I followed her to the third floor of the central building as if I was in a trance. Then, as we reached a room, seemingly the place of our destination, I was prompted to enter.
「Is the Duke inside?」
Serrie silently fixed her eyes on me. The pressure was amazing when it was directed at me. I reluctantly opened the door a little and tried peeking inside.
Books crammed all over the wall dove right in front of me. A reading room was inside - Or more precisely, it seemed to be a library. An expensive table and couch stood in the middle of the room, bringing an elegant atmosphere to it. You could say that it was a room I felt like I could sleep well in.
And then, there was a person leaning against the wall with a book in one hand.
I met the eyes of the person spot on. He had silver hair like Serrie - it was Duke Crusseld Vrag.
Being in front of the prime suspect, I froze. To think that he was really here.
Similar to me, who just wanted to take a quick look at his face, the Duke stiffened when looking at me.
「I guided her here.」
Serrie said and stepped into the library.
Seeing his younger sister’s figure, the Duke furrowed his brows.
「So it was you. How did you know I was here? Did you hear it from Leisel?」
「No. It is just that when Brother feels down and loses his nerve, he will always be here.」
The Duke stayed silent. He probably received some damage from Serrie’s merciless words. It would be good if that was the case.
「Is it not too much? Why did you leave Sister to idle your time away at this place?」
「Whatever’s fine, right? That kind of matter.」
「And now you’re trying to dodge the question again!」
Raising her sparkling sapphire blue eyes, Serrie put her hands on her hips.
「This is Sister’s first time at this mansion. Leaving your wife, who married into this family alone, and saying “Whatever’s fine”? When did Brother become such an insensitive person!」
As the person who was secretly polishing their plan to escape, I felt a little ashamed having a person standing up for me, so I watched over the outcome silently.
The Duke was neither particularly going into a frenzy nor acting violently, and instead looked at Serrie silently and cast his line of sight back to the book. And then he muttered silently,「I understand what you want to say.」
Serrie fixed her eyes on the Duke for a while but ended up taking a deep breath instead.
「Well, it is fine. Since I am most likely intruding, I will be going now. Please talk about it properly between the two of you. Then, I’ll be excusing myself now, Sister. Let’s talk in the evening.」
Serrie waved her hand and left the library. As soon as she was gone, the room fell completely silent.
It was only the silent Duke, and me, who missed the timing to leave.
A somewhat awkward atmosphere swept through the room. I was completely left behind. It wasn’t a question about talking it through in the current state of things.
Before leaving the mansion, I guess it would be necessary to check the suspicions about the Duke.
Being in this place, I could run away to escape if the Duke attacked me, so it shouldn’t be too dangerous. It was a chance to throw him off balance. In order to make the truth clear in the future, I had to collect as much information as possible.
I made up my mind and tried to talk to him.
「Duke Vrag, what are you doing here? Were you not waiting for me in the master bedroom?」
「It’s none of your business.」
It’s obviously my business!
I put up with the almost unbearable impulse to shout at the discontent-looking Duke turning away.
I am an adult. And an older sister-in-law. This amount won’t make me lose my composure.
「I was more or less planning to visit Duke Vrag’s bedroom tonight. If you will not be there, I will not go there either, so I wanted to ask you about it.」
「I couldn’t get in the mood, so I didn’t go to the room. You can rest in your own room too.」
「Huh? Does that mean Duke Vrag hasn’t been to the master bedroom even once today?」
If that was the case, my basic reasoning would fall apart.
I was thinking that the Duke was the culprit. I was stabbed in his bedroom after all.
However, if he didn’t go to the room, then… What does this mean? This person couldn’t have killed me.
There was a possibility of him lying, but that would be questionable. If he had the intent to kill me, he could kill me here too. Even if not here, there was the trick of leading me to the master bedroom by saying「Let’s go to our room」and then kill me inside as well.
I had an understanding that the culprit, who had killed me up until now, had a clear intent to kill me. Therefore, the reaction of the Duke in front of me - I feel like his figure didn’t agree with the image of the culprit who came to kill me.
How should I say it, the sensation of being rejected from him is strong? But I don’t feel the unwavering desire to kill me.
「I will ask you frankly. Duke Vrag, are you not thinking of killing me?」
The beautiful eyes of the Duke turned into two dots. It seemed like he was earnestly surprised.
「What are you saying?」
「Please answer me properly.」
「...I don’t even have any reason to kill you, do I?」
「Is that so? At the very least, you don’t even think much of me, right?」
I asked him frankly.
After being silent for a moment, the Duke spoke up.
「...Why do you think so?」
「Aren’t you undeniable avoiding me? You ignore me when I call out to you, and you never meet my eyes. And today, you even said that you weren’t feeling well.」
Because of this, my head wasn’t filled with a flower garden to the point of thinking things like「I’m being loved♡」.
I was content with being hated. However, to conclude whether he was the culprit, I wanted to grasp his true intention.
「It seems like you don’t like me either. I could feel hostility a while ago.」
Once again, an unclear reply. And to make matters worse, his objection was enough to make me angry.
On top of being ridiculed, he’s being cold. Besides, he’s the prime suspect for my murderer. My enemy would probably be like that too.
Even though I’m doing things I’ll be hated for, to be asked 「You hate me too, right?」 to my face, I could only think that he was asking for a fight.
Before meeting this person, I should have left after the conversation with Serrie. After being affected by Serrie’s young-lady aura, I can bottle it up even if it makes me feel suffocated.
To begin with, I never thought of having a conversation with this person.
My current objective was to survive. I’ve asked the Duke what I wanted to hear, and now I have no more business with this place. Let’s avoid danger!
「Then, let’s leave it with both of us disliking one another. It’s already late, so taking up your offer, I will be sleeping in my own room.」
The Duke didn’t answer. Ignoring me again? Well, it’s fine already.
Turning my back on the Duke, I swiftly move in the direction of the door. And then, before leaving the library, I decided to ask one final thing.
「Excuse me. Where would the stables be?」