Jinga skillfully caught the falling Norma with his right hand. Norma came to in his arm. Looks like the blue potion is still in effect.
She examined Prado.
Symptoms of the venom have disappeared.
He's sleeping peacefully.
Strength escaped her body as she breathed in relief.
Then she checked up on the soldier in the front door.
He's not dead. Just sleeping.
"He's only sleeping."
"Should we wake him up?"
"No. Let him be. No, wait. Can you drag him into this room."
After a while, sounds of footsteps came closer.
They're in a hurry. Five, six people.
Norma stood waiting in the doorway.
The person leading the way showed up.
He's followed by soldiers.
"Kanner and captain Hector, you can get in the room. All other is to stand by outside."
"Ma'am. You heard that. Hector, you're inside. All other, outside. Norma-sama. Would you allow Findin inside too?"
"Ma'am. Findin, you're coming in too."
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"Now then, first let's light up the room. It's too dark."
Findin went around turning on lights.
"Allow me to take a seat. And, there. Ah. That's enough. This is just the right brightness."
"If I may, Norma-sama. What about this person."
Kanner spoke as he stooped near the soldier on the floor.
"He's just sleeping. No point rousing him, let him be."
"And, err. Should we not wake master up?"
"I don't think he can wake up for the time being."
"Then, we should transfer to another room."
"No. It'd be bad if it's not in this room. By the way, did you notice how there was no sound when you closed the door earlier?"
A moment of silence transpired as if this question caught him off guard, and Kanner replied with a low voice.
The door originally makes a sound whenever it opens or closes. It's been purposely made to do so, so you can tell when someone is opening it. It being silent means someone has tampered with the door.
"Now then, first of all let's exchange information. Kanner what happened?"
"We found out that there was an intruder by Hector's shout. I and Findin ran to the main building to look for them."
"Fumu. Hector, what happened?"
"I was doing my night watch routine. While checking the entrance as there was some sounds coming from there, I saw someone running off. I then shouted out loud to gather more people and ran after this fleeing individual, but I lost sight of them near the front gate."
"What kind of clothes they had and how tall they were?"
"I cannot tell."
"Is it a human?"
"Yes. They moved like a human to my eyes."
"It's dark sure, but there should be lights here and there. You can tell how big they are at least, can't you?"
"Their figure looked hazy when I gazed at them."
"Oho. Was it like how it would look when you use <Concealment> magic?"
"I am not familiar with that magic."
"I see. Next, Jinga."
"Yes. I woke up to a commotion downstairs, took my shield and sword, put on my cloak and left my room, then Norma-sama instructed me to head for Prado-sama's room. On my way there, I sensed someone unseen to naked eyes but clearly lurking in the corner of the hallway."
Kanner opened his eyes wide in shock.
"As I drew close to them with my shield and sword drawn, that someone jumped out of the darkness while throwing some small metal object at me before running off. I swung my sword and felt like it hit their body, but they managed to get away."
Kanner, Hector, and Findin, all listened to Jinga with pale faces.
"I found the soldier guarding Prado-sama's room on the floor, and guessed something was amiss. I entered the room, turned up the light, and drew near Prado-sama. That was when Norma-sama arrived."
"I'll take over from there. I found this stuck on grandfather's throat."
Norma lifted a big needle she put on the side table. The needle is as long as an adult's palm.
"Grandfather's lips were purple, his body was losing complexions, he was convulsing, he had been injected with Flat White Snake venom or something close, it was clear he was about to die. I immediately performed a special treatment. He's escaped death and in a state of deep sleep presently. Kanner."
"Does this mansion have Green Potions?"
"Then we should make grandfather take one just in case. Ah, after we're done with this discussion. Now then, the intruder vanished at the main entrance. Directly opposite to the guest building. What's going on with our guests in the guest house?"
Findin replied to this.
"I went straight to the guest house after finding out about the intruder. According to the soldiers on the lookout, none of the guests from Vantaroy went down the second floor."
"Where's the lookout at?"
Kanner replied to this.
"The guest rooms are on the second floor. There is a stairway to the north and south from there, we have stationed soldiers in each stairway."
"What about the garden?"
No one replied to this. Norma asked once again.
"How many lookout in the garden?"
"The guest house does face the garden, but they are on the second floor."
"Spies could easily get down there. How many soldiers were stationed in the garden?"
After a while, Kanner spoke.
"There was no soldier."
"There's a soldier guarding grandfather's room, is there no other night watch patrolling the area?"
Kanner replied with a warped expression.
"They had been ordered to join the chase for the intruder."
"Hmm. I see."
Norma sank down her chair, and dexterously entwined her fingers on both hands, thinking for a while.
"It's vexing right."
A sound of clenching teeth.
Kanner had been warned by Norma.
'Please be especially wary of Boldrin people tonight.'
He should have thought those words through.
He thought he could just leave some watches at the guest house and be done with it.
Never in his wildest imagination they would go after Prado.
It was obviously Kanner's blunder. A huge irreparable failure.
This place is Goncourt mansion. The stronghold of Goncourt Family. The present master almost got assassinated in his stronghold. They fell to a textbook-level feint. And it was done by someone he was told to be vigilant of that same day.
There was no patrol in the guest house either. How could he make that mistake. Spies and assassins could easily go down from second floor. He has failed his duty as a butler.
Kanner's eyes reddened from regret and anger.
"You will have your chance to pay back all that frustration."
'Ha', he looked at Norma.
She's smiling gently.
"Alright. I've grasped the situation now. First of all, cancel the emergency state."
Captain Hector blurted that out reflexively.
"You must not increase or decrease the number of soldiers stationed at the guest house."
"But then we cannot catch the assassin when they go back."
"Oh but you can't catch them. You've got to let them go back in the guest house."
"Let the situation return to before the commotion. In all aspects. Impose a gag order tomorrow morning regarding the commotion earlier. Make sure no one speaks of it."
"But it has caused a big ruckus, it's a bit too late now."
"Hmn. I know. Regardless, you have to make them promise not to speak. Make everyone act as if nothing happened. You can do it right?"
"Wipe off any blood spilled by the intruder. But make sure to remember where the blood spots are."
"Go on now."
"Can you bring Green Potions here. And also water. For grandfather, you, Findin, me and Jinga. And then we'll have a discussion."
"Discussion, is it?"
Norma turned around and looked at the sleeping Prado.
As she turned back, she had a serene smile on her face.
"Discussion for our counterattack plan."