Chapter 68. A Midnight Act

 


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“Come on now, Mary, open your mouth.”

“Ah–”

 

A toothbrush is inserted through the gap between her open lips and her small teeth are scrubbed.

Looking at the scene in front of her from the side, Ludmilla muttered.

 

“…..I’ve always known you were a bit overprotective. She can at least brush her own teeth by herself.”

 

“I don’t know? I do this for Cassy sometimes.”

 

In Ludmilla’s mind, a scene played out where Casca, who destroyed people as if they were nothing, was sitting on the sofa and being taken care of by Shizuru.

 

Unable to find any words to reply, she sighed deeply.

 

“Haha…well, it’s a bit late now…..so I’ll just use your clinic as my bed again tonight.

 

“Yeah, good night Ludmila.”

 

She turned on her heel with a languid gesture and left the washroom with a fluttering wave of her hand.

There was a soft sound of a door being closed from the entrance of the hideout.

 

As if on cue, Shizuru pulls back the toothbrush and urges Mary to rinse her mouth.

This is the routine that has become so ingrained in him recently that it’s the first thing he does before he goes to bed.

 

Mary sleeps surprisingly well when she is with Shizuru.

The gentle humming of a lullaby while he stroked her head lulled her to sleep easily.

 

Tonight, too, she had started to fall asleep after only a few minutes.

 

“Soo……Soo ……”

“….phew”

 

Wrapped in a blanket and curled up.

Shizuru smiled at her adorable outfit, which resembled a kitten.

 

He held out his hand to Mary.

 

[White Goddess]

 

A call to the being who controlled white magic, spoken in a gentle voice.

The magic power released by it shined faintly.

 

[El Tuo Orba Gesupe Iste – Calm and Relaxation.]

 

The chant was recited and the magic was cast.

The white magic is transformed into particles of powdery light and poured down on Mary.

 

Calm and Relaxation , a spell which stabilised the mental state of the person affected.

 

If used on a sleeping person, it has the secondary effect of inducing a deeper and more peaceful sleep.

“Good night, Mary.”

 

This way, she was unlikely to wake up until morning.

Gently patting her on the head, Shizuru tiptoed out of bed.

 

His position is co-captain of the Black Maria 3rd Unit. He had a lot to do.

In particular, he was responsible for most of the paperwork, as his captain, Casca, cannot read or write properly.

 

However, despite his busy schedule, he wanted to give Mary as much attention as possible.

So, after putting her to bed, it was time for him to do some little work.

 

“Lady, I’m sorry, but could you make me a cup of coffee?”

“Yes, my dear.”

 

Shizuru moved into the living room so that the noise of him working  doesn’t disturb Mary’s sleep.

 

Lady, who had been lying on the floor waiting for him, nodded and turned and headed for the kitchen.

 

Shizuru sat down on the chair in front of her and unfolded a stack of papers that she had been sorting through.

 

As Ludmila and Elisabeth slept in the clinic and at home respectively, the only other person living here was Casca, but she was usually out drinking until dawn, so she was not here at the moment.

 

This is why the hideout is basically silent at this time of the day. In the silence, looking down at his papers with the light of a lamp illuminating the desk, Shizuru began to work.

 

“I’m going to be away for a while, so I’ll need to leave some notes to hand over…”

He made a list in his head of all the things that needed to be done before his departure in a few days, and arranged them in order of priority.

 

However, he had already done more than half of them.

 

“My dear. Your coffee’s ready.”

 

“Thank you, Lady.”

 

Lady placed a steamy cup of coffee on the table. She had transformed into her  human form, a different coloured version of Richelieu.

 

She then sat down opposite Shizuru and began to help him fill out the appropriate forms and sorted through them.

 

However, even though more than half of the total quantity was finished, the bundle was still too thick to be finished in one night.

Frowning, Lady muttered to herself, shaking her head.

 

“I still think that the third unit is too much work for you. I think she should send someone else to help out.” (TL note: ‘She’ refers to Richelieu.)

 

“–ah, I had asked Richelieu before to set up a support unit dedicated to gathering information and dealing with the aftermath and paperwork. But it probably has been put on hold for the time being, and unfortunately there are only a few members in Black Maria who are suited to that kind of work in the first place.”

 

“Oh…. that’s true. When Ilse and Oboro were there, you were a lot more comfortable than you are now,…….”

 

“It’s no use. Ilse is constantly on the move, and in the fourth unit, where every job requires careful preparation, a person like Oboro is indispensable.”

 

When his work in the labyrinth city is finished, he will ask Richelieu to reinforce their staff by getting some people to do the desk work.

 

Smiling and saying this, Shizuru piled up the papers in a corner of the table.

 

“Well….and that’s about it for today.”

 

They had been working for several hours.

A few hours into the work, when the night was almost over, Shizuru told Lady that he was ready to go.

 

There was only about 20% of the work left to be done.

At this pace, it looked as though he would be able to finish it with time to spare before he left.

 

“I’m sorry, dear. I wish I could have been more helpful.”

 

“No need to be sorry, you already help a lot and I trust you”

 

Shizuru couldn’t help but laugh at the Lady’s low bow.

It really wasn’t a joke, she’s already helping everywhere.

 

Thanks to Lady carrying him around on business, he is able to move quickly and discreetly.

Her fighting ability is on a par with Casca’s, the third most dangerous member of Black Maria, and her style of fighting in the dark of night makes her a worthy member of the organization. She also helps with paperwork, as she did tonight.

 

Shizuru trusted Lady who was always there for him.

Yes, that’s it.

“Enough to take care of the third unit while I am away.”

 

They cannot take the Lady with them on this temporary mission.

This is because they have received instructions from Richelieu to let her remain in the capital.

 

“You’re a great help to us. Look after Ludmila and Elisabeth for me.”

 

“…..Yes, of course A wife is supposed to look after the house  when her husband is away. I will do my duty to the best of my ability, my love.”

 

Lady, who had undone the spell and returned to her original form, nodded her head slightly.

 

It was the first time he would be away from Lady ever since he had taken her into his care.

 

The one person who has always been there to protect him will not be there with him this time.

 

Shizuru would be lying if he said there was not a hint of anxiety in his heart.

But he laughed softly, so as not to make her aware of it.

 

“Lady. If you don’t mind, I’d like to go for a little ride around town. It’s been a while since I’ve ridden you outside of work.”

 

“Well, my body and my heart are dedicated to you. It would be my pleasure, my beloved.”

 

A giant wolf with a large body, reaching till Shizuru’s eye level.

When he gently strokes her back, she lets out a pleasant growl.

 

One man and one wolf facing each other outside the hideout.

Lady reverently lays her jet-black fur-covered body down on the ground

“Come on, let’s go.”

“Mhmm.”

 

The wolf leaps into the night sky, supporting the Shizuru on her back with a thin shadow.

The wind that blew on her back as she ran through the darkness was very comforting.