Translator(s): DC, ShimizuA Editor(s): Nixie Proofreader(s): DC TLC(s): Yomigaeru
Brought in Requests
“Hey, Mary. Say ‘Ah’.”
A small spoon with well-chilled pudding was placed into Mary’s mouth. There was a cool, soft sensation that spread out over her tongue, the sweetness of the cream, and the aroma of vanilla blending in. Immediately following her swallowing it, a soft, bewitching smile surfaced on Mary’s face, and Shizuru began to smile too.
“Is it delicious?”
Nodding greatly, Mary nestled closely to Shizuru. Gently stroking her head, Shizuru closed his eyes in bliss.
And then, the two’s motionless figures were captured in someone’s gaze. There was a person with black tea in hand; a hooded figure from which their eyes barely peeked out from the underside.
“…… Kihihi. I had heard about a story of an orphan being picked up. Their appearance seems pretty familiar.”
They had a strange, hard-to-discern voice. It was awfully coarse, yet, at the same time it was somewhat glossy.
They concealed their rust-colored eyes behind a hood, emitting a radiance that shone through the dark underside. However, looking at their fingers from the hand holding the cup, one could speculate that it was likely a young woman.
――Her name was Sam.
She was an information broker that was extensively known at Rosary on the other side of the royal capital.
It would be more accurate to call them “girls” than”girl”. Sam had over a dozen people working at general information shops that covered the entire royal capital; it was clear that there was no single person who belonged to the alias.
“If a murderer who effortlessly evaded the garrison’s guards were to be connected to ‘ya, wouldn’t that look bad for ya? Kihii.”
Sam observed Shizuru rubbing Mary just like a kitten and laughed, causing her shoulders to tremble. Shizuru wryly smiled, but did not oppose the background story that she recited.
“… Your ears are as sharp as always, Sam. I didn’t ask you to search for it since it would be too pricey, but maybe I should pay it from my pocket.”
“Kihihihihi! No no, unfortunately, it was only a few days ago we found out Chopper’s identity! I just happened to have found it out when ‘ya were searching for a suitable substitute to sway the garrison and royal knight order, ‘ya know?”
Shizuru’s wry laugh grew more intense as she pleasantly spun more words.
――After he drew Mary into Black Maria, in order to unravel the Imperial Knight’s Order’s alert in the eastern district, he began to tailor someone to be a suitable substitute for the Chopper. It’s not that he hadn’t thought of other methods, but he was ordered by Richelieu to do so. If she ordered something, he could not disobey.
The pitiable substitute lost his sanity due to drugs, he also took a series of cloak and dagger measures so as to be untraceable. Apparently, however, the other party’s information shops were seemingly skillful.
After sighing once, Shizuru retrieved one gold coin from his pouch. And then, he faced towards Sam and flicked it with his fingers.
“Here, some hush money. Please stay earnestly confidential.”
“Aye-aye, I’ll comply. We, all of us, everyone and anyone, will not reveal that the true identity of the Chopper is this adorable little lady…… Kihihihii!”
Despite the fact that he did not trust her, he did not sense any signs of jesting; the information shops would not have maintained themselves for long had they done things to lose their credibility. Sam wouldn’t go against her word, even if there was a suitable price, she wouldn’t break. Shizuru knew that as a matter of fact because he was well acquainted with her.
“Nguu…… Kihihi, gold coins are delicious. I can’t hold back.”
Sam placed the gold coin that she received on the tip of her tongue, and then laughed again causing her shoulders to tremble. It was a bizarre sight to behold. Having said that, Shizuru didn’t mind as he had grown accustomed to it. Mary, however, was a bit startled.
This sort of eccentric behavior could be seen at every turn for them; since they had always been thought of as a group and not individuals, they were thought to not be human, that was Shizuru’s hypothesis. For instance, a group of puppet-like golems created by a magician. It was fitting in consideration of their artificial appearance and the bizarre shine they released from the rust-colored eyes. Shizuru had met ten Sams so far, and though despite the fact that they all had differing physiques and voices, they all had wholly identical eye expressions, and nearly identical gestures. If one were to conclude that a wizard transcribed all of the puppets one-by-one by himself, one could be reasonably convinced about such a mystery.
Though, he did not particularly have any intention of prying. Whatever be the true identity of Sam, as far as Shizuru was concerned, he just wanted to indifferently build up a friendly relationship with them.
“So, Sam. How many requests have you brought in today?”
After engaging in in light conversation with the black one who had black tea in one hand, Shizuru got straight down to business. Sam, who had been scraping of the remains of pudding on the outer rim, abruptly shoved her hands into her sleeves; it’s worth noting that only her mouth was exposed from her distorting hood.
――There were several ways in which to request for Black Maria to kill.
Each way differed slightly from squad to squad, and in the third squad’s case, it is set up so that there was an intermediary with Sam as the lead. In actuality, eighty percent of the requests came to the third squad, so, because of this, Sam was biased in what she collected and brought, and came once every half a month.
“Onee, twoo, threee…… there are fifteen items. A prosperous business is enviable, right? Kihihii.”
“I’d still lose to you who is here there and everywhere, as well as handy. Besides, it doesn’t feel good that this type of business is prospering.”
Shizuru replied with a bitter smile, then began to look over the handed over requests. A majority of the requests were commonplace, “normal” even. Targeted top-brass gang members, drug dealers, frauds, things that could be accomplished with ease in various ways. The market price(for these assassinations) was about two to three gold coins, nothing but side jobs.
“Truly, there are a lot of these fellows in the eastern district of the royal capital…… I wonder as to whether they could kill you or not.”
“Kihihii! I wonder how much it would cost to pluck out these growing weeds, does that not sound like a splendid story?Anyways, the usual brokerage fee please.”
“Yeah, I understand. The payment is the same as usual, once the client gets the achievement report, I deduct it from the money you receive.”
The conversation was more or less a preliminary confirmation as Shizuru read through the request forms. Sam’s brokerage searched and selected the requests well, so it wasn’t necessary to watch out for traps or being lured out. ……Well, most of the time anyway; Cassy and Lady were driven by feats of strength.
“Kuhihii…… Ah, it seems that’s all. Actually, this time, I was only asked to mediate one big request.”
“A big job?”
As a result of continuously scraping, after swallowing the last thin pillar of pudding, Sam announced such in a happy tone almost at the same time as Shizuru took the last request. He was just waiting to open it; it was simply timing.
“Uh, is that so? There are several client signatures, and the reward is fifty gold coins. As for the target――”
Shizuru simultaneously wrote down the target’s name as he read it aloud. Sam stated the contents of the request in a peculiar voice.
“――This is an aristocratic assassination, is it not?”