ABM – Chapter 32

Translator(s): DCThanatos    Editor(s): Yuzuha    Proofreader(s): Yuzuha    TLC: ShimizuA


Shizuru’s art of negotiation

As soon as he noticed a presence from behind, Shizuru turned and faced towards that direction. It was at the inner part, towards the back of an alleyway.

It was at the inner part, towards the back of an alleyway. While repeatedly ringing a bell, which was at a slow pace while still sounding natural.

Shizuru was followed by a quietly hidden presence as he continued. From a glance, emotions like excitement or nervousness were concealed, as he turned and continued to walk along.

“……?”

Shizuru had a feeling, it was the sense of discomfort.

Rather――it was awkward. How to hide presence, how to kill the sound of footsteps, how to hide breathing. Certainly, this person knew how to hide their presence, as they remained like so to the very end. With that level of stealth, they could avoid the guards’ eyes for 2 months, it didn’t seem to be believable to him.

(This…… it makes it seem like they may not be connected……)

Shizuru muttered and sighed to himself internally. Somehow or another, the fiend took the bait.

…… However, assuming the cases were unrelated it didn’t change the fact that he was being followed. This was still a genuine matter, there was no reason not to take care of it. In other words, it was normal to see malicious intent here.

If that’s not the case then he would take a different course. The sound of the bell entered the slums and continued as he advanced.

Eventually, he arrived at a deadly silent plaza. There would probably be residents that stay here during the daytime, but it’s unlikely someone would come here alone at night since there are no street lamps.

Approximately 10 meters across, the plaza displayed a few dilapidated benches. While Shizuru stood in the middle of the plaza, he slowly turned around.

“――Is there something I can do for you?”

He called out in a casual tone towards the road, which was empty. It seemed that they didn’t think he would notice their presence in the opposite direction during the dead of night, that presence then flickered.

Will they run away, or come out? If it’s the former, he could call Lady to come and track their scent. If it was the latter, it might be a little troubling.

And after a few seconds the presence appeared, up until now, they had been concealing their footsteps, and now they had emerged from the dark.

“Hehehe……”

With a drawn sword, there was a man older than Shizuru. While tapping his shoulder with the back of his blade, the man approached Shizuru.

“I don’t think you’re aware. If you did, you would have run away obediently, you’re a foolish guy”

There was a slight accent. Shizuru couldn’t help but wonder if he came from the frontier.

“Is there something I can do for you?”

Even though he understood the circumstances from the atmosphere of his opponent, he still asked a question daringly. When it came to conversation, it was Shizuru’s territory.

The man was confused by Shizuru’s state of calmness, yet he put on a ferocious smile. Even if it was fierce, compared to that of Casca’s, it was kind of cute.

“What, I only want to ask you a favor. One month ago I was thinking about departing from the countryside and starting a business in the capital city, but the world isn’t that nice you know? Could you give your blessings to this poor man from the countryside that got lost at the roadside?”

Well, ironically for a man who talks about his feelings and purpose, he turned and pointed his sword at Shizuru. As expected, he was from a remote region.

After being disgusted by the unsuccessful country life and left to the city, he then degraded to becoming a bandit. There was plenty of people like that. He would sometimes see them in the slums.

Thus, they were easily manageable.

“Oh really? If there were no jobs you can think of, is it fine if I introduce you to some?

“……Hah?”

The man’s eyes opened wide, as he probably didn’t expect to see Shizuru respond.

“Naturally, you’d be a subordinate. I think it’s better than doing some shady, underhanded work”

“Th- That’s certainly the case……! Such fair words coming from your mouth, but I will not be deceived by such sympathy!”

Even though Shizuru brought along with him a peaceful aura, the man shook his head while holding the sword fiercely. Apparently, he had a hard time while coming to the capital.

Mild misanthropy[1]. However, when people live in slums, everyone is cautious more or less. For Shizuru who had to earn the trust of these type of people, suspicion at this degree was natural.

“My intention is not to deceive. You seem to have grown accustomed to using that nice sword for quite a while. Do you have confidence in that arm of yours? If so, I can write a letter of recommendation to a guard in the garrison[2]

If you thought of the reason as to why Shizuru had such a high level of negotiation, it was because there was no malice……that’s the first thought that comes to mind. Neither harmful nor malevolent intent or aggressive emotions weren’t present at all. The emotions related to ‘Anger’ were almost completely missing. This was due to Richelieu.

That’s why Shizuru’s words consequently felt like they didn’t have any hidden intention. If one met him for the first time, they would feel that they could trust him.

“Hh……”

“Well, if you want to continue doing what you are doing it’s fine,  I find it regrettable but I will take out my wallet obediently”

He sensed hesitation in the expression of the man, and at the same time, Shizuru took out a small bag filled with coins from his breast pocket. By giving more options, including the recipient’s request, it was able to raise his credibility.

In the first place, Shizuru didn’t tell a lie from the beginning. The man then nodded, Shizuru had really been intending to write a letter of recommendation to the garrison, if he said he would give him his money, then he would give coins out from his coin purse.

(The Chopper is not a thief. As for the sword, it wouldn’t make scars like the ones on the dead bodies, and he said he came to the capital a month ago. Without a doubt, I can’t feel anything that would lead me to believe he is lying.)

Shizuru concluded that this was a miss……this conclusion came from the aura the man gave off, Shizuru bet on this as a doctor, not a killer. The bandit wasn’t the target, so he decided to excuse himself.

Shizuru was a killer, not a fighter. He was good at handling a knife, but that was about it. From his beginning years, he lacked the ability to fight, and he didn’t have a warlike personality either. For example, if Richelieu told him to quit, he would quit with pleasure.

“……Really”

“Yes?”

“Would you really introduce me to a job?”

Skeptical. Though he lost the appearance of suspicion, there was still doubt somewhere clinging in the man’s eyes. Shizuru smiled and nodded softly.

“Yeah, of course. But whenever you feel inclined to”

After a while of hesitation. The man slowly lowered his sword.

“…….You’re a strange guy. For someone to say such things while having a weapon directed at them”

“Because it’s my nature”

Besides, he calculated, this was not a bad thing. If this man entered the garrison or the guards guild, he would get one more network of intelligence. Some of Shizuru’s sources of information were from the very people he had previously introduced jobs too. Indeed, his compassionate personality was not for other people’s benefits, but for him.

“You must be tired. My house is not too far away from here if you would like to stay the night”

“Oh……I’m sincerely sorry. I’m in your debt”

Came a reply with a small nasal voice. Perhaps, the man felt as if he had met the Buddha while in hell. 一Once trusted, it was easy.

(Although the person I was searching for was not found, I suppose this was not completely in vain……)

Shizuru smiled wryly as he returned. Suddenly, he noticed that he did not know the name of the man, so he turned his neck towards his direction.

“May I ask for your name? I am Doctor Shizuru of the Eastern section of the city.”

“Oh……, I――”

The man had put his sword back in his sheath as he began to talk. However, in the end, Shizuru never learned his name.

“――Hyu”

一In that instant.

From the darkness, without any sounds or showing their presence, a small shadow abruptly jumped out from nowhere. Visibly stuck in the man’s shoulders, there was something silver that tore into his neck.

Blood spewed out. Soon his feeble posture went limp, and he began to fall. And then from a short distance away.

A small girl with gray hair landed like a spider.

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Footnotes:

  1. (TN: A.k.a The mistrust of human beings)
  2. (TN: I also called them the city guard in earlier chapters I think, but they are really one in the same)
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