“Should I not have said anything” I whisper to Gilles so that only he can hear me.
“No, it’s fine.
He would have found out about it eventually….
and I’m already used to people treating me differently, so it doesn’t matter.”
“I’d like to say that I wish you wouldn’t get used to that sort of thing.
But as it’s impossible to completely get rid of such discrimination, it would be an irresponsible request to make.”
After saying that, I look back at Paul-san, examining his expression.
……He doesn’t seem to have a very good impression of the impoverished village.
No matter how kind and gentle he may seem, even he can be prejudiced.
And as a noble, it’s not even unusual for him to feel that way.
Even if he has recognized Gilles’s intelligence and abilities, it’s unavoidable that somewhere in the depths of Paul-san’s heart there will be leftover misgivings about Gilles’s origins.
“So he’s attending the magic academy even though he’s from the impoverished village” Paul-san probes somewhat skeptically as he looks over in Gilles’s direction.
…..Ah, this was entirely my mistake.
From now on, I need to think more before I speak.
“He’s attending as my assistant,” I tell Paul-san a bit curtly, giving him a wide smile that doesn’t quite reach my eyes.
“Is the king aware of this”
At my words, a complicated expression crosses Paul-san’s face.
At this rate, if Paul-san ends up leaking this information, there’s going to be trouble.
I need to do something before this becomes an issue…..
Maybe I should… try to threaten him in true villainess fashion
I look Paul-san straight in the eyes and raise the corners of my lips to an evilly confident degree.
“Paul-san, would you mind keeping this particular piece of information between us If you were to let it slip….
I’m afraid I’d have to kill you.”
Paul-san’s expression hardens.
Henry-Oniisama and Gilles, too, are both staring at me wide-eyed.
But of course.
To threaten to murder someone upon your first meeting after so many years, this sort of reaction is only to be expected.
Ugh, the more I interact with people, the more bothersome it becomes.
Whenever dealing with others, it seems that there’s no getting around issues of superiority and inferiority and other such tiresome power struggles….
Human relationships really are much too convoluted.
“I won’t say anything.
Though, I suppose being killed off by a beautiful woman wouldn’t be so bad,” Paul-san says with a light laugh.
…..Did Paul-san always have this sort of character This side of him certainly never made an appearance during the game.
“What sort of assurance do I have How do I know you won’t betray us” I ask, narrowing my eye.
Paul-san’s smile turns bitter.
“What do you think I’ve been collecting from Henry and Gilles in exchange for the information that I provide”
“…..I don’t know.”
“What” I reply on reflex.
“Keeping my shop running requires a considerable amount of funds.
And obtaining rare medicinal herbs isn’t cheap either.
Plus, my parents cut me off….
That’s why I got into the business of selling information in the first place,” Paul-san says in a low tone.
Which means that despite being a noble, he’s broke…..
To think that he’d go this far just because he wants to run a shop in town….
That’s quite the eccentric ambition.
Though, hearing all this, I feel like the dots are connecting one-by-one.
“Honestly, I hate the impoverished village.
And, of course, all the villagers in it.
However, Gilles is my client.
And, for being a former resident there, he’s pretty smart.
So I’ll make sure to properly keep his secret.”
I get the feeling that I just accidentally saw a dark and ugly side to Paul-san that he usually keeps hidden.
“And that’s why we can trust him,” Gilles says, the corners of his lips arching high.
So these two have one glaring thing in common: they both have a blackened side to them that is all too willing to put others to their own personal use.
“Now that that’s all settled, can you tell us what you were able to find out about the wolf incident now” Henry-Oniisama says a bit sardonically, looking over at Paul-san.
……Wolf So Gilles had already found time to ask Henry-Oniisama about what had happened that day What a fast worker.
At Henry-Oniisama’s request, the look in Paul-san’s eyes suddenly changes.
The air around us seems to stretch out thin and strained.
Even the radiant sunlight reflecting off of Paul-san’s glasses seems to flash ominously.
“It would be best if you didn’t get involved in that incident any further,” Paul-san says quietly, his voice low and foreboding.