Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「The Capital City Olav」Part 2
There was a large hat on her head and her eyes were staring directly at me. She had short, raven black hair and was wearing black clothes that seemed easy to move in.
Although she was only around 150 cm tall, the gauntlets on her arms, her leg guards and the dagger at her waist didn’t give the impression of a city girl.
The girl’s eyes were drawn to Ponta for a moment before looking back at me.
I remember those emotionless blue eyes from somewhere.
“Hmm…… I know you from somewhere but……”
“……Things seemed to have gone well in Diento.
The girl maintained eye contact as she spoke in a monotonous voice. The figure of a cat-eared ninja in the kidnapper’s base flashed in my mind.
“Oh, the ninja girl from the other day.”
Her eyebrows twitched in response to my unintentional utterance.
“Ninja…… so I didn’t mishear you last time.”
She raised her neck up as far as she could to look up at me as she quietly muttered to herself.
“I’d like to talk to you…… do you mind sparing some time for me?
When I nodded at her question, she looked at me with a serious expression before silently urging me into a less crowded alley, leaving me to obediently follow her.
She observed the surroundings and began to speak after calming down a little.
“Forgive me for the late introduction. My name is Chiome. I am a member of the Blade Heart Clan, one of the six shinobi clans.”
Though she gave a Japanese-style name──
“The Jin Shin clan?”
I unintentionally spoke the name I was unfamiliar with.
“‘Jin’ as in ‘Blade’ and ‘Shin’ stands for ‘heart’, and together they mean ‘Those who endure’.”¹
I couldn’t help but notice that the characters in the clan name formed the kanji for ‘Shinobi’.²
While I was in the middle of that realization, Chiome’s clear blue eyes stared back at me apparently prompting an introduction of my own.
In response to her prompting, I give her my name.
“I am the traveler Arc. For my own reasons I’m simply wandering around.”
“Is that so…… Well then Arc-dono, why did you call me a ninja?
I stared back at Chiome with sweaty palms as I try to come up with a suitable answer to her question.
She seemed to know the about the existence of ninjas but the word seemed to carry a different meaning for her.
“Hmm, in my home country we call those that dress like you were and conduct covert operations ‘Ninjas’.”
I watched her reaction to my answer.
Chiome closed her eyes and nodded in understanding at my answer.
“So that’s it…… The name “Ninja” has secretly been passed down through our clan for generations. For Arc-dono to know of it means that you must come from the same country as the first clan head.”
Apparently, only the Blade Heart Clan know of the word ‘Ninja’. Since the records were only kept by one clan, then there is no doubt that the man who taught it to them had come from the same world as I……
The clan head she spoke of either had to been Japanese like me, or someone from earth that knew about ninjas.
Though she had called him the first generation clan head──
“Could you perhaps…… tell me what the current generation is?”
“……Counting from the first generation the clan is now in the 22nd generation.
I hung my head at Chiome’s answer.
Though I was expecting some time to have passed, there is no way that the first clan head would be still alive after twenty-one generations.
Even with that in mind, I asked her anyway.
“I take it that the clan founder is no longer alive?”
“Correct. The first head appeared 600 years ago and led the persecuted cat people into forming a new clan. That clan would later become know as the Blade Heart Clan.”
“Hmm, so was it that you wanted to talk about?”
According to Dylan, the members of the beastman race were lopsidedly hunted to be turned into slaves.
It was risky for her to be talking in the middle of a human city, especially since she was talking about her clan’s history in the country’s capital.
“There is a job that will require Arc-dono’s assistance.”
While I was questioning her actions, Chiome gave a bold response to my question.
Thinking about her actions in Diento and the current situation, it was easy to see that the circumstances for her being in this city and that the job she mentioned would involve a risky infiltration.
“Chiome-dono, are you asking a human to help you with this ‘Job’?”
She simply offered me a silent nod and stared at me with her deep blue eyes.
She probably wants help to rescue her countryman── that is, freeing the enslaved People of the Plains and Mountains.
However, since humans were the ones enslaving them in the first place, I had to wonder why she would ask one for help.
She clearly had her own agenda, and since I was offering my support to Ariane and the elves I couldn’t answer carelessly.
“At the moment I’m cooperating with the elves. It would go against my convictions to work with others behind their backs.
She made a thoughtful gesture before she started to speak again.
“I would like to speak with the elves you a currently working with. Arc-dono, if you offer your support for this task I’ll offer you the information you seek as a reward.”
Although there were only a few intonations in her voice, her words carried a slight hint of challenge in them.
“You’re looking for information on the names that were written on the sale contracts…… correct?”
We stared into each other’s eyes.
“How could you guess that…… you should know that two of the three people have already been found.”
“Is that so…… then the only one left should be Drusus De Barishimon.”
I could say nothing in response as the corners of her mouth raised ever so slightly.
More than simply knowing the contents of the contract, she even knows about the people mentioned and was able to deduce the one I couldn’t find anything on.
“……I’m to believe that you know the whereabouts and identity of that person──”
“Yes. I know of those things.”
As you’d expect from a ninja.
While we certainly needed that information, acquiring it would mean helping with the emancipation of the slaves.
I have no qualms cooperating with her, but there’s the risk of me standing out too much during this operation.
If my actions up till now become public, I would become a wanted man and traveling would be difficult.
However, when I said that two people from the contracts had been found she brought up Barishimon without any hesitation.
She must have done so because she believes that he’d be the most difficult person to find.
Even if I was able to find information on Barishimon through my random search of the city, the news of my efforts could reach the person in question and drive him deeper into hiding.
Dylan said that this girl and her like were descendants of spies. This meant that their information were better than what was available to us.
For the time being, I should go back and discuss this with Ariane……
“I need to consult with my partner before I can give you an answer.”
“Please allow me to accompany you then, Arc-dono. I’d like to speak with your cooperator directly.”
I thought I saw a little childishness in her blue eyes as I thought it over.
There shouldn’t be any problems with introducing this ninja to Ariane─── I hope.
Even though I still had my doubts, we should be able to deal with any problem that come up.
“I understand. Well then, follow me Chiome-domo.”
Chiome and I returned to the main street and we moved away from the third gate’s wall at a quick pace. Despite her small stature, she was able to keep up with me.
Ponta must have been tired after my talk with Chiome because she dozed off atop my head. On the way back to the inn, I occasionally had to keep her in place since she would start to slip off from time to time.
When we returned I invited Chiome to my room on the third floor.
She sat down in the only chair in the room, while I sat on the bed.
Ponta seemed fully awake now as she checked the softness on the bed with her front paws.
A strange silence soon blanketed the room.
The ninja Chiome was restlessly staring at Ponta for some reason.
“Chiome-dono, the toilet is on the first floor.”
“That’s not the problem!”
Though I only meant to break the ice, she became a little red when she voiced her denial.
Even if it was only for an instant, she looked like a young girl.
I took a small leather pouch from my bag and handed it to her.
Chiome might as well have a question mark above her head, given how easy it was to see her confusion. She didn’t know what to do until she opened the pouch and saw Ponta’s reaction.
When she resumed her restless gazing, I took the chance to give an introduction.
“Although it’s a little late, this little fluffy fox here is Ponta. Those berries you’re holding happen to be her favorites.”
When Chiome heard me say that, she intensely gazed at Ponta as she slowly began to inch a hand full of the dried berries towards Ponta with her mouth agape.
Ponta stood up when she saw the dried berries coming toward her.
Chiome didn’t seem familiar with sitting in a chair, but she eventually managed to lean forward a bit.
As Chiome’s timidly brought her hand of berries closer, Ponta started to wag her tail in excitement.
When Ponta started to nibble at the berries with great relish, Chiome narrowed her eyes and smiled faintly.
“I’m amazed that Arc-dono managed to tame a spirit beast……”
Chiome stroked Ponta’s fur while muttering that.
“This fellow acts like that with everyone……”
I tried to answer with a bitter laugh, but Chiome shook her head.
“No, spirit beasts can detect malice within people. The reason I can feel at ease being in the middle of a human city with you is because of the absolute trust this beast has in you Arc-dono.”
At her words, I looked back at Ponta─── only to find her begging for more berries.
If she was to be believed, then my trustworthiness was completely dependent on Ponta.
Deciding not to dwell on that for too long, I asked her another question I had.
“I take it that she’s the reason you helped me save the elves when we first met?”
When we first met, she had figured out that I wasn’t one of the kidnappers almost instantly.
It wouldn’t have been strange if she just assumed that I was a normal knight collaborating with the kidnappers.
Chiome looked me straight in the eyes when she hears my question.
“My people, the elves, and even the humans each have our own respective scents. I smelled a thin trace of the elves from you when we met. But──”
She hesitated for a second as she thought her choice of words over before speaking again.
“Arc-dono, there’s a unique scent coming from you. It’s a scent that I’ve never come across before.……”
Chiome’s eyes narrowed as she looked at me, as if she were trying to see beyond my helmet’s visor.
The fact that I’m nothing but a skeleton may be the source of my peculiar scent.
Something in her eyes seemed to suggest that she had obtained what she was after, but that just could have been my imagination───
After that, we sat in silence until we heard a knock on the door.
¹ You have to see the kana that make up the sentence so here 「ジンは刃、シンは心を表す言葉で”耐え忍ぶ者”という意味です」
²忍 this is the kanji for Shinobi This are from the clan name 刃, 心.