Second World - Chapter 979
Commander Quintus came to the corridor that led to the late Prince Alonzo's chamber. He was now standing upon the door to that chamber. The guards that were normally stationed there were no more. There was no point to station a guard since there was no one to be protected inside.
"Fifty meters to the south...," Quintus muttered.
He walked in that direction. He arrived in front of a door. It was an unused room that had been repurposed as a warehouse to store goods temporarily.
A couple of guards were passing by as Quintus was observing the door.
"Commander," They saluted. Quintus replied with a nod.
Earlier today after talking with Jack, Quintus checked with the knight captain who was in charge of this section. The palace was so big that it was divided into sections. A knight captain was appointed to take care of the security of each section.
The knight captain whom Quintus questioned mentioned that there was no change to the security schedule yesterday morning when the incident with Prince Alonzo happened. The security was even tighter during the rehearsal compared to normal time. Guard patrols were passing this corridor every five minutes.
Quintus had asked for the guards who were on patrol yesterday and gathered them to be questioned. Asking if they saw anyone who seemed suspicious yesterday morning, like someone who covered their faces.
They answered that if there were such a person, they would have stopped that person and demanded he or she reveal the face.
Quintus then asked if they remember who passed through that area yesterday morning. He didn't point out anyone in particular. He still couldn't bring himself to believe that Princess Sindral had a hand in Prince Alonzo's assassination.
The guards answered that no one roamed around that section except for Jack who went to Prince Alonzo's chamber, and later, Royal Advisor Mason and Knight Marshall Emris.
Quintus almost asked, 'What about Princess Sindral?' But stopped himself. Everyone knew the princess. If she had visited this section, they would have recognized her.
Now, when he stood in front of the door to the room Jack mentioned, the thought of Jack was indeed the culprit returned. Although he liked the boy and wanted to believe that Jack was innocent, he admit that he didn't exactly know Jack very well.
It was just around one year ago when outworlders started appearing in this world. Within that year, he also didn't exactly spend a great amount of time with Jack. So, could the Jack he knew is the true one? Or was it just a mask? A mask that hid a nefarious intention for their kingdom?
Both suspects were persons he didn't want to believe to be responsible.
Quintus took a deep breath. He would entertain Jack's request and search for clues. If there was none, then it simply meant Jack had deceived him all this time. He gripped the handle to the door and turned it.
The door opened with a loud creak. Dust fell as the door moved. Quintus breathed the stuffy air that came out of the opened door. He looked inside. Several wooden boxes and old furniture are covered by cobwebs.
Seeing the room, Quintus' inclination to believe Jack dropped a notch.
He hesitated if he should continue searching for clues. This place looked to have been untouched for a long time. He started to feel like Jack simply sent him on a wild goose chase.
Finally, he decided to trust Jack for a little more while. Jack was doomed for sure if nothing changed. He doubted anything in this room could change anything, but at least he didn't completely abandon the boy.
He looked around the room. Sometimes he cleared a box of its cobwebs and tried opening it to see what was in it. It's nothing but junk. Things that people in this palace no longer needed but didn't have the willingness to throw them away.
There were so many of these wooden boxes that he was amazed that there were so many unwanted things. Maybe he should just ask someone to clear up this room, throw the stuff away, or donated them to the slum. It's better than letting them collect dust here.
When he thought that it was pointless searching for anything inside the room and was about to leave, he noticed something. It was slightly hidden by tall stacks of boxes but he saw a part of the wall that was devoid of cobwebs.
He slipped through those stacks of boxes and came to the wall. It was indeed much cleaner than the other part of the rooms. When he was observing the wall there, he noticed something at the bottom. Some piece of fabric was wedged in a crack in the wall. He knelt and took a better look.
No, it's not a crack. He realized in consternation. He touched the so-called crack and traced it. It went upward in a straight line, then turned at a perpendicular angle.
'It's a door!' He realized. A secret door.
He bent down again to the torn fabric. He touched it. It was soft. He grabbed it and pulled it out. This fabric must have been torn when someone's clothes got stuck by this secret door when it was closing.
Quintus studied the small piece of fabric in his hand. It was an expensive fabric. It had intricate embroideries with golden threads on its edge which was the common pattern for royal clothing.
The thought of princess Sindral came to him.
'No, can it truly be her...?' Quintus thought with uneasiness.
He clenched the fabric tightly. Only one way to find out. He had to get to the bottom of this. He had to find out where this door led. If Jack didn't lie about Prince Alonzo's murderer using a teleportation spell to teleport into this room, then that murderer must have used this secret door to escape after the teleportation. This way, she could move away from this place without attracting the guard's attention.
He paused. He noticed that he used a 'she' to describe the murderer. Was he starting to believe that it was indeed Princess Sindral?
He tried not to do too much guesswork. He looked around the wall. There didn't seem to be any handle or button to open this secret door. He tried to push the wall, and it moved.
This secret door didn't have a secret opening mechanism! He realized.
He pushed harder and the secret door pivoted slowly, revealing a small tunnel that was completely dark. He unfastened a torch hanging on his belt and lighted it. With the illumination from the torch, he walked into the dark tunnel.
Normally, he would prefer to have his sword at the ready in a dark tunnel like this. One never knew what could jump out from the darkness, but he only had one arm at the moment, so he could only use it to hold the torch.
The secret tunnel went a long way. It turned a few times, but it didn't have branches. It was a linear journey all the way until he came to a dead end.
He studied the dead end and noticed there was a small slit where light slipped through. He pressed his shoulder on the wall that was the dead end and pushed. It moved just like the secret door that brought him into this tunnel.
He came out into a large room. The room was luxuriously furnished. He tried to gauge where he was at. Looking at how luxurious this room was, it must be one of the rooms inhabited by the royal family. Was it Princess Sindral's chamber?
He was not familiar with the room. But then again, he never entered any of the other royal families' chambers except for Prince Alonzo's. So, he could be in the late Prince Therribus' chamber for all he knew.
However, he could see this room was not one that had been left unoccupied. There were signs of this place being used. There was even a cup of tea on a table at one side of the room, and Quintus could see the steam from that cup, indicating that the tea inside the cup was still fresh. Someone was in this room not long ago!
"I was wondering which rat has barged into my chamber."
Quintus heard a voice from behind him. He whirled around and looked at the person behind him. His eyes were wide with shock.
Quintus didn't complete his sentence as a long sword thrust into his body. The torch he was holding fell to the ground. Runic symbols exploded around him, covering his body and mouth. He had been inflicted with silence. He couldn't yell even if he wanted to.
The next morning, a maid came in to clean Alonzo's chamber. Even though the room was no longer occupied, it was still getting cleaned daily.
The maid was startled when he found someone lying on the floor. Then she was terrified when she found that it was a dead body. She screamed and called for guards.
The guards came and identified the body as Commander Quintus.