Irene slowly got up in the dimly lit room.
Quietly, beside her, Louise was asleep with an angelic face.
Seeing that she was still soundly asleep, Irene cautiously got out of the bed.
The chemise swayed around her ankles with a shifting sound with every dry step that cut through the night air.
The reason she woke up in the middle of the night sparing her sleep was simple—to check the equipment she had installed in the painting room.
‘I didn’t mean to move so quickly.’
Irene realized one thing as she went through what happened today.
She couldn’t delay any longer.
After Veronica’s work, she had a little more than a full week left until her resignation.
If the game had progressed normally, she would have been able to get out of the game before the portrait was even completed, that was, even before Charlotte appeared.
However, for some reason, Charlotte had appeared too early and Ahibalt was also caught silent about the spy.
There was no denying that something was suspicious.
Therefore, Irene decided that she needed to move a little faster so she decided to use her pre-prepared device prematurely.
The 「 A Blood Stained Portrait 」 episode, as the title suggested, is an episode in which the painter, Andrei, sent by Henrietta would be the most important character.
It was because he was at the point where the desires of Henrietta and Veronica intersected.
The story went something like this.
Henrietta commissioned the painter Andrei to paint the portrait.
Since she needed to publicize the marriage of Charlotte and Ahibalt on a large scale, a portrait to be proud of in the social circle was a must.
On the other hand, not wanting this to happen, Veronica interfered with it.
Andrei, who wanted to survive, was ordered to kill Ahibalt in exchange for a large amount of money.
Unfortunately, Andrei reluctantly accepted the orders, as he only had only one option from Veronica—either to get killed or to kill Ahibalt.
Although Louise found out about this by accident, as she came to witness Veronica’s threatening letter that Andrei had received.
‘So, when Andrei took out a knife to kill Ahibalt, she threw her body at him and grabbed his arm instead.’
But, the problem was that the angle was not very good.
When Louise grabbed his raised arm and hung as if pulling down his raised arm, Andrei, who was swayed by the weight, swung his arm incorrectly and stabbed himself.
Disastrously, since everything happened in front of the portrait, the portrait was covered with blood.
Then… well, it flowed into the usual romance development.
Panicked that she had killed a man, Louise hyperventilated and Ahibalt kissed her to calm her down.
Of course, it was not a secret that the kiss continued even after hyperventilation was over…
The important thing was that Andrei was being bribed by Veronica’s correspondent.
‘Originally, he would be kidnapped and bribed while leaving the mansion…’
Though, was it indispensable to use such a cumbersome method this time
There must have been a spy that Veronica had already planted in the mansion.
Irene was convinced that if she were Veronica, she would have approached the painter through an already planted spy.
‘But, I am still not sure so I was going to check a little after him being bribed…’
There was no time now.
Irene was in a hurry because she had spent half of this evening avoiding Ahibalt.
Normally, when the painter came, she would have picked him herself, but it was for the same reason that she had someone else do it.
Just counting the steps, she took to avoid Ahibalt this evening was enough to go around the mansion.
Of course, this was just a meaningless evasion.
If Ahibalt called for her to go to him, she had no way of stopping him.
‘…I thought he would call at least once.’
For some reason, he left her alone.
Even though she did not know why, Irene did not intend to miss this opportunity.
The door closed behind Irene’s back, and she started walking down the hallway where everyone else in the mansion was in slumber.
The usual corridor, which was neatly and elegantly designed, had sparsely lit green areas.
The device she had prepared – it was a luminous substance mixed with paint in advance.
‘And, it is made to be visible only with special eye drops.’
Nonetheless, there were some side effects to the eye drops.
The part where the user may have hallucinations if they use it often.
‘It can probably be used around five times until it is considered to be safe.’
Irene had to save as much as she could because the number of times was not enough.
Had this not been the case, she would not have put eye drops in earlier today.
Carefully, she followed the sparsely visible glow down the stairs.
The traces of the glow were leading to the atelier on the second floor.
Of course, the luminous substance was most likely to be in the hands of the painter who used the paint.
…Who would be the next person who had this
It must have been the person who shook hands with the painter Andrei, or made the equivalent contact.
‘The spy is trying to bribe Andrei.’
If the spy moved today, there would be a luminous substance somewhere other than the traces leading to the atelier.
That was exactly what Irene was looking for.
A spy who approached the painter shed traces that no one knew about… The luminous material, invisible to the naked eye, was perfect for tracking it.
The invisible luminous substance only stained the human skin only once or twice, and after that, it only faded to fingerprints.
In fact, aside from the side effects, the luminous material was originally created for this purpose, so it was very useful.
Irene thought for a moment of the person who made it.
…Edith, the mother of Rodion and the owner of the nickname ‘Crazy Researcher.’
An eccentric researcher who was a commoner with very unusual brains, and was only interested in research related to magic stone processing after she had learned the technique.
She was also the person who made the biggest contribution to procuring Lichpen’s funds and magical items because all the drugs that Edith made and sold were priced highly.
‘Thanks to her, it is easy to obtain it if you know the route.’
It would be difficult to know the route, but not for Irene.
It was a piece of cake for her to get drugs like this.
So, now all that was left was the possibility that the luminous material had made its way to other paths besides the way to the atelier.
Fortunately, Irene must have been lucky.
Whether heaven was helping, she found traces heading somewhere other than the atelier after a few steps.
‘If I follow here, it is the garden.’
Could it be someone from the outside
After all, not all people who work in Lavrenti stay here like Irene and Louise, so it was a possible idea.
With that thought, she hurriedly followed the trail.
‘Seeing that the traces are located at a fairly high area, it looks like the person is quite tall…’
The luminous material was smeared on the hand, so it was possible to infer the height to some extent.
The marks on the wall were all higher than where her hand could touch.
In addition, the luminous light was even on the doorknob that only the servants of the mansion could enter.
‘I am sure… He is an insider.’
Hastily, Irene then opened the door and went outside.
She had to hurry because the trail disappeared quickly after just a few hours, and in the case of windy outdoors, they disappeared faster.
As she took a few steps into the garden, Irene found something.
A certain figure whose hands were strangely shiny…
It was quite a distance, but she was sure.
That what was on the hand was the luminous substance and that it was a man.
However, before Irene could even get closer, the figure turned around the corner of the greenhouse.
‘I cannot miss him here.
I need to find out who it is!’
Thinking that, Irene ran without looking back and forth.
And, when she finally arrived at the greenhouse, she ran into a man.