Chapter 61. New dark clouds

***

 

“Shizu! Lend me some money!”

 

The base of Black Maria’s third unit blended incongruously into the dusty landscape of the deserted slum.

 

 A little after noon, Casca, who had been out since last night, came back and her voice was full of energy.

 

“Kay! Kay!”

 

With a radiant, carefree smile, she held out her hand straight to Shizuru.

Shizuru, who was sitting on the sofa in the living room, tilted his head slightly with a confused expression on his face.

 

“Well… first of all, what happened to your last share? You should have had seven or eight gold coins.”

 

“I used them all to drink and to eat!”

 

 Eight gold coins are large enough for a family of four to live for almost ten years without doing anything. How did she use them all up in just a week or so?

 

It was an appalling lack of financial awareness.

 

“I also bought a lot of perfume and nail polish because I was out of them, and I bought about ten extra suits! I also bought a lucky bracelet, it’s supposed to make you a lot of money! And it cost a gold coin, but they sold it to me for a special price of 50 silver coins. That’s a hell of a bargain!”

 

“Such a suspicious thing…”

 

 Casca’s bracelet, which was fitted to her slim wrist, was decorated beautifully, but it was just an ordinary accessory.

Apparently it was made of silver. Even if it’s not expensive, fifty-silver coins could be considered a rip off.

 

 Because they often received money and goods, Shizuru had an eye for precious metals and goods. He considered the silver bracelet to be worth 10 silver coins. Of course, there is no way to be sure that would be effective in helping to increase luck.

Casca had already lost a lot when she bought this.

 

“Lend me money! Alexandria will definitely win today!”

 

 Alexandria is the name of a cat that competes in a popular game called “Cat Race” in a gambling house where Casca frequently visited.

In a double sense, the old cat is on the verge of retirement, so every race has a tremendous effect on him, and Casca has been betting on this cat for a while.

 

 Needless to say, Shizuru hasn’t heard of it winning yet.

 

“‘I’m fine. I can still do it. I won’t lose to the youngsters yet! By the way, Yoshinobu-san, is the nekomanma ready yet?’ This was what he said as he ate the nekomanma!”

 

“It’s completely stupid, isn’t it?”

 

Casca’s  passion for racing cats is considerable, perhaps because she can talk to cats and animals.

 

 Shizuru thought that  there are many things Casca can do by using her skills to fix the game, but to be honest, he couldn’t help but sigh at the sight of Casca foolishly betting a lot of money on a big hole, and of course losing all the time.

 

 But on the other hand, Shizuru liked the simplicity of her thinking.

 

“Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha”

 

 After expressing his mixed feelings with a wry smile and sigh, Shizuru took a small bag filled with silver coins out of his pocket and placed it in Casca’s hand.

 

“Oh my gosh! Thank you Shizu, I love you!”

 

“Yes, yes, I love you too, so don’t waste money.”

 

“I know! Wait for me, Alexandria, tonight we shall celebrate!”

 

 Just like a  ferocious beast, she rushed out of the hideout without looking aside, enjoying herself with an innocent smile that didn’t fit her street name.

 

That was before his tongue was even dry. What did he think he was getting back?

 

“…that’s another big loss today…Maybe it’s about time we put the money I give to Cathy into an allowance system…”

 

 Shizuru slowly patted Mary who was sleeping comfortably on his lap.

 

Suddenly, a coffee cup was placed in front of him with a small clink.

 

“Huh? Oh, thank you, Ludmila.”

 

“…… You’re being lax and that’s why she is coming to you. You don’t have to lend her anything.”

 

Ludmila looked at Shizurul with a languid gaze and sat down next to him.

 

 Ludmila sat next to him looking down at the Shizuru with languid eyes.

 

 After many twists and turns, she returned to the 3rd Corp, and although her superficial attitude and behavior remained the same, the distance between her and Shizuru was definitely narrowing.

 

She could reach out and touch him. That seemed to be the most comfortable place.

 

  If Shizuru did not lend her money, Casca would end up borrowing money from another moneylender, or she would start a money hunt with a random passersby.

 

Richelieu, too, does not interfere in any way with the conduct of the members of the Black Maria organisation, unless it has a major impact on the running of the organisation, so she cannot be pressured from above to stop her.

 

 If he tried to use force, he would only get a temporary stop. It was not a fundamental solution.

 

 In other words, there is nothing they can do.

 

“Well, if gambling and drinking will keep her quiet, then so much the better. There are only a handful of people in the world who could stop Cathy head on.”

 

“… well, if you don’t mind it, I don’t mind it either.”

 

She didn’t want to embarrass Shizuru by interfering.

 

 That’s why Ludmila shrugged her shoulders lightly without saying anything more.

 

“Well… I have to go to the clinic now.Thank you for the coffee, Ludmila.”

 

 As Shizuru slowly drained the coffee and returned the cup to the saucer.

 

 Mary woke up with a snap, as if the timing had been agreed upon.

 

“… Huh… mother, are you going out…?”

 

“Yes, it’s daytime work. What about Mary?”

 

“I’ll help you…”

 

Mary rubbed her eyelids and bounced up and down with a nimble gesture that didn’t feel like waking up from sleep.

 

 Basically, she’s been with Shizuru for the whole time he’s been working at the clinic. She’s already become a bit of a celebrity, following him around like a baby bird.

 

 However, because of this, there was a strong belief in some parts of the ‘east section’ that Shizuru was a woman.

 

On a side note, if Shizuru wore the Lady’s doppelganger, he could truly become a woman, instead of being unable to use his healing magic during that time due to the incompatibility of black and white magic.

 

“Dear.”

 

 As he started getting ready to go out, a quiet voice stopped him.

 

 Looking back, Lady, in her human form, was entering the room.

 

“Lady, I’m going to the clinic now, so please take care in my absence.”

 

“I understand, my dear. I just want you to see this before you leave.”

 

 Lady handed over an envelope to Shizuru.

 

 A plain rectangle with no address written on it.

 

 However, Shizuru understood at a glance what it was.

 

“…this,”

 

“The Messenger Crow just delivered it. It’s a letter of contact from the boss.”

 

    It’s not the kind of thing he would expect to receive on trivial matters.

 Shizuru opened the envelope with a strange sense of uneasiness.

 

 Inside was a piece of paper that looked like nothing was written on it.

 However, when he looked closely, he found out it was written in Braille.

 

 A few short lines of writing. He used his fingertips on the paper and gently traced the words.

 

 Shizuru’s eyes widened after reading the message.

 

“Hey, what did it say?”

 

 Ludmila, who had no idea of  the situation in which Richelieu had sent a letter of contact, asked Shizuru in an anxious manner.

 

 He exhaled deeply and quietly and then answered calmly.

 

“It’s a call to arms …… for all of Black Maria.”

 

****

Notes

N/A

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