“It sure is hot…”
It wasn’t an exaggeration to call this a tropical night.
After more or less examining the Royal Palace, I was walking alone along the nearby coast in order to grasp the geography.
As I’ve told Princess, I’d never worked in other countries before. I knew Sahaja’s geography with my eyes closed, but other countries were new to me.
I crammed the map of Wilhelm where my master lives into my head, but when it came to Irvine, I was at a loss.
But, for the sake of protecting my master as a Hiyuma, I couldn’t allow that.
I arrived in Irvine a day ahead of Princess and then walked through the town, making the map in my head. As a result, I seem to have gotten considerably used to the country called Irvine.
The sound of waves was pleasant.
I went down to the sandy beach along the coast and walked slowly. Sahaja was a desert country, so it was my first time seeing the ocean in person. I’d heard about it, but it was surprising to see it for the first time.
When I saw waves breaking on the beach, I wondered what the hell that was.
Of course, I couldn’t afford to only be surprised, so I got used to it immediately.
After roughly finishing the inspection, I decided to walk on the beach to check the ocean at night, but unexpectedly, the water was black, and I felt an indescribable fear.
The waves breaking onto the shore made a shaa-shaa sound. It was midnight. Naturally, there was no one on the beach. This crowded place, where many people had been enjoying swimming in the ocean during the day, felt terribly lonesome now.
The sandy beach had bad footing and I almost tripped at first. Moreover, it was difficult to erase the sound of footsteps. To my vexation, even if I ran, I couldn’t expect to be fast.
Still, I was walking here beckoned by the ocean I hadn’t seen in Sahaja. While I was thinking of returning to the inn I was staying in, I saw a figure of a person some distance in front of me.
It was unmistakably a person.
I couldn’t make out the face. But, they were carelessly lying on their back on the sandy beach. There was a risk they would drown at high tide. I thought I’d better talk to them and decided to go to where that person was.
It was something I would never do before. I can declare with certainty that I would ignore a stranger that had nothing to do with me.
Since I started spending time with Princess, I’ve regained various things I’d lost. I oftentimes find that a nuisance, but I know that I mustn’t get rid of them.
So even if it’s troublesome, I take care not to lose them.
“Oi, are you asleep? The tide will rise if you stay like this.”
When I got close enough for my voice to reach, I called out to them. I did it out of kindness, but the returned answer was curt.
“Ah? Nn? It’s alright. I’m just taking a little break…. Ah.”
I tried to get closer, but I completely stopped. Unconsciously, I pointed a finger at them and shouted.
But, it couldn’t be helped. The person lying with his arms and legs outstretched on the sandy beach in the middle of the night was Abel, who had just escaped the other day.
Abel raised his body and stared at me in amazement, and I was similar. How should I put it, my feelings and various other things couldn’t catch up.
“Eh, you…! Why?”
Despite being overcome with surprise, I asked so. My voice was hoarse from the astonishment. Sure enough, Abel also appeared startled with his eyes being circles.
“Whoa… What a strange coincidence. Eh? Since Mr. Shinigami is here, perhaps Mrs. Crown Princess has come to Irvine? What the? What are the odds?”
“… Why is an information broker from Sahaja in Irvine?”
When I reflexively asked, Abel said with a bitter look.
“Aah, about that. Actually, I’m a fugitive from Sahaja. I thought I’d stay quiet in a place unrelated to Sahaja until things calmed down, so I came to Irvine.”
“A fugitive, you say?”
I was surprised to hear the unexpected word.
“Right. It’s because of what happened the last time. I wasn’t really hired by the King of Sahaja, but he didn’t seem to share that view. An assassin was sent from the Black Guild, so thinking I was in trouble, I escaped.”
“An assassin… Were you the target?”
Black moving would mean that. Abel nodded without any agitation.
“So it seems. Even though I said I was unrelated, they wouldn’t listen.”
“Of course they wouldn’t. Your situation doesn’t matter to ‘Black’. They kill if requested. That’s all.”
What’s the reason for the assassination?
Even such an obvious question is forbidden. That’s how Sahaja assassins are.
I grew up being taught that too.
Absolutely obey orders. It’s necessary to kill the person you are told to kill, anything else doesn’t matter. It’s something trivial.
While I was amazed that he was aimed at, Abel stood up and indifferently told me.
“The current King of Sahaja doesn’t let live those whom he deems unnecessary. Marquis Westin is probably dead by now. Well, he reaps what he sowed, so that’s fine, but I got dragged into it.”
“… I see. But I disagree here.”
Since he’d disguised himself as Duke Pellegrini, I thought he was plenty involved.
But, Abel didn’t seem to think so and denied with raised eyebrows.
“I just accepted the request for money! It had nothing to do with the King of Sahaja, there’s no reason to kill me!”
“Oh, yeah? And so, you’ve run away.”
“It can’t be helped. They won’t listen and intend to kill me. On the contrary, I don’t feel like killing them. Being Shinigami, you should know which one is more advantageous, right?”
“… Well, yeah.”
A person coming with the intention to kill and a person who doesn’t want to kill. It’s obvious the person coming with the intention to kill is at an advantage. Without a considerable difference in skill, it’s hard to avoid such a person.
“… That’s how it is.”
I was convinced.
I didn’t think Abel was lying. Because, it seemed like something the current King of Sahaja would do. He doesn’t forgive mistakes and kills not only the person in question but also everybody involved. Moreover, Abel is a famous information broker who doesn’t accept requests from royalty. He doesn’t tolerate those who don’t obey him. I have no doubt he’d kill Abel with this time’s matter as the reason.
He was like that when he was the Crown Prince, and he seems unchanged after becoming the King.
The King of Sahaja, Maximilian. He was famous among the dark side of Sahaja as a rational, cold-hearted man. Of course, fewer people from the general public noticed that thanks to his perfect exterior, but the people of the underworld all trembled in fear.
Sahaja under his rule is bound to be oppressive.
I compared him to the Crown Prince of Wilhelm.
The Crown Prince who became Princess’s husband. He behaves recklessly when it comes to Princess, but other than that, there’s nothing to complain about, or rather, thanks to being infatuated with Princess, he actually has a positive impression of being a friendly prince. The soldiers serving Wilhelm all seem happy. I’m certain they trust him.
I’m sure he wouldn’t try to kill Abel. And neither would Princess.
I know both can forgive others. I know they look forward. That’s why everybody wants to follow them, and why people around them increase.
“… Well, you were unlucky.”
I came to Wilhelm and met Princess, while Abel was an information broker in Sahaja.
Life changes like that depending on who you are close with.
I was lucky.
While I was reflecting upon my good fortune, Abel said with resignation.
“Can’t be helped. Things like that happen in this line of work from time to time. Since I’m outstanding, I can make a living anywhere, so I’ll relax a while longer and then go be an information broker again in some other country. I don’t have enough money for old age, so I have no choice but to work.”
I’d thought I would catch him the next time we met, but after listening to him, I lost interest.
There was no point in catching a man who Sahaja deemed to have served his purpose, and even if I brought Abel in front of Princess now, being on a diplomatic visit, I knew she’d just be troubled.
For some reason, I observed Abel.
Black hair, a golden eye. His limbs were slender, but they didn’t have a delicate impression.
He was wearing a loose tunic, but he didn’t look to be hiding a blade. Being so apt at escaping, he must not need it. I think it’s carelessness, but Kaleidoscope is an information broker famous for not killing. It seems natural that he wouldn’t have a blade.
I felt like for the first time I calmly looked at the man called Abel.
Considering the secret arts he’d shown before, if he had red eyes, I’d unmistakably think of him as a Hiyuma.
But, he’s different. It’s impossible.
Despite thinking so, my mouth spun something completely different.
“… Are you a member of the Hiyuma clan?”