Translator(s): ShimizuA, DC Editor: Merp TLC: N/A
Black Maria’s Fourth Squad
“Count Garland was in the east district for Manhunt a short time ago.”
The urban eastern district’s townscape was spread out, in contrast to the elegant western district of the capital. Shizuru, along with Maria and Ludmilla, walked quietly through the high-class residential and rows of luxury stores, commonly called the ‘Noble District.’
“Those who received beatings, those who were killed in opposition, and those whose wives and daughters were kidnapped. The client this time, were the victims or their relatives who put their money into a joint request.”
They talked about the details of the request in their conversation. Also, while it wasn’t that common, it was a story that would be found immediately if one searched for it.
The eastern district had bad public order and many of the residents also had low social status. Therefore, sometimes one could see some nobles come there to ‘release some stress.’
The guards couldn’t easily control it since the other party was a noble. In the first place, the eastern district looked like a place where outlaws and the ostracized gather. There were many clauses that were blatantly overlooked.
“Well, even if that’s the case, 50 gold coins is a lot of money. While it’s true that we request at least that much to deal with a noble, it’s not an amount that could be gathered by a dozen of people from the eastern district.”
In short, Count Garland had already gone overboard and didn’t only do those acts. When Shizuru put it that way, Ludmilla smacked her lips quietly.
“… That man could do those things without batting an eye after all.”
Ludmilla sighed as she slightly fastened her rifle case strap. A thick color of scorn and hatred floated in her usually listless eyes.
Shizuru smiled bitterly at her figure who was chomping at the ice cream in her hand. Compared to Mary, who was holding his hand beside him while happily licking her ice cream, it was so different.
“So Shizuru. Are we coming here today is to do an investigation on the target or what?”
Ludmilla asked while licking and wiping her fingertips after she finished her ice cream.
Looking casually at their surroundings, there were a lot of guards, as expected from the place where the rich gathered. Here and there, they could see the guard members who were armed with swords and guns.
While the degree of the public order was worse in the eastern district, with such thorough monitoring here, their work would definitely be harder with just that alone. They absolutely couldn’t brazenly do it like Casca, who the other day fearlessly marched to the targets’ bases and gathering place the other day, brutally rampaging until her fist was smeared with their blood, and then came back slightly drunk after drinking a lot in her way back. Even Ludmilla understood that careful preparation was necessary.
However, Shizuru smiled with a troubled face and shook his head.
“Ah, hm, no. That’s also important, but today is for a different matter. There is someplace I have to visit before we do our work here.”
“… Some place that you have to visit?”
Ludmilla dubiously looked at Shizuru who said that while wiping Mary’s mouth with a handkerchief. Then he put Mary on his shoulder and sighed again.
“You will know when you arrive. To be honest, if possible… I don’t want to go there if I don’t have to.”
“… So even you have something that makes you think like that huh.”
Ludmilla said that out of surprise.
Somehow Ludmilla thought that Shizuru was a man that was optimistic towards anything. Even killing someone too, if there wasn’t any work involved, he wouldn’t kill anyone. She had never seen his emotions like losing his temper nor loathing someone; only smiles, wide smiles, and sometimes wry smiles, that appeared on his face.
After all, he was the one who could accept Casca, the woman who was the personification of arrogance and selfishness. She thought that he was the type who had nothing he couldn’t deal with.
“Ahaha… Even I have one or two things I refrain from doing, you know? Even a deviant is still a human ―― For example, like being killed.”
“Well. Since we are behind schedule for the carriage, let’s hurry up a bit. I have told them that I’ll come today by the messenger crow, so it’s not good to be late. We really might be killed.”
He jokingly said that while smiling. However, just before that, she felt that his body temperature was wavering, revealing the true nature of his words.
“Wa-wait a sec…! You, where the heck you gonna bring me!?”
“Ah right, I need to buy something for a souvenir/present. I wonder if a cake is okay; don’t you think so, Mary?”
“Yup, mother. I, like cake.”
“Listen to me…!”
Shizuru just walked ahead of her while giving the high-spirited Mary a ride on his shoulders. As if to shake off her indescribable anxiety, Ludmilla hurriedly followed him.
A young looking man and a group of guards who were passing by were smiling when they looked at Shizuru’s group of three. Though how they were looked at them with their eyes, only the people themselves knew.
After getting onto a stagecoach, Shizuru and the others arrived at their destination, the western part of the Royal Capital’s Western District. At the side of the outer wall that separated the Royal Capital from the outside for several kilometers, the three stepped down from the stagecoach that matches the atmosphere of the western district. Even though it was just a stagecoach, the formality differed from that of the eastern district.
“Thanks for the transit, we have arrived. Sorry, to be honest, we could have arrived right away if I had managed to borrow a Pegasus. It seems they have been frightened by me since I was dyed by Lady’s scent.”
“I, like it this way. Walking with mother, buying an ice cream, it’s fun.”
“My head hurts… Certainly, they would be frightened by a superior beast’s scent… Sigh.”
Contrary to Mary who was in a good mood, Ludmilla, who felt sick after rocking in the carriage, replied lethargically while holding her forehead with a groan. It took about three hours to reach the edge of the western district from their hideout in the eastern district. Considering the size of the Royal capital it was quite fast, but they needed to transit over several carriages, so it was indeed tiring.
“Well, compared the eastern district there are fewer pickpockets and molesters here. Even the carriage is safe.”
“That comparison parameter is weird though…”
Ludmilla’s tone was 30% more senseless than usual. She wondered where her madness-like vigor from yesterday had gone, although anyone would become like that if they were dragged along for 3 hours without knowing their destination.
“… So? Where is our destination?”
“Where? It’s right in front of you.”
Shizuru pointed to their destination along with those words. A neat mansion stood there.
It was a three-story brick mansion, which considerably huge. At least, it didn’t stand out in the noble’s district where the wealthy/rich lives.
“Yup. Here is the Black Maria fourth squad’s base.”
The fourth squad. Ludmilla’s eyes twitched from the name of the squad that she had longed to be assigned to.
“If we want to do some work in the western district, we have to talk with this area supervisor first or we can’t do it.”
The fourth squad was in charge of the Western District—this was their turf. Once again, for starters, they had to request some kind of assistance from them, so it was only natural to give a proper greeting. Because nothing good came from having a hostile relationship with your relatives.
“Then let’s go inside. You don’t have to be on your guard since the squad captain here is a good person, unlike Casca.”
Shizuru walked to the mansion’s entranceway while saying lines that definitely would give him a bone fracture along with joint dislocation if it were heard by Casca
“Oh right. There is a fixed procedure if we want to visit each squad’s hideout.”
First, four times. Then, shortly afterward: twice, once, then five times. Lastly, there is not a bell, rather, a knocker is installed; beat it thrice.
“――Welcome. The lock is open.”
A moment after they used the knocker, a woman’s voice could be heard muttering from the other side of the door. Shizuru’s eyebrows frowned slightly when he heard that.
“……Hah. It can’t be helped.”
In a tone that sounded like it had resigned itself, he let out a deep sigh. Before Ludmilla and Mary could ask for his intentions, Shizuru placed his hand on the doorknob and opened the door.
“―― Bonjour. Now, shall we die together?”
Clad in a bright-red dress, there was a lean woman who had worn a mask that covered the left half of her face. Held in her arms was a scythe which exceeded her own height that was raised overhead.
The woman did not hesitate to point her blade. She swung it towards Shizuru.
Shizuru looked up at the scythe approaching with weight and momentum. While calmly comprehending, he knew it was impossible to avoid it.
Reasonable. He was able to understand any martial arts that there were; his physical ability was low in this world. He didn’t have the speed to prevent or avoid a weapon swung by a person that exceed a master.
―― But, in the end, it was only for Shizuru himself. The half-masked woman’s downward swing was repelled before it even reached him.
Just a second before blade’s tip pierced through Shizuru’s chest, a small shadow jumped out from his side. It was Mary; she kicked the scythe. With a weight proportional to its appearance, when its center of gravity shifted, it greatly disturbed the half-masked woman’s balance and made her stumble a few steps.
“You… Just now, what did you do to mother… WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO MOTHEEERRR!!!!!”
She held her knife with a backhanded grip and took a crawling stance on the floor. Her white hair that Shizuru had washed carefully every day so it becomes soft stood on its end and her growl with her fangs showing made her resemble a ferocious wildcat.
Her pupils had dilated to their limits. Mary felt like her vision was turning bloody red from her immense wrath.
He could have been dead. If she blocked it a little late, the big scythe would have pierced Shizuru’s heart and he would have definitely died.
“Did you tried, to steal mother, from me…? MY, MY, ONE AND ONLY, MOTHER…!!!!
Mary’s tone was trembling with her erupting anger; she kept scowling at the woman that she recognized as an enemy on all fours.
“… Right… You also, disturb the tryst between him and I, aren’t you? Ahh――How detestable.”
The woman’s expression and way of speaking were like a ghost; they couldn’t feel any vitality from her. Even if she was alive, she had an aura like a deadman.
“Detestable… keeping the beautiful him away from me… however, aah, I’m powerless. Not only the opportunity to strangle Boss was stolen from me, Casca’s neck, Lady’s neck, Elizabeth’s neck, in the end, I couldn’t take it…”
*swoosh swoosh.* While wielding the big scythe that seemed close to several dozen kilos like a baton, the woman quietly shed tears from her right eye that was uncovered by the mask without even changing her expression.
“At this point, only after killing myself after killing the beautiful you with my own hands could we escape the fate that won’t let us be together. But nevertheless, even you keep trampling down on this wish of mine… Alright. In that case, I’ll demonstrate it to your immature neck, the so-called Grim Reaper’s neck-hunting technique.”
“Shut up… I’LL TURN YOU INTO MINCE MEAT…!!”
The woman who shedding tears, Mary who boiled with hatred. The place was filled with a tense atmosphere.
But, the confrontation between the two―― was halted suddenly by an unexpected interruption.
Suddenly, a chain with a weighted tip flew from behind the half-masked woman. It silently coiled around her torso and in a blink of eye shackled her movement.
“Guh… Wha, this…!”
The half-masked woman desperately tried to shake off her restraints, but the chain had no sign of loosening. Before long, the big scythe fell off with a clanging sound from its heavy blade.
Mary saw it as a chance so she leaped at the woman who couldn’t move and tried to thrust her knife, however;
“You can’t kill her, Mary.”
She stopped completely when Shizuru’s voice reached her ear from behind.
“I’m alright. See?”
A gentle hand stroked her head before she could turn around. Just by that gesture, all bloodlust and wrath had been released from her without any trace and she turned back to hug Shizuru.
“Here, good girl, good girl. Thanks for saving me, it’s the first time I was caught off guard in a long time.”
Mary who buried her face in Shizuru’s chest didn’t realize it, but there was a thin cold sweat on his cheek. The half-masked woman who saw it directly opened her eyes and tried to say something.
However, just before that, she collapsed.
The half-masked lady was in a daze; whilst groaning in a daze, air escaped from inside her throat.
Black eyes and black hair kept in a ponytail. Contrary to being a hue that melted into the night.
She was clad in a suit fit for a man and wore a dark blue scarf that concealed her mouth. In the hand opposite of her sword hand was a chain that held the half-masked lady with a chain wound on the opposite end.
“… What the heck is this…”
Ludmilla, who couldn’t keep up with the excessively abrupt development, finally let out a mumble. For the time being, she could only comprehend two things of what had happened.
One, that the half-masked lady was stopped by the scarfed woman. And, another thing.
――As for the fourth squad guys…it was hard to say.
“Also, thank you too, Oboro. You saved me.”
After calling out a few calming words in order to evade a situation like a bloodshed due to the visit earlier, he said that. From such words from Shizuru, the black haired woman called Oboro nodded lightly.
After that, she drew close to Shizuru’s side and softly spoke into his ear through the scarf covering her mouth. That being said, her voice was extremely small.
“I see… Yup, I understand. Thanks.”
A soft smile was directed at her from nearby. Oboro’s eyes opened wide, and her cheeks became flushed; she embarrassingly pulled up the scarf hiding her mouth to conceal more than half of her face. Next, she placed the fainted half masked lady over his shoulder like a sack and quickly brought her to someplace else.
“You two. It seems the fourth squad’s captain is in the parlor on the second floor, so let’s go.”
Shizuru faced Ludmilla and Mary and informed them; perhaps he had been reported such. The cold sweat on his check was already nowhere to be seen. Despite the fact that he was just about to be killed, contrary to his appearance then, this young man had firm guts.
“… That child just now, is a member of the fourth squad, right?”
As they climbed the stairs which were laid with a red carpet, Shizuru began to explain with a wry smile.
“The one who was wearing the red dress was Carmilla. A former executioner with a prominent ability to decapitate.”
“…I don’t like her. She tried to kill mother!”
It seems she still had a hard time stomaching the things earlier. Mary tightly grasped Shizuru’s hand and raised her voice. Shizuru used his free hand to gently rub her head to soothe her recurrence of anger.
“How do I say this… Carmilla has something like an aspiration for double suicide. Oh, and she will try to kill me if she gets the opportunity; it feels like my footsteps have become heavy from coming here… it feels like the prejudice form me is too strong but I can’t really put it well.”
But according to Shizuru, when it didn’t involve with him, she was a rational woman. Love is distorted and oppressing.
“And, the other one is Oboro. She originates from a hidden far eastern island nation, a shinobi… to put it simply, she was born in a household that has a side business in intelligence and assassination. There are various reasons as to why she doesn’t stay in her birthplace, but in regards to when she came onto the continent and reached within the royal city, she was scouted by Richelieu. She’s quite strong.”
“… Now you say it, I didn’t feel her presence at all until the moment she appeared.”
“Well, she’s a shinobi after all. If she were to get serious, I think you wouldn’t notice her even if stood right behind you.”
While her combat power was inferior compared to Casca and Lady, she was undoubtedly in the top ranks of Black Maria. However, she was extremely shy, so she developed a habit of speaking close to other’s ear quietly like just now.
“Oboro’s voice is very adorable. It’s like a small bird crying out.”
While it was kind of ambiguous, it seems Shizuru liked Oboro’s voice. Suddenly, Mary clung to his arm while he was giggling.
“Hm? Ah, what’s wrong Mary, did you become jealous? It’s okay since Mary is also cute.”
Mary was childishly possessive; she hated it when Shizuru showed great interest in people other than herself. However, when he gently patted her head her mood improved immediately. Seeing this Ludmilla muttered in disgust.
“… What a non-discriminating womanizer.”
“Ahaha… I can’t really deny that when you throw it directly to my face, can I. Err, there is one more person in the fourth squad, it’s a kid named Il… Ilze, but right now she is helping the fifth squad away from the royal capital so she is unavailable. That’s why, let’s put that introduction away for another time.”
Laughing as if to change the topic, Shizuru walked for a while in the corridor ahead of the stairs and then stopped. A luxurious door stood before his eyes.
This place seemed to be the parlor.
“… Oh yeah. I forgot to mention one thing; when you want to talk to the fourth squad’s captain, make sure you tell me. Please.”
“Yup, I understand, mother.”
“Hah? Haaah… Well, I understand.”
Mary obediently nodded to his words; and, while still being confused, Ludmilla followed suit. After he smiled, satisfied with their replies, Shizuru knocked the parlor’s door.