Nora had tried interrogating Grace several times ever since she stopped the convoy, but judging from how the latter was able to calmly deal with her questions without revealing any significant information, it would appear that Charlotte had already predicted her move.
As someone who had been entrusted with managing several of the Sorofyas’ core businesses at an extremely young age, Charlotte Sorofya was as intelligent as she was talented. This incident was a good example of her sharp foresight.
For this incident, Charlotte might have appeared to be in a difficult position, but she had the advantage as the escapee. Nora and the Ascart House had no choice but to pursue whatever tracks she had left behind, especially since they were already three days behind Charlotte right from the start. There was very little leeway for Nora to maneuver.
It was not that Nora hadn’t considered the possibility that the Diamond Rivière was bait, but there was simply nothing she could do about it. There wasn’t enough time for her to conduct a thorough sweep of the Ascart Fiefdom. Had she attempted it, the Diamond Rivière could simply charge all the way to the border, and she wouldn’t have been able to catch up at all.
“Your Highness, we’ve searched through the convoy. Lord Roel isn’t inside.”
Just as Nora expected, neither Roel nor Charlotte was with the Diamond Rivière anymore. She was silent for a long while before she finally passed down a difficult order.
“Relay my orders to every reserve and militia army in the municipalities of the Ascart Fiefdom. They are to investigate every single outsider who has entered their municipality within the last three days, and all suspicious figures are to be detained right away. Aside from that, all of you are to start collecting clues from the civilians in the region. Anyone who has reliable intelligence will be handsomely rewarded for the tip!”
After giving her orders, Nora turned to one of the guards of the Ascart House and asked grimly.
“How many villages and towns are within a day’s journey from here?”
“Err… There should be three villages in total, Your Highness.”
“Very well. We’ll be splitting into four groups. Three of the groups will be heading toward the three nearby villages to search the areas. If you find anything, send someone to inform me right away. As for the last group, you’ll be detaining the servants of the Sorofyas. Until this matter is over, no one is allowed to leave!”
The knights and guards quickly began moving. The two guard captains quickly led their men toward the two furthest, most remote villages, meanwhile Nora headed to the closest one where Charlotte and Roel were much likelier to have passed through. According to the guards, i
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