Chapter 70. Stealthy steps

 


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~Eclipse Breakdra~

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–Step by step, with a slight tremble in her step, she descends the ramp.

 

“Ah…….”

 

Looking back, the last two days seemed like hell.

The constant vomiting consumed her organs and she was unable to eat anything.

She only drank water and pills and slept, waiting for the time to pass.

 

“Ah…..”

 

The fact that Shizuru took such good care of her made it all worthwhile.

But that said, she would never want to go through that pain again.

 

“Aah……”

 

It was the end of the ramp, the last step.

With all the strength in her body, she stepped out with her right foot.

 

A leather shoe with a hard heel hit the ground with a small thud.

 

“–aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh! We are here! Back on land!!”

 

After dozens of hours of seasickness, they had finally arrived at their destination.

In the harbour of Labyrinthos, Casca looked up to the heavens and shouted as loud as she could.

 

“Mommy. She’ s weird.”

“Hahaha…”

 

The Labyrinth City of Labyrinthos was one of the three cities near the Royal Capital.

The most important feature of this city is the huge tower that stood in the heart of the city.

 

The Great Labyrinth is the name of the sky-scraping tower. It has been here for more than hundreds of years and is considered a legacy of the past.

 

“However, nobody knows exactly how long the labyrinth has been there or why it was built.”

“Is that so. Why , Mother?”

 

Mary tilted her head as she asked Shizuru. Despite them being far away from it, the tower still had an imposing grandeur. 

 

“It was about five hundred years ago that the kingdom of Si Levant united the whole area around here. Before that, there were nearly a hundred small countries scattered here and there, and they were often at war with each other. And the history of a defeated kingdom often disappears without a trace. That’s why the  events of the land that came under the rule of the Si Levant 500 years ago are now quite vague.”

 

Shizuru’s words were followed by Ilse’s.

A lot of countries were taken over, and their history was lost. There was no way to know how the Great Labyrinth, which was impossible to recreate with modern technology, was built.

 

“Haha …… Well, Il’s right.”

 

He nodded with a slight chuckle at Ilse’s simple explanation.

He pointed to the tower and continued.

 

“It’s filled with all eight colours of magic at all times, and it’s a hive for a huge number of monsters. The higher up you go, the more numerous and powerful the monsters become, which is why no one has ever reached the top floor.”

 

At the very top of the Great Labyrinth lies a great treasure.

Or perhaps the power to rule the world lies there.

(TL note: Or maybe the One piece lies there XD.)

 

Somewhere along the line, such rumours began to circulate and there was no end to the number of people who challenged the labyrinth.

This city was built by them.

 

“It’s a den of monsters and an ancient treasure house. The rumour of the top floor probably originated from there, because there are many valuable items lying around. That’s why there are so many treasure hunters in this city, who want to explore the great labyrinth and make a fortune.”

 

“By the way, the labyrinth is a powerful warding device in itself, so the magical beasts inside will never be able to get out. Also there are guards at the entrances and exits.”

 

Mary, eager for knowledge, nodded and listened with interest to their conversation.

But then Casca, who seemed to have lost her patience, raised her voice in a troublesome tone.

 

“You can talk about that stuff later! We are not here to see the sights!”

 

“Oh, sorry Cassy.”

 

If she wanted to know more, he would tell her more about it later.

Patting a disappointed Mary, Shizuru chuckled at his thoughts.

 

In fact, Casca is right, they were not here on a sight-seeing tour.

Normally, Casca was an unprincipled and violent woman, but she was still a captain.Shizuru was impressed by her acting like a leader.

 

“I’m starving! I couldn’t eat anything on the boat, so let’s get some food! Then we’ll have a look around! It’s my first time in Labyrinthos!”

 

………….

 

Correction. She was,in fact, an unreasonable queen who does what she wants, no matter what.

 

However, it was certainly mealtime. The smells coming from all the restaurants were very appetising.

It must be hard to go on an empty stomach after two days without a proper meal.

 

“Haha…… haha…… yeah, I get it. We were going to meet up with her tonight anyway, so it wouldn’t hurt to do a bit of sightseeing until then.”

 

“For dinner, Ilse is in the mood for spaghetti. I want spaghetti with meatballs.”

 

“…… I want to eat an omelette. Fluffy ……”

 

“Of course I’m going to drink! I’ve been sober for two days, so I’ll have had four days’ worth by the end of the night!”

 

Why did it double in size? He didn’t dare to ask, because the answer would be an incomprehensible self-imposed rule.

 

“I can’t decide, let’s just  go to that shop! If it’s not good, I’ll kill all the workers!”

“Don’t do that to them……”

 

She points with her chin to a restaurant that seems to have caught her eye at random, and as soon as she decides, she walks away in high spirits.

 

Behind her, Shizuru and the others followed.

 

“…… Hmm? Well, Shizu, who was that person who came over here first?”

 

As they walked, a question popped into her head.

So, Casca turned her head and asked.

 

–The number of members in the temporary unit was 5.

There were four of them here: Shizuru, Casca, Mary and Ilse.

 

The remaining person had already arrived in Labyrinthos and had already started to gather information.

 

“What? Oh, that’ s–”

 

Shizuru tried to answer, but he could not finish his answer.

 

He was interrupted by the waitress greeting to Casca, who was just approaching the entrance to the shop.

 

“Welcome! How many guests do we have here?”

 

A sweet, distinctive tone that lingered in the ears.

It was Shizuru and Ilse who recognised the voice.

 

“There’s four of us! If you take us to a table that smells of cigarettes, I’ll kill you– huh?”

 

Casca turned to the front and held up four fingers carelessly to the waitress in front of her.

 

And then, in that position, she stopped.

 

“Huh?”

 

At the same time,the waitress also froze with the amiable smile that had been on her face.

 

–A somewhat revealing outfit whose design was perfectly appropriate for a restaurant that serves alcohol.

Her long black hair, which was slightly in a different shade from Sisel’s, was tied up in a ponytail with an ornate, expensive cord.

 

Her face was so beautiful that it would take anyone’s breath away, and even by Black Maria’s standards of beauty, she was one of the most beautiful women in the world.

 

In terms of physical characteristics alone, she compared favourably with Casca, one of the best in the organisation.

 

“Eh..ah..”

 

Eventually, the waitress’s face paled.

And when her eyes met Shizuru’s, who was behind Casca, she turned bright red.

If she had been wearing the blue scarf she usually wears, she would have covered her face with it.

 

“Ah….”

 

A few seconds of silence. Everything seemed to have disappeared, even the noise that echoed around them.

 

In the meantime, Ilse came out from behind Casca, saw the waitress’s face, and asked curiously.

 

“Oh, no. I knew it was you… What a coincidence! What are you doing here?”

 

The last member of the temporary unit who was due to join them tonight.

Oboro, a waitress.

 

“Nyahahahahahaha! Ahahahahahaha!”

 

Casca’s high-pitched laughter echoed indoors at midnight.

 

One of the several hideouts of the Black Maria 7th Corps scattered around the interior of Labyrinthos.

Shizuru and the others had gathered there, where it was judged to be the least used, and therefore the safest for the time being.

 

“Hahhaha…hihihi…ku..”

 

Casca sat down on a sofa that hadn’t seen much use.

She was laughing so hard she was even slightly out of breath.

 

Casca was not a very funny person, but she had a funny sense of humor that even Shizuru, who has known her for a long time, cannot grasp.

The people around her were a bit taken aback by her excessive laughter.

 

“Hi……hii…… suffer…… bff!”

 

“Cassy, you’re laughing too much. Have a glass of water and calm down.”

 

Shizuru, noticing the cramp in her stomach muscles, handed her a glass of water with a wry smile.

She took it with trembling hands and drank it in one gulp.

 

“Phew …… phew ……, I thought I was going to die. Hey Oboro, are you trying to kill me with laughter?”

 

With these words, Oboro was standing in the corner of the room, grimacing and giving her nasty looks.

She blatantly averted her face, but Casca was not so kind as to let that stop her from attacking.

 

“Welcome.”

“It’s…”

 

This is what Oboro said to them when she encountered them during the day.

Annoyingly, the tone of voice was quite similar, and Oboro’s sense of shame was probably shaken.

 

“Waitressing part-time, huh? What are you really doing here? Are you crazy?”

“….”

 

What a humiliation it was to be treated like a fool by Casca.

An invisible spear pierced Oboro’s heart.

 

She was shy by nature and she endured the shame that came with her job of information gathering.

The tavern was a source of various kinds of information. The drunkenness of the customers makes them talk much more. In some cases, hiding in a tavern was a more worthwhile activity than walking around town all day.

 

She was sure Casca knew what she was doing.

But she had no mercy on her.

 

“I’ve never heard you speak before! You sound like a little girl, it doesn’t suit you!”

“….”

 

The words were spoken in a mocking tone, and a blush crept into her face, which was covered by her scarf.

Oboro’s own complex. Her voice has a sweetness that doesn’t match her refined appearance.

 

–She didn’t want them to know.

She didn’t want Casca to know because she would definitely make fun of her.

Her ears were red with shame, and to hide it, Oboro pulled up her scarf, covering more than half of her face.

 

“Hey Oboro, why don’t you say something like you did during the day?”

 

And this behaviour makes Casca more and more excited.

Of course. A bully enjoys it more than anything else when the other person doesn’t like it.

 

“You’re a demon.”

“She’s dead.”

 

Ilse and Mary muttered to each other with blank expressions on their faces.

In the end, Shizuru intervened to protect Oboro, whose shoulders began to shake slightly.

 

“Cassy, enough. It’s time you stopped tormenting Oboro so much.”

 

“What? I’m not bullying her, I’m just making small talk. Don’t tell me what to do.”

 

Evil, vicious, outrageous, violence incarnate.

For Casca, all kinds of abusive language are part of everyday conversation.

 

And if she is in the position of being told what to do, she will beat you senseless depending on her mood.

She is truly an unreasonable queen.

 

“Haha …… Sorry Oboro, she didn’t mean to offend you either. Please forgive her.”

 

With a wry smile, Shizuru turned to Oboro and reached for her head.

His fingertips combed through her long black hair, and he glanced down at her face, which was covered by a scarf.

 

“And I like your voice. It’s really sweet.”

“…?!”

 

Hearing those words, she looked at his face, which wore a kind smile.

Oboro, who had turned red for a different reason than a moment before, covered her face again.

 

Oboro was on the verge of overheating, so she took a break with a cold cup of tea.

As soon as she had calmed down somewhat, Shizuru got down to business.

 

“So, Oboro. Have you learned any more about the destruction of the Seventh?”

“…”

 

Oboro nodded slightly at Sisel’s question and thrust her hand into her scarf.

Soon after, she pulled out a scroll and spread it out on the table.

 

“Mother, what’s this?”

“These are the characters used in the country where Oboro was born. It’s hard for Mary to understand.”

 

Mary looked at the text on the scroll and tilted her head at the curvy script, which she had never seen before.

 

It was not the official language of the Kingdom of Si Levant, but the language of the far eastern island nation of Japone. Even Mary, who was learning to read and write at an astonishingly fast pace, has not yet mastered the foreign script.

 

“….”

 

After glancing lightly at the open text, Oboro pointed to a section.

Shizuru, who could read Japonese, read out the words as he was shown.

 

“…..Fafnir mercenaries……I see”

 

“Huh? Fubu-niru? What kind of bumpkins are they? I’ve never heard of them.”

 

It seems to be the first time she has heard the name, and Casca asks him back with a slightly wrong pronunciation.

With a wry smile, Sisel replied, muttering inwardly an unrealistic hope that she would be a little more interested in gathering information.

 

“It’s a small mercenary group that has gained a reputation over the last two or three years. It seems that they are active in many places, and the name is sometimes heard in the Capital.”

 

“If they are as good as they are said to be, even if Mr. Wockerman got his ass kicked, he’d still be just about satisfied.”

 

“It’s Wickerman, Ilse……”

 

The identity of the perpetrators was not surprising or unexpected.

In any case, they already knew that the mercenary guild was the mastermind behind the destruction of Black Maria Unit 7.

It is natural to expect that the mercenaries belonging to the guild were used as the perpetrators.

 

As he collected his thoughts, Shizuru read out more of the text.

However, Oboro had only arrived here two days ago and had not yet made much progress in her research.

However, there was one piece of useful information at the end of the scroll.

 

–The Fafnir mercenaries were still staying in Labyrinthos.

 

“What, they’re in this town? Then let’s go and find their place and kill them.”

 

“Wait, Cassy, this is probably an invitation. It’s probably an intentional invitation for them to stay here and wait for us to make some kind of move on our own. Otherwise, a group of migratory mercenaries wouldn’t stay in one town for so long. We’ve saved ourselves the trouble of looking for them, but I’m sure they’re just as wary of us.”

 

The other side was so skilled that it had crushed the seventh unit. If they underestimate them, they might catch them off guard.

It’s best to choose a cautious course of action.

 

“ I don’t care. Let’s go and kill that pumpkin or apricot or something. We’ll finish it tonight and then we’ll have plenty of time for sightseeing.”

 

“Please, let’s listen to me, Cassy-……”

 

In the first place, this job does not end with the elimination of the perpetrators.

After all, when the Seventh Corps was destroyed, the Black Maria documents fell into the hands of the other side.

Even though it was encrypted, there was no such thing as leaving important documents elsewhere.

It was part of the mission to collect them.

 

“Eh, that’s so annoying……”

“Hahaha …… Anyway, we’ll be preparing for a while. We don’t have enough information yet, and we don’t know what will happen if we move carelessly. Let’s try to stay in the shadows and not stand out.”

 

Shizuru’s suggestion was met with no opposition as he looked around at everyone.

Although Casca clicked her tongue in annoyance, she knew better than anyone else here that it would be less trouble in the end to do as Shizuru suggested.

Hence, she nodded reluctantly but calmly.

 

–Anyway, the general plan is now set.

The Black Maria Temporary Unit is now in full swing.