|Author: Tensei Mikami||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2269 characters|
|Translator: Jiro||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: Unknown words|
The Leverence Street Gate was a double gate situated across the moat, and it bore the name of a trading city. Despite its appearance, it allowed people to enter and exit with ease.
The city served as a hub for merchants not only from within the empire but also from the kingdom, resulting in a constant flow of people passing through.
In the past, a simple issued pass would grant anyone access, irrespective of their status, as long as they paid a toll. As a result, the security was rather lax, but this was only applicable to the regular security system.
“Whoa, what’s all this? What’s up with this security?”
“Welcome back Sir. Everyone’s already been stationed.”
“Yea, I can see that. But just what in the world happened?”
“Didn’t you hear?”
“A witch appeared. It’s the talk of the town. They say Lord Zeeney is offering a substantial reward to the person who hunts her down.”
“I’ve heard she’s an enchanting witch with a terrifyingly beautiful appearance.”
“Would you look at that? Well, if I’m dealing with a pretty girl, I’ll be more motivated.”
Said the senior gatekeeper, seemingly excited as he slipped into his light armor.
“You don’t seem to be interested, Sir.”
“Of course not. It’s not like we’ll be doing anything different. It’s not like we’ll get a bonus or something. It’s not worth the extra effort. Besides, this is not even my usual guarding area.”
“It’s the West Gate, right? Today there are already about thirty people above the usual.”
“Oh my god. That many? That one witch sure has stirred up things.”
“It’s like that everywhere today. Not even a mouse can escape. We’re working 24 hours a day. There aren’t any gaps in the defense.”
“I wish they’d catch her as soon as possible… I just hope we, gatekeepers, don’t get overworked… Well then, I’m off.”
Declared the senior guard, leaving the camp with his spear pike.
Unbeknownst to them, a shadow watched and listened to the conversation from a roof a kilometer away. Eupho let out a small sigh and gracefully jumped down from the roof, her teal-colored ponytail swinging in a supple, cat-like motion.
“How does it look?” Seletina asked, as she slurped water from a leather canteen.
Eupho looked at her, shaking her head sideways. “No good. Security system is all set up. It’s impossible to break through by force. Don’t use your sword no matter what,” she beckoned.
“That was to be expected.”
“You might want to tighten the reins on the red-haired one. After all, he’s stupid.”
“Don’t say that. Despite how he is, he helped and gave his suggestions.”
“Stupid. Even more stupid.”
Seletina chuckled at Eupho, who sighed sadly.
After their first meet up, Seletina alongside everyone else ended up forming a seven-person group. Such a group naturally stood out way too much. Recognizing the potential risks, they’d agreed on splitting up for the time being.
In the shadows of the city, Eupho and Seletina, both skilled at stealth, moved like mice, their breaths heavy and concealed. In turn, Lichter should have met with the rest of Flowing Shadows’ members by this time.
Lichter had suggested a frontal assault using force right before their dispersal, but the idea was quickly dismissed.
“Sorry for dragging you into this.” Seletina said, giving a regretful glance at Eupho, her usual expression motionless, resembling a tangled doll.
“It’s fine. It’s work.”
“By nature, Adventurers are opportunists. We’ll do anything, as long as there’s money.”
Eupho said, toying with a gold coin in her hand.
“Sorry about drawing my sword at you before. I really am.” Eupho said.
“It’s fine. We were wanted to begin with. Anyone would’ve attacked us.”
“That aside. I’m surprised you knew that I was Seletina. I’m dressed like a boy, and I’ve cut my hair. And it’s the middle of the night. I’m amazed you could recognize me in this darkness and point your knife at me.”
“It was easy. I’d heard you had clear white skin and beautiful blond hair. Even if you cover it with a little mud your features can’t be mistaken.”
“Really? Lord Zeeney still mistook me for a boy although he’d even seen me first hand before.”
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Eupho rolled her eyes and chuckled underneath her veil. She appeared somewhat dumbfounded, but in reality she was simply amused.
“Lord Zeeney is stupid. A girl is a girl no matter how you look at it.”
“Really? And here I thought I’d done good with my disguise.”
“Your smell gave you away.”
“I can smell it. Even if you’ve washed, you still smell of high class cosmetics and hair oil. Besides, girls smell good, unlike boys.”
“Another thing that gives you away are your nails. They’re neatly taken care of. A simple haircut and a change of clothes don’t work as a disguise.”
Seletina was genuinely impressed by Eupho’s eloquent and perceptive speech. She wondered whether people who had a deep understanding of her could still recognize her even with only rough changes to her appearance.
Despite Seletina’s mastery in the art of swordsmanship, there were many times when she realized her lack of knowledge in different fields such as this.
“Impressive. I guess women really are able to grasp even the smallest details, unlike men.”
A moment of silence ensued.
Eupho then chimed in, saying, “Yeah,” with a small sigh of satisfaction.
Then, what came out of Eupho’s mouth exceeded Seletina’s expectations. “Let me make this clear. We, Flowing Shadows, are a group of four brothers.”
“You mean that…”
“We’re men. Me and my brothers.”
The leather bag filled with water in Seletina’s hand slipped from her grasp at the startling unveiling.