Apostate and the Red Moon
“Uwaa, the cut is as beautiful as ever”
A back alley in the town. Touching the corpse that was abandoned as if to hide it out of people’s sight, the corners of my mouth widely lifted.
The order came in today in the afternoon. Having my precious talk with mom disturbed, I was in a considerably ill mood.
“What? Work again? I don’t want to work for a while. Lately I’ve been overworked, haven’t I”
‘Don’t say that. I can only ask you’
The distance is too far for telepathic communication.
That’s why I’m using a sheet of formula paper provided by the guild, but from a while ago the other side has been only been repeating the same thing.
Only I can do it, do I look like these words will make me do what I’m told. I’m not so cheap.
“I decline. In the first place, what’s with this. You expressly used a sheet of formula paper. Isn’t it a waste of paper. Besides now I’m together with mom. I don’t want to take requests for at least a week”
‘Apostate, this is a job only you can do. That’s my order as the guild master. Will you still say you won’t listen?”
“That’s an unfair way of talking”
On a whim I tried to emphasize my existence, but I was ignored.
Since I expected it, it’s fine.
I’m not ‘Scheat’, I’m ‘Apostate’.
It’s expected of me to continue being Apostate.
I’ve known from when I was given this name.
From that time, my name is Apostate, not Scheat.
“So, what’s the job?”
When I heard about the contents of my job, the corners of my mouth dropped.
Having received the order, after advance preparations I used a transfer gate and again came to this country.
Be that as it may, it doesn’t mean I’ll stay for long. This time it’s really a mere cleanup.
A retrieval mission so that’s it not called cleanup. Once I finish, I’ll slip out.
It’s already almost the middle of the night.
I approached the place where I had been instructed to erase all traces. Even though it’s late at night, several men who appear to be guards are sharply keeping a watch.
Phew, I let out a breath. Today the mission isn’t killing. I won’t have souvenirs for mom.
I just need to clean up.
I casually thought that such missions had increased recently. In the past it was only killing.
I know the reason.
Cain’s existence. Because he’s in Wilhelm. In case of a confrontation with him, probably only I could fight him properly. That’s why I’m chosen.
“… I’d be happy if I could meet Cain”
While grumbling so, I produced a drug from my bosom.
It’s a common drug used by Sahaja’s assassin guilds.
Checking the wind’s direction I scattered it secretly.
After a short while I saw the guards begin to doze off.
Having confirmed the drug began taking effect, I secretly slipped out from the hiding.
When you sniff the drug called ‘dream flower’ made from flower pollen, the boundary between the reality and dream becomes vague, no matter what happens before your eyes you won’t be able to grasp the situation correctly.
I passed through the guards. Of course, nobody is questioning me. Everybody is absentminded, their eyes unfocused. Ignoring them, I arrived at the place I was aiming for.
The place where corpses are kept together.
All the corpses of the victims of today’s fight are kept here.
Checking each person I searched for the people I’m looking for. Because they look different from the hoodlums, I found them right away.
First of all, these two.
Members of my guild. I have to erase their traces.
From the start they didn’t carry anything that would identify them as people of our guild so there should be no need for worry, but even so we don’t know what might leak the information.
When I raised my hand as a signal, four men emerged from darkness. On their shoulders they carried two large jute bags in pairs. I could tell a large thing could be put inside.
When they came near me, they opened the jute bags with experienced movements. Without losing time they advanced with work.
I only looked at it absentmindedly.
Having finished the work in a few minutes, the four men again carried the two jute bags in pairs on their shoulders.
I had them go ahead and moved to the next place.
Actually I had been ordered to recover the vase, however it seems to have already been carried away.
I had been told in advance it’s fine to ignore it if it isn’t on the scene, so I easily gave up.
“The owner can’t be identified, huh. Well, that would be so”
It seems to be a rare magical tool, but it’s unknown whose collection it belonged to.
That’s why it won’t be a particular hindrance even if it’s exposed to be made in Sahaja.
What’s important is to hide our participation in this plot.
We ‘Black’ don’t intend to take responsibility for this failure.
It mustn’t be seen as our work. That’s why we’ll erase all traces.
The guards are left as is. At any rate the drug’s effect will soon fade. They’ll only think of it as a dream. There are no aftereffects, they shouldn’t remember this.
There’s one more person left I have to clean up after.
If he’s alive, so be it, but probably he isn’t.
If he was, he would long ago have contacted us.
“He isn’t around here… I wonder if he was killed while escaping”
It seems everybody earlier was killed by the Crown Prince.
But, among them there wasn’t the person I’m looking for. Then it’s natural to think he was killed by somebody before he could escape. He wouldn’t be found by the guards or the Royal Palace officials.
Assassins of our guild wouldn’t be easily killed by ordinary people.
I reached the conclusion right away.
“… Was it you? Cain”
Only after I produced the voice I noticed.
A lively voice that didn’t seem like my own.
I wonder if I could perhaps meet him.
The only one who calls me by my name, the only one who recognizes me as myself.
What would he do. I thought about that.
Supposing I was him – what would I do if I killed the attacking assassin. Perhaps, I’d leave him for his fellows to take care of. Then――――.
“―――― Ah, sure enough”
A dim back alley. Seeing the hidden corpse that I could tell was the very same assassin, I smiled with satisfaction. As I thought, it’s his work.
I dragged out his corpse and examined the wound. Today he used a sword, not a knife. I leaked a sigh at the beautiful cut. It can only be his work for somebody to be killed so beautifully.
“He’s truly almighty. It’s beautiful”
I gazed at the wound spellbound.
It’s delightful seeing his merciless attack at a weak spot that took the life in a single blow.
I’m delighted to know he’s an assassin, even if he escaped a guild.
―――― And yet.
“You wouldn’t come to my side…”
I wanted to try working with him. It seems there’s no way for it to come true.
In that case. I’d like to try competing with him as a target someday.
“It’s okay, clean up”
I moved away from the corpse and ordered so.
This time, two people came out behind me. They stuffed the corpse into an empty jute bag with experienced movements.
With this, all is done.
Watching them leave carrying a jute bag together, I absentmindedly looked up at the sky.
Tonight is the full moon. Red, red moon.
The color of blood. Your color.
“It’s a shame. I wanted to meet you. Cain”
I specially came to Wilhelm. I wanted to see you.
I wanted you to call my name.
My real name nobody calls me by anymore.
While inexplicable sentimentality washed over me, a sheet of formula paper hidden in my bosom shone.
I took it out with experienced movements and passed magical power through the paper.
Receiving magical power, the magic formula drawn on it shone palely.
‘Apostate. Return… There’s work’
My eyes widened just a little in surprise.
But, I nodded right away.
“Got it. I’ll go there tomorrow”
When I noticed, I was smiling faintly.
We worked out some details and terminated the conversation. The sheet of formula paper that had served its purpose prettily burned up in magic flames.
“At last, huh”
Finally the plan seems to begin. That is to say, my wish might come true.
“Ah, I mustn’t be absentminded”
I mustn’t stay still.
I vigorously broke into a run.
Quickly, I have to return quickly.
Only that occupied my head.
I already think of nothing else.
I will fulfill the role I was given with all my power.
I swore so at that time.
I swore so to mom.
I ran through the town as if delirious with fever.
―――― The red moon already doesn’t matter.