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Infiltrating the Royal Castle of Cielle
I tried sneaking in several times but for some reason, it failed.
These elves have hearts of steel to not have even one person pity me and let me in!
In the end, even my perseverance couldn’t withstand this heart-breaking loss.
To think that a cat’s cuteness can’t move someone’s heart like this…
I was loitering around the perimeter of the castle gate when suddenly, a crowd of people attracted my eyes.
“We’re finally here… I can’t believe that we’re accepted to work in the castle!”
I halted my steps the moment I heard their words.
When I turned to look closely at them, I realized that it was a new batch of servants hires coming in.
This is it…!
This is my chance!
With a renewed speed and enthusiasm, I ran to find Carbuncle.
Kuu-chan, where are you?!
Please don’t be too far away, we have not much time!
Luckily, I found Carbuncle straying not too far away from the castle gate perimeter.
I found her appreciating the beauty of the garden, busy looking at the flowers and the butterflies around.
Yes, this capital city of elves had way more greenery than Riviera’s capital. I guess the stereotype of elves being closer to the nature was true. Riviera’s capital looked more modern than Athlerona, but I believe that the elves won’t lose in terms of modernity and technologies.
They only kept the culture and ancient values from their ancestors going.
Carbuncle turned around and was confused since she didn’t see anyone there, but then she looked down and…
“Lyr? That you?”
“Yeah, anyway, hurry come with me!”
“I’ll explain, we don’t have much time!”
“This seems fun!”
Thus, the nervous me and the carefree Carbuncle ran to a secluded alleyway.
I had a mixed feeling looking at Carbuncle. I was feeling less tense seeing that Carbuncle took it as something fun instead of nerve-wrecking, yet at the same time I also wanted to get angry at her for seemingly not taking it seriously. But I knew it was just the way Carbuncle was.
After making sure that nobody was there to see us, I transformed into a female elf dressed in the same clothes as the new hires of servants or maids that were coming.
“I’m using my illusion arts on you to make sure you’re seen as an elf dressed in similar clothes. I also make sure that our appearances be as ordinary and unmemorable as possible. We’re going to blend in with the new hires of servants to infiltrate the castle,” I explained as I focused on using my Oracle.
“Huh, working as a servant…,” Carbuncle frowned.
“Well, we’re only pretending. Once we get in, we will gather information. We don’t need to really do the job of a maid wholeheartedly, since we aren’t aiming on becoming the top maid, after all.”
“Oh. Okay then.”
Once I made sure that I had already put on the necessary disguises on both of us, I led Carbuncle to where the new batch of the hires were.
From the looks of it when I left them, it didn’t seem as if they were in a rush to enter, and sure enough, they were still where they were before.
I quickly ushered Carbuncle and myself to slip in stealthily among them, using a little bit of trick feat my illusion arts as well as dark magic to conceal our presence.
The new hires of servants didn’t seem to be familiar with one another, so nobody really questioned our presence. They only questioned us about trivial matter such as, “Oh, you’re also one of us?”, “How do you feel being able to be one of the servants in the castle?”
If they asked for our identities, I mimicked someone else’s story that I had heard before they questioned us.
Lucky for us!
“You’re all the new hires, correct?”
Suddenly, one of the guards approached us.
All of us said in unison.
“Come in then.”
The gate was opened and we walked together.
I am entering the royal castle of the Elven kingdom!!
My plan worked!!
We were led by one of the servants to a secluded room inside the castle buildings. There, one middle-aged maid was waiting. She had a strict face and thick glasses on.
When she started speaking, I could quickly tell that she was a very uptight person.
She introduced herself as the head supervisor of us all, then she briefly told us our new job description… Well, I didn’t really pay any attention to it as I won’t really be doing this job, anyway…
But her next words stunned me.
“Now, I am going to count how many of you are actually present here to make sure the data match. One, two…”
Oh god, no!
I can only hope there are at least two people not coming so Carbuncle and me won’t be found out.
But alas, not everything could go my way.
“Hmm? There’s more than what I was told?!” The head supervisor said with a surprised tone.
In my reflex and desperation, I quickly and silently used my magic on her. A slight magic to cause a confusion to mind.
“There are more… Oh… Hmm… Never mind, I wasn’t thinking right. Anyway, moving on…”
I can actually use such a magic?
One of dark magic’s use was this. Manipulating mind, clouding another’s mind.
It was actually one of the reasons why dark magic was considered evil and why I also despised the fact that I had dark magic at first.
Only those with high proficiency at dark magic would be able to use such a high level skill, however, and to think that I was able to do that…
I wasn’t sure how I should be feeling.
[Don’t worry about it, Lyra. It worked out well in your favour after all.]
Fenrir’s voice resounded in my mind.
‘But… I feel guilty.’
[Your motive isn’t something malicious or harmful. Just like a sword, it can be used to murder or protect, depending on the holder. The sword itself isn’t something bad, however.]
‘…Thank you, Fenrir.’
He even used anecdotes to quickly get his points across, which managed to comfort my upset heart.
Right. I was blessed with this power, so it’s up to me how I should use it. Simply having this power doesn’t mean that I am evil. It depends on how I use it.
This time, I am using it in order to protect those close to me, and not to slaughter or harm the others.
As per the head supervisor’s instructions, we left to our designated places.
As Carbuncle and I walked inside the huge castle, I still couldn’t believe that we were here. My heart was throbbing faster due to the nervousness that I finally felt.
“We managed to come in…,” I said.
“Yeah, you did something before, didn’t you?” Carbuncle asked.
“Mhm…,” I hung my head down as it wasn’t something I was really proud of doing.
“That was cool, Lyr! We managed to come inside without any hitch. I was ready to use my power to silence them, mwahahaha!”
I turned around to look at the smiling Carbuncle in horror.
I guess the power that I used, though it didn’t appear as something noble, managed to prevent this little dragon from harming others, so it’s actually good?
Kuu-chan, Carbuncle the mighty dragon… I forgot your full name, but anyway… How could you say something so evil with such a carefree and innocent attitude?!
[You need to learn one thing or two from her, actually.]
‘Yeah, no, I think I am good… I can’t imagine myself behaving like her…’
I quickly rejected Fenrir’s idea.
“But… Now what?” Carbuncle asked me as we stopped in a room we were told to go to.
“Hmm, now we shouldn’t do the job and…”
I said in a low voice, but then I stopped as I saw an older girl in a maid uniform standing in front of us with her arms crossed in front of her chest.
“You two are late! You’re the newbies, aren’t you?”
“Okay, this older sister is going to teach you until you become good maids! Come, grab on these towels and let’s start cleaning until this place is spotless!”
My mind blanked the moment I realized what was happening, but if we didn’t move, we’d get scolded, so we moved according to her instructions.
“There’s still some dust here, repeat the cleaning process!”
“Nooo, you can’t clean it like that, it won’t be good! Like… THIS!! Watch me closely!!”
“Hey, you, take your job more seriously!”
“How can you call yourself a maid in the royal castle if you can’t even do this right?!”
Here I thought that I could enter with this disguise and then dig for information quicky. I guess I was too naïve… For now I really had to undergo a strict training to become the top quality maid!!!
From now on, I should really treat the maids and servants in my house more often… Not that we haven’t been kind to them already, but I gained a new admiration towards them once I went through this training…
Carbuncle was already fuming and sometimes wouldn’t do the maid job properly, but I quickly used my illusion magic to make sure that she was seen as obediently doing her task alongside me, and not just playing truant.
…In exchange, I had to sometimes cover her workload…
I had actually tried to use my illusion arts to give an illusion that the spot was already clean, but the moment the older maid brushed her finger against the spot, I was too late and she discovered that it was still unclean…
“How odd, I saw that it was clean and spotless, but when I checked, it seemed to be very dirty…?”
Chills ran down my spine when I heard that, and I had learned better not to use my illusion magic to do this kind of trickery. Rather than risking our disguises for this, I’d rather clean.
I wonder if we’d be able to gather some information or even see Alt-nii and the others at this rate…?
It would be a big joke if we ended up having to prove ourselves as a top-notch maids first before being able to do our main mission…
With that, the first day of the royal castle infiltration was a success, but no significant information was obtained.
However, we managed to somehow learn the outline of the castle, so it was still something…?
Anyway, we had received tokens of identification so we could just use it the next time we went in and out of the castle…
Thankfully, not all of the new hires were staying in the castle’s servant quarters from the get go and we were among those who’d come in and come out of the castle to work.
I made sure to alter our appearances again once we were outside the castle, just in case.
We managed to go back to the place where we promised Ein and Clavis before and thankfully, they were already there.
“How was it?” I asked.
“Let’s talk later at the inn. Come with me,” Ein said as he led us to the inn he had rented.
Once inside, I put up a magic barrier in order to make sure nobody actually spied on us, and to make sure our conversation was safe.
We exchanged information and our progress for day 1.
“We haven’t really got much information on day 1 but we’ve explored the town and marked several places,” Clavis said.
“I bought the elves’ newspapers and other useful books and items we can probably analyze,” Ein explained.
“As for us… Well, we’ve managed to infiltrate the castle but we ended up having to work as maids… Haaah… I started regretting it. I wonder if this is a good idea and can I get something from it…,” I slumped down on the sofa.
“You can’t believe how impudent those maids were! They scolded and made us do many things!” Carbuncle began to vocalize her frustration.
“Actually, Big Sis Lyra’s strategy of infiltrating as a maid is a good one. But can you two keep at it?” Ein asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“I can’t!” Carbuncle protested.
We silently looked at the frustrated Carbuncle.
“Well, then I will just go alone,” I said, thinking that there was no other way.
“You can’t!” Carbuncle protested again.
“You can’t stand being a maid, but you won’t let Lyra go alone. Just what are you suggesting, then?” Clavis asked, “Should we exchange positions?”
“Hmm…,” Carbuncle was seriously considering it.
“Kuu-chan prefers looking around rather than being bossed around, right? Then I think at this rate, it’s better for Kuu-chan to come with Ein, while Clavis can come with me if you’re worried of me going alone,” I said.
At first, we decided it would be best for Carbuncle to be with me, lest she’d fight with Ein, but…
I see that the job description at the moment wasn’t suitable with her.
Clavis is going with me, huh?
I mean, other than maids, there are other servants too including butlers and guards… Yeah, Clavis can just accompany me as a new hire of servant!
“No, I don’t want that…,” Ein looked reluctant to agree.
“I want to go with Big Sis Lyra too…,” he added.
“But if Clavis and Carbuncle were the ones to navigate the town, I don’t think it’s going to work out. You’re the one who’s more proficient in terms of trades and stuff… We planned on gathering information from the merchants too, so…,” I quickly protested Ein.
“You’re right…,” Ein hung his head down.
After a few moments of silent, all traces of childishness that Ein had displayed before disappeared, replaced by Ein’s serious expression.
“Sorry, I should’ve known better that we’re all in for something very serious and important here. I shouldn’t let my heart to get better of me. Okay then, Big Sis Kuu, you’re coming with me. Big Bro Clavis, please accompany and protect Big Sis Lyra,” Ein said.
“Definitely,” Clavis quickly responded.
“Well, better follow you than to be bossed by those impudent elf maids!” Carbuncle said.
“But Kuu-chan, you shouldn’t quarrel with Ein too often. We can’t be attracting attention,” I reminded.
“Will try to,” Carbuncle only said that as a response.
“If you can’t do that, you’re coming with me again,” I sternly said.
“And if your presence messes up the mission instead, I think we should send her back,” Clavis added, making Carbuncle glare at him.
“Alright, alright, I will try to not pick a fight with Ein or anyone. I want to explore Cielle, after all,” Carbuncle finally relented.
“Alright then let’s rest and continue tomorrow,” I clapped my hands after we reached an agreement.
Hopefully tomorrow we would be able to find something important!