Charles’ face turned disorderly. He covered his mouth with his hand. “Darn it. I think I fell for you a little more just now.”
“…So, is your answer a rejection?”
Azriel, who was about to agree, paused and touched her mask. It would be bad manners if she kept her mask on when she would be rejecting him, who took off his mask. She took off the mask and politely lowered her head. “Yes, Charlene. I appreciate your favor, but I can’t afford to think about your heart right now. I am sorry.”
Charles was silent. He gazed at her as if he was possessed. When Azriel lifted her head and looked at his eyes, he blushed. “Oh.”
“Don’t look at me for now,” he turned his face away from her in his seat and buried his face in his hand. His shoulders heaved a little and he asked quietly in that position. “Is that the only reason you are rejecting me? Is it not because you don’t like me?”
“I wouldn’t be friends with someone I don’t like. Don’t you remember what we said on the day we met again?”
“…No, there’s no way I would,” Charles faced her again in his seat. His face had cleared with just a little flush left. “Azriel, can you tell me what’s troubling you?”
“It’s a private matter. I’m sorry.”
As if he had expected her response, Charles asked another question like it was nothing. “Then, is there anything I can help you with? As a friend.”
He had an emphasis on his last words. It seemed that he had accepted her rejection.
“Actually, there’s one thing I’d like to ask your favor,” she said.
“What is it?” Charles actively asked. Azriel hesitated for a moment. How should I tell him? She was going to sound him out, but she lost confidence while talking to him. She was not good at deceiving others. It was better not to say anything than a clumsy lie. She preferred to be honest, although she might not tell everything to him.“I’d like to… participate in the investigation of nameless wizard missing incidents.”
“…What?” His eyes widened as if he had not even expected that. He rubbed around his mouth “This is… what I didn’t expect from you.”
“I know it is a secret investigation because I heard it from the director of magic. I’d appreciate it if you just let me know the necessary information. I can be of help regarding things related to magic.”
“Your aid will absolutely be a huge help. There’s no doubt about that, but,” Charles’ expression changed a little. His eyes looking at Azriel turned sharp. “I’d like to know why you want to participate in the investigation.”
There was tension in the air. Friendliness or ease from a moment ago were nowhere to be found. She automatically became nervous. Thinking that this must be Charles as the king who ruled Aucandor. Azriel answered candidly. “I want to know who is doing this, why and for what purpose?”
“Is that the only reason?”
“Knowing that is very important for me,” she hesitated a little and added in a quiet voice. “It’s also for Sophinea.”
All she said was truth without any lies. Charles was silent for a while and then chuckled all of a sudden. “How foolish of me.”
“International matters probably mean nothing to you. Shame on me, I’ve forgotten what I experienced nine years ago and was calculating a nonsensical probability.”
“What were you calculating?”
“The probability that you approached intentionally because you are a spy of a foreign country.”
“That can never be true. Uh, umm, how can I prove it?” Azriel asked.
“No, that’s fine. The pupil of the Wizard of the Horizon acting as a spy of a foreign country? It’s nonsense. An intentional contact? What would you lack that you would do such a thing?”
‘You are a great wizard who can put out the fire in the underground tower all alone. And you even have a master who can raise a natural disaster and annihilate the rebel forces just because they touched you,’ Charles murmured inwardly and smirked to himself.
Azriel tilted her head and said. “No, of course, you can have a doubt. You are the king of this country, Charles. It’s expected for you to be cautious because your position carries so much responsibility.”
Azriel earnestly asked. “What can I do to assure you?”