Meus sighed and shook his head. “I’ve attempted every connection I know of, but there’s no information to be found on the man named Zero. I even used a wind magic stone to contact the dark guild, but they had no information on him. The only information I was able to glean came from the young child he brought named Nova. She let slip that there are currently eight of them traveling together.”
Torin's smile waned slightly, replaced by a contemplative expression. He absorbed the information Meus shared, processing the fact that their search for information on Zero had hit a dead end. The mention of Nova and the group of eight individuals traveling together piqued his curiosity.
"Eight of them, you say?" Torin mused, his mind working through the possibilities. "It seems that Zero is not acting alone. This complicates matters further, but it also presents an opportunity. We must learn more about these individuals and their intentions. Are they also able to wield the level of power that he does?"
Meus nodded in agreement, his brow furrowed in thought. "My lord, I’ve yet to inform you, but it seems one of the 8 is currently already within the mansion. When I went to the sitting room where you and Zero were after leading the ladies to their quarters, I found Zero there with a young woman holding a baby. I checked with the guards at the front entrance who said no one entered, so I have no idea how she managed to appear out of thin air."
Torin's eyes widened with surprise and concern as he absorbed Meus' revelation. The fact that one of the individuals was already within the mansion raised alarms in his mind. He couldn't help but feel a sense of unease at the mysterious woman's sudden appearance.
"A woman with a baby?" Torin repeated, his voice tinged with a mix of curiosity and caution. "And she seemed to appear out of thin air? This is troubling indeed. We must exercise utmost caution and investigate this matter further. Have the maid keep an eye on her? Wait, if you’re here, who is by Zuria's side right now?"
Meus lifted his hand to ease Torin's concern. "Please calm down, my lord. When Zero reappeared, I informed the maids not to let Madam Zuria out of their sight, so she’s perfectly fine. On my way here, Sienna informed me that the madam would be having tea with our Zero and his young lady friend Yoko, so I ordered her to serve them while Alma hides nearby in case of any problems. So we have nothing to worry about. Besides, it wouldn’t make much sense to help us resurrect her only to take her away. I know you’re quite protective of her after all that happened, but please remain calm, my lord."
Torin took a deep breath, his emotions gradually settling as he processed Meus' reassurances. He understood the importance of remaining calm and not letting his protective instincts cloud his judgment. Zuria's safety was paramount, and he trusted in Meus' vigilance and the precautions taken by the maid.
"You are right, Meus," Torin replied, his voice steady now. "I must not let my emotions cloud my judgment. Thank you for ensuring Zuria's safety and for your quick thinking. It is a relief to know that she is in good hands and that precautions have been taken."
Meus nodded, a reassuring smile tugging at his lips. "Indeed, my lord. The safety and well-being of Madam Zuria are of the utmost importance to us all. We will continue to keep a close watch and take every necessary measure to ensure her security. I will personally oversee the situation and stay vigilant."
Torin placed a hand on Meus' shoulder, conveying his gratitude and trust. "I appreciate your dedication and quick actions, Meus. I know I can rely on you to protect our family. Let us focus on gathering more information about this mysterious woman and her connection to Zero. There may be more to uncover than meets the eye."
Meus nodded in agreement, his resolve unwavering. "As you wish, my lord. This might not be relevant, but when I walked in on them, they seemed quite close. On another note, I couldn’t quite hear what they said, but I overheard something about bandits. So I believe we should investigate if any bandits are still within this area and observe them from afar."
Torin's brow furrowed as he absorbed Meus' additional information. The mention of the mysterious woman and Zero discussing bandits caught his attention. It seemed that there might be a connection between the two and the bandits in the area.
"Bandits, you say?" Torin repeated, his mind racing with possibilities. "If there are still bandits present in our vicinity, it is imperative that we investigate further. They could pose a threat not only to our mansion but to the surrounding townspeople as well. We must ensure the safety of our people."
Meus nodded, his expression serious. "I agree, my lord. I will gather a team of trusted individuals and discreetly scout the area for any signs of bandit activity. It's important to assess the situation and understand the motives behind their actions."
Torin's gaze hardened with determination. "Find out everything you can, Meus. We need to know if there are bandits around, their numbers, and their possible intentions. The safety of this land and those under our care must be our top priority."
Meus nodded once again, his voice filled with loyalty. "I understand, my lord. I will assemble a team and commence the investigation immediately. Rest assured, we will gather the information needed and act accordingly. Our people's safety is our duty."
Torin turned to Meus with a small smile. "Meus, again since it's just the two of us here, you can call me by my first name. There's no need for such formality between us in this private setting."
Meus paused for a moment, contemplating Mathias' words. He respected his lord's wishes but also understood the weight of their responsibilities. With a slight bow, he replied, "Thank you for your understanding, my lord. However, you asked for a formal report earlier, and as your loyal butler, I believe it's important to conduct myself in a manner befitting my role. If you ever feel differently, please let me know."
Torin nodded, acknowledging Meus' commitment to his duties. "I appreciate your professionalism, Meus. You've always been dedicated to upholding the traditions and responsibilities of your role as a butler. Your devotion is admirable, but you should relax whenever possible."
With their conversation concluded, Torin and Meus made their way back towards the door that led to the upper levels of the mansion. They left the training area behind, and as they walked side by side, Torin spoke with a renewed determination. "Meus, once we have a clearer understanding of the situation, we can strategize and take appropriate action."
Meus nodded in agreement, his eyes reflecting the unwavering loyalty that defined him. "Of course, my lord. I will do everything in my power to uncover the truth and ensure the safety of yourself and Madam Zuria. We shall face these challenges head-on and emerge victorious." Torin and Meus continued their ascent to the upper levels of the mansion. As they navigated the familiar halls, their steps carried the weight of responsibility, their bond as lord and butler growing stronger. Together, they would overcome the obstacles in their path and protect all that they held dear.