immediately asked.

Keira: “Then, who’s the culprit?”

She looked around the crowd, but everyone avoided her gaze.

Keira: “Who is it? Why won’t you answer?”

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Could it be that the culprit wasn’t here? Maybe someone left the gem here to accuse the Parvis family…

Just as that thought came to mind, someone from behind pulled the hem of Keira’s clothes. When she turned around, she saw Zeke looking sullen.

Zeke: “… It’s actually me.”

Keira: “You? Really?”

Zeke: “Y-yeah…”

Keira: “Oh my gosh.”

Keira sighed. It hurt to see him so guilty that he couldn’t even make eye contact.

She was certain he didn’t steal it on purpose, and it must have been a mistake… How restless and nervous must he have been?

Keira asked, her tone sad.

Keira: “Zeke, how did you get this?”

Arthur: “I… Your Ladyship, it seems that your attitude has changed a little from before.”

She ignored Arthur’s comment.

Keira: “Tell me honestly. Only then can we solve it.”

Zeke: “Well…”

Zeke hesitated and began to explain the situation. 

Long story short, it happened after Keira passed out. The party continued after that, and Zeke said he went outside to get some fresh air after feeling tipsy.

Zeke, who was quite reluctant to take a stroll at dawn for the first time, walked out and arrived at the central square. 

It was there that he found a blue light floating in the air. He said he found it so pretty that the only thing on his mind was to take it.

Zeke: “And when I woke up in the morning… I had this in my pocket.”

“…”

It was a bit of an unconvincing explanation. However, Keira was speechless, so Reina went on to explain. 

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Reina: “So yesterday, the Young Master looked fine on the outside, but in fact, he was completely out of it. There are people like that sometimes.”

Keira: “…So, to sum up, you made a drunken mistake?”

Zeke: “Yes.”

Keira groaned at the absurd situation, and Zeke’s shoulders bunched up even more. He was almost close to tears.

The knights gathered and comforted the downcast boy.

“Milord, don’t worry too much about it.”

Zeke: “I’m sorry… I should have gotten myself together.”

“It’s the first time you’ve had so much to drink, so maybe that’s it.”

“It won’t be a problem as long as you clean up well.”

Arthur’s expression softened as he watched the scene.

Arthur: “Weren’t you all being too mean to me?”

His complaints were again ignored.

Leaving behind a bewildered Arthur, the people gathered in the lounge put their heads together and began to devise a solution.

Reina: “Well then. What matters now is how to deal with this situation.”

Keira: “Reina’s right. If you have any good ideas, let me know.”

“Hmm…”

While everyone was moaning and thinking, Joseph was the first to speak.

He stepped forward as if he had something to say, and Keira gave him the floor. 

Keira: “Right, Sir Joseph. You look like you have an idea.”

Joseph: “Things will only get worse if we hide the truth. It’s best to admit it now…”

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It was his opinion that Zeke should surrender himself as a nobleman. However, before he could finish speaking, others rejected it immediately.

“No. Rejected.”

“Think again, Sir Joseph.”

“I don’t think that’s right.”

Flustered, Joseph continued to express his opinion.

Joseph: “I don’t mean to make the young master take responsibility for everything. We all created this mess, so we should all share the responsibility.”

“No, Sir Joseph. It’s more complex. It’s not a simple matter like turning yourself in, getting punished, and finishing it neatly.”

Keira: “Right.”

Keira nodded in agreement with their objection.

Keira: “There’s another thing to consider. If this comes to light, our family will be completely disgraced.”

Joseph: “Certainly… that’s true.”

Keira: “It will definitely be humiliating. Gossip will die down someday, but…”

Her expression darkened even more.

Keira: “How could His Grace, the Grand Duke, come out knowing that the family’s name was sullied?”

“Haa…”

“Aaaah…”

“W-we’re all going to die.”

According to Emily, he even witnessed the group coming back drunk. He would have already disapproved of it, but if he had found out that a significant accident had occurred…

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Arthur: “Naturally, we’ll all be destroyed as a group, and the drinking party yesterday will be the last in this family’s history.”

Arthur said confidently. No one could argue against his convincing prediction.

“Then, we’ll have to remove the option of surrendering. Anyone else has an idea?”

Reina: “Me.”

Reina raised her hand.

Reina: “Let’s just secretly return it to its original place and come back.”

“The news has already spread all over the capital. Is it even possible to secretly return it?”

Reina: “We can sneak in when no one’s around and throw it there, then come back. The Imperial family will figure out how to put it back in. How will they know we did it?”

It was a very liberal remark considering her status as a knight.

Reina: “We didn’t do it on purpose. Can’t we just quietly return it, milady? The goddess will forgive us because she knows it was a mistake.”

Keira: “Right, we didn’t really gouge out her eyes. It’s just a statue.”

“That’s right, that’s right.”

The others began to agree.

In any case, the jewel must be returned to its original position, but the option of turning oneself in was impossible.

If so, there’s no other way but to sneak it in.

Keira: “Then raise your hand if you disagree with Dame Reina.”

“…”

“…”

Silence.

Unanimously, the future plan was decided.

Keira: “Okay. So, everyone agrees to secretly return the jewel, yes? Keep this to yourselves and take it to the grave.”

“Yes.”

No one had complaints. 

Fortunately, everyone was willing to cooperate, but now, the real problem was…

‘How do we get this back?’

Vigilance around the central plaza would be at its peak because of the sudden theft.

Would it be possible to pass through such heavy security and remain undiscovered? 

That afternoon, Keira’s worries deepened.


The next day, Keira decided to visit the site to make a more detailed plan.

They would only stand out if they all went together, so only Zeke and Joseph accompanied her.

A statue with an empty third eye stood in the middle of the plaza.

Keira had to crane her neck as hard as she could to look at the place where the gem had been. Looking at it now, the statue was quite tall.

‘No, how did you climb up there…?’

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Keira wondered how her brother managed to come back without getting caught.

She hurriedly looked away, guilt stabbing her conscience when she stared at the hole in the goddess statue’s forehead.

Looking around, she realized there were more soldiers than ordinary citizens.

Joseph whispered in her ear.

Joseph: “Looks like there are three times as many guards as usual.”

Keira: “Right.”

As expected, the security of the central square was much stricter than usual. Soldiers in uniform were scattered here and there.

The number might be even higher if you include those in civilian clothes.

Flustered, Keira mumbled.

Keira: “…What if it looks like this at night?”

“If the Imperial family has an idea, they won’t cut the staff just because the sun has set.”

Keira: “Of course.”

The next day, the day after that, and the day after that, she checked the conditions around the plaza.

She observed for about a week, but the guards showed no sign of letting go.

‘It’s not supposed to be like this…’

She was starting to feel antsy as she wondered whether they should change their plan now.

Just then, something stood out to her. People gathered in one corner of the square.

A group of people dressed in white–priests, most likely–were there. Judging by their attire, it was clear that they had come out of the temple.

‘Well, the statue was damaged, so they can’t just stay still over there.’

Her resolve strengthened. She could never get caught. Never!

Keira moved to greet them.

Keira: “It’s been a while, High Priest.”

“Ah, Lady Keira, is that you?”

The priests welcomed her with a smile.

They could never have imagined that the esteemed lady they welcomed was also an accomplice in this incident. 

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She struggled to ignore the pricks of her conscience.

Keira: “But what are you all doing here?”

“Haa, we must remain calm even though the goddess statue has been damaged. We came here to see if there was anything we could do to help…but since we’re old, we can’t do much.”

Keira: “Oh my.”

Keira put on as pitiful an expression as she could. 

Keira: “The investigation doesn’t seem to be going well.”

“Ah, that…”

The high priest hesitated for a moment before continuing. 

The investigation was supposed to be confidential, but since he was talking to the next elementalist, he figured it was fine.

“There seems yet to be a clue. Apparently, they searched the black market and found nothing that looked similar. But, of course, it’s only been a week since the jewel was stolen, so we’ll have to wait a little longer.”

Keira: “Ah.”

Of course.

That’s because the goddess statue’s third eye was now tightly hidden in the deepest part of the grand duchy. So there was no way it would appear on the black market.

Keira continued to feign innocence as she asked him a little more.

Keira: “Are there any eyewitnesses? It happened late at night, but there must have been people passing by since it is in the central square.”

“Most of the lights were off during the early hours of the morning. That’s why passers-by said they couldn’t see the culprit closely. But…”

But?

Keira’s heart dropped.

“They said the culprit was very slender and agile. They say it’s likely a woman.”

“…”

Fortunately, the investigation didn’t seem to be going well.

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