It's A Misunderstanding That I'm Dating The Villain

 

In the innermost part of an enormous mansion, an elderly man with semi-grey hair wore an extremely irritating mien. The orange sun of the evening was setting behind his back, which was visible through the large window, enveloping the whole room in an ethereal glow.

 

He swept the stray hairs that stuck to his wrinkled forehead back, an action done in a hopeless way to suppress the rising rage. Amidst the half-grey locks that slipped between the fingers, a hint of blue could be seen. Enraged, the man opened his mouth, his blue locks shaking violently.

 

“Tch, they weren’t even capable of handling such a simple task!”

 

“I deeply apologize, Your Grace….”

 

“All communication has been broken off, right? If we are to be investigated because of that bastard Schlermann….”

 

“No! Such a thing would never happen. Your Grace does need not worry.”

 

“Tch….”

 

Clicking his tongue as if he was displeased with the whole predicament, his large body tilted towards the window that held the evening sun.

 

“Nevertheless, since things have reduced to this, there’s nothing that can be done. We should start searching for the next ‘item’ to resume the experiment.”

 

“Understood.”

 

With that, the elderly man began to discuss their next move with his trusted subordinate. Once it was over, he dismissed his subordinate before lighting up a cigarette to calm down the rising anxiety.

 

The news of the capture of Count Schlermann on the felony of human trafficking had spreaded around the social circle by now. Even if anyone wanted to bury the news under the rug, it was already late enough to resolve the situation.

 

‘The chaos it brought is truly annoying, I guess I have no choice but to cover my traces for the time being!’

 

In any case, Count Schlermann wasn’t aware of the existence of ‘this individual’. Even if in an unfortunate situation he couldn’t wash his name off the accusation and were questioned strictly, there was no way to reach this side.

 

Although this fact was etched into his consciousness well enough, the unpleasant feeling that was creeping up to him that something terrible was going to occur didn’t leave him.

 

‘That bastard Heilbronner or something…’

 

Where on earth did he get his hand on the information related to Count Schlermann’s illegal experiments?

 

In the empire, human trafficking was considered one of the greatest felonies and perpetrators or the party involved were heavily punished if caught doing so. Moreover, the truth that the mansion of Count Schlermann, an aristocrat, had been used as a temporary captive place cell for the ‘item’ was also in that context. The mansion of a nobleman had always been a place of great secret and well-defended.

 

Amidst the ongoing process of the experiment, Count Schlermann had been targeted while the ‘item’ was stored in his mansion’s basement for safe-keeping….

 

‘This might not be the end.’

 

For as long as he remembered, he had always been cautious. It was this cautious nature of his that assisted him in his long term plan without being revealed to others.

 

‘It is high time I contacted him.’

 

Gritting his teeth, the man threw his irritated stare out the window.

 

***

 

After the fiasco of Heilbronner, the usual noisy and hectic days passed one way or another.

 

Although it appeared to be that Count Schlermann was the only perpetrator who had been caught by the Security Forces, other people involved in the incidents were also caught off guard and were taken into custody, like a string of sweet potatoes, without much of a hassle.

 

The reason I used the term ‘it appeared to be’ was because of the change of the case, which previously was only related to Heilbronner but now to human trafficking. As a result, this case was taken over by another knight squad.

 

‘Even if they wanted us to take over the case….. we’re already running short on manpower.’

 

We were already exhausted by the sheer amount of work pressure that was built up before and after the Heilbronner case. Things were difficult as it was, and now the human trafficking case, which was deeply condemned by the citizens, made the work ten fold harder. Therefore, it was inevitable that the human trafficking case must be transferred.

 

Well… I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel apologetic for not being able to handle the situation properly. However, as a diligent civil servant, should I not only focus on the task at hand?

 

“How about going out for dinner after work is done? Let’s go to the restaurant on the first floor.”

 

Extending a helping hand to Lionel and Billy, who were at the verge of death because of the mountain of paperwork, I proposed in an attempt to lift their spirits. If you’re wondering, Sir Sein had finished work at lightning speed today and left work about an hour ago.

 

‘How wonderful he’s more capable than Billy….’

 

“Will you pay?”

 

“I can’t believe you’re willing to go so far just to rip off a broke person. Fine then, I’ll pay for the coffee after dinner.”

 

“I like black tea!”

 

“…Okay.”

 

I patted Billy on the back, who still looked energetic after a long hectic day, and climbed down the stairs to the restaurant on the first floor. His assertiveness even though he was exhausted never ceased to amuse me.

 

Since it was a restaurant we frequented when we worked overtime, the owner recognized us instantly and guided us inside. Perhaps it was because we arrived a little early, we were the only customers.

 

We ordered bread, stew, and fish dishes to share among the three of us. While the food was being prepared, we saw the newspaper vendor coming into the restaurant.

 

“Today’s evening edition.”

 

“Yes, and also tomorrow’s.”

 

Paying the newspaper vendor, the owner turned to us with the newspaper.

 

“Would you like to read the article, gentlemen?”

 

“I would really appreciate it if you could let us.”

 

I used to read the newspaper on a daily basis because of Heilbronner. However, although it was truly necessary for us to gather more information on the matter since it was our work, I barely had any time to read the newspaper.

 

‘The evening edition will probably have the same content in it.’

 

Curiously, I received the newspaper and looked through the front page. A familiar face was plastered on it. At the sight, I couldn’t help but lament, thinking how the picture wasn’t able to fully grasp the beauty of the real person.

 

‘Ludger Kassen….’

 

In the newspaper, it is said he strongly condemned the incident that had occurred this time, and declared that he would support the boy who was victimized in this case to grow up safely in the name of the Kassen household.

 

The high-ranking novels must have attempted to dissimulate it because of the involvement of a nobleman in this incident. However, the news ended up on the front page because of Ludger’s appearance and his interval.

 

‘Well, he must have intended to do it from the beginning….’

 

“Anything interesting going on, Captain?”

 

“No, not really.”

 

Answering Billy’s question dryly, I turned to the next page.

 

However, my throat itched and I started coughing as soon as my eyes landed on the headline.

 

[The Phantom Thief Heilbronner escaped because of the knights’ negligence…. Are the knights in-charge qualified enough to capture Heilbronner?]

 

“What’s the matter?”

 

As Lionel asked curiously at my violent coughing, a response that was done instinctively, I waved my hand, signaling him to wait while I read the newspaper article carefully.

 

The article, which mostly criticized the capability of our knights, wasn’t long. Perhaps because Ludger had taken all the spotlight, they didn’t bother to mention much.

 

Even though, the content, assessing our ability, was vivid and sharp.

 

[The knights claim that they encountered Heilbronner in person, however, since it was only the testimony of the person involved, the truth is still unclear. Moreover, the knights present on the scene tried to cover up Heilbronner’s appearance, by claiming that they couldn’t catch him properly because of the magic tools used by him….

 

In conclusion, the argument was that the Ruby Knights lost the opportunity to capture him this time despite receiving cooperation from the Security Forces. It seems the rumour about their questionable skill was true.]

 

“Ah…how comical.”

 

“What is it?”

 

“Look.”

 

I handed the newspaper to Lionel and Billy, who were sitting across from me, pointing them to read the 2nd page. The two were startled when they saw the headline at first. And after reading the article, their astonishment soon turned to rage as if they wanted to tear the newspaper apart.

 

“This is going too far!”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

Throwing the newspaper down in anger, as if throwing a piece of garbage, Lionel fumed silently as he said in a lowered voice.

 

“This… seems to have been spread among the citizens. The public is going to criticize our knights.”

 

“Really?”

 

“…Well, it’s unprecedented for a human trafficking incident to occur in the aristocratic world, not to mention in the heart of the capital.”

 

The aristocrats were pushed into a tough position because of the incident. Citizens of the empire were rushing to condemn this incident, as well as the involvement of other nobles. At a time like this, attempting to turn the arrows of anger on a different target couldn’t be more wretched.

 

“I believe this trick will fail to produce any result.”

 

“Absolutely. After all, the thief Heilbronner who revealed this incident is being considered as a hero by everyone. Moreover, Duke Kassen also appeared and created a buzz. What were they trying to gain from this attempt?”

 

Perhaps I should show my gratitude to Ludger? Just at the thought, laughter leaked through my mouth as I snickered and brought the salad near the lips.

 

“I don’t know… will it be okay for us? If the higher-ups doubt our abilities and think of replacing us or something….”

 

“It’s okay. This was the original role of our knights from the beginning. I don’t think the higher-ups will think of replacing us on a whim.”

 

Honestly, I’d appreciate it if they did.

 

However, I was more than aware of the fact that they wouldn’t have replaced us, who were designated as the target of insults, for something as insignificant like this. But they might do so later, after they’d accumulated enough data on Heilbronner.

 

“Understood… Um, I’ll work even harder next time! Captain, we must definitely catch Heilbronner!”

 

“Our Sir Billy is always full of energy, I like that.”

 

“Thank you for the compliment, Administrator Lionel! I admire you too, for always being so capable!”

 

At the sudden hit of compliments, Lionel blinked with a startled face before smiling awkwardly. No matter what, Billy was still the cheerful mascot of our indispensable knights.

 

“Well, I don’t know if we capture him, but let’s do our best.”

 

“Understood!”

 

“Yeah. But it’s unfortunate that Sir Sein is absent from such a warm harmonious atmosphere.”

 

“He’s…He’s a different kind of breed….”

 

With that, our short dinner meeting ended in a hazy but pleasant manner.

 

***

 

The benefit of the article, published in the newspaper by the higher-ups to criticize the ability of our knights, was turned a blind eye to as people were mostly busy criticizing the nobles more.

 

Their attempt to fuel the public anger not only failed to produce any fruitful result, rather, the reputation of Heilbronner only grew. Such an outcome was enough to make the high-ranking officials annoyed to death.

 

‘Hmm… I guess I should really thank Duke Kassen.’

 

Thanks to his bold condemnation, our knights didn’t get hit with eggs, and there were no terrible incidents like budget cuts.

 

Honestly, this incident made me see Heilbronner, who I thought was doing public service (?) as a thief, again.

 

‘That’s given… but that doesn’t mean there’s less work to do.’

 

No matter how many spectacular incidents roll around in the world, my boring and ordinary daily life would continue to move forward.

 

Because of the amount of work, I was so occupied that one important thing slipped off my mind.

 

“Captain, a guest arrived.”

 

Billy, who had come down after to answer the call bell on the first floor, reported to me.

 

“Guest? Who?”

 

“Sir Krosner of the Diamond Knights.”

 

“Huh….”

 

At the sudden mention of an unexpected name, I tilted my head for a moment, trying to remember who it was. Realization hit me immediately as I remembered something. The ‘guest’ was the haughty guy with whom I had a spar when I went to receive the transfer of duties.

 

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