ABM – Chapter 22

Translator: larvyde    Editor: Sauv    Proofreader(s): Merp-Merp


 

The capital’s South Ward, commonly known as the “Merchant’s Ward”.

Unlike the merchants setting up shop in the West Ward, the Nobles’ Ward, the stores here were mostly small scale and medium scale ones.

But that was exactly why it was such a lively place, where there were all sorts of shops jumbled together.

 

On Main Street, the South Ward’s biggest, where countless shops and stands lined up next to each other, there was a variety store blending into the disorder, inconspicuous, to put it unflatteringly.

 

It was the place that was used as the headquarters for Black Maria Zeroth Squad this week.

Shizuru entered in order to make an unscheduled report.

 

 

“I see, I get the gist of it.”

 

Said Richelieu, having finished reading the document in braille and lighting it up in the lamp fire.

 

Coincidentally, she actually could read normal letters.

Richelieu’s fingertips were sensitive enough to discern the presence of ink, the reason she used braille nonetheless was simply because the typical person couldn’t see what was written at a glance.

 

The literacy rate was not that high in this world to begin with, so it was extremely rare for a non blind person to be able to read braille.

It was one method of encryption, Black Maria’s treasure.

 

“The random killer in the East Ward and the Guard Knights doing night patrols. I happened to overhear about it too, but it seems to be a little more troublesome than what I’ve heard.”

“I’ve somehow investigated things like their new patrol routes and the like … but there’s an irregular after all so they’re highly vigilant.”

“So you think you should stop your activities in the East Ward and lay low, is it?”

 

Shizuru was thankful that she made it quick, while at the same time smiling wryly at her too-good guess.

It’s almost as if she could see through everything about him, which was why he often felt unsettled whenever he had to face her.

 

“Humm…”

 

Richelieu put a finger on her chin and pondered for a short while,

but after only about ten seconds of that, she finally made a small nod.

 

“Alright. It’s not good to be involved with the Guard Knights, I suppose we should stay nice and quiet here. Do warn Casca as well, please.”

“Yes, thank you very much.”

“It’s nothing more than a decision borne out of rational judgement, nothing you need to expressly thank me for, Shizuru. And I stress that you need to warn Casca properly.”

 

Whenever any trouble happened in the Third Squad, it’s appropriate to think that the cause was Casca.

That was why Richelieu reminded Shizuru twice.

Casca was still the commanding officer, that is, management, and yet she was so undependable.

A faint dry laugh leaked out of Shizuru’s throat.

 

“Haha … haa”

 

Then he sighed.

 

“Also,”

 

*tap tap*. Richelieu tapped the table twice, her habit whenever she changed the topic.

Richelieu stretched out her arm and touched beneath Shizuru’s right eye with her fingertip.

 

“That random killer might be *usable*. Look for them if you can.”

 

The cold fingertip slid down Shizuru’s cheek.

Her [if possible] actually meant [for sure] this time, he knew it all too well.

 

“I’ll leave it to you to decide whether they can be used or not. Find them, and if they don’t fit the criteria, kill them.”

“… may I ask why?”

“It’s a matter of keeping face. Make an example of them which says, “This is what happens if you get in Black Maria’s way”. If people knew that we let them forestall us and take our targets, they will make light of us. Those incompetent pigs, no, louse, doing this to us — that’s unforgivable, right?”

 

Richelieu’s eyes that she always kept closed suddenly opened.

Gray, unfocused pupils. When Shizuru noticed those eyes were drawing closer to him, he already felt a soft sensation on his lips.

 

— a momentary kiss.

When she separated her face from his, Richelieu moved the finger that was on his cheek to his lip.

 

“Do excuse me, that was dirty of me to say. You’ll keep this a secret from everyone, won’t you?”

 

Richelieu closed her eyes again as she said that and lifted the corners of her mouth a little.

 

— The prideful woman returned to a polite way of speech-

It wouldn’t be wrong to say she thought she stood above all others.

 

It wasn’t hubris, either. It was simply that Richelieu’s abilities stood above the herd in every way.

Thus, her assessment of herself was truly right on the mark.

 

That was why she never went back on any of her decisions and does not allow any objections to them.

For Richelieu, practically all of humanity was beneath herself.

 

“… Richelieu-san. May I ask you something?”

“All right, I’ll allow it.”

 

This might be a rare case of seeing her covering up her mismanagement.

Probably because of that, Shizuru suddenly asked the question he never got to ask her directly.

 

“Why did you create an assassin’s organization, why did you create Black Maria?”

“Business reasons. As you can see, I’m blind. Despite my actual abilities, I can’t get work like a non-handicapped person. Which was why I decided to set up my own enterprise and chose to be an assassin to fulfill the world’s needs. Had the world needed a florist, I would be watering flowers right about now.”

 

Which means that to Richelieu, there was no difference between an assassin and a florist.

Even though he had been wanting to ask, he somewhat knew the answer was going to be like this, so he wasn’t surprised at all.

 

But as expected,

Richelieu was yet another indecent person.

 

“… sigh”

 

He let out a small sigh that wasn’t even a sigh- just a long exhale of breath.

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