64 Why are you...?

"Lady Furina..."

Inside the Palais Mermonia, at an unspecified date and time.

"The records you wanted are here." A Melusine spoke as she placed an envelope on Furina's desk.

The Melusine then added, "The l'automne Film Festival is nearing, and, as you have requested, we've placed your name among the participants."

"That's good," Hearing this, Furina, who was reading a letter with a serious face, looked back at the Melusine. "How about the invitation I told you about? Did you send it to him?"

"Indeed," the Melusine nodded her head. She then pulled out another letter. "Monsieur Isaac replied that he'd go to the Opera House on accord with your invitation."

"That's good," Furina exhaled a small sigh of relief. "If he hadn't, I might have needed to personally see him... But still..."

"...This is all to confirm something."

She then looked at the envelope given to her prior. She lifted her hand and took the envelope before taking out the document inside.

Reading the document, her hand's grip on the paper tightened for a moment. She then looked at the Melusine, "Can you go outside for a moment? I have a matter to take care of."

"Of course, Lady Furina."

The Melusine nodded her head as she complied. Shortly after, she left the room, leaving Furina alone.

Alone in her office, Furina nodded her head. She then took the document and walked over to a flippable chalkboard.

Furina approached it and turned the chalkboard, revealing the other side.

On the board, a series of pinned pictures were present, with lines connecting them.

"..." Holding the document in her hand, Furina took one pin and placed it on the board.

She then took a step back and looked at the chalkboard in whole. Her hand clenched as if she had a terrible feeling.

"...mmgh." Looking at the chalkboard, Furina held her shock as she tried to rationalize her thoughts. However, the series of points presented In front of her made a compelling argument.

"...The timeline also matches..." She said as her eyes turned dull, beginning to see the outline of it all.

"If this means what it truly means..." She then took out another picture and held it in her hand. "That means..."

"You are a great liar."

She then placed the final picture in the middle of all the pinned pictures and notes.

In the picture she pinned, a man holding a teacup was present. He had an amicable smile and a warm gaze.

However, contrary to his expressions, Furina looked at his picture with disbelief and reluctance.

Ever since the day she was rescued by the man, she had noticed a lot of things that were kept a secret from her by him. His excuses were too convenient and she couldn't help but want to fact-check things for herself.

As such, she went and dug up Isaac's past. She found nothing at first but then noticed one crucial pivotal point in his document.

The moment his cafe opened was the moment the Masked Clown appeared shortly after.

And from this, she went down a rabbit hole.

"With this film festival..." She then took a step back. "I hope that you'll convince me otherwise. "


She then turned silent and didn't finish her sentence. Her voice was heavy during the whole ordeal.

Soon, only silence remained in her office.


On the day of their first recording, Isaac left Lumine and Paimon in the cafe after showing them the basics. After doing this, he hurried over to Poisson and fortunately made it in time.

Their set was near Spina Di Rosula's base, and with Navia's involvement, the production was set up relatively easily.

"Do you not see, sister? Father is obviously in low spirits." Holding his script, Lyney practiced his lines. "Today's his birthday... He shouldn't be like this."

"What can we do? All he does is drown in alcohol... He's always in low spirits." Holding her script, Lynette spoke with her usual expressionless face.

"Ah— I have an idea!" Lyney uttered with a vibrant smile. "Why don't we surprise him with a birthday cake? That would surely lift Father's spirits, right?"

"It's worth a try." Lynette nodded her head in agreement. "Let's try it."

Just then, a voice interrupted them. Not far away, Furina appeared with a cheerful smile. "Alright, cut!"

"Hiring you two was definitely a great decision," Furina spoke as her heterochromatic eyes looked at the twins. She then nodded in approval. "Your acting seemed natural and superb."

"Keep doing what you two are doing!"

"Aw, thanks Lady Furina," Lynette chuckled wryly at her compliments. He then reciprocated, "Still, it's all thanks to our beloved director for coming up with this story."

"Hehe, no need to praise me." Furina smiled smugly at Lyney's compliments. "This is only natural for someone like me, after all."

Lyney nodded his head with a smile as he caught Furina's intent. He then changed the subject, "By the way..."

"Where's Monsieur Isaac?"

"I think he's still inside the dressing room," Lynette replied to her brother's question. "He's been in there for fifteen minutes now."

"What?!" Hearing the time Isaac had been inside the dressing room, Lyney felt baffled. "He didn't pass out in there, did he?"

"...I appreciate the worry."

Just then, a voice joined in their conversation. "But I must confirm that I'm still alive and kicking... I ain't falling that easily."

The three of them turned their heads and looked at the source of the voice. Sure enough, it was none other than Isaac who just came out of the dressing room.

"Monsieur Isaac, you're finally here!" Having bonded over magic tricks the last time they met, Lyney had a great impression of Isaac. "You're just in time for the rehearsal."

"Haha, sorry for only showing up now," Chuckling wryly, Isaac looked at Lyney with his deep amber eyes. "It's just that this costume required a lot of details."

"But hey," Isaac then turned over and looked at Furina. "Does this look fit the character in your mind?"


Furina, who saw Isaac's costume, became momentarily silent.

Currently, Isaac was wearing a tight black double-breasted frock coat with dark slim pants. On his coat, the badge of the Marechaussee Phantom of old was present.

It was a standard uniform of the Marechaussee.

However, on Isaac's face, a mask that covered the lower half of his face was present. Along with it was a monocle that hung on his left eye.

Furina silently watched Isaac as another person emerged from her mind. However, she soon shook her head and focused on the present.

"You look excellent!" Furina approved of his costume. She then pointed at his face, "Did you also add a fake scar that spanned half of your face?"

"Yup, I followed the instructions to the dot." Isaac boasted as he took off his mask, revealing a pale scar that spanned from his right jaw to the rest of his face. "Gotta say, your makeup artists are on another level, Lady Furina."

"Ha, of course." Retorting to Isaac's words, Furina scoffed. "They need to have at least this much to serve their God."

"..." Smiling to himself, it seemed like Isaac was lampooning himself once more. "Yeah, I guess so."

"...your silence is so loud, I could almost hear your ridicule of me in your mind." Furina's eyes shifted and glared at Isaac. "You have a pernicious habit— one that you have ever since we met."

"Heh. Sorry." Smiling wryly, Isaac apologized. "Force of habit."

"Alright, enough," Rolling her eyes, Furina handed Isaac's script to him. "Go and practice your scenes with Lyney and Lynette."

"As the main actor, you should give this your all." Furina reminded. "After all, I'm also the director. And if my actors aren't up to my standards... Well, you know how it would go."

"Hai... Got it," Isaac nodded his head in agreement. He then walked over to Lyney and Lynette with his script.

Furina, who watched him walk off, continued to watch him in silence.

Crossing her hands, she observed his every move while wearing his costume. Isaac started acting with Lyney and Lynette.

Seeing him act, Furina felt relieved that he acted better than she thought. However...

From time to time, she would be reminded of another person while watching him.

Clenching her elbow, she comforted herself. 'Relax. Perhaps... They just have the same body build. There's no way—'

However, before she could finish her thoughts, she suddenly saw Isaac finally play out his role's more somber moments.

"I am a hypocrite," Isaac, now seriously acting as Emanuel Guillotin, looked at Lyney with his deep amber eyes that had lost their light of hope. "I'm sorry, Alain."

"As a Hunter, who I've hunted that day weren't prey..." He spoke as his aura became cold and distant. "But people... People whom I swore to protect..."

He clenched his hands and looked away from Lyney. "...I'm irredeemable."

"Father..." Looking at Isaac, Lyney's eyes showed genuine sadness. "Please, don't say that..."

"Father..." Lynette also joined in as she held Isaac's shirt.

Furina watched it all play out, and truthfully, it shocked her. 'Such raw emotions... I didn't know these three could show such emotions...'

'However...' Her eyes then looked over at Isaac. She was reluctant at first, but the more she observed him, the more she found the similarities that can't be denied.

She had purposely picked out his clothes to match the clown thief's appearance that night. And sure enough, it satisfied her curiosity.

'Why... Do you look like that thief?'

Those who hide themselves behind masks know each other too well, after all.

* * *


I know what you're thinking... But trust the process. Let me cook.

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