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Chapter 101: Corner of the Slums

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Author: TypeAxiom Original Source: Scribble Hub

Out of the corner of her eyes, Lucienne saw movement and when she turned her head, she caught a man whose face was covered with a cloth pulling a dagger from inside his clothes, though he quickly hid it when he spotted her looking.

How does she warn these slum residents off? Anything she says will probably just register as weakness in these peoples’ eyes.

As far as these hoodlums know, these people casually walking through the slums was a noblewoman, her servant, and their female guard. As for why the servant was carrying a big bag, no one knew but it probably didn’t matter. Even the guard was no big deal since they had the numbers advantage.

That was completely wrong, though, since these two “ladies” were knight-class undead at minimum. Who knew what these undeads might do if attacked? Would they rampage?

Just as Lucienne was about to unsheathe her sword as a warning with substance to the gathering hoodlums, she heard Camilla’s voice for the first time since they came.

“This place hasn’t changed at all,” she said in her thin voice, sighing as she looked around. “Kagriss, don’t come to places like this in the future.”

Kagriss nodded obediently. “Okay.”

Although the sudden speaking startled the slum residents, the sound of Kagriss’s sultry voice seemed to stir them up. Some of the hoodlums were even circling around and blocking the way that Lucienne came from.

However, Lucienne was too shocked to even pay attention to them. She was still focused on Camilla’s words. The zombie’s words suggested that she had been here before, which wasn’t impossible, but the implications were chilling.

Suddenly, the familiarity with which Camilla traveled the city made sense. While it didn’t entirely explain how Camilla was able to know about how the Cloud Knights work, Lucienne thought she might know why.

It wasn’t a stretch to think that during Camilla’s time in the city, for what might have been years, she’d have made some friends among the templars using her appearance. Since the knowledge that she knew wasn’t classified information, a few well placed questions might have told her what she needed to know.

This revelation refreshed Lucienne’s entire view on Camilla, as well as the infiltration ability of undead in general. Camilla was a much bigger threat than she had initially anticipated.

However, at the same time, she felt a bit better, since someone like Camilla probably won’t lose control and recklessly cause havoc in the slums, even if someone attacked. By the looks of it, the calm looking Kagriss might actually be the loose cannon in this situation.

Laughing lecherously, some of the hoodlums began to close in with their knives and staves fashioned from long poles that looked like they might have been used to pitch street stands.

“There’s no ‘in the future’ for you, since you’re going back out!”

A man pushed out from the ranks of hoodlums, looking better dressed and fed than the others. His rough hair was actually styled, swept back to display a tattoo on his forehead.

Lucienne drew her sword. “I’m a templar,” she growled, pulling a badge from her pants pocket. “Stay back.”

The leader frowned. “What’s a templar doing in a place like this? Cutting off support from us, and now you’re coming in thinking you can do what you want in the territory of the people you’ve abandoned?”

Although the sight of her badge made the hoodlums hesitate, the man stared at them until he managed to steady the encirclement.

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“I wasn’t the one who made the decision to withdraw support, nor was I the one to come here. I’m merely accompanying these two here.”

“So since you have no business here, why not leave these two women?” the man said with a smile. “After all, your identity as a templar puts you under certain restrictions, don’t you? You’re not allowed to kill anyone except in self defense. I’m saying this now, but I don’t have a bone to pick with you.”

Lucienne growled. She hadn’t expected her identity as a templar to not work in driving the hoodlums away. She looked over at Camilla and Kagriss, trying to figure out what they thought about this situation.

She didn’t get much.

Kagriss had a disgusted look on her face as she looked at the people around her, while Camilla’s expression was much more muted. However, Lucienne saw the disdain that Camilla had for the hoodlums.

Seeing the women’s expressions, the leader of the hoodlums spat on the ground. “Let’s see how long you can keep looking high and mighty when you’re in our hands,” he said. “Templar, leave. This is not your fight. We’re not scared of you, and we have way more people than this.”

He raised his hand, and yet more people slowly crept out of the alleys, forming ranks many men deep in these narrow alleys. Against so many people, even Lucienne wouldn’t be able to defeat so many while holding back enough to not kill anyone.

So that was where this hoodlum got his confidence from.

Lucienne shook her head. “You don’t understand. The main threat isn’t from me. You don’t want to make these two angry. Please, just go.”

“Save your words, templar. I know what we’re dealing with.”

“No, you don’t!”

“It’s just a few nobles! Once we capture her,” the hoodlum said, pointing at Kagriss, “her father or whatever can’t do anything to us! After we get the money, we just disappear and they can’t catch us! We’ll be fed for weeks, so stay out of it, templar!”

Looking away from Lucienne, the hoodlum locked eyes with Kagriss, the smile fading from his face for once, turning into a face of sincerity and solemness. “If you give up without a fight, we won’t hurt you. We only want your ransom. But if you struggle, I can’t promise that nothing will happen.”

Kagriss said nothing, only looking at Camilla. Lucienne knew she was asking for instructions with her gaze, but the hoodlum didn’t think that way.

He stamped on the ground. “Do not ignore me! I’m off—”

Whatever words he was trying to say was lost as Lucienne suddenly sensed undead mana, a grim aura spreading over the whole place, chilling the hearts of everyone present. The hoodlum’s face turned pale, and some of the men under his command stepped back.

Lucienne’s heart pounded, afraid that she might have to fight two knight-class undead to stop them from slaughtering this group of foolish hooligans.

But instead of going on a rampage, Camilla simply half knelt on the ground and reached her hand into the rough flagstones. With barely a struggle, she pried a stone out of the ground and crushed the rock into tiny chunks before the hoodlums’ shocked face.

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“Leave. I am not a templar,” she growled.

The hoodlum leader shivered, and without hesitation, he called for a retreat. “Go go, do as she says!” Like rats fleeing a flood, the people that had surrounded them fled, leaving the narrow streets and alleys nearby empty of people.

The speed at which Camilla resolved the situation without spilling a drop of blood shocked Lucienne.

So…it had been a mistake to use her identity as a templar? All it took was a display of strength to clear the scene? She was still too inexperienced.

It was kind of embarrassing to know less about this than an undead, even though she was the human. Still, she was glad that this situation didn’t take a bloodier turn.

Lucienne peeked over at Camilla, trying to gauge the undead’s judgement after all that. The zombie girl’s expression was sour, pretty much as Lucienne expected. Anyone would be annoyed after what happened just now, but considering that the hoodlums weren’t much of a threat to her and Kagriss’s wellbeing, Lucienne couldn’t help but think that Camilla might be overblowing the situation.

Even Kagriss, who seemed more bothered by the hoodlums when they were here, had returned to normal, marking Camilla as the odd one out. Although Lucienne was a bit curious on what was upsetting Camilla so much, she kept her questions to herself.

Like before, the rest of the trip was silent, and after that whole spectacle, even awkward. Although Camilla has been here before, Lucienne couldn’t help but feel partially responsible for allowing such a thing to happen under her watch. It was a mark against Moltrost…

But what was Camilla doing in the slums anyways? Perhaps she had something hidden in there from the last time she was in Moltrost.

Lucienne was equal parts anticipation and apprehension. Whatever it was, she was sure to find something interesting. By now, she was no longer as on guard against Camilla as she was before, since Camilla probably won’t do something as reckless as kill her in Moltrost.

After one last turn into an alley no different from any other, Camilla suddenly turned and began to push against the brick walls. While Lucienne looked on in confusion.

Before long, she got her answer as a portion of the wall that Camilla pushed against sank in almost silently.

Lucienne’s eyes widened in surprise. There was a secret entrance here!

Camilla pushed in the wall all the way and then slid it to the side before ducking in, with Kagriss following right after. After a moment of hesitation, Lucienne entered as well.

“Shut the door behind you.”

Lucienne jumped, almost hitting her head on the low entrance. Scowling, she pulled the segment of the wall back behind her. The wall was lubricated surprisingly well, sliding without much effort.

She couldn’t figure out what place this was for. The entrance was so well made it seemed impossible that this place was in the middle of the slums. Was it okay for her, a templar, to be here?

This wasn’t an undead gathering place, was it?

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The tunnel that the secret entrance led to sloped down slightly, finally opening up to a small underground chamber with a single table that stretched across almost the entire width of the room. A closed door was embedded in the wall behind the table.

However, there was no one manning the table.

As if expecting something like this, Camilla simply walked up to the desk and grabbed a rope that disappeared into the back wall.

She pulled it a few times, and after a moment, the door slowly opened and a little man came out.

Axiom’s Note

I’m sad that no one likes the third option (from the poll last chapter). I might write that one as a third active story anyways a little bit after I decide which one of the others to write, since I think it’ll be a rather low maintenance story that’s kind of leisurely and calming.

Be sure to support the author, TypeAxiom, by subscribing to his Patreon!


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