Categories: Living Safely

LS – Chapter 299: As such, do your best

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“Fuuuh… I’ve got nothing to do…” (Haaku)

“Don’t give me that ‘I’ve got nothing to do’, Haakudoku. Your job is to recover from your injuries.” (Masetta)

Uooh…! Masetta has been watching over me from morning to night, the whole time, so I seriously can’t do anything! 

It has gone beyond boring and entered the realm of awkward, and yet, why is she fine with this?! 

Is it that book?! Is that book getting rid of your boredom?! I want to read it too! 

Eh, [History of Serende]? 

Nevermind.

“Ah, that book. Are you helping out in the investigation of Bro?” (Haaku)

“Half right. Representative-san has also read this book, but there might be a new discovery, so I was told to read it to kill time while keeping an eye on you.” (Masetta)

“Wouldn’t you get more information by running around the city yourself instead of doing that half-assed stuff?” (Haaku)

“You heard about how Rakura and Melia got attacked the other day, right? It is possible that your life will be targeted too.” (Masetta)

Aah, they did say that. 

Well, it is true that I would be easier to target compared to Melia, Rakura, and Masetta. 

“I just need to kick their butts instead.” (Haaku)

“I am here to not let you do that though? It would be beyond troublesome if it were to become a habit for your wounds to open.” (Masetta)

“Ah, okay. Got it. I got it, so can you please not twist the corner of the book on my forehead?” (Haaku)

I obviously want to be of use to Brother as soon as possible. 

That’s why I came all the way to Serende as well, and yet, if they station Masetta here too, wouldn’t I just be deadweight? 

The movements of the enemy have gotten more intense. Even if you tell me my job is to lay down and sleep, I can’t just say ‘oh okay’. I would just lose in an argument if I were to say it out loud, so I won’t though. 

I could distract myself from this boredom and mortification if she were to act as a talking partner, but Masetta has nothing in her mind aside from making me sleep…

“Haadudoku-san, it is time to change your bandages~.” 

“Oh, today’s a cute one! I don’t hate the old lady that laughs with a ‘gahagaha’, but I really prefer when there’s eye-candy!” (Haaku)

“You… Hm? But what about the usual person?” (Masetta)

“If you are talking about my senior, she is looking after a different patient in the neighboring room.” 

I check the neighboring room a bit by using mana detection. 

Oh, it is true. 

There’s one more person aside from the mana of the old lady. They are doing something to the patient. 

Maybe their health worsened? Scary, scary. 

Wait, hm? 

“If I remember correctly, that position in the neighboring room was the old man. He was an old man that likes to fondle the butts of women, so didn’t he do the same to you?” (Haaku)

“That’s right! It is so frustrating!” 

“Haha! It is in the nature of men to want to fondle a nice butt when there’s one.” (Haaku)

“Haakudoku, you…” (Masetta)

Oops, that was only unpleasant for the straight-laced priestess-sama. 

Rakura is also pretty focused in her own way, so maybe the clerics are all a stiff bunch. 

The sis quickly took out the tools and took off the bandages around my neck. She is pretty skilled despite her age. She doesn’t lose to the old lady. 

“You’ve got skills. The old lady was skilled, but you are pretty good too.” (Haaku)

“I have been working here for a long time after all~.” 

“I see. Longer than your job as an anbu?” (Haaku)

The sis froze for an instant, but the moment she grabbed the scissors and tried to stab my neck straight on, I rolled up the pillow with the right arm of my devil I had deployed, and put it on the sis.

She took distance even though her vision was taken, so I grabbed the nearby open bed with my right arm and threw it at her. 

Man, having this much inhuman strength with just a bit of mana strengthening thanks to the devil is so great. 

It is scary how Sis has this amount of strength by default though. 

She was crushed by the flying bed, smashed onto the wall, and I could hear faint muffled groans from inside the mattress. 

As if I care. 

I kicked the bed 3 times and she went silent. 

“W-Wait, Haakudoku?!” (Masetta)

“That was an assassin. If she quit being an anbu a week ago and began working here, it might have been a false charge though.” (Haaku)

Well, she did grab the scissors with killing intent, so she is guilty, guilty. 

Does that mean she joined this place officially just to kill me? 

That means the people of this facility are also accomplices… Oh well. 

“S-Speaking of which, you can see the information of others in far more detail compared to your normal person using your mana detection…” (Masetta)

“That’s right! I also know that your menstru—buguh?!” (Haaku)

“Isn’t it great that the one you said something so tactless to was a weak person like me?” (Masetta)

“I-I am sorry…” (Haaku)

This woman smashed a comeback with a barrier. 

There’s no speed or sharpness like Rakura’s, so Instinct-sama didn’t react at all… But it still hurt like having a hammer hit the pit of my stomach. 

“Geez, even though I told you not to move anymore… If you tell me in advance at times like this, I will deal with the situation appropriately!” (Masetta)

“This much doesn’t even count as moving. Your comeback was what almost opened the wounds. I am injured, so I am tired.” (Haaku)

“I see. Then, next time I will knock you out by strangling you with a silk floss.” (Masetta)

“Hiih!” (Haaku)

It is not like I can detect lies, but the eyes of Masetta just now were serious. 

Wait, this isn’t the time to be doing this. 

I have to finish restraining this lady here. 

They did say that the man that tried to assassinate Rakura directly drank poison himself and died. 

Having someone die in a place where people should be recovering would be a pain.

◇◇

“I didn’t think the day would come when I would cook food for a dude. I wouldn’t have even dreamed of such a development last year…” (Toppara)

Toppara made a baffled face while cooking without delay. 

The solo life of a man on Earth would be mostly getting a bento from a convenience store or super and side dishes; all simple stuff that would make the opportunities to grab a kitchen knife and use a pot really far in between. 

But there are no such convenient facilities in this world, so they learn how to cook even if it is just simple things. 

The creatures called old men are stubborn at times like this, so they try to be original and bring out quite the peculiar stuff… I am looking forward to it a bit. 

“I have finished preparing the plates!” (Wolfe)

“A-Alright, thanks. Then, please get the soup there.” (Toppara)

It is food made by someone from the Yumis faction, so we can’t lower our guard at all. The ingredients and cutlery might be poisoned even if Toppara doesn’t have that intention. 

That’s why Wolfe and Ilias are helping out in the process to do a thorough check. 

That said, we have prepared all the ingredients that we will be consuming here, so there’s no need to worry as long as we are careful of Toppara.

Toppara was looking a bit nervous from being observed by Ilias and Wolfe, but there were no other strange actions as he finished cooking the meal. 

If I had to mention anything I could read from him, it would be that he is letting off a bit of grief. 

“This is tasty!” (Wolfe)

“That’s a relief. The taste changes with the nation, so I was a bit worried about it.” 

The four of us surrounded the dining table and everyone began our meal. 

Toppara wasn’t too into it at first but, at some point in time, his expression turned gentle and was giving seconds of the soup for Wolfe.

“You must miss your family.” 

“…Did you investigate that?” (Toppara)

“I can tell by the face you had when they were helping you out with your cooking, and your current state. You have a wife and a child that are not in the capital of Serende or something, right?” 

“Something like that. Just for your information, it is not like they grew tired of me. My wife’s family breeds horses, you see. Her parents are still alive and well, and I judged that it was an appropriate environment for my daughter to grow in.” (Toppara)

Toppara was most likely originally a trader or something that bought those horses. 

The intermediary of his job is over here, and choosing the path where both of their jobs are not restricted is a choice that can be heard even in the modern era. 

“Isn’t it funny? It looks as if your son and your two daughters are having a meal with you.” 

“Just from the outward appearance. Your actual age is around your thirties, right? I am not that old.” (Toppara)

Serende is a country of demi-humans like elves and dwarves who have a longer lifespan than your average human. 

There’s a lot of factors taken into account aside from their outward appearance when guessing one’s age. 

Him not being surprised about my actual age reminds me a bit of my life in Japan. 

“You haven’t gotten an order from Princess Yumis?” 

“It would be a lie if I were to say I haven’t at all. I got a letter telling me to ask you about how you made contact with Murshto-sama without arousing suspicions.” (Toppara)

“So you won’t hide it.” 

“I would have liked to if it were someone I could. I simply felt like I would get more information out of you if I just ask you directly, and I thought there would be no worries of souring your mood.” (Toppara)

I laugh with an ‘that’s true’ and provide him with some simple information. 

The position of Toppara isn’t that bad as long as there’s information to gain. 

If the secrets of Yumis were to be uncovered, her standing might die and he could lose his job though… 

Let’s just ask Washekt or someone on that vein to do something about it when that time comes. 

“I can provide this much information, but making contact with you will be more difficult from here on. It is hard to say farewell to this unexpectedly familiar taste.” 

“…It makes sense when your life is being targeted.” (Toppara)

“I have gotten used to that one. But if you were to be used as a pawn, I would just be making you die pointlessly. That would leave a bad taste in my mouth.” 

“True.” (Toppara)

Of course they would use a pawn that has gotten in a close relationship with us. 

They would try to guide him into assassinating us like the time they did when they used a child. 

I can’t have Ilias and the others hold back when that happens. 

If Toppara has the resolve to kill me, I am sure I will be able to tell with just one look. 

When that happens, it would be as if I dropped down the guillotine. 

Even if I manage to persuade him, who knows what kind of punishment he would get as a traitor. 

In that case, I need to cut off my connection with him for now. 

I have to lead Yumis into thinking Toppara is someone that would be a waste to use as a disposable, but also a pawn that has no worth in using. 

“The competition for the throne will most likely reach a conclusion once this matter calms down.” 

“Leaving aside whether the person I support will become the ruler, the amount of jobs and the payments for it will lower too. When that happens, I would most likely have it easier if I just go back to my wife’s place and work there. I did get a pretty decent earning thanks to you.” (Toppara)

“That’s a good idea. This kind of job is not for you, old man.” 

“I am a pro though.” (Toppara)

“In what world is there a pro who would loosen his face at having a meal with girls that might be your enemies?” 

We both laugh and pour alcohol in each other’s glasses. 

I would be able to come up with countless reasons as to why I feel this close to Toppara if I were to analyze it. 

His personality that allows me to relax when I am with him, my desire for a substitute of my father who I didn’t get along with; there are countless factors. 

I like this person as an individual with all this considered. 

I must have acknowledged it as a place where I can relax. 

But I shouldn’t be here right now. I shouldn’t desire this place. This is an opening they can take advantage of, and I would end up creating an opportunity for it to be utilized. 

I made Ilias make a painful choice. 

I also made Wolfe worry.

I have to put an end to everything swiftly from here on. 

That resolve of mine has been solidified in today’s meal. 

But the sight that looked like happiness was crushed by a mountain of rubble before I could notice it was too late. 

◇◇

I push away the rubble on top of that man and lift up his body. 

There’s no noteworthy wounds, but I can’t tell what’s the current state of things with accuracy as of present. 

I decided it was necessary to wake him up, so I smack his cheek lightly. 

“Oi, get up!” 

“?! What happened?!” 

“I don’t know. The house suddenly crumbled.” 

That’s all I could explain. 

The house crumbled without any prior notice, and I covered him when he was about to be buried alive. 

My back was injured a bit, but this degree of a blow isn’t any issue for me. 

What I should check next is—

“Shishou! Are you okay?!” (Wolfe)

“Wolfe, you are alright!” 

Wolfe showed up from the rubble nearby. 

Wolfe should have been able to protect herself from an attack of this degree, but…

“Yeah…but…” (Wolfe)

Wolfe looks at the rubble nearby. 

I could see red blood flowing out under the rubble that’s being illuminated by the moonlight. 

The face of the person that was with us just a moment ago flashed in my mind. 

I don’t even need to think whose blood this is from. 

“Ilias, Wolfe, get Toppara qui—?!” 

The surroundings began to shine red as if to hide the color of the blood. 

No, this is fire?! 

You often hear about how a fire spreads from the fireplace of a collapsing house, but the way it is spreading is abnormal. 

There’s no doubt this collapse and fire was intentional. 

We should move away from this place at once, but he probably won’t move as long as there’s the chance Toppara is alive. 

I grab the rubble and lift it up in one go. 

He crouched and checked deeper in, but…

“…That’s all. We are moving away from here, you two.” 

“…I see.” (Ilias)

I judged that there was no need to confirm what those words meant and what he saw. 

I shift the rubble a bit to the side, and leave it be. 

He was facing down, so I couldn’t see his expression clearly. 

I carried him and escaped from inside the fire. 

A crowd began to gather around. I don’t think we will be able to find the culprit that caused this. 

It is also possible for them to go for a second attempt if we stay here.

“…I was late. If I had been a bit faster…” 

“Shishou…” (Wolfe)

He was repeatedly mumbling to himself even while we were returning to the base. 

After we explained what happened to our worried comrades, I exited the base and went back to the house of Toppara.

I noticed something in the middle of carrying him, but I had to prioritize his safety over everything at that time. 

I am heading there in order to confirm this. 

The fire of Toppara’s house has already been extinguished, and the crowd has already scattered. 

A number of Serende soldiers are investigating the collapsed house, but that’s not the place that should be investigated right now. 

The alleyway in front of Toppara’s house; I can smell the faint scent of blood from deep inside. 

I walked through that alleway and I can still smell the scent even when hidden within the smoke of the fire. 

“This is…” (Ilias)

I followed the scent and I found what it was at a corner of the alleyway.

Corpses killed and thrown here haphazardly. 5 of them. 

The 5 of them are wearing robes to blend in the darkness, and judging from the quality of the knives I can see from the gaps in their clothes, I doubt they are civilians. 

I can only assume they are anbus from the Serende royalty, but they have all been accurately killed with one hit. 

I found several bottles when I investigated their belongings, and I found stuff that was highly flammable within those. 

I assume they are the ones who committed arson on the house of Toppara.

But then who killed them? 

If they were killed when there was a scent of blood, then it would be that they were attacked by someone right after they set the fire. 

“…It would be better to leave this to him.” (Ilias)

I can’t make deep guesses like he does. 

It would be faster to just pass this information to him. 

I retrieve a number of possessions, and then confirm how they were killed. 

3 of them were attacked from behind, and the remaining ones were killed from the front. 

The amount of blood flowing to the ground is not much, and I can see traces of dragging.

They must have gone around killing them and piled the corpses here. 

In other words, these anbus were spread out around the house of Toppara, and someone grasped their location from an even further location from theirs.

“Not a coincidental encounter? Were they aiming for the moment when the anbus would move?” (Ilias)

Judging from the build of the anbus, I feel like they have a bit of combat skills, but it looks as if they were attacked when they were completely defenseless. 

Did they have a reason why they couldn’t react? 

“This is as far as it goes…” (Ilias)

If I had brought Ekdoik or Mix-sama, I probably could have learned a bit more, but…right now it is possible that the enemy will attack the base. 

I would like to leave those two by his side since they adapt quickly to things. 

“Hm? I thought you went back to the base. You were still here.” 

“?!” 

I draw my sword and take a stance towards the direction where the voice came from. 

There, I saw Murshto, dragging a corpse with the same attire as the anbus of before.

It seems like there’s blood here and there on his body, but I don’t see anything resembling a wound on the person himself. 

There’s already spots that are dry, so it seems like there’s no mistake he is the one who killed all the ones here.

“What…are you doing?” (Ilias)

“Exactly what you see. I am eliminating the bunch that attacked him. It may just take an instant to kill them, but it takes time to gather them, you know. I seriously want to complain to Hilmera-sama that we don’t have enough hands.” (Murshto)

Murshto went past me and threw the new corpse onto the pile. 

The way he is treating the corpse of someone like an object with the same expression he always has makes me feel like there’s madness in it. 

“Did you know that we would be attacked?” (Ilias)

“No. But I did assume that they would see me leaving as a chance to cast their shot. That’s why I was thinking about staking out for a good while, but I didn’t expect them to move immediately. Maybe they were being hurried a whole ton by the royal family?” (Murshto)

Murshto…no, the objective of Princess Hilmera is to take away the strength of the other siblings. 

It makes sense that he would watch over that man so that it would be easier for him to uncover the secrets of the siblings, and take the lives of the anbus who target him. 

“So you used the fact that he would be targeted?” (Ilias)

“Are you going to blame me for that? If I move away, he will be attacked. If that’s not used, he will either be targeted the whole time, or I will have to be by his side the whole time. Both scenarios would be inconvenient for you guys, right?” (Murshto)

“…” 

It is as Murshto says. 

If Murshto hadn’t gotten involved, the anbus who attacked him would still be alive, and would have tried their next move. 

Even if so, we can’t let Murshto -who is the bodyguard of the still suspicious Princess Hilmera- by the side of that man the whole time. 

I should be grateful for this situation, not begrudging him. 

“Honestly speaking, I do think it is great that you protected him. Losing him because of people like this would be nastier than a nightmare. Thanks, Ilias, for properly protecting him.” (Murshto)

“…You have no reason to thank m—” (Ilias)

“I do. It is true that I love him, and you protected him. I want you to continue protecting him.” (Murshto)

Murshto is directing an innocent smile at me while still covered in blood. 

I understand that this gratitude of his is real, but I am scared of accepting this due to his madness. 

“It goes without saying. I am the sword and shield that protects him.” (Ilias)

“Right. He must think the same. I am really jealous of that and hateful for it.” (Murshto)

Murshto stretched as if saying his job here was done and walked towards me. 

He then placed a hand on my shoulder and whispered one last thing. 

“That’s why, if you don’t manage to protect him, you should die.” (Murshto)

At that time, I felt like the emotions deep inside the heart of Murshto showed themselves for the first time. 

His eyes were red like burning fire, and yet, they were reflecting my figure coldly like ice. 

Those eyes resembled those of that man, but I could tell by instinct that the nature of that madness is different. 

“…” 

Murshto left just like that. 

I couldn’t move from that place until I felt the coldness of the sweat flowing down from my back. 

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