58 Investigating a Rumor

[Maya's POV]

December 24th.

A joyous Friday.

The day before Christmas.

The air is filled with excitement and anticipation as families prepare to celebrate the holiday with festive cheer. Underneath beautifully decorated trees, presents are carefully arranged, awaiting the delight of loved ones.

Children eagerly await Santa's arrival, while the world unites in kindness and compassion.

Laughter and warmth fill homes as loved ones gather, cherishing each other's company and spreading the true spirit of Christmas but instead of being with family, I was investigating a rumor.

The rumor came from one of my precious members of the secret club I created.

I call them precious but in reality, since communication among club members is anonymous and online, I don't know any of their real identities.

I don't know who they are and they don't know who I am.

Nobody knows that the leader of the club that publishes jaw-dropping articles all the time is Maya, me.

Almost nobody.

A certain someone by the name of Bell Agnus discovered my secret due to a negligent mistake of mine; I should've checked beforehand where all the rooms in the academy that had mana cancelation were.

I can't claim to have an infinite source of mana but it's vast enough that I can leave my ability on for hours on end without having to rest it for a recharge.

That's how I'm able to go around the academy without getting caught and it's why I'm so confident about my ability to follow people around.

Nobody can even sense me when I'm invisible regardless of how powerful they are.

The only weakness of my invisibility is rooms that cancel all mana.

How unlucky of me to have encountered such a room moments after acquiring the biggest, juiciest, tastiest scoop of my entire life.

Get this. A vampire exists, that's right. A vampire.

A creature that I've only heard of from old stories and textbooks. They still exist and one of them attends the same academy that I do.

I wish I could've typed out those words onto paper and shared them around the academy but if I do — the punishment that awaits me is so heavy that I can only keep my mouth shut. Reluctantly.

Goddamn blood oath.

And that's not all.

If it was just a vampire living amongst us then I'd already be satisfied by oh no — there's way more information that I'm unable to reveal to the world.

The person who discovered my secret identity, Bell Agnus, he's nothing like everyone thinks he is.

He even tricked me, someone who prides herself in knowing everything about everyone of importance.

At first, I heard of him through the grapevine. Since he was a direct family member of the most prestigious family in this city, everyone knows about him, including me.

Then, the first time I really heard about him in any circles around me was after he sexually assaulted a student at the school who coincidentally is the vampire I was referring to.

Piece of shit thing to do and he deserved to have his private part chopped off for that.

His identity as an Agnus kept his punishment light and all he received was a suspension.

Then, however, the truth is revealed. Or rather, I listened in on the conversation he shared with the headmistress and I learned that the incident that occurred between him and his victim wasn't his complete fault as he was influenced by the demon curse mark on his back.

After making sure that he wasn't faking it, I thought that was all and called the investigation a wrap.

I published and shared the article with the student body, ready to move on to my next scoop.

After that, I was caught in a drought where nothing was catching my interest. I published a few secrets here and there but overall, it was lackluster.

Then, on my way to lunch as I was late to leave class due to a project, I saw suspicious movement of the person who was my target of interest just a while ago so naturally, I followed him.

I was wondering if it was for naught but when I saw Diana and Bell in a room together, I held my breath.

Culprit and victim.

His crush and the one who was crushed by his curse.

'Why are they in this room all alone instead of eating lunch?' I wondered.

The next thing I know, she was drinking his blood and without a doubt in my mind, I knew instantly that Diana was a vampire.

'Oh... my... god.'

Normally, I would follow my subjects a little longer to confirm what I had overheard or seen just to ensure that I didn't jump the gun.

However, this was different. I didn't need anything else.

This was enough for me to publish the article; no more investigation was needed.

But I got greedy. I shouldn't have — but greed is a cardinal sin for a reason and it took over me.

"Are you going to head to lunch?" Bell asked her.

Diana nodded her head and then asked him, "Why? What about you?"

"No. I have something to do after this."

Sensing that there was another scoop for me to acquire with how he answered her, the mysterious tone in his voice, and the way he suspiciously walked out of the room — I followed him.

I followed him all the way to the damn room that sealed off all my mana, deactivating my ability and turning me visible.

I wanted to run away but in a flash, he appeared before me and slammed the door shut.

With only my pure physical strength available as I was alone in that room with him, I couldn't help but feel fear as if I was a trapped bunny and he was an angered wolf.

Physically he towered over me and he looked like he could carry two of me with ease.

On his own, he quickly deduced that I was the one who stalked him and released the article revealing his secrets.

Wait, no. Not stalking him. I didn't stalk him. I just — investigated him.

Yeah, that's right. Investigation.

Fear isn't something that can dictate my moves. I fear getting caught all the time but I always keep it pushing.

But in that room, I did fear Bell Agnus and what he might do to me in a fit of anger.

That was partially why I agreed to the blood oath that I myself proposed to him.

A lot was sacrificed, and I mean a lot, but in the end, keeping my secret identity a secret was the most important thing and I was able to accomplish that.

Anyway, I'm getting out of track.

It's currently afternoon, the sun is about to hit the horizon soon.

I heard from my club member that a certain baron was secretly a bloodsucking monster wearing the skin of a human who covers up his evil deeds by pretending to be a saint and donating to charity.

If it was me from a few months ago, I wouldn't have even considered investigating such an outlandish rumor because of two things.

Firstly, as it doesn't involve the academy, it doesn't involve me.

That was the rule that I lived by.

Secondly, the rumor is so farfetched that the likelihood of it being true is abysmally small.

But present-day me, I can believe in this rumor to a certain degree because I personally know of a bloodsucking student whose identity I'm oathed to not leak to the public.

And although it doesn't involve the academy, I've been thinking about branching out anyway since the biggest scoop of news at the academy I've ever had spilled out of my palms like a slimy fish.

Gabriel Webmour, son of deceased Grayson Webmour, is the name of the baron I'm investigating.

When I asked my precious club member where they heard about this rumor and if it had any credibility behind it, they shared a few downloaded articles with me.

The articles were obscure as they were written by small publishing companies and independent bloggers writing for fun but they mostly referenced police reports made by former employees of the Webmour's household.

Obscure articles and yet, they were deleted from the internet as if someone is trying to hide something.

These articles claimed that Baron Gabriel was an evil person and that he ate flesh and drank blood.

Eating flesh had me slightly perplexed since vampires didn't consume flesh but I just tossed it up to the former employees being so terrified that they exaggerated their stories.

"Baron Gabriel," I muttered to myself as I entered a tavern a couple of miles away from his territory.

Before I use my invisibility to stalk the inside of the baron's home, I thought it'd be smarter for me to investigate elsewhere and see if the rumors are indeed credible or if they were just fabricated lies that were wasting my time.

"Rare to see a young lady like you in this sort of place," commented the waitress who looked overly friendly.

She plucked the pen from her ear and asked, "What would you like to order?"

I looked down at the menu in my hands and I wasn't familiar with anything on it. "What would you recommend?"

"Starting off with drinks, since Christmas is around the corner, most people around themselves eggnogs. But clearly, you're underage," she chuckled, "so how about this?"

Pointing down to a drink on the menu, I read the name, and after reading the ingredients, I nodded my head in agreement.

Then she asked me what I wanted to eat and like before, I told her to just give me her recommendation.

"Okay. I'll be back with your drink then your food," she said.

"Thank you."

"No problem."

Now alone, I began listening to my surroundings.

Naturally over the years as I'd spent most of my time eavesdropping on others' important private conversations, my ears had honed themselves to listen to everything while simultaneously separating the conversations in a manner where I was able to understand and digest everything in a single sitting.

'Nothing there. Nope. Definitely not there. Who cares about your interest in a woman's buttocks? That's an interesting convo but... not exactly what I'm looking for.'

People were just conversation about the usual topics. Nothing too important.

'The baron?' my ears focused in on a group of two who had mentioned the person I was investigating.

Listening in a little longer, I shook my head. 'Not what I was hoping to hear,' I sighed.

They were just discussing how the baron looked extremely similar to his father and his grandfather.

'Obviously, they would look alike,' I rolled my eyes. 'It's called genetics.'

When the waitress arrived with the drink she recommend to me, I took a quick sip to find that it was rather tasty.

"That's quite good," I said as I handed her a banknote.

She looked down at the banknote in her hand and then at me. "What's this for?" she asked.

"It's a tip. In exchange for information," I answered her.

Looking around the room to see if they were desperately in need of her help, she then sat down, taking a seat beside me.

"That's not what a tip is," she giggled. "I'll bite though."

She then proceeded to stuff the banknote in between her bosom.

I was a little flabbergasted but seeing that she had no pockets in the uniform skirt that she was wearing, I ignored what she had just done.

I explained to her in a quiet voice, "I'm not exactly from around here. I came on a little trip because I heard... certain rumors about the baron. Not good ones."

The waitress glared at me with these eyes that almost lit up.

"I was wondering if these rumors were true... or if they were just a load of nonsense."

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