After passing through Goncourt Mansion's gate, their wagon headed for an annex to the east instead of the main building.
Norma got down and got led to the second floor in the annex by Kanner.
A nobleman has been laid in an interior room, with Prado Goncourt sitting next to the bed.
A young servant wearing a high-class outfit approached Kanner and spoke in a low voice.
"The madam has brought the young miss into her room."
Kanner nodded and spoke to Prado.
"I have brought Norma-sama with me."
Prado stood up and turned at Norma.
"You have my thanks for your coming here."
"I have heard your beck. Am I to perform an examination on this man here?"
"I believe this should be the first time Norma-dono saw him. This is Dopus. Zepus's little brother."
This was when Norma noticed another person in the room. A familiar one.
"Ospar-dono, you're here too."
Ospar is a medical practitioner. He's far older and more experienced than Norma. She couldn't help but wonder why would she get called here if he was here already.
"Norma-dono. I'm sorry for taking up your time. He had already passed away by the time I arrived here. I believe it must be from poison, but I'm unfortunately ignorant on the subject matter. I recall the time you spoke about ways to distinguish several poisons. Thus I informed Prado-sama to beckon you here."
"So that's how it went."
"This here is the wound."
As she looked closer with a portable <Noct Lamp>, she saw a small wound around the scruff of the neck. Quite a deep wound.
"It looks to have been pierced deeply by a needle. Did you find a needle?"
"That's the thing, we could not find any."
Norma lightened up the room, cleared the desktop, and asked for a jugful of water. She lined up several mixing bowls, skillfully put reagents on those bowls and mixed them together.
These reagents are the results of her father's long work as well. It's been known since ages old that poisons originated from living beings and magic beasts react differently to different minerals. While her father was still working in his ideal environment, he gathered all kinds of minerals, got servants to grind them, and repeated many experiments to finally determine ways to mix minerals to determine 16 general types of poisons.
Once you know this, getting your hands on a small amount of minerals is no issue. You only need a minute amount for each usage.
Norma carefully mixed the body fluid of the dead gathered from the mucous membrane around his mouth with the reagents.
"There is no doubt about it. It's <Flat White Snake (Uraslin)>'s venom."
"I had my suspicion."
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
Ospar seemed to have come to the same conclusion as well.
Prado had a stiff expression.
Kanner bowed at Ospar.
"Ospar-dono. Thank you very much. We would like you to return home for tonight. And do pardon me, but if you could please keep what you witnessed here to yourself."
"I am well aware. Well then, Norma-dono."
"Yes. Good night."
Afterward, Norma was led to another room and served tea.
Prado sits over the table in front of Norma, with Kanner standing diagonally behind him.
They sipped on the warm tea for a while before Prado spoke.
"Norma-dono. I intend to offer a proposition to you. However, hearing about the circumstance of our house would be a necessity before that."
"Are you aware of Rokusona's origin?"
Rokusona is the mother of Norma's mother, Korona. In other word, she's Norma's grandmother. A concubine of the man before her, Prado.
"Do you mean her birthplace? No I am not. I only know that her standing was too low to claim herself as your wife."
"It is not low. After all, Rokusona came from Okarute House of Bigo. As such, she was of a higher standing than my legal wife, Narae."
"Eh? But wasn't Narae-sama of Sawajie House?"
"Even if that might be so, Okarute House was a distinguished family at Bigo. Of a much longer history than Sawajie, an eminent name. But after Okarute ceased to exist, so did Rokusuna's standing."
"So that's how it was."
"Moreover, Narae was not of Sawajie's bloodline. She was a daughter of Ramo Company. She was adopted as Sawajie's eldest daughter when she was wed to me, to formally make it a marriage between two noble houses."
"That might have been the reason. The hate Narae held for Rokusona was extreme. At the time, our house could not afford losing connections to Ramo Company. I let Korona go through so much hardships."
"So that happened."
"Did you not hear anything about Rokusona from Korona?"
"I was told that she was a kind soul."
Prado closed his eyes as if reminiscing the past.
"Narae birthed four of my children. The eldest and the third sons had premature deaths. I nominated my second son Tonnara as the heir. That kid was not of prime health. We lost him five years ago."
Norma knew about that already.
"Tonnara had three children. The eldest son Zepus, second son Dopus and eldest daughter Tendoria."
Zepus lost his head to Lecan last year. Norma was so shocked she couldn't let out a word when she heard it the first time.
"I nominated Zepus as the next in line to succeed the family after Tonnara's passing. However, Zepus died. Thus, I was planning to name Zepus's kid brother, Dopus as the next in line. That Dopus, died, today. He was a healthy and wise kid. Hence, he was murdered."
Intense lights dwelt in Prado's eyes. Norma saw boundless sorrow within those intense lights.