This hot chocolate is delicious! Whoever created it must’ve been a genius on par with the Godking. But I wonder how Ilya’s dad found out about the bodies in the refrigerator; there was already a stack there, so obviously someone else had put them there first. How’d he know the other ones were me? Maybe, Ilya’s dad is the one who stores them there and noticed some extras! That would explain it. Nobles do have creepy hobbies.
After finishing my hot chocolate, Ilya insisted on heading to her dad’s study right away even though I wanted more. I decided to listen since she said she was saving it for her banquet that I’m inviting myself to whether she likes it or not. Her dad’s study is like a library, filled with books and couches everywhere. There’s this massive desk that faces the door, so the first thing people get to see is her dad’s face staring without blinking, watching every step they take. …Why is he watching me so intently? He couldn’t have fallen for me, right?
“Have a seat, Lucia,” Ilya’s dad said and gestured across from him.
This smells suspiciously like an interrogation. Do I have to take part? Well, I’ll sit because I don’t want to stand.
“Did Ilya say anything about why I called you here?” Ilya’s dad asked, folding his hands on top of his desk.
“Nope.” Deny everything!
“I did!” Ilya said. “The bodies, remember? You even said, ‘Oh, those. Okay.’”
“Mm. Nope, doesn’t ring a bell.”
“Lucia, a magician has ways to tell if you’re lying,” Ilya’s dad said.
“Oh, really?” Let’s test it then. “I have nine toes. True or false.”
“False,” Ilya’s father said.
“Hah! You’re wrong. It’s true.” It isn’t actually true, but there was a time in the past when I was cooking and dropped the knife I was holding and tried to catch it with my foot. Yeah, I lost my pinky toe then. But it grew back when I became a spirit warrior!
“Wait, really?” Ilya asked, her eyes widening. “Now that I think about it, I’ve never seen your feet before. You’re always wearing those socks.”
Of course. Puppers is too comfortable to not wear. I think my world would collapse if I took Puppers off. I can never go back to wearing normal socks or walking around barefooted again. “Mhm. It’s really true.”
“Forget it,” Ilya’s dad said and shook his head. “Do you happen to know anything about the bodies inside the refrigerator?”
“They were there when I got there.” That’s the truth, technically. Bodies were there—just not all the ones that currently are there.
“I see,” Ilya’s dad said and rubbed his chin. Was that it? Was the interrogation over? “I was just wondering; the servants noticed the spice rack is empty of everything except salt. Do you know what happened to the rest? I mean, you’ve been cooking a lot, so I thought you’d know.”
“Yeah, they were poisoned, so I threw them away.” Why would you even keep poisoned spices in your kitchen anyways? It’s almost like someone wanted to assassinate the duke.
Ilya’s dad tapped his chin slowly before smiling at me. “You know, something that the bodies had in common were the fact that they were all poisoned with spice residue inside of their mouths,” he said. “How did you know the spices were poisoned, Lucia?”
I’ve been bamboozled! Why are magicians so sneaky with their words? “Uh, I saw the servants eat the spices. Mhm. Are you suspecting me? I’m not a murderer, okay?”
“Huh,” Ilya’s dad said and blinked. “The lie-detection spell didn’t go off when you said you weren’t a murderer.”
“That’s impossible!” Ilya shouted and stood up. “She’s killed so many people in front of me! How’s she not a murderer!?”
“No, no, those were beasts, Ilya.” Jeez, how many times do I have to correct this misunderstanding? Super-rare spirit beasts that can talk and cast spells are not people. It’s not murder to kill them—it’s population control. And moneymaking.
“That’s what the spell says,” Ilya’s dad said and shrugged. “Then it wasn’t you who killed those people. Did you put poison in the spices by any chance?”
“Nope.” The only thing I put poison in is Puppers. Other than being eaten, he’s completely useless while fighting divine beasts, so why not make him injure the divine beasts while he’s being eaten?
“Then it was the chef,” Ilya’s dad said. “Ilya, who did we hire to cook for your banquet? Was it Mr. Ei?”
“Yes,” Ilya said. She blinked and pursed her lips. “Do you think he’s an assassin?”
“It’s possible,” Ilya’s dad said. “Or it could be one of our servants.” He sighed. “This is troublesome.”
“Why?” How is it troublesome? Just interrogate everyone. “Don’t you have a lie-detection spell? Why not just use it on all your servants?”
Ilya’s dad cleared his throat and turned his head away. “The lie-detection spell…, the lie-detection spell only works on those who aren’t burdened with great mental capabilities.”
Those who aren’t burdened with great mental capabilities…. I’m being called stupid again, aren’t I? I’m going to smack him.
“Lucia, assaulting a duke is a serious crime,” Ilya said. I smacked her too. “Ow!”
That’s right; fear me. “No, seriously, why don’t you use the lie-detection spell on all your servants?”
Ilya’s dad held his swollen cheek. There were tears in his eyes when he said, “I wasn’t lying when I said what I said before.”
Well, if assaulting a duke is a serious crime, then it looks like I’m going to be a criminal. A few minutes later, Ilya was casting a healing spell on her dad’s face. Her dad cleared his throat and stared at his hands while asking, “So … would you like to attend Ilya’s banquet? The upper echelons of demon society will all be attending. It’s understandable if you’re uncomfortable and choose not to.”
It seems like I don’t have to invite myself! That’s great. Is it just me, or is Ilya’s dad a lot friendlier now? I’ll keep this trick in mind for the banquet. If any demons aren’t friendly, I’ll smack them around a few times until they are. Maybe just one more smack.
“Ow! What was that one for?” Ilya’s dad asked with a frown.
“I’m still upset you called me stupid.” The requirement for the lie-detection spell can’t really be based on intelligence, right…? I’m not a dumb person!