— I dreamt of a time past.
Of a time when I wasn’t just Shizuru, but was Mukouda Shizuru.
Of a time when I wasn’t a physician, nor an assassin, but a common, ordinary boy who goes to a grade school in Japan.
Yes, it was the dream of the last day.
I came to this world seven years ago.
I’m 19 now, so I was 12 back then.
And for some reason, I couldn’t remember anything before that.
I remember my name.
I remember my age.
I even somehow remembered what kind of world it was, and how I lived in it.
However, I couldn’t remember family nor friends.
Nor where my house was.
Nor what happened just before I came to this world.
Nor how I came into this world.
I couldn’t remember at all, nothing came to my mind.
Not even now, when seven years had passed.
That was how it had been since seven years ago, the moment I came to this world.
To me who walked without knowing left from right back then, this was a disorderly other world uncomparable to modern Japan.
While I walked full of uncertainty, I must have looked like easy prey.
I encountered an incident an hour after I came to the world.
A group of scruff-looking men, it was unthinkable that they were decent people.
They were kidnappers, they took me by force into a back alley.
They took all I had on me and tied me up.
Just when I thought that I was going to be taken away somewhere,
The heads of the five men simultaneously rolled down on the ground, without exception.
The heads hit the ground with a thud, the bodies crumpled like puppets with their strings cut, and blood rained down.
Bathed in the iron-smelling warm rain, I looked at the scene from my prone position.
And then a woman walked in the middle of the rain.
“The thing about decapitations is, you don’t have to check if they’re dead. You can take it easy when doing it”
The woman in a suit holding a parasol.
She had both her eyes gently shut. Her silver hair made a rustling sound.
On the hand that wasn’t holding the parasol, she had a pure white cane.
It wasn’t until much later that I learnt that there was a sharp sword hidden there.
The blind woman moved as if she wasn’t showing it, closing her parasol right as the rain of blood stopped.
After stopping for a while, she approached me.
“Are you all right? You’re lucky that I had a contract to kill those guys, arent you”
As she was talking, there was a metallic slash.
My ropes and gags fell down.
It was godly fast quickdraw 1, faster than the eye can see.
“But this is a problem. Now that I’ve been clearly seen, it’s going to interfere with my work”
At that time, she seemed to hesitate a little.
Whether to kill me or let me go.
After thinking and hesitating, she decided on neither.
“Ah, I know. Three years from starting, we’re still short on hands. Let’s take him along. Since he’s still a child, he could become useful depending on training”
She concluded after a monologue.
Without even asking for my opinion, she turned to me, still looking blankly.
And gave me a karate chop.
My mind clouded and my vision warped.
Within seconds, I had lost consciousness.
When I woke up, I was on a bed in a room somewhere unfamiliar.
“Good morning. Did you sleep well?”
She was looking down at me, the culprit who made me faint.
The blind woman who sported silver, shoulder length hair.
“Where is this?” I groaned. She tapped the floor with her cane once, and answered after a bit of thinking.
“The HQ of an organization I built. Also, the place you’ll be living from today”
Short, and to the point.
It was too short I didn’t really understand, an explanation that didn’t really explain anything.
But anyway, she had always been like this.
She speaks and acts politely, but selfish and doesn’t really think of others.
A person that embodies the term hypocritical courtesy
I was picked up by that kind of a person.
I wanted to go home, I said.
Even though I didn’t know where my home was and what kind of family I lived with.
But at that time I was still uneasy, therefore I clung to the word “home”, that gave me a sense of safety.
Then in response to what I said, she only tilted her head as if to say, “why?”
“There’s no need for you to go home, right? You’ll be living right here”
No objections or protests harbored.
No. She never even considered that such things exist from the beginning.
That was the kind of person she was.
I was unable to raise her any more objections than that.
Because at that point, I finally remembered.
The fear and the pain of being pressed down, hit, and tied by men much larger than me.
And to top it of, the rain of blood I saw before I lost consciousness.
That scene was the reality that this person brought to bear.
At that time I was, honestly speaking, afraid.
The question of where I was and where was the way home was all pushed to the corners of my mind.
My head was filled with the thought that I’ll be killed if I opposed her.
“You say some strange things, boy. We’ll start practicing tomorrow. You should rest up for today”
She kept that attitude of having decided everything beforehand until she finally left the room.
And thus, I ended up not knowing her, Richelieu’s name, nor where this place was.
Without being given any options, I ended up joining.
Her organization, the assassin’s group “Black Maria”.
From that day onwards, I was no longer Mukouda Shizuru, but just Shizuru.
Living as a healing magic using physician on the surface, while truly being a knife-using assassin.
That was seven years ago.
- TN: Iai draw ↩