Translator: larvyde Editor: Sauv Proofreader(s): Merp-Merp, Scales.
Note: Once again, thank you larvyde for giving us your drafts of chapters 18-24, they are much appreciated.
Without further ado, please enjoy chapter 20.
“— Random killer, huh?”
“That is correct, Doctor Shizuru.”
One day, a few nights after the job in the slums.
Shizuru blinked his eyes hearing the words that came out of the mouth of Rosa, who had dropped in unannounced as usual.
“There have repeatedly been strange things happening around the East Ward lately. The reports had even reached me in the Royal Guard.”
“Well that’s … unsettling, huh.”
Maintaining order in the capital was largely the job of the Garrison.
It was not often that something occurred that had to go over the heads of the Garrison, and onto the Royal Guard, who were the daggers of the Kingdom.
It was not that the Garrison Guards were incompetent, they were, in fact, troublesome opponents, even for that roughneck Casca.
Though the East Ward that comprised of the slums were hard to thoroughly patrol every corner of, due to its relatively complicated structure, it would’ve been three times more of a lawless place if it weren’t for the efforts of the Garrison.
“Doctor Shizuru, did you hear that the syndicate which was on the rise around the east ward was annihilated recently?”
“Eh? Ah, y-yes … I, uh, heard rumors.”
Not only did he know, he himself was the one of who did them in.
But Shizuru wasn’t so stupidly honest to admit as much; he only nodded.
“Ah, please don’t make a face like that Doctor Shizuru …! But of course, it must be heart-wrenching for such a gentle-hearted one as yourself when people die, even if they were perpetrators of atrocity! I beg your forgiveness for not thinking this through … aa!”
“Rosa-san, um, you don’t have to lower your head … really, I’m fine, uhh …”
“And what a generous heart you have! Doctor Shizuru, you are truly an angel come down upon this world! Please marry me!”
“Where did that come from …”
Rosa turned to face Shizuru and knelt, producing a bouquet of roses and a box containing a platinum ring.
Because she was higher than him, and because she could look like a pretty boy depending on what she wore, she looked the part … but normally it should have been the other way around.
To begin with, just when did she measure the size of Shizuru’s left ring finger?
But anyhow, to handle the situation without rubbing anything the wrong way, he changed the topic.
Even though Shizuru had recognized himself as inhumane, it hurt his heart a little to make a person so honestly in love with him dance in his palms.
— And even more so in Rosa’s case.
“Random killer … this criminal we call the Chopper appeared, I think, about a month ago. The first case was when they found the bodies of three men completely mangled in a back alley in the East Ward.”
They say that there had been more discoveries of bodies killed the same way ever since;
it was not a big leap to conclude that they were done by the same person.
“Besides that, they were all in the East Ward, the victims had nothing in common. Men and women, old and young, they were all indiscriminately killed.”
“… Indiscriminate killing, is it?”
“All are circumstantial reports, though. Then, just a few days ago, the Garrison Guards who went to the location the syndicate I mentioned were annihilated were all killed by the Chopper in under an hour after the incident.”
” … “
“In under one hour” Shizuru’s eyes widened at what she said.
The Garrison Guards, who had plenty enough fighting power.
And among them, the ones assigned to the East Ward, who all had above average abilities, were all annihilated in such short a time. This killer was no ordinary one.
It would’ve been impossible unless they had a strength that borders on the upper levels of fighting abilities within Black Maria, at least around Beth’s level.
“But in the case of the syndicate, the state of death was different so that was a different case, I suppose that the Chopper just happened to be in the area …”
… ah, about that, please don’t think too much about it.
If possible, please leave it as an unsolved mystery while we have matters at hand, or even forever.
Preferably, you could also dismiss it as something the Chopper also did.
Shizuru thought so by reflex, but the syndicate annihilation was a direct request from Richelieu-
Ludmila’s formal entrance test was just an additional bonus, not the main part, the actual job was a publicity stunt for Black Maria.
Therefore that treatment was not something they would stand for.
“… but to even destroy an entire platoon of guards … this is unsettling”
“Yes. But please rest at ease, my Doctor Shizuru!”
Shizuru hazarded a guess.
Whenever she called his name she would always prefix it with [my], but he basically just replied with an insincere smile or just ignored it altogether, though he does it with Lady too.
It was because by doing that, she could interpret it however she wanted.
— She added,
“This incident weighed heavily on us, and so it has been decided that at the next Purple day, we of the East Blood Knights will be assigned the duty of the East Ward’s night patrols for a time.”
Rather than being a stickler about that, this was a thousand times more grave.
The notification brought the news that things were trending towards the worst direction for Shizuru and the gang.
Names and such, frankly speaking, didn’t matter at all.
“I really wanted to go out and personally deal with the Chopper myself, but for a Captain of the Knights to face a single random killer, no matter what they’re like, would generate bad rumors. Ah, what is a rumor! How terrible are the eyes of the world, Doctor Shizuru! But if it were for you, I would readily bathe myself in the mud pouring down from unfathomable heights!”
Of course they’d stop you.
Also, if you actually did come down here, I’d be done for.
Looking at Rosa exaggeratedly face towards the ceiling, Shizuru imagined a spotlight bearing down on her from the sky.
He desperately tried to keep his smile from freezing on his face.
It was a great shock to Shizuru, as he silently took the blow; like being suddenly hit from the back when walking on a street.
“Then Doctor Shizuru, I shall take my leave now. I truly wanted to escort you all the way back home, but the deployment of knights need to be arranged, although temporary as it is, so there are documents and groundwork I need to arrange … ah, my apologies. Well then, I will make time later and come visit again. Au revoir!”
Just like before, Rosa left the clinic in 30 minutes.
She was busy after all.
Left behind, Shizuru fell silent for a short while, then finally collapsed over his desk.
“No way …”
They were seriously an elite bunch. Never mind Beth, their numbers include people on par with Casca and Lady (though in this case, it was those girls that were abnormal for rivaling the kingdom’s strongest) and these knights are going to start patrolling the capital during the next Purple day.
In other words, four days from now.
Even under normal circumstances, he would always try to avoid the Garrison as much as possible, and yet he was pressed with these circumstances.
“Spare me, please …”
He fell flat on the desk, groaning from the bottom of his heart. Then, Shizuru thought.
According to what Rosa said, the switch that led to the current decision was the existence of the killer called Chopper.
However, it probably wasn’t that alone. Even if they killed several tens of Garrison guards, it was too hasty to conclude they were too much for the Garrison to deal with that they had to send in the knights.
Recently, even though it wasn’t obvious, the security in the East Ward had been slowly worsening.
For example, the count of thefts and incidents resulting in injury had been rising.
“… which means, they are taking this chance to improve the public order in the East Ward”
By sending in the Guardian Knights, things like the Garrison’s patrol patterns were going to be changed.
They would need to redraw the maps and also gather information from the ground up.
“and they’re doing it as soon as possible … four days, that’s just too rushed …”
Even the lowest member of the Guardian Knights had a considerable status just by being affiliated with them.
By having such personnel transfer, even if temporary, it will cause quite some trouble.
Even though Rosa might have been notified in advance, laying down the groundwork for that in just a few days made Shizuru both honestly impressed and resentful of her abilities.
“No more, seriously, I wanna get out of here …”
Incorrigibly, he muttered that, which he could not do.
After all, if he did flee the organization, he would definitely be chased down-
Shizuru wasn’t so optimistic to think that he could outrun someone who had much higher abilities than him.
“— haah. Complaining won’t help with anything, let’s just gather intel for now.”
Depending on the situation, he may need to go and report to Richelieu.
Shizuru took out a small notepad from his bag, a to-do list.
He began writing, in Japanese so that there would be no problem even if the list were to ever be stolen.
A disaster had suddenly appeared.
But one could not do business in the underworld, like being an assassin, without being able to deal with situational changes.
To have disaster bearing down on one is the way of the world.
This will not be the last obstacle that lay in Shizuru’s path.