Chapter 73. Fake

 

–There are two main ways of collecting information.

Either you collect it yourself, or you get it from someone else.

 

The  former, like Oboro, were active and secretive, picking up miscellaneous information along with useful information with the help of their ears and feet.

 

The latter, such as Shizuru and Ilse, who possessed excellent negotiating skills, received only what they needed through personal transmission.

 

Of course, both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, so it is not possible to make a general preference. Therefore, it was better to have people  of both types in the same group.

 

This is because you can play your cards differently depending on the situation, and you can both see things from different perspectives at the same time.

 

In particular, Oboro’s ability to gather information is among the best in Black Maria.

If given a little time, she was capable of gathering credible information in most cases.

 

And this time, Mary was there too.

A young child who once committed a series of brutal acts as a serial killer in the eastern section of the capital, but managed to evade the pursuit of the guards for over two months.

Gathering accurate information is an essential skill. She was good at it.

 

Mary’s method is the same as Oboro’s: she works with her feet.

However, as it is not possible for her to infiltrate a tavern as a waitress, her methods are slightly different.

 

She travelled around the streets of Labyrinthos to find out more about their targets.

 

She listened to the hustle and bustle, picked out every conversation that came through, and sorted out the useful topics.

 

And in the middle of it all.

 

“….huh?”

 

Without a warning, she is confronted with an unbelievable sight.

She couldn’t believe her eyes, but no matter how many times she blinked or rubbed her eyelids, what she saw remained the same.

 

“Mother…?”

 

Facing a woman who looked exactly like Shizuru, Mary looked up at her dumbfounded and muttered in a shaky voice.

 

She looked too much like Shizuru to be dismissed as just another person.

As she looks up at the woman’s face, Mary’s brows furrow in deep confusion.

 

–But it was only for a short time.

Then she snapped her eyes open slowly, as if waking from a vision.

 

“(No,Mother, not…)”

 

Is it her chest-length, wavy black hair? The three black dots present near the bottom of her left eye?

A pair of eyes that hang slightly higher than the corners of her eyes. The dark brown eyes in their sockets.

Her lips are lightly stained with lipstick. A deep scar with a diagonal line on her right cheek. Her height, at best a little over 160 centimetres.

Or is it her body, with its modestly raised bosom, which indicates that she is a woman?

 

Perhaps it was everything.

 

“(Different)”

 

Shizuru’s hair was shorter and shinier, more like a black pearl.

The characteristic trio of black dots were under his right eye, not his left.

His eyes have a gentle droop and are a beautiful dark red colour.

He does not wear lipstick. There were no scars on his cheeks. And he was almost 180cm tall.

 

Above all, Shizurul was a proven man.

 

“(Not..!)”

 

If you put her and Sisel side by side and asked people on the street, they would all say they looked alike.

In fact, Mary mistook them for a moment. 

 

It is true that the general appearance of the faces were very similar.

But the details were different. They are completely different.

 

“(No, not at all. ……!)”

 

The more she looked at the woman, the more the difference between her and Shizuru became apparent in Mary’s eyes.

There was no resemblance whatsoever, except for the face, and even that face looked like a bad imitation.

 

 Eventually, Mary’s heart was filled with a dark emotion that went beyond irritation.

 

“(I made a mistake. I mistook her for my mother.)”

 

She mistook the person who reached out to her for the first time in her life.

She mistook the person who loved her so much that she almost died of love poisoning, when she was not even loved by her own biological mother.

 

–Mary loved Shizuru with all her heart.

 

Mary is unaware of the implications of this love.

It’s no wonder. In the first place, the feelings that she has for Shizuru are a mixture of affection and love, adoration and lust.

It’s not a normal kind of love. It was not possible to make a proper distinction from the start.

 

“(I couldn’t tell this thing apart from my mother.)”

 

Mary could not be forgiven for having such an unusual and chaotic love for Shizuru.

She couldn’t forgive herself for mistaking a fake for her mother, even for a moment.

 

More than anything else, she couldn’t stand the sight of the fake Shizuru in front of her.

 

“(What do you call it, when you feel like this?)”

 

Self-loathing, even nausea, and hatred for women filled her thoughts.

She had a headache from the excessive rage.

 

She felt sick, she couldn’t help it.

Mary thought for a moment about what words would have been appropriate to describe this feeling.

 

“(Ah—-)”

 

Eventually, half unconsciously.

She muttered in her heart the words of the only person she ever cared about besides Shizuru.

 

“….The worst”*

 

Her hand reflexively moves to pull out the knife she has hidden in the back of her dress.

Her instincts scream at her to cut up the fake face in front of her, a face she doesn’t even know the name of.

 

What held her back was the promise she had made to Shizuru when she left on her mission.

 

Be careful out there. Don’t do anything that might attract attention, okay?

 

If she were to attack the imposter here right now, she would be breaking a very important promise to Shizuru.

Mary gritted her teeth and held on, knowing she would rather die than let that happen.

 

“Hey…”

 

The woman spoke to Mary in a trembling voice.

It sounded a little like Shizuru’s voice.

 

“…!!”

 

She was trying to calm herself down, but her voice was stifling her frustration.

She couldn’t take it anymore. she could see it clearly.

 

If she stayed here any longer.

She thought that if she stood face to face with this woman for even a moment longer – she would kill her.

 

“——!!”

 

Hence. Mary quickly turned on her heel and ran back the way she had come.

 

“Huh… wait! Please wait!!”

 

She was called from behind, but of course Mary didn’t stop.

She used her small size to her advantage, moving fluidly through the crowd and into the back alleys.

After all this, it was impossible to catch up with her.

 

“Shizu this! And this one!”

 

“All right, let’s relax a bit…”

 

Casca was having so much fun on her first visit to the city that she was getting excited like a child.

Incidentally, she is now urging him to buy her a bottle of local sake produced exclusively in the labyrinth city.

She liked the smell of it. So he was forced to buy it by the barrel.

 

“Oh my God, that looks so good. …… Nah nah Shizu, can I have a drink?”

 

“Don’t try to drink on the street. For God’s sake, let’s wait till we get to the safe house.”

 

“All right! I’ll be back before you know it!”

 

“What?….Oh, wait, she’s gone”

 

Before Shizu could stop her, Casca was running away, carrying a large barrel of wine with great enthusiasm.

It was too fast for him to follow.

 

As usual, Shizuru’s shoulders slumped and he let out a sigh.

“I don’t know…”

 

–He felt a slight impact on his hip and back immediately after muttering this.

 

“What…the? Oh, Mary?”

 

Slightly surprised, Shizuru turned around to see Mary hugging him tightly.

In this case, it would be more accurate to say that she was clinging on to him.

 

“’…… What’s wrong? Did something happen?”

 

He turned to Mary, whose shoulders were shaking, and gently stroked her head, gently asking her if she was okay. She doesn’t answer, she just clings to Shizuru and trembles.

 

“…..?”

 

Eventually, a hot teardrop seeped down his chest where her face was pressed.

He didn’t know why, but Mary was crying.

 

“Alright, alright…..it’s alright, it’s alright ……”

 

And Shizuru didn’t want to hear anything more.

He stroked the little head and back, and repeated in a soothing tone that ‘It’s all right’.

 

All the time, until Mary stopped crying after a long time.

 

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TL notes: If anyone has already guessed it or have any theory, don’t post it in the comments lmao. No need for spoilers. 

 

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Stay safe and healthy along with your loved ones. And have a good day!

Hope you enjoyed this chapter. 

~Eclipse Breakdra~