Chapter 78. Reluctant but Inevitable

 


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“Huh, she did something like that?”

 

“Yeah! I thought I was going to lose my mind when Izuru attacked our client’s old man!”

 

Shizuru smiled at Keith, who nodded his head and told him about Izuru’s exploits with a hearty smile.

The person sitting next to him sighed in exasperation at the rather exaggerated phrasing.

 

“Stop exaggerating. I’ve never grabbed a client by the collar before.”

 

“…… Have you ever had water poured over your head?”

 

“Ugh …… Hawk! I warned you to stop saying so many unnecessary things when you open your mouth!”

 

It doesn’t matter that he’s a marksman, but Hawkeye’s nonchalant mutterings provoke Izuru to bite back with full force.

At first, she seemed quiet, perhaps because she was confused by Shizuru, who looked exactly like her, but the friendly atmosphere she was in helped her to relax, and within thirty minutes she was behaving as usual.

 

She has a fearless and, in some ways, violent temper.

Just like the position of the black dots under her eye, she is the opposite of Shizuru in nature.

 

“Hey, Mr. Shizuru! I’ve never been to the Royal Capital before, but I assume it’s really huge, right?”

 

“Yes, it is. Although Labrynthos is big enough to be called a major city, it is several times bigger than this place.”

 

“Ooooh, that’s good, that’s good! We want to set up our base in Rosario one day! It’s  every countryman’s dream!”

 

With an innocent smile, Roa spoke of his dream and raised his fist high to the ceiling.

With his naturally friendly nature, he was the first to make friends with Shizuru, along with Keith.

 

“……, um, ……, well, if you don’t mind, I was wondering if I could hear about your experiences in the Royal Capital?”

 

“That’s all right, but …… I’m a simple city doctor, and I don’t think I have anything interesting to say, do you?”

 

“No, I don’t think so,…….”

 

Furthermore, in contrast to Roa, Clarissa was a little shy.

 

However, she was also very active in talking to Shizuru, although her voice was stuttering and she was choking on her words.

Her cheeks are slightly red, but that’s probably just her imagination.

 

It was almost noon.

The conversation between Shizuru and the Fafnir mercenaries was quite entertaining.

 

Or, to be more precise, it should be said, he played with them.

 

“(…… It’s about time.)”

 

Shizuru looked at the six of them without being noticed, and decided that his objective had been achieved.

When the time was right, he announced the end of their time together quite naturally.

 

“Oh, it’s getting late.”

 

“Mm….? You’re right, it’s almost lunchtime.”

 

The inn’s dining room was the place where Shizuru and the others used to talk.

After a moment’s pause when Zack looked at the clock on the wall, Shizuru urged Mary onto her feet and slowly stood up.

 

“Sorry, everyone. I’ve got an appointment at noon today.”

 

“No, I’m sorry too that we kept you here for so long. I guess we lost track of time.”

 

In the end, they didn’t get any useful information about Izuru’s memory.

However, Shizuru’s willingness to listen made them all very happy and they enjoyed talking about this and that.

As Zack said, they lost track of time.

 

His voice, the way he spoke, even the smallest gesture.

In every way, Shizuru was the ideal person to talk to.

 

“Also, Izuru. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of much help.”

“No need to apologise. I was the one who insisted on it in the first place. If nothing else, just hearing that these black dots might be related to Japone is enough.”

 

“I see…. I appreciate you saying that.”

 

In reality, it’s a load of rubbish, and Shizuru had no idea what was the significance of the black dots.

He did not show any sign of the slight pain that was creeping in his chest, only a wry smile.

 

Even if he is an unapologetic murderer, for whom murder has become completely routine. 

For his nature is inclined to goodwill wherever it goes.

 

He was sure he would forget about it tomorrow.

 

“….Oh. Do you mind if we visit you again? We will be staying here for a month or so.”

 

This was the final push. A bit of lip service.

Just a little bit of lip service to make Zack and the others feel good about themselves one last time.

 

It was likely that the other side would say something similar.

Therefore, he decided to take the initiative and make the preparation a bit more amicable.

 

–The answers to his question were obvious, but there was a clear joyful approval from all six.

Clarissa, in particular, had a radiant smile on her face.

 

Even Mary, who holds on to him tightly to this day, is unaware of the guilt he carries inside. 

It’s not surprising. He always keeps it to himself.

 

If someone is really serious about hiding their emotions and true feelings, even Ludmila, who can read minds with her purple magic eye that can detect temperature, can hardly see through it.

Moreover, Shizuru himself sometimes doesn’t know whether his words and actions are genuine or a lie.

 

A lie which, through an uncanny mastery of deception, has blurred the boundaries between the two.

Although he couldn’t breathe a single sigh, the feeling of sadness was still there.

 

“See you later, then. Come on, Mary, let’s go.”

 

He didn’t say a word about his feelings.

He took Mary’s hand and walked away with a smile.

 

At any rate – the second stage of the preparation was completed in good time.

 

“……phew.”

 

On the way back from his meeting with Fafnir, Shizuru breathed a quiet sigh.

Mary, who had heard the sound with a slight heaviness in her ears, shot him a worried look.

 

“’Mother, what’s wrong? Are you in pain? Did someone do something to you?”

 

From the outside, the reaction to a single sigh was a bit over the top.

But that’s how important Shizuru’s presence was to Mary.

 

“The ones from before? Did they hurt you? Do you want me to tear them apart?”

 

The words were spoken in an innocent tone of voice and contained a sense of urgency.

 

It sounded like a joke, but if Shizuru gave even a small nod at this point, Mary would not hesitate to head back to the inn to reap the lives of those people.

 

“Haha …… It’s nothing, Mary.”

 

Shizuru told her with a wry smile and patted her head.

 

“I’m sorry I made you worry. I’m fine, don’t worry about me.”

 

A sweet voice that seemed to caress her ears.

The anxiety in Mary’s heart melted away.

 

“But thank you. You’re a really sweet girl”

 

“Hehe”

 

Mary’s cheeks were flushed and she was beaming with happiness.

It was the kind of smile that reflected absolute trust and adoration.

 

Every time she received a compliment like this from Shizuru, she was reminded of the love that had been poured into her life.

She felt an invisible hand squeezing her just below the navel.

 

A tender love. A poison so sweet that it turns one’ s tongue into a lump of sugar.

She wondered if the sweetness would kill her one day.

 

Yes, but what a happy way to die.

 

“Come on, Mary, let’s go home. You must be hungry.”

 

“…un”

 

Mary looked up at Shizuru with glazed, moist eyes and reached out to take his hand in hers.

She took his hand and wrapped her own around his fine, unmarred fingers.

 

She couldn’t help but be happy that he gently squeezed her’s back.

 

“(…… I don’t like it..)”

 

Shizuru muttered gravely to himself as he made his way home, matching Mary’s steps.

 

His mind replayed the events of the day. 

The conversation he had with the Fafnir mercenaries.

 

“(They are good people.)”

 

Shizuru had been under the impression that mercenaries were basically roughnecks and outlaws, but it seems that this was not always the case.

Well, of course. Lumping people together on the basis of their occupation or race was extremely pointless and ridiculous.

 

Nevertheless, it was a group of young people with very good personalities. They also showed a certain amount of talent.

If they keep growing well, they might make a name for themselves beyond the kingdom of Si Levant.

 

However- these talented people-  they must be plucked out.

 

“(I don’t want to kill them)”

 

Every time he took on a job as an assassin, every time he faced a target, he would always think of something, big or small, and then he would do it again.

 

He has never had a grudge against anyone nor has he ever wanted to kill anyone.

In the first place, he lacked all the emotions necessary to feel such things.

 

There was certainly grief over the murder of his friend Wickerman and his comrades in the 7th.

But this grief does not lead to resentment towards Fafnir. From the beginning, there was no connection to be made, no circuit to be connected to, no destination to be reached.

 

Black Maria ,from the beginning, has been a group of assassins. A criminal organization that kills for money, without a cause.

This issue was triggered by the assassination of a major figure in the mercenary guild by their side.

Even though it was a job, it was undoubtedly them who made the first move.

 

“(…… Well, it doesn’t really matter to Richelieu.)